How Do I Choose the Best New Camper Van?

Jeremy Laukkonen

There are a number of important factors to consider when you are looking for a new camper van, such as who will be using the vehicle and how it is likely to be used. The number of passengers you are likely to have can dictate the amount of seating your new van needs to have, and it can also be important to consider sleeping arrangements. Another factor to consider is where you plan on driving your new camper van, since four wheel drive may be a good option to consider if you are likely to travel through mountains or in snowy conditions. If you plan to do extensive driving on unimproved roads, you may want to stay away from camper vans with certain modifications, such as those with lowered floor panels.

Although the sizes of camper vans vary widely, some are large enough to accommodate two adults and two children.
Although the sizes of camper vans vary widely, some are large enough to accommodate two adults and two children.

The number of people you plan to take with you on camping trips can be the biggest deciding factor when choosing a new camper van. Camper van layouts vary widely, and each one has a different amount of legal seating space. Since your ability to transport passengers can be legally limited by the number of seat belts, you may want to consider that before choosing a particular model. Sleeping space can also be important, particularly if you plan to camp during times of the year when staying outside in a tent would be uncomfortable.

Another feature that may be affected by the number of people you are likely to have with you when you use your new camper van is the size of your holding tanks. These are the tanks that contain the fresh water to supply you during your camping trip along with any waste water that is generated. Transporting people will tend to empty fresh water tanks and fill waste water tanks more quickly, so you may want to take that into consideration.

It can also be important to consider the areas you may wish to visit before buying a new camper van. Many camper vans come equipped with either front wheel drive or four wheel drive, which can make it easier to travel over rough terrain or through bad weather, such as snow. Other camper vans have modifications, such as dropped floors, to provide more interior space. While this can make it easier to stand up inside the vehicle, it can also reduce your ground clearance. If you plan on traveling to areas with poorly maintained or unimproved roads, keep in mind that low ground clearance may result in damage to various components of the undercarriage.

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Discussion Comments


My parents rented a camper van for a family road trip about five years ago. It was actually a lot of fun. We drove around to a few different national parks and stayed in their campgrounds. We would have a fire and cook outside at night but sleep in the van.

Both of my parents had sedans so we always kind of missed out on the big family trip down the highway. Finally my dad said that he wanted to do it and rented the van. It was worth it. Definitely one of our better family vacations.


What would a cheap camper van cost me? I am going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next few years and I think getting a camper van might be the most economical way to do it. It would save me a ton of money on lodging and it would be more comfortable and useful than trying to sleep outside, or in the back of a sedan. What do these things cost new, on the low end?


What exactly is a camper van? Is it just for sleeping or does it also have kitchen and bathroom facilities?

I have been in an older style camper van from the 80s but that was basically just a big van with seats that folded down to benches you could sleep on. It was all right. I spent a few night in it and it was better than sleeping in the rain. But if the weather is nice you might as well just pitch a tent.

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