Why Is a Camper Van Conversion Better Than an RV?


Photo credit: © Muse & Co. Outdoors

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the past five years, then you’ve probably heard all about the #vanlife craze that is sweeping across the world. People everywhere are hitting the road in custom conversion vans. Even many experienced RV road warriors and tent campers are making the switch to camper van travel.

So, what’s all the buzz about? What makes traveling in a Sprinter camper van so much better than their RV counterparts? In this article, we are going to dive into the camper van vs. RV debate and tell you why #vanlife is such a superior way to travel when compared to an RV.

Size DOES Matter…

We can all agree that the main difference between an RV and a Sprinter camper van is size. There are many other discrepancies between the two types of vehicles, but at the end of the day, all their differences come down to the fact that Sprinter vans are far more compact than their RV counterparts.

There are countless reasons, from fuel economy to maneuverability, why traveling in a smaller vehicle is advantageous, and we will get to those soon. For now, consider that Sprinter vans range from about 18 to 22 feet in length, while RVs are typically between 29 and 40 feet in length. Importantly, RV’s are also 2 to 3 feet wider and up to quadruple the weight of Sprinter camper vans.

Fuel Consumption

You might think bigger is better, but when it comes to the van vs. RV debate, there are many reasons why a more compact vehicle is advantageous. One prime example is the difference in fuel consumption between the two types of vehicles.

The 2020 Mercedes Sprinter boasts an impressive 14-17 mpg thanks to its super efficient and powerful diesel engine. On the contrary, a larger RV might get anywhere from 8-12 mpg depending on the specific model and size. When driving longer distances, this massive difference equates to a major discrepancy in the amount of money you spend on gas. Plus, burning more fuel is worse for this beautiful planet that we all love to roam and explore.

Camper Van Maneuverability

A major advantage of Sprinter vans is their maneuverability. These vans are originally produced with the intention of being cargo vans that are commonly used for inner-city transportation and delivery services. Their compact size allows you to easily drive them in the city, and many Sprinter camper van owners actually use their vans as their daily driver. Furthermore, you can park them on the street or in your driveway–saving you from the major cost of RV storage.

Sprinter vans’ maneuverability and compact size also come in handy when traveling and finding camping spots. While RV owners need to constantly be aware of where they are driving and whether they will be able to turn around, Sprinter vans don’t have this issue. Countless trailheads, vistas, and other exciting destinations are simply not accessible with an RV. Furthermore, Sprinters can fit into just about any camping spot, opening up a whole world of possibilities for camping beyond RV parks.

Photo credit: © Muse & Co. Outdoors

Off-Grid Capabilities

When you travel in an RV, you are pretty much limited to RV-specific campsites that have hookups and a large enough space to park your rig. But when it comes to camper van travel, the options for campsites are limitless.

We’ve all seen the incredible #vanlife photos of people relaxing in bed with their van doors open to a breathtaking view. The crazy thing is, these photos aren’t fantastical at all. Owning a camper van allows you to park and camp in places that RVs simply can’t go. There are many areas where ‘dispersed camping’ is allowed, including on BLM and National Forest land.

Most Sprinter camper vans are built with off-grid camping in mind. This means that they use charging sources such as rooftop solar panels to power the van’s electrical system. It also means that their water and propane systems are meant to handle trips in the backwoods.

Combining these features with the maneuverability and offroad capabilities of Sprinter vans (especially 4×4 models) makes for a truly badass off-grid camping machine. Sorry RV owners, your view of the RV park just isn’t any match for one of the Pacific Ocean.

Beautiful Custom Interiors

If you’ve ever actually stepped foot in an RV, you know there’s not much to write home about. Linoleum, cheap materials, and outdated color schemes are the name of the game when it comes to RV interiors. But the world of camper vans tends to have a different flavor to it.

Sure, there are still van builders out there who are pumping out cookie-cutter, RV-like van interiors–but many builders are using much more tasteful designs. Creativity and ingenuity are an integral part of the world of camper vans. The #vanlife movement gained popularity in large part due to viral photos and stories of travelers who built their own custom vans by hand. The best van builders have taken this concept and refined it, but the spirit of creating a little cabin on wheels is alive and well in the van world.

Here at Muse & Co. Outdoors, we build beautiful, hand-crafted van interiors using the highest quality materials and components. Our interiors speak for themselves, offering an elegant and understated space to relax after days spent outside. You get plenty of opportunities to customize your van’s look and feel. We can even work with you on an entirely custom build if that’s what you are looking for!

Photo credit: © Muse & Co. Outdoors

Camper Vans: Functionality Without Fluff

The fact is, RVs are way too big for what they actually offer. Camper van builders have developed ingenious ways of including many of the same comforts you would find in an RV, in a vehicle that comes with all the benefits of being much smaller.

Need a bathroom? No problem–A slide-out composting toilet and a rooftop solar-heated shower should take care of your needs. Want to cook? Most Sprinter camper vans include a fridge, a cooktop, a sink, and plenty of cabinetry. What about sleeping comfortably? Some vans, including all of our models here at Muse & Co. Outdoors, have room for a queen-sized, premium quality bed.

You can fit just about any luxury into a camper van, without the massive footprint of an RV. #Vanlife is all about stripping away the excess and taking along what’s truly important, but don’t be fooled–that doesn’t mean you can’t still be comfortable while traveling in a van.

One response to “Why Is a Camper Van Conversion Better Than an RV?”

  1. The functionality part was a big takeaway for me. You can use the space in the Sprintervan to get what you need. It will be easier to handle and take care of.

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