The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Class B Camper Van

The class-B camper van is the ideal recreational vehicle for weekend warriors, full-time digital nomads, and even van-living families. 

Road-tripping and camper vans, or recreational vehicles (RVs), have been at the forefront of overland travel since the very beginning of the automobile. That’s because it’s no secret that going on a road trip or living on the road is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to travel.

While the motivation to explore via four wheels remains the same, there is a significant difference between the RVs that were on the road in the past and the RVs you see on the road today, especially when it comes to Class B RVs.

Class B campers have become more agile, functional, and fuel-efficient. Meanwhile, they maintain the ability to tow other vehicles, maneuver off-highway roads, and sleep multiple people, all within a compact and ideal size.

For these reasons, the Class B camper van has largely become the preferred choice amongst those who want to tour on four wheels, whether for a weekend camping trip or a long-term RV trip across the country.

Understanding Class B RVs

Class B camper vans, also known as Class B RVs, are one of three different types of recreational vehicles. In the RV (or motorhome) market, there are Class A, B, and Class C RVs. Before discussing what a Class B RV is, let’s first discuss Class A and C motorhomes.

Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive type of RV. They are built on a gigantic chassis, sometimes reaching 45 feet long. They feature all the amenities that a regular house with wheels would have and are ideal for large families, retired snowbirds, or traveling rock bands. Despite being tricky to maneuver and guzzling gas, Class A motorhomes are really quite luxurious inside.

Class C RVs are the second largest type of motorhome. They are built on a regular truck or van chassis but feature an attached cab in the back with a living space. They are good for couples and can accommodate a small family. Regarding amenities, Class C RVs look and feel a lot like larger motorhomes, just on a smaller footprint. Therefore, Class C motorhomes are basically a hybrid model between Class A and B RVs.


The Three Classes of Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
Class AClass BClass C
Wheelbase:29’ to 45’19’ to 24’25’ to 35’
Average fuel economy:8 to 13 MPG18 to 22 MPG8 to 18 MPG
Basic necessities (i.e., electricity, heating & air conditioning & running weather) YesYesYes
Additional amenities:Washer/ Dryer
TVs
Full bathroom Pop-outs
Full bathroom
Wet or dry bathroom
Full bathroom
TVs
Pop-outs
Maneuverability:Low maneuverability Highly maneuverable Somewhat maneuverable 
Floorplan: Cockpit
Full Kitchen
Sleeping quarters
Full bathroom
Ample storage space
5-6 extra passenger seats 
Cockpit
Kitchenette
Sleeping quarters
Optional bathroom
Storage space
1-2 extra passenger seats  
Cockpit
Kitchenette
Sleeping quarters
Bathroom
Ample storage space
3-4 extra passenger seats 
Number of occupant(s):1 to 81 to 4 1 to 6

What is a Class B RV?

A Class B RV is the smallest, most maneuverable, and fuel-efficient type of motorhome. They are built on a panel truck or automotive van chassis and are normally no longer than 24 feet long. Despite their smaller size, Class B camper vans can feature kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping spaces as well as amenities like running water and electricity.

Benefits of choosing a Class B RV over other classes

When it comes to RVs, bigger is not always better. Many of the benefits Class B motorhomes possess are due to their smaller size.

  • Better fuel efficiency means you can go farther and spend less on fuel
  • More maneuverability allows you to navigate urban landscapes, easily parking in regular parking spaces, as well as escape down back country roads
  • Easier to drive on the highway and in windy weather conditions 
  • Intelligent and space-saving layouts translate to having all the basic necessities within arms reach
  • Seamless entry/exit from the cab to the back of the van (without having to get out, like in Class C RVs) is convenient and, most important, safe

Common misconceptions about Class B RVs

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes, Class B motorhomes get a bad rap. So, we want to take a second to address the common misconceptions about Class B vans some folks have.

“Class B camper vans cannot fit a bathroom and shower”

They sure can, and they do! While it’s true that not all Class B RVs have a toilet and shower, it is false to say they can’t contain them. Most Class B camper vans can be equipped with both a shower and a toilet.

Doing so requires a little bit of creativity and multi-purpose functionality. For example, an outdoor shower works great and doesn’t waste any space inside the RV! A cassette or composting toilet provides a more portable and easy-to-use option requiring no black water tanks.

“You cannot live full-time in a class B motorhome”

Class B motorhomes do, in fact, make great vehicles for weekend warriors. But that’s not all that they can do! Despite their compact design, Class B vans can absolutely function as full-time living spaces. Primarily because many come equipped with solar panels for electricity, ample water storage, work and living space, and bathroom facilities.

The DM Vans Difference

DM Vans, which is short for “Dave and Matt,” is different from other camper van manufacturers because we are grounded in real-life van-living experiences.

We’ve experienced the glories of weekend road trips and full-time van living, as well as the trials and tribulations of mobile living. Through that, we’ve learned that life on the road is an irreplaceable opportunity to experience wonderful connections to beautiful landscapes, wild adventures, family, and friends.

Therefore, we created DM Vans to help connect you to the endless possibilities that life on the road can offer. To escort you along the way, we’ve carefully crafted three pre-built and high-quality Class B Camper vans– the LV3, LV5, and LV7.

Each of our Class B pre-built vans features a unique set of amenities to keep the comfort factor high while also guaranteeing a highly functional interior space. And we do it at price that competes with other manufacturers while never sacrificing craftsmanship.

Key Features to Consider

There are three pre-built Class B camper vans in the DM Vans lineup– the LV3, LV5 and LV7. Every DM van is equipped with a certain set of standard features.

  • Fully electric setup
  • Solar panels
  • Smart lithium batteries
  • 3,000 watt inverter
  • In-cabin heater
  • Roof ventilation fan
  • Roof-mounted AC
  • Rear door ladder
  • Outdoor shower
  • Toilet (cassette or composting)
  • Induction cooktop
  • Upper and lower kitchenette storage
  • Zone cabin lighting
  • Class IV hitch receiver
  • Screened windows on driver + passenger side
  • VanEssential window covers
  • All-weather, four season ready
  • No underchassis piping
  • No black water tanks
  • No propane

Besides these features, each model is unique. For example, they have different sizes and lengths, slightly different layouts, and some variable amenities.

DM Class B RV Model Comparisons

When it comes to buying a van, we understand it can be tricky to imagine which van is best for you (or you and your family, furry friends included), how you like to travel, and the types of adventures you seek out. 

So, let us help connect the dots for you. 

The LV3

The LV3 van is ideal for the solo van lifer or for weekend getaways. It is the most economical van in our lineup. Because it is our smallest van, the LV3 prioritizes efficient space utilization to ensure that the van is highly functional for a wide variety of camper van users.

Check out the LV3 Van >>

The LV5

The LV5 is our mid-sized model. It’s perfect for solo van lifers who want a little extra room, or a pair of travelers. The LV5 is great as a vehicle for weekend warriors but is also roomy enough for longer trips and full-time living, thanks to its extra storage space and multiple-bed layouts.

The LV5.2 also has an option for a more robust electrical system for folks who require more energy to power their adventures or remote-working careers. In addition, you can select between a cassette toilet with our LV5.1 model and a composting toilet with our LV5.2 model. 

Check out the LV 5 Van >>

The LV7

The LV7 is the largest van in our fleet. It features an extended wheelbase that is ideal for couples, small families, or solo travelers who need a multitude of gear. Thanks to the LV7’s space-efficient and ergonomic layout, this van is fully capable of full-time van life or awesome road trips.

Both the LV7.1 and LV7.2 vans come with a larger, more powerful electrical system. The LV7 also comes with a composting toilet for in-house comfort. And should you need room for more passengers, the LV7.2 comes with a second-row seat. 

Check out the LV7 Van >>

Dave and Matt Vans
The LV3The LV5 (comes in LV 5.1 and 5.2 Models)The LV7 (comes in LV 7.1 and 7.2 Models)
Key Features: RAM ProMaster 136” Wheelbase
353 cubic feet 
Single storage bench
Lofted short queen mattress
Two front swivel seats
RAM ProMaster 159” Wheelbase
420 cubic feet
Single storage bench/dinette seating
Queen or Full mattress options
Two front swivel seats
RAM ProMaster 159” Ext. Wheelbase
463 cubic feet
Dinette seating
Full mattress lofted bed
Two front swivel seats
Upgraded suspension and braking
Bed System:Sleeps 1-2
Short Queen (72”x60”)
60” Vented Platform
Sleeps 1-2
LV 5.1: Short Queen (72”x60”)
LV 5.2: Full (75”x54”) 
Sleeps 1-2
Full (75”x54”)
75” Vented Platform
Power:x2 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
LV 5.1: x2 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
LV 5.2: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
LV 7.1: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
LV 7.2: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
Comfort:Cassette toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
LV 5.1: Cassette toilet
LV 5.2: Composting Toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
LV 7.1: Composting Toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
Kitchenette:5 Drawer kitchenette
Overhead cabinet with LED lighting
Divider with electrical access
12v Refrigerator
Induction cooktop
Sink and faucet with electric Pump
7 Gallon fresh water tank
7 Gallon gray water tank
5 Drawer kitchenette
Overhead cabinet with LED lighting
Divider with electrical access
12v Refrigerator
Induction cooktop
Sink and faucet with electric Pump
7 Gallon fresh water tank
7 Gallon gray water tank
5 Drawer kitchenette
Overhead cabinet with LED lighting
Divider with electrical access
12v Refrigerator
Induction cooktop
Sink and faucet with electric Pump
7 Gallon fresh water tank
7 Gallon gray water tank
Electrical System:3,000-watt inverter
30 amp shore power hook up + AC/DC converter
50 amp DC-DC + MPPT charger
Integrated battery monitor
1 x 4 Port USB outlets
2 x 2 Port 120v outlets
Battery box with extra storage
3,000-watt inverter
30 amp shore power hook up + AC/DC converter
50 amp DC-DC + MPPT charger
Integrated battery monitor
1 x 4 Port USB outlets
2 x 2 Port 120v outlets
Battery box with extra storage
3,000-watt inverter
30 amp shore power hook up + AC/DC converter
50 amp DC-DC + MPPT charger
Integrated battery monitor
1 x 4 Port USB outlets
2 x 2 Port 120v outlets
Battery box with extra storage
Safety:Smoke / CO detector
Fire extinguisher
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Smoke / CO detector
Fire extinguisher
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Smoke / CO detector
Fire extinguisher
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Available colors: Sandstone
Granite
White
Sandstone
Granite
White
Sandstone
Granite
White

A quick note for dirt-road travelers out there– regardless of the model, none of our vans have any under-chassis tanks, running boards, or generators that can get ripped off or hit during off-road travel. This makes life so much easier when searching out some solace in the backcountry.  

Making the Best Decision of Your Life

Selecting the right camper van for you and your lifestyle is a big deal! Fortunately, you cannot go wrong with a DM Van. Nonetheless, we want to help you out! Please consider the following questions to help guide your decision-making.

This list is not exhaustive. We know every customer, and their preferences are unique. So, please feel free to call us to discuss any other details regarding your specific plans for the van.  

Questions to ask yourself before choosing a Class B Camper Van

  • What type of camping and activities do I enjoy? Your hobbies and camping preferences will help dictate what you need in a van, like the ability to store mountain bikes or tow a trailer with rafts.
  • Where do I envision myself traveling? All DM vans can blend in with urban environments, but certain DM models are better for off-road travel than others. (The LV7 has upgraded suspension and braking).
  • What should my budget be? The style, model, length, and interior amenities will dictate what type of DM class B van you can afford.
  • How many passengers do I need to transport? Certain DM models of class B RV are better for multiple people or small families while others are good for solo van lifers. The LV7.2 can be built with an additional row of seats for passengers. 
  • How long are my trips? Full-timers and weekend warriors have different needs based on how long they predict they’ll be on the road.

Regardless of which DM Van you decide to choose– you get the benefit of a one-year warranty.

We don’t expect you’ll need to worry about using your warranty, but we offer it as a sign of our commitment to your new journey with us. Plus, any issues you encounter related to our conversion can be troubleshot over the phone– no shop visit is required! 

In addition, because we are driven by the mission of making van life accessible to as many folks as possible, we do offer certain financing options.

Check the DM Vans Inventory >>

Life on the Road with a DM Van, Maintenance, and Upkeep

We like to think our vans are like a fine wine– they come ready to enjoy and possess a distinct flavor of high-quality craftsmanship. (And they get better as they age.) But if we’re being honest, we know that the longevity of one of our vans doesn’t just depend on the craftsmanship. 

How you take care of the van is really important, too. So here are some tips for maintaining your DM van so it stays in tip-top shape. 

  • Safety system: maintain and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Cooling system: regularly check the coolant levels to prevent overheating.
  • Fuel system: inspect and replace fuel filters and periodically add fuel additives to keep the system clean.
  • Electrical system: monitor and maintain battery terminals, clean them if necessary, and inspect and tighten other electrical connections. Regularly keep batteries above 20% state of charge for a longer life span.
  • Exhaust system: replace worn-out exhaust components and ensure your RV meets emission standards.
  • Interior: regularly dust, vacuum, and wipe down interior surfaces, as well as clean and maintain interior appliances. Mitigate condensation by cracking a window or opening a vent while cooking.
  • Exterior: wax and wash the exterior of the van, as well as inspect the windows, doors, vents, hatches, etc., for water leaks.
  • Plumbing: perform regular inspections of water tanks, fixtures, and pipes.
  • Appliances: periodically clean and defrost your refrigerator and regularly test and maintain entertainment systems
  • Solar system: clean solar panels of debris and dust and inspect wiring connections to ensure they are secure
  • HVAC system: periodically inspect the HVAC system, check the vents, and replace air filters. As preventative maintenance, run the heater on high heat for at least 20 minutes every 30 days. 

What are You Waiting For? Time to Hit the Road!

Of the three different types of recreational vehicles, Class B motorhomes offer the most maneuverability, are the most fuel-efficient, and are the most economical camper van option.

Despite their compact size, Class B camper vans capitalize on functionality and versatility– they can blend in in a city or wander deep into the backcountry on an off-road adventure.

Therefore, for solo travelers, couples, and small families with an adventurous spirit, a Class B camper van is the ideal option for exploring the world around you on four wheels.

That’s why we chose the Class B Van as the canvas on which to create our highly functional and versatile, pre-built vans, designed to support your mobile lifestyle, weekend missions, and everything in between.

We can’t wait to help you get on the road! See you around the campfire.

-Dave & Matt

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WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR STORIES

We’d love to hear your Dm vans travel stories, if you have something to share, send us an email to: stories@dmvans.com

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