Camper vans are some of the smallest RVs yet boast a hefty price tag. So, finding an affordable camper van with all the various makes and models on the market can be a challenge.
Camper vans are ideal when you want a fuel-efficient, park-it-anywhere RV, so I did some research on how to find affordable campervans and detail the features they do or don’t offer versus higher-priced units down below.
I also highlight the top three most affordable camper vans currently available, so you can decide if a new or used Class B camper van is best for you!
Why Camper Vans Are a Popular RV Choice
What Type of RV Is the Easiest to Drive?
Camper vans top the list as the most uncomplicated RV to drive because of the small size and slimmer width. Many camper van conversions start with a minivan, so you’ll feel like you’re driving a regular car or SUV.
Traveling down highways, backroads, city streets, and maneuvering through gas stations, parking lots, and campgrounds is a breeze in a Class B camper van.
With powerful engines, plenty of driver-assist features, and a sleeker profile, a camper van blows away Class A motorcoaches and Class C motorhomes when it comes to user-friendliness.
Which RVs Hold Their Value Best?
Again, camper vans or Class B motorhomes retain their value more than other types of recreational vehicles. Why?
Camper Vans Are Built Strong
Camper vans aren’t as heavy or oversized as other RVs, with a much more rigid structure, so they don’t incur the damage from vibrations, dings and dents, and engine wear and tear like their larger motorhome counterparts.
Camper Vans Are Easy to Use
Versus a travel trailer or fifth wheel, camper vans provide a more streamlined camping experience.
Pack up and go anywhere in a camper van, even stealth camping. Or, you can pack, hook up, tow, unhook, and level at the campgrounds that can fit your size fifth wheel or camping trailer.
Camper Vans Have a Luxury Feel
Most campervans feature luxurious design elements and amenities, like those found in high-end motorhomes or fifth wheels. Class B RVs also feature more state-of-the-art appliances, amenities, engines, and control centers because manufacturers update the designs more frequently than other more traditional RV types.
Camper Vans Are the Best Gas Mileage RV Class B
With the average camper van getting around 21 MPG, they also top the RV industry in fuel efficiency, making them an excellent investment in both the new and used market.
Camper Vans Deliver Functional Floor Plans
Aside from all the great reasons above, camper vans are also so popular and retain their value because they don’t skimp on the items a camping enthusiast requires, such as a comfortable bed, a kitchen, plenty of storage, an awning for outdoor relaxation, and even a bathroom.
Features and Amenities of Affordable vs. Expensive Camper Vans
Do you wonder what the trade-off will be if you choose a less expensive camper van over one with a high price tag? Sticker shock can strike hard when you realize that many of the top brands of camper vans easily cost between $150,000-$250,000.
To help you see what you give up when choosing an affordable Class B or camper van, here are the more common features you’ll find in high-end models:
- Wet or dry bath
- Power awning
- Mosquito screens
- 4-season insulation
- Comprehensive entertainment system
- Powerful engine and rugged suspension system
- Driver assist features and cameras
- Comfortable bed (often on a hydraulic lift)
- Kitchen with solid-surface countertops
- Solar power system and on-demand hot water
- Flexible eating, lounging, or work stations
- Integrated Wi-Fi and satellite
- On-board air compressor
- Outdoor shower port
- Hardwood cabinetry and dimmable LED lighting
While all the above features are incredible to have while camping, most of them are not necessary for satisfying RV travel adventures.
Giving up some luxury amenities can drastically lower the cost of a camper van. Even switching from a Mercedes Sprinter chassis to a Ford Transit chassis can help you save on the purchase price of a new camper van or Class B motorhome.
Many lower-cost camper vans still offer wet baths, kitchens, plenty of storage, and all-weather insulation. However, the construction materials and design quality may not be as aesthetically pleasing as what you’ll find on a high-end model.
The real question is, what would you rather spend your money on? An expensive camper van with large monthly payments may leave you struggling to afford campground fees and fuel. Would you rather invest in an affordable campervan that allows you to travel more freely and enjoy more experiences?
There’s nothing wrong with glamping in a luxury camper van, nor is there anything wrong with a more basic camper van with enough features for a comfortable life on the road. Finding the van model that suits your needs and budget is all that matters.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about some of the best affordable camper vans, check out these options below!
Top 3 Most Affordable Camper Vans
What are the top 3 best RVs in the camper van category? Oasis, Peace Vans, and Caravan Outfitter deliver fun and functional RVs at budget-friendly prices.
1. Oasis Campervans
|Base Vehicle||Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica|
Oasis Campervans prefers to use the all-wheel-drive Toyota Sienna as a base vehicle, but they do work with other van brands, expanding your ability to find the most affordable option.
The company transforms the interior into a functional yet compact camping oasis suitable for two. The design includes a durable and easy-to-clean vinyl floor, an adjustable table for games, meals, or work, and a lounge with removable drawers.
The bed is extra-long and perfect for taller individuals, plus the underside offers a massive amount of storage in both open space and drawers. The rear edge of the bench/bed has a short wall, giving you a comfortable backrest to prop pillows if you want to sit up and read.
When you open the rear hatch, you’ll find a beautifully-crafted kitchen setup with a cabinet made of hardwoods. There’s a stainless steel sink with a faucet for running water, lots of counter space to prep food, plus a Dometic 25-liter fridge/freezer. With the five-gallon fresh and grey water tanks, you’ll have plenty of time between refills and dumps.
There is a myriad of options for extras such as:
- Hardwood adjustable table
- 6.5-foot awning
- Rooftop solar
- Custom cushion colors
- Additional storage/seating boxes
- 1000-watt power station
- Propane stove
- Additional lighting
- Pass-through 110-volt adapter plug
- Canvas privacy screen and window coverings
You work with the Oasis team to add the features you want, so your camper van suits your needs perfectly for indoor living comfort and outdoor living convenience.
Driving the Oasis can’t get any more straightforward, as it keeps the low profile of a minivan for fuel economy and makes stealth camping a breeze. With AWD, you have more camping location range, and a shorter roofline and slimmer width make parking this van under or between trees easy.
Oasis Campervans – Minivan Campervan Conversion Living/Bedroom (Video)
2. Peace Vans Metris Full Camper with Pop Top
|Base Vehicle||Mercedes Metris|
Who makes the most reliable RVs? For camper vans, many agree the Peace Vans Modern Pop Top is one you can count on because it starts with a Mercedes chassis. The van conversion company even guides you through the initial van purchase with their local Mercedes dealer partnership.
The Full Camper with Pop Top floor plan lets you choose between the passenger Metris model, which is larger, or the cargo Metris model, which is the least expensive. Sleeping quarters are in the pop-up area, plus you can opt for the fold-out bench that becomes a double bed for sleeping quarters for two more guests.
The living area features a refrigerator, sink, and compact stove. Swivel the front seats toward the rear, and you have a cozy seating area during your camping trip. The company even offers a $5,800 package for solo travelers that includes an extra-long bed and lots of custom options.
The interior has woodwork of either birch, maple, or walnut, commercial-grade vinyl flooring, dense memory foam cushions, fresh and grey water tanks, a lithium-ion rechargeable pump, and much more.
When you work with Peace Vans to create your RV, you work with experts in this niche conversion market. The company knows that your camping and everyday life needs can change, so they make each build expandable or reversible.
It’s a huge bonus to be able to upgrade to more amenities as your budget allows or take out all the components without damage so you can return the vehicle to pure passenger use. While the design of the interior amenities are minimalist, the use of high-quality materials makes this “basic” camping van anything but.
Our Peace Vans Modern Pop Up Campers (Video)
3. Caravan Outfitter Free Bird
|Base Vehicle||Ford Transit Connect Wagon|
Caravan Outfitter’s Free Bird is another economical choice for a camper van you can customize with only the features you require for overnight RV trips yet remains functional as a general vehicle for day-to-day tasks.
The interior of the Free Bird is reimagined for the new model year, with room for seating up to four with the addition of two captain’s chairs in the center that fold forward to make a spacious double bed for sleeping or relaxing. You can access the interior through sliding doors on both sides of the van or through the hatchback.
The kitchen is tucked at the rear. Open the hatch and slide out a sink and water jug, 2-burner gas grill, and storage drawer. Keep perishable food cold in the 32-quart fridge. A large cutting board also converts to a table between the rear seats you can use for dining, work, or crafts.
But, it’s the little details that really make this affordable camper van impressive, such as the insulated, push-in privacy window coverings that create a seamless look, reduce noise, and help maintain interior temperatures. In addition, two of the covers integrate bug screens, excellent for when you want fresh air.
You’ll also enjoy the two extra cup holders, dimmable LED lighting, a central exhaust fan, a 300-watt converter, wireless charging, plus an auxiliary power control panel with 2 USB ports, a 110-volt outlet, and a kill switch to keep your devices running. Access to the house battery is in a convenient location as well.
Driving this camper van is a breeze, with great features such as a backup camera, driver assists for collisions, braking, and hill starts, along with SYNC 3, which includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The exterior mirrors are also heated.
If you want more sleeping quarters, you can get the iKamper Skycamp Mini RTT kit, which mounts to the roof and includes the retractable access ladder.
Lastly, the Free Bird gets excellent gas mileage and has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds to bring along all your camping gear and toys.
Caravan Outfitter Free Bird (Video)
Where to Find Affordable Camper Vans
Finding affordable camper vans isn’t difficult when you know where to look. I help you streamline your shopping experience by listing the top ways to find both used and new Class B camping vans that will fit a smaller budget.
Local Classifieds and Marketplaces
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When searching for an affordable used camper van, most people should start with local marketplaces such as Facebook, Nextdoor, or similar peer-to-peer websites.
Buying local lets you talk to the owner, test drive, and inspect the RV in person versus trusting a for-sale-by-owner listing in other regions or states.
Because the campervan owner isn’t paying a commission or fee to sell their camper, they will be more apt to start their pricing lower. Private sellers also tend to be more willing to negotiate the final sales price just to get rid of the RV.
RV Buy, Sell, Trade Websites
To streamline your search, you can find camper vans via zip code, make and model, type of RV, mileage, and other filters. Most sellers on these sites are parting with a camper they have used and enjoyed, so they can explain how everything works, be more likely to be upfront about any “quirks,” and provide helpful hints and advice if you’re a newbie.
Suppose you plan to buy a camper van from a seller far from your home location. In that case, it pays to fly out to see the unit in person before finalizing the sale and making full payment, as even older used Class B camper vans generally start at prices around the $30,000 range.
Local RV Dealerships and Car Lots
Many recreational vehicle owners who upgrade from a camper van into a larger or different type of RV trade their unit instead of selling it privately. This type of sale leaves RV dealerships with a continual flow of used camper vans to sell on their lots.
Most dealerships will inspect and repair camper vans before putting a sales sticker on the window, with many certifying the van’s mechanics and appliances and offering an extended warranty.
Expect to pay more for a camper van sold through a dealership. However, if you’re looking for a particular make or model and they have it, it’s going to be much more affordable to buy it locally than paying to have it shipped or flying and driving it back from a far-flung location.
Local used car lots are another source of less expensive used camper vans. However, you’ll find fewer camper vans for sale at these lots, as they are random vehicles outside their normal range of inventory with low interest from general buyers. For this reason, you can often snag a great deal because the owner wants that “elephant” off their lot.
National RV Dealerships
National RV dealership chains, such as LazyDays, Camping World, and National Indoor RV Centers post all their used camper van inventory across the US, helping you locate and comparison shop for camper vans in one website visit.
Most national dealerships will provide a certified inspection checklist to verify the camper van is in good condition. They may also ship the RV to a dealership closest to your home base if you make a purchase, saving you money.
A bonus of looking for a Class B camper van across the US is that you can find some deals in regions where the demand for RVs is slower, such as in the northern states during the winter months.
What Brand Makes the Most Reliable Camper Van?
When you’re wondering which is the most reliable motorhome in the camper van category, it would be the models built on the Mercedes Sprinter base.
Mercedes is known for engines that can go hundreds of thousands of miles without failure, making Sprinters ideal for full-time or extended RV adventures. The framing, suspension, electronics, and fuel economy the Sprinter vans provide are another reason people are flocking to camper vans built from this Mercedes line.
While new Sprinter camper vans start at around $110,000, units such as the Sequence, Scope, or Tranquility from Thor showcase why they are such a great value for performance, looks, function, and reliability.
However, there are many affordable camper van options that still get good marks for reliability. Less expensive new and used camper van brands or models to check out are:
- Winnebago Rialta
- Pleasure Way Excel
- BoHo Camper Vans
- Ford Transit Connect
- Ford Falcon 190
- Off Grid Adventure Vans
- Oasis Campervans
- Mitsubishi Delica
You may ask yourself, “How do I choose an RV camper van that is perfect for my needs?”
The answer is to use this guide, which will make finding an affordable camper van with all the amenities you need much easier.
When you know where to look, what to expect, and what budget-friendly brands are best, you’ll be on your way to fun camping adventures in your new camper van RV!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide