Buying Tips: How to Choose the Best Camper Vans

Best camper vans

Buying Tips: How to Choose the Best Camper Vans

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

13 July 2023

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Are you ready to embark on an exciting adventure and hit the open road in a camper van? Choosing the best camper van for your needs can be a thrilling yet challenging task. With a wide range of options available in the market, it’s important to consider various factors before making a decision.

In this buyer’s guide, we will explore the key considerations that will help you choose the best camper van to suit your lifestyle and preferences.

📖 Table of Contents

  • Motorhomes
  • Campervans
  • Class B RVs
  • Pop-up Campers
  • Budget
  • Size and Layout
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Drivability
  • Amenities and Features
  • Number of Occupants
  • Travel Preferences
  • Length of Trips
  • Destination Types
  • Prominent Brands in the Market
  • Reputation and Reliability
  • User Reviews and Ratings
  • Purchase Price
  • Maintenance and Repair Costs
  • Insurance and Registration Expenses
  • Electrical System
  • Water Supply and Plumbing
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Sleeping Arrangements
  • Kitchen and Cooking Facilities
  • Bathroom and Sanitation
  • Engine and Mechanical Components
  • Exterior and Body Condition
  • Mileage and Service History
  • Handling and Steering
  • Acceleration and Braking
  • Comfort and Noise Level
  • Seatbelts and Restraint Systems
  • Airbags and Safety Features
  • Storage Capacity
  • Exterior Storage Compartments
  • Financing the Purchase
  • Insurance Considerations
  • Negotiating the Price
  • Documentation and Title Transfer
Best camper van with mountain view

🚐 Types of Camper Vans


When it comes to camper vans, there are several types to choose from, each offering its own unique features and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular options:



These spacious and fully equipped homes on wheels provide all the comforts of home, including living areas, kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping quarters.



Also known as “Class B” vans, campervans offer a versatile and compact solution for your travels. They typically feature a small kitchenette, a sleeping area, and limited bathroom facilities.


Class B RVs: 

Class B RVs combine the maneuverability of a van with the amenities of a motorhome. They offer a comfortable living space with sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and a bathroom.


Pop-up Campers: 

If you’re looking for a more compact and affordable option, pop-up campers are a great choice. These lightweight trailers can be easily towed and provide sleeping accommodations and basic amenities.



🌍 Considerations for Choosing a Camper Van


To find the best camper van for your needs, it’s essential to consider the following factors:



Determine your budget range and explore best camper vans that fall within that range.


Size and Layout: 

Consider the number of occupants and the layout that will best accommodate your travel needs. Think about sleeping arrangements, seating capacity, and storage space. The best camper vans will have everything you need.


Fuel Efficiency: 

Evaluate the fuel efficiency of different camper van models to ensure cost-effective and eco-friendly travels.



Consider the ease of driving and maneuverability of the camper van, especially if you’re new to RVing.


Amenities and Features: 

Think about the amenities and features that are important to you, such as a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom facilities, heating and cooling systems, entertainment options, and storage solutions.


🧐 Assessing Your Needs


When it comes to choosing the best camper van, it’s essential to assess your specific needs to ensure a perfect fit for your adventures. Consider the following factors:


Number of Occupants: 

Determine how many people will be traveling with you on a regular basis. If you have a larger family or frequently travel with friends, you’ll want to prioritize camper vans with ample sleeping and seating arrangements.

The best camper vans are the ones that accommodate your family dynamic.


Travel Preferences: 

Think about the type of travel experiences you enjoy. Do you prefer off-grid camping in remote locations or prefer staying at established campgrounds with full amenities? Understanding your travel preferences will help you choose a camper van that suits your desired lifestyle.


Length of Trips: 

Consider the duration of your trips. Will you be taking short weekend getaways, extended vacations, or embarking on long-term adventures? This will impact the size, storage capacity, and overall comfort requirements of your camper van.


Destination Types: 

Reflect on the destinations you plan to explore. Will you primarily visit national parks, beaches, or urban areas? Different camper van models offer varying levels of maneuverability and off-road capabilities, so choose one that aligns with your intended destinations.


📚 Researching Camper Van Brands


Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, it’s time to dive into researching different camper van brands. Consider the following aspects during your research:


Prominent Brands in the Market: 

Identify the well-known brands that specialize in manufacturing camper vans. Research and compare their offerings, as they often provide a range of models with varying features and sizes to cater to different needs.


Reputation and Reliability: 

Look for camper van brands with a solid reputation for producing reliable and high-quality vehicles. Online forums, camper van communities, and expert reviews can provide valuable insights into the reputation of different brands.


User Reviews and Ratings: 

Read user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the experiences and satisfaction levels of current camper van owners. These firsthand accounts can shed light on any common issues, customer support, and overall user experiences.



💰 Evaluating the Cost


Budget considerations play a significant role in choosing the best camper van. Evaluate the following cost factors:


Purchase Price: 

Determine your budget and explore camper vans within your price range. Consider both new and used options, as used camper vans can often offer good value for money.


Maintenance and Repair Costs: 

Factor in the ongoing maintenance and repair expenses associated with owning a camper van. Some brands and models may have higher maintenance costs than others, so research the estimated costs and availability of service centers.


Insurance and Registration Expenses: 

Contact insurance providers to obtain quotes for camper van insurance. Additionally, consider the registration fees and taxes associated with owning a camper van in your region. These costs can vary, so it’s important to factor them into your budget.


🔌 Power and Utilities


When choosing the best camper van, it’s crucial to consider the power and utility features that will enhance your travel experience. Here are the key aspects to evaluate:


Electrical System: 

A reliable electrical system is essential for powering various appliances and devices in your camper van. Look for a van with a robust electrical setup that includes a high-capacity battery, solar panels for sustainable energy, and multiple power outlets to charge your gadgets.


Water Supply and Plumbing: 

Having a functional water supply and plumbing system ensures your comfort on the road. Look for a camper van that offers a freshwater tank with a sufficient capacity for your needs. Additionally, check for a reliable water pump, faucets with hot and cold water options, and a wastewater tank with proper drainage systems.


Heating and Cooling: 

Temperature control is vital for year-round camping adventures. Look for a camper van that offers efficient heating options, such as propane or diesel-powered heaters. For cooling, consider ventilation systems or air conditioning units to keep the interior comfortable during hot summer days.


🛠️ Inspecting the Interior


A well-designed and functional interior is key to maximizing your enjoyment and convenience while living in a camper van. Consider the following factors when assessing the interior:


Sleeping Arrangements: 

Check the available sleeping options and determine if they suit your needs. Look for comfortable beds that can accommodate your desired number of occupants. Consider foldable or convertible bed setups to optimize space during the day.


Kitchen and Cooking Facilities: 

Evaluate the kitchen area to ensure it provides adequate cooking facilities. Look for a camper van with a functional kitchenette that includes a stove, sink, refrigerator, and storage for utensils and cookware. Consider the size of the kitchen and the available counter space for meal preparation.


Bathroom and Sanitation: 

Assess the bathroom facilities in the camper van. Determine if a built-in bathroom with a toilet and shower is essential for your needs or if you are comfortable with alternative options like portable toilets and outdoor showers. Consider the availability of storage for toiletries and cleaning supplies.



🚘 Assessing the Vehicle’s Condition


To ensure a reliable and durable camper van, it’s crucial to thoroughly assess its overall condition. Pay attention to the following aspects:


Engine and Mechanical Components: 

Have a professional inspect the engine and mechanical components to ensure they are in good working order. Consider the van’s horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency. Look for signs of regular maintenance and any potential mechanical issues that might arise.


Exterior and Body Condition: 

Inspect the exterior for any signs of damage, rust, or corrosion. Check the condition of the windows, doors, and roof. A well-maintained exterior will protect your investment from the elements and enhance the overall aesthetics of the camper van.


Mileage and Service History: 

Evaluate the mileage on the camper van and inquire about its service history. Lower mileage is generally preferred, but the vehicle’s condition and maintenance records are equally important. Request documentation of regular maintenance and any repairs done in the past.


🛣️ Testing the Drive


When choosing the best camper van, it’s crucial to consider how it performs on the road. Testing the drive allows you to assess important factors such as handling, steering, acceleration, braking, and overall comfort.


Handling and Steering:

A camper van should provide a smooth and controlled driving experience. Test how the vehicle handles corners and curves, ensuring it feels stable and responsive. Responsive steering ensures better maneuverability, allowing you to navigate various road conditions with ease.


Acceleration and Braking: 

Adequate acceleration and braking capabilities are essential for a safe and enjoyable driving experience. Test the van’s acceleration to ensure it can merge onto highways and overtake slower vehicles comfortably. Additionally, assess the braking system’s responsiveness and effectiveness to ensure confident and controlled stops.


Comfort and Noise Level:

Long journeys in a camper van should be comfortable for both the driver and passengers. Pay attention to the seating comfort, ergonomics, and overall noise level while driving. A quiet and well-insulated cabin reduces road noise and vibrations, enhancing the overall travel experience.


🚧 Understanding Camper Van Safety


Safety should be a top priority when choosing the best camper van. Assessing the safety features and systems can give you peace of mind during your travels.


Seatbelts and Restraint Systems:

Check that the camper van has properly installed seatbelts for all passengers. Ensure that the seatbelts are adjustable, in good condition, and easily accessible. If you plan to travel with children, verify if there are anchor points for child car seats and if they meet the necessary safety standards.


Airbags and Safety Features:

Look for camper vans equipped with essential safety features such as airbags for the driver and passengers. Additional safety features to consider include stability control, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), traction control, and lane departure warning systems. These features contribute to enhanced safety and accident prevention.



🗺️ Evaluating Storage Options


Ample storage space is crucial for a comfortable and organized camping experience. When evaluating storage options in a camper van, consider both the storage capacity and the availability of exterior storage compartments.


Storage Capacity:

Assess the interior storage solutions such as cabinets, drawers, and closets. Adequate storage space ensures that you can stow away personal belongings, camping gear, and other essentials without feeling cramped. Consider your specific needs and the number of occupants when evaluating the storage capacity of the camper van.


Exterior Storage Compartments:

Look for camper vans that offer exterior storage compartments. These compartments can be useful for storing larger items such as camping chairs, outdoor equipment, and tools. Exterior storage compartments help keep the interior space clutter-free, providing more room for living and relaxing inside the van.


📋 Financing and Insurance Options


When it comes to purchasing the best camper van for your adventures, considering financing and insurance options is crucial. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:


Financing the Purchase

Camper vans can be a significant investment, and many buyers choose to finance their purchase. Before securing a loan, it’s important to evaluate your budget and determine how much you can comfortably afford. Research different financing options, such as bank loans or dealership financing, to find the best interest rates and terms.

To increase your chances of securing favorable financing, consider improving your credit score by paying off outstanding debts and maintaining a positive credit history. Additionally, be prepared to provide documentation such as proof of income and identification during the loan application process.


Insurance Considerations

Once you’ve found the perfect camper van and are ready to hit the road, it’s essential to protect your investment with comprehensive insurance coverage. Insurance for camper vans typically falls into two categories: liability insurance and comprehensive insurance.

Liability insurance covers damages and injuries to other parties in the event of an accident. Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for damages to your camper van, theft, and other incidents.


📝 Making the Purchase


When it’s time to make the purchase and bring your dream camper van home, here are a few important steps to follow:


Negotiating the Price

Before finalizing the purchase, it’s worth negotiating the price with the seller or dealership. Research the market value of similar camper vans to determine a fair price range. Be prepared to discuss any maintenance or repair needs, as well as the vehicle’s overall condition, as these factors can influence the negotiation.

Approach the negotiation process with a polite and reasonable attitude, focusing on reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Keep in mind that sellers may be open to negotiation, especially if the camper van has been on the market for a while.


Documentation and Title Transfer

Once the price has been agreed upon, ensure that all necessary documentation is in order for a smooth and legal transaction. This typically includes the bill of sale, title transfer, and any additional paperwork required by your local jurisdiction.

Double-check that the seller provides clear and valid ownership documents, ensuring that there are no outstanding liens or legal issues associated with the camper van. Consider involving a trusted professional, such as a lawyer or notary, to review the paperwork and ensure everything is in order.



📄 Summary


In conclusion, selecting the best camper van involves considering financing and insurance options, as well as navigating the process of making the purchase. By exploring different financing options and securing appropriate insurance coverage, you can protect your investment and enjoy worry-free travels. 

Additionally, negotiating the price and ensuring proper documentation and title transfer are essential steps to finalize the purchase and embark on your vanlife journey with confidence. Happy travels!


📑 Key Takeaways


  • When choosing the best camper van, consider your budget, size, and desired amenities.
  • Research reputable camper van brands and read user reviews to assess reliability.
  • Evaluate the cost of purchase, maintenance, and insurance before making a decision.
  • Inspect the interior for sleeping arrangements, kitchen facilities, and bathroom amenities.
  • Assess the vehicle’s condition, including engine, body, and service history.


🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions


Choose a camper van with a layout that offers sleeping arrangements and seating for four individuals comfortably.

Maintenance costs vary, but budget for regular servicing, insurance, fuel, and potential repairs, which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars annually.

Yes, renting a camper van allows you to experience van life and determine if it suits your lifestyle and preferences before committing to a purchase.

In most cases, a standard driver’s license is sufficient for driving a camper van. However, it’s essential to check the specific regulations in your jurisdiction.

With proper maintenance and care, camper vans can last for many years. Expect a well-maintained van to have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years or more, depending on usage and upkeep.

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