Caravans and camper vans are Recreational Vehicles. However, are you able to differentiate them? This article will guide you on how to differentiate them.

How do you differentiate between a caravan and a camper van? What are their advantages and disadvantages? What are the different types of caravans and campervans? We have all the answers that you need to know.

A caravan is non-motorized. It means a vehicle has to tower it for movement. The camper van is a motorized vehicle that moves automatically. For camping and other outdoor activities, a camper is suitable for the use, while during travel and adventure, a caravan is the better option to consider.

This article will give an in-depth discussion of the differences between a caravan and a camper van. It will also guide you on the different caravans and camper vans and their advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, you will find other tips on what factors to consider when shopping for an RV.

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You will want to go out for adventurous trips or even other outdoor activities like camping at some point in life.  For this reason, you will require to purchase or rent a caravan or camper van based on your activity.  And if you are having a tough time struggling to choose between the latter because you cannot tell their differences, you are in the right place.

Caravans and camper vans belong to a general group known as recreational vehicles (RVs). Renting and purchasing recreational can be challenging, especially when you do not know the different terms related terms used in recreational vehicles.  Different places that sell or rent out recreational vehicles use different definitions or phrases.  But, the good thing is, most of these definitions or phrases are common.

Understanding these terms will help you to quickly identify what you are looking for, whether you are searching through the internet or buying or renting from dealers.  With that in mind, we want to dive deeper and discuss what a caravan and a camper van are and how they differ from each other.

Caravan vs camper van, what is the difference?

A common difference between a caravan and a campervan is mobility; a caravan depends on another vehicle to tower it for movement due to lack of a motor.  A camper van is a vehicle; it automatically moves by itself.  The function of the recreational vehicle also creates a difference where camper vans become the best choice for camping activities.  During travel and other adventures, caravans are a perfect choice.

Caravans have two wheels, while campervans have four wheels.  In terms of space availability, caravans are more spacious than campervans. However, a campervan can carry another camp trailer, where you can put more luggage.

The pros and cons of a caravan

A caravan is spacious where you can fit your entire bulk luggage without facing difficulties.  If you have any kids, they get the freedom to play and have fun while you are driving.  With a caravan, you get to travel with style and comfort because sometimes, when you go for long trips with a regular vehicle, it becomes tiring.  After all, you are fixed in one position the whole time.  You also can take shifts with your co-driver where you can go and take some rest due to the availability of a bed.  You don't have to keep on stopping now and then to visit bathrooms because of the availability of bathrooms in the caravan.  For those who would like to live in a caravan, it is cheaper than buying and renting a house.

However, caravans are still hectic sometimes.  When it comes to reversing it, it may become a challenge, especially for drivers with little experience.  Caravans cannot offer the same space as homes, and therefore if you consider living in them, the  living space will be limited.

Pros and cons of a camper van

A camper van is more convenient than a caravan. This is because it is motorized.  When it comes to driving, camper vans are more accessible to drive than towing a caravan.  For those who are on a budget, a camper van is the better option between the two.  Its small space lets you pack almost everything you need to go camping.

Moreover, if the space is not enough, a camper van can carry another camp trailer, and here, you can add luggage.  They are easy to park in parking lots or other acceptable places.  Camper vans are less expensive than different types of recreation vehicles like motorhomes.

Camper vans offer poor temperature control due to a lack of air conditioning and warmers.  So, it would be best if you carry heavy clothes and blankets, especially during winter, to avoid respiratory defects.  They are also less luxurious than a caravan.  The use of areas such as the bathrooms and kitchen can be more difficult than in the caravan.

The different types of caravans and camper vans

When you consider buying or renting a caravan, you should keep in mind that there are a variety of caravans with a difference in style, shape and size. There are static caravans, touring caravans and motorhomes.

Static caravans

Static caravans are the type of static caravans.  When you decide to purchase a static caravan, you should consider putting it in the right place of choice.  They provide a cheaper way of living compared to houses.

Touring caravans

Touring caravans are caravans that require a vehicle to tower them for movement.  Touring caravans are slightly cheaper than a static caravan.  They have a design that is suitable for well-maintained roads.  They are lighter than the other caravans, making them more economical in terms of fuel expenses and maintenance.


Motorhomes is an improved version of a static caravan.  The difference is that it is more luxurious and moves from one place to another, unlike static caravans that are stationary.  Motorhomes are expensive to buy, but they last the longest.  There are different types of motorhomes classified depending on affordability, size and shape models.  We have class A, class B and class C.

Class A

Class A ranges from medium to large recreational vehicles.  They have a bus shape appearance and range from luxurious to extremely luxurious coaches.

Class B

These are mostly camper vans.  They feature an ideal cabin and a moderate size preferred for driving to places like restaurants and camps to using big RVs.

Class C

Class C represent the most affordable models where a van cab front combines with the shell of the RV.  Brands such as tiffin, Winnebago, coachmen, and forester dominate this class.

Factors to consider when shopping for an RV

There are a lot of factors you need to consider before purchasing an RV.  You have to know the number of people you want to accommodate, budget, living period, the purpose of the RV and the climatic conditions of the place you want to live or go to.


You need to evaluate the number of people accompanying you in your trip. Be sure that you think about comfort. Most of the campervans can accommodate two people while a caravan can accommodate 4-6 people.

The purpose

What is the purpose of the RV?  Does it suit your needs?  These are the questions you need to ask yourself. This will enable you to avoid buying an RV that you will not need.


Budgeting will guide you to make the following decisions; whether to buy or rent an RV or whether to buy a new or used RV.  Initially, Purchasing a new RV will require a large budget, but in the end, the cost of maintenance will be low.  When you decide to buy a used RV, it is advisable to carefully inspect and predict some of the maintenance issues that are likely to occur in order to balance your budget.

Long term or short term living

The difference between a camper van and a caravan is mainly based on whether you will live in it for a long or a short period.  The biggest challenge of long term living is learning to use the limited space.  You will require a space to put your clothes and blankets, food and other equipment that you need.  Additionally, if you have kids or pets, they will also need their space to dwell in. for those who want to live for a short period, it is crucial to understand whether you wish to purchase or rent an RV.

Climatic conditions of the place

The climatic conditions of a place is an essential factor to consider for knowing what type of RV to buy or rent.  When there is bad weather, like strong winds and heavy rains, camper vans and motorhomes are the best options.  Additionally, you will need to carry heavy clothes and blankets to be on the safer side.


Anthony Day

Anthony Day

Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.

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