Mini Camper

If you enjoy RVing or are considering it for the first time, buying a mini camper is one of your options. Easy to drive, cheaper on gas than larger RVs, and with a smaller price tag, it's hard to pass up this Class B RV. You can choose from brand new models made by reputable companies such as Jayco or used campers with history and style, like the VW Westfalia. Before you buy, you should also know exactly what you are getting for your money, as RV jargon is sometimes confusing.

Terminology

A mini camper is not a minivan, cargo van, conversion van, or mini motorhome; rather it is a Class B RV and sometimes, it is a camper van. By definition, a Class B camper is a motorhome that rests on the chassis of a cargo van built by a licensed fitter. To be in this category of vehicles, the camper must have built in dining, washing, and sleeping areas as well as properly mounted holding tanks. The construction of the vehicle?s frame must not start from the floor, as this would constitute a Class C camper.

A camper van is the term used outside of the United States to describe a mini camper but can be used interchangeably if the van meets the Class B requirements. Typically, a camper van is a cargo van that a person converts into a home on wheels as opposed to a manufactured vehicle, as is the case with the Volkswagen campervan.

VW Camper Van
Image Courtesy of: Tony Spencer/Flicker

Volkswagen Camper Van

First created in the 1950?s, the VW camper van immediately became popular. Its size, personality, fuel efficiency, and maneuvering capabilities allowed people to use the van for more than just driving. With plenty of room to stretch out, these vans made road trips more affordable by omitting the need for a hotel, which lead to the idea of camping in the vans, and eventually converting them. Volkswagen became aware of this trend and designed their line of Westfalia camper vans.

The Westfalia

This VW camper van fits into smaller spaces, can make narrower turns, and has off-the-road capabilities, features you don't often find with full size RV's. You can drive the Westfalia up hills, through the desert, or on the beach, allowing you to camp wherever you please without having to worry about being stuck.

Despite these great features, the military style chassis that laid the foundation for this vehicle, and its high demand, it was only in production for six years. This room-for-four, complete with a stove, refrigerator, kitchen and four-wheel drive vehicle sold to 1500 individuals, making it rare and collectible in today's mini camper market.

Jayco Campers

The Volkswagen camper van is great but if you don't want to take on a restoration project or prefer something with a warranty, Jayco campers offer an alternative. Aside from price and features, Jayco differs from Volkswagen in that it makes mini campers, not camper vans. The company has four types of small RV's, each of which allows you to choose from three different floor plans. Cherry wood furnishings, a full kitchen, and accommodations for five adults, are some of the basic features that a Jayco camper offers. Reasonable price tags allow you to include upgrades, such as aluminum rims, an air conditioner, an awning, and a sound system.

Summary

For decades, the mini camper has been a popular choice among RVer's and with today's increasing gas prices, these small homes on wheels continue to be in high demand. Not too big and not to small, these travel trailers provide comfort and convenience whether you're going on a short trip or permanent vacation.