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RV Review: Some of my favorite Class B camper vans

Last week we looked at a Class B RV that, well, wasn’t my favorite. A few of you wrote asking me if there is a Class B camper van that I might really like. Actually, there are a few of them out there, so I thought we could revisit some of my favorite camper vans and why I like them. 

This list is in no particular order as I believe that there are some prospective camper van owners who might appreciate some features over others. But all of these vans do a good job of what they do. 

While we’ve been reading elsewhere in these pages about how RV sales are starting to get back to pre-pandemic levels and dealership groups are wringing their hands and working on strategies to be more than order takers, Class B RVs remain popular. Some have said that there was pent-up demand, but manufacturers had a difficult time supplying the vans on which these campers are based, so there are hold-overs from that. 

Whatever the case, here are some Class B camper vans you might want to check out. 

Winnebago

The Flying W has really embraced this market with open arms. There are a number of models they make that I really like. 

Winnebago Revel 44e – $210,292

Might as well start near the top with a Class B that offers impressive off-grid technology and off-road driving pieces to take that far into the woods. The Revel has 250 watts of solar feeding 250 amp-hours of LiFePO batteries. There’s a 2,000-watt Xantrex converter that will run the air conditioning system.

All over the inside of this van are RAM® track rails. This is a standard mounting system where you can get all sorts of devices to slot into these rails – things like tablet holders, rings to hold tie-downs, and just about anything else you can imagine. An example of where this is useful is over the dining table, where you can slot in a tablet holder and look at your tablet while sitting at the dinette. 

Winnebago Solis Pocket – $140,374

Okay, so you don’t want to spend your whole inheritance on a van. Perhaps something like the Winnebago Solis Pocket is for you. Like so many of these, it works well as a daily driver or a camper. 

Winnebago has also made the Solis Pocket a very flexible floor plan. But they get super bonus points for how they did it. 

For example, on the road side is a sitting contraption that can be a 25” X 61” bed, a sofa with a table, a day bed with a table or a settee/love seat. Behind this in cabinets on the wall are spaces for your laptop or other things. 

Another nifty thing is the kitchen, which is accessible by standing both inside and outside of this coach. That galley consists of a two-burner propane stove, a sink and a small 12-volt refrigerator that you can open from inside or out. 

The wheelchair-friendly Winnebago Roam.

Winnebago Roam

I had mentioned accessibility to the kitchen of the Winnebago Solis Pocket, but the Winnebago Roam is a Class B RV that is designed specifically to accommodate travelers who have mobility challenges. Made to be compatible with wheel chairs, this is a unique entry into this market that is well done by Winnebago. 

In fact, Winnebago has several motorized RVs designed to accommodate wheel chairs. Kudos to them for literally being the only mainstream RV builder that I know of who provides this type of consideration. 

Pleasure-Way RECON – $171,600

One of the constant problems of camping in a van is water storage. Vans are notoriously devoid of water storage, but Pleasure-Way has solved this problem in the RECON. It makes the entire rear floor of the van into water storage such that they have 40 gallons of fresh water aboard. 

On the opposite end of the use of water, instead of a permanent gray water tank, they provide two five-gallon Jerry cans inside the van. You simply hook one of them up when you’ve reached your destination and you’re set. 

The back of the van features two bed platforms that fold up against the walls. When you’re not lying down on them, the bottoms incorporate some of the many, many racks that can hold adventure gear. 

By having the beds fold up against the side, you now can bring along bikes or surf boards or skis or whatever adventure gear will fit. There will be a way to tie that down. And the 1,650-pound cargo carrying capacity of this van is probably more than you’ll need to bring it along. 

Even the bathroom is a multi-function gear locker. 

Grech Strada – $229,980

When the pandemic took the demand for limousines and luxury tour buses and threw that out the window, Grech, a company that makes those things, had to quickly pivot. Their solution was to get back into a business they had been in before – motorhomes. 

The Grech Strada is one of the pricier models in this series. But the company has done so many things differently that they justify the lofty number that they’re tossing about for some buyers. 

The holding tanks are held in place with stainless steel straps. The company has covered all the connections on the outside so the van doesn’t look like the kit you and your cousins put together over a series of weekends.

They also upgraded the suspension with a commercial-grade air suspension that’s so good it’s backed by the Mercedes-Benz warranty.  

Embassy RV Traveler – $142,500

I had written that this list was made in no particular order, but I will say that one of my favorites in this category is the Embassy RV Traveler. Why? 

The company started their van builds after seeing what was behind the walls in a van that had been in an accident. As such, they noticed a lot of dampness even though there hadn’t been a leak. 

So they use a very different bubble-style insulation that’s glued to the interior walls. The flooring, too, is unique. It is a one-and-one-half inch thick proprietary subfloor that’s bonded to the metal flooring in the van. Further, cabinets, walls and every other surface is made from materials that are unique to this build. 

Many of the materials that go into their builds are made by the company itself. 

Another thing that’s really unusual about Embassy is that they’ll build whatever van you want. Like the Promaster? No worries. Prefer a Ford? Done. If the Sprinter’s your thing, then they’ll do that too. 

There’s one more thing I absolutely need to mention and that’s the available back porch function of the coach. Embassy has created a very unique back porch tent option for their RVs that literally expands the interior significantly and creates a closed-in back porch. Essentially, this comes from opening the dual rear doors, dropping down a platform and then erecting a specially built tent. It’s not much work, but it drastically expands the RV’s living space. In fact, it essentially can turn it into a two-bedroom unit—or just a nice back porch to hang out on.

Airstream Rangeline – $131,882

Airstream makes a series of Class B RVs that I’ve looked at in the past, but I’ve never been a big fan. I guess that stems from my way of thinking where I favor things being simpler. 

The Rangeline is an offering from Airstream that, I feel, absolutely hits their target squarely. 

I was fortunate enough to meet with several Airstream executives including the company president to go over this new model. 

What was clear in the discussion is that they have listened carefully to the market but also looked at designs available in Europe through Hymer. I might also wonder if they’ve been reading these reviews, as well, as so many things I find fault with in many Class B designs were addressed here.

I like how polished the exterior looks with panels that cover the connections, making the van look as completed as it did when rolling off Ram’s assembly line. 

There is no propane aboard this build, with water and space heat being provided by the gasoline on board using a Timberline system. Great idea. 

I like these quite a bit for a lot of reasons. 

In summary

In thinking about this article and going back and looking at some of these vans again, one of the things that caught me was how much prices have increased on most of them in the short time span between when I originally wrote the articles and now. 

We’ve looked at the financial picture before and some of these vans sell for more than some houses on the market. Wow. 

The nifty thing about these is that there are enough different features and floor plans that you can find something to like that matches the way you want to travel. There are even van companies that can work with you to outfit your own van, if that’s something that appeals to you. 

Do you have a favorite? I know I missed a few. You can find all the vans I’ve looked at here. Perhaps, if van life is for you, there’s something you’ll love. 

*****

More from Tony

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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RockCypher
2 months ago

I’m surprised you didn’t list the Jayco Terrain / Entegra Launch. Licensed from the same design as Winnebago uses, with many upgrades, namely a battery that’s equivalent to a Tesla Powerwall in capacity, and a higher end Mercedes chassis.

Tony Barthel
1 month ago
Reply to  RockCypher

Honestly I avoid the Mercedes platform whenever I can for the simple reason that finding service across this great land is not as easy as it is with the Ford or Ram product. Plus the forced complication of diesel engines by government emissions regulation is another strike against them to me.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

You are correct in your opinion. 4 years ago we were spending the winter in Rockport, TX at a resort, the couple next to us were in their Winnebago class C on a MB chassis. They got a recall notice on the MH from MB, said it was nothing major. They drove the 31 miles to Corpus Cristi to the MB dealer and was told they would have to take if to Houston as they weren’t authorized to work on it. Scheduling an appointment in Houston 3 days later they drove to Houston, spent the night as thy had a 8:30 appointment, got into the dealership, and 30 minutes later got the unit back, everything was fine. When asked the service writer said they just had to check a fuse to insure it was installed correctly. They drove over 300 miles including their trip to Corpus Cristi and back for something that any apprentice mechanic in C C could’ve looked at and said yep it’s in there. Their vehicles are over engineered, and over built for me, I believe in the old adage KISS keep it simple stupid.

Bob M
2 months ago

While these Class B vans are nice. Their prices are exorbitant. For less than a $100,000. you can buy a nice 4wd pickup truck and a travel trailer.

Tony Barthel
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob M

…or a pickup camper. But, yeah, you’re absolutely right.

KellyR
2 months ago

We go to the Tampa RV Show every year. The new “Bs” are very crowded and have nothing over our “original” Roadtrek 2014 Ranger, on the Chevy chassis, who’s list price was $80,000, more than we thot we could afford. It is still brand new inside and out. I don’t understand how the new ones have the same stuff, but less space. ? (By the way Chuck, just yesterday we paid off our 20 year loan in 8 years.)

Admin
RV Staff
2 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

(Pretend I’m Chuck.) Congratulations, Kelly! Way to go! (And then Chuck would say: … ) That’s great that it worked for you, and that’s one way to do it. But the majority of the buyers probably wouldn’t be able to pay it off that quickly and they’d be upside down on their loan for many years, unfortunately. They would probably still owe on it when it’s not even being used much anymore. And if they try to sell it at some point, they won’t get nearly as much out of it as they put into it, and will still have to pay off the original loan. (There… Didn’t that sound like Chuck? 😆 ) But really, that’s terrific, Kelly. Now go on a trip to celebrate! 😀 –Diane

KellyR
2 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Did the same thing with both of our houses. 30 year loans paid off in under 15 years. Lower monthly payments that I can afford even if things should go south with my job. Double or triple pay when you have the money and then have the lower payment cushion when life takes it turns. If you don’t think that life will take turns, you are not looking far enough down the road to the next turn. Its just like driving your RV – look out for that next turn.. But Chuck is right if you are REALLY? planning on paying for 20 YEARS? !! I have to thank my 5th grade math teacher for helping me to realize THAT.

Admin
RV Staff
2 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

Very savvy buyer, Kelly. Yep, a 20-year loan on an RV is nuts, unless someone is able to pay it off in a few years, like you did. Good advice, and good job! Have a great rest-of-the-day. 😀 –Diane

Tony Barthel
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Glad to read that you paid off the van. While RVs can last for decades with care and maintenance (sounds like you’re taking care of yours) they can also be ready for retirement after just a few seasons of abuse.

The lengthy loans in the RV world are crazy, to me. At the dealership I worked at there was an 82-year-old customer who got a 15 year loan on a travel trailer. Oh, did I mention he had cancer and was using the trailer when he was going in for treatment?

Remember, too, that the Chevy vans were wider than some of the vans available to retrofitters today plus that gasser V8 in your van is a great engine. You chose well then and the decision continues to serve you well today! Now, as fake Chuck wrote, go camping to celebrate! 😍

Admin
RV Staff
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Who you calling “fake Chuck”, Tony?! Oh, that would be me! Yep, I guess that might be part of my job description…impersonating Chuck. 😆 Hi, Kelly! Both of you have a great day! 😀 “Fake Chuck” aka Diane aka Mountain Mama

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

I realize that Class Bs are not for everyone. An old style van is something that I am familiar with and almost anyone can work on them. When on the road I want reliability and something I can work on – however my prior vans did not have all the electronic stuff. The RV part of the van is something I can work on and I can get along without as long as the vehicle part gets me there. I enjoy every one of your reviews, Class B or whatever. I do not like to see complaints about the reviewers, however, I have to say this: it was signed “pretend Chuck”, not “fake Chuck”. Diane just may “pretend” to be a lot of things, as far as I know, but I don’t get the feeling that there is anything “fake” about her. (all kinds of laughing, smiling emojis) Tony keep on RVin’ and Reviewin’. .

Admin
RV Staff
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Thanks, Kelly. Tony’s just a big goofball (but a very knowledgeable one, for sure!). And yeah, not anything fake about me. I’m the real deal (whatever that is). And it’s not often (very seldom, in fact) that I pretend to be something, or someone, that I’m not. Have my hands full just being me. 😆 Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

captain gort
2 months ago

As a comparison, I recently bought a brand new “compact” travel trailer about 19′ long from one of these cited manufacturers. It was 7′ wide (a bit wider than these Class B vans). No slide. It was nicely made, had every possible amenity…even a stall shower and dry bathroom…which you will NOT find in ANY of these vans! And it cost just $18k new in 2018…and with today’s horrific inflation, now lists for in the high $30s now. Well- we spent ONE weekend in it in on the California coast. It was raining and freezing cold so we had to stay inside. It was THEN that we realized that our fine little rig had everything except LIVING space. After a couple days inside that thing, we felt like we were canned tuna! So, we traded it in for a 21′ x 8′ trailer with a small slide and THAT solved EVERYTHING. The slightly larger rig cost $21k new in 2019. We have now towed it all over the USA. Of course, a travel trailer isn’t “hip” like these Class B vans among the target marketplace, eh?

captain gort
2 months ago

Utterly asinine pricing. I feel sorry for the fools who buy into this FAD and get hosed. These vans will drop like STONES in value when the herd moves on to their next fancy. Imagine being trapped inside of one of these cramped, skinny “clothes closets” during a protacted storm of several days. This is a textbook case of “the madness of crowds”. Don’t worry, the Gub’ment will probably bail them all out when the tide turns…as is usual these days.

Walt
2 months ago

Yup! that was going to be our next and probably our last R.V. We have owned 5 in the past 25 years or so, each one a little larger than the previous. But wait! So we will be downsizing to the smallest unit we have ever traveled with? And? We are going to pay nearly double what our current home on wheels cost? With a fraction of the amenities. Sorry that I am so logical, but that makes NO sense to me.

Bob p
2 months ago

Vans look good but they compromise to many thing due to space in order to make a fully equipped RV. We had an elderly couple in our Good Sam chapter who had converted their Ford Econoline into a functional camper. They used campground restrooms and showers, but were very comfortable sleeping and cooking in their van. I think commercial van manufacturers try to make a miniature Class A out of a van, there is everything in a Class B except living space. The old Dodge Maxivan would make a good Class B. That extra 18” would really be handy. Lol

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