2021 Entegra Ethos

The Ethos is Entegra’s entry into the Class B market.  Previously they were focused on the Class A and C market. 

First, a brief history.  The origins of Entegra Coach can be traced to a company called Travel Supreme, which started in Wakarusa, Indiana in 1989. They were a manufacturer of luxury fifth-wheel trailers and Class A diesel pushers. From all reports they had a stellar reputation.  In 2008 the company was bought by Jayco and was rebranded as Entegra.  Initially, Jayco stated that operations would remain in the 160,000 square-foot facility in Wakarusa, but that promise was short-lived. A few months later Jayco laid off the workers, shuttered the plant, and moved operations to Jayco’s company headquarters. Jayco itself was bought by Thor in 2016 (Thor also owns Aistream,  Hymer, and Keystone).

The Entegra Ethos is a clone of the pre-2022 Winnebago Travato 59k and I will use the Travato as a comparison throughout this article. As a disclaimer, I own a 2021 Travato 59k. I will try to be as objective as possible but keep in mind that I likely have an implicit bias. 

Entegra Coach bills itself as a luxury builder, but the Ethos is a mixed bag. There are certainly pros to it but in my opinion it doesn’t compare favorably to the Travato. On to the details.



The Entegra Ethos is built on the Ram Promaster 3500 Window Van chassis which includes


  • front wheel drive
  • 280HP 3.6L V6 gas engine
  • 258 lbs. feet of torque
  • 6 speed automatic transmission 62TE
  • 24 gallon fuel tank
  • exterior length: 21’11” 
  • exterior height: 9’3″

To this chassis, Entegra adds Hellwig helper springs and an over-sized rear stabilizer bar. The Hellwig helper springs add another leaf spring underneath the existing leaf springs. The goal of these springs is not to increase carrying capacity–the Ethos and the Travato have exactly the same weight ratings.  Rather, the goal is to improve stability and handling. This contrasts with the WInnebago Travato which uses Sumo Springs to improve handling. As far as I can tell, one is not significantly better than the other. 

The Promaster is fairly popular a chassis for Class B vans. While Mercedes has recently introduced a gasoline engine as an option for their Sprinter vans, all Class B manufacturers that use a Sprinter are using the diesel version. If you have a strong preference for diesel or gasoline powered, it will help you eliminate a vast swath of Class B models. The Promaster is the most popular gasoline powered van chassis. It is used in Winnebago’s Travato and Solis lines,Thor’s Sequence and Tellaro, and Roadtrek’s Chase, Play, and Zion.



The Ethos is a rear bath, twin bed configuration. It is nearly identical to the pre-2022 Winnebago Travato 59k. The 2022 Travato has had some significant design changes. Here is the comparison and note the similarity between the Ethos and the older Travato.

For the last several years Thor, Entegra’s parent company have been putting out clones of the Travato 59k and as you can see from the image above, the Ethos has a near identical layout to the Travato. One would hope that they took that proven design and improved upon it. Let’s see if that is the case.


The galley

I apologize for not taking the items out of the sink. Fortunately the sink seems identical to that in the Travato and I can show you pictures of that (2021 Travato 59k pictures):

That should give you a good idea of the size of the sink. It’s adequate but not huge. As you can see the kit consists of a plastic basin, a dish drying rack that hooks to the glass cover of the sink, a plastic drain board, and a cutting board. In practice I carry the basin in my van since we wash dishes frequently outdoors. All the other items we leave behind in our garage. That is just one data point and you might find these items extremely useful.

The cooktop is an attractive Dometic 2-burner LP. 

Below the sink is a 3.1 cubic foot  AC/DC Norcold refrigerator. In contrast, the refrigerator in the Travato 59k is 4.3 cubic feet. The Travato’s refrigerator is nearly 40% larger—that is significant!


Also like the Travato, the Ethos features a convection microwave (in fact, the identical one):

In this image you also see the list price of $124,050 and the dealer price of just under $90,000. This is in the ballpark of a Travato. The list price of my 2021 Travato was a bit more than that, and I paid a bit less than the discounted price of the Ethos.  

As you can see there are two drawers under the microwave. Again, that is a match with the Travato.

One feature not present in the  2021Travato  (but present in a different location in the 2022) is this handy popup power tower with both 110 and USB outlets.

The Bathroom

The rear bathroom, as you may be predicting by now is nearly identical to that of the Travato 59K. As common in Class B vans, it is a wet bath meaning that the shower shares the space with the toilet and sink. 

To the left of the faucets is the dropdown sink. 

The bathroom doors are solid construction. This differs from the Travato 59k which has an aluminum slated doors which are prone to rattles.  The bathroom also features a large cabinet and drawers:

You can see the bamboo shower mat. Also in the image, when you open the rear doors you have access to a regular, household style 110 AC outlet, a switch for the water pump, a switch for the rear light, and a quick connect for a cold water hose. 

And now for the comparison with the 2021 Travato 59k. The picture above is the Ethos, the picture below is of the Travato.

You’ll notice the same 110 outlet, a 12V outlet, a switch for the rear light, a switch for the water pump, and a quick connect for the hose (the coiled blue hose is the hose for the quick connect). My mess of electrical cords is also visible. (It is also where I store my water hoses.) You’ll see that the Ethos and Travato share the Bamboo floor mat. 

Here are a few more Travato pictures. The first shows the aluminum slated door I mentioned.

We rarely use this sink since the one in the galley is just steps away, but some might find it handy.


The beds

The driver’s side bed on the Ethos is 74×30 and the passenger bed is 80 x 30. These are  nearly the same as those on the 2021 Travato  (75×30 driver’s and 80×30 passenger) up until this year. For some reason the 2022 Travato beds are now narrower at 28″. 

In contrast to the vinyl covering of the Ethos beds, the Travato has cloth:

Other than the covering, the beds of the Ethos and Travato are identical. Both have the Froli Sleep System (a set of plastic springs under the mattress):

The heads of the beds raise to a lounge position as shown in the Ethos pictures above. Both the Ethos and Travato beds convert to a larger bed by placing filler cushions between the twin beds. In the Ethos picture above you can see two long cushions on top of the bed. These are connected by a vinyl hinge. This probably says more about us then the van, but my wife and I could not figure out their function. Underneath the passenger bed (of course like the Travato) there is a large storage area accessible from above:

Interior Decor and Storage

Both the Ethos and Travato feature Tecnoform cabinetry made in Italy. There is only one decor option in the Ethos which includes high-gloss two tone cabinetry. 

The Travato comes in 2 options, a high gloss one shown a few images above, and a more satin finish as shown here:

The available storage is similar to that of the Travato. This includes the overhead bins which are shown in many of the pictures above.


Two drawers under the microwave. This is shown above.There is enough room in these for miscellaneous kitchen supplies (silverware, cooking utensils, camp mugs).

The bathroom closet and drawers. To make the cabinet more useful, many people add a drawer unit, such as the Container Store’s Elfa drawer unit or a less expensive alternative, or shelving.  Although not very high, the drawers in the bathroom are useful.

In the following picture you can see a single drawer at floor level, and what is often called ‘the pizza oven’, a storage space over the driver and passenger seats.

The storage bin under the passenger bed. This is fairly large and could hold a few collapsible camp chairs, a folding camp table, a Coleman store, and other outdoor items. 

I’d say all this storage is about average for a Class B van. Obviously, everyone’s storage needs are different so it is impossible to say whether this is adequate for you. If you have expensive bikes that you need to store in the van, this van isn’t for you. 


Heating and Cooling

Heating is handled by the Truma Combi, that provides heat and hot water. The unit can be powered by the onboard propane or by electric. Truma is a quality brand, and the great thing about the Truma Combi is that it is very quiet. And by now you won’t be surprised to know that the Travato also has the Combi.

The Ethos also has a 13,500 BTU air conditioner. 


The Ethos comes with 2 Group 31 AGM batteries. It also comes with a 1,000 watt inverter. The van includes a 2800 watt gas Onan generator. 

With this setup, which is fairly standard, if you want to run the air conditioner you either need to be plugged into shore power or run the somewhat noisy generator.  Being plugged into shore power means that you will need to stay at established campgrounds that offer electrical hookups. If you don’t need to run the air conditioner this system should be adequate to camp and boondock anywhere.


The Ethos has a 27 gallon fresh water tank, a 15 gallon gray tank, and a 13 gallon black tank.



One totally odd thing about the Ethos is that there is no fresh water tank fill on the outside of the van. The only way to fill the fresh water tank is to use an inlet that is under the mattress of the passenger side bed.  In the following picture you can see the city water connection. When you connect a hose from a water spigot to this inlet, the water bypasses the water tank and provides water directly to the faucets and toilet. Normally, the tank fill would be right next to the city water connection. To the right of the city water connection is the vent for the Truma furnace / water heater.

In the following picture you can see a row of connectors including from left to right, the cable tv hookup (some commercial rv parks offer this), and the input outlet to plug in show power. Next is the black tank flush. For this you hook up a hose (not the hose you use for fresh water) and it enables you to rinse out the black tank. Next are an external 110 outlet and a port to add additional solar panels. Near the tire you see the exhaust for the generator and the pipe to empty your gray and black tanks.

Underneath the van, the yellow cap protects the LP fill and next to it the LP shut off valve. The van includes a 6 gallon non-removable LP tank. Next to that are three chrome valve handles. These enable you to winterize your van. When you are using your van in freezing temperatures, you don’t want water in your pipes, tanks, and other components to freeze. When you winterize your van, you remove all the water from it. To the right of the valves is the standard exhaust pipe for the van’s engine and to the right of that, is the storage for the sewer hose.


The good thing about the windows is that they are quite large. The view from the inside looking out is expansive. Unfortunately, there are two potentially negative things about them. One is that the part of the window that actually opens is quite small. Here is a view from the side and (sorry for the bad image) a view from the outside.

The entire windows create a nice slick look but only the small squares are the part that opens. Contrast that with the acrylic windows on a van like the Travato.


Vans are metal boxes sitting in the sun and they get hot. I would worry that the Ethos windows would provide adequate ventilation. As you can see from the Travato acrylic window picture above, these are awning style and allow you to open the windows for ventilation even if it is raining. A third plus of acrylics is that they are double paned and provide more insulation and soundproofing than traditional glass.

Winnebago Solis 59PX

All the images in this post are courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted.

In July 2020, Winnebago announced the new 2021 Solis 59PX, to complement the Solis 59P introduced last year. This new Solis, starting at $121,000 is a great affordable van. (The $121,000 is the MSRP and a good deal on a Winnebago van would be 30-35% off MSRP.) The 59P starts at $102,000. So what do you get for the added $19,000 and why do I call it a great affordable van? Read on.


As with the 59P, the new 59PX is built on a Ram Promaster chassis, which features:

  • front wheel drive
  • 280HP 3.6L V6 gas engine
  • 258 lbs. feet of torque
  • 6 speed automatic transmission 62TE
  • 24 gallon fuel tank

The 59PX is built on the longer 21 foot Promaster chassis, which makes it about 18 inches longer than the 59P. The only other chassis differences between the Solis 59PX and the 59P are:

  • the 59PX features power mirrors with defrost and turn signal. The 59P comes with manual mirrors.
  • the Solis 59PX has aluminum wheels.
  • the 59PX has a chrome front grill and fog lamps.


Here is a side-by-side layout of the 59P (top) and 59PX. As you can see, the main difference between the two, is an 18 inch deep garage to the rear of the bed. While this is the only configuration of the 59PX, the 59P also has a rear lounge configuration.

That new rear gear garage is a big deal and enables you to store two bikes and associated gear, or any other gear for your outdoor adventures.

And from a different angle

On the left side of the picture above, you can see three sections of l-track (aka aircraft track): where the helmets are attached, where the blue bike’s front fork is attached, and on the bottom where the wall meets the floor. L-track is a general purpose system for securing gear and in this picture they are using rings with carabiners, and bike fork mounts.

In addition to the garage, this van has an incredible amount of storage for its size. There are storage bins and cubbies everywhere. The murphy bed area features a large but shallow under the floor storage space and storage along both sides of the walkway including a drawer. 

The two pictures above are of a 59P but the storage is the same in the 59PX. You can see that if you keep the bed permanently down, which many do, you have even more storage under the bed. In addition to a number of overhead bins, there is another handy drawer in the galley as well as a good sized under-the-sink cabinet.

The galley

Moving on to the galley you can see a reasonably sized sink with a tall faucet. There is a 2-burner propane cooktop with a glass cover. On the lower left of the picture above you can see the small 12-volt compressor refrigerator. (If you are looking for a van with a large refrigerator, this isn’t it.) While small, the refrigerator’s placement allows you to access it from either inside or outside the van. There is no microwave. What you gain from its absence is extra storage. . The entire galley is small but functional.

The bathroom

The very compact bathroom is on the driver’s side of the van. It is a wet bath meaning the shower encompasses the entire bathroom space. Effectively, the toilet is in the shower stall. This is typical in Class B camper vans. 

There is a cassette toilet with a swivel head. People are pretty polarized when it comes to cassette toilets so this might be a deal breaker for you or a distinct plus. If you are unfamiliar with cassette toilets please see the entry in our glossary.https://classbvan.com/camper-van-glossary/

As with the Winnebago Revel, the bath doubles as a place to hang wet gear.

The dining / lounge

Both the driver’s and passenger’s seats swivel to face inside the rig.

Which makes part of a compact yet functional front lounge.

The lounge area features a removable, small, pedestal table. I am guessing here but it looks to be roughly a 30×18 inch oval. It would be small for a two person dining table and small if you need a lot of workspace. It is fine if you just need laptop space. The lounge also features 2 front facing seats with three-point seat belts. As you can see in the picture, those two seats would be a cozy fit for two adults, but it is nice to have that option.

The murphy bed

The murphy bed is a good size for a Class B camper van measuring 59×77 inches. Compare that to a Winnebago Travato 59g that measures only 46×77 or the Thor Sequence 20A which is 66×74. The bed features a slatted frame.

The pop-top loft

You probably noticed on the first picture that the van features a pop-top. The pop-top does not raise the interior height of the van. Rather it functions as a loft with a 52×79 inch bed. You get to the loft by use of a removable ladder in the lounge.


Heating and Cooling

When the 59P was introduced last year, many noted the lack of an air conditioner. In a short van with a pop-top it was near physically impossible to include one. With the longer chassis, the Solis 59PX features the new quiet Coleman-Mach 10 NDQ air conditioner. I can attest to how quiet this air conditioner is. You can talk at normal volume and be heard by your travel mate, particularly if you are sitting in the front lounge. Having this air conditioner in the van is fantastic!

Heating is handled by the Truma Combi, an LP, electric system that provides heat and hot water. Truma is a quality brand. 


There are several cool, innovative features about the plumbing in this van. For example, when winterizing other Class B vans you generally need to remove a panel or two to reach various valves which might be less than easy to reach. In contrast, the Solis 59PX features a ‘water center control panel’ which consolodates the water valves making winterizing infinitely easier.

You don’t need to scrounge up your manual as the valve settings for winterization are diagrammed on the unit itself.  The control panel also contains the connection for the fresh water tank fill, the hookup for an outdoor shower (another is behind the passenger seat) and a water pump switch. Part of its functionality is shown in this Winnebago video.

On many class B camper vans the meter that measures your fresh water is shown in increments of a third. You’ll have an indication when you are full, two-thirds full, one-third full, and empty. The Solis features an old school manometer (a back-lit glass tube in the galley) that artistically and accurately measures the current amount of fresh water in your system.

When using hot water in your house, whether to take a shower, wash your hands, or wash the dishes., you turn on the hot water and watch cold water go down the drain as you wait for the water to get hot. In the process you waste water.  This is particularly frustrating in a van when you only have 21 gallons of fresh water–you are wasting a precious resource. While you are waiting you are sending perfectly good fresh water into the gray tank. The Solis features an innovative feature that allows you to purge the cold water back into your fresh water tank. When you turn on the hot water faucet you get hot water. 

As I mentioned it has a 21 gallon fresh water tank. The capacity of the gray water tank is 20 gallons and the cassette toilet holds 5.


The Solis has 2 AGM batteries for a total of 220 amp hours. It has 220 watts of solar  panels. There is no lithium option. It features the Cummins Onan® QG 2,800-watt gas generator. It is quieter than a traditional RV generator producing 70 decibels at 10 feet at half load. It is significantly quieter than the previous generation Cummins generator I have on my van. The Solis has a traditional 30 amp hookup to an external source.

There is a plethora of 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC outlets throughout the van.

Other details

Okay, this may come as a shock to some, but the Solis does not have an awning. For the cons of van awnings see the humorous FitRV’s An Offbeat Look at Why I Don’t Like RV Awnings

Because of the pop-top there is no powered roof vent.

The windows are traditional sliding glass windows and not the dual-pane acrylic that some prefer.The Winnebago Solis also eschews traditional RV window blinds and screens and instead opts for a fabric solution also found in the Airstream Basecamp among others.


As the first picture in this post shows, the exterior is very clean and contains the features you would expect.


I like this van. The price is great and it contains a number of innovative features. It has an impressive amount of storage space, a comfortable size bed, and a functional lounge, galley, and bathroom. If I were in the market for a van this would be on my short list. 

Video walk throughs

The original Solis 59p

Most of the features described in the video are true of the 59PX.

FitRV's walk through of the Solis 59PX

Camper van glossary

Glossary text

3-Way Refrigerator

Refers to a refrigerator that can run off of LP gas, 12V battery power, and shore power. Also called an absorption refrigerator. While being able to run off of LP gas is a plus, it is not as efficient as an electric compressor refrigerator. Moreover, the van must be level in order for a 3-way refrigerator to run correctly and safely.

AGM Battery

Absorbed Glass Mat battery, so named because there are fiberglass mats between the plates of the battery. They are spill proof, tolerant of vibration, and they do not give off any hydrogen gas. They were developed in the 1980s for military aircraft and are perhaps the most common battery for Class B camper vans. The main disadvantage is that they can only be discharged to 50% meaning a 100 amp hour battery only has 50 amp hours of usable power.

Black Tank

The black tank is primarily the sewage reservoir for the toilet. It may also contain the waste water from sinks or showers.


Bureau of Land Management. It manages over 12% of the land in the United States including over 200 wilderness areas. Many boondocking sites are on BLM land.


The term is used for free camping. Under most uses it is synonymous with dry camping meaning camping outside of an established campground without any electric, water, sewage hookups and without any amenities like toilets, showers, or a camp store. In its prototypical use it means camping isolated from others in a forest or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Some have expanded the use to include any camping without hookups such as at a Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or Harvest Host site. 

Cassette Toilet

In most RVs, the toilet is positioned over a large permanent holding tank (called a black tank) of ten gallons or more, which is under the floor of the RV. When the time comes to empty the tank, you drive the RV to a dump station where the contents are emptied using a sewer hose. In a cassette toilet, the toilet includes a small removable holding tank (the cassette). When the time comes to empty the tank, you remove it (typically accessed from a small door on the outside of the van). You then carry the tank to a public toilet or to a dump station where you can empty it. That is the advantage the cassette toilet has over the more traditional toilet: you can empty it anywhere. The disadvantage is that you have to empty it more frequently since it only holds five gallons. Another disadvantage is that it is heavy to lug around, although many cassettes have wheels and telescoping handles. As opposed to a portable toilet, the cassette toilet is permanently installed in the van. The cassette toilet includes a small fresh water holding tank which is used for flushing.

Chassis Battery

The battery that is similar in function to your car battery is called the chassis battery. This battery powers the drive train, the instrument panel, the dash radio. Basically anything involved in driving the van. See also house battery.

City Water Connector/Inlet (aka city fill)

The city water connector on your van allows you to connect your van to an outdoor water faucet using a drinking water safe hose with standard garden hose type connectors. This connection bypasses your fresh water holding tank and the water pump in your van. In your everyday experience, when you turn on an outdoor faucet, water gushes out of it, and we say the water is pressurized. The city water connector transmits water under pressure to your van so when you turn on a faucet in your van water gushes out of it without needing your water pump. It is highly recommended you use a pressure regulator for this connection to prevent damage to your van’s water system. Some van travelers never use this connection, opting to use the tank fill.

The city water connector on your van allows you to connect your van to an outdoor water faucet using a drinking water safe hose with standard garden hose type connectors. When you turn on an outdoor faucet, water gushes out of it, and we say the water is pressurized. The city water connector bypasses the 

Driveway Surfing

A concept similar to couchsurfing but instead of staying on someone’s couch, you park your van in someone’s driveway (or somewhere on their property). Typically the driveway’s owner is a relative, friends, or fellow traveler. No money changes hands. This is also known as moochdocking.

Dry Bath

A dry bath is similar to what you have at home. The shower is in its own space in the bathroom. The toilet is not in the shower stall. This contrasts with a wet bath is where the shower encompasses the entire bathroom space. When you shower in a wet bath you will get the toilet and possibly a sink  wet. A wet bath is designed for this and is not a big deal. Most Class B camper vans have a wet bath.

Dry Weight

The dry weight is the weight of the van from the class B manufacturer not including any liquids (gas, water, etc). For example, a  ProMaster 3500 commercial van weighs 5,070 pounds and the manufacturer may add 2,260 pounds (interior cabinetry, refrigerator, heating, coolling, etc). So in this case the dry weight is 5,070 + 2,260 or 7,330 pounds. (see GVRW)

Dump Station

A place for dumping your black and gray tanks. Dump Stations are most often found in campgrounds. However, some rest areas, truck stops, and municipalities have dump stations as well.

Full Hookups

At a campsite, the ability to hook up your fresh water and sewer lines and your electric power cord.


Gross Axle Weight Rating. These will be specified for both the front and rear axle. This is the amount of weight that axle can safely carry. (see GVRW)


Gross Combined Weight Rating. This is the combined weight of GVRW (everything including the van itself, passengers, food, water, gear) and the weight of what can be towed.

Gray Tank

The gray tank is the waste water holding tank for one or more sinks and possibly the shower. It does not contain sewage.


Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the weight (typically in pounds). This represents the maximum weight of everything. The van itself, the passengers, dogs, food, water. Everything except what you are towing. The dry weight is the weight of the van from the class B manufacturer not including any liquids (gas, water, etc). For example, a  ProMaster 3500 commercial van weighs 5,070 pounds and the manufacturer may add 2,260 pounds (interior cabinetry, refrigerator, heating, coolling, etc). So in this case the dry weight is 5,070 + 2,260 or 7,330 pounds. The GVRW minus the dry weight is how much you can carry in your van. So, if the GVRW is 9,350 and the dry weight is 7,330, that means you can carry 2,260 pounds, which includes water, passengers, and any gear you carry. If you are carrying 20 gallons of water in your tank (160 pounds), a full tank of gas (144 pounds) and you and your passenger weigh 150 pounds each that would leave you with 1,656 available for gear.  

Holding tank

The reservoir for waste water. (See entries for black tank and gray tank.)

House Battery

The battery that is similar in function to your car battery is called the chassis battery. This battery powers the drive train, the instrument panel, the dash radio. Basically anything involved in driving the van. In contrast the house battery (or coach battery) powers everything that makes the van a camper van: the interior lights in the living area, the ventilation fans, the refrigerator, and other electrical devices. If you have solar panels on the roof of your van, they charge the house battery.


An inverter is an electrical device that coverts battery power (usually 12V) to house current (120AC) so you can run normal household devices like laptop chargers and a small coffee maker.  It is recommended that you use a pure sign wave  inverter because it better mimics the 120AC current that appliances expect.


See driveway surfing.

Portable Toilet

As the name suggests, a portable toilet is one that can be completely removed from the van. It is not permanently installed. This differs from a cassette toilet which is permanently installed (see glossary entry). Often you can get a mounting plate which will secure the toilet to the van while traveling. The toilet consists of a small tank of fresh water for flushing and a small detachable waste tank of around 5 gallons which can be emptied in a public toilet. Portable toilets are super easy to install since there really isn’t any installation. Plus they are easier to empty than a traditional black tank since they can be emptied in any standard toilet. The disadvantages are that they need to be emptied more frequently than a standard RV toilet (since they only hold 5 gallons) and the portable tank you need to lug to the toilet can weigh over forty pounds (since they hold 5 gallons).

Pure Sine Wave Inverter

An inverter is an electrical device that coverts battery power (usually 12V) to house current (120AC) so you can run normal household devices like laptop chargers and a small coffee maker. A sine wave is a smooth undulating curve. Imagine part of the curve representing by a smooth gradual hill. Now imagine we are trying to approximate this gentle hill by stacking shipping containers. From a distance it may look sort of like that smooth gradual hill but upon closer inspection we see that it is made up of gigantic steps. This is what a modified sine wave inverter does– it approximates a smooth sine wave with large steps. A pure sine wave inverter exactly mimics the sine wave of normal household current. Some sensitive electronic devices such as CPAP machines and monitors require a pure sine wave inverter.

Shore Power

Most class  B vans have 2 electrical systems. One is commonly 12 volt and runs off of a bank of batteries. The other is commonly 120 volts AC (the same as house current) and runs off of a glorified extension cord connected to an outlet that supplies power to your van. This is called shore power. (The term originally applied to the electrical system that supplied power to docked boats.) At a campground, shore power is typically provided by an electrical pedestal that has different shaped outlets for 30 amp and 50 amp service as well as a switch (circuit breaker) to turn the power on. A Class B van typically uses 30 amp service. WIthout going into the weeds, an amp is, very roughly, how much energy you are using. For example, a typical RV air conditioner uses around 10 amps and a microwave another 10. When you are running both at the same time you are using 20 amps. Since you are using a 30 amp service, the total of everything you are concurrently using in your van must be under 30. Bigger RVs, such as Class As,  have larger energy needs and typically have a 50 amp service.

Tank Fill

The tank fill connector on your van allows you to connect your van to an outdoor water faucet using a drinking water safe hose with standard garden hose type connectors to fill your fresh water tank. Some vans offer a second method to fill the fresh water tank, called a gravity fill, which enables you to fill the tank from water jugs or other sources.

Wet Bath

A wet bath is where the shower encompasses the entire bathroom space. Effectively, the toilet is in the shower stall. When you shower you will get the toilet and possibly a sink wet. A wet bath is designed for this and is not a big deal. This contrasts with a dry bath which is similar to what you have at home. The shower is in its own space in the bathroom. Most Class B camper vans have a wet bath.

Quality of class B camper vans

This is a post with a simple message

There is no van from any manufacturer that is 100% problem free.

If you look at a forum or Facebook group dedicated to any Class B model, from the Airstream Interstate to the Winnebago Travato, you will see numerous posts reporting van defects and lamenting poor build quality. Keep in mind that people who have a problem are likely to write a post about it. Maybe they want help, solace, or just a place to vent. If someone doesn’t have a problem they are less likely to post, and are out enjoying their van. I’ve never seen a post where someone out-of-the-blue writes “I am so grateful I have never had a problem with my Dometic cooktop.” So if you see post after post about awning failures in a Winnebago Travato, remember that probably the majority of owners don’t have this problem. If you are a new subscriber to a model’s forum, you are likely to come away with the impression that the model is riddled with problems and the build quality is horrible. Keep in mind that you are seeing a skewed sample of owners’ posts.

Comparing camper vans to cars

With rare exceptions, the quality of modern automobiles is very high. Worldwide, there are over 90 million cars produced each year and in the U.S., about 2.5 million. With that volume of production, a substantial amount of automation makes sense. Most of the work is done with precision robotics–robots that are as precise at 5am Saturday morning as they are at 10am Tuesday. The auto industry accounts for 30% of all the industrial robots.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The world, and how you view the world

Let’s agree on a few facts:

  1. The Recreational Vehicle industry could do a better job with build quality
  2. Dealers could do a better job with checking the van and doing good prep work and in general, being better at being nice and wonderful people. This, of course, is true of everyone. It would be great if everyone was 10% better at their job and compassionate and caring to everyone they meet.

There are two positions you could take: 

  1. For the price I paid for this thing the van should be of high quality and the dealer experience should be wonderful.
  2. I know there are going to be some problems with the van when I get it and the dealer experience may not be perfect but I will deal with it and I know everything is figureoutable. 

While position 1 may be 100% true (vans should be of better build quality)  it will also, with 100% probability, lead to frustration and suffering. I can nearly guarantee it. Position 2 leads to more happiness. There are going to be problems; we’ll deal with them. Let’s get out there! It doesn’t let people off the hook. We wish things were better, but they are not and are beyond our control.


Here is one couple’s list of issues with their new van:

  • Warped bottom drawer underneath microwave (need to replace entire panel and latch)
  • Crinkled window shades (possibly from water damage) needs to be replaced.
  • Crooked window shade frame above galley
  • Broken fan. Motor doesn’t work
  • Shower head stopper trigger doesn’t entirely stop water from flowing out
  • Galley power outlets not working. Fuse must have tripped.
  • Truma heater does not work

Here are another person’s:

  • Poor dealer prep or in fact no prep
  • Awning didn’t work (new motor ordered)
  • Truma not working — no hot water

And finally, “The Fusion infotainment system failed withing the first 500 miles. The replacement of this unit took 3 weeks at a large Airstream service center in Phoenix. Then the top fridge failed followed shortly by the furnace. Some of the automatic blinds then also stopped responding to the remote input controller. All the above failures with less than 2000 miles on the unit”

There is no van from any manufacturer that is 100% problem free.

It is figureoutable!

It is easy to feel it isn’t fair that you encountered build problems but remember everyone does.   It is easy to feel that it is someone’s fault–someone is to blame. It is okay to feel that but don’t dwell on it on it and build up those feelings until you get angrier and angrier and more and more frustrated. Life is too short.  You will find problems when you initially get the van. You will encounter more problems in the first 6 months of ownership and yet more in the first year. You will diminish your dissatisfaction if you expect them. 

The good news is that most of the components in a van build are not that complex.  A piece of lamination separates from a cabinet.  Fixing it with a tube of liquid nails is a more productive use of your time than posting a screed to the van’s Facebook group (and there is a nice element of satisfaction in making a van repair). (To be fair, you might get satisfaction from a good Facebook screed.) Almost anything in a van that is broken you have the capacity to fix. If you can’t fix it, buy some beer and invite a friend over to help. To quote Marie Forleo “Everything is Figureoutable

The best class B camper van

The title of this article, “the best class B camper van” is a bit of a click-bait one but it attempts to address a question people often have of what is the best Class B van. There is no one right answer to this question. If you were to hire an expert RV consultant to help you find the best class B van, she would probably start with an extensive interview with you. This post is designed to help get started being your own consultant with a set of questions to ask yourself (and any fellow travelers on your adventure). Before giving you this guidance, let’s look at the opposite question.

Above image courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted

What is the worst Class B camper van?

Arguably, one of the worst Class B camper vans in terms of build quality and design is the Carado Banff. According to the CEO of the company it was designed by “mostly newer engineers and people“ “without any Roadtrek or Hymer engineering influence” and one design criteria was that it had “to be built in 45 minutes of labour time.” That seems like a recipe for a not great product. Even knowing the design and quality problems, it was the first van I considered getting. Why? The price was great and there were parts of the design I liked.

Unlike me, there are a large number of people who actually bought that van. I am still a member of a Facebook group for the van (Carado & Sunlight Owners Group) and I can tell you that the owners of the van are as happy as the owners of vans from other companies. The group is a collection of resourceful individuals who help one another with the quality problems, but those problems don’t seem to diminish their joy of vanning around. The Carado Banff was a good match for these people and it enabled them to venture out.

So the point is— keep your eyes open and be aware of the pros and cons of the vans you are considering, but also keep your mind open to the possibility that a van that didn’t get stellar reviews on a YouTube video might still be a good match for you.

The reverse

The reverse is also true. Just because a couple on YouTube is using van X doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. You need to do the research. On the other hand, don’t get intimidated by the myriad of van choices. You will quickly start narrowing down your list when considering the following questions:

  1. How do you intend to use the van?
  2. Who is going with you?
  3. What are you bringing along?
  4. What are your sleeping requirements?
  5. What is your budget?

As you can see, these questions are common sense and perhaps you have already done this analysis. If so, congratulations. For the rest, let’s get started.

How do you intend to use the van?

Your vision of how you intend to use the van may be fully formed and based on years of experience.  Perhaps you’ve owned a travel trailer and now with your children gone you want a smaller, more nimble rig. Or perhaps you are an avid mountain biker and want to get a van as a support vehicle. Or you’ve done dog agility for years and you want a camper van to travel with your dogs to competitions in your region.  

But maybe your vision of how you would use a van is more vague. You have a dream of visiting National Parks but the last time you camped was as a child with your family. Maybe you have dreams of an epic road trip or a trip to Alaska or weekend trips to the state parks in your area. Regardless of how solid your vision is, before looking at all the different types of vans it is worthwhile to sketch out both your general vision and  a few future trips. For example,

“We are celebrating retirement by spending some time exploring the national parks. We’d like to head to Yosemite and then on to Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Arches, Grand Teton and Yellowstone!  We are really looking forward to connecting with nature. Do some hiking. We don’t want to be driving long distances everyday. We want to stay at a spot for at least a few days. It would be nice to camp in a remote area but we don’t see ourselves traveling on rugged jeep trails. During the day we might drive somewhere to hike and then come back to our camping spot in the afternoon to relax, read outside, maybe cook by a campfire. We are in our early and mid 60s FYI.” – Ann M.

My husband and I want to get a van so we can visit family and friends. We are first time RVers.  We intend to travel from Northern Virginia (home) to San Francisco CA where our son and daughter in law live and at some other time, travel to Vancouver to visit our other son, and to Florida to visit my parents. Our plan is to either stay in relative’s driveways or at established campgrounds.  We want the van to be comfortable–sort of like a hotel room substitute.” – Abigail B.

I am a software developer and my company allows me to work remotely. My girlfriend is in a similar position. Our plan is to get a van and travel the country while we work. For example, boondock in a nice spot in Oregon for a few days to a week, work 8 to 10 hour days and then relax the rest of the time. I need a workspace and storage for work gear (laptop, tech etc) and then all the fun stuff, kayak, bike, SUP, chairs, table, plus clothes for different climates.” – Brandon O.

Get as specific as you can about the trips you envision. You want to start fleshing out your requirements. For example, Brandon and his girlfriend would benefit from a van with a dedicated lounge/work space, which is something Ann doesn’t necessarily need. For Abigail a lithium system would not be a high priority. 

A related question is on a very rainy cold day when you are stuck in the van for the day, what do you see yourself doing? 

Watching YouTube camper van reviews is fun but you don’t want to clone some YouTube couple’s vision of van life. What is it that you <insert your name here> want to do? Imagine going out to dinner with a friend and you are conveying your dream with passion and excitement! What would that dream be?

It helps to write it down (as well as writing the answers to the rest of these questions).

Who is going with you?

This is an easy one. Are you going on your van adventures alone? With your partner? children? Pets? If a partner is involved what are their requirements? If you have a dog, how big? Are there times when the dog will stay in the van and you venture out?

What is going with you?

Aside from the gear and clothes you need to live in a van for the span of time you trips last, what other gear are you bringing? Mountain bikes, paddle boards, kayaks, photography equipment? There is limited space in a van and it is helpful to get an understanding of your needs before looking at individual vans.

Sleeping requirements

A Class B camper van is primarily a place to sleep and because of this importance, you want the bed to be as comfortable as possible. If  the van fails on meeting that requirement, it is not the van for you. So what are your requirements (both the ‘must haves’ and desirables)?  Are you 6 foot 1, and need a long bed? Will two single beds work for you or do you need a full size bed or bigger? For example, my spouse and I were looking at the Winnebago Travato 59k which has two twin beds each 30 inches wide and the longest is 80 inches. Fortunately, we have a studio sofa at home that folds out into a 80×30 bed, so I was intimately familiar with how comfortable I was with that size and know that the Travato 59k would be a good match. Don’t skimp on this requirement.

How much can you spend?

You can get a new Class B camper van from a major manufacturer starting in the mid $70,000. If you buy a used commercial van and have it converted by a custom van builder you cost could be even  less. (I’ve recently seen a 2018 Ford Transit with a minimal conversion for $26,000) Or you could spend $200,000 or more. How much do you have to spend? What is your desired amount and what is your absolute limit.

The van as a tool.

Starting with the answers to  these questions will help you see the van as a tool that will help you do things before getting distracted by the aesthetics and coolness of any van. Granted aesthetics and coolness are important and you can probably make any van work for almost any purpose but it is best to go into this decision with eyes open. 

Don’t start with a list of requirements. “I need lithium.”, “I need a Mercedes Sprinter build” That is putting the cart before the horse (or some other more van oriented metaphor). Starting with your answers to the above questions you can build a set of requirements that is tailored to you. Keep in mind that …

Looking at vans before having a clear vision is letting
the Class B manufacturer push a vision on you

For 99.99% of us, it is too late. We already have been watching van YouTube channels, Instagram posts, and review sites and have other people’s opinions of an ideal van stuck in your heads. To balance this, do the suggested work above in outlining and detailing your vision and from that narrative generate a list of requirements.

If you are buying a car things are a bit different. Your requirement list is fairly short. You need some transportation to get to work and back and to go shopping. Maybe it needs to fit your two dogs or your young children. So a Ford F150 or a Toyota Prius would fit your needs equally well and you can get what you think is cool. Vans are different. If your desire is to go on forest service roads to remote sites, and you get a heavy rear wheel drive van that gets stuck on wet grass, you’ve made a decision that will make your life more challenging. 

Making a requirements checklist

From all this imagineering work you have done, you can now create a requirements checklist that is tailored to you. Here is the start of one person’s list

  1. Sleeping/bed requirements: need something 80 inches long, could get by with 78
  2. Need an indoor storage space for my bikes.
  3. Need an office space where I could work comfortably on my laptop for a few hours.
  4. I probably don’t need lithium (I am only running my laptop 2 hrs max per day and don’t have any other big energy needs)
  5. Don’t really need a microwave or a freezer part of the refrigerator.
  6.  …

With this you have a solid basis for evaluating which van is the best for you. Good luck!

Class B camper vans for tall people

Class B camper vans are typically built from high-roof commercial vans and the  interior height for these commercial vans range from 77 inches in the ProMaster to 81.5 in the Ford Transit.  Once you add in an insulated ceiling and floor those heights diminish to around 74 to 75 inches. Before the advent of high roof vans, Class B manufacturers often would cut through the roof of a standard height van and add a fiberglass extender or, as in the case of the iconic Volkswagen Westfalia, a canvas pop-top roof.

Photo by Shelby L Bell. Some rights reserved.

Today, most Class B van manufacturers don’t make these modifications and they stay within the confines of the pre-existing shell. If you are 5’11” or less, most vans will accommodate you fine, but if you are a taller individual the design choices manufacturers make will directly impact your comfort level.

In this article we are going to look at three aspects that most directly impact your comfort level in the van: driver’s seat, bed dimensions, and the one we just mentioned, interior height. Before we start, keep in mind that human beings are amazingly adaptive and that includes human beings that own vans. There are people over six feet that thrive in a Ford Econoline build with an interior height of 50 inches, There are tall people that don’t mind being scrunched up in a tiny bed or being cramped in a too small driver’s seat.  These people don’t feel ‘scrunched’ or ‘cramped’; they feel totally happy. The point is that what you find comfortable is highly personal. The goal here is to provide you with some general information and impressions from taller individuals to help guide your search for a van.

For those of you 6’4” or over, you may also want to consider Class B+ RVs (really van-ish looking Class Cs).  For example, the popular Class C Winnebago Navion has an interior height of 6’8”  and the Leisure Travel Unity has one of 6’5” and both offer a more spacious interior than any Class B van. That said, let’s get started looking at the Class B options. 

Driver Comfort

Driver comfort is the most subjective of the three areas we cover, but, fortunately, it is the easiest one for you to personally evaluate. Class B manufacturers rarely interfere with the full range of driver’s seat adjustments that are provided in the base van. So if you are interested in the Winnebago Revel, which is built on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis, you can pretty much sit in any Mercedes Sprinter build or even the commercial van and gauge your comfort. Based on a survey of forum posts people find the Mercedes Sprinter driver’s seat to be the most comfortable and most adjustable compared to the Ford Transit, which people rate second. The ProMaster is rated third. Everything else being equal, the Sprinter is the way to go. Unfortunately, other things are not equal. For example, if you don’t want a diesel engine you would be eliminating all the Sprinter builds. One reason the ProMaster is rated the worst, is that the seat is difficult to adjust. Once those adjustments are made, many people find the seat comfortable. Here is what owners say when asked about comfort:

  • One person 6’9” says that while the seat is a bit too short (hip to knee), he can put in 12+ hr. drives without a problem.
  • A number of people 6’4” say the ProMaster seat is comfortable. One, with a 36” inseam,  said it took about 20 minutes to adjust the manual controls to find a comfortable position. Another mentioned that he needed to play “with the adjustments on the seat and steering wheel” and that afterward said he never had “the least bit of discomfort.”
  • People 6’2” rate the driving position as “very comfortable.”  One mentioned he prefered driving it over his Chevy Silverado and Subaru Forester. 

You should also keep in mind that the driving position in a van is different from that of other vehicles. The driving position in a van is much more upright than even the driving position in a full size pickup truck and this takes a period of adjustment.

Interior Height

Nearly all Class B camper vans have an interior height of 74 to 75 inches. I am 6’1”. I’ve been in a wide range of vans but know the Winnebago Travato the best and it is listed as 75 inches. Wearing running shoes I sort of just fit — If I stand up super straight my head nearly touches the ceiling. As with many vans, the air conditioner protrudes down from the ceiling and in that part of the van I need to be careful. That said, there are plenty of people who are taller than me that are perfectly happy with a 75 inch interior height. One person who is 6’6” says with humor that he’s been that height for years and he learned how to compensate. Several 6’4” individuals say the interior van height is not an issue but another admits that the interior height is the biggest negative of his two years of van ownership but “the plusses outweigh that negative.”

There are several Class Bs that have expanded interior height. Regency RV offers an optional fiberglass raised roof cap to their National Traveler van which gives a whooping interior height of 88 inches.  (However, the bed is only 73×54) The Pleasure-Way Ontour 2.2 has an interior height of 78 and the Sportsmobile Classic Pop Top also offers an interior height of 78 inches in part of the van. 


First, let’s start with the dimensions of standard mattresses.

  • Twin  75×39
  • Twin XL 80×39
  • Full 75×54
  • Queen 80×60
  • King 80×76
  • California King 84×72

The mattress sizes of Class B vans vary greatly but from this chart of standard mattresses you should have a good idea of what your desired length and width requirements are.  As I mentioned, I am 6 foot 1 inch. I sleep on my back and my feet stick out from a standard twin but I am fine with the twin XL. So, even though, technically, I should fit on a 75 inch mattress, because my head isn’t jammed against the headboard, I do not fit comfortably. I am very happy with my van’s 80×30 mattress and that sentiment for the 80×30 inch mattress is shared by a 6’6” person on a Travato forum.  A person in one forum has very different requirements than me. He is 6’6”, sleeps on his side with legs curled up and “those legs need to go somewhere.” For him my 30 inch wide mattress wouldn’t work and he is happy in his van with a 77×48 inch bed. 

A Class B camper van is small and nimble and because of this size constraint, there are going to be compromises in the layout.  You can’t fit everything you want: the true queen sized bed, an expansive lounge area to work at, a kitchen with ample counter space and a full sized refrigerator and an oven. For many van owners, the majority of time spent in the van is spent sleeping. They got the van to be out and about in nature, and to explore. When it is nice out they are outdoors. So while there are necessarily compromises in a Class B van, the space you least want to compromise on is the bed.  Keep in mind that in many vans, the length of the bed spans the width of the van–similar to the position of laying down in the backseat of a car.. This provides the most space for other functional areas but it does severely limit bed length. For example, the bed length of the Airstream 19 is only 73 inches because of width-wise orientation. The longest width wise bed  (79 inches) is in the Winnebago Revel which accomplishes this with innovative window flares. Once you change the orientation of the bed to match the lenghwise orientation of the van you get the option for a longer bed but it cuLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.ts down on other space such as a front lounge. In this configuration you can find vans with a bed length of up to 81 inches (the Wnnebago Boldt).

Vans to Consider

Pleasure-Way Ontour 2.2 - A solid choice

Photo from Pleasure-Way website

If you or your companion are tall, you might consider putting the Pleasure-Way Ontour 2.2  on your shortlist. It is based on the 22 foot long Ford Transit chassis, and offers 78 inches of interior height. This is awesome in a Class B camper van.  The dimensions of the bed are 79×68. The layout of the van is a rear-lounge configuration. At the touch of a button the rear sofa flattens to form part of the bed. The rest of the bed is formed by moving a few cushions. So while  you get a 79×68 bed, there is some work involved in converting the lounge to a bed. The solid maple cabinetry is beautiful and it has some great standard features like dual 100 amp hour lithium batteries and 300 watts of solar. The Ontour has a very similar layout to Pleasure-Way’s Mercedes Sprinter based models, the Ascent and the Plateau and one could view the Ontour as an incremental improvement of these builds on a different chassis.  The MSRP is $133,000. 

Photo from Pleasure-Way website

What is not to like? Well, if you are an outdoor adventure person who travels on forest service roads hauling mountain bikes and associated gear, our next choice might be a better fit

Winnebago Revel - a rugged alternative

The Winnebago Revel is based on the 4 wheel drive Mercedes Sprinter chassis.  It is slightly under 20 feet in length and features modern safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring. The  interior height is 75 inches. The bed measures 79×49 and rises to the ceiling to allow for storage of bicycles and other gear underneath. The Revel provides a nice contrast to the Ontour above in that it is geared toward the active outdoor adventurer. In contrast to the Ontour you wouldn’t call the interior beautiful but it is functional and features easy-to-clean and easy-to-maintain surfaces. It has a front lounge  and a small galley that features a sink, an induction cooktop and a small refrigerator. The bathroom again is a functional space with a shower and a cassette toilet and the space doubles as a place for wet gear. The MSRP is $163,000.

Above images courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted

Winnebago Travato - The middle way

I have a bit of a bias here as I own one. The Winnebago Travato, built on the 21 foot ProMaster chassis with an interior height of 75 inches,  comes in two layouts. The 59G has a 77×48 rear murphy bed and a front lounge The 59k which features twin beds (one 80×30 and the other 75×30) which can be converted to a 54 inch wide full size mattress.  There are Class B vans with similar layouts to the 59K. The Winnebago Boldt has dual twin beds (81×26 and 74×26), the Coachmen Beyond (76×28 and 72×28), and the Thor Sequence (80×30 and 76×30). I like the 30 inch width and find 26 or even 28 too narrow. The 59k features a rear bath and a driver’s side galley with a propane cooktop, sink, convection microwave and a 4.3 cubic foot refrigerator. It comes standard with 200 watts of solar and a 1,000 watt inverter. There is a model that offers a large 9,500 watt hour lithium system. The MSRP is $118,000.

Above images courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted

Other vans to consider

If your goal is to travel the interstates in comfort you may want to add either the Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT or the Grand Tour EXT. Both are built on the 25 foot Mercedes Sprinter chassis with an interior height of 74 inches. However the beds are a luxurious 82×70. If your journey involves much more rugged paths you may want to consider the Sportsmobile Classic 4×4 which has an interior height of 78 inches.  One layout of the Sportsmobile features an 81×55 bed. While the Sportsmobile is ruggedly handsome, it has a hefty starting price of  $140,000

Image at head of article and above are from Sportsmobile.

Custom Camper Van Builders

As the phrase suggests, custom camper van builders build a van to a customer’s specifications. What the word “custom” means in this context varies. Sometimes ‘custom’ means that you can choose from a limited number of options. Or it could mean that the builder works closely with a client to build a van that exactly matches that client’s vision (Advanced RV is the quintessential example of this). In addition to the varying meaning of the word ‘custom’, there is great variation in what is meant by ‘builder’. Some builders on this list are “mom and pop” ones building vans out of a garage (or more likely, ones run by a young couple who developed their building skills by constructing their own van). Others are large operations employing 50 or more people. Some have been in the van conversion business for over 50 years and others are just starting out.  This provides you with many choices. You can support a local start-up or go with a large established builder. You can get a van built whose interior looks like a cozy log cabin or one whose interior displays a non-wood gray-scale industrial chic featuring powder coated aluminum. 

Above photo by Alfonso Escalante from Pexels

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

As opposed to custom camper van builders, most manufacturers of Class B vans are members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. To be a member requires that all the recreational vehicles they sell comply with over 500 safety requirements for electrical, plumbing, heating, and fire. For example, if you buy an Airstream or Winnebago van, you know that it passed those safety requirements. Obviously this is a good thing. However, getting the RVIA seal just means they passed this minimal set of criteria. It is like knowing someone passed medical school. If you are trying to decide on a surgeon, that might not be good enough. Instead, it would be nice to know whether that doctor passed with a ‘D’ or with an ‘A’. The RVIA seal is like that graduation certificate. We don’t know whether it is ‘A’ quality or ‘D’ quality. We just know the van passed its inspection. 

For a company that isn’t a member of RVIA and this includes nearly all the companies on the following list,  we don’t have that minimal assurance. Their vans could be triple-A quality — much much better than any van built by a major manufacturer, or the vans they produce could be unsafe. The onus is on you, the shopper. When buying any Class B, you can’t skimp on the research, but when buying from a smaller company be particularly diligent. Some customizers are RVIA members and that designation is indicated in the following list.


The List

Advanced RV

If you want the absolute best quality van possible and you have a large amount of money to buy it (~$300,000), look no further than Advanced RV. This Willoughby, Ohio based company was formed in 2012 by Mike Neundorfer, who has managed to attract a team of extremely talented designers, engineers, and craftspeople. The results are stunning.  (RVIA member)

Benchmark Vehicles

Benchmark, based in Portland Oregon,  builds custom vans on the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit chassis. Their moto is “Vehicle optimization for outdoors enthusiasts.”

Blue Ridge Adventure Vehicles

Blue Ridge Adventure Vehicles, in Fairview, North Carolina, builds custom vans on all the major chassis. Their website features some pricing guidelines so you can get a ballpark estimate of your build. 

Creative Mobile Interiors

Creative Mobile Interiors, based in Grove City, Ohio, is a vehicle conversion company that modifies “all makes and models of motor coaches, RVs, mini-buses, vans, trailers, campers, and specialty vehicles – new or used.” They create vehicles for mobile marketing, mobile offices, and mobile homes.

Custom Crafted Vans

Custom Crafted Vans is based in Boise Idaho was formed by two former business coaches and yoga instructors, Sara and Alex James. Their typical builds range from $40,000-$90,000 not including the van.

El Kapitan

El Kapitan is based in Huntington Beach, CA. They were formed in 1984 and are a certified Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van Master Upfitter, which speaks to the quality of their builds.  According to their website they offer conversions for shuttles, mobile offices, limos, mobility and wheelchair vans, and upgraded passenger vans. (RVIA)

Embassy (SVO Group)

SVO group, in Elkhart, Indiana was originally an upfitter for commercial vehicles. In 2015 they introduced Embassy Buses, a line of executive class shuttles, and Embassy RV, a line of Class B vans. Instead of using wood and wood-based products in their builds, they use high density polyethylene sheets. They will do conversions on the Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit, and Mercedes Sprinter chassis. They appear to create innovative quality builds.


Esplori, formed in 2017,  is based in Bend, Oregon, and specializes in “Environmentally conscious Sprinter conversions.”  The conversions feature powder coated aluminum walls, ceiling, and cabinetry. Esplori is another company that advertises their vans as “built for adventure.”

Glamper Vans

Glamper Vans, based in San Francisco, builds non-custom vans built on the ProMaster 136 high roof chassis (18 feet long). Their standard build costs around $50,000 (above the price of the van). The term glamper is a portmanteu of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camper’. These vans don’t match that aesthetic.  They are more of a Scandinavian design.  


GTRV originated in 1994 in Sabastopol, California. They customize a variety of vans ranging from minivans such as the Toyota Sienna and Mercedes Metris to full size Sprinters.Their primary area of focus is pop-top conversions.

Heartwood Custom Vans

Heartwood was formed by Adam and Vanessa Hickey who built their first van in 2018.  It is based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Their vans have a very wood oriented interior (probably not surprising given the name of their company). They also sell a “how to build a van” ebook.

Humble Hand Craft

Humble Hand Craft started in  2012 by Ryan O’Donnell as a builder of ‘artisanal’ tiny houses.   In 2018 they expanded to building camper vans with a decidedly cabin look. They are based in Ventura, California. Some of their website examples look like tiny cabins in a van.

Land Yacht Motor Werks

Land Yacht Motor Werks is located in Magnolia, TX. It was formed by Michael Alpha in 2016 to convert Mercedes Sprinter vans to luxury shuttles, tailgaters and camper vans. The designs looked geared toward traveling on interstates. Indeed, their motto is “It’s not just about where you’re going … but how you get there.”

Nomad Vanz

Nomad Vanz is located in North Vancouver, Canada and only converts Mercedes Sprinter and Metris vans. Prices start at $120,000 for converting a 144 WB Sprinter. Adding in the price of a Sprinter and you are close to $200,000.

Outside Van

Outside Van, based in Portland Oregon, was founded by Erik Ekman in 2007.  They are one of the larger van conversion companies employing around 65 people and doing 100 conversions annually. In addition to custom conversions they offer prebuilt one-off vans.


Sportsmobile is a van conversion company that has been in business since 1961 (not a typo!) and have four locations (Austin, Fresno, Huntington, Indiana and Reno).They will do conversions on Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, Chevy Express and Ford E Vans chassis.  The price for a Sportsmobile Classic is $175-$225,000. Other models are less. (RVIA)

Sync Vans

Sync Vans was co-founded by Jay Sfingi and Josh Shetler in Hailey, Idaho. Conversions start at 32,000. The majority of their builds are on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis. Their designs veer toward an industrial chic aesthetic.

Titan Vans

Titan Vans was formed in Boulder Colorado in 2017 and specialize in “off-the-grid vans.” They primarily work with Sprinters but will do conversions on other chassis. Their vans have an industrial chic vibe. Prices range from $50,000 for a Titan Classic conversion (on top of the price of the van) to $75,000 or more for a custom conversion. They tout their 3 year/ 36,000 warranty.

TouRig Custom Vans

TouRig was formed in 2015 and is based in Golden Colorado. In 2017 they partnered with the German company Terracamper to bring Terracamper interiors to the U.S. market. The focus on builds for the “outdoor adventure enthusiast.” Their builds are on the Mercedes Sprinter and Metris chassis.

Van Specialities

Van Specialities is based in Tualatin, Oregon just south of Portland. They have been in business since 1973.  Their designs are industrial chic and feature a grey-scale color palette. They build on a variety of chassis. Some people have complained about the wait time reporting deliveries 9 months or more after ordering..


VanDOit is based in Blue Springs Missouri. They are part of  Kline Van and Specialty Rental which rents and leases vans and VanDOit mostly does conversions on existing vans in their fleet. The vans they convert are Ford Transit 350 XLT passenger vans. The converted vans start at $50,000 (that includes the van).


Zenvanz was founded by Jen and Bryan Danger and has been building vans in Portland, Oregon since 2012. They convert Mercedes Sprinter vans using modular aluminum/bamboo components.

Class B Manufacturers

Are you ready to start shopping for a Class B van and you are wondering if you are missing some dream van?  This annotated list of manufacturers of Class B vans runs the gamut from large, multinational companies to small family-run ones. 

In the descriptions, I list prices in parentheses. These are the base list price for that model and the typical selling price may be 30% or more less. While many companies are transparent on their base list prices others are not and in those cases I make a best estimate from available sources.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

Nearly all manufacturers of Class B vans (not including conversion companies) are members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. To be a member requires that all the recreational vehicles they sell comply with over 500 safety requirements for electrical, plumbing, heating, and fire. Of course, this is a good thing. However, getting the RVIA seal just means they passed this minimal set of criteria. Its like knowing someone passed medical school. It would be nice to know whether that doctor passed with a ‘D’ or with an ‘A’. The RVIA seal is like that. We don’t know whether it is ‘A’ quality or ‘D’ quality. We just know the van passed its inspection. 

For a company that isn’t a member of RVIA we don’t have that minimal assurance. Their vans could be triple-A quality — much much better than any van built by a major manufacturer, or the vans they produce could be unsafe. The onus is on you, the shopper. When buying any Class B, you can’t skimp on the research, but when buying from a smaller company be particularly diligent.

Above image courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted

Top Manufacturers

Airstream (a subsidiary of Thor)

Airstream was formed in 1936 and, along with Winnebago, is an iconic American RV brand. They started making Class B vans in 1989. Their current Class B lineup consists of the Interstate was introduced in 2004.  It is built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis with the 3.0L V6 engine. 4 wheel drive is an option.  Both the Interstate Lounge EXT ($190,000) and the Grand Tour EXT ($190,000) are built on the 3500 extended frame with an exterior length of 24.5 feet. The Interstate 19 ($161,000) is built on the shorter 2500 frame with a length of 19.6 feet. I think the name “Interstate” is an apt name for this van. Its sleek, private jet looking, interior makes it look at home cruising the nation’s interstates, and to my eye wouldn’t look quite at home on forest service roads. Airstream also offers a Class B+ Atlas ($238,000), which in their words offers an “expansive floorplan.” (RVIA member)

Coachmen RV (a subsidiary of Forest River)

Coachmen RV started in 1964 as a manufacturer of travel trailers and truck campers. It was bought by Forest River in 2008 (Forest River in turn is owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway). Coachmen builds three lines of Class Bs. Both the Nova ($120,000) and Beyond ($135,000), known previously as the Crossfit, are built on the 22 foot long Promaster 3500 chassis.  The Galleria ($145,000) is built on the 24 foot Mercedes Sprinter. Coachmen is known for its solid wood cabinetry. They offer Lithionics Lithium batteries as an option. (RVIA member)


Pleasure-Way was formed in 1986 to build Class B vans and that continues to be their sole purpose today. The company is headquartered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. They offer numerous vans. Their smallest is the Tofino ($71,000) which is built on the Ram ProMaster 1500 low roof chassis and is under 18 feet long.  It has a pop-top that creates an overhead bunk. Their Lexor models ($118,000) are built on a Ram ProMaster 3500 chassis and are 21 feet long. The Ontour ($132,000) is built on a Ford Transit 2500 chassis and features a whopping 78 inches of head room.  Their Ascent ($141,000) is built on the short Mercedes Sprinter chassis and is under 20 feet long. Finally, their top-of-the-line Plateau ($151,000) is built on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and is 23 feet long. (RVIA member)

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Industries is a ginormous company which was formed in 1980 when two entrepreneurs bought Airstream from Beatrice Foods (yes, Airstream was once owned by a company best known for Tropicana and Playtex. Go figure). Since then they have been on an acquisition spree, acquiring Jayco, Dutchman, Keystone, Hymer (the largest RV manufacturer in Europe), and dozens more. Two of these acquisitions were consolidated in 2010 to form Thor Motor Coach, which released its first Class B van in 2019.  This Class B, the Sequence ($92,000),  is a plagiarized copy (is that redundant?) of the Winnebago Travato. At a time when the Class B market could use some innovation it is particularly disheartening that Thor designers took this easy path. The Sequence is built on the Ram ProMaster Window Van, with a gasoline V6 3.6L engine and front wheel drive. It is 21 feet long. While it does offer a few minor improvements over the Travato, it has some major defects including the sparsity of opening windows. Thor also offers the Tellaro ($91,000), another ProMaster based build with an optional pop top sleeping area.  (RVIA member)

Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Winnebago, based in Forest City, Iowa,  was founded in 1958 to build travel trailers and began manufacturing its iconic motorhomes in 1966. They offer a range of vans and is a company known for its innovation. Perhaps the most popular of their vans is the Travato ($118,000) which has been manufactured since 2013 and was the first Class B from any manufacturer to be built on the Ram ProMaster chassis. It is under 21 feet long. It is offered in two floor plans and Lithium is an option. Their Revel ($163,000), built on the 4 wheel drive Mercedes Sprinter, is under 20 feet long and is built for the rugged outdoors.  The Boldt ($199,000), a Mercedes Sprinter diesel build, is 23 feet long and features a whooping 12,800 watt-hour lithium system.  Also in their lineup is the Era ($170,000), a 25 foot long Mercedes and the diminutive Solis ($101,000), a Ram ProMaster build under 20 feet which features a pop-top. Winnebago accounts for over 30% of the Class B van market share and for good reason. (RVIA member)

Other Manufacturers

5 Mars RV

5 Mars RV was founded in 2009 in Joliette, Quebec. They  offer an unusual assortment of Class B vans. Several pop-top models are built on minivans. Perhaps the most unique is the Illusion LX ($72,000) which is built on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Their Imagine line ($93,000) is a 16 foot long ProMaster pop-top and features a removable interior.  

Advanced RV

If you want the absolute best quality van possible and you have a large amount of money to buy it (~$300,000), look no further than Advanced RV. This Willoughby, Ohio based company was formed in 2012 by Mike Neundorfer, who has managed to attract a team of extremely talented designers, engineers, and craftspeople. The results are stunning.  (RVIA member)

American Coach

American Coach is owned by REV group (see its separate entry in this list) and is principally a manufacturer of luxury Class As. They make two Class Bs. Their Patriot Cruizer ($160,000) is a 24 foot Mercedes Sprinter luxury Class B “devoted to the open road.” And their Patriot ($153,000) is built on the 20 foot Sprinter. (RVIA member)

Chinook RV

Chinook began as a family run business back in 1938 making it one of the oldest RV manufacturers. From its inception until the mid-1970s it was one of the most innovative manufacturers on the planet. They started with travel trailers and truck campers but their initial claim to fame was the introduction of sleek fiberglass Class A motorhomes in the 1960s. They started producing Class B vans in the early 1970s, Because of a recession, the company gradually declined. It was bought out and gradually again became a leader of RV innovation calling itself “the sports car of motorhomes.” Then the company hit financial difficulties attributed to mismanagement and closed in 2006. In 2013 the intellectual property (primarily the name) was bought by the owner of several RV dealerships. This new “Chinook” makes Class B vans on the Mercedes Benz chassis. The Bayside “executive travel van”  ($134,000)  has seating up to 10 (6 seats with 3 point seat belts and upgradeable to massage and heating). It is not really a van to sleep in and, without a table, it isn’t one to work or eat in either. Also, there are no windows that open.  The Countryside ($127,000)  is a more traditional Class B built on the 19 foot Mercedes Sprinter chassis. (history)  (RVIA member)

Coach House

Coach House is a family owned business based in Venice Florida  best known for their Class C (B+) RVs. They make one Class B, the Arriva ($161,000), built on the 24 foot Mercedes chassis. It features a (rare in a B) large dry bath, and some exterior storage.  If you are a person who really likes watching tv this van is for you since it offers two televisions. Coach House RVs are sold factory direct. (RVIA member)

Fleetwood (a subsidiary of REV group)

Fleetwood started in southern California in 1950. Its primary focus was mobile homes but it also manufactured Class A RVs. In 2009 the company went bankrupt and the motorized RV division was acquired by a private equity firm, which in 2010 combined the company with other acquisitions to form the REV group (see the REV entry in this list). The current Fleetwood division primarily produces Class A RVs but they do produce one Class B, the Irok ($114,000). The Irok is on a Ram ProMaster chassis which is 21 feet long. It is offered in two floorplans.

Gala RV

Gala RV is based in Quebec. They offer several Class B vans in their Montecarlo line ranging from under 20 to 21 feet and based on the Ram ProMaster chassis. One interesting model, the FB21, has an all fiberglass and composite interior. Gala does not sell vans in the United States. However, they will convert a van that you provide them. The base price for that conversion is $70,000.


ModVans is based in Ventura, CA. Starting in 2019, they offer one van, the CV1 ($99,000), which is a pop-up camper built on the low roof Ford Transit. It features removable components. For example, the entire kitchen unit is removable. They claim “CV1 is a full-featured camper van, family van and work van all in one.” (RVIA member)

Midwest Automotive Designs (REV Group)

Midwest Automotive Designs was formed in 2003 in Elkhart, Indiana and in 2013 was bought by the REV group (see REV entry in this list). Midwest manufactures luxury vehicles for shuttle vans, limousines, executive transport, and recreation. It offers Class B camper vans on the Mercedes Sprinter and Ram ProMaster chassis. The Weekender ($142,000) is built on the Mercedes Sprinter 23 foot chassis while the Passage ($114,000) is built on the shorter 19 foot Sprinter chassis. The Legend ($135,000) is their ProMaster offering built on the 2500 chassis. Some manufacturers call their vans “adventure vans” and others “luxury vans.” Midwest is definitely in the luxury camp using descriptions such as “private jets on wheels.” At least that is what it looks like on the surface. They don’t appear to use high quality components (for example Truma or Alde) in their builds. Their website also has this odd statement “Midwest Automotive Designs Reserves the Right to Change any STD, or Optional Features without Notice. Photos may Not depict the Actual product.”

New-West V.R.

New-West is a Quebec company building Class B vans since 1999. They offer 9 models built on a variety of chassis. Their lowest priced offering is the bare-bones Bo-M ($65,000) built on the GM Express regular length chassis with a length of 18.5 feet. It does have a sink but it has a manual water pump. The Altitude ($124,000) is based on the Ford Transit chassis and the Grizzly ($154,000) is based on the Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 chassis. All models feature alcohol stoves. New West vans are not available in the United States although you can have them convert a van you have.

Panoramic RV

Panoramic RV is an RV manufacturer out of Montreal, CA that started in 2019. They have only one model, called the Panoramic ($172,000),  and it is built on the Ram ProMaster chassis which is 21 feet long. The focus of the design is large windows and a skylight. They state their vans are available in both the Canadian and U.S. markets.

Regency RV

Regency RV is based in Fort Worth Texas and began manufacturing Class B vans in 2015. They offer two models. The National Traveler ($120,000)  is built on the 21 foot Ram ProMaster chassis and, perhaps unique to a Class B, offers a raised roof fiberglass cap, that offers a whopping 7’4” interior height.  However, the bed is only 73×54. So if you are tall but like to sleep scrunched up, this van is for you.  The interior height of the shower is 5’10”. The Xalta ($160,000) is built on the 24 foot Mercedes Sprinter chassis. 

REV Group

REV group was formed in 2010 and since then has acquired numerous companies. They manufacture busses, fire trucks, ambulances, and recreational vehicles.  Most of their RV focus is in luxury Class A motorhomes, but they also produce the Lance campers (truck campers and travel trailers) and the Midwest Automotive Designs and American Coach Class Bs which have their own entries in this list.

Roadtrek (Rapido Group)

The Roadtrek story is a rise and fall and potential rebirth tale that has some scandal thrown in. It started as a family run manufacturer of class B motorhomes in 1974. And in its early days the vans they built were considered fairly well-built.  In 2016 it was bought by Hymer, a large RV manufacturer in Europe. (If you are thinking of buying a used Roadtrek or Hymer please do your research to know the issues involved.) In 2019 Hymer was bought by Thor. When Thor was analyzing Roadtrek before the acquisition it discovered some anomalies that lead to Roadtrek division to  not be included in the sale. Later in 2019, Roadtrek was acquired by Rapido. This new Roadtrek subsidiary currently offers only 2 Class B models: the Zion ($102,000) and the Zion SRT ($95,000). Both are built on the ProMaster chassis. The Zion SRT is under 20 feet in length and the Zion is under 21 feet. Don’t be confused by the plethora of models shown on their website. At this point they only have one assembly line running which produces the Zion line.

Safari Condo

Safari Condo is based in Quebec Canada. Their initial claim to fame was an innovative aerodynamic travel trailer with a tempered glass poptop. They introduced a line of Class B vans in 2019. They offer over 10 models based on three different chassis. The pop-top Savana line  ($90,000)  is based on the low-roof GMC Savana which has an estimated 24 MPG. It is sort of retro-cool from a reliable company. The ProMaster offerings ($101,000) have 19 foot and 21 foot options. Finally, the Mercedes Sprinter line ($123,000) also comes in two lengths.

Storyteller Overland

If you are looking for a premium adventure van that is at home on forest service roads and are willing to pay a premium price the Mode 4×4 ($200,000) built by Storyteller Overland may be for you. offers one van, the Mode 4×4 built on the 20 foot Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 chassis. They call it an adventure van and that is an apt description.