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.

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