When it comes to motorhomes and campervans, whilst they may serve the same purpose of being self-contained travelling homes, there are in fact big differences between them. 

But how can you tell and how do you decide which is right for you? Join us in this new blog as we explore the key differences that set the two apart.

What are Campervans?

Campervans have a lot of history and when I think of one there is one image that immediately comes to mind: The VW camper. Their popularity began over 50 years ago, and they have remained an icon in the market ever since. But what’s made them so popular?

Originally, campervans were designed more as a means for transport with a basic set-up to get you from A to B with as little fuss as possible. They gave drivers the opportunity to travel freely, semi-comfortable and for less.

As expectations are now higher, the campervans of today have had to evolve to still provide travellers with this sense of wonder and freedom-seeking lifestyle albeit with added creature comfort. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still possible to buy one of the VW hippie classics. However, there are now many other options available from DIY conversions to high-end professional and bespoke services using transit-style vans; your campervan of choice will ultimately depend on the equipment you want to be fitted and your budget.

How does a campervan differ from motorhome?

Typically, campervans are smaller in size, easier to drive, park and more affordable. Because of this, they will therefore have limited space and include fewer amenities with most only having basic cooking facilities, a bed and a small amount of storage space. 

With this in mind, I would say that they are more suited to those who plan on spending more time outdoors and only sleeping with a spot of cooking inside. Nowadays though you can buy pretty affordable attachable awnings and foldable outdoor furniture you can easily create more living space, for those that need it.

Motorhomes

Motorhomes, on the other hand, follow a slightly different agenda (some might say they are what the campervan has evolved into.) Typically, they are either built on an existing bus or truck chassis with a divide between the cab and living area compared to the campervans panel-van type of vehicle.

Motorhomes are broken down into three main categories:

1. Class A - the cab is usually integrated into the rest of the space.

2. Low profile coach-built - this is what it says on the tin: a motorhome body built onto a coach-style vehicle. They generally have enough room for two people with a washroom, toilet, and fixed bed. 

3. Over-cab coach-built - this is the same as the above but slightly bigger as the body extends over the cab and can be used for storage, or more often, an over-cab bed. 

The standout difference though is that motorhomes are designed more to be your home away from home, and so they offer maximum travel comfort. Therefore, when purchasing you can expect to see more space, features and facilities that you’d find at home. These can include a TV, separate toilet and shower rooms, walk round bed and compartmentalised areas, with some even having a living room.

Alongside this, because of their size, motorhomes are favoured when it comes to longer trips such as a summer road trip around Europe. This isn’t to say that campervans can’t still be used; I’ve seen a lot of people use them and have a great time, it may just be more compact and less comfortable due to their size.

It’s a double-edged sword though because whilst motorhomes are larger, they can be a pain to store. With a campervan, it’s a lot easier to tuck away in the garage whereas many motorhome owners have to store and pick up their vehicle from a storage location. This is just another thing to consider as it will be an additional cost, unless you have space at home, of course.

Before you go

As you can probably tell there is a lot to think about when it comes to campervans and motorhomes, and with a huge variety of options to choose from it can be extremely difficult. To make it easier though, I’ve included a list below which summarises the 4 key differences.

1. Campervans have a more basic set-up whereas motorhomes usually have more luxurious amenities such as a built-in toilet and living area.
2. A campervan is smaller so is easier to park and drive compared to a motorhome.
3. Campervans are normally cheaper than motorhomes.
4. Typically motorhomes have a divide between the cab and living quarters, whereas campervans don't.
5. Campervans tend to be an option for short trips whereas motorhomes have the set-up for longer journeys. 

If you’re still not sure and have more questions to ask, why not check out our motorhome and campervan FAQs article.