We are looking at purchasing a campervan for our family (2 adults - 3 boys) and are trying to balance the merits of a larger van vs a smaller van.

We are keen to understand what practical considerations we should make before spending any money.

Some areas we have flagged so far include:

  • fuel economy
  • use as a second vehicle
  • adding tents to expand size
  • ease of driving
  • lengths / widths - any considerations
  • weight limits
  • ferries - are sizes that we should stay below
  • Could you clarify what you consider to be large vs small and the intended use (i.e. trip duration, season, geographic region)?
    – jlbnjmn
    Feb 27, 2014 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


Keep in mind that smaller does not automatically mean more efficient. A larger van with a diesel engine will easily get better fuel economy than a small van with a petrol engine.

That said, indeed almost everything to do with a smaller van will be easier / less costly for you. Ferries, parking, parts. But at the end of the day it depends on what you're comfortable with. A relatively large van might not be hard for me to drive, but might be outside of your comfort zone.


Camping and caravaning


I have hardly any experience with car camping and similar activities., but I would love to shed some light on what I can think of.

If I were you, I would certainly go for a smaller camper van than a larger one.

  1. Fuel Economy: In camper vans, it is almost universal to say that the smaller ones are better in terms of fuel consumption. Now, while choosing a camper van considering this point, you should have an estimate of how frequently you are going to camp, how far you will be going so that the fuel costs really matter. I'd also like to raise the point that if you you plan to off-road a bit, the larger camper van would certainly consume a lot of fuel compared to a smaller one.
  2. As a second vehicle: If you intend to use this as a second vehicle, if you get a smaller camper van, apart from camping you could even use it incase your primary vehicle fails. The larger would certainly be less viable here.
  3. Adding tents to expand size: 2 adults, 3 boys is what your team comprises of. I think you might actually prefer to pitch tents aside independently rather than trying to expand your camper van. A larger camper van doesn't really need to be expanded as you say, but with a smaller camper van pitching tents just beside your van isn't too bad.
  4. Ease of driving: Obviously the smaller one, no doubt about that, especially in terms of off-roading, fatigue caused due to driving, etc.

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