What size Skoolie do I need?

In today’s article, we will answer the following question: What size Skoolie do I need? We will explain how to choose the right type of Skoolie for you and the key aspects to pay attention to before acquiring a bus to convert. 

What size Skoolie do I need?

The Skoolie size you are going to feel most comfortable in will highly depend on your personal preferences. How many people are going to live in it? What type of amenities do you want to add (kitchen, bathroom, beds, etc)? How tall are you? How are you going to use the Skoolie? As you can see, there are many factors to take into consideration. 

And it can be really hard to find which Skoolie size might be best for you and which one’s gonna fit your needs! 

What size do Skoolies come in?

Regarding size, we can classify Skoolies into three main categories:

  1. Mini Skoolies 
  2. Midsize Skoolies 
  3. Full-size Skoolies

Please see the table below for more information on the actual dimensions of a school bus. 

Bus typeLengthWidthHeight
Mini Skoolies20 to 25 feet long93 inches9.1 ft t0 10.3 ft
Midsize Skoolie25-42 feet long93-96 inches9.9-10.4 ft
Full-size Skoolie42 to 45 feet long93-96 inches9.9-10.4 ft

How to choose the size of my Skoolie?

There are so many Skoolies out there to pick from. There are high top ceilings, there’s low top ceilings, there’s long buses, mid chassis or short chassis buses. There are so many buses that you can choose from. The problem is you need to find the one that’s right for you, and not just find a bus. 

Here are three simple tips that will help you decide what size Skoolie you need: 

  1. Figuring out the length and body style of your Skoolie is going to be your first step to finding a school bus because that’s gonna give you the frame and chassis size you’re looking for. 

Not sure how to choose? Answer this simple question: How do you see yourself living the bus life? Do you see yourself traveling around from place to place going from point A to point B, doing 30 or 40 thousand miles a year? Or do you see yourself living more of a camper lifestyle where you’re going from campground to campground maybe only moving your location once or twice a year? 

The answer to this question is gonna greatly affect your decision on what size and style of school bus you want. If you’re looking to go into parks such as Glacier National Park or  Zion National Park, keep in mind that they have a length restriction – so you won’t be able to take a typical forty foot school bus into those places.  You’re gonna have to look for something much smaller because of the 21 to 28-foot length restrictions. 

A larger bus can give you more room and space, but it will also be more difficult to manoeuvre.  So it all comes down to how you see yourself living the #SkoolieLife. 

  1. The second thing to think about when you’re considering body length and style is going to be the ease of driving the Skoolie. A 30-foot school bus has a very small wheelbase so the turning radius on this bus is going to be much better than, say, a 35 or 40-foot school bus, where it won’t be able to turn as easily in parking lots and on cross roads.  

This is a very important aspect to consider as it matters how you feel comfortable driving and if you feel comfortable driving a really big bus or something with a smaller wheelbase. 

  1. The third thing to think about is going to be the interior space. A bus with a high ceiling (six to seven-foot) offers a lot of interior space, but you can also find buses with lower ceilings somewhere around a five-ten to six-foot ceiling. 

The key is that, if you’re already someone who is tall or if interior space is very important to you, that’s something that you’re gonna want to look for. You’re not gonna want to look at buses that have five-ten ceilings, you’re gonna want to look for something that has at least six ft headroom.  

That is, of course, unless you’re looking to do a roof raise which is a possibility and at that point, the interior height will not count for so much!

Other key points for choosing the best bus for conversion

While the next aspects are not related to the size of your Skoolie, they are equally important when choosing the best bus for conversion. 

  1. After choosing the size of your Skoolie, the next key point that you want to look at is going to be the engine and drivetrain. There are many engines, transmissions, and differential options out there and it’s not as hard as you think to find the right one for you.  

You don’t need to be an engine whiz or a mechanic to be able to figure this type of thing out. You really need to know the difference between a bus with a high gear ratio and a bus with a lower gear ratio.

High gear ratio – what this means essentially, is that when you’re running at highway speeds, the bus will also have high RPMs. What that’s going to result in is higher torque, more power, but less gas mileage. So if you’re trying to climb over mountains, this bus is going to go up it with ease but it’s not going to do it with great gas mileage. 

A lower gear ratio bus –  is a bus out at highway speeds is going to run at a lower RPM. That’s going to give you less power and torque, but also much more efficient gas mileage. If you’re travelling long distances, gas mileage is key.

  1. You must choose between a semi-built Skoolie or a gutted Skoolie. You can also find lots of buses with AC, diesel heater, block heaters and cruise control – it is just a matter of where the bus was manufactured and what was the purpose of that bus. 
  1. A very important aspect is the overall condition of the bus. You must carefully look at the metal and the underbody, the roof, the windows and the doors. The number-one rule in the bus community is: a rusty bus is always going to be a rusty bus. 

Of course, surface rust is something you can deal with easily, but if you’re able to flake rust off or put your finger through the metal  – that is a clear sign that you don’t want that bus!

  1. On top of that, looking at the condition of the bus, you also want to look at the tires. This is such an important step because a new set of tires for your Skoolie can cost you anywhere from fifteen hundred to three thousand dollars for a six set. Skoolie tires are expensive, so if you can buy a bus with halflife tires or even full tread tires you’re saving yourself that money right from the start!


When choosing a bus to convert it to a Skoolie, you must consider how many people will live in it, what amenities you want to add (kitchen, bathroom, beds, etc), and how wide the bus is. A bigger bus is not always the best choice, as it can be more expensive and very hard to find a spot to park it. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on What size Skoolie do I need?

How heavy is a school bus in tons?

A school bus weighs on average 12,9 tons. How heavy a school bus is, depends on the class or type of school bus it is.

How wide is the inside of a Skoolie?

Generally, the interior of a Skoolie is 7.5 feet wide. In the United States and Canada, bus bodies are restricted to a maximum width of 102 inches (2.59 m) and a maximum length of 45 feet (13.7 m). 

What school bus has the most headroom?

The school bus with the most headroom currently on the market is made by GreenPower Motor Co. and offers 78 inches of interior space. The school bus with the least headroom is only 66 inches tall. 

How is a bus measured?

The weight of passenger trucks and buses is measured by a measuring instrument known as a scale. In many places, it is used to control the weight of vehicles such as passenger trucks and buses in order to ensure safety on the journey.


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