Why are small campers so expensive?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why are small campers so expensive? We will discuss the pros and cons of owning a small camper, and do our best to explain why their prices are so high. 

Why are small campers so expensive?

Small campers are expensive due to their manoeuvrability and ease of driving – this is the greatest advantage of small-sized campers. On the motorway, you appreciate the limited dimensions when overtaking, but it is above all off the main roads that small campers prove to be successful.

There are several reasons for choosing a small camper:

  • There are all types of small campers, with the most varied shapes and with different prices: not only the so-called vans (the converted vans or “pure campers”) but also many semi-integrated compacts and even coach-built and motorhomes.
  •  In the mountains, in the countryside and even in the city, the length makes the difference, but let’s not forget manoeuvres in confined spaces, for example in campsites and in equipped areas for campers. 
  • And what about the parking lots? Parking a long RV can be difficult, but parking a small RV is simple. The term “small” is relative and there is a lot of difference between the small campers of the latest generation and the small campers of the past.
  • Over the years, in fact, the driver’s cabs have lengthened, the nose has become more protruding, but the passenger compartment has also grown to offer more comfort: longer beds, more comfortable sofas, larger bathrooms and kitchens. 

Once 6 meters long was an average size, today all small campers are about 6 meters long, apart from some camperized vans that go below this limit.

More reasons to choose a small camper

Reason #1: Small camper = car + camper (+ van) = savings

A full-fledged van can replace the family car as if it were a minivan. And also function as a camper (if you accept some compromise of comfort).

So by buying a van you typically go to save compared to the typical combination of car (maybe 2) + camper (typically parked in the garden or in a paid garage). And you even have a van, should you need it!

In addition to the lower expense for the purchase of the car that the van replaces, it also means less road tax and insurance costs. With a van that replaces the family car, you are going to save at least 1000 euros a year.

If “adventure camping” is the reason why you have decided to buy a camper, the van is the answer. With a van you can afford the mountain lanes, medieval hamlets, busy towns and woodland trails that are forbidden to a traditional, albeit compact, motorhome.

If for you camper means “adventure, nature, travel” rather than “second mobile home” if you gladly give up a little comfort for the freedom to go wherever you want, the van is your camper.

Reason #2: Freedom of movement

The van is unbeatable on the road. The automotive performance of a small camper is unmatched for even the best motorhome. The reason is the size, the wheelbase, in general, how it fits on the road.

So, even if “adventure camping” is not what you are interested in, a van is still easier to drive, faster, consumes less, and can be parked more easily. In short, travelling is unbeatable.

A camper that one likes for its road performance and for its ease of driving. And no special licenses: driving a small camper is almost like driving a minivan.

Reason #3: Ease of driving and safety

A small camper is more robust and safer. One aspect perhaps overlooked in the decision between a van and a traditional camper is safety in the event of an accident.

A van is intrinsically more robust and therefore safe for passengers: in fact, the body is the steel one of the van from driving. It is decidedly more solid than the fibre or aluminium solutions that are mounted on an external platform as happens in most traditional campers.

Reason #4: Lower costs

The sturdiness of the steel body of a small camper for greater safety and lower repair costs. If it is true that top campers like the Carthago are robust despite their lightness, it remains that a van is damaged less and more difficult. And that repairs certainly cost less.

Small campers: which ones to choose

Of all the small campers, the most compact and manageable ones are vans transformed into campers (in jargon they are called “pure campers” or “vans”), which are generally based on Fiat Ducato and have three reference lengths: 541 cm, 599 cm and 636 cm. 

The most spacious is the motorhomes, which do not have the original cabin of the van and therefore are wider in front and offer a drop-down bed that does not interfere with the dining area, as well as the over cabs that have an additional bed always available in the attic that protrudes. above the cabin.

However, there are few small campers belonging to the motorhome type on the market: those from Hymer are certainly of interest (in the B-DL and Exsis ranges).

Much more popular, on the other hand, are the compact semi-integrated, which are small campers (length 599 cm) perfect for two people, but which can offer up to four seats with the additional fold-down bed.

Small campers prices: is it worth buying them?

Anyone who has already bought a van camper knows well that the purchase made and the higher cost paid is agreed upon. The problem is that there are many campers who are still undecided whether to switch from a traditional camper to a van, and the main reason is the price. 

But compared to what, are the prices of van motorhomes higher? and above all why, if the prices are really higher, is this higher cost justified? We write this article precisely to answer these two questions, as they often find generic answers that do not consider fundamental things.

Prices vary according to needs. Every camper knows well that to choose a vehicle in the right way, you have to do it thinking about your needs and not those of friends who offer free and often little requested advice. 

Even the cost of a camper changes according to your needs, an example is the difference in the use of the same. Let’s say you buy a vehicle to make a few outings a year and in places close to your residence with a family of 3. 

In this case, the price spent to purchase the vehicle also changes because you can opt for models that have fewer accessories, or perhaps that are used but in good condition. A married couple without children could easily save on the purchase price by choosing a smaller motorhome and not a motorhome similar to that of their friends. 

Personal needs change the perception of price during the purchase, and therefore why are the prices of pure campers considered higher? Taller than what?

Final thoughts

In summary, a smaller camper can replace the family car as if it were a minivan. And also function as a camper (if you accept some compromise of comfort). So by buying a van you typically go to save compared to the typical combination of the car (maybe 2) + camper (typically parked in the garden or in a paid garage). 

And you even have a van, should you need it! In addition to the lower expense for the purchase of the car that the van replaces, it also means less road tax and insurance costs. With a van that replaces the family car, you are going to save at least 1000 dollars a year.

Do you agree with us? Let us know whether you are interested in acquiring a small camper, or if you have any questions about the content. 

FAQ on Why are small campers so expensive?

When is the best time to buy a camper?

The best time to buy a camper is at the end of the tourist season and during clearance periods. This is the time when the supply is surplus and buyers have a wide choice of models and brands. For used vehicles, it is easier to negotiate the selling price

What budget for a first motorhome?

More generally, a good new integral motorhome with good equipment will have a price set between 60,000 and 100,000 dollars.

What are the disadvantages of a camper?

On the downside, living in a small space means that there is little privacy, and hello dirt! In motorhomes, the pace is generally less. We delay more on the journey and we also lose a lot of time for maintenance and daily tasks (emptying, cooking, cleaning, etc.)

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