Home Buying a Motorhome Your Motorhome. How Big is Too big?

Your Motorhome. How Big is Too big?

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Your Motorhome. How Big is Too big?

The rule is simple: You should strive to have the smallest van you can happily live with. 

Why? Well smaller vans are often cheaper to run, can be much easier to drive, easier to tour, with better, more spontaneous touring, much easier to park and pitch, and so much less stressful when travelling down those middle-of nowhere narrow-lanes toward country CL’s with tight turns into narrow gates.

So what is this smallest van? Well someones small can be another’s massive. I know a couple with a 10.97m (36ft) long American RV with two full wall slide-outs. It’s designed to accommodate just two people. This couple would never dream of going smaller. If you ask them why they are not in a 40 footer, (12.19m) they’ll tell you it’s because that is too long! So 36ft, which most would describe as impossibly long, is their comfortable, it’s as small as they want to go.

Go as small as you can happily live with.

Many people, when choosing their first van, get seduced by the size. They look at large vans and are amazed. Ample interiors, full-size fridges, look at all that kitchen worktop, fixed beds, sumptuous bathrooms and lockers galore. The dealers words ringing in their ears, And you can drive this one on a car licence, sir. You can’t fail to be impressed, you want one, but something nags at you, isn’t it just a little too big?

You step out of the big van and into something smaller and you are immediately unimpressed, cramped quarters, tiny bathroom, small kitchen, bed that needs to be made up at night, very few lockers. And it’s nearly the same price as that bigger van. No, the bigger van is so much nicer.

I often say that immediately prior to van hunting, someone should spend a week in a tent. 

Because if they did; even the smallest, cheapest and most modest motorhome would appear like a palace. Sadly, the reverse is also true, if you spend time in a friends palace of a motorhome, or you look at lots of big vans at a dealer’s showroom, that smaller motorhome will feel pokey and you won’t want it.

The fact is though, most just don’t need all of that space, often spending as much time sat outside their van as in it. Your van should be just big enough.

Things Change, Times Change

My perfect motorhome used to be 34ft long, (That Georgie Boy Landau, in the title picture) but back then we toured with three kids who we were home educating. We had a big family dog too.We really needed that space and I remember at one time we even contemplated going bigger.

These days 6m is perfect. Now there are only two of us. We like to drive in cities, as well as really get off beaten track. 6m really suits us. A layout that compliments our lifestyle means we’re more than happy. Would an extra half metre and a bigger bathroom or kitchen be nice? It would. But that extra half a metre can be a killer when looking to park in a city. If I go to 7 or 8m I need somewhere that I can safely park my rear axle overhang, or I need a dedicated large vehicle space. We can live with the compromise of being just 6m, for us going bigger is just not worth it.

If you can live with a 6m van, then get one, you will have a go-anywhere vehicle you can park anywhere. If it’s just too small and you need something bigger, only go as big as you really need to go. But, and I’ll repeat the rule. Get the smallest van you can happily live with.

I’m not saying that 8m+ vans cannot go touring, we know they can, we’ve toured in much bigger, but don’t think that going from 7.5m to 8.5 won’t make much of a difference, it makes a considerable difference and can get you into some scrapes (literally) It would be a shame to drag around that extra 1m for thousands of miles if you didn’t really need it.

So this weeks tip. Keep your van as small as possible; go big only if you really need to. (Or really want to!)