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Campervan Size Matters: How To Find The Perfect Fit

You’ve decided to convert a van to a camper, but you’re hesitant about committing to buying anything. With so many options available, finding a campervan size that’s perfect for you can be an absolute headache.

Nobody wants to have devoted oodles of time and money into their conversion, only to later realise that the darn thing isn’t the right size.

We know that you want the confidence to invest your time and money into converting the perfect camper van. So, in this post, we’ll help you understand which sized van will be the best for you.

A "Van For Sale" sign in the windscreen of a light blue VW T5

Below are 15 scenarios that can directly impact which sized van you might need. Each van size category then has a reliable list of each van size’s most prominent pros and cons.

These are based on our experiences and the honest reviews of other vanlifers about their camper van conversions.

Sound good?

Read on to figure out which size van will be best for you, so you can be self-assured that you’re making the right choice when it comes to finally buying your van!

Campervan Sizes

How are van sizes categorised? Good question! Stick with us while we try to explain.

We’ve seen a VW Transporter (like Vandercamp) categorised as a small panel van, a short wheelbase panel van, a medium panel van and a small campervan.

When one van potentially falls into five categories, it makes life a bit complicated. Not to mention that Transporters can also have a medium, high or pop top, which can push the Transporter into a “medium campervan” category.

And it’s not just the Transporter that does this. Ford Transit comes in 15 styles with different combinations of short, medium or long wheelbase as well as low, medium or high top roof.

I’m sure you’ll agree with us that it’s all a bit confusing. But here’s how we look at it:

A diagram showing the difference in size between a small, medium and long wheelbase camper van
Short/Medium/Long Wheelbase = S/M/LWB

As you can see, short and medium wheelbase vans are fairly similar, while the long wheelbase looks like a total monster truck in comparison!

The medium wheelbase pictured here is a shorter one, while some are actually quite a bit longer.

Because of this, in this post medium wheelbase vans sometimes share their pros and cons with short wheelbase vans, and at other times share them with long wheelbase vans.

Okay, before we get into the post, the final point is that some short wheelbase vans have high roofs, while some long wheelbase vans have medium ones. So this post is a general guide based on the height of vans pictured above.

If you really want us to write a post on every size, we will, but it’ll take you 50,000,000 hours to read.

Small Van

A small panel van and short wheelbase van (SWB) .

Approx outer length/height : 4.9m/1.9m

  • VW Transporter
  • Renault Traffic
  • Vauxhall Vivaro
A diagram showing the size of a short wheelbase camper van

Medium Van

A medium panel van is also known as a medium wheelbase van (MWB).

Approx outer length/height: 5.2m/2.4m

  • Renault Master
  • Vauxhall Movano
  • Ford Transit
A diagram showing the size of a medium wheelbase camper van

Large Van

A large panel van, also known as a long wheelbase van (LWB). It can also be extra LWB and/or extra high top.

Approx outer length/height: 6.4m+/2.7m+

  • Mercedes Sprinter
  • Volkswagen Crafter
  • Citroën Relay
A diagram showing the size of a long wheelbase camper van

Larger Vehicle

Any conversion that is bigger than an extra LWB or extra high top panel van.

  • Horse box/Cattle truck
  • Luton style van
  • Minibus/bus
Cattle truck outline sketch

NB: Any van smaller than a short wheelbase van will have similar pros and cons to short wheelbase and medium wheelbase vans.

Check out these Innovative Camper Layout Ideas to Inspire Your Camper Van Size.

How To Choose A Campervan Size

Here’s an overview of what we cover in this post. Each section covers the pros and cons for each vehicle size to help you decide which size will suit you best.

1. Time & Money

The time it takes to convert your camper van will depend entirely on how much time you have to give. Working every day on the conversion will finish the job quicker than only working weekends.

The times below assume that you’d dedicate the same amount of time to your conversion no matter what size campervan you get. Such as every weekend and three nights a week to your van.

Similarly to time, how much money you spend will depend on you. Still, the assumption here is that you’d be buying the same kinds of materials no matter which size van you have.

A watch on top of a spread of twenty pound notes

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • A smaller space means less work to do, which therefore means a faster conversion time.
  • Fewer materials are needed, which means a cheaper conversion.
  • Time-consuming design stage to make a clever, fully functional smaller space.
  • Restricted to buying appliances that fit rather than ones that suit your budget.

Long Wheelbase Van and Larger Vehicle:

  • More space means you don’t have to be as precise with your storage space design.
  • Can use a wider variety of materials and appliances.
  • More time will be required to convert any larger vehicle.
  • Converting a larger vehicle will also cost more, as more materials are needed.

2. Additional Passengers

Are you a solo traveller? Or a couple? Maybe you’ve got pets to be your road companions? Or perhaps you’ve even got some kids in tow?

Obviously, all passengers (either two-legged or four-legged) are going to need somewhere in your conversion to sleep. Alternatively, you can add extra space to your camper with an attachable tent.

All passengers need secure and legal seating. Installing additional seating in the back of your camper may restrict what you can do with the layout.

Consider permanent or convertible bed and seating arrangements.

The rear doors of a high top camper van are open to show a smiling family of five relaxing in their bunk beds

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Ideal for a solo traveller who will be making the journey alone.
  • Enough room for two! But you’ll be thankful for outdoor space to stretch in.
  • Not much room for a pet to have a comfortable long-term experience.
  • Interior space would be extremely cosy if there were kids involved.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Plenty of space for solo travellers, a couple or two friends.
  • Enough room for a furry friend or two to have a comfortable amount of space.
  • Would be able to fit kids, but everyone would be in close quarters.
  • Not great for sharing the space with older children or very large doggos.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Ample living space for single travellers, a couple, a family or friends.
  • Plenty of room to have enough comfortable space for (big or small) pets and children.
  • More passengers mean water and other supplies will be used up much quicker.
  • More wear and tear on your conversion if you’ve got more bodies moving around.

3. Storage Space

Larger vehicles appear to have a clear edge here. This is because there’s more room to store clothes, blankets, woollies, footwear, toiletries, hobby equipment, food and kitchen utensils, as well as bits and bobs discovered along the road.

The disadvantage of all this storage potential is that we tend to fill the space we have. As a result, you may end up packing far more than you need and collecting lots of unnecessary stuff on the road.

Although smaller vans have less storage space, it removes the temptation to hoard. You therefore only keep what’s necessary and keep your possessions minimal.

This mammoth campervan layout guide will help you incorporate your storage requirements into the layout and design of your campervan.

The rear doors are open in a campervan to show lots of storage bins and containers

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Room for a modest amount of clothes, as well as books and games.
  • Enough kitchen storage for basic utensils and food for a couple of weeks.
  • Not much room in the van for coats, bulky jumpers or extra blankets.
  • Extra storage, such as a roof pod, is required for additional items.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • More room for clothes and toiletries, rather than just having the bare essentials.
  • Space for bulky hobby equipment and free space to keep trinkets and keepsakes.
  • All vans have weight restrictions; being over this weight limit is unsafe and unlawful.
  • Storing items high up in the van will cause it to be unstable when driving.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Lots of room for clothes, toiletries, general storage and knickknacks.
  • Can make kitchen and living areas big enough to leave things out on the sides.
  • Even the largest vans and trucks will have weight restrictions.
  • More space may mean you end up collecting unnecessary junk and clutter.

4. Sleeping Arrangements

In a smaller van, the seats will usually have to be converted each night into a bed. In contrast, there’s space to keep the bed permanently set up in larger vans or large vehicles.

That being said, we have friends with a long wheelbase van who have a convertible bed as they like to have loads of space during the day.

The bed setup depends on various factors. Your height, the way you sleep (starfish, log or foetal!) and different sleep schedules to other people (can one of you stay up while the other is asleep?).

Campervan Bed And Seating: Is Permanent Or Convertible Superior?

A widthways platform bed with asmall permanent table and permanent seating in a camper van conversion

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Fold away beds give you more van space during the day.
  • Rock and roll beds are quick to install in your van and are then simple to pull out and set up.
  • Converting and making the bed every night can become a bit tiresome.
  • The duvet and pillows need to be stored somewhere during the day.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Plenty of space to have a permanent bed setup if you want one.
  • Lots of choice for bed setup: fixed/pullout/fold out/bunk etc.
  • A permanent bed may restrict the available space for a seating area.
  • Your height will determine whether the bed has to go length or widthways.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Enough room for permanent set up or separate “bedroom(s)”.
  • Possible to have multiple bed setups and sleeping arrangements.
  • More sleeping space means less living/kitchen/bathroom space.
  • Separate sleeping areas may require additional heating in the winter.

5. Onboard Facilities

If you don’t have room for an onboard shower, you can shower at campsites, some service stations or find a local gym and buy a day pass. Strip washes, portable showers or lake bathing can also keep you fresh.

Any used water will need storing in greywater tanks and disposed of properly. Consider using natural detergents/soaps/shampoos etc to reduce your impact on the environment.

Similarly, if you don’t have a toilet, you just need to watch public toilets or secluded bushes. And if you’re out in the country and need to poop, a distant bush and a shovel are your best options!

Make your “business” more sustainable by having an Eco Friendly Campervan Toilet.

7 Best Campervan Compost Toilets

A shower and toilet onboard a converted MErcedes Sprinter camper van

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Showering less means saving water, which is great for the planet!
  • We think it’s character-building learning to pee in the wilderness.
  • Having to pay for campsites/gym passes to have a proper shower.
  • Needing to relieve yourself outdoors isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • There’s enough space for a combined toilet and shower cubicle.
  • The shower cubicle can double up as somewhere to hang wet clothes.
  • Waste water from the showers needs to be properly disposed of.
  • Chemical toilet waste must be emptied at designated disposal points.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Plenty of space to have a toilet and shower on board.
  • Room enough to have a larger shower cubicle with plenty of room to wash.
  • Greywater from the shower needs to be properly collected and disposed of.
  • The toilet will need emptying at a correct and designated place.

6. Full Time

Your campervan conversion needs to be enjoyable for long term use. Something that’s a mild irritation in the short term may infuriate you when it’s a constant problem.

If you choose a smaller van, will you be able to cope long term with restricted space? If you choose a larger vehicle, how will you handle constant height or weight restrictions?

When using your campervan for short trips, your stuff can just be chucked in willy-nilly. On the other hand, living full time requires thoughtful planning, as everything needs its own space.

Need inspiration? Check out these creative camper layouts from real vanlifers.

A vanlife couple sitting on their widthways platform bed in their medium wheelbase campervan

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Less room means fewer possessions (a super pro for minimalists!)
  • Get creative with space-saving ideas as every inch of space is precious!
  • Not much wriggle room, especially if you’re cohabiting.
  • Restricted headroom (if you don’t have a high roof) means lots of stooping.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Larger, so much more room for essentials and possessions.
  • Room to stand up and move around, with more space on rainy days.
  • Layout will need careful consideration so your camper is practical and functional.
  • You’ll need clever storage solutions so everything has a home.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Total freedom of what elements to include in the conversion.
  • Plenty of room to include a shower and toilet, as well as permanent bed setup.
  • Height and/or weight restrictions on roads, parking and campsites.
  • Not very easy to nip to the shops for supplies, or collect gas and/or water.

7. Shorter Trips

Using your camper for shorter trips creates the issue of storing your campervan when you’re not using it. If you’re not lucky enough to have a big drive, then you might need to rent somewhere.

Smaller vans have more freedom to drive, park and stay but need setting up on arrival. On the other hand, larger vans and vehicles are more restricted but can be permanently set up.

Any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes requires a HGV license. However, getting this license costs time and money, so probably isn’t worth it for a couple of short trips a year.

A lady sits on a rock and roll bed in a T5 campervan while her three smiling children sit on the floor

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Easy to park or put into storage when not being used as a campervan.
  • Quick and easy to pack up and pack down for shorter trips.
  • If you get hooked and decide to go full-time, you may wish you’d got a bigger van.
  • You always seem to pack more for shorter trips, so storage space could be an issue.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Ample room for storage means being able to pack plenty of outfits for your holiday.
  • Can just throw things into your camper van and set off.
  • Over-packing can lead to chaos and mess in your camper.
  • Potential size and weight restrictions at campsites and caravan parks.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Enough room to stop inside your camper if it’s wet or cold.
  • Room to have friends/family stay in your camper with you.
  • Limited route planning as some roads will have height and weight restrictions.
  • Very restricted on where to stay as campsites have weight limits.

8. Hobby Equipment

Whether your hobby and sports interests include juggling, performing card tricks, kayaking, or surfing, your equipment needs somewhere to live in your camper van conversion.

For any size campervan, roof racks can offer plenty of space to store larger items. Still, the question is whether you’re happy to have your equipment permanently on display.

In larger vehicles, having a raised bed provides lots of under-bed storage. So anything from kayaks to mountain bikes can be kept safely inside your campervan.

A tmercedes sprinter long wheelbase van is parked up with surf boards and camping gear outside it.

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Storage space inside for smaller things like games/books/art supplies.
  • External storage solutions available for most sporting equipment (e.g. bike rack).
  • No space inside for larger items such as bikes, surfboard, canoes etc.
  • Restricted roof space if you’re also installing solar panels.

Long Wheelbase Van and Larger Vehicle

  • More space inside for hobby equipment, including larger items.
  • Enough space to store a multitude of hobby equipment. (E.g. kayaks AND bikes!)
  • More stuff means potential weight issues. Correct weight distribution is crucial for safety.
  • Large equipment stored inside the van will encroach on the living space.

9. Onboard Office

If you’re planning on working remotely from your van, you’ll need space somewhere to work comfortably.

Having a designated work area doesn’t necessarily mean needing a large van conversion. For example, the table we have designed in Vandercamp has ample room for us to work on our laptops simultaneously.

Unless you have a huge camper, the work area will probably double up as the dining area. In a small van, it’ll need folding away completely once you’ve finished working.

Here’s 15 Fabulous Camper Table Ideas that are sure to fire up your imagination.

A man sat in a swivel passenger seat, working on his laptop in his converted campervan

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • There are many table options available to create a useable workspace.
  • Having a fold-out/pull out table means that your work area is easily set up.
  • The table area has to be cleared whenever you need the space for something else.
  • Although the space accommodates two people, it can be a little cramped.

Long Wheelbase Van and Larger Vehicle

  • More room inside your camper to create a spacious work area.
  • Ample room for two people to work simultaneously.
  • There may not be room for a permanent desk setup.
  • If your table/desk is the bed base, you’ll need the same sleep/work pattern as others.

10. Stealth Camping

The winding road can lead us to many places. Sometimes you’ll be camping in the countryside, while at other times, you’ll need to camp up near (or in!) a city.

At these times, it’s best to not stick out like a sore thumb, so you can get a good night’s sleep without being moved along by the locals or authorities.

If you think that you’ll be doing some urban camping, then stealth is the key. No matter what size your campervan is, if it’s plastered in stickers, then you’ll likely draw more attention.

Ensure you have fresh air and stay cool with these stealthy Campervan Ventilation Ideas.

A campervan in a shopping car park at sunset

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Smaller vans are easy to park so it will be easier to find somewhere to stealthily camp.
  • Panel vans are common so as long as you blend in, you’re more likely to go unnoticed.
  • External storage can give away that your van is actually a camper.
  • Opening the doors to create space to assemble the bed may draw attention.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • If your LWB camper was formerly a panel van, you could still blend into urban settings.
  • Room inside to assemble the bed (if not permanent) without opening the doors.
  • Potentially difficult to park and hide down smaller streets.
  • Fairly conspicuous. Residents may keep a closer eye on an unfamiliar vehicle.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Luton type campervans will not seem out of place in an urban setting.
  • A self contained setup means you can stay inside, so you don’t attract attention.
  • Cattle trucks/horseboxes will draw a lot of attention because they are out of place.
  • Residents are far more likely to keep a close eye on large, unfamiliar vehicles.

11. Wild Camping

If you plan on going into the wild, your camper needs to be fully equipped with all the essentials.

Your camper will need its own power source (such as solar panels), a leisure battery, and plenty of gas for cooking and/or heating. Additionally, you will need to carry plenty of drinking water.

Suppose you plan on living off-grid for the majority of your time on the road. In that case, you will need ample space for these essentials. You don’t want to run out of anything while out in the wilderness!

A campervan parked up for the night off grid in a wood

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Large capacity for gas and water by installing underslung tanks.
  • Room on the roof for a decent-sized solar panel to provide power to the leisure battery.
  • Not much space for greywater tanks – greywater needs properly disposing of.
  • Not much additional storage space in the campervan for emergency drinking water.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Plenty of space underneath the van for underslung gas and water tanks.
  • Room for large greywater tanks which don’t need emptying as often.
  • Water from the shower will fill greywater tanks quickly.
  • The onboard toilet will need to be properly disposed of regularly.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Ample space for large water and LPG tanks, either onboard or underslung.
  • Enough room for large solar panels and greywater tanks.
  • Water from the shower will fill greywater tanks quickly.
  • The onboard toilet will need to be properly disposed of regularly.

Here are the 7 Best Campervan Composting Toilets For An Eco Friendly Off-Grid Vanlife – no nasty chemicals or worries about finding a disposal point.

12. Different Adventures

Do you know what kind of travelling you’ll be doing? Will you be sticking to main roads, or will you want to venture onto the path less travelled?

Adventuring off main roads is more likely to involve manoeuvring down tight streets. You’ll complete some three (or maybe five!) point turns, and squeeze into little hidden spaces to camp for the night.

In addition, venturing onto different paths may mean encountering some bumpy terrain or possibly some height or weight restrictions.

A smiling man sitting in the sunshine outside his camperva conversion, with a view of the beach and the mountains

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Can tackle nearly any road type and less likely to get stuck in narrow streets.
  • With a reversing camera, you’ll wiggle in or out of nearly any tight spot.
  • Your van will still struggle if the road is SUPER tiny and tight.
  • Addition of roof rack or roof storage could cause height restrictions.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Tackles any large road or motorway with complete ease.
  • Comfortable to drive on most road types and rougher /bumpier streets.
  • May experience problems on some height-restricted roads.
  • Not easy to perform 3 point turns or manoeuvre out of a trouble spot.

Larger Vehicle:

  • No restrictions (other than speed) to drive on motorways and other major roads.
  • Other vehicles will generally move out of your way on country roads.
  • You’ll be more restricted to which roads you can travel on.
  • Hard to manoeuvre or turn around if you get stuck somewhere.

13. Super Hot

When travelling anywhere crazy hot, there’s always going to be the issue of keeping cool. This problem is increased ten-fold when you’re travelling in a van!

Getting hot and bothered while travelling can be a nightmare – especially at night if you can’t sleep with the doors open to allow a breeze to travel through.

If you’re travelling with furry friends on board, if it’s scorching outside, then your camper will get hot, even if you have amazing insulation.

Therefore, it’s crucial to have ventilation in your campervan – here’s everything you need to know.

A couple standing on top of their campervan on a sunny beach with palm trees along it.

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • If you’re a couple, there’s not enough space to sleep splayed out.
  • Not much storage space to carry electric fans around.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • Larger storage spaces, meaning room for electric fans/AC units.
  • If you’re a couple, there’s enough room to sleep spread out.
  • Even with larger storage areas, you may not have room for electric fans.
  • Installing more windows for ventilation will restrict usable wall space.

Larger Vehicle:

  • More air circulating around a larger space will keep your campervan cooler.
  • Plenty of space to spread out from others and to carry electric fans.
  • Installing more windows for ventilation will restrict usable wall space.
  • More passengers in your camper will create more heat.

Polyvision campervan windows are perfect for hot climates.

14. Super Cold

While you need to keep cool in hot climates, you need to keep warm in cold ones! So you’ll either need additional storage space inside your conversion for extra clothes, woollies and blankets, or you’ll need external storage, like a roof box.

After a day of exploring, you’re more likely to spend time in your van in the evenings (unless you’re a fan of freezy dinner parties). So, your camper needs to be a comfortable space to spend time in.

A huge advantage of having a long wheelbase (or larger) campervan conversion is the space to include a fixed heater or a wood-burning stove.

Why a Propex Campervan Heater is the best way of staying warm in any campervan.

A campervan parked under some pine trees which are thick with snow

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • Will heat up quickly, especially after you’ve boiled the kettle, cooked a meal or blasted the heater.
  • If you’re travelling as a couple, the body heat from two of you will heat the campervan a bit.
  • Not much room to store warm winter clothes. Additional roof storage needed.
  • Pulling out the bed sometimes involves opening the door and letting heat escape.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • More space for storing winter clothes and warm blankets.
  • Having a permanent bed setup means being able to jump straight into bed.
  • Still somewhat restricted as to how much bulky clothing you can fit in storage.
  • If you don’t have an onboard toilet, you’ll still need to go into the cold to pee.

Larger Vehicle:

  • A good deal of space to store warm clothes, blankets and heaters.
  • Onboard toilet and permanent beds mean not having to venture out into the cold.
  • A larger area inside the campervan will potentially take longer to heat
  • Only heating one area of your rig may mean still feeling the cold when you go to bed.

15. Extra Space

An additional tent that attaches to your camper can offer you even more space. For example, you can create an extra seating area, a kitchen or even a sleeping area.

You can either get tents that require your van to stay in place or a drive-away tent you can leave set up as you go off to explore.

However, don’t rely on the additional space if you plan to do any wild camping, as you won’t be able to set it up. They can only be set up if you’re on a proper campsite.

Pop top roofs, drive away awnings and roof tents are great ways of expanding your living space.

A short wheelbase campervan sits in a field with a drive away awning attached to the side.

Short or Medium Wheelbase Van:

  • You’ll have more room to stretch your legs if it’s rainy outside and you don’t want to get wet.
  • Being able to create any additional space is always a bonus in a smaller van.
  • The tent needs to be stored in the van; if you can’t use it then it’ll be in the way.
  • If it’s cold, you might not want to use the extra space anyway, because it’ll be chilly!

Long Wheelbase Vans and Larger Vehicles:

  • Extra space is always handy, especially if you’ve got lots of people on board.
  • It could be used as an additional bedroom if you’ve got someone staying with you.
  • Probably a waste of money if you’ve got a big rolling home.
  • Most of the common ones only attach onto certain sized panel vans.

How to Prevent Costly Mistakes

If you’ve never been away in a campervan, why not hire one to get a feel for what it’s like?

Hire one that’s similar to whatever you have in mind for your own conversion. Something that matches your requirements will give you an idea of how a camper could work for you. 

Although there are many campervan hire companies in the UK, we highly recommend Quirky Campers. Their campers are uniquely designed, beautifully crafted and well maintained by their passionate owners.

Additionally, they are all handcrafted and filled with personal touches, which could help fire up your imagination.

Quirky Campers Logo

See what Quirky Campers have to offer and book your camper van trip today.

But be warned… it will spark a vanlife addiction!

Still Unsure?

The points above should give you plenty to think about before deciding what size camper van will work best for you.

But if you’re still unsure, here is a summary of what we think are the main pros and cons of each size camper van:

Short or Medium Wheelbase Vans:

  • Its compact size means it’s easy to drive, manoeuvre, park and explore tiny roads.
  • Easy to pop to the shops and can fit in a standard parking space.
  • No worries about weight limits or height restrictions on roads.
  • Having less storage space means you’re less likely to over-pack or hoard possessions.
  • It’s quick and easy to pack up your things and move from one place to the next.
  • On cooler days and evenings, your campervan will heat up quickly and keep warm.
  • Generally more inconspicuous, meaning you have more choice about where to camp.
  • You can’t stand up inside (unless you have a pop-top or a high top roof).
  • Restricted storage space means being able to carry large equipment or anything bulky.
  • It can become tiresome to keep having to put the bed up every night.
  • Needing to use valuable storage space to store the duvet during the day.
  • No space for an onboard toilet or shower – need to find facilities.
  • If you’re tall, or have any physical restrictions you may be cramped/uncomfortable.
  • Not necessarily the cheapest, as the base vehicle (i.e. VWs) are expensive.

Long Wheelbase Van:

  • They’re fairly easy to drive on the majority of roads and able to tackle some tight spots.
  • More storage space in the van for clothes, kitchenware and essentials.
  • Can design space to fit hobby equipment underneath a raised bed.
  • A larger space means more room to fit big or bulky hobby/sports equipment.
  • On warmer days and evenings, doors and windows can be open to allow a breeze.
  • Space to fit an onboard toilet and a shower into the layout design.
  • Enough space in the campervan to include a wood-burner.
  • It can take time to get used to driving something this size if you’re not used to it.
  • Unable to squeeze down some tiny roads or country lanes.
  • It won’t fit in standard car parking bays – needs double spaces.
  • Will have issues with height restrictions on some car parks.
  • Potential to go over the weight limit by filling the campervan with furniture and supplies.
  • Larger van conversion may cost more in build materials.
  • It could be harder to find stealthy camping spots to fit in.

Larger Vehicle:

  • Room to accommodate several passengers (with two legs or four) if needed.
  • Ample room to include a variety of elements into the conversion.
  • Space to have a wood burning stove so can always keep warm and toasty.
  • Plenty of room to pack lots of clothes, toiletries and hobby equipment.
  • Enough room inside to carry all your creature comforts with you.
  • Total freedom when it comes to designing the layout because there’s so much space.
  • Potential to live off-grid for considerable lengths of time, even full-time.
  • Require a separate license which takes a lot of time and money to achieve.
  • Difficult to use as a run-around vehicle and hard to use for popping to the shops.
  • It won’t fit in a standard parking space and may not fit in some car parks.
  • More frequently affected by weight or height limits on some roads.
  • Difficult to manoeuvre around small streets and country lanes.
  • Higher cost for the base vehicle and for the conversion itself.
  • Creating a blank canvas (ie in a minibus) can add time and money on to your conversion.


Phew! What a lot of information! Thanks for taking the time to stick with us to the end!

We hope you’re feeling super confident about which campervan size will work best for you. Now, when you’re hunting for the perfect base vehicle, you’ll have a much clearer idea about what you need.

Then, when you convert your camper, you can be happy knowing that you’ll have the most fantastic campervan conversion that’s the perfect size for you.

Okay! So you know which size van will best suit your needs, it’s time to crack open the auto trader and start hunting for your perfect base vehicle. Exciting times!

Once you’ve bought a base vehicle, read our layout post to design the perfect layout for you. And once you’ve completed that, you’ll need to start building it.

Read How To Build Your Dream Campervan Conversion In Just 5 Stages.

Happy hunting!

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