Last Updated on 03/31/2024 by Glynn Willard




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Best Class B RV For Family Of Four

 
Recently, we sold our travel trailer and began the search for a campervan that sleeps 4 (comfortably).

We were coming from a well-built travel trailer with bunk beds, a separate bedroom, and a dinette area.

How are we going to fit all of us comfortably in such a compact size?

If your search for the right class B van for your family is like ours, read on and perhaps we can help guide you through our experience.
 

 

A Camping Style For The Entire Family

 

Each family member might have a different opinion of what camping should be.


 
It’s important to understand the camping vision each family member has when narrowing your choices.

Despite the improvement of campervans in recent years, they are still cramped for a family.

With that in mind, how do you want to use your van?

How does your significant other plan on using the van?

Finally, do your kids have a completely different idea of camping than you do?

You may all have different needs and a different vision.

Make sure you know these answers before falling down the “campervan rabbit hole” in deciding the best RV for you.
 

Class B RV Considerations For The Whole Family

 

 
When it comes to the smaller size of a campervan, your standard features all become similar.

There were several exterior and interior features that we were after.
 

  • A floor plan that allowed each family member a place to sit comfortably.
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  • A wet bath. However, we reconsidered this after driving a Storyteller Stealth Mode. More on that later.
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  • Good fuel efficiency (for a van) for long trips. Hey, we were coming from 11 mpg of diesel towing a trailer.
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  • A van chassis that could be easily serviced anywhere in the country.
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  • A galley kitchen since we cook all our meals “at home.”
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  • Some kind of Murphy bed that opened more space when not in use.
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  • Since we were starting over, we wanted to learn the ins and outs of having lithium batteries. We were used to the solar panel and deep cycle setup in our last RV.
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  • Gravity-fed freshwater tank fill. Why? It’s not always possible to connect a hose when you need to add water.
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  • Some level of insulation. One of the class B models we looked at really excelled in this department. Read on to see which one.
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  • A sleeping area for each person. We have a workaround if there are only two beds.
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  • We were on the fence as to whether a pop-up roof would be a good option. Pros and cons!
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  • Safety features that included a shoulder belt for both boys. Lap-based seat belts are not enough.
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  • The largest freshwater, black, and gray water tanks possible.
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  • We were avoiding a cassette toilet, but not entirely opposed if necessary.
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  • A tankless water heater to save on space and water usage.
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  • A van that could second as a daily driver if necessary with better gas mileage than class A motorhomes.
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  • A GVWR under 10,000 lbs for a lower registration expense in our home-based state.

 

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Our Top Picks For Class B Vans That Sleep A Family

 
When we were shopping for our Class B van after leaving the world of travel trailers, we were teetering back and forth between Class C motorhomes and Class B vans.

Yes, a class C is much better suited for a family, BUT not nearly as agile as a van.

And we intended to only go out on part-time trips.

So, we decided to look at several Class B’s, drive a few, and “play house” in them before narrowing down the most suitable (for four of us).

This list is in no particular order.
 

  • Storyteller Stealth Mode

     

    Storyteller Stealth

    We really wanted to make this work!


     
    We really liked the Storyteller! We considered and test-drove a used Stealth since a new one was outside our budget.
     
    The thought that kept going through our minds: How do we make this work?
     

    What we loved:

     

    1. The insulation in the van was outstanding (for a van).
    2.  

    3. A high-end battery system with 1200 amp hours.
    4.  

    5. The seats for the boys converted into a second bed easily.
    6.  

    7. Every component in the van was high-quality.
    8.  

    9. A lifted 4×4 van fits our style of boondocking off the beaten path.
    10.  

    11. Shoulder belts for both of the kid’s seats.
    12.  

    13. The Storyteller Stealth is very agile and fits in regular parking spaces.
    14.  

    15. The main bed was easy to set up and very comfortable as is.
    16.  

    17. A large enough standing desk for two people.
    18.  

    19. Aesthetically, Storyteller makes a very cool looking campervan.

     

    The interior of the Storyteller is solid!


     

    What we didn’t like:

     

    1. We were okay with a cassette toilet, but it was not our first choice.
    2.  

    3. The ride was really rough on the KO2 tires with upgraded suspension.
    4.  

    5. There is almost no living space in the van.
    6.  

    7. The boys would have to sit as close together as two high school lovebirds on road trips.
    8.  

    9. Twenty-one gallons of fresh water is not much for a family of four.
    10.  

    11. I’m not so sure I was excited to return to a diesel engine that required DEF.
    12.  

    13. No gravity-fed freshwater intake. Although the new models have a cool siphon feature.
    14.  

    15. Being built on a Mercedes Sprinter Chassis meant it would be more difficult to find service centers.
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  • Winnebago Solis 59PX

     
    Winnebago Solis 59PX
     
    This was the first van we considered when we decided to jump down the class B van rabbit hole.

    I guess you could say, it set the standard, but not for long.
     

    What we loved:

     

    1. Shoulder belts for both of the boys.
    2.  

    3. A really good amount of cargo and storage space.
    4.  

    5. The pop top adding a second private bedroom for one of our boys.
    6.  

    7. A gasoline engine on a chassis that can be serviced almost anywhere super-duty trucks are serviced.

     

    What we didn’t like.

     

    1. Again, a cassette toilet was not our first choice.
    2.  

    3. A lot of the plumbing was run on the underside of the van exposed to the elements.
    4.  

    5. The construction of the interior space was shoddy and the materials used were sub-par.
    6.  

    7. I really didn’t want a generator that required oil changes. Its location on the undercarriage also limited the terrain we could go over.
    8.  

    9. A small freshwater tank does not go far for a family of four.
    10.  

    11. No gravity-fed freshwater intake.
    12.  

    13. No plumbing connections on the exterior of the van. In other words, the rear doors need to remain open when attached to city water.
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  • ModVans MH1

     

    Photo credit: ModVans.com


     
    This would be a stretch and require some serious financing. Honestly, I did not want to walk down that path or wipe out our budget for travel.

    But we did correspond back and forth with the CEO and couldn’t believe the level of customer service. Better than most!

    I expect to see big things come from this company!
     

    What we loved:

     

    1. Their vans are well insulated.
    2.  

    3. The use of space is better thought out than most with some very unique features.
    4.  

    5. It’s built on the 4×4 Ford Transit chassis, making for easy service calls.
    6.  

    7. Battery placement is more like an electric floor dispersed under the whole floor. This could be viewed as a future problem though.
    8.  

    9. The pop-top is enormous, creating the open feeling of bigger RVs.
    10.  

    11. All of the interior is built with high-quality components and shows real craftsmanship.

     

    What we didn’t like:

     

    1. This is only relevant to us and those in our region, but a semi-custom van builder on the opposite side of North America makes it difficult.
    2.  

    3. We would still be dealing with a cartridge toilet for a whole family.
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  • Roadtrek Zion Slumber

     
    Roadtrek Zion Slumber
     
    When we were looking at the Storyteller, the salesperson showed us the option of a Roadtrek Zion Slumber.

    We liked it, but the rear seats were not forward-facing for the boys.

    We didn’t realize that a forward-facing bench seat version was available, so we dismissed it as a non-option.
     

    What we loved:

     

    1. It had the largest freshwater tank we’d found in a van (37 gallons).
    2.  

    3. Shoulder belts for both boys on the back bench seat.
    4.  

    5. The pop-top is large and comfortable.
    6.  

    7. The interior construction was better than Winnebago, but not as good as Storyteller or ModVans.
    8.  

    9. A 600 amp hour lithium battery system with solar and an additional oversized alternator for recharging.
    10.  

    11. Having a wet bath is still nice when the whole family needs to bathe.
    12.  

    13. Using a Ram Promaster 3500 as the chassis means easy service.
    14.  

    15. Despite the interior being loud when driving, it’s a very smooth, “minivan-like” ride.
    16.  

    17. It has a built-in macerator for easy dumping. Or should I say, more options for dumping?

     

    What we didn’t like:

     

    1. The black tank is only 8.5 gallons.
    2.  

    3. The lithium battery management is complicated.
    4.  

    5. Retracting steps that open and close with the opening of the side and front doors. I see this as a future mechanical problem.
    6.  

    7. Sub-par insulation for the caliber of RV manufacturer.
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  • Winnebago Revel

     
    ​Before we looked at the Storyteller, we were intrigued by the Winnebago Revel.

    Once we got inside the van, we felt like we were in a Solis.

    It didn’t take us long to realize this would not work for our small family.
     

    What we loved:

     

    1. I’m all for a 4×4 lifted van to accommodate our style of camping (remote dispersed camping outside National Parks).
    2.  

    3. The look of the van is very appealing to the whole family.
    4.  

    5. A private wet bath.

     

    What we didn’t like:

     

    1. The bench seat with lap belts was an instant deal-breaker for the Revel.
    2.  

    3. Again (and again), the cassette toilet was not appealing.
    4.  

    5. The freshwater tank could have been a lot bigger.
    6.  

    7. A rough ride for long trips.
    8.  

    9. A Mercedes Sprinter Chassis means difficult to find service centers when traveling part-time.

 

Class B Vans That DID NOT Make The Cut

 
The following vans started out on the “explore list,” but were quickly dismissed based on either price, standard features, or availability.
 

  • Pleasure-Way Tofino

     
    A fairly new used Tofino was an instant “no” when we realized it doesn’t have a bathroom.
    ​ 

  • Coachmen Galleria

     
    This was doable if we slept our youngest with us in bed and used a Luno air mattress in the cab.

    It checked a lot of our boxes, but I wasn’t too keen on a dually van with more tires to replace.
     

  • Jayco Swift

     
    We stepped in and right out of one of these because the quality was too low for the price.
     

  • Thor Motor Coach Tellaro

     

    This was definitely not the one!


     
    Just like the Jayco, we toured a 2023 and walked out because we found it to be of poor quality for the price.

 

 

Which Of These Tiny Recreational Vehicles Did We Choose?

 

Roadtrek Zion Slumber

Our new Zion Slumber in the driveway!


 
Drum roll, please!

Our new van life begins with a 2023 Roadtrek Zion Slumber built on a 2022 Ram Promaster chassis!

Do I believe the Roadtrek is one of the best class B motorhomes?

No, but it was our best option because it checked the most boxes.

We’ll put one of the boys in the pop-top and use a Luna air mattress for the front cab for our youngest.

We’re still getting used to the systems, especially the battery management system.

But so far, so good. As time passes, I’ll write a full review article for the Roadtrek Zion Slumber.

Which campervan do you think is best suited for your family?
 
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