Campervans, Motorhomes and RVs – What's the Difference?

Campervans, Motorhomes and RVs – What's the Difference?

by Scottish Tourer May 10, 2022

Campervans, motorhomes and RVs. Same thing, right? Well, not quite... 

It’s true that all have four wheels, a steering wheel, are drivable and are made for living in, but there are some unique differences that set these three mobile homes apart.  

If you’re interested in campervan hire in Scotland or purchasing a new motorhome or RV, it’s worth getting to grips with the differences between them to ensure you choose the option that suits you best.

Read this comprehensive guide for some helpful tips and explanations on the differences between a campervan, a motorhome and an RV. 


Campervan hire in Scotland Scottish Tourer fleet


What is a campervan?  

Think of campervans as the youngest brother of the three.  

Campervans are generally smaller in size compared to motorhomes. Unlike motorhomes and RVs, a campervan is a converted van that has been transformed into a living space. Usually, a campervan is designed around an existing panel van body, with the back part of the van being redesigned to offer a bed, a cooking area, a small living space and other personal touches.

Most of the time campervans will not have a toilet on board (although it is possible to do).  

The most famous example of a campervan is the classic VW model. Picture hippies, the 60s and music festivals, and you have an idea of what a campervan is.

In more recent times, campervan crazes have skyrocketed in popularity, with more and more people choosing to convert all types of vans into a home on wheels. See the DIYCampervan guide for tips on how to convert a van into a campervan. 


traditional VW campervan

What are the benefits of a campervan?  

Despite being smaller and offering limited space, campervans have a lot of benefits that make them a highly attractive option for solo travellers and van life aspirers.  

Let’s have a look at the top-selling points of campervans in more detail.  


Campervans are easier to drive 

Due to their smaller size, campervans are more agile and easier to manoeuvre compared to motorhomes and RVs. When you spend most, if not all of your time on the road, you want a van that is easy to drive (and park).  

When it comes to driving a campervan in Scotland, this is even more of an important issue. The lure of the Scottish Highlands is high up on many traveller’s lists, but Scottish country roads are often small, narrow and a wee bit bumpy.

Having a campervan instead of a large motorhome or RV will allow you to access more secluded spots and experience Scotland off the beaten track. 


Campervans cost less 

Campervans tend to be cheaper in a number of departments.

Buying a ready-made campervan will more than likely be cheaper than buying a well-conditioned motorhome, and certainly cheaper than an RV.  

You also have the cost-effective option of building your own campervan. This is not possible when it comes to motorhomes or RVs. 

Finally, fuel consumption and energy use tend to be lower in a campervan. Due to their size, they need less fuel than motorhomes and RVs. The same goes for energy, as campervans will have less facilities and far fewer luxuries there will be less reliance on gas and electricity.  

Although a campervan life is definitely more basic than life in a motorhome or RV, it is also cheaper. This is part and parcel of the attraction of living in a campervan or opting for campervan hire.   

All that being said, classic VW campervans are very much in vogue these days and can go for extremely high prices when in good condition. After all, there is always an exception to the rule! 


Campervans have better access 

As well as being easier to drive and manoeuvre on the roads, campervans also allow for better access when it comes to parking spots and campsites.

Many campsites won’t allow motorhomes or RVs as they are simply not big enough to accommodate them. Often you will find smaller, independently run campsites catering only to campervans and regular campers, meaning motorhome drivers will have to work a bit harder to find a site for the night.  

Standard parking and pitch ups along the side of the road are also much easier and more accessible in a campervan. Since you take up less space, you’ll find it easier to slot into vacant spots for the night.  

That being said, it’s important to always park responsibly no matter what vehicle you are in. Respect private parking and never block roads or driveways when parking your campervan or motorhome. Discover more information about campervanning in Scotland to ensure you are well equipped for living and parking in a campervan in Scotland.

pair of motorhomes parked looking at the sea in Scotland


What is a motorhome?  

Unlike campervans, which use the body of an existing van, motorhomes are custom built on an existing chassis.

The body is coachbuilt and designed specifically for living in. The chassis a motorhome is built on can range between two, four and six berths, meaning you can hire a motorhome in a range of sizes to suit your needs.  

Although there are various sizes to choose from when considering motorhome hire in Scotland, all motorhomes will be larger than traditional campervans. They tend to be large, white models that are custom made for living in. This makes motorhomes more convenient than campervans as they tend to have a larger living space, better kitchen facilities, more spacious beds and onboard toilets and showers.  

This added convenience makes motorhomes a popular option for family holidays and shorter getaways, where you can experience life on the road with all the comforts of home.  

 quality motorhomes in Scotland

What are the benefits of a motorhome?  

Motorhomes are comfortable and reliable mobile homes that offer families and couples a convenient way of travelling around Scotland (or any country!).

The great thing about a motorhome is you are fully sufficient, and as long as you stock up on the necessary supplies before you set off you won’t need to pay for food from restaurants or cafes unless you wish to. 

We’ve gone into a bit more detail on some of the main benefits of a motorhome in comparison to a campervan. 

Motorhomes are more convenient  

Simply put, motorhomes offer more home comforts than campervans.

The main household comfort a motorhome offers that a campervan tends not to is a washroom. Scottish Tourer motorhomes all come with a toilet and hot shower installed and ready to use. Despite the added ease this brings, please remember that you will have to dispose of your waste properly when travelling in a motorhome.  

Motorhomes also come with the added benefit of ready-made beds. Unlike a smaller campervan where you may need to fold tables away to make room for your bed, many motorhomes come with doubles that can stay ready. Some motorhomes even have separate sleeping quarters, with a privacy curtain or doors marking out the room.  

If you are looking for a mobile home with more than one bed, then that isn’t a problem either. It’s not uncommon to find motorhomes with foldaway cabin beds for extra sleeping space if needed. If you like the sound of these features, you may wish to check out The Skye from Scottish Tourer’s selection of motorhomes for hire. 

Furthermore, motorhomes come with plenty of kitchen supplies meaning you can cook freely with space and comfort. With captain turn swivel chairs and dining tables installed, you can sit down for a family meal in your luxury motorhome hire.   

Motorhomes are more spacious  

Due to their larger size, motorhomes are more spacious inside, offering several compartments and rooms as opposed to just one main living space.

In a standard-sized motorhome you will find: 

  • Front cabin / driving area 

  • Kitchen / Living area 

  • Washroom 

  • Sleeping space 

Scottish Tourer’s motorhomes also come equipped with an adjustable awning which can be pitched up to give an extended outdoor area. With camping chairs, BBQ grill and foldaway picnic table also provided, you will be able to cook and eat either indoors or outdoors when touring Scotland in a motorhome hire from Scottish Tourer.

motorhome holiday in Scotland

Campervans Vs Motorhomes – Which is better? 

So now you know the main differences between a campervan and a motorhome, you’re probably wondering which is better? Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can answer for you. 

Whether you decide to hire a campervan or a motorhome should be based on your own preferences and needs. However, we’ve created a quick checklist to help summarise the main benefits and drawbacks of each.  

You should choose to hire a campervan in Scotland if: 

  • You are comfortable with a small amount of space 

  • You are a solo traveller or travelling in a couple 

  • You feel more comfortable driving a smaller vehicle  

  • You are looking to explore roads off the beaten track  

  • You are looking for the most cost-effective way of travelling on the road. 

Alternatively, you should hire a motorhome if: 

  • You want maximum comfort and convenience when travelling on the road 

  • You are travelling as a family or with a group of friends  

  • You are confident handling a large vehicle  

  • You are willing to spend extra money on fuel consumption and energy 

  • You are looking for an exciting but comfortable means of travelling around Scotland (or any other country).  

Hire an RV in Scotland

What about RVs? 

RVs are the biggest of the three vehicles and stand apart as something quite different. Yes, they are still a mobile home on wheels, but the size (and price) makes them unattainable and unpractical for most individuals.  

When it comes to RV hire Scotland, it will be extremely tricky to navigate the smaller country roads and winding highland routes in a large-sized RV. RVs are far more popular in the US, often used by large, wealthy families or by bands and singers as they tour the country performing. To travel in an RV for a short adventure holiday around Scotland is not recommended.  

That being said, RVs are still attractive to some people. They offer a heightened level of comfort and can be extremely luxurious. With separate rooms, showers and toilets on board and a wealth of additional extras available, you can expect to pay a substantially higher price for all the luxuries an RV brings.  

Find out more about the RV options offered by Scottish Tourer.

Campervan hire Scotland: Get in touch 

Whether you are looking for a campervan hire or motorhome hire in Scotland, Scottish Tourer can provide you with the perfect vehicle to suit your needs.  

Contact our experienced team today to kickstart your campervan holiday in Scotland. We can’t wait to hear from you!  

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