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  • Writer's pictureCamper Rental Iceland

What are the Differences Between a Motorhome and a Campervan

Renting a campervan or motorhome offers a unique and independent way to travel, combining the freedom of exploration with the convenience of having your accommodation on wheels. This trendy travel option eliminates the need for hotel bookings and allows for a more intimate connection with your surroundings. In Iceland, the popularity of campervan and motorhome rentals has surged, offering a wide range of vehicles to suit every traveler's needs. Understanding the key differences between campervans and motorhomes is crucial for those new to this style of travel, ensuring a trip that perfectly matches your expectations. Let's delve into these differences!



Two motorhomes parked on a campsite in Iceland in a beautiful sunny day

Differences Between Motorhomes and Campervans

Aspect

Motorhome

Campervan

Size

Larger, offering more living and storage space.

Smaller, more compact.

Maneuverability

Requires more skill to drive and park.

Easier to drive and park in tight spots.

Budget

Higher rental and fuel costs.

More budget-friendly in terms of rental and fuel.

Amenities

Offers more amenities like a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping areas.

Basic amenities, ideal for a simpler lifestyle.

Experience

Suitable for luxury camping and longer stays.

Offers a more authentic camping experience.



When deciding between a motorhome and a campervan for your next adventure, it's essential to consider their key differences to make an informed choice. Here’s a brief overview:


  1. Size: Motorhomes are generally larger than campervans, offering more living space.

  2. Maneuverability: Campervans are easier to drive and park, especially in tight spaces.

  3. Budget: Campervans are often more budget-friendly, both in rental and fuel costs.

  4. Amenities: Motorhomes typically offer more amenities and comfort, ideal for longer stays.

  5. Experience: If you prefer a more authentic camping experience, campervans provide a simpler, more flexible option.


Motorhome or campervan?


Campervans, converted for living and driving, contrast motorhomes, designed for comfort and space from the start.


What is a campervan?


At first glance it looks like a simple distinction. And this is partially true as those are the models usually chosen to later be adapted as campervans. The interior though looks nothing like a truck. It is adapted to carry people and luggage and additionally provides a place to sleep and to prepare meals.


The smallest campervans are usually for only two people with two seatbelts on the front seats. In most cases the bed cannot be folded so you should be prepared to cook outside the camper. Most of the models are equipped with camping seats and a table to make your life easier. Please note that during winter and the season when the wind is really strong in Iceland, this option might be limited. The biggest models are usually designed for five to six people. Some of those have a pop out roof which is has a bed above. The average weight for the upper bed is 140kg so keep that in mind when planning a trip with one of those cars.


The basic equipment of a campervan includes all the necessary kitchen utensils and a gas stove so you can make your meals. Do not expect sophisticated tools, as with the case of these models, everything is about limited space.




If you are worried about being cold at night, don’t worry. You will be provided with warm sleeping bags or duvets, depending on the model. In each vehicle there is also a Webasto heating system installed to keep you warm after a long trek in Landmannalaugar!


Some of the bigger campervans have an additional advantage and offer a sink with running water while the smallest ones only come with water tanks.

The big advantage of campervans are the price. They are much more economical than a motorohme. The fact you can get them in both manual and automatic, both 2wd and 4wd, is a huge draw.


For those who are planning to visit Iceland in summer and the Highlands are the desired destination, the 4x4 campervan is the best possible option. Remember that to be able to drive on any gravel roads, including F-roads, you definitely need a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The only disadvantage I can see is actually the size of this category. For couples though, it will probably be an additional reason for more cuddles.


A stunning view on Skaftafell National Park in Iceland with a campervan going down the gravel road

What is a motorhome?


If you belong to that group of travellers who put an emphasis on comfort, renting a motorhome in Iceland is a perfect option for you. We could easily call motorhomes the big brother of campervans.

The main difference between those two categories is the WC and shower with hot water that you get in a motorohme.

That is a big advantages for those who do not want to bother with looking for a campsite or a public toilet anytime they need.

The seating area in motorohmes is much wider and in the night can serve as an additional bed. There is also much more space for your luggage and some of the models can even carry a few bikes.


The bed linen set in comparison to a campervan, is optional here and can be added at an extra cost. You normally will get a pillow, a duvet, sheets and an a towel, which will help you save a lot of space in your suitcase.

Although the vehicles in this category are much bigger than campervan as are based on long-wheel cars, they do not exceed 3.5t. This means that your standard European category B license is perfectly fine to drive one of them in Iceland.


One of the most important thinngs that should be taken into account when planning your trip, is that motorhomes are not available during the whole year. You can only rent them from mid April till the end of September. This is not just a random season, this is when it is safe to drive such a large vehicle on our roads. Due to a huge demand in interest in motorohmes during winter months, some of the companies have started to offer smaller motorhomes from two to three people, outside the standard season. If you decide to drive a motorhome during winter in Iceland, you need to be cautious and regularly check the weather forecast and road conditions.


Note as well that you will not find an automatic 4x4 motorhome in Iceland, so there’s no chance to drive on gravel roads!

Be prepared for higher costs of fuel as the average consumption of a motorohme is 9-12l/100km. The rental on its own is also less economical than in case of a campervan.


Male tourist sittiong in rented campervan with the view on Icelandic landscape

Frequently asked questions about differences between RV and campervans


Is a motorhome or campervan better?


The choice between a motorhome and a campervan depends on your personal preferences and needs. Motorhomes offer more space and comfort, ideal for longer stays and those who value amenities. Campervans, on the other hand, offer greater flexibility and are more budget-friendly, perfect for travelers looking for simplicity and an authentic camping experience.


What are the disadvantages of a campervan?


The main disadvantages of a campervan include limited space and amenities, making them less comfortable for long-term stays or for those who prefer more luxury in their travels. Additionally, their compact size, while beneficial for maneuverability, means less storage space for gear and belongings.


What is the difference between a RV and a camper?


"RV" (Recreational Vehicle) is a broad term that encompasses both motorhomes and campervans, referring to any motorized vehicle equipped with living quarters. The term "camper" usually refers to campervans or even smaller, towable trailers. The main difference lies in their size, amenities, and the type of experience they offer, with RVs providing a broader category that includes various types of vehicles designed for recreational use.


Ready to embark on an unforgettable journey across the stunning landscapes of Iceland? Rent a camper in Iceland today and discover the freedom of the open road. Whether you're seeking adventure or tranquility, our range of motorhomes and campervans are the perfect companions for your next exploration. Click the link to find your ideal travel partner!


I hope this helped you understand the main differences between a motorhome and a campervan. It should clear up the things a bit already. You are more then welcome to check the photos of each model online on our website. This will give you some more idea on how each one can look like and help you making a decision, which one should you rent for your trip in Iceland!

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