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New Zealand is a scenic country best explored through camping with a recreational vehicle. According to a report on recreational transportation, New Zealand ranks 9th in Top RV Export Markets through 2018 due to the popularity of camping and recreational vehicles (or RVs) in the country.


What’s the difference between a campervan, motorhome and recreational vehicle (RV)?


Campervans, motorhomes, or recreational vehicles (RVs) are interchangeable terms commonly used to refer to moving vehicles or vans that serve as a home away from home. Choosing between a campervan or motorhome RV may be rigorous but either can be the best option compared to setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere.

Recreational vehicle or RV is an umbrella term for all vehicles used for camping and travelling that includes campervans, motorhomes, and other enclosed vehicle equipment. Both campervans and motorhomes share the same function of providing accommodation during travel. However, despite the similarity in purpose, these RVs differ in terms of cost, functionality, size, and so much more.

Saddleback self contained campervan 2


A campervan compared to a motorhome is smaller and contains basic facilities such as a kitchen, sleeping area, and washing area. Due to its size, a campervan may or may not have a bathroom or toilet area and has no division between its living quarters. In the recreational vehicle classification, campervans are classified as a Class B.


Advantages of a campervan


Cheap and low maintenance

The campervan advantages in cost are due to its compact size so it will entail lesser maintenance costs including fuel, insurance, taxes, and other charges as compared to the motorhome. Even a converted car such as Renault Kangoo or a Volkswagen van like Kimbo can be a campervan.

Basic functionality

Salient features in a campervan are the kitchen, sleeping area, and washing area. Here at Escape Rentals, each of our campervans are fully equipped with free bedding, beach chairs, kitchen facilities, utensils, and more.

Easy and convenient

Owing to its compact size, a campervan compared to a motorhome is more convenient to navigate, park, and set-up in camping areas. This only means that using a campervan can offer you ease and convenience, especially when you want to try freedom camping.


Disadvantages of a campervan



Although the size of a campervan is its biggest asset that allows you to save on cost, it can also be a liability because it has limited space and is not fit for more than three persons. Due to its limited space, the possibility of not having a bathroom or toilet can be distressing for some. The lack of insulation during cold weather may also be an issue for some. Fortunately, most issues can be easily remedied by following these tips on how to stay warm and comfortable in your camping van.


There are claims that one of the campervan’s disadvantages is sustainability for long-term travel. However, this is not a problem anymore as today’s campervans now support long-term travels.




A motorhome is larger than a campervan and can go up to 75 feet long. This type of recreational vehicle (or RV) is designed for long-term recreational travel with its luxury facilities and bigger capacity that can accommodate more than three people. In recreational vehicles classification, a motorhome is classified as Class A. One popular example of a motorhome is Winnebago, an American manufactured type of recreational vehicle.

Driving a campervan in New Zealand

Advantages of a motorhome



A big space is the unique selling point of motorhome for people who yearn for comfortable and luxurious camping and travelling experience. It is also the major difference between a campervan and a motorhome.


With the bigger space, there are more facilities inside such as the bathroom, toilet, kitchen, as well as dining, washing, sleeping and living areas. Everything inside will make you feel at home. Even the driver’s seat can become an additional seat in the living space with a simple adjustment.


Space also provides an additional storage area for your bicycle or other hobby equipment.


Disadvantages of a motorhome



A motorhome doesn’t come with a cheap price tag, even when renting.

Harder to drive

With its bigger size and shape, this type of Class A vehicle can be intimidating and difficult to drive. If you are not used to driving large vehicles, chances are you’ll feel a little intimidated with a motorhome. Once a vehicle gets to a certain weight, you may even need a special license.

Fuel inefficiency

Class A motorhomes are not efficient when it comes to fuel mileage. Typically, a motorhome can cost a bundle to fill up, with some fuel tanks nearing 900+ litres!

What are some things to consider when choosing between a campervan and motorhome?


Now that you are aware of the differences between a campervan and motorhome, it is time to delve into the factors that you should consider when choosing between the two types of RV.

Your travel budget

Money is the main consideration in choosing between a campervan or motorhome RV. If you have limited resources, renting a campervan is the best option for you. But if you want to splurge on your holiday, then go for a motorhome. However, if you are an independent traveller or a group of backpackers travelling around NZ, then a campervan will give you the best value for your money.

Determine the vehicle size

A campervan compared to a motorhome is more compact in size so it is easier to drive and navigate. On the other hand, a motorhome is larger, so it can be a little difficult to drive, navigate, and park. When choosing between a campervan and motorhome, ask yourself this important question: What vehicle size are you comfortable driving around in New Zealand?

Number of passengers

The number of passengers will help you determine whether you will need a campervan or motorhome. If there are only one or two people in the group, then you don’t have to get a motorhome because a campervan is perfect for you. However, if there are more than three passengers it will be crampy inside a campervan.

Facilities needed

One disadvantage of a campervan is its limited facilities, but it can provide you with basic amenities – a bed, a kitchen, and a wash area. These are the three essential facilities you need while travelling. Also, you can use the campervan daily for your bathroom or toilet breaks or grocery needs. A motorhome may be complete in facilities, but it can be tedious to drive and maintain.


It is essential to procure an RV insurance because you can never predict what will happen along the road. Common types of RV insurance includes collision, emergency expense, campsite and vacation liability, among others. Insurance costs also vary depending on the vehicle class, size, coverage type, location, and more. At Escape Rentals, we offer three campervan insurance options, so you can choose what’s best for your needs.


Experience the campervan life for yourself!


If you want to spend your holiday in New Zealand and experience camping life in an RV, a campervan will be the best option for you to explore the snow-capped mountains, thermal hot springs, lush rainforest, and beautiful beaches.

Contact Escape Rentals at 0800 21 61 71 or browse our website to start planning your campervan life in NZ. You’ll never regret creating those memorable and wonderful Middle-Earth moments!