Photo Credit: Alyssa Padgett

4×4 Camper Vans – Getting off-road and off-grid in your RV

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Finding the perfect 4×4 camper van for your off road adventures

Are you looking for a vehicle that combines the ruggedness of a 4×4 with the comforts of a fully-equipped camper van? Luckily, as more and more manufacturers create off road capable RVs, adventure seekers have found their perfect home on wheels with these compact, 4×4 camper vans.

The blend of off-road capabilities and cozy (sometimes luxurious!) living spaces is a boon for those yearning for both excitement and comfort.

What makes 4×4 camper vans so appealing, is their ability to traverse tough terrains that are off-limits to regular RVs. With their upgraded suspension, powerful engines, four wheel transmission and higher ground clearance, they can take you to those beautiful, remote locations… perfect if, for you, ‘getting away’ means getting away from people and man-made structures.

With their compact size, self-contained living spaces, and off-road capabilities, these vans provide the opportunity to venture into uncharted territories, creating cherished memories along the way. They embody the spirit of adventure and inspire a new generation of explorers to embrace the road less traveled.

Advantages of 4×4 Camper Vans

I’ve found, that when you have a 4×4 vehicle, adventures become a lot less stressful. You have confidence that you will be able tackle any road, and many non-roads, that you encounter.

Everything you need is already with you

Having a fully-equipped kitchen, comfortable bed, and a bathroom onboard means that you’ve got everything you need to enjoy all the comforts of home while on the move. It’s great knowing you can go on spontaneous adventures and even change plans at a moment’s notice, as everything you need is already in your vehicle.

You can get to locations that others can’t

4WD camper vans offer the freedom to get to remote locations and campgrounds that are off-limits to traditional campervans or RVs. This freedom to get off-the-beaten-path allows you to get right into nature and create some unforgettable experiences.

You can camp year round

Part of that versatility of 4×4 camper vans is their all-season capability; these vans are designed to handle various weather conditions, making them suitable for year-round use. This capability extends the travel season and opens up opportunities to explore destinations that may be inaccessible to standard campervans during certain times of the year. Rain or shine, winter or summer, 4×4 camper vans allow adventurers to embark on thrilling journeys regardless of the weather conditions.

You can park anywhere

Whether it’s the parking lot of a busy city grocery store, the driveway of a friends’ suburban home, or a tight spot between trees on the edge of river, the compact size of a campervan makes parking nightmares a thing of the past.

Compared to other RVs, camper vans are small and easier to maneuver, making finding suitable parking spots less of a hassle. 

That also makes easier to store during the off-season, whether it’s in a garage, driveway, or dedicated storage facility. 

Disadvantages of 4×4 camper vans

Space

The small size of campervans is a major benefit… but it’s also its biggest disadvantage.

Living space, storage space, counter space… it’s all in short supply. 

However, even though they are small, a lot is packed into these vans. But you don’t need to have everything inside. You could prioritize what is going to be inside (like the bed) and move other functions outside.

For example, if you hate cooking smells in your bedroom and don’t mind cooking outside, then have an outdoor kitchen.
If you don’t want to take up a big portion of space with a shower, consider having an outside shower and a portable toilet under the bed.

Height

Keep in mind that a 4WD version of a campervan is going to be taller than the 2WD version. With superior suspension and higher ground clearance, you add a few inches to the overall height.

Fuel consumption

A taller vehicle will also produce more drag, and therefore more fuel consumption. Driving in 4WD uses more fuel than if you were just driving in 2WD, but also the additional power and weight of a 4WD also makes it use more fuel.

Popular 4×4 Camper Van / Class B Models

So let’s have a look at some of the 4×4 camper vans / Class B’s that I’ve been able to find.

Winnebago Revel

The Revel exploded onto the Class B RV scene just 5 years ago, and it’s cemented itself as the 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter of choice.

I can totally understand why it’s so popular though. It’s got everything. And it’s all in a rather diminutive less-than-20’ van!

Winnebago also builds the Era and Boldt campervans on the 4×4 chassis, so you might want to consider either of those.

The Winnebago Revel price starts at $210,292

Exterior of the Winnebago Revel campervan.
Winnebago Revel
Interior of the small Winnebago Revel camper van, looking towards the rear doors
Winnebago Revel
Winnebago Revel

Winnebago Revel
Chassis: 4WD Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Length: 19’7″
Height: 10′
Fresh water: 21 gal Grey: 21 gal Black: 5 gal
Price: starting at $210,292
https://www.winnebago.com

Thor Tranquility 19P

The Tranquility (and Sanctuary) 19P is also built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 144’ chassis, but has a different layout style. If you prefer to have seats that convert, allowing you to use the van as a passenger van as well, then this might be a better option for you. (The only difference between the Tranquility and Sanctuary, as far I can tell, is the interior decor style).

Exterior side view of a white Thor Tranquility 4x4 camper van.
Thor Tranquility 19P
Inside of the Thor Tranquility 19P Class B campervan showing the kitchen and living areas.
Thor Tranquility 19P
Floor plan of the Thor 19P layout of the Sanctuary and Tranquility Class B RV.
Thor Tranquility 19P

Thor Tranquility 19P
Chassis: Mercedes Sprinter 2500 4×4 144″
Length: 19’8″
Height: 10’6″
Fresh water: 19 gal Grey: 20 gal Black: 4.75 gal
Price: starting at $173,460
https://www.thormotorcoach.com/tranquility

Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4

I really like how the Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4 layout is different to most other campervans. Built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 MWB chassis, its compact size calls for something different. 

The designers have opted for putting a chest fridge where others would normally put a little kitchen with an upright fridge underneath. But chest refrigerators are more efficient that upright fridges and this may be the right compromise for some. Although that does mean that there is only kitchen counter space when the bed is in the folded up position.

Exterior side view of the Pleasure Way REKON 4x4 Class B motorhome.
Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4
Interior view of the Pleasure Way REKON 4x4 camper van showing the kitchen, living and bedroom areas.
Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4
Floor plan diagram of the Pleasure-Way REKON 4x4 camper van.
Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4

Pleasure-Way REKON 4×4
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 Chassis
Length: 19’5″
Height: 9’11”
Fresh water: 40 gal Grey: 10 gal Black: 5 gal
Price: starting at $182,000
https://pleasureway.com/models/rekon-4×4/

Jayco Terrain

This layout really seems to suit a lot of buyers. The electric bed in the back which can be easily raised to access the garage space and flared sides to add a bit to the width, a multi-function bathroom / gear locker, and sitting space up the front, the Terrain makes a great adventure vehicle while still being small enough to go almost anywhere.

Exterior view of the Jayco Terrain campervan painted in green and beige.
Jayco Terrain
Interior of the Jayco Terrain Class B van showing the living area and the bedroom/garage area in the back.
Jayco Terrain
Jayco Terrain

Jayco Terrain
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz® Sprinter 2500 4×4 144″ wheelbase
Length: 19’7″
Fresh water: 21 gal Grey: 21 gal Black: 4.8 gal
Price: starting at $212,250
https://www.jayco.com/rvs/class-b-motorhomes/2023-terrain/

Entegra Coach Launch

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the Jayco and Entegra campervans are essentially the same vehicle. They even use the same photos!

The Entegra Coach Launch, is the same as the Jayco Terrain, so just refer to the photos above. :-/

Entegra Coach Launch
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz® Sprinter 2500 4×4 144″ wheelbase
Length: 19’7″
Fresh water: 21 gal Grey: 21 gal Black: 4.8 gal
Price: starting at $212,250
https://www.entegracoach.com/motorhomes/launch/

Grech RV Turismo

https://grechrv.com/model/turismo-4×4/

Grech RV have 4 models in their 4×4 range. The Terreno, Terreno-ion, Turismo and Turismo-ion. Just looking at the photos of the Turismo, I would say that these are geared more towards the those that are looking for a luxurious, rather than a rugged, 4WD vehicle. The interior looks plush!

Exterior view of the Grech RV Turismo 4x4 camper van with the side door open.
Grech RV Turismo 4×4
Interior of the Grech RV Turismo taken from the living area in the back of the van.
Grech RV Turismo 4×4
Floor plan of the Grech RV Turismo camper van.
Grech RV Turismo 4×4

Grech RV Turismo 4×4
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 144”
Length: 19’6″
Height: 10’2″
Fresh water: 16 gal Grey: 26 gal Black: 13 gal
Price: starting at $209,900
https://grechrv.com/model/turismo-4×4/

Airstream Interstate 24X

https://www.airstream.com/touring-coaches/interstate-24x/

Airstreams Interstate range of Class B vans includes three 4×4 models: 24X, 24GL and 24GT. 

Built on the extended Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, this is one of the larger camper vans at 24’6”. But all that extra space allows for a well appointed interior, with all the extras you could wish for.

The Airstream Interstate 24X camper van with the side awning extended out.
Airstream Interstate 24X
Interior of the Airstream Interstate 24X from the rear living area of the van.
Airstream Interstate 24X
Layout of the Airstream Interstate 24X campervan.
Airstream Interstate 24X

Airstream Interstate 24X
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz® Sprinter 3500 EXT 4X4
Length: 24’6″
Height: 9’9″
Fresh water: 23 gal Grey: 24 gal Black: 11 gal
Price: starting at $246,351
https://www.airstream.com/touring-coaches/interstate-24x/

Tips for Choosing a 4×4 Camper Van

My recommendations for choosing the right 4×4 campervan is not too dissimilar to choosing any other RV. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Budget

For most people, including me; the number one factor that limits your campervan choices is budget. You can determine all the features that you want, but if you can’t afford it, then features will mean nothing.

Figure out your budget first, then you’ll start down a long list of compromises you’re going to have to make. The smaller your budget, the longer your list of compromises!

Assessing Off-Road Capabilities

Understand what’s important to you, so you’ll need to become a little bit familiar with 4×4 / off roading terms. 

If you’re after a versatile beast that can handle even the roughest terrain, you’re probably already well versed in four wheel driving and know exactly what you need in terms of suspension, ground clearance, tires and transmission. 

But if you’re just after a vehicle that can handle some washboard corrugations and will get you out of a boggy campsite after a night of rain, then maybe you’re not so concerned with how off road capable the vehicle is.

Evaluating Size and Layout

My favorite part of any RV research, is evaluating layouts.

You need to start with knowing what you need (first) and want (seond). Start with a list of non-negotiables.

Your list could look like this (it’s actually MY list), but you get the gist:

  • Bathroom – must have indoor toilet in separate room. Shower is optional.
  • Bed – must be permanent so that one person can be sleeping while the other sitting at a table.
  • Power – must be off-grid with enough power (batteries and solar) for lights and laptops (minimum).

And then think about the nice-to-haves. Again, this is MY list:

  • Access to cab from the back
  • Swivel captains seats
  • Diesel heater
  • Insect screens on main openings
  • Drinking water filter

Understand that this list may change as you learn more about what features are within budget, but it gives you a really good starting point.

Self building your own 4×4 camper van conversion

As you can see, there are not too many 4×4 Class B campervans on the market, and there are even less layout options.
If you can’t find the layout that suits you, you may want to look at doing your own sprinter van conversion.

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