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Old 07-20-2020, 08:19 PM   #1
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Parking lots and a 21-22' van vs a 24' van

Hi there. We're dreaming about downsizing to a true Class B camper van. Definitely not considering a B+ / C- or anything bigger. Definitely do not want to haul a toad behind us.

We currently tow a 28' Airstream trailer, and a key reason for downsizing is that we're just tired of the bulk. We love the space in our Airstream and of course the trailer itself, but we don't love constantly worrying about where we'll be able to park it, and so on.

Right now we're wondering about the difference in parking capability for a 21-22' van vs. a 24' van. We don't want to get a van that's long enough to still be pickle when we need to park it somewhere, or pull into / out of a gas / fuel station. With that in mind, we would love to hear parking lot stories from current class-B van owners in both 21-22' vans and 24' vans. We're anxious to hear your experiences and the pros and cons for both sizes relative to parking, going up and down steep inclines or curbs as you enter and leave places like gas stations, and while driving about, etc. Thanks so much, in advance, for sharing your experiences as owners / drivers of class-B vans.

(BTW, we're pretty sure a 19' van would be too short for us because we want a "lounge" in front and a bed in back so person one can nap relatively undisturbed in back, while person two is up and about in the front, and we want both the driver and passenger seats to rotate so they can be used for working at a desk or table, or just general lounging about.)
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:40 PM   #2
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Not much difference between them. I've owned both lengths and not much difference in handling. Both have about the same amount of curb roll. Shorter will always be a bit more maneuverable than longer, but it's only 3+ feet extra.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:57 PM   #3
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Recall when my parents had a 24' C class, they could park it in a mall parking lot by taking two end to end spaces.
I'm 66' with my toad, not quite as easy !
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:34 PM   #4
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Height is more likely to be an issue vs length in most places.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Height is more likely to be an issue vs length in most places.
Why

Hopefully nobody is stupid enough to take an RV into underground parking lot!
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Old 07-20-2020, 10:00 PM   #6
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I would rent or go test drive a 24' and if you like it; problem solved.

IMO, not sure why B+ or C is definitely ruled out? I get your current problem with travel trailer, if you buy a 24' you have most likely cut off 20' - 24' feet of length so that is a dramatic difference, buying one with floor plan you really want is what I would look to do. My brother has 24' Sprinter and we have 30" Class A, we go places all the time and he thinks I am nutz by some of the places that I take my RV, that he will never even try. 6 feet difference is all. I drive it downtown Dallas and mix it up with the speedsters on LBJ Freeway I use to think I wanted to rig up a toad ( we have a SRX that could easily be converted, but we have yet to have need. I am like you in that regard in that I definitely do not want to pull a toad behind me.
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Old 07-20-2020, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Why

Hopefully nobody is stupid enough to take an RV into underground parking lot!

Most commonly the issue will be overhanging trees, let me give an example by way of a photo of my own coach, a 28 ft class A with a height of 11'5" to the top of the air conditioner in a parking lot. Sure a class B will be shorter, online specs show a random Sprinter based class B at 9'8" and a random Sprinter B+ at 10'6".


Note that while it appears I may have my choice of parking spaces in this parking lot, the reality is only a few would have worked due to the overhanging limbs, one of which can be seen in line of sight between the camera and the roof line of the coach which is at about 10 ft.


I recall one fairly large HEB grocery store I went to in Texas a couple of years ago, which had perhaps 7 or 8 entrances from the surrounding streets into the parking lot, only 1 of which (the truck entrance), my coach would comfortably fit into due to untrimmed trees with overhanging limbs.
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:14 PM   #8
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Ah, see what your saying!

I recently had some time to blow, out of town, in my car, so I checked some campsites. One was big, about 500 sites, but the first thing I noticed, nobody had been trimming the trees! Fine for someone pulling a travel trailer, but I'd be meeting some branches with my windshield!
I'm about 12'6" high, and just entering this park was out of the question!!
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:37 PM   #9
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We experienced something like that last October at Aztec National Monument, the parking lot had I think 7 or 8 pull through RV spaces, we could only fit in maybe 3 or 4 of them due to drooping limbs, a couple of them the limbs were drooping so low they were brushing the roof of the pickup truck pulling a pop up trailer that was parked there.
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Old 07-21-2020, 07:05 AM   #10
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RE: parking lots.....

We have a 24' class B. I have never had any problems parking or driving it anywhere. As far as length and parking is concerned, if you can back into a parking spot and let the rear end hang over the grass you are parked like a normal vehicle. If you have to park in the middle of a parking lot you might take up some space from another spot. If that is the situation, we park far enough away not to be rude. As others have noted the only real concern is the height.
Don't worry.
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Old 07-21-2020, 07:30 AM   #11
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another thing to think about is will you be hanging anything off the back, cargo carrier, bikes......

and, where will you be traveling? Do you mind walking some if you have to park further away?

Our rig is 20’, we sometines add bikes to the back, we pretty much can fit anywhere a full size car can. It’s a tradeoff in size, you just have to decide what is more important to you. Good luck!
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Old 07-21-2020, 07:36 AM   #12
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Don't see what the issues are. People are in & out of gas stations, parking in car parks & doing mountain roads with 50-65' 5ers everyday without big problems.
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:00 AM   #13
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Don't see what the issues are. People are in & out of gas stations, parking in car parks & doing mountain roads with 50-65' 5ers everyday without big problems.
The issue is that the OP is asking a specific question about parking specific sized rigs. You'll see he's currently pulling a trailer and is thinking about downsizing. The 50-65' rigs you mention can NOT fit in a single parking space in a typical parking lot, and that's what he's asking about.
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:31 AM   #14
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Thanks to everyone who has replied so far, much appreciated. We'd be delighted to hear more of your experiences and observations.

To respond to a couple of queries, we are experienced RV owners and this is why we are being so specific about what we want and why we would like to hear from current owners of camper vans in the pure B class.

We've camped and towed with our Airstream for nearly 7 years. Before that we had a B+ / C- RV (Phoenix Cruiser) that was roughly 27' long (plus a bike rack). We enjoyed that RV, which is what got us started RV-ing, but we seriously disliked trying to park it in a lot where room was an issue. The straw that broke the camel's back for that RV happened in Mount Rainier NP when we tried to visit "Paradise." That lot is always busy, and there was a real shortage of anything longer than a standard parking spot. In a place like that, when you find an open spot, you just want to grab it, right? Anyway, super frustrating, and after that we found ourselves avoiding places like that because we knew parking would be next to impossible. As a result, we went with the tow vehicle / trailer solution because it allowed us to drop the trailer at a campground and then go anywhere we wanted.

Now that we're hoping to move down from the trailer to a class-B camper van, we hope to avoid giving up the parking convenience we got with our tow vehicle. Sure, the camper will be taller and we'll have to pay attention to that, but our requirement is also that it shouldn't be long enough to make parking a big issue.

Thanks especially to those who already own a camper van between 20 and 24 feet for describing your experiences. Thanks also for the reminder that we would of course have a bike rack on the back with a couple of bikes, and that this would extend the van's length, potentially exacerbating our parking concerns.
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