RV vs campervan vs motorhome

RV vs campervan vs motorhome ever wondered what it all mean? Don't worry us to....

For those researching the dream lifestyle of exploring our amazing country, terms describing possible options can be quite confusing. Words such as camper, motorhome, campervan, RV (recreational vehicle) and caravan can all be used to describe different vehicle types available. But, often they are used interchangeably depending on who you talk to.

So, what is the difference between a motorhome and campervan, or an RV versus a caravan?

Let’s us demystify your choices and help you understand the various terms:

If you want to look further into these options: Download the buyers guide

RV (Recreational Vehicle)

RV is an umbrella term popular in North America used to describe motorised vehicles used for camping. RV can be used to refer to both motorhomes and campervans.


Another generic term for a motorised vehicle but not widely used in literature or online. More a chat lingo.


Motorhomes are larger 2 to 6 berth vehicles, generally built on a long-wheel base. Motorhomes usually include kitchen and bathroom facilities, as well as other features typically found in a home (e.g. television, WiFi aerials , larger water, battery and solar capacity). This is the more largely used and understood term in New Zealand and is what you'll see most of when exploring our website.

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The term campervan usually refers to a smaller 2 to 3 berth vehicle. While many campervans include bathrooms and kitchens, they are typically more compact than the average motorhome and are more frequently used to describe the van style campers you see in rental fleets.

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A caravan is a towable home requiring a tow vehicle, and can be a cost effective option if you already have a suitable tow vehicle. There are many options, from something suitable for a standard 2L family car to pull to something that requires 3T towing capacity.

For those who see living full-time or spending extended periods on the road, a motorhome or caravan will offer the non negotiable’s like generous living area, well designed kitchen and bathroom complemented by large water, battery and solar capacity.

For those who see themselves as weekend warriors, or have limited parking facilities, a compact and well designed campervan can offer all the features to get you confidently exploring where larger vehicles may be limited. However keep in mind that there are small motorhomes (5.99m) that are likely the same length as a campervan but with heaps of great features and functionality like one would expect in a motorhome.

Being a nation of adventurers , caravans can offer families and confident towers the ability to travel cost effectively to some of the most stunning locations and as well as offering the convenience of campgrounds for family fun. For some it may be something to call home, an alternative to having all ones equity tidied up in bricks and mortar, and traveling or staying with friends and family .

When you are out researching keep in mind the differences in terminology that you might see and just make sure you understand what each RV is going to deliver for you.

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