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Our RV trip in Europe was such an interesting eye-opener. I suppose it’s no different than any trip where you encounter a cultural difference; you can’t help but compare and contrast between what you know and what you’re experiencing. That was definitely how it was for us, and the whole time over there we kept having conversations comparing North American and European RVs.
The differences were pretty fascinating, and we couldn’t help talking about them. Breakfast…”Hey honey isn’t it so weird they don’t do microwaves?” Lunch…”I wonder if microwaves are at least optional?” Dinner… “If we ripped the microwave out of Lance, would we survive?”
That’s how I got the idea for this video. Seemed fitting that we record some of the differences we kept hashing over, and then shared our observations with you all, too. Plus it helped get it out of our systems, so we could move on to conversations about more important things. Like turning Mel into a world-class adventure cat.
We tried to add loads of clips of RVs we saw at the Caravan Salon RV show in Dusseldorf, so hopefully it gives you a little feel for the differences we discuss, AND gives you a fun look at the show.
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this! Feel free to comment below!
A lot of women like driving manual transmission too, James. Not just men, ahem!
I’m glad you made this video. I wondered about the differences. I like the Euro styling and efficient use of space, high gas mileage, cassette toilet, compact vans, and high quality designs and materials. One of the best features is the large garage to house bikes in rear! I do not like the lack of a generator, no microwave, no lithium battery, no USB ports – all toys I need to have.
However, US RV makers can learn a lot from Euro makers like Hymer, Dethleff, Chausson, Pilote, Adria about styling and ergonomics. We have still have 1950’s decor that is my pet peeve. US makers have outdated taste in furnishings and build quality is poor. Winnebago is one of the few making any design and functional progress and they are definitely turning heads. I think you have the best RV made in the US so far. The Ekko is as close to perfection as possible. Not too large, not too small, layout is excellent, I love it. Only price is very high.
Stef can also drive a manual transmission, and owned a sports car when we met. 🙂
Fascinated by the comments about microwaves. As a Brit who lives in the US and used to ‘caravan’ and owned different European models between the early 2000’s and 2012, I can confirm that they all had microwaves and usb points and central heating (a/c if you wanted to add it on) and showers and a sound system, so not sure where this info is coming from. I’m always curious why US trailers (caravans as we call them) don’t have windows at the front?
I think the roads over there have a lot less debris on them than ours do!
Windows on the front would get cracked and broken up pretty quickly here in Utah…
In the EU the percentage of the people that are leaving full time in a motorhome is 0.1%. That is the reason that there are not any cell boosters and lithium batteries. The only thing for sure is that they are more elegant and have a better design in comparison to the US that even expensive rigs are low quality in furnishing.
Your comment is subjective to be sure. The US RV’s are built so that the majority of people can enjoy our Great Outdoors instead of only those who have the money. There are many expensive RVs but none are them are built to pass down to our children like in the EU.
Hi Folks, I’m in US and thinking of bringing a diesel American RV (up to 25Ft) with me. After a couple years I would be selling it there and coming back to the US.
Would that be a good or bad idea? Maybe you would recommend me buying one there for about the same price as US?
Thank you in advance for any response.
If you’re planning on leaving it there, it were us, we’d just buy the unit there.
The European RVs seemed less expensive than their American counterparts, for starters.
Further, you wouldn’t have to worry about the whole 120 volts 60 hertz vs 250 volts @ 50 hertz thing. You could plug in without worry or extra gadgets.
Licensing and registration would be handled for you by the dealer over there.
And a European RV would be easier to sell over there when it was time to go.
(Plus, you could probably get a better floor plan over there anyway!)
I appreciate your comments James. Thank you!
If your RV is over 3.5 tonn not 3.5 ton then you will have to have a commercial license to dive it there.
I never realized Europeans were that interested in RV’s
While I know the original post is about a year old it peaked my interest recently because we were thinking of upgrading to a larger RV here in the states. We currently have a Lance 1575. The one feature we fell in love with that is hard to find elsewhere were the windows. Except for some truck campers and real high end off road class C’s no one else seems to use them here. The one manufacturer that I used to use them throughout their line was Livin Lite which recently stopped production. Are you aware of any US based companies exploring the use of these in the near future and if not any idea why not? I heard a few reps talk about cost and ease of manufacturing, but if the rest of the world seems to use them you’d think at least a few would more would play around with it, even if its just an option. Do you have any insights or suggestions?
Good News! Winnebago has been offering them as upgrade options on most of their smaller motorhomes for a while now.
Huge buses do go in all kinds of weird places, so you could drive a large class A into surprising places. For instance, I was on a motorcycle vacation in Norway, and was driving on an old, narrow mountain road that was just wide enough for a car – and there was a gigantic tour bus around the corner. But yes, generally, Europe has existed since before cars, whereas America’s road networks were all built within the last century or so. Cities were literally built around cars, whereas in Europe cities are often very old and quite cramped. Nobody envisioned buses or giant RV’s back in the day.
I think the lack of connectivity is perhaps not so pervasive as you think, but all of Europe has excellent 4G service so people are generally not as dependent on Wifi. In Scandinavia, you can get literally unlimited (not the US style “unlimited”) 4G accounts that are 300 mbit in speed and maybe twenty, thirty bucks a month. People install them at home even instead of hooking up to fiber.
I find the differences between European and North American RV’s to be pretty stark. Ours tend to be bigger (I get the tighter roads and confines of Europe vs North America) and fitted with a much higher appliance content, plus are made with more inexpensive cabinetry and furnishings. The European ones have more modern and stylish contemporary designs with more expensive furnishings and fittings. But they are very cramped inside. Our units are actually fully self contained and self supporting in most cases where European units appear not to be and are mainly set up to be used in parks with various support facilities. What I wonder about is European units look like they would have much more trouble holding up to our roads and would they hold up to the higher speeds we pull our trailers cross country at and the more rugged driving conditions we endure. Are European trailers adequately configured for the very wide extremes of weather and environmental changes we traverse here without a 2nd thought? We tow our trailers probably much further during our trips over all I suspect. I noticed chassis construction is more rugged, ground clearance and break over angles are higher on North American units. I noticed the Fiat Ducato RVs are a lot less robust in their chassis, body structure and suspension configuration vs the US spec Ram Promaster which is derived from the Ducato. The US version is significantly more heavy duty underneath and corrosion protection was beefed up considerably for the US market before release. (I saw some of the early Ducato/Promasters being hauled around on flatbeds before they hit the streets and the detail differences underneath were significantly changed when I saw the ones on the transporters heading to dealers a year later.) I am limiting my comparisons to our trailers of the smaller 12 to 25 feet in size.
Between 1999 and 2007 I worked and stayed in Austria mainly St Johann which is south of Salzburg. Every Friday the highway was lined for miles with very small campers about the size of the ones we used back in the 50s. They were all pulled by there cars, I worked about a 50 mile radius but also traveled to Germany and Netherlands and rarely saw a motor home. Most people in that area and Salzburg drove very small diesel 5 speeds and pickup trucks were rare to see.
Our family did an RV exchange with a couple in the UK and drove their Fiat Ducato based class C all over Europe last summer. Totally agree with the primary differences that you point out in your video. Of course the UK based versions have another big difference, steering wheel on the wrong side of the vehicle! 🙂
For those of us who have custom class B vans here in the US, many derived from euro based cargo vans; we would LOVE to get access to some of these RV products. Specifically, euro style windows, propane toaster ovens, cassette toilets (with external access hatches), and some of the innovative water heaters and furnaces that you didn’t highlight on this video but have mentioned in the past. These components shouldn’t have the same restrictions that pre-built RV’s have for importation.
I’d love to see a video that explores vendors of new or even used european RV components that US based upfitters (and DIY folks) can get access to. I think it would complement the other great videos on the FitRV.
I’ve tried to get some of these products in the past… it ain’t easy!! Not in the US anyway.
I know there’s “eurocampers.com” who have a few products, but someone really needs to do it right.
Perhaps a sideline for The Fit RV? Euro Parts Importer?
If you need help on that, James, I’m in!!!
Now we’re talking!
Let me think on this some more. It really could become a thing…
I too would be interested in this it seems like small trailers that are towable by smaller vehicles are all over the place in Europe but pretty hard to find with a decent level of content in the US. We have lots of teardrops but very little in the 2000 – 2500 pound range with any kind of bathroom facility or cassette toilet, that you can stand up in. (Under 6 ft tall).
The fact that the rv’s in Europe are smaller has one main reason. Most of our cities and towns are very very old. From the middle ages or even earlier. Those cities and towns obviously have small streets. You can’t drive with a big rv through them. Even some very large cars with a trailer behind it is often not possible and you need to drive further to get to your location.
In regards to weight. Getting a commercial license due to the weight being above 3.2 tonnes is EXTREMELY expensive and very difficult. You don’t just get the license, but you have to take other courses as well. So that’s not going to happen.
We hear you. We certainly found ourselves on some roads that we would have rather not tried to bring an RV on!
Dear James & Stefany,
We’ve followed your channel but your trip to Europe pushed us into replying. (We used to live in Switzerland and just returned to England but we also RV’d in the USA). Your reviews were quite accurate. In essence if you have cheap Fuel, and larger roads it’s eas-ier to generate the typical US RV with its aircon and generators etc.
However nothing can excuse US manuf. for the old fashioned interiors that are typical. That old colonial look, it should be banished forever!
I would say in Europe Microwaves are becoming available though since there is no generator it only works at campsites and then if you pay for a pitch with a mains hookup (to save money you can just ask for a pitch without electrics).
We do have a Garages and they are a f=great way to protect your values race bicycles from prying eyes and to keep them dry!
Other differences relate to the 3.5 tonne weight limit as you noticed.
In England there is an obsession with OVENS. This is quite ridiculous. On our Swiss RV we did not select it and that gives you more storage space.
Your comment about Lithium batteries is accurate too. Would be nice for manufacturers to incorporate a larger set of them, and throw in a 1000W inverter to power small electrical items (a microwave, and computer equipment) when you are off the grid wild camping. I see these changes as coming in the next years.
Keep up the good work, we appreciate Stefany’s advice on non RV matters too.
Agata and Marcus B
Wow! Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
We never realized we had so many European readers!
It’s really nice to get the different perspectives from all of you. From your comments and some others, it’s apparent that there are some key differences between UK and Continental European RVs.
We thought the ovens were cool, but that’s probably just because we don’t have them. If we had one, we would probably rarely use it except to store things.
Thanks for joining the discussion!
“However, nothing can excuse US manuf. for the old fashioned interiors that are typical. That old colonial look, it should be banished forever!” I agree with you on this I can’t understand the bench seats that are ugly as he!!, which is why so many re-design their RV’s especially if they buy them used. Celebrities always custom design theirs.
As I have been researching our first travel trailer, one thing that has really stood out whenever I have seen U.K. RV’s is that, in general, they seem so much more modern in design. So much of the US market consists of designs that have not really changed all that much. Boxy designs with hard edges and very basic (cheap) components. There are a few US manufacturers that have pushed the envelope with design and appointments, but it seems to be the norm overseas. What were your impressions with the design of U.K. RV’s,as compared with the US market?
Well, we were at a Continental European RV show instead of a UK one. From the comments here, I’m gathering there are quite a few differences between the two.
But even so, your comments stand and are valid. The design of RVs over here is a generation or two behind the European vans. For the most part.
There are some exceptions, but for the most part a European stepping into a US rig would feel as though they were stepping back into the 1980’s!
Some comments from France/Europe.
About generators, as you said, it’s some weight and either here we are connected to the grid, either with solar panels (and charging batteries while driving), it’s largely enough for our need.
About usb/wifi, as mentioned, we have good coverage thus, smartphones and tablets have a cheap and good connection thus no need to have something specific to the rig.
One point, in europe, especially in the north, we are using our rv in winter too. That’s why we have acrylic windows because it’s better insulated (and less weight). They are used since the 60s… That’s why central heating is often the case.
We have just one acrylic window in our van and we love it. I agree that they are MUCH better for wintertime camping. If we could get those windows here easily, I would replace them all!!
The 3.5 ton limit is definatly a thing. It also applies (at least in the UK) to towing trailers / caravans – which are very popular here:
If you passed your driving test after 1997, then your combined rig can’t go over 3.5 (there are finer details as well, but thats the main bit) – unless you pass an additional test.
The problem I had was getting a new (used) car – I couldn’t tow the caravan any longer as I was now over the limit!
Maybe one reason for the lack of lithium (personally, I would love one in my caravan) is possibly that a lot of sites here have hookups. As you pretty much have to camp in a campsite, not just pull up anywhere (there are a few exceptions, for example, Scotland). There are still a lot of campsites without any facilities though – these are our favourite!
We didn’t try any off-the-grid camping in Germany. But we did not see an opportunity for it either. If you are almost always plugged in at a campground, then I certainly understand how generators, large batteries, etc are much less important.
Thanks for adding to the discussion!
European ‘off grid’ camping is different from what we do here in the western US, but the opportunities are everywhere. They are called ‘aires’ in France, but the same idea exists in Spain, Germany, and Italy and many other european countries as well. Some are just parking lots on the edge of the city. Many have a place to dump your cassette toilet and get water. Others have some power available through coin operated machines that meter out specific amounts of power then shut off. Anyway, since we were travelling off peak (in April/May/June) rather than peak season (July and August), it was easy to find these spots everywhere. Most all of them were either free or less than 10 Euro. We only ended up using the very nice campgrounds (RV Parks) when we needed to do laundry or if we were going to stay more than around three or 4 days a particular place. Bonus, if you are a cyclist; these places are almost always close enough for easy cycle access to the town or city.
Wish we had more facilities like this in the US!
You know, people say that’s one of the problems with the North American RV market: we keep building more and more RVs, but not more campgrounds.
Something like the concept you described would be awesome to see over here.
Interesting comments, you need to look at a UK show and see the differences between continental vans and UK ones, a lot have microwaves, and there are a lot of vendors selling generators which are carried along but not pre-fitted. Interesting point about manual v automatic, do you realize that is because the common base vehicle is made by fiat/Citroen/peugot basically the same van made jointly by 3 companies and they dont offer automatic transmission, one or two other companies do but the base vehicles are so expensive they dont get used for motor homes/RV’s. Its not drivers not wanting them its the companies not making them. Good comparison though.
We’re gathering that there may be some differences between UK and European mainland RVs. One of these days, we’ll have to hit an RV show in the UK!
It would have been nice to have links to the different manufacturers included. There is a lot we could learn from the Europeans about thriftiness and compactness. A lot of US RVs are just way too large with lots of unneeded space,
And one of the reasons you get an RV is to get away from the daily trudge of home life, not to take it with you.
We like to tell people you should get an RV to “get out there”, not to “get in there”.
Sounds like you think the same way!
I loved the Video. Why are American RV’s such GARBAGE ? I want a European RV in America. Is that even possible ? Can you import a European RV to America?
I believe you could import a European RV to the US. You’d have issues with 120 v vs. 240 v. And 60 Hz vs 50 Hz. And with the propane connections perhaps.
And it might be difficult to get the thing registered, since it wouldn’t have passed any US or CA inspections or certifications.
As someone who loves VW camper vans and drools over the newer turbo diesel 4wd versions in Europe; I can tell you that you can NOT import them to the USA. They need to be 25 years old or meet the US safety and emission laws (which they don’t). This also applies to the ubiquitous Fiat Ducato based RV’s that are everywhere over there.
Sounds like you’ve looked into it. Thanks for chiming in!
I think your conclusions were not fully accurate on euro-rv’s, but spot on with some, like cassette toilets, they cost a little more but they are so common that having a black tank is dead weight, as to microwaves, no we love microwaves, in our homes, but we dont tend to eat that much in rv’s as convenience food is for sale everywhere, narrow roads, yeah i wished we had wider roads, connectivity? we have great wifi points everywhere, and great data rates on our mobile devices, and good signal everywhere (almost!) that wife boosters are a little redundant also its as common to heat the rv on diesel as it is on propane as we tend to be 50/50 gasoline/diesel on the forecourts unlike america which i think is mostly gas.
North America does use a lot of Gas, and diesel in bigger rigs. Even so, heating with diesel is less common than heating with propane.
And yes, you do have good cell connectivity over there, but we couldn’t help but notice that people seemed less “glued to their phones” than they do here. (We think that’s a good thing! :-))
Hi James and Stefany,
You guys do an awesome job with your reviews. I really feel like I can trust what is said without having to commit financially and try myself. Many of the other posts seem to confirm what I’m saying (indirectly at least).
I also looked at your YouTube video titled “We Try a Cassette Toilet in our RV” which occurred before your trip to Europe and was wondering if your opinions concerning cassette toilets have changed since European RVs mainly have cassette toilets in them. I personally like the idea of a cassette toilet, but after your review, decided against cassette toilets. However in this video (Differences in North American vs. European RVs) I saw a clip of something that looked like the storage tank of a cassette toilet being removed from an access port on the outside of an RV. The storage tank also seemed to have a vent that could assist with reducing the “burping” effect mentioned in your previous video.
Sooo… Has your opinion on cassette toilets changed after your European trip? If so, why? If not, why?
Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.
We actually like the cassette toilet until it was time to empty it.
Emptying a cassette in Europe is much more pleasant (or… much less unpleasant). But we don’t have that infrastructure here in North America.
So personally, we’d still stay away from them. Others may have different opinions.
Great videos on Europe. Can you tell us about how to rent a rv and what we should look out for and what should we budget for this kind of trip
I enjoyed watching your US/Euro RV comparison. I love the European RVs! I like the quality & layout too. I like the idea of having an oven in a Class B – that should be an option in the U.S. instead of the mandatory microwave/convection. On the flip side, I’d rather drive an automatic – especially in an RV. All of that shifting gets on my nerves.
We agree the oven could be fun. But like most things – particularly in a class B – there are trade offs… Space for the oven means there isn’t space for something else.
Also – their ovens over there look WAY COOLER than the ones you can get in RVs here!
Stefany & James,
Thank you for posting your thoughts on RV’s in Europe. As always you make stuff that could be boring fun. I liked the Where’s Waldo shot of Stefany in the midst of the pan over the show floor. As you know, I’ve been hoping for a European Diesel 4×4 to be brought here but that just hasn’t happened. So, I’m looking for the US alternatives and EarthCruiser is looking better all the time. I’d love to go Class B small and stealthy but the US manufacturers don’t seem to get that market.
Once again, tahnks and enjoy Europe!
If you’re looking for a diesel 4×4, wait a week…
Hi, more comments from the U.K.
Microwaves are very common but they’re small in size and wattage (800w). There’s a split between those that like the electric hookup and those that camp off-grid (boondocking). So then it’s all about 12v electrics and gas (propane) for cooking using a hob/oven, space/water heating and running the fridge-freezer.
Air conditioners are optional but since you need electric and they’re expensive, they’re uncommon. You’re more likely to see roof mounted satellite tv systems or solar panels.
We could do with some more mobile data/internet connectivity built into our rigs. You won’t find anything built-in from the manufacturers but there are loads of people who find ways of adding wifi hotspots and mobile broadband.
I can’t decide which is best for the toilet; cassette or black tank. For three people, the cassette will last about 3 days before emptying. Our campsites are very set up for cassettes. It’s certainly portable; you carry the cassette to wherever the emptying point is on the campsite. Your “liquids” from the compost toilet would not be socially embarrassing on a U.K. Campsite. For emptying points I’ve seen toilet bowls embedded in the ground, stainless steel funnels that connect to a sewer pipe, removed manhole covers for sewer access and holes in the ground that are just large cesspits. On the other hand, a larger capacity black tank could have its own advantages.
Our driving laws and campsite road access do restrict size. I like the idea of some of the US fifth wheelers but some of our most attractive little campsites are accessed down lanes that are only wide enough for one car. You need to make 90 degree turns through gates that are not much wider than the rig. Some American RVs would need to be helicoptered in, not driven. 🙂
Thanks for the perspective.
We completely agree on the large North American RVs being completely unsuitable for European camping. There’s just no way they would fit.
I own a 26ft airstream and I pull it with a Ford F350 cclb and there’s no place I can’t come
Love your comments about European RVs and especially the fact of the cassette toilets.
Hi Stefany and James,
You did a weekend review on their use vs a composting toilet a while back and it was an eye opener for sure. Hanging on all the negatives of the cassette dumping and NO black water dump stations in Europe I have to wonder how friendly businesses are when they see you coming with that nasty tank. Health experts are saying that your exposed tooth brush in your home gets contaminated just from regular flushes, this can’t be good health wise.
After your review can you see how using this toilet would work without a designated dump station?
We love and look forward your informative videos.
Well, in Europe, there are plenty of facilities to dump the chemical toilet. Those businesses that have them (campgrounds, etc) don’t seem to mind.
But we didn’t try to drag a chemical toilet into a grocery store bathroom or anything! In fact, at the campgrounds, there were frequently signs warning you NOT to dump your cassette into the “regular” toilet.
If cassette toilets were to become more popular over on this continent, I think you would start seeing more restrictions like that. All it takes is ONE person to slip up dumping a cassette, and the bathroom owner will NEVER allow that to happen again. If I owned a gas station or restaurant, I wouldn’t allow it at all. But it’s probably under the radar for now so you can get away with it.
Using one here might work, but you would want to learn to dump into the RV dumps or pit toilets we have here to be assured of a consistent place to dump. That might require bringing along a large “poo funnel” to make sure you could hit the ground-level sewer opening? Just thinking out loud…
Thanks James for your thoughtful reply.
I just couldn’t grasp why The Europeans RV manufactures think this is so great without special national dump stations.We know its cheaper to produce without the tank etc. The RV quality might be better which is a good thing but the toilet operation in North America is much improved over the cassette. Now lets get on to a better quality build here and better floor plans.
Keep the reviews coming!
When on shore power was there a different 220volt plug for 15amp or 30 amp?
Mostly what we saw was 16 amp 240v service.
Yes, the plug was different, but we didn’t get a picture of one. We did see that they were pretty standard at all the campgrounds we visited. It wasn’t like we needed a different adapter for each country we visited.
Our 3 pin plug and socket for electrics is pretty standardized across Europe. https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/a8cAAOSwwpdW6now/s-l300.jpg
However, sometimes you don’t always get 16amp. It may be 10 or even 5amps. There are many stories about tripping the RCD on the electric bollard. If you’re lucky, you reset it yourself. Otherwise you have to find the site owner.
Yes, we heard that the amperage is often limited. We got luck and always had 16 amp service.
But once, we did have metering in the campground, and had to find the owner before we could check out. That wasn’t terribly convenient, but it wasn’t the end of the world either.
Once I talked to a German , who was on trip here in the US with his Mercedes RV, he told me in Germany large RV’s like the one’s found here in the US are not allowed in to cities in Germany, not even drive through. Only certain sizes allowed, bigger RV’s have to park outside the city.
That’s why European RV’s tend to be smaller.
We heard this as well. They seem to have some sort of window-sticker system. With only vehicles with certain numbers allowed in certain places.
We never fully got it, but this and the drivers license thing seem likely drivers for smaller/lighter RVs.
Did you notice that their RV’s tend to have much lower floors than North American RV’s? We travel & camp in Europe by motorcycle and have noticed this over our years of traveling there.
I enjoyed your video about European/U.S. RVs but I thought perhaps I’d hear you speak about what I think is a very interesting differences between the two.
Can you tell us about the Europeans’ prevalent use of beds that descend from the ceiling?
How do they work? What are their pros/cons?
Like the garages that you mentioned in the video, these drop-down beds seem to me to be a must-have feature that I’d love to see in U.S. rigs.
We like them, too! I think the biggest pro is it makes a lot of floorplan options. You don’t have to leave space for a bedroom, OR you can have a bedroom plus the drop down bed…loads more sleeping space! The con is extra weight, and something extra to break because all the ones we saw had some sort of electronically operated adjuster.
There actually are some already over here. I know the Winnebago Trend does, and I seem to recall a Class A? That’s all I can recall off the top of my head. Can anyone else think of some models with the ceiling bed?
We have the REV 24RB. It is a Dodge Ram vehicle. LOVE the bed for now, but at some point I want a real bedroom. For now, as “weekend warriers” we love being able to sit 7 people AND sleep 4 in a compact 24′ vehicle while having a pretty large and fancy bathroom, and better kitchen storage than many much larger vehicles. At some point though, climbing into the bed may be an issue and at some point I want a mattress that is thicker than 3 inches! We are both hefty guys and that mattress just doesn’t cut it for the long haul.
OH… and one other downside. Do not leave a soda bottle on the table and lower the bed… it will go through the ceiling and leave a big hole… and yes, we learned that the hard way (though the fix was not terribly expensive).
Many of the Toy Hauler models have the hydraulic beds for the obvious reason of space for toys! Which is actually what I’m in the market for. I plan to use that space for my traveling art studio! More like a pilgrimage of sorts.
Love all your videos! Thanks for such a thorough and professional channel & blog!
Hi James and Steph
Great video as always. Ive been subscribed to your chanel for some time and although we live in the UK your videos are always entertaining ( special mention must go to toilet paper test with the worlds smallest lab assistant lol and cataputing bugs at the winshield and Stephanie’s passenger workout programme which weve both used on our holiday trip this year.
In all some good points made but I would just say there are 3 areas that are different, thats America Europe AND the Uk..
Specifically nearly all our motorhomes in tbe UK come with microwave and if it doesnt its an option. Our uk models ALWAYS have cooker and hob and quite a lot ofcounter top to prepare on and largley have long lounge seats or even a large end lounge, because of this need for a lounge we dont have garages in uk models ( there IS one model but thats it).
European motorhomes have a very small kitchen and two hob burner and no oven and a SMALL front lounge a bedroom up high and a garage.
The reason for this is one of climate and usage. Here in the uk we get sun rain wind hot and cool days, unfortunately tbese can be at any time of year. Ive been sunbathing in october in the lake district and had a coat on and a scarfe in the middle of june in Cornwall. On the continent however its largely warm/hot from may untill october without fail so we brits need an rv with a comfy lounge to sit in ALL year , the continent of europe sit outside under the windout awning from 9 am on the 1st of May until 11pm on the 30th October cooking breakfast lunch and evening meal on the Gas BBQ and just sleeping in the van at 11pm. So continental europeans need no lounge no fancy kitchen a good bed and a big space for Large family BBQ 4 bikes and lounge chairs , tables and sunloungers.
So you see the format of the rvs follows use hence hilly wet (ok very changeable) uk needs a different van to the continent.
Sorry it was so long but just thought I’d add to the conversation. PS. Keep up the great vids both RV and kit but also fitness ones from you steph they really do help especially the low impact ones for us ( cough ) slightly mature of age.
Hi John! It always cracks me up when people reference some of our oldies but goodies…that world’s smallest lab assistant is almost 7yrs old now…how did that happen?! And I’m incredibly proud of you for doing some of my RV exercise plans on your holiday trips. Way to go, and keep it up!
I’m so glad you stopped by and shared your points about UK motorhomes and how they differ from continental European motorhomes. We didn’t know about microwaves standard and no garages in the UK, very interesting! Ya know, I think this calls for some investigation work. James, we need to go RV around the UK next, what say you?!?!
Too right – and if you need some background and a guide to start you off youll always be welcome anytime.. All the best from couple of C er B er – UK class RV er..s John and Gail.
Well done, James and Stephanie. Love your videos.
Thanks, Gregory! Glad you stopped by!
Very interesting, as a Brit and seeing these vehicles daily and shaking our heads when we see someone trying to manoeuvre a gin palace US RV into one of our camp sites, loaded up with 3 tv’s, dishwashers, fridges the size of our garages and a fuel consumption of about 8 MPG. Then hearing how you see it looking from the other side.
My Fiat Ducato van, the same size as yours, has a 2.3litre diesel engine, that I have had remapped up to 150bhp. This returns 34/35 mpg, which we need due to our pump fuel price that must now be about $2 a litre or $10 a gallon.
So fuel consumption is right up at the top of the list for those of us with short arms and deep pockets, plus of course as you have pointed out weight. My van has a gross of 3300k so all those items you mentioned are just not considered. I have 160watts of Solar and 2 90amp batteries, which gives me all the power I need. I have fitted 3 USB charging points and all my devices charge from those. I rarely hook up, have diesel heating and LPG hot water and cooker, refillable LPG tanks, which again are cheaper, half the price of commercial exchange tanks.
I have really enjoyed watching your Euro trip and hope one day to get to the Salon. Our own big show is next month and I shall be trudging around that to view the latest models in the flesh.
I’m just loving all these comments from Europeans and seeing your perspectives and experiences. Thanks so much for sharing this, Richard! I cannot imagine $10 a gallon, just wow. I can see why weight and mpg becomes such a priority. Incredible the gas mileage you’re getting!
Have fun at the UK show…I wish I would have paid better attention to UK manufacturers and designs at Caravan Salon. Guess we’ll have to go back next year!!!
As a furniture builder, and a former class A owner, I think US RV’s are a joke! All the heavy MDF and chipboard construction, unattractive 1970’s cabinets and hardware. What I would love is for the US to loosen up on their restrictions and stop protecting US manufacturers for these vehicles. The Not Invented Here mindset is killing the industry. I would love to buy a shell from one of the US manufacturers with mechanicals, plumbing installed and build in all my own cabinets.
I would have Truma, Sophisticated Solar and High Capacity batteries, high efficiency fridge and AC. I guess the only way to do it is to strip an old one and go from there, but that is a lot more work than I would like to do.
Think this is why Van Builds are so popular here. Everyone knows that the Van Conversions are WAY OVERPRICED for what they are, given the materials. Come on Elkhart, Indiana, WAKE UP and step up your game!
Well we’ve certainly been inside our share of ugly North American rigs, so we hear you! But there is definitely improvements and changes happening. More European modern and stylish designs are creeping in to North American manufacturers offerings…Winnebago, Pleasure-Way, Leisure Travel Vans, Hymer (North America), etc. Plus, we’re seeing more European components becoming standard..Truma, acrylic windows, etc.
I’d bet all North American manufacturers know consumers want change, and I’m confident we’ll continue to see offerings get better and better!
If I go to Europe to buy an RV, because I love their designs, can I get it fitted with the steering wheel on the left?
All of the ones we saw had the steering wheel on the left. In Europe, it’s mainly the UK that have the steering wheel on the right.
I love the bigger garages. I never see that here in North America. Wonder if a Vespa 150 could fin in the garage areas of the European vans. Think Europe has better interior designers too. Still think the Leisure Travel Vans have the best interior design I have seen. Would like to see a Leisure Travel Van with a large garage and one that could be used for winter sports.
LTV builds a great product, for sure. They were also at the Dusseldorf show scouting for inspiration (we hung out with them in Dusseldorf’s Old Town on a few evenings). Hopefully they paid attention to all those garages, and who knows! Maybe you’ll see a model with a garage from them in the very near future! #fingerscrossed
Hearing the name Dusseldorf always reminds me of Tim Conway’s ‘Dorf on Golf’ https://youtu.be/pEig1D4sJdI?t=2m25s
LOL!!! Okay couldn’t resist watching…and now you’ve ruined me for whenever I hear the name Dusseldorf. THANKS GREG!!! 😉
Thank you Stefany & James for the wonderful tour of Euro Camper Vans. Did you see the Volkswagen California Westfalia and the Mercedes Benz Marco Polo and what did you think of them for the weekend warriors not wanting a full RV?
Also interested in this. LIving in California, it is really frustrating that we can’t get the California here! Did you talk to any more companies who has plans to bring these very sleek rigs to the US? Also, can you include references to some of the Acrylic Window manufacturers or other neat component vendors willing to export to the USA? Love to hear about that. Maybe I should start a business as a European RV component distributor. Hmmm….
Thanks for the info. I would love to have that storage. We are going full time and had to go bigger since this will be our home. But they need to think about this in North America.
Totally agree, Sandy. To us, the garage space seems like such a no-brainer. Why isn’t it done over here!?!?!?
Thanks Stef and James–we’ve really enjoyed the FitRV ‘European Vacation!’ Big fans of the clean and simple designs and happy that Winnebago has started to bring some of that look and tech to the US in their Class Bs–Truma we love you! We could definitely live w/o our microwave, love the garage idea, but will happily keep our black tank and ubiquitous USB ports.
Maybe an Aussie vacayy next?
OOOHH Australia, I’m in!!! Yep, you can definitely see how Russ Garfin, product manager of Winnebago’s vans, was highly influenced by European design when he and his team created the Travato. Cabinets from Italy, heater from Germany, on and on. You could have plopped the Travato right down in the middle of the campervans at the Dusseldorf show and no one would have noticed it didn’t belong! Here’s to hoping we keep seeing more and more of that European simple design over here!
I get it, you’re Americans, but can you please stop saying “in the U.S.”? I know you’ve been here in Canada and you know our lifestyles and tech habits are pretty much identical. So maybe “North America” when referencing RV habits on our continent?
Good point, Bill! When speaking quickly it’s just a habit, albeit a thoughtless one. In the write-up I did use “North America”…but I hear you and will work on it! (Love our Canadian cousins AND the rigs that get built up there!!!) xoxo 🙂
Hi , im european and I have an RV , a Euromobil measuring 7.41 Meters and I think that we Europeans are more practical than you Americans because our Rv,s are a lot more simple , easy to use , cheaper to maintain and handel a lot easier , anyways your RV is more like the ones you can find in Europe than the ones you have in the states,
I certainly agree with you on the “easier to handle” part of it! There was NO WAY I could take a typical American RV over some of the alpine roads we went on with our LMC Breezer.
I watched your vacation rv show and I can’t understand why you can’t think of how come a stick shift? 1 the most important thing about there class b and even van conversions, diesel power can you say 25 mpg in the USA . With that diesel power comes a 5/6 speed tranny no lugging up the smokie mountains no burning out a tranny towing something. And no burning out your brakes,just drop down a gear or 2. And how about the fit and finish winabego and the rest would hold there heads down in shame. Usa campers cardboard kitchens contact paper woodgrain walls and the seats and benches are top notch. Unless you buy a rv in the USA with fles steel upgraded seats you might as well sit on orange crates. I would die to get a dod ram rv or how about a vw California camper over there maybe 3 chassises but many coach builders and there all smooth fiberglass 1 mold type. No House siding 1970 aluminum windows. And the toilet is very strick laws on dumping ( no joke needed) they care about there environment pure clean water and birds chirping. No road kill cafe there. And built in wine glasses racks. I have a question as a retired LEO, HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DWI AND OPEN CONTAINER LAWS IN A MOTOR HOME. In a limo if there is liquor there must be a solid partition between driver and passenger. In your walk threw van,class A-C you keep open wine ,liquor and containers of beer in the cooler. What goes for one class go for all classes of driven things on the road.
Thank you for your time
Robert Las Vegas .
Hey – talk to Stef about the stick shift. Personally, I loved it!
As far as the open container thing… I’m no lawyer, so don’t accept this as legal advice, but – I think the way it works is if the alcohol is open and within your reach while you’re driving… you’d be in trouble. If the alcohol is safe in the fridge, and you’re in the driver’s seat, I think you’re OK. Laws vary from state to state here, so it may vary.
I don’t think Europeans camp to unplug from the internet. In Europe people rarely look at their phones the way Americans do. While waiting on the train or subway? Nope. While in a restaurant? Nope. I don’t know what is wrong with them. LOL.
I know, right? HOW DO THEY SURVIVE without checking Facebook every six minutes??!!??
Easypaesy… 😉 When we are boondocking far away, in the middle of nowhere, there is no cell phone reception whatsoever.
So, no problem here. 😉
Btw: I love your comments on European motorhomes.
We are really very fond of our rig, a Niesmann&Bisschof.
Sturdy, yet comfortable and with a large garage!
We are fulltimers and we need the space!
Do you have a link to the acrylic window manufacturer? Sure would be nice to get some of those for us great white north RVers. Thanks.
No link to a product, but Seitz and Plastoform are two manufacturers I know of.
I think Dometic distributes Seitz in North America.
Thanks James and Stephanie, I really enjoy watching your videos. I have a question for you concerning European RVs, how do you find their build quality compared to North American RVs? From the many pictures and videos I have seen of European RVs the design and built just seems to be superior to a typical NA RV.
It’s tough to compare build quality without being able to road test a lot of the rigs and torture them.
But… I can say we didn’t get poked by any staples as we went in and out of rigs (kind of common over here).
And we didn’t see any of the rigs broken or with parts falling off. But we were there for the first part of the show. It would have been interesting to come at the end of the show and see how everything held up.
But the design, as you point out, is much better looking, less brown, and more modern on the European rigs. Definitely.
Love your comments about European RVs. Living in Wales and follow a number of American RV blogs.
My own RV is 7m long and 3.2m high with a Luton ovecab bed,
Driving the Welsh roads and doing a lot of wild camping (boondocking) with 125amp battery a microwave is not a option and mobile phone service very patchy so it is all about peaceful times and community spirit meeting with other like minded motorhomers
I would love to bring a European RV to the USA to see the reaction from Americans
Cheers from Swansea Wales
I expect if you brought one here, everyone would ask you where the air conditioner was!
I think the experience of “unplugging” is part of the draw…
I’m wondering if you noticed motorhomes towing dingy’s over there. If it affects the weight class for their rigs or require a special license that might explain the preference for a large garage to carry bikes, scooters, and motorcycles to serve has secondary transportation. Did you observe other campers using bikes etc to come and go from the campgrounds?
In all the time we were there, we did not see a single RV towing a dinghy vehicle. None.
I suspect they get by with what they carry in their garages, or with public transport.
In many of the places we stayed over there, biking to get somewhere was a viable and safe option.
We just spent a month in the U.K. And Ireland and the one topic that kept coming up was, oh your from the states, your use to your rv breaking. We talked to one couple that had theirs for 8years and never had an issue with it. But then again like they said we have more room and want big rv, so makes since. So after that experience we are planning on a four or five month trip and rent a caravan for that time frame. Love their rv shows they go all out. Great review of it. Oh and yea some of those roads we was on are like a sidewalk here but are roads. Lol
LOL, yeah what’s the deal with those sidewalks for roads over there!!!! Well I did just recently talk to a couple from the US who bought a brand new RV to do a long-term RV trip in Europe…and they said they had multiple probs on the thing from day one. So who knows! Although since in Europe RVs don’t have the gadgets like ours do…air conditioners, generators, etc, I suppose there’s less to go wrong???
Go on European RV forums and you will see also here, lots of things can go wrong and I can tell you lots of stories about the rigs I owned…