First, let me say that people live in anything with wheels, including a small but determined group who live in their Toyota Prius. So, yeah, there are people living in Class C campers but I’m going to outline my reasons why I think a Class C is a poor choice for RV living and this is based on the experience of owning one.
First, the good things. Class Cs have one desirable quality in common with Class As, in that the driving cab is connected to the living space. That’s handy in many situations, like needing to go the bathroom when you’re stuck in traffic, grabbing a quick nap at a rest area, or stopping somewhere to whip up a quick meal. That, unfortunately, is where the convenience ends.
Class Cs look big on the outside but the space on the inside can be cramped. The roomier Class Cs tend to be really heavy. Most of them are built on a heavy duty van or light truck chassis and that tends to make them underpowered for their weight class. The extra weight and boxy exterior also tends to kill your gas mileage.
You Still Need a Car
My vision with a small Class C was being able to park it in a standard parking spot and just drive the camper everywhere we needed to go instead of hauling a local car. This does not work. You can get away with that with most Class Bs and van conversions, but there are too many situations where a Class C turns out to the be the worst of both worlds. Most parking garages have a roof that is too low and navigating a Class C in city traffic is a pain. It wasn’t as easy to drive around as I hoped, even though ours fit in a standard parking spot.
Underpowered For Towing
What you discover after figuring out a Class C is too big to drive as a local car is that they are absolutely dreadful for towing that car. Most have the ability to dolly tow a small car but it’s a major pain the butt and you can actually see the gas gauge moving. If you thought getting around was difficult without towing car, it only gets worse with another set of wheels back there. Our Class C handled like an absolute hog when we were towing the car.
Worst of Both Worlds
What we discovered, the hard way, is that Class C motor homes tend to be the worst of both worlds. Most Class Cs have all the drawbacks of a Class A, including higher maintenance costs and lousy gas mileage but few of the advantages. Instead of getting a Class C, you’ll be further ahead with a small Class A. Some of the newer small Class As are really nice for traveling and have the additional horsepower for towing your local car.
If you don’t have the budget for a Class A, then you’re going to be better off with some kind of truck/camper combination. Personally, I think that’s the way to go anyway. My feeling is the days of the giant 40 foot RVs are over. The future is smaller, lighter, better designed and gets better gas mileage.