Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV

SUV and minivan equipped with Roadloft Kits inside and Class B RV

Vanlife can be experienced in several ways, depending on the budget you want or can afford. This article is the result of extensive research into the costs of two paths to vanlife: purchasing an RV or a conversion kit built into its owner’s everyday vehicle. We take into account the purchase costs, the recurring costs, the variable costs, the resale value.

We compare two very popular solutions. Which allow you to make the same getaways on weekends, the same road trips on holidays, but at different costs. This comparative study led us to two observations. One, numbers speak. Two, RV travel can be very expensive. But on the other hand, it is possible to get away with it for almost nothing. Really! At a tiny fraction of the cost…

Vanlife must be simple and accessible

Many people we meet on the road with their motorhomes tell us about their maintenance problems, broken pumps, hot brakes in the mountains, etc. They tell us about the exorbitant fees associated with their recreational vehicle (RV). Bad surprises that stand in the way of what was, however, the realization of a dream. We sincerely sympathize with these people, realizing how much these circumstances overshadow their journey.

Removable camper kit in 5 minutes: simplicity pays off

And at the same time, it makes us appreciate our simple and accessible camper solution even more. Appreciating how our removable conversion kit installed in our everyday vehicle (minivan or SUV) is light years away from all these troubles, costs us almost nothing. Don’t strangle us financially.

Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Roadloft Solo removable Conversion Kit for Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan

Buying an RV or a removable camper conversion kit for your everyday vehicle?

We wanted to push our analysis further to compare the two contexts as objectively as possible. We have therefore engaged in this exercise of figures covering the costs of buying and using a recreational vehicle (RV) compared to that of a removable camper conversion kit added to the everyday vehicle (minivan or SUV ) of its owner.

18ft Class B vs 17ft minivan conversion kit, both equipped with cassette toilet

To establish this comparison, as motorized, rather than a class A or C, we chose a class B (van structure with often a raised roof) because this is the favorite of vanlife enthusiasts, in particular for its malleability and also for its format which can be reduced.

However, most new Class B models are very well equipped, costing around $200,000 to purchase and often more. On the other hand, we saw less equipped models, of smaller format, without toilet or shower with running water (but with portable toilet as we use in our equipped Roadloft minivan). And also of a reduced length [to 18 feet compared to 17 feet (less 1 in) for our minivan].

Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Minivan equipped with remobable Roadloft Conversion Kit , B-Class Ram Promaster RV

The Roadloft alternative quite comfortable for people aged 60 and over

Admittedly, we cannot live upright in our minivan, as we would do in a class B with the raised roof. On the other hand, we live there comfortably, at least enough to have lived there 8 months out of 12 for 3 years. You will say it is because we were young. We will tell you that the majority of the more than 1000 Roadloft customers who travel the roads of North America in minivans with our conversion kits are over 55 years old. And that many of them are former owners of class A, B or C RVs. And who, since their conversion to the removable kit in their everyday vehicle, travel like never before AND make their dollars travel…

Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Ann and Emile, proud Roadloft customers soon to be octogenarians !
Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Laurence and Samuel, founders of Roadloft, in Monument Valley

Stratospheric cost differentials

Now let’s get to the hard data. I must admit that the more I progressed in preparing this comparative summary table, the more I went from surprise to surprise, faced with such a big gap. Such a gap, to make the same trips?

The Vanlife at 2% of the cost, really?

In this comparative table, the numbers speak and the dollar travels differently. Let’s talk about the numbers first. Let’s take a closer look:

Class B RV cost vs ROADLOFT Camper Conversion Kit for Minivan or SUV

Cost of buying and operating a recreational vehicle (RV) over a 7-year period compared to that of a removable camper conversion kit added to the owner’s everyday vehicle (minivan or SUV)

Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Compilation of costs in Canadian dollars

Notes relating to the table (prices in Quebec, Canada)

*1. Although the cost of class B motorhomes often greatly exceeds this amount, we have considered a budget allowing the purchase of a new basic vehicle equipped with basic equipment at a cost of $150,000 (before taxes) financed in full, except for the taxes paid in cash. In the case of Roadloft, we considered the cash purchase of new kits.

*2. VR: given the current high interest rate (7.25%), we used a scenario of 7 years (84 months). Roadloft: Most conversion kit buyers, given the amount involved, pay cash.

*3. VR: Here the differences can be very significant. And vary according to mileage, maintenance and market. We have applied an annual lump sum of $2,000 covering oil changes and wear repairs (tires, brakes, etc.) for non-excessive mileage.

*4. Price in Quebec, Canada, including $2,000 collision deductibles, $1,000 fire/theft, $2 million liability, for an experienced driver (55 years old) with an immaculate record.

*5. Storage prices vary by region. Rural or urban environment, local climate (heated or not)…

*6. Very variable. We have applied for the RV a depreciation of 50% at the end of 7 years, therefore 50% (7.14% annually). Roadloft: Conversion kits do not involve an engine, transmission, electrical system or any part threatened by rust. Nothing mechanical subject to wear and tear. And of premium quality, Roadloft conversion kits purchased in 2019 resell in 2023, according to our observations, with minimal depreciation. We still apply here a depreciation rate of 28% (4% per year).

*7. Lot of utility and ambient accessories ($2,793 before taxes) to find the main Class B amenities in the Roadloft-equipped minivan (solar panels, lithium power station, compressor fridge/freezer, propane stove, mosquito net , insulating curtains, solar and mood lamps, portable toilet). The net cost of accessories here corresponds to their purchase cost plus applicable taxes in Quebec ($3211) less their residual value (50%) divided by 7.

*8. Fuel costs vary according to the type (gasoline, diesel), engines, vehicle dimensions and territories travelled. For the simulation done here, we use an optimistic consumption of 12 litres/100 km for the RV and 8 litres/100km for the minivan or SUV at an average price of $1.50/litre.

The Numbers speak

We can always adjust the figures of this analysis, but we will still not get too far from them. At least they certainly won’t be far enough apart to substantially close the gap between buying the RV and the Roadloft camper conversion detachable kit.

In this comparison, the class B motorhome [taxes paid in cash, monthly payments spread over 7 years, annual recurring costs, subtraction of the residual (resale) value after 7 years] comes to an annual net cost of $23,682. Compared to an annual net cost of the Roadloft minivan conversion kit (without accessories) barely reaching $282 or $116 for the SUV. Even equipping with all the utility and ambient accessories to find the main Class B amenities in the Roadloft minivan (solar panels, lithium power station, compressor fridge/freezer, 2-burner premium propane stove, mosquito nets, insulating curtains, seat organizers, solar lighting and ambiance lamps, portable toilet), the annual net Roadloft cost barely climbs to $511.

Here we really compare the total net annual cost of a Roadloft kit (for minivan including a lot of convenience accessories) from $511 to $23,682 for the class B RV. A net acquisition cost of the Roadloft kit for minivan which amounts to 2% of the Class B RV and 1% in the case of the Roadloft kit for SUV.

Cost Comparison RV vs ROADLOFT CAMPER KIT for Minivan or SUV
Dodge Grand Caravan minivan equipped with Roadloft removable camper Conversion Kit

A Roadloft removable Camper Kit is 1% or 2% of the class B RV cost

Our customers switching from RV to the Roadloft removable camper conversion kit installed in their everyday vehicle, tell us that they have often been convinced by a friend recommending that they sell their RV. « Sell your RV, adopt the Roadloft Vanlife Formula »

More travel, more outings, more restaurants, more shows

They tell how the Roadloft Vanlife Formula has transformed their getaways and road trips. They go out a lot more. They embellish their trips with outings to restaurants, shows, museums, improvise more according to the impulses of the moment, take advantage of free campsites or the best paying sites (for tents) that are intimate and shaded, and moreover less expensive than those for RVs. And in addition, they are no longer limited in their leisure budget once they return home.

Check out our article on a dream road trip for $20 a day

Now that the costs of acquiring the Roadloft formula are known to you in detail, see our article on the detailed budget for a one-month dream trip to the American West at a cost of 20 $ per day.

In Roadloft Vanlife Formula, your dollars and your dreams will go far!

More info (photos, videos, testimonials, contacts) on our camper conversion kits for minivans and SUVs on

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