Two Different RV Categories
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There are several different types of RVs that fall under two main categories: drivable and towable. RVs range in size from large drivable motorhomes to small teardrop towable trailers. What all RVs have in common is their need for an external power source. Additionally, every type of offers a place to sleep. These sleeping areas may be a fold down dinette, a bed over the can, or a separate bedroom with a residential mattress. Sleeping capacity for any particular RV depends more upon the floor plan rather than the type of RV itself. Below is a breakdown of the different types of RVs and what makes each unique so you can choose the right RV for your camping style.
- Two Different RV Categories
- Drivable Types of RVs: 3 Classes of Motorhomes
- Towable Types of RVs
Drivable Types of RVs: 3 Classes of Motorhomes
Largest Drivable Type of RV: Class A Motorhome
As a bus-style motorhomes, these types of RVs are typically the largest and most expensive of the drivable RVs. On the inside, Class A motorhomes are usually on the more luxurious side of the motorhome class. A custom-built Class A motorhomes can fetch a price tag of 2 million or more. However, you are more likely to find a Class A motorhome priced between $50,000 and $200,000 for the everyday traveler.
Depending on the type of engine with the Class A RV, it would be referred to as a gas pusher or a diesel pusher. Class A RVs range in size from 21-45 feet long. Meaning, they have just about everything you’d want from a sticks and bricks home. Another benefit to this type of RV is that they can tow a vehicle, eliminating the need to drive this RV for trips to the grocery store, etc.
Small Drivable Type of RV: Class B Motorhome
These van-style motorhomes are usually the smallest of the motorhome classes. Class B RVs, also known as camper vans, are the ones you’ll see feature with the trendy hashtag “#vanlife.” Despite being the smallest of the motorhome category, Class B RVs can be quite expensive. Some vans can sleep up to four people. Though, this RV type is typically best suited for one or two adults.
The small space of a camper van requires many areas to be multipurpose. For example, this type of RV may have a dinette that converts to a bed rather than a separate sleeping area. Additionally, some camper vans have a wet bathroom where the toilet and sink are located within the shower area. Though, not all camper vans are self-contained and may require the owner to use a gym or pubic restroom to wash up.
Mid-Sized Drivable Type of RV: Class C Motorhome
These midrange RVs are just smaller versions of Class As. They also come with most amenities, sleep up to eight, and are 20–31 feet long. While most Class Cs are capable of towing a vehicle. Class C owners have the option to go without an additional vehicle. However, many Class C RV owners will drive that vehicle separate on travel days.
This type of RV is often smaller version of the Class As. These motorhomes often have many of the amenities found in the more common Class As. While not typically not as luxurious as Class As, Class Cs are also able to sleep up to about 10 people comfortably. Class C RVs have typically have space above the cab for a sleeping area or additional storage above the cab.
You may have heard of Super Cs, which are a subclass of Class C motorhomes. This type of camper is typically larger, more expensive and luxurious than a standard Class C RV.
A converted bus is another type of motorhome. Some folks will gut a school or commercial bus and turn it into a useable living space. These can be great project but require a significant financial investment of time and money to complete one of these projects. Be sure you are up for the challenge before buying a bus to convert into an RV.
Towable Types of RVs
This category of RV types includes folding trailers, travel trailers, and fifth-wheels. You’ll need a tow vehicle for these towable RVs you’ll need a vehicle capable of towing these trailers. Other options here include smaller teardrop and pop-up trailers for shorter weekend trips.
Teardrop Trailers aka Tiny Trailers
Known by their distinctive teardrop shape, this type of trailer is primarily used for short trips and weekends. Much like a camper van, tiny trailers have multi-purpose areas to make the best use of the tiny living space. Teardrop trailers typically weigh less than four-thousand pounds meaning most half -ton vehicles can tow this type of RV.
Some teardrop trailers are self-contained. Though, many only have space enough for a bed. Some tiny trailers have a kitchen area at the back but they may not have a wet bathroom.
Pop-up aka Folding Camping Trailer
Pop-up trailers are usually self-contained, with a wet bathroom and small kitchen. These types of RVs are popular with many families due to their light tow weight and lower price point. Folding camping trailers are perfect for short trips and weekends. They typically offer two separate sleeping areas as well, making them a great choice for small families.
Folding camping trailers are a step above the traditional tent, providing more comfort and protection from the elements. The traditional kind have a hard bottom and soft sides that pop out. However, this type of camper performs best in temperate climates. Some pop-up trailers have a hard top that can provide more durability than soft pop-up trailers when camping.
Types of RV for Your Truck: Truck Camper
This type of camper attaches to the bed of your truck. A truck camper often has a sleeping area over the truck cab. Truck camp owners have the option to leave their camper attached to their truck. However, if they will be staying stationary for an extended period, they can also be unhitched and left at campsite.
Travel Trailers or Bumper Pull RVs
This type of camper is one of the most popular types of RVs on the market. Travel trailers attach to a tow vehicle by a bumper hitch or a frame hitch. Travel trailers are lighter and considered to be easier to unhook and set-up than fifth wheels (discussed below). This type of RV typically weighs between four- and ten-thousand pounds and are safely pull by many mid-sized SUVs.
Like their larger counterparts, travel trailers offer floorplans with bunkhouses, murphy beds, outside kitchens, and four-season weather packages. Travel trailers typically have slide-outs and offer a wider range of floor plans than smaller towable types of RVs. Additionally, travel trailers tend to be more affordable than some of the larger types of towable RVs.
This type of towable RV is typically lighter in weight and not nearly as tall as most fifth wheel trailers increasing their maneuverability when driving under bridges and searching for campgrounds. This towable type of RV can be harder to manage on the road and may be more likely to exhibit sway, especially in high winds. To reduce accident risk while driving, be sure to use the proper hitch and that the weight is properly distributed throughout the trailer. That being said, most travel trailer owners have never experience serious sway issues.
Hybrid Trailers and Expandable Travel Trailers
This RV type is a less common type of RV. These RV types are considered to be a blend between the pop-up trailer and travel trailer. These types of RVs are like a traditional travel trailer as they have a hard-bodied middle. And like a pop-up trailer, these types of towable RVs have soft exterior extensions for sleeping.
Park Model Trailers
This is another uncommon type of RV. These are like a blend between a traditional residential single wide trailer and a travel trailer. These towable RVs look more like a mobile home but have a hitch attached to their frame making them easier to transport from place to place. Park Model RVs can be great for full-time living in parks or campgrounds for extended periods of time.
5th wheel trailers are believed to be the second most common type of towable RV, after travel trailers. Fifth wheels have many of the same amenities and features as a travel trailer. Fifth wheels are often heavier and larger in size than a travel trailer. These RVs require a specific type of hitch that attaches to the bed of a tow vehicle. Many believe that fifth wheels are more solid and safer to tow than travel trailers.
Types of RVs to Haul Your Toys: Toy Hauler
These RVs can either be travel trailers or fifth wheels. The main distinguishing feature of a toy haulers is that it has an area at the back of the RV that can store “toys” such as a motorcycle.
Types of RVs for Ice Fishing: Fish Houses
The final RV in this list is also a lesser common type of towable RV. Fish houses come in a variety of configurations as well. A fish house will has a small cutout in the floor that allows RVers to ice fish directly from within their camper. Fish house owners will tow their camper onto ice-covered water, open a hole in the floor, and cut a hole in the ice. While staying in the RV, they are able to fish from the hole they have cut. The fish house protects fishermen and their families from the elements while fishing. Given the commercial purpose of this type of RV, you won’t often find them at your everyday campground. This type of RV is more common in places, such as Alaska and parts of Canada, where ice fishing occurs.
What is your favorite type of RV and why? Let us know below!