Are you considering to buy an RV? Maybe you’re wanting to take an adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with your family or just going solo. An RV is absolutely the right choice for you! However, it will pay off in the long-run if you gain a little knowledge about the different types of RVs out there.
Recreational Vehicles are a wonder of the modern automotive industry. It’s literally your home on wheels! Take it with you wherever you go and enjoy the basic amenities such as electricity, plumbing, hot/cold water and an inbuilt kitchen to cook your delicious meals.
In this article, I’m going to give you a quick breakdown of the eight different types of RVs that you can find on the market today. Just keep in mind, each type of RV has its own pros and cons so I will be sharing those with you too as well.
It can be very convenient for the sake of understanding to divide RVs into two broader categories. So, there are motorized RVs and non-motorized RVs or more specifically, towable RVs.
Motorized RVs are in the true sense, your home on wheels. They have a built engine which makes them the ideal option for a multi-stop road adventure. Motorized RVs can be further sub-divided into three types. Let’s take a look at each of them.
These motorhomes are the biggest and most spacious of the different types of RVs. Their size can generally range between to 22 – 40 feet. You can expect a full feature kitchen, bedroom, living area, and bathrooms. Some allow a slide out function which basically means that you can extend a portion of the RV to make a specific area bigger while the vehicle remains completely stationary.
They give you the premium experience of having a luxury style home while you’re living out in the wilderness. I would probably recommend this type of RV to those people who are dedicated road travelers and who are living on the road full time.
• Very large in size hence giving you the ultimate option in having a large interior space for living
• You get many options for enjoying a vast array of luxury amenities such as having a laundry machine installed, shower facilities and even a home entertainment system
• You get plenty of cargo space to store your essential and extra items
• It’s very expensive and not recommended for the casual road traveler or enthusiast not to mention the extra costs of insuring it and maintaining it adding to the overall expense
• It’s hard to drive in narrow roads due to its enormous size and maneuvering them in mountainous regions can be a challenge
• You cannot just set it up and decide to leave without keeping a second vehicle to run those quick errands
They are the smallest motorized RVs ranging between 15 – 22 feet. Also called “camper vans,” they are popular for families or people looking to have the basic amenities with the added ease of traveling in a van.
You get a basic sleeping room together with all the necessities of living. Some might find the interior space to be a little too cramped up but keep in mind, if more than two people intend on using it, then it can get uncomfortable. They cost the least amount of the 3 types, about $30k-$99k.
An ideal choice for solo travelers or families without children wanting to have an affordable and convenient occasional road trip.
• Affordable and easy to manage with manageable costs
• Very easy to drive and set up
• Offers the basic amenities for two persons
• The interior space could feel cramped up for more than two persons
• Not much option for luxury living
• The storage area is very small, so you cannot get enough space for extra supplies
They are the mid-sized RVs ranging between 20 – 35 feet. They are generally built on top of truck and van chassis. If you’re located in North America, you can expect to find chassis for Ford E350, E450, Dodge, Chevrolet or GMC.
It would be a safe option for singles to a variety of different family sizes. Comparing them with Class B RVs, you get a little more space. The basic facilities of a kitchen area, comfortable sleeping quarters, shower and a toilet are included.
It’s very likely that you will find an air-conditioner, water heater, a furnace and even an outside canopy with some newer models.
• The convenience of all the basic amenities including some luxury items
• A decent size to cater for families of varying sizes
• The extra sleeping area by converting couches and tables into beds
• Not recommended for quick or casual road trips
• Driving and maneuvering is still challenging
• A viable option for only those with a limited budget
Let’s now take a look at the other different types of RVs that are not motorized but towable. They can offer many extra advantages over having motorized ones. But all in all, they are generally detachable and a great option for people who like to stay in one place for longer periods of times.
They are the most standard option among the towable RVs. Attached with a simple hitch, they are very easy to unhook and set up. Varying sizes between 12 – 35 feet make them convenient for different types of families. They can be ideal for small families or avid road campers alike. Read more here.
However, the highlight of travel trailers is the convenience of hooking it with a standard ball hitch receiver. You can pull them with any type of truck, van or SUV but be sure to note the weight capacity that can be hauled.
• You can tow them with a variety of different vehicles
• Convenient to be used for quick camping tours
• Mid-range overall cost budget required
• Driving can be a challenge in narrow spaces not to mention the fact that it’s nearly impossible to drive in reverse while it’s attached
• Setting it up can be tricky since the level of the trailer and the vehicle must be the same
5th Wheel Trailers:
These are designed to be attached to a pickup or a medium sized duty truck that is equipped with a special in-box hitch called “fifth coupling.” This fifth wheel hitch is why this type is called the 5th Wheel.
Some of the larger fifth wheel trailers that are usually over 40 feet and weighing 18,000 pounds are designed to be hauled by semi-sized trucks such as a Freightliner or a full-sized class 8 truck.
Among the different types of RVs, the biggest concern with towing such an RV is the type of vehicle that is used. Since its illegal for anyone to be inside of a vehicle that is being towed, the idea of a large family being cramped up in a limited truck over a long period can be unnerving.
• Overall greater capacity for storage and larger living areas
• Provides the option for various amenities and also luxury conveniences
• Limited choice in the types of the vehicles that can be used to two this RV
• Passengers can feel cramped up in the limited area of a truck during long road trips
These are mounted into the base of a pickup truck and then secured very tightly so as not to allow any wobbling while being towed.
The typical North American pickup trucks are used for hauling this type of RV. Examples could include the Ford F250 and the Dodge Ram 3500.
The overall size is compact ranging between 10-20 feet, but some models include slide-out features for the extra price. They are generally recommended for backwoods traveling particularly in North America, and if you desire to own an RV for part-time usage, then this is the right one for you.
• Offer the basic amenities in a compact size
• The slide-out function can extend the living area
• Limited vehicle types that can be used to two such RVs
• Can be expensive to purchase with added extendable options
The Folding trailers are very compact and are among the smallest options for towable RVs making them a great choice for adventure savvy campers. The size ranges generally between 10 -25 feet.
They are a smart choice for people on a budget and prefer to take the casual weekend road trips. In some models, the walls are made out of durable tent canvas making them very light-weight and easy to maneuver.
Being light-weight also makes them easily towable by a wide range of towing vehicles. They offer the bare necessities and amenities of everyday life and are the practical solution for a young camper family looking to enjoy a day or two out in the open.
• Very lightweight in weight making it very easy for virtually every type of towing vehicle to be used
• Very practical solution for a tight budget
• Easy to maintain and operate
• Living space is very limited and not recommended for large families
• No storage area available
• Not suitable for longer periods of camping outdoors
Sports Utility RV / Toy Hauler
You get a very spacious area for storing motorcycles, ATVs or dirt bikes. It’s a perfect solution for bikers wishing to transport their bikes along with them on their adventures.
You can store your bikes in the rear compartment of the trailer, and the folding wall turns into a loading ramp to easily store your sports vehicles. If you are a bike enthusiast wishing to partake in a road adventure as well as taking a dive into motorsports along the way, then this RV is exactly what you’re looking for. Campers will enjoy the basic traveling facilities but will have a limited size.
• Perfect for bike enthusiasts wishing to camp as well
• Comes with the basic amenities and a storage area for all the tools and gear needed for the sports vehicles
• The interior space for living is very limited which can cause an uncomfortable camping experience
• Oil, fuel and other hazardous chemicals/supplies for the sports vehicles can be potentially dangerous
So, What Do I Take From All This Information?
All in all, these are the basic types of RVs that you can find on the market. You may find other different types of RVs which are more designed for specific purposes like Horse Trailers. These, as the name suggests, are used to haul horses as well as humans.
Then there are diesel pushers that can be considered as a type of motorized RV. The engine is located in the rear, and the RV itself is almost fully loaded with the basic amenities including the best luxuries that one can hope for. They were designed for people who have dedicated their lives to living outdoors.
So, are you thinking about taking a long road trip out in the boonies? It always pays, in the long run, to invest in a little bit of research before you finally decide to choose a particular recreational vehicle.
Each type of RV has its own set of unique features and differences. Don’t be tempted to decide on only one or more set of factors. Compare each RV against the different advantages and disadvantages that are offered.
If you are an avid camper who is a seasoned camper, then you should consider buying the larger RVs with extra options. However, if you’re just starting out or maybe you’re low on finances then consider between a mid-sized to the smallest sized motorhome.
In this article, we’ve looked at the major different types of RVs that you can find available on the market today. I hope after going through the information here, your basic knowledge about the RVs has increased motivating you to get out there and do a market survey for yourself.
I do not doubt that there is something out there for every type of camper.