When you’re first looking to spread your wings and choose a recreational vehicle to take you on your adventures, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of RV Classes that are available. This is not a bad thing, it’s better to have a lot of options, rather than be constrained to only a couple.
The key to finding the perfect RV is to understand all your options, to research the pros and cons of each type, and to weigh these findings against your requirements. You’ll want to consider where you’re likely to travel to, your budget, who you’re traveling with, as well as how you’re planning to get there. All these considerations should affect what sort of RV suits you best.
In this article, we intend to outline the various types and classes of RVs and motorhomes that can be bought on the market today. We’ll go beyond just outlining the category types and give our honest opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of each type. This will help you make a better and more informed decision on the RV or motorhome that will best meet your specific requirements and needs.
RV Classes: Motorhomes
We’re massive fans of RV camping, to us, there’s nothing more exciting than heading out onto the open road with an RV. But, we also realize that not everyone has the same requirements as us. Part of buying an RV is making sure your choice of vehicle fits within your budget and that it’s a good fit for your style of camping.
Motorhomes offer several distinct advantages over other types of RVs. Perhaps the biggest selling points of motorhomes are that they are completely self-contained, which means that they are often easier to set up and can allow your kids or other passengers to move around while you’re on the road. Any parent can testify to the fact that keeping kids cooped up in a seat on a long car trip can be challenging.
Within the Motorhomes umbrella, there are three distinct types available to buy. To better understand the pros and cons of each type, let’s take a more in-depth look at the three basic classes.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are normally only for the traveler with the deepest pockets or the biggest passion for traveling, as they are the most expensive and largest RVs you’re likely to come across on the roads.
They are often represented by purpose-built models, but it’s also not uncommon to come across converted buses. Most will be powered by diesel engines, in either a pusher or puller configuration, but you may on occasions come across gasoline varieties. Even though these motorhomes can get up to 45 feet in length, you’re not going to require a specialist CDL license to operate one.
As these motorhomes boast the largest interior spaces, you can expect many of them to include numerous features not found on other classes. Some models even come equipped with sections that can slide out and expand the available living space, it’s also not uncommon to come across models that offer a separate master bedroom.
The luxury features on these models commonly include laundry machines and dryers full sizes baths and showers, ice makers and bars, as well as ta op of the line home entertainment systems. As a bonus, you’ll also find that storage for extra gear and the food is enormous, which means if the mood takes, you could stay on the road for months if not years at a time.
These motorhomes are of course fantastic options if you’re looking to get away for a while, or even a short break, but they often aren’t cheap and the sheer size of them can be intimidating. If you come across a narrow road, or you need to navigate winding twisting roads, a large motorhome might not be up to the task. Additionally, you might be limited to the campsites you’re allowed to use with your camper.
If you need to run a quick errand while you’re camping, it can mean packing up your whole camp before you can head off. Some campers overcome this issue by allowing an additional small vehicle to be towed for day to day travel requirements.
As well as the initial expense of the RV, the ongoing cost of running of maintenance, repairs, fuel, and insurance means that this type of motorhome is one of the most expensive types around.
- Massive interior space
- A ton of room for storing gear and cargo
- A huge array of luxury options and amenities
- Difficult to drive if not experienced
- Day to day travel can be difficult without an additional vehicle
- Very expensive to run and purchase
These models are often too expensive and impractical for the average buyer, however, they are excellent choices looking to travel long term. Many retirees or people that are looking to travel on the road full time are increasingly looking at Class A Motorhomes as a solution to their requirements.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B Motorhomes are commonly referred to as camper vans. This category includes many shapes and sizes of motorhome, mostly on the smaller side and often include vehicles that barely qualify to be called a motorhome. They are often built upon an existing van chassis with the added benefit of a raised roof to facilitate walking upright when you’re inside. As with the Class A motorhomes, you’ll find that the engines come in diesel and gasoline varieties, but diesel is without a doubt the most popular type.
The beauty of these smaller RVs is that they provide a comfortable area to sleep and all the essentials for a trip, but they are also incredibly maneuverable and easy to drive. Their small size means they’re perfectly well suited to last minute excursions and you can use them for day to day driving.
If you’re a solo traveler or if you’re traveling as a couple, then there should be ample room for everyone. If there’s more than two of you then you’re probably better off looking for a larger type. Having said that, most of these Class B motorhomes are completely self-contained, so you can enjoy the benefits of a toilet, fridge, sink, heater, air conditioning, and toilet. Many still cost quite a bit to purchase, but the continued upkeep and running costs are normally far less than any other Motorhome type.
The obvious disadvantage of these types of motorhomes is that the internal space is often limited. If you’re planning on traveling with more than two people, then things might be a bit cramped and possibly uncomfortable. You’ll also find that the appliances provided are on the smaller side, which might make meal preparation more challenging. If you’re looking for luxury appointments, full-sized widescreen entertainment systems or washing machines and dryers, then you’re going to have look elsewhere, there simply isn’t room for these items. The capacity to carry cargo and supplies will also be limited, so you’ll need to factor that into your travel plans.
- Maneuvering and driving is easy
- Setting up for camping is dead easy
- Running costs and fuel are minimal
- Very easy to break camp and drive out for errands and excursions
- Barebones amenities
- Limited internal living area
- Restricted cargo and storage space
- Best suited for under two travelers
If you’re traveling by yourself or as a couple, then Class B Motorhomes offer fantastic value for money, convenience, and ease of use. The last minute gets up and goes nature of these vehicles means they are great for anyone that likes to travel on the spur of the moment or if they only have limited travel time.
Class C Motorhomes
The Class C Motorhome is midsized RV that will commonly range between 20 and 33 feet. Most types are designed around existing van and truck chassis, and they are particularly well suited for small groups or families that are looking to have a vacation on a limited budget. One of the big selling points of these RVs is that they offer many of benefits of a Class A motorhome but at a fraction of the cost of their larger cousins.
This class of RV offers a nice balance between Class B and Class A, offering substantially more living space than Class B homes while also offering many of the luxury appointments available in class A. It’s not unusual to be able to find shower and toilet facilities, a kitchen with many of the features you’d need, as well as ample room for socializing and sleeping. You might even find some models that boast a master bedroom located at the rear of the RV, however, this is usually at the expense of maneuverability.
Often couches and eating areas can convert into comfortable beds in the evening, which serves to maximize the space available during the daytime. You’ll unlikely to struggle for space with plenty of overhead storage areas as well as huge amount of space above the driver’s cab for storing all the gear you might need.
It should be noted that some of the larger Class C motorhomes can be equally as challenging to drive as Class A, but maneuvering in areas with limited space is often less of a concern. Drivers will often tow an additional vehicle which can be used for day trips and excursions. In terms of running costs, Class C is often cheaper in terms of fuel, maintenance, and insurance when compared to Class A, however, Class B is still much cheaper in comparison.
- Roomy enough to comfortably accommodate a family
- Tons of sleeping areas and storage spaces
- All of the essential amenities are taken care of
- Not as expensive to run or buy as a Class A motorhome
- Not as cheap to buy and maintain as a Class B motorhome
- Driving can still cause issues
- Some of the more luxurious amenities might not be available
- Challenging to take out on day trips unless you’ve towed a separate car
We think the class C motorhomes are fantastic options for those with a family but can’t stretch to the expense of class A. They tick all of the boxes for most people that are looking to buy an RV, so it’s unlikely you’ll be left wanting more.
RVs are not just restricted to motorhomes, so it’s important to consider all the available options and balance your personal requirements with the features and costs of the RVs available to you. A towable RV is an extremely popular option now, and for good reason, they offer many advantages over motorhomes. Not only are they less expensive than a motorhome, but they are often more convenient, more reliable and allow you to move freely around once you’ve reached your destination due to the detachable design.
If you’re serious about finding the best RV to meet your needs and budget, then you need to consider all of the options available on market before committing to a purchase.
Travel trailers offer exceptionally large living spaces with all the mod cons you might expect from a modern apartment, they are essentially portable containers specifically designed for living in. Most are built upon a trailer frame with some additional modifications made to facilitate camping. Trailers can be anything from barebone models, with nothing but the essentials, all the way up to luxury offerings with every piece of technology you can think off. Some models will contain their own water supplies, refrigerators, kitchens, and bathrooms.
As you can probably imagine, due to the sheer number and variety of amenities on offer, sizes between travel trailers can vary a great deal. Some models even provide an expandable section that further increase the available living space to the occupants.
One of the biggest advantages offered by travel trailers is the sheer number of towing vehicles that can be used, the only limiting factor is the towing weight of the vehicle. Trailers are attached with a standard ball hitch, and can, therefore, be pulled by vans, SUVs, trucks or even cars, as long as they are rated to handle the tow weight. You’ll not need to purchase a secondary vehicle to meet any of your towing requirements as there will undoubtedly be a travel trailer that can be pulled by your vehicle.
If you already have experience with a trailer, you’ll probably be aware that they can be a little bit tricky to maneuver. This is especially true if you find yourself in a situation where you need to reverse into a spot. Some of the larger travel trailers can experience tail swing when driving, which is something you’ll always need to be aware of and understand how to tackle. Once you’ve set up camp, you’ll need to make sure the trailer has been set up and adjusted to ensure the living area remains level.
- A huge array of towing vehicles can be used
- Less expensive to buy and maintain compared to a motorhome
- Towing vehicles can additionally be used for day trips and errands
- Tricky to maneuver at times
- Tail swings are a constant concern
- Reversing with a trailer is very difficult
Travel trailers are great options for many families or those looking to travel full time, they offer a lot of space and amenities for the money spent.
5th Wheel Trailers
There are many similarities between traditional travel trailers and 5th wheel trailers with one major difference. The largest differentiator is how they connect to the towing vehicle. They use a gooseneck connector to attach to the towing vehicle, which offers several advantages as well as some disadvantages.
Towing a 5th wheel trailer is somewhat simpler due to the design of the connector. The gooseneck design means that the connector extends over the rear end of the towing truck which in turn connects to an overhand on the trailer. In practical terms, this means that the truck can exert more control over the trailer, which makes maneuvering easier. Additionally, the unique design offered by the overhanging connected means that a 5th wheel trailer offers additional internal space compared to a regular travel trailer. From an engineering standpoint, the gooseneck design is stronger and easier to work with.
Unfortunately, the types of vehicles that can be used to tow this sort of trailer are limited. You must use a truck with either a flat or open bed. This vehicle limitation can be problematic for families or for anyone that requires additional passenger space. Bear in mind that it is illegal for anyone to ride in a trailer as its being towed, which means passengers might have to be cramped up into the cab of the truck. This is, of course, less than ideal for long-haul journeys. Additionally, when it comes to day to day exploring or running errands, a truck is often less comfortable than an SUV or van.
- Stronger and easier to work with gooseneck connector
- The overhang design offers additional storage and living space
- The trailers can offer plenty of modern conveniences and gadgets
- The vehicles available to tow this sort of vehicle is extremely limited
- Passengers may become uncomfortable during longer trips
5th wheel trailers are excellent options for travelers that are looking for a reliable and flexible RV at a reasonable cost.
Folding Pop-Up Tent Trailers
Folding camping pop-up trailers are fantastic for choices for anyone looking for an RV that takes up a small amount of space. The defining feature is the collapsible design which means their external dimensions once collapsed makes them especially easy to store. Most are designed to utilize either rigid composite walls or are made from durable canvas stretched across a rigid frame.
We think these trailers are great for the occasional and last minute camping trip. The reduced footprint means that driving with them and maneuvering is relatively straightforward, at least compared to other RV choices. Additionally, as they are lightweight, the range and types of vehicles that can be used for towing is substantially more than other trailer types. From small trucks and station wagons to SUVs and sedans, if they are fitted with a ball hitch and they have the towing capacity to do so, then they can be used to tow a pop-up tent trailer. Most pop-up trailers will at least offer the bare essentials, making them a step up from traditional camping in a tent.
Due to the compact nature of the folding trailer tent, the ability to store additional gear or supplies is often limited. Some trailers offer the ability to lash or tie equipment to the top of the trailer, but this is not guaranteed. As with anything that moves, the canvas and the joints themselves are vulnerable to wear and tear, and as such can develop leaks over time. Tent style of camping will also expose campers to the elements more so than almost any other RV type on this list, so it’s possible its something you’d only want to do in the summer or spring months. Features such as toilets, showers, and kitchens might be completely absent, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for.
- Small exterior dimensions make it easy to tow and maneuver
- Towing can be accomplished by a large array of vehicle types
- Cheap to purchase and maintain
- Internal dimensions are limited
- Very small amounts of cargo space
- Folding sections are prone to wear and tear
- Occupants are more exposed to the elements
Pop-up travel trailers are fantastic options for those looking for an inexpensive RV or are just getting started with the hobby.
Sport Utility RV Trailers / Toy Hauler
These multipurpose trailers provide the comfort of an RV travel trailer with the functionality of the sports utility trailer. If you like you to take your ATV, snowmobile or dirt bike with you on your camping adventures, then this trailer is the obvious choice. Most of these trailers will feature a compartment at the rear of the vehicle that is specifically designed for storing sporting vehicles, the rear door will also often double as a loading ramp. The rest of the RV will be used for living space much the same way as a regular camper.
It’s obvious why outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy motorsports would prefer to use these types of RVs. Not only do they offer many of the luxury and comfort features offered by a traditional travel trailer, but they also offer they offer the camper the ability to take their garage with them. If you’re into motorsports as well as camping, then choosing one of these sports RVs is a no-brainer.
These trailers do have a couple of disadvantages, the biggest is perhaps the reduced size of the living quarters. So, while the trailer might be the same size if not bigger than many travel trailers, only a limited portion of that is dedicated to the comfort the camper, with the rest being afforded to the vehicles. Additionally, if you’re sensitive to smells and odors, then being in such close proximity to vehicles, oils or fuel can be an unpleasant experience for many.
- Great for those that like to take their toys with them camping
- Offers many of the same luxury features as any other travel trailer
- Sleeping in close proximity to vehicles and the associated paraphilia can be unpleasant
- The liveable footprint is reduced compared to a regular travel trailer
Sports utility RV trailers offer a great compromise between living space and storage space for anyone that loves motorsports. They provide more than enough amenities to suit even the most stubborn camper ensuring you’ll remain comfortable and well rested.
So, which sort of RV best meets your requirements. Towable RVs and Motorhomes come in a huge array of sizes, classes, shapes, and styles, with each type offering distinct advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, it’s up to you, the buyer, to decide on which type of RV is the best choice and the one that’ll be with you on your next adventure.