RV vs Camper

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The experience of packing your belongings and camping supplies in an RV and actually hitting the road down to Florida or anywhere else is very exciting. For many people, there is nothing similar to it. The RV you are traveling in or towing could be a camper or something else. 

In this article, I am going to tell you the difference between RVs and campers. I am also going to tell you about the different types of campers available on the market to help you choose the best one for your next camping adventure.

Let’s begin.

What is The Difference between an RV and a Camper?

RV is an abbreviation of the term recreational vehicle. Therefore, an RV is a recreational vehicle. A recreational vehicle is one that is used for traveling, camping, and/ or visiting exciting destinations.

There are many types of recreational vehicles. Popular types include fifth-wheels, motorhomes, and travel trailers. Many people in the RV industry refer to recreational vehicles as campers. In other words, RVs are campers. But as I have mentioned, there are many types of RVs and some people distinguish RVs from campers by saying that motorized recreational vehicles (motorhomes) are the only recreational vehicles that should be called RVs and that non-motorized ones (travel trailers and fifth-wheels) are campers.

Because of this, most RV manufacturers and official publications call motorized recreational vehicles “RVs” and refer to non-motorized ones as “campers.” So in short, there is no major difference between RVs and campers. RVs are campers but the term camper is used specifically to refer to non-motorized RVs.

Types of Campers/ Non-motorized Recreational Vehicles

There are three types of campers: pop-up trailers, fifth-wheels, and travel trailers.

Pop-up Trailers 

Pop-up trailers are the lightest and most compact type of camper available on the market. Pop-up trailers are called pop-up trailers because they can be folded when the road and unfolded when camping.

Most pop-up trailers measure between eight to seventeen feet in length. Because travel trailers and fifth-wheels typically measure around 26 feet in length, it is fair to say that pop-up trailers are the smallest in terms of footprint. Because of their small size and lightweight, pop-up trailers can be towed by many types of vehicles including trucks, SUVs, and powerful sedans.

Because of their small size and because of the fact that they do not have a lot of amenities, pop-up trailers are the cheapest campers. However, while pop-up trailers generally do not have many amenities, there are some that do.


Fifth-wheels are the longest and heaviest type of camper available on the market. Some of the longest fifth-wheels on the market measure approximately 42 feet in length.

Most fifth-wheels usually have the same amenities you would expect from a tiny loft or a big motorhome/ RV. They have a mini kitchen, a living area, a bathroom, a bedroom, and multiple storage areas. 

As mentioned above, fifth-wheels have the same features you would expect from a big motorhome. However, because they are not motorized, they are generally significantly cheaper than motorhomes.

Pop-up trailers are light and can, therefore, be pulled by many types of vehicles. Travel trailers are also light and can be pulled by many types of vehicles. In contrast, fifth-wheels are usually quite heavy and can only be pulled by full-size trucks with powerful engines and high towing capacities. And such trucks must be fitted with special hitches on their beds to safely pull fifth-wheel campers over long distances.

Fifth-wheel campers are called fifth-wheels because their front must extend over truck beds for them to be hitched and towed.

Travel Trailers

Most campers on the market are travel trailers. This is because many RV brands exclusively make or prioritize making travel trailers.

400;”>Unlike pop-up campers, travel trailers do not fold and unlike fifth-wheel campers, travel trailers are not too heavy to only be towed using full-size trucks.

Generally, travel trailers are mid-sized campers (when compared to pop-up trailers and fifth-wheel trailers). However, it is important to note that travel trailers are available in many weights and sizes. Some travel trailers are as light as the lightest pop-up campers, while others are as heavy as the heaviest fifth-wheels. Averagely though, most travel trailers have a footprint of between 15 to 30 feet and weigh between 2,500 and 8,500 pounds.

Because travel trailers are available in many weights and sizes, some of them are cheap, while others are expensive. In addition to being lightweight, cheap travel trailers usually have fewer amenities than the more expensive ones.

Types of RVs/ Motorized Recreational Vehicles

There are three types of RVs/ motorized Recreational Vehicles: Class A RVs, Class B RVs, and Class C RVs.

Class A RVs

Class A RVs are the largest and costliest type of RV. Most Class A RVs measure around 40 feet in length and 10,000 pounds in weight (they look like buses). Because of their size and weight, these RVs are challenging to maneuver and to park. Therefore, if you have never owned or driven RVs before, you should not buy or rent a Class A RV. You could easily cause an accident. However, if you attend RV driving lessons and get some serious RV driving experience, you can be knowledgeable and skilled enough to drive a Class A RV without having previous experience driving an RV.

Most Class A recreational vehicles have multiple sleeping spaces, multiple storage spaces, spacious kitchens, spacious bathrooms, and spacious living rooms. They also have many amenities. However, there are some that are not over the top.

Because of their weight, Class A recreational vehicles are not very fuel-efficient. Therefore, if you plan to buy one and travel around with it, you should be prepared to set aside a good amount of money for gas every time you travel to a far destination.

Lastly, because of their size, Class A RVs cannot fit small camping sites. Therefore, if you buy a Class A RV and you want to travel with it to an RV campground, you should confirm if it can fit the camp’s camping sites before booking a spot.

Class B RVs

Like Class A RVs, Class B RVs are also fully motorized. Class B RVs are the lightest and most compact type of recreational vehicle. They measure approximately 23 feet in length and have only sufficient space and storage.

Class B RVs look like vans and are sometimes referred to as van campers. Because Class B RVs are the lightest and most compact type of recreational vehicle, they are the least expensive type of RV. They are also easier to drive and to park and cheaper to fuel compared to other types of RVs.

So if you want a recreational vehicle and you are on a budget, you should strongly consider getting a Class B RV.

While Class Bs are generally small and compact, there is some big Class Bs that have big space and amenities. According to some RV critics, big Class Bs can also be referred to as Class B+ RVs.

Class C RVs

Class C RVs are very nice and very comfortable RVs that are not too small or too big. In terms of size, they are between Class As and Class Bs. Basically, Class C RVs look like large trucks. They have an overhanging part that extends over the cab. Most Class Cs have a sleeping mattress or a storage area in this part.

Class Cs have more functional space than Class Bs. Most of them have sizeable sleeping areas, living rooms, and kitchens. They also have showers. 

Because Class Cs are bigger and heavier than Class Bs, they are less fuel-efficient compared to Class Bs. However, they are more fuel-efficient compared to Class A RVs which are heavier than them.

Generally, Class Cs measure approximately 25 feet and they are perfect for small families.

The Final Note

Both RVs and campers are great ways to travel to exciting destinations and have fun outdoors with family. The best recreational vehicle for you depends on your budget, your style, and your needs.