Which RV Type is Right For You?
Things to Consider When Choosing an RV
Some motorhomes are designed specifically for only two to four people. Others can sleep six to eight people or more. Travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers also come in many different shapes and sizes. There are so many layout and configuration choices when it comes to RVs. But, there are several classes of RV to understand in order to narrow down your choices when it comes to choosing your perfect motor home.
In the case of motorhomes, there are some major things to consider. There are motor homes with automatic transmissions or 5-speed manual transmissions. Also, different motor homes have different engines and fuel requirements. Motor homes use a lot of fuel and while many diesel models tend to be more fuel-efficient than gas-powered models, that isn’t always the case. So, do your research.
Obviously, with trailers you won’t have to worry about engine types and such. But you will have to consider what to tow it with. There are two major types of RV trailer: travel trailers and fifth-wheels. There are also truck campers, which actually connect into the bed of a pickup truck. We’ll get into these various classes of RV trailer in a bit.
Other things you’d want to consider are the amenities you’re looking for with your RV. Some of these may include chemical toilets with flushing capabilities, fresh water and waste water tank sizes for holding fresh water and waste water, hot water heater capacity, and air conditioning. Motor homes and trailers can also usually include various sizes of kitchens. Most contain a refrigerator and many have a microwave.
Fortunately, when you’re browsing RVs, the basic specs and equipments provided with each model of motor home or trailer will be listed on the manufacturer website. So, there isn’t a guessing game when it comes to knowing what each RV model has to offer. That way, you can narrow down exactly what features are important to you when making your choices.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at the various classes of RV. These include the Class A Motorhome, Class B Motorhome, Class C Motorhome, Fifth Wheel trailers, Travel Trailers, Truck Campers, and Van Conversions (or caravans as they are called in Europe).
Van Conversions / Caravans
In Europe, caravans have been popular for travel for years. These converted vans have become increasingly popular in America, Australia, and other places, as well. They do have the reputation of being “old school,” which is something that does attract people to them. However, they also have a reputation of being cramped, slow, and underpowered.
On the other hand, there are plenty of van conversion RVs that aren’t underpowered at all. Some of them have engines on par with the larger RVs and some are actually very similar to the Class B motorhomes that we’ll get to shortly. If you’ve been considering a van conversion, and it’s just you and one other person, a van conversion or European-style caravan may be a good choice for you.
Class A Motorhomes
Perhaps the most popular motorhome is the Class A Motorhome. For many people, they are considered the most impressive. That’s because they resemble a bus, and many are the size of smaller school buses. Some Class A Motorhomes resemble big-time tour buses. Like on a touring bus, Class A Motorhomes have a cabin where the driver and a passenger sit. Behind the cabin is a luxury vehicle that not only allows for luxurious road trips and vacations, but are the perfect choice for full time RV living!
The main appeal of Class A Motorhomes is that they typically can contain everything that a typical home can. These include appliances, even washers, dryers, and dishwashers in larger models, and can be built inside to look exactly like a typical small apartment. Larger Class A Motorhomes can sleep up to 10 people, although there are smaller Class A models that sleep four to six people.
With large Class A Motorhomes, you typically see owners tow their personal vehicle such as a car, truck, van, or SUV behind them. That’s because Class A motorhomes tend to be very difficult on fuel consumption, so having the smaller vehicle to travel locally is a good idea.
Class B Motorhomes
The Class B Motorhome is actually very similar to a cross between a van conversion and a Class A motorhome. It has a drivers cab in front, but it resembles more of a large van instead of a bus. They typically only sleep up to 4 people and don’t have all of the amenities of a Class A motorhome.
The major advantage of Class B motor homes is that they can be used as a practical vehicle around town. They fit in most parking spaces and tend to be very fuel-efficient. While they are OK for going on vacations, they aren’t well-equipped for long-term RV adventures.
Class C Motorhomes
The Class C motorhome is a popular choice of motor home for several reasons. It’s sort of a cross between a Class A and Class B motorhome. It has a drivers cab, but they have a private sleeping area above the cab, which can also be used for storage if that space isn’t required. Class C motorhomes come in a variety of lengths, but most can sleep six people comfortably.
Some Class C motorhomes are short enough to fit in regular parking spaces, while others can be even 30 feet or longer like a Class A! The major benefit of a Class C motorhome is no matter the size, every Class C motorhome comes equipped with a kitchen and small bathroom. While they can be cramped to live in long-term, for only two to four people in some of the mid-sized models (23 to 26 feet), full time RV living is possible in these Class C motor homes.
While Class A motorhomes are often built for luxury living, Class C motor homes are typically built with more practicality and versatility. They are a favorite of many full time RVers for that reason.
Fifth Wheel Trailers
In the case that you own a pick-up truck, fifth wheel trailers are a great RV option to consider. These trailers attach to the truck bed using a special attachment, which can be installed fairly easily by a local dealer. Fifth wheels tend to be far less expensive than a motor home, which is one major benefit to owning one if you have the vehicle to tow it.
Fifth wheels also have the benefit of having a “second story,” which is usually a master bedroom that sits over the truck bed. But the other thing about fifth wheels is that they are still free-standing when detached from the truck. So, it can be used just like a conventional travel trailer.
Another option if you have a pick-up truck is a truck camper. Like a fifth-wheel trailer, they sit in the bed of the truck. However, they don’t have any special attachments, and some larger ones can even be free-standing. These truck campers can have basic amenities such as a kitchenette and toilet & sink.
The larger truck campers are good for one or two people. They aren’t ideal for long-term trips or full-time RVing, but there those that use them for that purpose. The major advantage to truck campers is that you don’t have to worry about towing them.
Like the fifth wheel trailer, travel trailers are great if you have a towing vehicle. The major difference is that you can tow them with any vehicle capable of towing a trailer. You may have to invest in a better tow package for your vehicle, but many trucks, vans, and SUVs have the capability of towing decent sized travel trailers.
The amenities of a travel trailer are very similar to those that you would find in Class A and Class C motorhomes. Some travel trailers are actually quite luxurious, while others are more practical. Travel trailers are widely popular because of how easy it is to find a vehicle that can tow them. They’re very easy to live out of both in the short-term and long-term and are a staple at many campgrounds and RV parks.
Now that you know the major classes of RV, you can decide from these what type works for you. There are RVs in all of these classes at various price points, especially if you buy used. By knowing the various pros and cons of each class of RV, you can narrow down your choices considerably. At the end of the day, though, you’ll want to visit your local RV showroom to get a feel for each type in person.
What class of RV is your favorite?