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What Type of RV is Right for You?

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The RV world is generally divided into two broad categories: (i) motorized RVs (motorhomes) and (ii) towable RVs (trailers). To find the right RV for you is a very subjective decision - what is a bonus feature for one person can be a definite liability for another and your budget will also be a significant factor. To help you reach a decision we have put together a list of RV types with a brief description, the key characteristics, the main pros and cons and an overall recommendation for each.

Motorized RVs (motorhomes)

A motorhome consists of a combined motor vehicle chassis and living quarters in a single unit. There are three types or class of motorhome to consider:

Class A Motorhome1.  Class A Motorhome

Description:  Has a bus type front end and is the roomiest of all RVs with luxurious amenities. Class A's can be fueled by either gas or diesel. A gas fueled RV will generally be less expensive to purchase and maintain. A diesel fueled RV will have certain advantages, such as, more torque for climbing hills, better braking and airbag suspension and can pull more weight

Typical Amenities:  Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom (including shower, sink and toilet), dining facilities and slide outs. Comes with electricity, heating, A/C, generator, water and propane gas, stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, sink, sofa and two televisions

Length:  26 - 45 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 8 people

Price:  $60,000 - $600,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Best visibility for sightseeing with full windshield and high elevation
  • Larger tank (water, fuel, LPG, holding) and battery capacity than other models, useful for extended dry camping
  • Hydraulic levelers
  • Lots of amenities and optional extras
  • Smoother ride
  • Larger storage compartments
  • More room for driver and passenger
  • More room inside the RV
  • Access to the whole RV without ever going outside (big plus if it is dark or raining outside)
  • Climate inside is easily controlled when traveling as you are in the living quarters
  • Don't need to use restrooms at a campground or RV park to take a shower
  • Can easily tow a small car behind for local drive

Disadvantages

  • Most expensive type of RV
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Harder to drive and park than other classes due to size. Parking can be especially difficult if you have to reverse unless you have a back-up monitor
  • Ground clearance isn't as good as other classes and you have to careful not to bottom out on uneven ground, especially if backing up hill when you can easily hit the large tail
  • Width, length and height clearance means you cannot drive down some narrow and windy roads or roads with low bridges limiting your access to some National or State Parks
  • The cockpit offers little protection to driver and passenger in the event of an accident
  • If the engine or chassis breaks down and it requires more than a day to repair, you may need to stay in a hotel as the living quarters are not separate like a trailer
  • May not fit on your driveway requiring special storage

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • Money is no object
  • You are a large family or want the most amount of room and storage as possible
  • You don't stay in one place for long and travel frequently
  • You are a full time RVer

Not Great if:

  • You plan to stay at small campgrounds and RV parks
  • You plan to boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • Want to drive lots of windy scenic routes

Class B Motorhome2.  Class B Motorhome

Description:  Drives like the family van and has an elevated roof. Both gas and diesel models are available.

Typical Amenities:  Small sink, small stove, small refrigerator and a couch or dinette that converts to a bed. In addition, they have hookups for electricity and fresh and grey water tanks. Some have a portable potty

Length:  16 - 21 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 4 people

Price:  $40,000 - $75,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Easy to drive and maneuver
  • Can drive on virtually any road
  • Better fuel economy than other motorhomes
  • Access to the whole RV without ever going outside (big plus if it is dark or raining outside)
  • Climate inside is easily controlled when traveling as you are in the living quarters
  • Cheapest of all the motorhomes
  • Will fit on your driveway, no special storage required

Disadvantages

  • Doesn't have as many amenities as the Class A or Class C
  • Less space and storage than other motorhomes or large trailers
  • Small water and holding tanks
  • Small battery capacity
  • No privacy
  • No bathroom so you need to use campground or RV park restrooms to shower
  • If the engine or chassis breaks down and it requires more than a day to repair, you may need to stay in a hotel as the living quarters are not separate like a trailer

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • Your budget doesn't stretch to Class A or Class C and you want a motorhome
  • You don't stay in one place for long and do lots of weekend or short trips
  • You plan to stay at small campgrounds and RV parks or boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • You are a single traveler or two adults

Not Great if:

  • You plan to have an extended dry camping period with no hookups
  • You want all the amenities so it really is a home away from home
  • You need lots of space and storage
  • You want a self-contained RV
  • You are more than two adults
  • You are a fulltime RVer

Class C Motorhome3.  Class C Motorhome

Description:  Similar to Class A, but with optional sleeping space over the cab and conveniently smaller. It has almost identical amenities. Most Class C RV's are gas fuelled, although diesel is available

Typical Amenities:  Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom (including shower, sink and toilet), dining facilities and slide outs available on some models. Comes with electricity, heating, A/C, generator, water and propane gas, stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, sink, sofa and television

Length:  20 - 32 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 8 people

Price:  $50,000 - $150,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Cheaper than a Class A
  • Easier to drive than a Class A and most trailers
  • Can drive on most roads
  • Good storage, space inside the RV and amenities
  • Access to the whole RV without ever going outside (big plus if it is dark or raining outside)
  • Climate inside is easily controlled when traveling as you are in the living quarters
  • Don't need to use restrooms at a campground or RV park to take a shower
  • Better protection for the driver and passengers in the event of an accident than a Class A

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than most trailers and the Class B motorhome
  • Less space and storage than a Class A motorhome or a large trailer
  • If the engine or chassis breaks down and it requires more than a day to repair, you may need to stay in a hotel as the living quarters are not separate like a trailer
  • May not fit on your driveway requiring special storage

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • You don't stay in one place for long and travel frequently
  • You are a full time RVer
  • You plan to stay at small campgrounds and RV parks or boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • You are a family of four or more

Not Great if:

  • You need a lot of living space and storage

Towable RVs (trailers)

A towable RV consists of living quarters only without an engine and are designed to be towed by a car, van, SUV, or pickup truck or mounted on a pickup truck. There are four main types to consider:

Fifth Wheel Trailer1.  Fifth Wheel Trailer

Description:  Largest of the trailers, it is similar to Travel Trailers, but has an extension that sits over the tow vehicle giving it a two-level floor plan.

Towed By:  Full size pickup truck

Typical Amenities:  Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom (including shower, sink and toilet), dining facilities and slide outs. Comes with electricity, heating, A/C, water and propane gas, stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, sink, sofa and television

Length:  20 - 40 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 6 people

Price:  $15,000 - $100,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Lots of storage, space and amenities
  • Highest ceiling of all RVs (may be an important factor if you are over 6ft 2in)
  • The safest of all towing systems
  • Easiest of the trailers to backup due to the fifth wheel design
  • Can be left at the campsite while you enjoy the local attractions in your tow vehicle

Disadvantages

  • Most expensive trailer
  • Requires a large pickup truck with a 5th wheel hitch to tow
  • Lower fuel economy
  • Two level floor plan
  • Width, length and height clearance means you cannot drive down some narrow and windy roads or roads with low bridges limiting your access to some National or State Parks
  • Can be hard to maneuver in tight spaces
  • After traveling for several hours the "climate" inside the RV may not be comfortable as you don't have a built in generator (except on top end models)
  • May not fit on your driveway requiring special storage

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • You are a full time RVer
  • You plan to have extended stays at campgrounds or RV parks
  • You are a family of four or more
  • You need a lot of living space and storage

Not Great if:

  • On a tight budget
  • You don't stay in one place for long and travel frequently
  • You plan to stay at small campgrounds and RV parks
  • You plan to boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • Want to drive lots of windy scenic routes

Folding Camping Trailer2.  Folding Camping Trailer

Description:  Small trailer that folds for light weight towing, more open than other trailers giving you a closer to nature experience. It has less amenities than other RVs.

Towed By:  A typical mid to full size car

Typical Amenities:  Propane system, a 120 volt electrical system, a fresh water and waste water tank, a small stove, furnace, sink, refrigerator or ice box, and with some models a portable potty

Length:  15 - 23 feet when opened

Sleeps:  Up to 8 people

Price:  $5,000 - $15,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Cheapest of all RVs
  • Can be pulled by most vehicles
  • Doesn't reduce you normal fuel economy by much
  • Can be driven on most roads and easy to maneuver
  • Can be left at the campsite while you enjoy the local attractions in your tow vehicle
  • Can be parked on your driveway, no special storage required

Disadvantages

  • No toilet or bathroom
  • Minimal storage and space
  • Need to set it up and take it down every time you stop overnight
  • Small water and holding tanks
  • Small battery capacity
  • No privacy
  • No access to living space while driving
  • Limited insulation during winter

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • You are on a tight budget
  • You plan to stay at small campgrounds and RV parks or boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • You plan to have extended stays at campgrounds or RV parks
  • You are a couple or family of four
  • You mainly do weekend or short trips

Not Great if:

  • You plan to have an extended dry camping period with no hookups
  • You don't stay in one place for long and travel frequently
  • You need a lot of living space and storage
  • You want a self-contained RV
  • Want all the modern amenities
  • You are a full time RVer
  • You are more than two adults

Travel Trailer3.  Travel Trailer

Description:  Smaller and lighter than a fifth wheel trailer with a single level floor plan. There are several types travel trailer such as conventional travel trailer, travel trailer with expandable ends and sport utility RVs

Towed By:  Most full-size sedans, vans, SUVs and pick up trucks

Typical Amenities:  Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom (including shower, sink and toilet), dining facilities and some models come with slide outs. Comes with electricity, heating, A/C, water and propane gas, stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, sofa and television

Length:  15 - 35 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 8 people

Price:  $10,000 - $65,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Less expensive than a Fifth Wheel trailer
  • Better fuel economy than towing a Fifth Wheel trailer
  • Good amount of storage, space and amenities
  • Can be towed by a variety of vehicles
  • Can be left at the campsite while you enjoy the local attractions in your tow vehicle

Disadvantages

  • Least stable on the road
  • Requires the most skill to tow and back up
  • After traveling for several hours the "climate" inside the RV may not be comfortable as you don't have a built in generator
  • May not fit on your driveway requiring special storage

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • Don't have big enough budget for a Fifth Wheel trailer but want the most space you can get
  • You are a full time RVer
  • You plan to have extended stays at campgrounds or RV parks
  • You are a family of four or more

Not Great if:

  • You don't stay in one place for long and travel frequently
  • You plan to boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • You need a lot of living space and storage

Truck Camper4.  Truck Camper

Description:  Mounted on pickup bed or chassis that allows you to go wherever your truck takes you. Modern truck campers offer most of the features of larger RVs including slide outs

Mounted On:  Standard pickup truck

Typical Amenities:  Comes with electricity, heating, A/C, water and propane gas, stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, dinette and some have a portable potty

Length:  18 - 21 feet

Sleeps:  Up to 6 people

Price:  $5,000 - $30,000 (new)

Advantages

  • Low price
  • Can get into remote areas that other RVs can't
  • Can tow a boat or trailer
  • Easy to drive and more maneuverable than other RVs
  • Pickup truck can be repaired at any auto mechanics
  • Can be parked on your driveway, no special storage required

Disadvantages

  • No toilet or bathroom
  • Little storage space or room
  • No privacy
  • After traveling for several hours the "climate" inside the RV may not be comfortable as you don't have a built in generator
  • Small water and holding tanks
  • Small battery capacity
  • Cannot leave camper part at the camp site

Overall Recommendation

Great if:

  • You already have a pickup truck
  • You plan to boondock in remote locations with difficult access
  • You don't stay in one place for long and do lots of weekend or short trips
  • You are a single person or couple

Not Great if:

  • You need a lot of living space and storage
  • You plan to have an extended dry camping period with no hookups
  • You want a self-contained RV
  • Want all the modern amenities
  • You are a full time RVer
  • You are more than two adults

So, what type RV is right for you?

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