Which RV Type is Best for me?
Which type or class of RV will best fill your needs depends on several factors, including how you intend to use the RV, the size of your camping family, the tow vehicles you already own and your personal preferences.
Young couples often select a small lightweight travel trailer or a pop-up trailer because they are light enough to be towed by most vehicles and are the most economical to own. Young families with children tend to buy a popup or travel trailer with a queen size bed plus bunks and a bathroom. Hybrid travel trailers (pictured here) have the amenities of a travel trailer, and the sleeping space of a pop up, while preserving a little bit of the romance of camping in the woods under canvas. Hybrids are usually found listed together with conventional travel trailers.
The natural progression some years later is often to a larger travel trailer, fifth wheel trailer or Class C motorhome which have more living space, comforts and amenities. As time goes on and children leave home, many couples find they need less sleeping space, but more living space because they are able to stay away from home for longer periods. A big fifth wheel with 3 or 4 slide-out rooms or a motorhome with slides is often the answer for those who want to travel or spend the winter in Florida. Some empty-nesters go the other way, back to a small travel trailer for two or a small motorhome and explore our great country that way.
Some people do not intend to travel at all in their RV. A large travel trailer or park model trailer with slides, permanently parked in a nearby campground, may be your idea of the perfect weekend and vacation getaway cottage. The choices are endless.
POP UP CAMPERS
Also called Camping Trailers, Tent Trailers, Pop Up Camping Trailers, or just Pop Ups. They come in a wide variety of sizes from a 1500 pound 8-footer to a big collapsible home that sleeps 8, with slide-out, complete kitchen, toilet and shower. Whatever vehicle you drive, there is a Pop Up that is light enough for you to safely tow it. To select the right one for your family, the best idea is to sit a while in several of them and imagine having a meal and a spending a night at the campground. Is there a place for everyone to sit and sleep?
This class includes everything from a 17 footer weighing less than 2500 pounds up to a 40 footer meant for permanent parking at a campground. Travel Trailers are nearly always self-contained with full kitchen, furnace, air conditioner, bathroom including shower, and fresh water and waste water holding tanks. Bunkhouse travel trailer floorplans are very popular with families. There are many travel trailers weighing under 3500 pounds, towable by smaller SUVs and mini vans. Check your tow-vehicle owner manual to see what weight you can tow. Most travel trailers have a permanent queen size bed, even some of the under-3500-pound, ultra lightweights. Models with slide-outs provide extra living space. Dinettes and sofas convert to comfortable beds for extra sleeping capacity. Toy Hauler Travel Trailers have a big compartment in back to accomodate bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs or other large items.
FIFTH WHEEL TRAILERS
Also known as Fifth Wheelers, 5th Wheels, 5th Wheel Campers, Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers, etc. These easy-towing campers come in all sizes from about 30 feet up to over 40 feet with multiple slides. The larger ones require a three quarter ton or one ton truck as a tow vehicle. Many lite-weight models are towable by a half ton truck. All the comforts and amenities of a travel trailer, with better towing and handling characteristics. Usually have an upstairs bedroom in front but a few models have the living room in front. Some models have bunks. Fifth Wheels also come in Toy-Hauler models with a large compartment and ramp in the rear to accomodate golf carts, motorcycles, ATVs or other large bulky items.
CLASS C MOTORHOMES
Class C Motorhomes, also known as Mini Motorhomes, are built on a Ford or Chevy van chassis with convenient automotive style driver and passenger doors in the cab. Many drivers are more comfortable driving a Class C because the driver/passenger compartment is similar to a van or SUV. Sizes range from about 24 feet to 35 feet. Popular with families because the front cabover provides another bed and the kids love it. Usually have a queen size bed in back. Some models also have bunkbeds in a separate compartment. Also popular with older couples who like the easy handling and driver-friendly feel of the cab. Usually powered by a gasoline engine, but some models built on the Dodge Sprinter chassis, feature a small Mercedes diesel engine for fuel efficiency.
CLASS A MOTORHOMES
Often called Motorhomes, Motorcoaches, Buses, Full Size Motorhomes or just RVs, they come in sizes from about 25 feet to about 40 feet with multiple slides. There is a tremendous price range from the smaller ones that cost about the same as a Class C motorhome to big diesel buses that may cost more than a house. The smaller models usually have floorplans similar to a Class C and are suitable for a couple or a family. Bigger models are generally designed for a couple, except for a few bunkhouse floorplans. Most Class A motorhomes being sold now are gasoline powered. Most of the very large luxury motorhomes have diesel pusher engines located at the rear of the coach. Due to the high cost of the diesel pusher chassis, diesel power is economically justified only for users who drive many miles every year, such as full-timers, entertainers, professional travelers, etc.