First of all, what does RV even mean? RV is short for “Recreational Vehicle”. RV is the general umbrella term for any type of camper, travel vehicle, motorhome, etc… It’s not any specific type or style. We could give the analogy of “Fruit”. Apples, oranges, bananas; they’re all fruits, but each is different.
A note that we felt was important to add: Recreational vehicle ≠ Off Road Vehicle. RV’s are not generally designed for off-roading. They can handle well-groomed dirt roads, but you will cause major damage to the chassis, axels, and numerous other components of an RV if they are not handled with caution.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get a little more specific!
Class A Motorhome- The Class A Motorhome is the largest type of RV you’ll see on the road. They are built on either a commercial bus chassis or a commercial truck chassis. They are spacious, designed for luxury, and comfortably sized for families or additional guests. You can find the conveniences of a residential size refrigerator, up to two bathrooms, clothes washer and dryer, and many other in-home luxuries.
Class A Motorhomes generally have multiple slide outs, ability to tow a vehicle, and expansive storage to carry large items like grills, bikes, and more.
Class A Motorhomes engine is located in the back of the unit and pushes the vehicle down the road, deeming them the nickname “pusher”.
Sleeps between 4-8 people
Standard lengths between 26-45 feet
Gasonline or Diesel Engine
Class B Motorhome-
Small in size, Class B Motorhomes are built over automotive vans or panel trucks. Also known as a “Camper Van”, they can conveniently double as an everyday driving vehicle, ideal for narrow roads and congested traffic areas.
Many Class B Motorhomes are designed with luxury and comfort in mind. Some Class B Motorhomes have small slide outs for additional space.
Class B Motorhomes utilize every square inch of space to include comforts of a fully functional kitchen, bathroom, sleeping areas and entertainment systems.
They are often equipped with auxiliary generators for extended off-grid camping.
Sleeps 2 comfortably
Standard lengths between 21 to 24 feet
Gasoline or Diesel Engine
Class C Motorhome-
Did you know that the Class C Motorhome is the most popular RV on the road? They are recognized by their iconic shape and over-cab sleeping or storage areas.
Class C Motorhomes are built on standard pick-up truck chassis. They offer a variety of sizes from compact to full size, often with slide outs for additional space and comfort.
Class C Motorhomes are popular because they are fairly maneuverable, comfortable for families, and they can often be serviced at regular mechanics instead of RV specialists for engine work.
Class C Motorhomes usually have toy hauler capabilities perfect for 4×4’s and other outdoor toys. There is also access to a refrigerator and bathroom while the motorhome is moving.
Sleeps up to 8
Standard lengths between 24-32 feet
The Travel Trailer is often referred to as a “bumper pull” RV. They are notoriously convenient because they can be pulled with a hitch on your regular vehicle or truck (make sure to check your tow weight capability before committing to any trailer).
The beloved Airstream fits into the Travel Trailer category.
Travel Trailers come in a wide variety of styles and floor plans. Some have slide outs. Travel trailers usually do not have a built in generator, but they are convenient because you can easily unhitch them on your campsite and take your vehicle to get around.
Varies depending on trailer, from 2-10 people
Standard lengths between 13 to 40 feet
Toy Haulers are the Wild Child of RV’s! A Toy Hauler can be a Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, or Motorhome; the difference? A ‘garage’ space with a ramp on the back of your vehicle allows for stowing ATV’s, numerous bikes, other toys, or just to have expansive space and a literal ‘open concept’ floor plan.
The rear often doubles as a patio deck, but has been converted into an additional bedroom, workspace, or any other creative idea known to man.
Sleeps up to 11
Standard length between 21 to 40 feet
Fuel type varies
The “Fifth Wheel” has another meaning to the name other than that single friend that keeps tagging along on your double dates. This full sized, highly functional RV is great for people looking to move into full-time RV life.
Surprisingly, the Fifth Wheel only has four wheels. The 5th is actually a hitch that allows the driver to mount a special hitch inside the back of a truck bed, connecting the trailer to the truck on a “U” shaped coupling component.
The Fifth Wheel normally has a split level floor plan, with living area downstairs, and a bedroom area at the head of the trailer. They have high ceilings, multiple slide-outs, sometimes separate kitchen and living areas, and can have multiple sleeping areas.
Sleeps between 2-8
Standard size between 25 to 40 feet
Towed with specific vehicles
The expandable trailer has got pop ups and slide outs galore!
The expandable trailer is attractive to those new to camping, looking for something inexpensive, and with minimal camping necessities. Some expandable trailers have a kitchenette, others simply with sleep areas and a small living area.
They are towable and very easy to store in your garage or yard.
Depending on the size of your family, your comforts, budget, and expected travel destinations, you’ll be able to decide which type of RV is best for you.