RVing

RV Basics: The Different Types of RVs

Picture of camper vans by the Adriatic Sea in Trogir's camping place, Croatia

People who RV are all different, and there’s no one model that works for everyone. That’s why there are so many different types of RVs.

The options are designed to fit a variety of wants and needs. While any type of RV will bring you the freedom and joy you’re looking for, a different type of vehicle can change your experience dramatically.

There are two main categories for RVs: motorhomes and towable. Those categories further delineate from there. Both provide the same basic functions, but the details of the vehicles and their features vary. Here’s a quick rundown to help you understand the differences.

Motorized RVs

As you can guess from the name, a motorhome is an RV that can be driven similarly to any other vehicle.

It combines your living space and vehicle into one unit. This comes with certain pros and cons that we’ll address at a later date. Right now, I want to take a look at the three classes of motorhomes and how they differ.

Class B

People sitting outside their Class B RVs

This class of motorhome is the smallest. These models are built on standard full-size van platforms and are the most easily maneuverable.

They typically sleep two to four people and range from about 16 to 24 feet in length. Recently, these vehicles have seen a surge in popularity.

Class C

A man standing outside his Class C RV

These RVs are the next step up in size and combine features of both a Class B and a Class A into one vehicle. Built on truck chassis, these RVs have an area above the cabin often used as a sleeping or storage area.

Class C RVs can sleep anywhere from four to nine people and vary in length from 20 to over 30 feet.

Class A

A large Class A RV parked.

The big-boy of the group is the Class A RV. These are built on large truck or bus chassis and have all the amenities of home.

They can sleep anywhere from four to eight people. When I say they’re big, I’m talking 20 to more than 40 feet in length.

Towable RVs

Again, the name gives it away. With a towable RV, you need a tow vehicle of some kind. This usually means a truck or an SUV, but some small campers can be towed with a typical car.

We’ll get into towing in a later post, but let’s first focus on this RV type’s basics. With a towable, your living space is separate from your car, which is a feature that comes with its own pros and cons. Here are the different types of towable RVs out there.

Pop Up

A pop-up camper set up next to a truck and an awning

The pop up trailer combines the features of a tent and an RV into one unit. They’re easy to pull and can sleep up to about six people. This type of RV varies in length from 8 to 14 feet.

Expandable

Like the idea of a pop up but want a travel trailer? Get an expandable RV. They combine the capabilities of a pop up with the size and design of a travel trailer into a hybrid unit.

You can seep five to ten people in an expandable and will find they range from 19 to 30 feet in length.

Travel Trailer

A travel trailer RV with expandable sides parked

The travel trailer is the most common type of RV. It offers a good balance of maneuverability and large, feature-packed living space.

Travel trailers can sleep anywhere from two to ten people and vary in length from 15 to 40 feet.

Fifth-Wheel

Fifth wheel RV being pulled by a truck

Fifth-wheels get their name from the unique way the hitch attaches to the tow vehicle. Instead of connecting up to a standard hitch on a truck or SUV, they use an in-bed hitch due to their size and design.

Fifth-wheels sleep between four and nine people and range in length from 21 to 44 feet.

Toy Hauler

man on a dirt bike next to a toy hauler rv

Toy haulers actually come in travel trailer and fifth-wheel versions. What separates a toy hauler from other RVs is the garage space that can be used for dirt bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, or any other items you’d like to put in the RV’s garage-like space.

They can sleep from two to eight people and vary in length from 20 to 44 feet.


What RV type is right for your lifestyle? Leave a comment about why you feel the way you do. 

RV Basics - The Different Types of RVs

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