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7 Types of RVs You Must Know

RVs, also known as Recreational Vehicles, are available in all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, RVs have a wide range of floor plans that you can choose from to suit your needs. From 40-foot long bus-sized motorhomes to small towable camper trailers, nearly anyone can find the best RV for them. With that said, we have gathered a list of 7 different types of RVs that you should know about before deciding which type of RV is best for you.

There are seven unique types of RVs, each of which is unique and will fit different needs. First are the motorhomes, which are essentially homes that drive themselves. Motorhomes are mostly powered by strong diesel engines that have a surprisingly good mile per gallon ratio compared to other vehicles of their size. 

  • Class A Motorhome: 20 to 40-foot long RVs and share a striking resemblance to a city bus.
  • Class B Motorhome: The smallest of the three classifications built on a van chassis. Usually 15 to 20 feet in length, these motorhomes are sometimes called camper vans.
  • Class C Motorhome: With a length of 20 to 35 feet, these motorhomes resemble a pickup truck with a cabin modification instead of a flatbed. 

Next up are four types of towable RVs. Unlike the motorhomes we listed above, towable RVs require a strong enough vehicle to tow them around. 

  • Travel Trailers: These RVs can be the biggest of the four types of towable RVs. However, travel trailers can also be relatively small. These RVs can be 12 to 45 feet in length and have plenty of space for your whole family to fit in comfortably. 
  • Teardrop Trailers: These towable RVs are pretty small but have a unique design that was popular in the early fifties. Teardrop trailers are very similar to travel trailers but much smaller, with only enough space to fit one to two people comfortably.
  • Expandable Trailers: These towable RVs may seem small, but they will have one or more tent-like extensions that you can set up to make a lot more room inside. These trailers have a smaller size range that you can choose from and will usually come in the 20 to 30-foot range. 
  • Pop-Up Campers: These RV campers are unique in shape and extremely light compared to the other RV options on our list. They fold up into a compact and lightweight rectangle, allowing lighter and weaker vehicles to tow them around. However, it can be pretty large once it is fully set up. Smaller pop-up campers are around eight to ten feet in length but can easily reach up to 25 feet, which makes these campers perfect for families on a road trip or one or two people on a hunting trip.
  • Fifth Wheels: Fifth wheels are very similar to pop-up campers because they both expand to provide more room than they appear to have. However, where pop-up campers are mostly fabric and look like tents, fifth wheels are extremely heavy and have a metal shell. Furthermore, the entire expansion process is fully automated. 

As you continue to read this article, we will provide an in-depth explanation of each of the RVs on our list. Furthermore, we will provide you with an example for each to give you an idea of what they look like. Finally, we will give you a shortlist of the major pros and cons for each RV on our list to help you decide which is best for you. 

The Three Classes Of Motorhomes

Each of the three motorhome classes is very popular, and each has a distinct look and feel to them. Motorhomes are vehicles that have all of the essential amenities of a home. Unlike trailers, you do not need to tow them. Instead, they are fully operable and drive themselves, and you can even use a motorhome to tow other vehicles. Many people who commit to living in RVs will choose to tow a small car along for the journey. These small cars are given the nickname “toad” as a clever play on words. 

With that said, let’s get down to business. What are the three motorhome classifications?

Class A Motorhomes

Class A motorhomes have an iconic appearance and look like a city bus that has been transformed to have excellent designs and bigger windows. Class A motorhomes are enormous and can vary from 20 to 40 feet long while also having a ton of livable space inside. 

These fancy motorhomes come equipped with a full-size kitchen (including a foldable table with benches), a king-sized bed, a comfy couch, a bathroom, and tons of storage space inside and outside. Funny enough, the extra storage outside of the RV is commonly referred to as the “basement”, made of huge lockable drawers that run along the bottom edge of the RV. Furthermore, some of the more expensive class A motorhomes have buttons that will expand specific compartments, widening the RV and providing several square feet of additional living space. 

Class A motorhomes are easily the most expensive out of the three motorhome classes, and rightfully so. These motorhomes are larger and have more amenities that come with them. Furthermore, there are very expensive luxury class A motorhomes that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars packed with luxury furniture and features.

Here is a fantastic example of a class A motorhome:

Class B Motorhomes

Class B motorhomes are much smaller and more affordable than their class A cousins. These motorhomes are often called “camper vans” built on a van chassis. This gives them the appearance of a huge van, and instead of a few rows of seats, you will see a few small beds, some chairs, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. 

A class B motorhome will be 15 to 22 feet long and the smallest of the three motorhome classes. However, this does not come as a disadvantage due to their smaller size. Class B motorhomes are more maneuverable. Furthermore, their smaller size allows you to find suitable parking spots to buy groceries or go shopping while also allowing you to be a little pickier about finding the perfect spot to park and set up camp. 

While class B motorhomes are not as large as class A or class C, they are very well equipped to have two to three people living comfortably inside. After setting up camp with the perfect parking spot, most class B motorhomes can expand their roof or floor to allow more headroom for standing and walking around. 

Like the Class A motorhomes, we have an excellent example of a class B motorhome for you:

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes are the second largest of the three motorhome classes. Class C motorhomes are fitted on a truck chassis instead of looking like a fancy bus or van. Class C motorhomes usually have a small extension hanging over the truck cabin. This space is called the “cabover” and is either used for extra storage space or a space to place another bed. 

Class C motorhomes vary in size from 20 to 35 feet long and are packed with all of the living essentials. Depending on the size, you can expect to see a full-size kitchen with a small foldable dining table and even a full-size bathroom with a toilet and shower. Furthermore, these motorhomes can fit two to six people, depending on size, comfortably.

As promised, here is one of our favorite class C motorhomes that you can use as a visual example:

Towable RVs

While the three classes of motorhomes are an all-in-one package that allows you to drive your home from the inside, towable RVs require a strong enough vehicle to move them around. Depending on the size and weight of the towable RV, you will need a truck, SUV, or even just a car for the smaller RVs. There are four main types of RVs, travel trailer, teardrop trailer, pop-up camper, and fifth wheelers. However, two of them are incredibly similar, but we will get to that in just a moment.

Travel Trailers and Teardrop Trailers

Travel trailers are large campers that you can tow behind your vehicle. These towable RVs have a wide range of sizes that go from 12 to 45 feet in length. The smallest travel trailers can be towed around by a four-door sedan, while the larger ones will need a strong SUV or truck to haul them around. 

The smallest travel trailers will have all of the essential amenities that one or two people will need for a comfortable weekend camping trip: comfortable beds, a small kitchen, and a bathroom—however, the bigger the travel trailer, the more space you will have for other amenities. For example, larger travel trailers will have bigger or more beds, bigger and more well-stocked kitchens, a foldable dining table, and more room for electronics like TVs. 

Teardrop trailers are incredibly similar to travel trailers, so we will be lumping them together. Teardrop trailers are equivalent to the smaller travel trailers but have a unique shape popularized initially in the early 50s. These towable RVs are light and small enough to be towed behind a sedan. These small and compact towable RVs have enough room to fit two people comfortably while also having enough space for a small kitchen and storage space. 

Here are two excellent examples of a travel trailer and a teardrop trailer, respectively. 

Expandable Trailers

Expandable trailers range in size from 20 to 30 feet in length. While any motorhome with expandable awnings or compartments fall under this category, their expandable parts are hard-shelled. “True” expandable trailers are mainly hard-shelled, but their expandable parts are canvas, like a tent. As a result, expandable trailers seem much smaller than they are. Once they are fully set up, their canvas extensions allow for much more living space than you would expect. 

Being the larger cousins of the pop-up campers, expandable trailers offer enough space for more utilities. Expandable trailers come equipped with kitchens, beds, dining tables, and bathrooms. As we mentioned before, with the travel trailers, the larger the expandable trailer, the more room for amenities. Some of the larger expandable trailers have enough space to fit a shower in their bathroom.

Here is an excellent example of a “true” expandable trailer.

Pop-Up Campers

Pop-up campers are the smaller and more compact sibling of the expandable trailer. While an expandable trailer is mostly hard-shelled with some canvas parts, a pop-up camper is mostly canvas with some hard-shelled parts. Pop-up campers are the smallest RVs and look like a small metal rectangle when in travel mode. 

Pop-up campers can be as small as 8 feet long with enough room to fit one person comfortably and as large as 25 feet in length with enough room to fit 2 to 4 people comfortably. However, don’t let their small size deceive you. They are still equipped with all of the essentials. Most of these pop-up campers have a small kitchenette and table, with enough room for a small bed or two. In addition, the smaller pop-up campers will usually have a small porta-potty, while the larger ones will have functioning bathrooms inside.

Pop-up campers can be set up quickly and make for a perfect RV for a small family on a weekend camping trip or a couple of buddies on a hunting trip.

We have the perfect example of a fantastic pop-up camper here for you:

Fifth Wheelers

Fifth wheelers are a lot like a travel trailer, except instead of sitting on a tow hitch, they sit on the back of a pickup truck bed. This offers a much more stable towing experience while also offering more maneuverability. 

Fifth wheelers tend to be much heavier than other towable RVs of the same length. Furthermore, they will be more expensive than the other towable RVs because they are built with high-quality parts and packed with luxury and top-of-the-line amenities. For example, inside a fifth-wheeler, you will find a full-size kitchen, bathrooms with showers, and tons of entertainment options and storage.

Most fifth wheelers have expandable compartments like class A motorhomes. At only the press of a button, certain areas in a fifth wheeler will expand to offer a lot more floor space. Furthermore, like all towable RVs, fifth wheelers can be detached and stand on their own, allowing you to set up camp and use your truck for whatever else you need.

As always, here is an excellent example of a fifth wheeler:

Pros And Cons of Each RV Type

One of the easiest ways to choose the perfect RV for you is to look at a comprehensive list of pros and cons. Well, worry not because we have just the thing for you. Here we will list all of the significant pros and cons that you need to know to help you choose the perfect RV.

Class A Motorhome

Pros:

  • Large and very roomy, even roomier if your RV has expandable slideouts
  • It is a single vehicle that offers a living and driving space 
  • It offers large windows all around the RV, which can provide fantastic views
  • Easy to get into and out of campgrounds

Cons:

  • The most expensive RV option
  • Often requires an additional towed vehicle that you need to detach to get around once you have set up camp

Class B Motorhome

Pros:

  • Small size allows for greater mobility
  • It is a single vehicle that offers a living and driving space 
  • It does not need a towed vehicle but still has the ability to have one
  • The most inexpensive class of motorhome
  • Easy to get into and out of campgrounds

Cons:

  • Small size limits living space
  • It can only fit one or two people comfortably

Class C Motorhome

Pro:

  • It can be large enough to offer the same amount of living space as a class A motorhome
  • It is a single vehicle that offers a living and driving space
  • Easy to get into and out of campgrounds
  • It comes with an additional space above the truck cabin for extra storage or an additional bed
  • Very easy to find; many retailers offer a class C for rental

Cons:

  • Larger class C motorhomes will need an additional towed vehicle to allow for more accessible travel
  • It can be quite expensive

Travel Trailers And Teardrop Trailers

Pros:

  • Wide range of sizes to choose from
  • Very affordable when compared to the amount of living space
  • Smaller versions are very lightweight and can be towed by a sedan

Cons:

  • Requires an extra vehicle to tow the RV
  • Towing can be difficult with strong side winds
  • The living area is separate from the driving space
  • It can be challenging to maneuver in and out of campgrounds
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting can take a long time

Expandable Trailers

Pros:

  • It offers a surprising amount of living space when set up
  • Lightweight and can be towed by smaller vehicles
  • Inexpensive when compared to living space
  • Easier to get into and out of campgrounds because of the size

Cons:

  • It takes time to pack up (but set up is relatively quick)
  • Requires an extra vehicle to tow the RV
  • The living area is separate from the driving space
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting can take a long time

Pop-Up Campers

Pros:

  • Lightweight and can be towed by smaller vehicles
  • The cheapest RV options you can choose from
  • Unaffected by side winds due to its compact shape when towing
  • Set up is extremely quick

Cons:

  • The living area is separate from the driving space
  • Requires an extra vehicle to tow the RV
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting can take a long time
  • The smallest RV option and does not always include a bathroom

Fifth Wheeler

Pros:

  • Large and roomy and usually has expandable compartments for more living space
  • Very easy to tow because of the gooseneck hitch
  • It is the most luxurious option out of the four towable RVs

Cons:

  • The most expensive option for towable RVs
  • Very heavy and requires a strong towing vehicle
  • The living area is separate from the driving space
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting can take a long time
  • Easier to get into and out of campgrounds because of the size

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the seven different types of RVs you need to know about. Hopefully, this article has provided you with all of the knowledge you were seeking. We also hope that our pros and cons list have helped you decide which RV is the best for you.

Happy camping!