More than 11 million U.S. households own an RV and for good reason: RV ownership allows you to get out in nature without leaving the comforts of home behind. If you’re thinking of buying an RV, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are tons of different types of RVs to choose from.
If you’re not familiar with each type, finding the perfect camper for your family can feel overwhelming.
Luckily, it’s easier than you think. You just need to understand what the different types of campers and RVs have to offer. These are the most common categories you’ll be able to choose from when you start your search.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are bus-like RVs that offer a combination of spaciousness and drivability. Within the Class A category, you’re able to choose between both gas and diesel engines.
Gas-powered RVs will typically cost less upfront but tend to have more ongoing maintenance needs. Diesel-powered motorhomes cost more, but their engines require far less maintenance over time.
These coaches range in size with some reaching lengths over 40 feet long.
Class A motorhomes typically come equipped with full kitchens, bathrooms, and spacious living quarters. More luxury models also include residential touches like full-size refrigerators, convection microwaves, large-screen TVs, and even small dishwashers.
Class A motorhomes are ideal for travelers that are looking to take all the comforts of home with them on the road. Keep in mind that their large size and bus-like cockpit can make driving them a bit more challenging than other RV types.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are usually built on van chassis rather than bus or truck chassis. They have a much smaller footprint than other motorhomes, making them ideal for people who aren’t comfortable driving larger rigs.
Even better, they’re easy to drive into the backcountry if you prefer camping in the wilderness. Since they’re so small, they’re often much more fuel-efficient than other motorhomes, helping campers save money on their trips.
That said, their small footprint does present some challenges. They’re only able to sleep two to three people and space can be tight when you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather.
These van-sized campers are best for small families and individuals that plan on spending more time outdoors than inside their RV. Keep in mind that some Class B RVs can be more expensive than larger motorhomes. If you’re thinking of buying a Class B, make sure you’re comfortable with your budget before you start looking.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are some of the most affordable and common motorized RV options on the road today. They’re built on truck-style chassis and range in size from 20 to over 40 feet.
Since they’re built on truck chassis, the driving experience is more like driving a standard truck. You won’t have to get used to sitting at bus height, but you will need to get used to a wider turning radius.
Like Class A motorhomes, Class Cs come in both gas and diesel models and offer the same types of benefits. Further, they come in different styles. Some Class Cs offer basic amenities while others offer luxury that rivals some of the nicest Class A motorhomes.
What’s unique about these RVs is their over-cab bunk area. Even the shortest Class C RVs have queen-size bunk areas sitting directly over the driver’s cab. This makes it easy for a larger family to sleep comfortably without feeling cramped.
Travel trailers are the most affordable of the larger towable options and come in different layouts, sizes, and models to suit a variety of campers well.
Travel trailers get towed on a ball hitch mounted to the rear of your vehicle.
Some are incredibly light and can get towed by a small truck or SUV. Others are much larger and equipped with heavier, more residential features. These require a larger truck with a higher towing capacity.
Arguably, travel trailers are the most popular type of RV because they come in so many different floorplans. You’re free to choose a basic model or opt for more luxurious touches based on your budget and your comfort level.
Even better, they’re available at many price points. This makes it easy to invest in a camper without having to rely on a long-term loan to cover the purchase.
The best way to figure out which travel trailer fits your needs is to visit your local Starcraft RV dealer and tour them in person. This will allow you to get a feel for the space and the types of features you truly need from your camper.
Fifth wheels are towables that mount to a hitch installed in the bed of a truck. They’re much heavier than standard travel trailers, but they’re also much easier to tow. The bed-mounted hitch makes the trailer more stable at higher speeds and reduces the amount of sway you feel as you’re going down the highway.
Fifth wheels, like other RVs, come in different floorplans and lengths so you’re able to choose the layout that works best for your family’s needs. Just make sure the truck you choose to tow with has a high enough towing capacity to accommodate the weight of the fifth wheel.
These RVs tend to offer more space than other options, with many featuring slide-outs to expand the living area when you’re parked. Because of their superior spaciousness, fifth wheels are ideal for campers that spend lots of time in their RVs.
In fact, they’re becoming hugely popular for full-time RVers who want to enjoy the trappings of a more traditional home without having to give up the freedom of the road.
Toy haulers take the best that fifth wheels have to offer and add a garage to the mix. These rigs are perfect for families that enjoy motorized sports like dirt biking or ATV riding.
The back of the toy hauler opens up into a ramp that makes rolling those toys into the garage area easy. Even better, the garage has dedicated tie-downs to help you secure those expensive toys on drive days.
Many toy haulers also include larger water tanks and storage bays to make getting out off the beaten path for days on end easy. Some even have built-in fuel storage so you won’t have to break camp to refuel your toys.
Toy haulers tend to be on the larger end, so make sure you’re comfortable with towing long trailers before you make the investment.
Pop-up campers offer many of the benefits of travel trailers in a more compact and lightweight package. They’re easy to tow and, since they’re so lightweight, they can be towed by large sedans and small SUVs with ease.
The way they stay so lightweight is by ditching the ridged walls used in other RV types and switching them for durable tent material.
Pop-ups offer a more secure way to camp than pitching a tent and allow you to shelter from the elements without having to worry about your belongings getting wet. Since the trailers fold up, they’re not ideal for year-round use.
Insulation levels are not able to keep up with freezing temperatures with ease. However, if you’re looking for an affordable introduction to RV life that you can use when the weather is pleasant, pop-ups are a great choice.
Truck campers combine the best features of a Class C RV with the convenience of a pop-up’s drivability. The campers slide into the bed of your truck securely.
Instead of towing something, all you have to do is drive your truck like normal.
Most floorplans feature a queen-size bunk area that sits over the cab of your truck, much like the bed area in a Class C. Some may also have bathrooms, kitchenettes, and dinette areas inside the camper.
These models are great for campers that don’t plan on bringing tons of gear with them and want to keep their setup ultra-portable at all times.
Park models are, technically, a type of RV even if they don’t look like one. They’re similar to travel trailers in that they mount to a bumper hitch. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Park models are best for stationary use. You can tow them to your destination, set them up, and leave them there for years without an issue. These RVs feature residential-style appliances and conveniences more so than other models.
These campers make great second homes or vacation properties in scenic areas. But you can also use them as permanent residences in approved areas.
If you’re looking for a camper to park for extended periods of time rather than one you move frequently, park models are a good choice.
Consider These Types of RVs
If you’re thinking of owning an RV, the best thing you can do is explore your options in detail. Look at these types of RVs and consider how each type will help you experience the best that nature has to offer.
As long as you take your time and look at different floorplans in person, you’ll be able to choose an RV that works for your family and your lifestyle.
Once you find the perfect camper, you’ll want to start planning trips for those you love. Check out our latest posts for more tips and tricks to help you create adventures that everyone will remember for years.