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There are so many RV choices and there is something out there for everyone to enjoy. We love walking around the campground to see the different RVs and how they are set-up. When we began RVing two years ago, we didn't know the difference between Class A and Class C and had never heard the term 5th Wheel. Let's start with the least expensive and work our way up. The RV pictures on this page are used with permission from Creative Commons.
This is an example of a Pop-Up Towable Camper. It is equipped with expandable living space and can be pulled by most vehicles. They are lightweight and fold down for easy storage in your garage. Most pop-up campers have soft walls and a hard roof but today you can find many with hard sides and even a bathroom inside. This is the least expensive way to travel above tent camping but some of these pop-up camper prices can rival a travel trailer. We found this to be true when we were looking for our travel trailer but there are many good buys out there especially gently used.
The pop-up camper is a great solution for week-end camping and fits the need for folks not wanting to buy a truck to pull a heavier rv. They do require work to set-up and break-down but offer many amenities. This is a great way to get outside and have an adventure.
Hybrid Travel Trailer
This is a cross between a pop-up camper and a travel trailer. The bunks fold down from the side of the trailer with canvas tent covers. When traveling, the bunks fold up, leaving four hard sides.
The advantage of a hybrid travel trailer is it offers space without adding weight but the disadvantage is the tent ends are not insulated. Floor space is not compromised when the tent ends are in and some folks really like the fresh air while sleeping. Again there is something out there for everyone.
The towable travel trailer comes in all sizes from the small Teardrop to a large 40 foot. These trailers are towed behind a vehicle and it's important to have the right vehicle for the weight of your travel trailer. The little Teardrop has enough room inside to sleep two and a little storage. The kitchen is in the back on the outside with a raised lid.
The larger travel trailers are self-contained with a full kitchen, bathroom, living and bedroom. The dinette table will make into a bed for extra sleeping. We have a small 19 foot travel trailer and have slept six people (three children and three adults). Travel trailers come in all sizes, weights and with many amenities.
The larger travel trailers will even have two bedrooms. A queen size bed in the main bedroom and then a room with bunk beds for the kids. I have seen the smaller bedroom turned into an office or work room. There are so many ways to use a small space and interesting to see what ideas people have.
A travel trailer can be towed with a wide variety of vehicles such as a 6-cylinder, 1/2 ton pick-up, SUV or even a minivan depending on the size of the trailer. This also means better gas mileage when sightseeing in the tow vehicle. The hitch is on the tow vehicle for the travel trailer.
Always travel safely and be sure to have the correct vehicle for the weight of your trailer.
5th Wheel Trailer
The 5th Wheel RV is easy to tow and comes in all sizes from 25 feet to 40 feet with multiple slides. The larger 5th Wheels require a 3/4 or one ton truck for towing. Usually the bedroom is upstairs in the front and the living space has the look and feel of a small apartment. These work well for the full-timer and folks that may plan to be at a site longer than a few nites.
The 5th Wheel is easier to back into a site than a travel trailer and has more storage than other trailers because of the upstairs. On tall models the top clearance can be a problem with low hanging branches. The 5th Wheel can also be a Toy Hauler with a complete room in the rear for hauling a motorcycle, 4-wheeler or just extra bicycles and play stuff. When camping this room is then turned into an extra bedroom or dining area.
The major difference between the travel trailer and 5th wheel is the tow hitch. On the travel trailer, the hitch is on the bumper of the tow vehicle. On the fifth wheel, it's a special hitch in the bed of the tow truck, attached to the vehicle's frame.
I loved the 5th wheel but we decided to trade in for motorhome. Which is better? It's all about personal preference and needs.
Class B Motorhome
Class B motor homes start out as minivans and are sometimes called van conversions, The raised roof provides additional space to add cupboards or in some of the luxury models, entertainment centers. The bed is normally in the back and doubles as a dinette during the day. A stove, sink and mini-fridge are added along the side, with a toilet in most models. The shower and toilet usually share the same space.
Class B RVs are easy to drive and sometimes are used as the family's second car. Space is limited and Class B RVs are best suited for two people. I spoke with a couple recently that purchased a Class B to tour the US and planned to sell it when their tour was complete. The Class B kept their cost to a minimum.
Class C Motorhome
The Class C motor homes have the cab-over and in most models this houses a bed. Some of the larger units use the cab-over to house the entertainment center with storage. The truck chassis is able to carry more weight and more storage.
Class C's are fairly easy to drive similar to a U-Haul or moving van. The larger truck motor allows for a car to be towed (usually called a toad) for use while camping. Many of the Class C motor homes also have one or two slides to give more living space.
Class A Motorhome
Class A motorhomes are generally thought of as top of the line among the RV world. They start at 24 feet and can be as long as 45 feet. This is the most expensive way to travel and you must have a toad for sightseeing. Remember your motorhome is your home and if it goes in the shop then you must have a place to stay.
Anything is possible and Class A motorhomes come with every luxury if you have the means. Many are more luxurious than most homes and very popular with touring bands.
Class A's have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and lots of storage. Unlike the Class C, the front seats swivel around and become part of the living space. Class A's are the choice very often of many retirees who sell their homes in favor of traveling the country. Depending on the model these motorhomes start at $50,000 and can top out at over $1 million for that custom made touring bus.
Class A's are easy to set-up and break down. The downside is the cost of the motorhome and cost of fuel. We chose the gas model versus diesel because of the cost of fuel and repairs. We really like the ease of set-up and pull a small Honda CRV for sightseeing. They are beautiful and what a view of the country from those big front windows.