I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
Few people realize that owning an RV is a realistic goal because the truth is that no matter your situation, you can find one that will suit your tastes and your budget.
The truth is that the great majority of recreational vehicles, regardless of size, have the same basic amenities:
- sleeping quarters,
- living and dining areas,
- a galley,
- and plumbing and electrical systems.
Thus, if you want to travel, you can do it in relative comfort in any unit you purchase.
Since the average person does not know all of the choices, I am providing them in this article.
It will give you a brief overview that will help you to decide which type of unit will work best for you.
Popup (otherwise known as fold-down or fold-up) campers come in several sizes.
They have canvas sides which fold down into a closed box .The top and lower sides are solid, which protects them from water damage. They can be quite spacious, are easy to store and tow and offer many amenities.
However they are labor-intensive for set up and break down. They can also become uncomfortable in wet weather and can create security issues due to their soft sides.
You will not be permitted to camp in them in certain places like specific areas of Yellowstone National Park because they offer no protection against wild bears.
A small pull trailer that is a combination of a regular pull trailer and a fold down camper.
Some are trailers that have canvas sides that pull out to create more space, while others are simply hard sided trailer that have roofs that drop down for towing.
Hi-Lo trailers are a good example of this type of RV.
Pull trailers range in size from extremely small to very large. They vary hugely in price, but many can be purchased reasonably.
Teardrop trailers are very small, weigh very little and have limited amenities. They are shaped like teardrops and are light enough to be towed by motorcycles and small cars.
Regular pull trailers attach to the rear of a vehicle with a Reese hitch, and can be towed by a variety of vehicles.
Fifth wheel trailers attach to a special type of hitch that is located within the bed of a pickup truck, and only a pickup truck can be used to tow them.
The larger types provide spacious living areas, have many nice amenities, are a secure and comfortable way to travel and can be left in campgrounds when their tow vehicles are being used elsewhere.
They all require the use of heavy duty tow vehicles, may require special storage facilities, can be challenging to drive and park and can be dangerous to drive, especially when weather and road conditions are not favorable.
Truck campers slide right into the bed of a pickup truck. These units offer small living quarters, but generally include all the basic amenities one would need for travel.
They can be relatively inexpensive to buy, but do require the use a heavy duty truck. Jointly the two units can be very costly to buy.
They store well, and can be left standing alone when owners choose to use the truck separately. However, these units are not the safest to drive because they are top heavy and can roll over easily.
Conversions are nothing more than vans with high ceilings that have been retrofitted with utilities and appliances that make them usable for travel.
They are easy to drive and store and are solidly built, but they are expensive to buy and repair and offer only very limited living space.
There are four types of motor homes: A, B, B+ and C.
Class A units are built on a truck or commercial bus chassis or a specially designed one. They are powered either by gas or diesel engines and come in sizes that go up to 45 feet in length. They have high ceilings throughout and are loaded with luxury amenities.
Class B coaches are actually vans (as noted above) that have been converted for use as campers. They have high ceilings and basic, but very small, living facilities.
Class B+ units are hybrids between class B and C motor homes. They are built either on truck or van chassis and are larger than van conversions and much roomier.
A Class C is a unit with a driver area that has over cab beds or cabinets. It is built on a truck chassis with a van based cab section. These range in size from relatively small to quite large and can be used as toy haulers if designed for that purpose. They are wider and higher than roomier than class B vehicles and have many luxury amenities.
Types A, B+ and C generally have slide-out rooms and luxury amenities other RVs do not have, such as large refrigerators and generators.They provide comfortable living areas and can easily tow automobiles. However, they are costly to buy and maintain, challenging to drive and park, require special storage facilities and also require special driving skills that many people do not possess.
Toterhomes and Toy Haulers
Toterhomes and Toy Haulers are special types of motor homes and trailers.
The first is a motor home that is built with a commercial truck engine built especially for hauling heavy loads.
The second is a motor home or trailer that is part living area and part garage (usually with a rear drop down ramp) made for motorcycles and ATVs.
Where to Learn More
For those who have never been in a travel unit or who know very little about the lifestyle, this RV 101 primer should serve as a good basic introduction.
To find more of my RV living and travel articles, just click the link on my byline at the top of this page.
If you have questions, just ask in the comment section. I've been RVing for many years, and am always happy to provide helpful information.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on December 22, 2019:
This is the first I've heard of this. Where did you find this info? Thanks for sharing it.
RSAdventurous1 on December 22, 2019:
I really like your column, very informative.
As a point of information, Class B+ doesn't really exist, it's a marketing gimmick. These vehicles are really Class C's without the bunk beds on top and are registered in the USA as Class C's.... No motor vehicles department registration recognizes Class B+...
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on July 07, 2016:
Margie Lynn: Glad to see you are doing your homework, that is extremely important for you right now. Good luck and thanks for reading and commenting.
Margie's Southern Kitchen from the USA on July 07, 2016:
My husband retired in January 2016, we are looking into an RV, thanks for all this great info!