There are many types of RVs, including variations of general types, in order to suit specific needs. To keep it simple, we have condensed the list of all possible types into a few standard categories.
A pop up (sometimes called pop-up) camper is an RV that folds up into a compact trailer that is light and easy to tow. Most have some type of fabric on the fold-outs while others do have rigid/semi-rigid tops and/or sides.
- PROS: Lightweight. Easy to tow with many mini vans and mid-sized SUVs. Low cost.
- CONS: Requires a moderate to high amount of time to setup and tear down. Fold-out fabric more susceptible to water leaks and issues, especially in heavy rain.
A travel trailer has rigid, insulated sidewalls with a fixed living area and is towed by a vehicle. Some have one or more slide-outs that can be extended to increase interior living space. Some hybrid types have one or more slide-outs without rigid tops and/or sides to reduce weight.
- PROS: Easy to tow many models with most full-sized pickup trucks and heavy duty SUVs. Low cost.
- CONS: Requires a moderate amount of time to setup and tear down. Can be difficult to handle in heavy winds.
A fifth-wheel is a travel trailer that is towed by a pickup truck or specialized truck using a bed-mounted hitch over the rear axle. This provides great handling and maneuverability. Most fifth-wheel travel trailers have slide-outs and a unique, raised bedroom suite over the hitch.
- PROS: Very easy to tow. Many are very nicely appointed. Unique layouts. Moderately priced.
- CONS: Require heavy-duty or specialized truck. Requires a low to moderate amount of time to setup and tear down (setup time can almost be a pro).
A Class C motorhome is driven and is usually on a light truck chassis or heavy duty van-chassis. They are commonly seen with a chassis manufacturer’s cab with the RV section added on behind, and often over it. Most are powered by gasoline.
There are some Super C Motorhomes built on a heavy duty truck chassis and are often larger than Class C motorhomes. They still sport the chassis manufacturer’s cab but are diesel powered.
- PROS: Easy to drive. Affordable. Most have integrated generators for more travel flexibility.
- CONS: Handle moderately well in winds. Tend to have small living areas.
Despite the name, Class B motorhomes are usually smaller than Class C motorhomes. Some affectionately refer to these as camper vans and are commonly on a Chevy, Dodge, Ford, or Mercedes-Benz van chassis. Many retain their recognizable van bodies while others sport wider custom-made bodies.
- PROS: Easy to drive, maneuver, and park where may of the other types can’t. Better to great fuel economy.
- CONS: Very small living spaces. Expensive compared to larger motorhomes with similar features.
A Class A motorhome is most easily recognized by an entire body that is custom-built body and they generally have a flat front-end although some are built utilizing a commercial bus body and chassis. The units are built on a custom motorhome chassis and come in two general varieties, Gasoline-powered and Diesel-powered.
Gasoline: A vast majority of gas motorhomes come on a Chevrolet or Ford custom motorhome chassis. They come in a variety of lengths, usually less than 40 feet.
- PROS: Affordable. Spacious.
- CONS: Poor gas mileage. Moderate ride. Lower torque. Limited towing weight and cargo weight.
Diesel: These are commonly referred to as diesel pushers. There are a variety of diesel chassis’ in use, many of which are custom built or come from well-known diesel manufacturers. While there are also a wide variety of lengths of diesel pushers, they are most commonly found in lengths between 40 feet and 45 feet.
- PROS: Moderate fuel economy. Smooth ride. Plenty of torque. Lots of storage. Large amount of towing weight and cargo weight.
- CONS: Expensive. Since most are large, parking and RV sites are more limited.
Toy haulers are a specialized class of RVs. There are toy haulers that fall into every class of RV that we have listed above from travel trailers to Class A motorhomes. Most have a ramp that lowers allowing you to bring one or more of your ‘toys’ with you, from motorcycles to ATVs.