An Overview of Recreational Vehicles

You’ve taken that first step and decided to rent or purchase an RV. That’s great, but which one? With the wide variety of recreational vehicles on the market, it can help to have a guide to the basic styles available. By reading through this quick list of RV style basics, you, too, can get up to speed on which motorhome is right for you.

Question: I see the terms “RV” and “motorhome” used frequently. Are they all talking about the same thing? Answer: these terms are used interchangeably to mean a vehicle you can both drive and sleep in. There are several classes of these, as detailed below:

Class A Motorhome: These are premium camping vehicles, specially built on a commercial truck

Class A Motorhome

Class A Motorhome

chassis. These RVs come in both gas and diesel models. Basically the size of a city bus, many Class A motorhomes have slide-out compartments that can be opened at the campground to increase the living space inside. These vehicles typically contain luxurious features such as ceramic tile baths, televisions with DVD players, custom kitchens and so on. Definitely not for “roughing it”, these beautifully built motorhomes provide the ultimate in camping comfort.

Class B Motorhome: Commonly known as van conversions or camping vans, these vehicles also provide the luxury of taking your hotel room with you, but on a much smaller scale. They might take the shape of a full-size van customized with a sleeping area, eating space, and a small kitchen with water storage tanks. A Class B motorhome can also be a “pop-up” camper van with extended head room and living space built in to the passenger area.

Class C Motorhome

Class C Motorhome

Class C Motorhome: If you’ve ever passed an RV on the highway that had an extra compartment above a truck cab, you’ve seen a Class C motorhome. These RVs may or may not have slide-out sections to expand the living space, and usually have a separate bedroom plus additional sleeping space above the cab. A step down from the Class A models, they’re still a comfortable way to travel long distances and save the

Question: I understand now about motorhomes, but what’s a “fifth wheel”? Answer: A fifth wheel trailer is one type of towable camping trailer, but there are other kinds of towables, as well. Here’s a breakdown of their similarities and differences.

Fifth Wheel Trailer: This type of camping trailer is towed by way of a large gooseneck hitch,

5th Wheel Trailer

5th Wheel Trailer

installed in the bed of a pickup truck. Someone who purchases a fifth wheel would need to have this equipment installed in their truck in order to tow it. Some RV rental companies deliver fifth wheel trailers to customers who intend to live in them for an extended period. These camping vehicles can be quite luxurious, with full-size refrigerators, microwaves and their own heating and airconditioning systems.

Towable Trailer

Towable Trailer

Towable Camping Trailers: There are several levels of these towable trailers, but, in general, they are travel trailers that are towed by a ball hitch attached to a truck, van or SUV rather than a gooseneck hitch. The largest of these can sleep up to five adults and feature comfortable kitchens and baths.

Whether you decide to purchase the most luxurious Class A “diesel pusher”, or to rent a comfortable, affordable travel trailer, RV camping can provide years of happy vacation memories. The most important thing is to get out on the road and start camping!

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