Many novice buyers have no idea that there are eight distinct types of recreational vehicle, each with its own set of characteristics making it ideal for a single application. While RVs are versatile and nearly any RV will keep the uneducated buyer happy, having just the right RV because you did the research is a great situation. Take some time to learn the differences between the major types of RVs and decide for yourself which one meets your needs.
Class A RVs
The Class A RV is also known as a motorhome, or a vehicle constructed on a chassis especially designed to hold a wider load than the average vehicle while still accommodating the road. A motorhome often has multiple rooms and may appear similar to a bus from the outside, although the internal accommodations are much different. Many motorhomes have slide-out additions, enabling users to expand their space even more while parked.
Class B RVs
The Class B RV is also known as the camper van, often constructed on a normal van base with a high roof and a low profile back. These are similar to a smaller version of the motorhome, and are suitable for camping or long-term traveling with smaller groups. In the United States, the generic term “RV” often applies to the camper van.
Class C RVs
The Class C RV is known a Class C motorhome, distinct from the Class A motorhome. These are often built on a basic truck chassis and attached to a cab. They are somewhat smaller than the standard Class A motorhome, and may be known as a “mini motorhome” accordingly.
Fifth Wheel RVs
The Fifth Wheel RV is built for towing via the fifth wheel coupling mechanism. This RV is recognizable by the trailer body, which is lengthened over the truck bed to reduce the vehicle’s total length by combining part of it with the truck bed. These are often towed by medium- or heavy-duty pickup trucks. Some of the largest Fifth Wheels are towed by freightliners or other semi-trucks.
Pop-Up Trailer RVs
The Pop-Up Trailer RV is also known as a folding trailer. These are very lightweight and easy to tow because the unit has collapsible walls for easy storage and towing. The furniture, including bunk beds, is usually pullout style to minimize bulk.
Toy Hauler RVs
The Toy Hauler RV is similar to the Class A motorhome, but functions at least partially as a towing or storing space for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and other small vehicles. Part of the living space might still be used as actual living space, or all of the vehicle might be dedicated to hauling.
Travel Trailer RVs
The Travel Trailer RV is occasionally known as a caravan, and is a small, very basic towable unit with hard sides and a frame hitch. These often serve as a place to sleep and carry small items, but are not livable in the sense that Class A motorhomes are.
Truck Camper RVs
The Truck Camper RV is a temporary unit that installs into a pickup truck’s bed, usually utilized by hunters, adventurers and campers to create a comfortable spot in a pinch.