RV Education 101

Types of RVs

Hi, I’m Mark Polk with “RV Education 101.” Today I want to briefly discuss the different types of RVs there are. When it comes to selecting the right RV, everybody’s different, so it only makes sense that there are so many different types and sizes of RVs to choose from.

To help simplify things, I like to separate RVs into two categories: towable and motorized. Let’s start with the towable RVs.

Pop-Up Trailer - type of RVThe smallest and least expensive towable RV is the folding camping trailer or pop-up. Pop-ups are designed to be lightweight while still providing many of the comforts and conveniences found in other RVs.

Pop-ups incorporate a lift system to raise the roof. When the roof is in a raised position, there is a tent fabric, either one piece or several sections, attached to the roof and the box. And it expands out to accommodate pull out beds. Sizes range from 15 feet to 24 feet when opened and the ends and sides collapse for towing and storage.

Many of today’s pop-ups have slide-out sections designed to give you additional living space inside. Pop-ups can sleep up to eight people, depending on the model, and prices can range from $8,000 to over $20,000.

travel trailer - type of rvNext in the towable category is the travel trailer. Travel trailers are a popular choice among RV-ers because of the wide variety of floor-plans available. Whether it’s for two people or a family of eight campers, there is a travel trailer to suit their needs.

As with other towable RVs, a travel trailer can be disconnected and set up when you arrive at your destination. This allows the benefit of using the tow vehicle to make a trip to the store or go sightseeing. Travel trailers range in size from 15 to 37 feet and offer all of the comforts of home. Lots of travel trailers have slide-outs, increasing the living space inside the RV.

It’s not uncommon to see units with multiple slide-outs in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom areas. Most manufacturers offer what I refer to as entry-level models, mid-line models, and high-end models. Think of it in terms like a Chevrolet, a Buick, or a Cadillac.

With today’s lighter-weight tow vehicles, RV manufacturers offer lightweight and ultra-lightweight models too. Travel trailers can sleep up to eight people, depending on the model, and prices can range from $15,000 to over $80,000.

Other types of travel trailers include hybrid trailers, and what’s commonly referred to as a toy-hauler. Let’s check these two types of towable RVs out. The concept of a hybrid or expandable trailer is a small light-weight travel trailer with pull-out or drop-down bed ends, similar to a pop-up. The expandable bed ends provide more space inside when the camper is set up. There is no raising or lowering the roof. Hybrid travel trailers are equipped with many of the same amenities found in conventional travel trailers. These hard-sided trailers can be towed easily with many of today’s smaller SUVs and crossover vehicles. They can sleep up to six people and prices range from $15,000 to over $30,000.

The other type of travel trailer I just mentioned is a toy hauler, also referred to as a sport utility trailer or sport utility RV. These trailers have living quarters in the front, and garage space in the back.

Toy Hauler - type of RVToy haulers have a rear ramp door that lowers so you can load your motorcycles, ATVs, or other toys you wanna take with you on camping trips. In the front, there are cooking facilities, dining areas, a bathroom, and sleeping arrangements, just like conventional travel trailers. There are lots of options available, including a generator, making the toy hauler fully self-contained.

Because toy haulers are so popular, it’s not uncommon to see fifth-wheel trailers and motorhome toy haulers, too, so prices can range from $25,000 to well over $150,000.

That takes us to a fifth-wheel trailer. Fifth-wheel trailers are the type you see that extends over the bed of the pick-up truck or custom tow vehicle.

This bi-level design results in fifth-wheel trailers offering the most living space of just about any towable RV. Let’s take a look.

Fifth-wheel trailers range in size from 21 to 40 feet and require a special type of hitch installed in the bed of the truck.

The tow vehicle must be properly equipped and capable of handling the weight of the trailer. Fifth-wheel trailers tow and handle better than conventional travel trailers and combined with spacious living quarters, are oftentimes a choice for full-time RV-ers.

Like other towable RVs, fifth-wheels are available in entry-level, midline, and high-end models. And there are lightweight versions that can be towed by half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks.

Fifth-wheel travel trailers can sleep up to six people, depending on the model, and prices range from $20,000 to well over $150,000.

The next towable RV is one that lots of people don’t think about: the recreational park trailer or park model trailer. These are designated to be used as temporary living quarters for camping or seasonal use. Let’s look at some park model trailers.

Park model trailers come in various designs but are one of two types. There are 12-foot-wide models with siding and a peaked shingled roof similar to a small house or cottage. Another common type of park model is slightly less than 8 feet 6 inches in width and up to 39 feet in length. They have slide-outs for additional living space inside when they are set up.

In most cases, these seasonal cottages are taken to a vacation destination, set up, and left there.

It might be in an RV park, a resort area, in the mountains, or along the coast, but it’s usually within a few hours drive from the owner’s residence. Prices can range from $25,000 to over $100,000.

The last type of RV in the towable group is a truck camper. Truck campers are loaded and secured to the bed of a pick-up truck. This makes for a very versatile RV that can access back roads in remote areas other RVs can’t always get to.

Today’s truck campers come in many different sizes and floor-plans. They are built in 8- to 12-foot models.

Manufacturers are making these campers more spacious by extending the cab-over area and adding slide-outs.

Numerous options are available to include generators, making the truck camper fully self-contained. A truck with the ability to carry the weight of the camper is needed.

When you are not using the camper, it can be removed from the truck.

Truck campers can sleep up to six people, depending on the model, and prices range from $15,000 to over $50,000.

In the motorized category, there are three types of RVs: type A, type B, and type C.

Types of RVS in this Rollin' On TV Show - Class A Shown HereLet’s start with a type A motorhome. Type A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious of motorhomes, ranging in size from 25 to 45 feet. They are the type you see that look similar to a bus.

Type A motorhomes are built on a specially designed vehicle or bus chassis and are powered by either a gasoline or diesel engine. You have access to all of the amenities while you are traveling, including the bathroom. Type A motorhomes are fully self-contained with an onboard generator.

Like other RVs, type A motorhomes are available in entry level, mid-line, and high-end models. Depending on the model, a type A motorhome can sleep from two to six people and prices range from $70,000 to $500,000.

Some high-end luxury bus conversions can cost over $1 million. Type A motorhomes also allow for towing a small vehicle behind the motorhome.

Type B motorhomes are the smallest of the three motorized RV types, ranging in size from 16- to 20-plus feet.

They are conversion vans that are modified and equipped with all the comforts and amenities found in other RVs in a compact size.

Type B motorhomes are easier to maneuver and park, more fuel efficient, and can be used as a second vehicle. They are popular among all types of consumers.

Type B motorhomes work well for one or two travelers. Some models can sleep up to four people and come equipped with the same amenities you see in a type A motorhome.

Type B motorhomes are built on an assortment of vehicle chassis and are powered by either gasoline or diesel engines.

Type B motorhomes range in price from $70,000 to over $100,000.

Type C motorhomes– also referred to as mini motorhomes– are built on a cut-away van chassis. The popularity of type C motorhomes has some manufacturers building larger and heavier models on heavy-duty truck chassis with higher gross vehicle weight ratings. Let’s take a look.

Class-C-RVType C motorhomes range in size from 20 to 37 feet. They’re the type you see with the sleeping area or entertainment center extending over the vehicle cab. This additional sleeping area makes the type C a good choice for families. Some models can sleep six to eight people.

Like other RV types, they are available in entry-level, mid-line, and high-end models, ranging in price from $60,000 to $150,000.

Til next time, thanks for watching.

To learn more about how to use your RV,

Happy RV Learning,
Mark Polk, your trusted source for RV education