Thursday, February 18, 2010

RV Basics : Types of RV

I originally found the RV classifications a bit confusing so I thought I would write a small article to help my non-RV friends understand the differences.

Recreational Vehicles are divided between ones with a motor and ones without - called towable.

Motorized RV's are categorized as Class A Motorhome, Class B Motorhome or Class C Motorhomes. If you think good, better, best, that little mnemonic won't work. Most people 'think' of Class A Motorhomes when they think of the word RV, but something like 85% of all RV's sold are Towables. People like these because you don't have to fool with hooking up to a tow vehicle but they seem to have less living space than the fifth wheels (in my opinion) and if you want to have a car you still have to tow a car.

Towables are classified as either fifth ( 5th ) wheel or travel trailers. Our RV, which we call Puma, is a travel trailer. 

There are other classes like pop-up campers or tent campers, but I'll just stick with these main types.

Motorized RV 

Class A - This is the classic RV. It is specially constructed to be a true RV from the ground up. Sometimes you'll hear them called Diesel pushers or Gas Pushers based on the type of engine they use. These are the big daddy machines. 

Class B - This is a VAN, like a GMC or Ford, that is converted to an RV. I think of a student criss crossing the country and having a little pad like this as the mini-home. This is the smallest type of motorized RV or motorhome.

Class C - This is a cross between a Class A motorhome and a Class B motorhome. It has a the cab, cabin, or drivers area usually in a separate area, making this look like a pickup with a topper or drop in the bed camper, but these are designed to be TRUE RV's.

Towable RV 

Fifth Wheel - This RV is named after the hitch (which looks similar to the hitch on a tractor trailer), but it is more easily identified by its distinctive shape which is meant to allow the hitch to connect to a receptacle IN THE BED of a pickup truck (or larger). You might use terms like gooseneck trailer to describe the shape. Believe it or not, the newer RV's (since approximately 2005 or so) allow you to completely STAND up in the section that goes over the truck bed. To me, this looks like the most livable and PRACTICAL RV for full time living or even traveling across the country. The NEAT thing is you can just disconnect your tow vehicle and use it to get around town. Being a fifth wheel in shape makes it easier to handle than a travel trailer, both while towing in regards to safety, and while backing too.

Travel Trailer - I actually don't known the numbers, but this RV ought to be the most plentiful. They range from small car towable designs to very large models that rival, well almost rival, fifth wheels. Puma is a travel trailer. These have a straight design - they look like a loaf of bread with a hitch that comes out directly to connect to a hitch on the bumper ( or thereabouts ) on a pickup.

I've attached pictures of the different types of RV's here.

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