How to Remember the 5 Most Common Types of RVs
So...You live in a Trailer? Oh so an RV, what, like Walter White? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Road Rules, Meet the Fockers; these are all other reference points that friends and family have tried using to understand our Full-Time RV Life.
At the beginning it can be a little tricky to keep all the different kinds of RVs straight. Sometimes it’s even trickier to explain to friends and family who do not RV what you roll around in all the time. If you are new to the RV Travel Life, or just curious, don’t worry, with just a little time it all makes sense. In a follow-up post we will discuss what we think the pros and cons of each type of RV are, but first things first. In this post we’ll cover the 5 most common types of RVs, how you can remember them and explain them to friends and family, and we share links to RV bloggers who are currently living in each type.
RVs that are Motorized
There are 2 main kinds of RVs. You have motorized RVs and Towable RVs. The Motorized RVs are driven, so your home and vehicle are all-in-one. Towables require a separate vehicle, often a truck, to tow. For Motorized RVs you have 3 different kinds to choose from.
Class A RVs
The way we explain a Class A is the type of RV that looks like a bus. Class A’s are the largest kind of Motorized RV. Class A RVs offer the most space out of the motorized RVs, and though large do not generally require any sort of special license to drive. Class A RVs can be gas or diesel and you may hear diesel Class A’s referred to as Diesel Pushers. Class A RVs are generally 8 feet wide with slide-outs closed. (Slides or slide-outs are sections of an RV that push out, or pop out to extend the width of the interior living space.) The length of Class A RVs range from 26 feet to 40 feet. In a regular parking lot, this means your small Class A will take up a parking space and a half (lengthwise) to more than two parking spaces (lengthwise). Once it’s more than 2 parking spaces lengthwise you would actually park it across parking spaces instead. At a campground you will generally need the largest campsite option they have, though some campgrounds will not have spaces large enough.
Class B RVs
A Class B Motorhome looks like a cargo van. These are typically the smallest motorized RVs in that they are going to be the least wide at 7-7.5 feet and will not have any slide-outs that can expand the interior living space. Class B RVs will feel like driving a minivan or cargo van. Class B RVs also come in diesel or gas. The length of Class B RVs range from 16 to 25 feet. Many parking spots in the US are 18-20 feet long so in a regular parking lot your Class B will take up one parking spot to one and a half parking spots (lengthwise). At a campground you can generally fit in all campsite options available.
Class C RVs
A Class C Motorhome looks like a moving truck. It falls between the Class A and the Class B. You can think of it as a mini-Class A or a roomier class B, really. Many Class C RVs also feel like driving a van. The ‘cab area’ which is where the driver and passenger sit, feels like and looks like the cab of a van because they actually are. Only the living areas are made by the RV manufacturer. Class C RVs range in width from 7.5 to 8 feet, but some do come with slide-outs that can further expand the living areas inside. At 21 to 35 feet in length, in a regular parking lot they take up one to two parking spots, lengthwise. At campgrounds Class C RVs generally fit in most campsite options available.
Travel Trailers, also called “Campers”, are RVs that need to be towed by a vehicle. Some Travel Trailers are light enough that they can be towed by an SUV or car, but many are best towed by pickup trucks. Travel Trailers are 7 to 8 feet wide and many do come with slide-outs that can expand the width or the living area. Travel Trailer RVs range in length from 12 to 35 feet not counting the vehicle that is pulling it. This means that in a regular parking lot you will often be longer than 2 parking spots lengthwise and will likely need to park across parking spots. At a campsite, since you unhitch from your towing vehicle, you will fit in many campsite options with your options decreasing as your travel trailer length increases. Travel trailers hitch at the bumper level of your tow vehicle so the hitch point can be described as “down low” to help you remember.
Fifth-Wheels have a high hitch point and attach, with a special hitch, to the inside of the bed of a pickup truck. Fifth-Wheels can only be towed by a pick-up truck. Fifth-Wheels are generally 8 feet wide. They can also have slide-outs that expand the interior living areas. Not counting the pick-up truck, fifth-wheels range in length from 25 feet to 45 feet. In a regular parking lot where you would count the pickup truck’s length you will take up 2 parking spots or more lengthwise, likely parking across parking spots in most cases. At a campground, where you would unhitch from your pick-up truck, you would often need the largest campsite options available. Depending on the length of your Fifth-Wheel there may be campgrounds where you won’t fit.
Some RV Bloggers Living in the 5 Most Common Types of RVs
If you would like to learn a little more about traveling or living in the 5 Most Common Types of RVs, click on some of the links below to check out some RV blogs. In many cases, these RV bloggers have lived or traveled in more than one type of RV. Even in our own case, we began in a 28 foot Travel Trailer and are now in a 24 foot Class C Motorhome.
Now that you can tell the different types of RVs apart, be sure to check back as we talk about the pros and cons of each type of RV.