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Different Classes of RVs, Which One Is Right For You?

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The term RV is short for recreational vehicle. It encompasses all campers, motorhomes, and trailers. RVs are available from the most luxurious Class A, down to the simplest pop-up camper. RVs are broken down into classes and types. Drivable RVs, or motorhomes, are broken down by class. Towable RVs are broken down by type.

When deciding to purchase an RV, understanding all the options available is just as important as your budget and family needs. RVs range in price from a few thousand dollars to a few million dollars. In this post we are going to go dig deeper and give you an in-depth analysis on the different classes and types to hopefully make your decision a bit easier. If you’re still unsure, there is always the option to rent some of the different types to see what fits you best.

Drivable Classes of RVs

Class A Motorhome

A Class A motorhome is one of the  different classes of Rvs
Class A Motorhome

These are the largest of all classes. These are the monstrous, tour bus type motorhomes. They are available in both gasoline and diesel. You will hear these commonly referred to as “pusher” since the diesel engine is located at the rear of the coach. Class A’s can range in price from around $60,000 all the way up to a jaw-dropping $3 million. In fact, the most expensive Class A is the Marchi Mobile EleMMent Palazzo. It comes equipped with all the luxuries you can imagine. It even has an expandable roof-top deck. This RV isn’t anywhere near the “norm”. Most Class A RVs top out around $200,000. Some floorplans even have opposing slide-outs that essentially double the living space.

Class A’s come as short as 26 feet and as long as nearly 45 feet. They range in weight from 13,000 pounds to a whopping 30,000 pounds. Most Class A’s come in under the 25,000 pound mark. The heaviest of these RVs will come equipped with three axles.

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Some of the most notable features of the Class A, aside from the “rock-star” feeling, are the panoramic windshield and the amount of storage they provide. The windshield gives you an un-obstructed view of the beautiful scenery as you travel the country in comfort and style. And since the floor is built a couple of feet above the chassis, storage isn’t an issue. There is more than enough basement storage in these motorhomes to handle anything you need to carry with you.

One major downfall to these impressive RV’s is the maneuverability and freedom to roam once you are set up at your site. If you want to visit local attractions, you will have to tow a small vehicle behind your rig. Also, driving down smaller roads can have it’s own set of challenges. For more info on smaller Class A’s, check out Class A’s For Couples.

Class B Motorhome

Class B Camper Van
Class B Camper

Campervans are small van type campers, and they range in size from around 18 feet up to 24 feet. Depending on amenities and fuel type, Campervans range in price from $40,000 to $80,000. These campers can come equipped with a gasoline or diesel engine. Because of their compact size, parking and maneuvering in tight spaces a breeze. These RVs can fit into most parking spaces without the need to park at the back of the parking lot.

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As a result of their compact size, Class B’s can have their downfalls. Storage and general living space are some of the most challenging aspects of the Class B. These campervans will normally sleep two and sometimes up to four people. The bathroom in these units is what is called a “wet-bath”, meaning the toilet, shower, and sink are all in one compartment. The kitchens are equipped with a small sink, a small cooktop, and very little counter space.

Some offer a full-sized bed at the rear of the van, but most have a fold down sofa or futon for sleeping. These campers are designed for the minimalist which makes the small size very beneficial for reaching those hard to get to camping spots that most larger campers can’t get to.

Class C Motorhome

Class C Motorhome
Class C Motorhome

This class of motorhome is most notably known for the bunkhouse that extends over the cockpit. These motorhomes offer the best of both worlds of the Class A and the Class B because you get the space that a Class B doesn’t have, and a price tag that is usually much lower than the Class A.

Unlike the Class A, the Class C will have both a driver and a passenger door. The Class A normally only has one door to enter and exit the coach, located in the living area of the RV. These motorhomes have considerably more living space than a campervan and more storage space.

Since these campers are larger than a Class B, they are often equipped with a separate shower and toilet. Class C’s generally sleep 6 to 8 as the dinette often converts into a bed, and the over-cab bunkhouse provides additional sleeping space for one or two.

Class C Motorhomes range in price from around $50,000 to well over $100,000. Again, the price depends on the engine type and amenities you need. They range in length from around 21 feet to a staggering 42 feet. The longest of these campers will be equipped with a diesel engine and may be referred to as a Super-C.

Those are the three different classes of drivable RVs, now let’s look at the towable RVs.

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Towable Classes of RVs

Pop-Up Camper

Popup Camper
A-Frame Popup Camper

Pop-up campers are the smallest of the towable types RVs. There a few different types of pop-up campers. They are tent style, A-Frame, and solid wall. These campers offer the basic of amenities when it comes to RVs as the kitchens are normally equipped with a small cooktop, a small sink, and a small refrigerator.  Most do not have a bathroom. Those that do come equipped with a cassette toilet, which is essentially a small Porta Potti. For more info, check out 5 Amazing Pop-Up Campers With Bathrooms.

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Pop-up campers are ideal for towing behind a small SUV or a Jeep as they are extremely lightweight. The price range on these campers range from $10,000 to over $20,000, depending on amenities and size. Although these campers are small, they range in size from 8 feet to over 20 feet when closed, when opened up, the length can almost double in some instances.

The weight of these campers can vary from under 1,000 pounds to over 4,000 pounds. Always check your vehicles towing capacity to find which one is best suited for you.

Teardrop Trailer

a teardrop camper is one of the different types of rvs
Teardrop Camper

When it comes to the “cool” factor, teardrops have to be my favorite because they have that classic, vintage aerodynamic design that just looks, well, cool. Most have a small outdoor kitchen and usually sleep two. These RVs are lightweight and can be towed with a small SUV. These campers range in size from 10 to 20 feet and can weigh up to 4,000 pounds. The price range for teardrops range from as little as $5,000 up to and over $20,000, depending on size, brand, and amenities.

Off-Road Campers

an off road camper is one of the different classes of rvs
Schutt XV -2

With un-conventional camping in mind, off-road campers are manufactured to handle rugged, rough terrain. They are equipped with larger, all-terrain tires, and have a higher ground clearance than traditional campers. These rugged campers are built with a stronger chassis and beefed-up suspension to easily handle any terrain your tow vehicle can handle. Off-road campers are often equipped with an enhanced tow hitch for 360 degrees of rotation, up, down, left and right. These key features are important if you will be doing any rock climbing or mudding through extreme terrain to reach your destination. If you would like more information on off-road campers, check out 5 Off-Road Campers For Conquering The Great Outdoors.

Travel Trailers

a travel trailer is one of the different classes of rvs
Travel Trailer,Photo by Bug’N Out Rv’N

These campers are probably the most common type of RV on the market. Like the pop-up camper, these RVs are bumper pull. Travel trailers vary on so many different levels it would be impossible to list them all. Travel trailers typically range in size from 12 feet to around 35 feet with weights ranging from 1,200 pounds to over 10,000 pounds when fully loaded. Again, check your vehicles tow rating before deciding which one is best for you.

Travel trailers usually have pass-thru basement storage and ample storage inside the rig. Slide-outs offer more square footage inside the camper when extended and some models have king sized beds, full kitchen, fireplaces, and even reclining theater seating.

The price range for these campers range from around $10,000 to over $40,000. These prices will depend on brand, features, and size. For example, if you want that outdoor kitchen with TV and powered awning, you will pay more than one without.

Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers

A fifth wheel is one of the different types of rvs
5th Wheel Travel Trailer

5th wheel RVs are the biggest and most luxurious of the towable different classes of RVs. These rigs are pulled using a special tow hitch that mounts inside the bed of the truck towing it. These rigs tow much easier than traditional bumper pull campers because the rig is closer to the tow vehicle, you will however, need a beefy truck to tow one of these RVs.

5th wheels have an upper section that normally houses a main bedroom as well as a separate bathroom. However, there are some 5th wheels floorplans with a front living room.

Stairs lead down to the main living area that is usually very large. The ceiling of these campers is much taller than a traditional travel trailer which makes it feel even more spacious. These RVs are normally equipped with several slide-outs for maximizing interior space.

Prices range from $25,000 to over $100,000. Again, this will depend on brand, features, and size. 5th wheel lengths generally range from 25 feet to 45 feet and can weigh from as little as 5,000 pounds up to and above 16,000 pounds.

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Conclusion On Different Classes And Types Of RVs

As you can see, RVs not only come in different classes and types, they also come with different styles. Deciding to purchase an RV is a major decision. Keep in mind that you can always rent an RV before buying one to “test drive” the different classes and types of RVs that are available.

Check out How To Rent An RV for a step by step guide to RV rentals. Purchasing an RV is a major commitment and there are many factors that need to be considered after the sale. We go into more detail on cost of ownership in the article, Is It Cheaper To Rent Or Buy An RV. No matter what type or class of RV you choose, there are costs of ownership. Keep these factors in mind when making your decision.

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