When someone starts thinking of buying an RV, one of the first questions they ask is, which RV is right for me. That’s a loaded question. I’ve owned three types of RVs and they all have pros and cons. I’m going to lay the main ones out for you in this post.
With a 5th wheel, you back your truck under the front end of the RV to hitch up. The hitch receiver is in the bed of your truck. They give you a lot of stability because of their position over the bed of the truck. I personally found it easier to back the 5th wheel than my current bumper pull trailer.
This is the first RV we purchased when we decided to sell it all and hit the road. We were attracted to the vast amount of storage space and all the creature comforts at a reasonable price. 5th wheels range in size from 20 to 40 feet in length. They generally have slide-outs which give you a lot of living space.
There are also models with garages in the back. These are called toy haulers. They have a ramp to allow you to load your quad, motorcycle, or whatever you like into the back and take it along. The door on the back of a toy hauler often doubles as a deck for lounging or entertaining.
Ours was 38 feet long, 13 feet 4 inches high, and weighed 26,000 pounds dry (completely empty). Because of the size and weight of our 5th wheel, we had a one-ton, dually pickup to tow it with. I loved our 5th wheel because it had a lot of living and storage space.
Driveables (Class A, B, B+, and C)
Drivable RVs are categorized by letter. Class A is the big, bus style which is often called motorhomes or motorcoaches. Class B are small van-style RVs. Class B+ is a bit larger than a standard Class B. Class C is basically smaller than a Class A and larger than a Class B which makes absolutely no sense to me.
Class B and B+ have modest storage but are easy to drive and park. Fuel economy is better than their larger cousins. These are made with both gas and diesel engines.
Class C RVs are the little brother to the Class A. They are generally smaller, lower to the ground, and come with fewer bells and whistles. That said, there are some pretty fancy models available on the market. You’ll also get more storage in a Class C than a B or B+. You can find these in gas or diesel models.
Class A RVs are those big RVs you see on the road. They look like fancy buses. These run the gambit of price, luxury, and amenities. The lengths available are 26 to 45 feet. Class A RVs also come in both gas and diesel models.
Our second RV was a Class A gas engine model. It was 38 feet long and 13 feet high. It was a very modest but nice motorhome. We choose to trade from our 5th wheel to a motorhome because the interior was completely flat. The 5th wheel had stairs leading up to the bathroom and bedroom and my late husband has mobility issues.
Bumper Pull Travel Trailers
Bumper pull trailers are connected to the tow vehicle by a hitch attached to the frame of the tow vehicle. These are by far the most common RVs out there. They range vastly in price and size. There’s something for almost everyone in this category.
Bumper pull trailers are, in my opinion, the most difficult to back. In fact, backing the trailer is my nemesis but I’ll leave that for another post.
Truck campers fit into the bed of a pickup truck. I have no experience with these other than having been in a few over the years. They are quite small with limited storage, but certainly easier to take some places other RVs can’t go. The compact nature of truck campers can require some agility as there is climbing involved to get into bed, etc.
Which RV is Right For Me? – Shopping Tips
The best way by far to get familiar and zero in on what you like is to shop. Go to RV dealers and go inside all types, sizes, and shapes. Sit everywhere (including the toilet) imagine where you might store your things inside and out. I’d also suggest opening all the window shades and letting the light pour in. You can see a lot of flaws in the glaring light of day. Ask the salesperson to bring any slides in and out to make sure you can function either way. Take your time. This is a big decision.
When we bought our 5th wheel, we didn’t realize we would have to put a slide-out in order to get to the bathroom, bedroom, or refrigerator. When you’re stopped in a parking lot or rest area it’s not a good idea to put slides out. That semi-truck pulling in beside you may just take your slide right off.
Size matters! Think about the type of camping you want to do. If you’re planning to stay in RV parks for the most part you can go as big as you want. If you want to stay in state and national parks, you’ll like want to go smaller because the sites in those places tend to be smaller.
Gas or diesel? Bear in mind, diesel engines are considerably more expensive to maintain but tend to last much longer than gas engines. RVs with diesel engines are also more expensive than those with gas engines. This goes for your tow vehicle also. Fuel economy is better with a diesel engine.
I tow my bumper pull trailer with a gas Ford F-250. When I’m towing my mileage is about 10 mpg. When I’m not towing I get about 14 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway.
I hope this blog post has been helpful and that you have a better understanding of the different types of RVs on the market. If you still can’t decide which type is right for you, leave me a comment below or reach out to me via Contact US. I would be happy to provide input.
A great place to see what is available out there on the RV market is RVTrader.com.
You might also like, The RV Living And Travel Guide For Beginners.
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