Some years back when my wife and I started talking about the possibility of buying a RV, I really had no idea that there were so many types of Rvs available. I just knew that there were those RVs going down the freeway that had their own motor and those that were being pulled by either a car or truck. The terminology that classified the various RVs was somewhat foreign to me. Therefore, after many years of owning a RV and being associated with the camping community, I thought it might be a good idea to impart some of what I know about RV types to those of you who wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

The first thing to do is to define what an RV (recreational vehicle) is and is not. An RV is a motorized or towable vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping. RV s do not include mobile homes, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and conversion vehicles. It is acceptable to use the word camper when you are talking about recreational vehicles. For me, it is easier to say camper than RV or recreational vehicle. The English language is a strange beast in that the word “camper” can also refer to a human being who is going camping. In this discussion when I use the word “camper“, I will be referring to a large object that has wheels for either being towed or is under it’s own power.

Campers can be put into two groups. One group consist of campers that are pulled down the highway by a tow vehicle. The other group consist of campers (motor homes ) that travel under their own power. In each of these groups there are a number of classifications for the campers in that group.

In the towable group there are Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers, Travel Trailers with expandable ends, Folding Camping Trailers and Truck Campers. Travel Trailers attach to the bumper of the tow vehicle and come in a wide range of sizes and floor plans. Many of these campers will have one or more slide outs and have home like amenities. The Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer is much the same as the Travel Trailer except for the way it hooks to the tow vehicle. The Fifth Wheel attaches to the tow vehicle by way of a hitch that is installed in the bed of the truck, much like you see on 18 wheelers. Travel Trailers with expandable ends look like the regular Travel Trailer going down the highway, but when they are parked and set up, either or both ends of the trailer will pull out to make sleeping areas. The Folding Camping Trailer also known as a popup, does just that. When you set them up, there is a crank mechanism that cranks the sides up to form the camper. The sides are usually made of canvas and give you more of a tent feel for camping. However, most of them will have an air conditioner, sink and a combo potty and shower. Some of the pop ups also have a slide out that is manually operated. The pop up camper is more labor intensive to set up but it is a great starting place for the newbie RVer. There is another camper that cranks up like the pop up but it has hard sides. It is referred to as a Hi-Lo. The last of this group is the Truck Camper. This type of camper slides on the bed of the truck. It usually has an extension that goes over the cab of the truck, making a sleeping area. The truck camper will have legs that extend down to the ground so that it can be removed from the truck.

The motorized RVs are classified as Type A, Type B, and Type C. The Type A is the largest of the motor homes and is built on a frame with the engine either in the rear, pusher, or in the front like a standard vehicle. The high end Type A will be the most expensive of recreational vehicles. The Type B motor homes are also referred to as “van campers”. They look like a large van with the top raised for standup head room. The Type C motor home is built on a large truck frame with a section that extends over the cab of the truck providing another area for sleeping.

Over the last several years, there has been a modification made to some of the Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers to give us the Sport Utility RV. This type of RV has the back of the trailer modified to give a garage effect with a large door that lowers to make a ramp for loading your toys that you want to take on your camping adventure. In this type of RV you can load your motorcycles, ATVs, bicycles or just about any other large object that you can’t put in a standard RV. Once the toys are out of the camper, there are beds that fold down from the walls giving you more sleeping area.

Recreational vehicles are continually changing with different floor plans, sizes and amenities so that you can camp in the same comfort as though you were home. There is a camper, or RV, out there to fit any budget. Go camping and have fun!

Submitted by Brad Fuller
Owner of
This Old Campsite

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What You Wanted to Know About RV Types....But Was Afraid to Ask
                                                       Brad Fuller