Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – we earn a commission if you make a purchase using our links. We only link to products and companies we use and recommend. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this site and community.
Thinking about trying out a mobile lifestyle but don’t know where to begin? Let me try to provide a little help for you. If you’re anything like us, shopping for an RV can be a bit overwhelming when you first start. Class A, B, B+, C, Super C, fifth wheel, Travel trailers and many more. There are ones you drive, and ones you pull, and sometimes the ones you drive AND pull. Here are some basic definitions that will help you start to put things in place. There are more categories, but let’s just touch on the most common first to help you determine which one(s) should go on your RV shopping shortlist, before you even set foot in a dealers lot.
Trailers / Towables
- These trailers fold down to all a lightweight and compact trailer that is easy to tow with a smaller vehicle
- Many will even fit inside your garage
- Great because you won’t need to pay to store it when not in use
- These tend to be larger than pop up trailers, but can vary in length from 10 feet long to over 30 feet.
- They are much more accommodating inside than a pop up, because nothing needs to fold up, or fold down when you get to your site
- They will also have much more storage than you will find in a pop-up for the same reason
- Some travel trailers include slide outs to increase their size when parked
- They are usually too tall to fit inside most garages so you would need to have a place to store it
- Small travel trailers can still be towed with light vehicles, but most will require a full size truck or SUV
- Some floor plans even allow a rear drop down gate that allow you to put motorcycles and other large items in a ‘garage’ of sorts
- Fifth wheel trailers are the mac daddy of trailers. They are those big tall trailers that you see dwarfing the truck that pulls them. Part of a fifth wheel actually sits above the bed of the truck that is pulling it, and attaches to the bed of the truck with a special type of hitch like used on semi-trucks. This is the 5th wheel
- Because of how they are pulled, they tend to be more balanced and easy to pull when compared to similar sized travel trailers, and, you end up with more livable space in a 30 foot fifth wheel, than you do with a 30 foot travel trailer because a travel trailer is counting a few feet of the hitch as part of it’s length
- They tend to be larger than most travel trailers, and can feel like a real home inside, especially if they have slide outs
- Most will have a small staircase inside to reach either a bedroom or a separate living room space
- Many are also available with ‘garage’ type space as mentioned in travel trailers above
- You will definitely need a heavy duty truck to pull one of these beauties
Driveable CampersThese are the kind that fit in the bed of a truck. There are many different sizes, but of the same concept. The camper slides into the bed of your truck. You can either remove the camper from your truck when not in use, or leave it in the truck full time if you only use the truck for camping
Class A Motorhome
- These are the motorhomes that look more like buses
- They vary in size from 24 feet to over 45 feet long
- They will vary in price from $60,000 to over 2 million new
- Class A motorhomes have large front windshields that allow you to take in all the scenery and are generally easy for passengers to get up and walk around while the vehicle is in motion because everything is all on the same level
- Driver seat and front passenger seat can actually turn around to become part of the living space when parked
- Floorplans can become quite roomy, especially if the RV has slide outs
There are two main types of Class A: Gas Engine and Diesel Engine1. Gas Engine: The engine is almost always mounted in the front of the rig. These are generally less expensive to buy and maintain than diesels, but they don’t have as much power either (especially at altitude). The gas motorhome won’t get as efficient mileage compared with a diesel, but you won’t be paying as much of an upfront cost for the motorhome either. 2. Diesel engine: Most larger Diesel RVs have the engine in the rear of the vehicle, which ‘pushes’ the vehicle down the road. You can find some smaller Class A’s with a front diesel engine, which would not be a ‘pusher’. Typically, diesel powered motorhomes are more expensive to buy and maintain, but generally have upgraded features compared to gas motorhomes because of their additional capacities. Diesel engines get better MPG than gas powered coaches. It will definitely pay for you to do the math and work out which is the best option for your personal needs, including how and where you’ll use the motorhome.
- Most class B RVs are converted vans, that are only a little bigger than the standard van they are based on
- Most Class Bs under 22 feet in length
- Commonly used platforms are Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes vans
- These are great for people who want something that they can easily maneuver in parking lots and don’t need a lot of living space
- Some Class Bs are 4 wheel drive and more easily allow for getting way out in the boonies
- Class B+ are like a Class B, but have an extended roofline to expand the size a bit
- Class C motorhomes are based on heavier duty truck or van chassis.
- If you look at the cab of the vehicle it will have regular truck or van doors to enter it, in addition to a RV full length door in the camper section
- It will have a camper space above that cab which is usually an extra bed
- Class C can vary greatly in size, from 20 to over 30 feet
- These are a very popular choice of motorhome and you have certainly seen many on the road
- They are a bit taller and wider than Class B motorhomes and will have much more storage and living space
Class Super C
- As the name implies, these are ‘super sized’ C Class rigs
- They are based on much heavier duty versions of trucks, sometimes Semi truck chassis
- They are the same concept as a Class C, but generally have much more power and capacity
6 thoughts on “Choosing the right RV type for you”
I am seriously considering going otr full time with a mobile spa, so the RV I choose would be part living space and part business. I’m thinking I’d start by looking at the Class C and Class Super C. Have you seen similar businesses before? Any feedback is appreciated!
Hmm that is a good question! We have seen mobile massage therapists, and hairdressers, but I don’t recall seeing a mobile spa and I would LOVE one! sorry I don’t have much feedback to share except I think it would be super convenient. You might also want to consider a toy hauler – that way you can have a separate work space in the garage so you don’t have to have clients coming into your home…. and you have a dedicate space that will also have plenty of ventilation. We actually recently saw a very nice new Thor Outlaw Class A motorhome with the toy hauler out back – check these out https://www.thormotorcoach.com/outlaw-class-a/ Good luck!
I didn’t know that there were different classifications for motorhomes. I do a lot of triathlons, and travel and lodging costs can get pricey for races out of my area. It would be nice to have a motorhome that provides me with a good nights rest and room for my gear before a race but isn’t exceptionally large either. I might have to look into Class C options. Thanks for your post.
You’re welcome. Yes motorhomes are very popular with many athletes, racing car drivers, musicians, celebrities even… it’s a great way to be ‘home’ when you are away from home… Class C could be a great option for you.
We love our little 22 ft class C, but sure can see how it would be too small for a lot of people. To us the size is a plus. It is much easier to maneuver around towns, and find a place to park. Safe travels!
Absolutely! Because we are full-timing, still working and have a 55lb dog, we really needed the extra size to be able to accommodate all of our needs comfortably, so this coach works perfectly for us right now. However, once we are no longer working and it’s just the two of us, we will likely go down to a smaller coach say around 30 feet in the states, or even to a smaller Class B for traveling Europe and Australia. It will definitely be easier to maneuver and also get into some of the state parks which have a size limitation. Enjoyed reading your blog! Happy travels to you!