Types of RVs

Types of RVs

Whether you’re searching for an RV fit for your family or are curious about the differences between each type of RV, our comprehensive list will help you learn more about RV types and their different functions. 

What is an RV?

A recreational vehicle, or RV, is the term used to describe any motorized or non-motorized home-away-from-home vehicle designed for recreational use, such as camping. Within the overarching RV category, there any many different subcategories, or types of RVs. Take a look at the RV size chart below to get an overview of the different RV types. 

RV Type
AKA
Short Definition
Motorized/  Towable
Avg. Weight Range (lbs)
Avg. Length Range (ft)
Price Range
Avg. Sleeping Capacity (# of People)
Bus ConversionBus Conversion

Skoolie

Commericial bus or school bus converted into an RV

Motorized

25,000 - 40,000 (depending on type of conversion)

25 - 45

$5,000 - 35,000 (depending on type of conversion)

Up to 8

Class AClass A

Diesel pusher

Often pushed by a rear diesel and engine and specifically built on a motorhome chassis by an RV manufacturer

Motorized

13,000 - 30,000

26 - 45

$50,000 - 200,000+

Up to 8

Class BClass B

Camper van

Compact van converted into an RV by a manufacturer that often has scaled back, yet similar amenities to a Class A

Motorized

6,000 - 11,000

18 - 24

$50,000 - 200,000+

Up to 4

Class B+Class B+

Camper van

Hybrid between Class B and C that has more space than a Class B and is typically smaller than a Class C, having many of the same amenities

Motorized

7,000 - 12,000

18 - 28

$70,000 - 200,000+

Up to 4

Conversion VanConversion Van

Camper van

Cargo or passenger van converted into an RV that is smaller and comes with less amenities than a Class B 

Motorized

3,500 - 11,000 (depending on type of conversion)

18 - 24

$12,000 - 60,000 (depending on type of conversion)

Up to 4

Class CClass C

The mid-range RV

Mid-sized RV that can be recognized by the raised sleeping or storage area above the cab

Motorized

10,000 - 12,000

21 - 40

$50,000 - 150,000+

Up to 8

Super CSuper C

The big-daddy C

Larger than a Class C and built on a heavy-duty truck chassis powered by a large front diesel engine

Motorized

20,000 - 72,000

21 - 45

$250,000 - 300,000+

Up to 8

5th Wheel5th Wheel

Fiver

Camper trailer designed to be pulled with a 5th wheel hitch

Towable

5,000 - 16,000

32 - 40

$25,000 - 150,000+

Up to 10

Travel TrailerTravel Trailer

Bumper pull

Small or large camper trailer designed to be pulled by the rear hitch of a tow vehicle

Towable

1,200 - 8,700

14 - 40

$11,000 - 40,000+

Up to 10

Hybrid TrailerHybrid Trailer

Camper

Camper trailer that has fold-out beds to increase interior space

Towable

3,000 - 6,000

13 - 25

$15,000 - 35,000

Up to 6

Pop-up CamperPop-up Camper

Tent trailer

Camper trailer that raises up and folds out when in use, then folds flat into a compact trailer when being towed

Towable

1,400 - 3,000

16 - 32 (popped up)

$10,000 - 25,000

Up to 6

A-frame CamperA-frame Camper

A-shaped pop-up

Type of pop-up camper trailer with an A-shaped peak

Towable

1,200 - 2,300

16 - 20

$11,000 - 25,000

Up to 4

Truck CamperTruck Camper

Slide-in

Camper attachment that slides in and mounts to the bed of a pickup truck

Towable

1,000 - 5,000

8 - 22

$6,000 - 50,000

Up to 6

Tear Drop CamperTear Drop Camper

Tent on wheels

Small, lightweight tear drop-shaped trailer 

Towable

500 - 3,200

8 - 10

$5,000 - 20,000

Up to 2

Toy HaulerToy Hauler

Multi-purpose trailer or motorhome

Camper trailer or motorhome with a rear garage to store ATVs and other toys

Both

3,600 - 11,400

14 - 40

$12,000 - 250,000

Up to 10

These recommendations and approximations are intended for demonstration purposes only and do not reflect the specifications of any particular recreational vehicle or trailer. Always consult the manufacturer’s Owner’s Manual. 

Motorized RVs

Motorhomes, or motorized caravans in Europe, are divided into different classes – A, B or C. These categories serve to differentiate motorhomes based on their unique sizes and functions. Conversion buses and vans do not fit into this class system but are still part of the motorized RV family.

Most motorized RVs can have either gas or diesel engines. Knowing the difference between these is very important because each performs very differently when taking into consideration maintenance, towing capacity and miles per gallon, among other things.

Conversion Buses

Bus conversions, sometimes referred to as “skoolies,” are large commercial buses or school buses that have been converted into an RV living space. Conversion buses are built on heavy-duty chassis that are made to withstand a lot of weight combined with many miles of travel.

One main difference between the Class A motorhome and the conversion bus is the exterior. Many Class A motorhomes are built with a fiberglass exterior while conversion buses are typically metal. Conversion buses also do not have slide-outs since they were originally built with numerous seats to carry a load of passengers and are typically more of a DIY conversion.

Conversion BusConversion Bus

Pros & Cons of Conversion Buses

Pros

  • Can be inexpensive to purchase and convert on a budget
  • Built to last for many miles
  • Large external storage bays
  • Spacious interior with a large sleeping capacity

Cons

  • Expensive to buy new and already converted
  • Can be costly to convert, depending on the preferred amenities
  • Costly to insure
  • May require a commercial license to drive, depending on the type of conversion
  • Difficult to maneuver on narrow roads or in heavy traffic

Class A Motorhomes

Class A MotorhomeClass A Motorhome

Class A motorhomes can be powered by gasoline or diesel engines. Rear diesel engines are commonly called “pushers” because they push the coach down the road from the back end of the unit.

Built like commercial trucks and buses, Class A motorhomes are designed with a cab that includes the driver, passengers, and the entire interior of the RV. This means that passengers can move about the RV while it’s in motion to take advantage of the interior amenities.

Pros & Cons of Class A Motorhomes

Pros

  • Plentiful luxuries like multiple bathrooms, a residential refrigerator and washer/dryer combos
  • Increased living and sleeping space with slide-outs
  • Substantial interior and exterior storage spaces
  • Large holding tanks for grey and black water
  • High towing capacity for hauling a trailer, vehicle or toy

Cons

  • Hefty price tags that can range between $50,000 and $200,000+
  • Costly to insure compared to other RV classes
  • More maintenance to be done due to the size
  • Inconvenient to service because you can’t detach the engine from the living space
  • Hard to maneuver in tight spaces, on narrow roads and under low-hanging bridges due to the length and height
  • Expensive to fuel with low fuel efficiency
  • Difficult to heat and cool due to the large front windshield

Class B Motorhomes

Class B motorhomes, also known as camper vans, are built using automotive vans and are a much more condensed and compact version of the Class A. They pack a ton of amenities into a small amount of space and can usually accommodate up to four adults. Like Class A motorhomes, RVs in the Class B category are also designed to include the driver, passengers, and complete interior so that users can access the amenities while the rig is in motion.

Class B MotorhomeClass B Motorhome

Pros & Cons of Class B Motorhomes

Pros

  • Easy to maneuver on narrow roads and busy streets
  • Simple to park on the street or in regular parking spots
  • Doubles as your daily driver
  • Serviceable at many automotive dealerships
  • More fuel-efficient than other RV classes
  • Easy to heat and cool due to the small space

Cons

  • Price tags range anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000+, making the price per square foot higher than most RVs
  • Small living and sleeping space
  • Limited amenities compared to other RV classes
  • Minimal storage space
  • Can be inconvenient as a daily driver because you can’t set up camp and leave for a side trip since your engine is attached to your living space

Class B Plus Motorhomes

Class B+ MotorhomeClass B+ Motorhome

Class B+ RVs are the middle ground motorhomes between the Class B and C. They are larger, taller, wider versions of Class Bs, built on larger chassis with more interior living space and storage, like Class Cs. The difference between a Class B+ and C is that the Class C is larger and typically has more storage. Additionally, B+ RVs get better gas mileage than Class Cs, but they tend to be more expensive because they jam-pack as many amenities as possible into a small space.

Pros & Cons of Class B Plus Motorhomes

Pros

  • Easier to drive than a Class C
  • Doubles as your daily driver
  • More living and storage space compared to a Class B
  • Better gas mileage than a Class C
  • Serviceable at many automotive dealerships

Cons

  • More expensive than Class Bs and Cs because of their use of space for amenities
  • Can be inconvenient as a daily driver because you can’t set up camp and leave for a side trip since your engine is attached to your living space

Conversion Vans

Conversion vans, also known as camper vans, are typically smaller than a Class B RV and often are equipped with fewer amenities. Conversion vans are sold as cargo or passenger vans to users who then convert them into living spaces, usually for camping. They can be professionally converted or transformed using a DIY method. Either way, they typically do not include a bathroom for the sake of maximizing the limited interior space.

Conversion VanConversion Van

Pros & Cons of Conversion Vans

Pros

  • Inexpensive to purchase
  • Easy to drive in congested traffic areas
  • Simple to park on city streets or normal parking spaces
  • Some are equipped with 4-wheel drive, making it easy to camp in remote areas

Cons

  • Limited living and storage spaces
  • Most models do not include a bathroom

Class C Motorhomes

Class C MotorhomeClass C Motorhome

Class C motorhomes can be easily recognized by their raised sleeping or storage areas that extend over the cab. They are smaller than Class As and typically larger than Class Bs, measuring 21 to 40 feet in length. Most Class C motorhomes are powered by gasoline engines, although some can have diesel engines in the front of the rig.

A nice middle ground between Class A and Class Bs, Class Cs can usually accommodate eight or more adults. Like Class A and Class B motorhomes, RVs in the Class C category are fully enclosed, giving adult passengers the ability to access amenities while the rig is in motion.

Pros & Cons of Class C Motorhomes

Pros

  • Lower purchase price than the other classes, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000+
  • Many of the same luxuries as the Class A motorhome
  • Increased living space with usually one slide-out
  • Large interior and exterior storage spaces
  • Serviceable at many automotive dealerships
  • Easy to heat and cool compared to the Class A due to the smaller windshield

Cons

  • Limited towing capacity compared to the Class A
  • Harder to maneuver in tight spots or remote locations compared to the Class B
    Can be expensive to fuel

Super C Motorhomes

A subcategory to Class Cs, Super C motorhomes are typically built on larger, more heavy-duty truck chassis and are powered by large front diesel engines. Their towing capacity rivals the Class A, and they are usually used to tow heavy trailers. Due to their tough construction and plentiful amenities, Super Cs can be expensive and average over $200,000 for newer models.

Super C MotorhomeSuper C Motorhome

Pros & Cons of Super C Motorhomes

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Powerful engine, allowing for a high towing capacity
  • Many of the same luxuries as the Class A
  • Increased living space with slide-outs
  • Large interior and exterior storage spaces

Cons

  • Expensive to purchase
  • Harder to drive than the Class C or smaller RV models
  • Can be expensive to fuel

Towable RVs

There are many different types of towable RVs available on the market. Usually referred to as campers or trailers, each type of non-motorized RV has different functions and amenities.

5th Wheel

5th Wheel5th Wheel

5th wheels, sometimes called “Fivers,” are the largest towable RVs on the market. Fifth wheels are easily recognizable by the way they are hitched to the back of their towing vehicle. A pin box at the front of the trailer locks onto a coupling on the back of the truck to create a stable towing experience due to partial weight of the trailer being over the truck’s rear axle. Unlike Class A, B and C RVs, passengers are not allowed to ride in the rig while it’s in motion in most states.

Pros & Cons of 5th Wheels

Pros

  • Less expensive than most motorhomes
  • Large amounts of storage, especially in the RV basement that can be accessed from the exterior
  • Plentiful floorplan options
  • Can have multiple slide-outs, depending on the size
  • High ceilings, typically in the living room area
  • Detachable from the tow vehicle so the campsite can be set up and left during side adventures
  • No engine maintenance on the RV itself

Cons

  • Longer set up and tear down time at the campsite
  • Some interior features are not accessible when the slides are in
  • Requires a large and often expensive tow vehicle
  • Becomes less fuel efficient as the camper gets heavier
  • Takes practice to learn how to maneuver, especially turning and reversing
  • Height and length can be an issue when trying to access remote locations or driving under low-hanging branches and bridges

Travel Trailers / Caravans

Travel trailers or bumper pulls, also called caravans in Europe, are small or large camper trailers that are pulled by the rear hitch of a tow vehicle. Travel trailers are built in a large range of sizes – some are even small enough to be pulled by a car. They are typically longer than the average 5th wheel and have lower overhead clearance.

Travel TrailerTravel Trailer

Pros & Cons of Travel Trailers

Pros

  • Models available for any budget
  • Offered in a large range of sizes and floorplans
  • Can have slide-outs to create more living space
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Limited external storage space, though the bed of the tow vehicle can be used for storage
  • Can be more difficult to maneuver into a campsite than a 5th wheel due to the length of the trailer

Hybrid Trailers

Hybrid TrailerHybrid Trailer

A hybrid camper trailer is a cross between a small travel trailer and a pop-up camper. Unlike the pop-up camper, RVers using a hybrid trailer can have access to full amenities while they are traveling because it keeps its form except for the fold-outs. Hybrid trailers fold out on the ends to create more sleeping and living space.

Pros & Cons of Hybrid Trailers

Pros

  • A heavy-duty truck isn’t needed to pull it
  • Fold-out design makes it feel like tent camping outdoors
  • Has more sleeping areas than an average travel trailer
  • Typically has more amenities that a pop-up camper, like a larger kitchen or higher-quality bathroom

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • Set up can take longer than a travel trailer due to the fold-out ends
  • Like a tent, the fold-out areas can be exposed to the rain and are not temperature controlled
  • Mattresses on the fold-out ends are often uncomfortable
  • May not hold up for as many years as other RVs due to the lightweight materials and construction

Pop-Up Campers

Pop-up campers are great starter RVs for couples or small families. Like hybrid trailers, they usually have fold-out ends for additional sleeping space. They are available in a wide range of sizes but can often be pulled by smaller vehicles. Pop-up camper trailers are also more fuel-efficient to pull than other trailers because they fold down when not in use and don’t create as much drag while being pulled.

Pop-Up CamperPop-Up Camper

Pros & Cons of Pop-Up Campers

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to a lot of other RV models
  • Lightweight and easy to tow
  • The pop-up and fold-out design makes it feel like tent camping outdoors
  • Can be parked in a garage or storage area when not in use for the season

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • More cumbersome to set up at the campsite compared to other RVs
  • No access to the interior while traveling
  • Some are not built with bathrooms
  • Like a tent, the fold-out areas can be exposed to the rain and are not temperature controlled
  • Mattresses on the fold-out ends are often uncomfortable

A-frame Campers

A-frame CamperA-frame Camper

A-frame campers are very similar to pop-up campers, but they have a few differences. The most notable difference is the shape of the rooflines. While pop-up campers are traditionally square and have canvas sides with fold-out sleeping areas, A-frames are made with solid roof panels that fold up into a peak and do not have fold-outs or canvas sides. They usually only have one bed, a small kitchen and a dinette, but most models do not include a bathroom. A-frames are also a bit easier to set up than pop-ups due to the solid roof panels and no fold-out areas.

Pros & Cons of A-frame Campers

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to most other RV models
  • Lightweight and easy to tow
  • More insulated and protected from the elements than a traditional pop-up due to the hard sides
  • Easier to clean than a pop-up due to the hard shell versus the canvas on a pop-up
  • Can be parked in a garage or storage area when not in use for the season

Cons

  • No access to the interior while traveling
  • Many are not built with bathrooms
  • Heavier than some pop-ups due to the hard-shell exterior
  • Not ideal for large families due to limited living and storage space

Truck Campers

Truck campers, sometimes called slide-ins, are designed for use in the bed of a pickup truck. They range in size, but some are built with interior space that can rival a Class C RV. Since they range in size, some are light enough to slide into smaller pickup trucks while others need large, heavy-duty pickup trucks to handle their weight.

Truck CamperTruck Camper

Pros & Cons of Truck Campers

Pros

  • Low-cost, especially if the truck is already owned
  • Most are compact and low profile
  • Can be driven anywhere a pickup truck can access
  • Detachable from the truck for storage in a garage when not in use for the season

Cons

  • Larger models need a heavy-duty truck to slide into and are not fuel efficient
  • Not convenient to remove from the pickup truck for short periods of time
  • Many smaller models are not equipped with bathrooms

Tear Drop Campers

Tear Drop CamperTear Drop Camper

Among the smallest of trailers is the tear drop camper. This camper trailer is easily recognizable by its tear drop shape and can range in size, although most are fairly small and can be towed by most vehicles. Tear drop campers have limited amenities as most only include a sleeping area and kitchen that can be accessed from the rear of the trailer.

Pros & Cons of Drop Campers

Pros

  • Inexpensive to buy compared to most other RV models
  • Lightweight and easy to tow
  • Easy and inexpensive to maintain

Cons

  • Limited living and storage space
  • Kitchen is located on the exterior which can be inconvenient, especially in bad weather
  • Most models do not include a bathroom

Motorized & Towable

Toy Haulers

Possibly the most versatile of all RV types is the toy hauler. They belong in a category of their own because they can be 5th wheels, travel trailers and even motorhomes. Toy haulers are unique because they have a space in the rear or side with a ramp to store and transport outdoor toys, such as ATVs, golf carts, motorcycles or kayaks. This extra “garage” space is typically durable and built with special water-resistant flooring, heavy-duty walls, and may include tie-down fasteners for safely transporting toys. The versatile space can accommodate many different RVers by being repurposed into pretty much anything – a patio with railings, a workshop, an office or an extra bedroom. The options are endless.

Toy HaulerToy Hauler

Pros & Cons of Toy Haulers

Pros

  • Wide price range because they can be small or large, motorized or towable
  • Convenient for transporting recreational toys
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Extremely versatile due to the ability to convert the garage area

Cons

  • Can be difficult to maneuver depending on the size
  • Not typically fuel-efficient to drive or tow