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Understanding the Different Types of RVs

Shopping for a recreational vehicle for traveling? From motorhomes to travel trailers, there are plenty of options available, but there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you make a decision.

  • What’s my budget?
  • How long of trips do I plan to take?
  • How many people will be traveling with me?
  • How much weight can my vehicle tow?
  • How much storage space is needed for my RV?

Once you’ve considered these things, it’s time to start exploring! Below, we cover different types of RVs and outline the pros and cons of each ranging from Class A motorhomes to teardrop trailers!


Motorhome type chart by class size

As the name implies, motorhomes are motorized RVs. They provide a convenience that towable RVs can’t, including more space, ease of driving, little to no setup time, and the ability to be used while traveling. But motorhomes do come with a higher price tag and more maintenance, and they’re often more difficult to store because of their size. Because of this, they’re typically the choice of avid RV travelers. Learn more about the different classes of motorhomes to choose from below.

Class A

This is the largest type of recreational vehicle available. Class A motorhomes range from 21 to 40 feet in length and provide everything you need to live on the road. With a spacious interior, ample storage space, comfortable seating, a smooth ride, and more, this is the ideal option if you plan to spend a significant amount of time traveling every year. Budget-friendly Class A RVs can start as low as $60,000, while the more extravagant models can rise to as much as $500,000.


  • Most spacious
  • Most storage
  • Smooth ride
  • Comfortable seating
  • Connected driving and living area
  • Amenities like washer and dryer
  • Automatic leveling
  • Slide out panels for even more space


  • Most expensive
  • Difficult to drive in tight spaces
  • Still often need to tow a car for sightseeing and errands
  • Gas can be expensive with average typically under 8 MPG
  • Difficult and/or expensive to store because of size

For a great, in-depth look into the main advantages a Class A motorhome has over a Class C, check out this article by Camper Report. Looking for something heavy-duty? Consider a Diesel Pusher! Learn more about what makes this subsection of Class A motorhomes so glamorous and so expensive.

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Class B (Camper Vans)

Sometimes referred to as a camper van, Class B motorhomes are a smaller, more affordable option than both Class A and C motorhomes. Resembling a large van, camper vans are best for those traveling with small families, and those who don’t plan to be on the road full-time. These usually range from 16 to 22 feet in length and $60,000 to $130,000 in price.


  • Can easily drive almost anywhere a car can
  • Maneuverability means you won’t need to tow an additional vehicle
  • Best gas mileage of all motorhomes (between 18 to 25 MPG)
  • Easiest motorhome to store, often fits in a standard-sized garage
  • Least expensive to purchase
  • Can tow a small boat


  • Least amount of space among motorhomes
  • Doesn’t have the features and amenities Class A or C motorhomes do (bathroom, full kitchen, two bedrooms, etc.)
  • Only practical for short trips

Curious about the range of sizes and prices for camper vans? Curbed explores five different models of Class B motorhomes and outlines the prices and pros of each!

Class C

This is the middle ground between a Class A and B motorhome. Class C motorhomes have much larger interiors than camper vans, which offers room for many of the same features as a Class A motorhome. Rather than resembling a bus like a Class A, Class C motorhomes more closely resemble a moving truck. If you have no travel trailer to tow, this option gets around 15 to 16 MPG. While these can range up to 40 feet in length, the average size of a Class C motorhome is 21 to 35 feet. Class C RVs range from $43,000 to $200,000 and can sleep up to eight people.


  • Connected driving and living areas, allowing passengers to utilize living space while traveling
  • Over-cab sleeping area provides additional sleeping space other motorhomes don’t have
  • Smaller Class C motorhomes are relatively easy to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Feels more similar to driving a truck/van than an RV
  • More affordable than Class A motorhomes


  • Likely to trade in for more space
  • No automatic leveling
  • Less storage space
  • Hard to move through living area while traveling

If you’re a camper enthusiast looking to dive deep into research, check out this detailed report on Class C motorhomes and how they could be the best choice for your family!

RUV (Recreational Utility Vehicle)

An RUV is a combination of an RV and SUV. RUV motorhomes are a new trend in the RV world and seen as a combination of Class A, B, and C motorhomes. This is due to their unique ability to combine a comfortable driving and living area, spacious interior, and exceptional mobility and maneuverability for a vehicle this size. This makes RUVs an appealing, mid-sized option for those looking to take short to medium length trips. On average, RUVs are 23 to 28 feet long.


  • Room for the whole family to travel in
  • SUV build makes it easy to drive
  • Sleeping space for 3 to 5 people
  • Low center of gravity enhances safety
  • High-tech capabilities


  • Smaller amenities
  • Worse fuel economy than smaller motorhomes
  • Spaces have to be multipurpose; need to convert areas to sleep

RUVs were created with millennials in mind. From tech capabilities to better fuel economy than typical Class A models, this crossover blends space and comfort with efficiency and minimalism.

Travel Trailers

Travel trailer types by class size

What’s a travel trailer, and how does it differ from a motorhome? Travel trailers provide a more affordable, towable option for those interested in owning an RV. Because travel trailers don’t have engines, they can help lock in a better resale value. Also, most do not require a 14-foot-tall garage to store, which can save you money on storage! Not needing space for captain chairs and everything under the hood also means more space for activities. In the motorhome vs. travel trailer debate, pull-behind campers aren’t as great because it’s illegal to ride in most trailers while they’re being towed.

Fifth-Wheel Trailers

The avid recreational vehicle enthusiast planning to spend most of their life at a campground should consider this option. This pull-behind camper is very similar to conventional travel trailers, but the key difference is in the front. Because fifth-wheel trailers have a raised forward section known as a gooseneck connector, your camper has a multilevel feel with extra space for working, playing, and sleeping! Prices typically range from $18,000 to $160,000.


  • Spacious floor plans
  • More privacy
  • Designated sleeping areas
  • Kitchen and bathroom are standard amenities
  • Expansive storage space


  • Needs to towed by a truck or vehicle with a fifth-wheel hitch
  • Heavier and less fuel-efficient
  • Limited campground spots for longer, taller models
  • Priciest travel trailer option

Curious about the best fifth-wheel for full-time living? From the Keystone Montana to the Grand Design Solitude, this list from Trailer Life analyzes the different specs and crowd favorites to help you find the best travel trailer to live in full-time.

Conventional Travel Trailers

This is likely what comes to mind when you imagine a towed trailer. While these can vary in size, most can be towed by a standard SUV or truck. Conventional travel trailers are designed for those who plan to spend a lot of time in campgrounds and need plenty of space for living with the convenience of always having an SUV or truck to get around cities. These campers run anywhere from $8,000 to $95,000.


  • A truck is not required to tow
  • More affordable that fifth-wheel trailers
  • Less difficult to find campground space
  • Better for boondocking/dry camping


  • Most difficult to tow and back up
  • Can sway quite a bit on the road
  • Lower ceilings
  • Less privacy and separation between spaces

Living in a camper full-time is often reserved for fully-stocked motorhomes with kitchens, showers, dinettes, and maybe even a hot tub! But some people find that life on the road is easier in a travel trailer because you always have a separate vehicle to get around in. If you’re considering making the switch to life on the road, see what one blogger has to say about going full-time in a travel trailer.

Pop-Up Campers/Fold-Down Campers

Folding camping trailers also known as tent trailers are perfect for travelers who love feeling the breeze when they sleep! If you’re a weekend camper or planning a few summer vacations on the road, a pop-up camper with an expandable RV canopy is the affordable option. These campers range from $6,600 to $22,000.


  • One of the lightest travel trailers
  • Budget-friendly
  • Can be towed by six-cylinder vehicles
  • Easy to store
  • Ample kitchen, dining, and sleeping areas


  • Less room for activities
  • Can’t access the space while traveling
  • Not well-insulated; can’t use for winter camping
  • Can be noisy
  • Bathrooms not usually included
  • Extra time required for setup
  • Needs to be aired out to prevent mold and mildew

Searching for the best lightweight and compact RV for your family? Check out the pros and cons of seven pop-up camper models and start having better vacations in no time!

Hybrid Travel Trailers

Expandable travel trailers offer a middle ground between tent camping, pop-up campers, and hard-sided travel trailers. Hybrid campers provide more space while still remaining lightweight and affordable with prices ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. If having a bathroom on board and more consistent space with less setup time is important to you on the road, consider this option!


  • One of the lightest trailers
  • More affordable than hard-sided campers
  • Less nightly setup required
  • More protection from the elements than pop-up campers
  • Bathrooms are included in many models
  • More insulation than tent campers


  • Condensation can be a concern
  • Bunk beds require nightly setup
  • Heavier than folding campers
  • Can be difficult to regulate temperature
  • Needs to be aired out to prevent mold and mildew

When choosing this trailer, there are a lot of questions to ask before making a purchase. Check out this list of considerations to make sure you fully understand the benefits and compromises of expandable travel trailer life!

Teardrop Camper

Looking for a small travel trailer that can be towed by practically any vehicle? Teardrop trailers are a convenient mix between camping with a tent and RV camping. This type of recreational vehicle is practical for people on a budget, as trailers start as low as $4,000. Models with more amenities can increase to around $20,000. Teardrop campers are great for couples who only need sleeping space for two and are looking to take shorter trips. Plus, the droplet shape adds a retro flair to all of your travels!


  • One of the most affordable RV options available
  • Towable by almost any vehicle, meaning there’s no barrier to entry
  • Highly maneuverable
  • Low maintenance
  • Cooking area/outdoor kitchen included in most models
  • Good insulation


  • Only large enough for two people at most
  • Very limited amenities
  • No bathroom
  • Can’t stand up inside

When it comes to choosing a small camper, you have a lot of options for different styles with a wide range of amenities. If looking cool is at the top of your list, check out this mix of retro and modern tiny travel trailers from Apartment Therapy.

Truck Campers/Slide-In Campers

Looking for something portable? If you already own a pickup truck, this could be one of the most affordable, lightweight campers for you! Truck campers make a lot of sense if you’re planning on venturing off the beaten path and need a versatile travel option. Half-ton trucks can support most truck campers, but some of the larger models with slide-outs require a one-ton truck. Regardless of the size you choose, slide-in campers are one of the most economical options on the market ranging from $6,000 to $55,000.


  • Easy to store
  • Simple to drive and manuever
  • Cheaper to purchase, register, and insure
  • Dinettes, sleeping area, and a bathroom are common in most
  • Good fuel economy, anywhere from 10 to 20 mpg
  • Able to tow a boat or extra trailer


  • A truck is required for this option
  • Can’t use your truck bed for extra storage
  • More work to disconnect than other pull-behind campers
  • Less living and working space
  • May need to make modifications to your truck to support a camper

Whether you’re searching for a small truck camper or a more expansive model, Truck Camper Magazine breaks down the best models for your specific needs.

Toy Haulers

As the name suggests, toy haulers are designed to transport ATVs, motorcycles or dirt bikes, jet skis, and more. Sometimes, toy haulers are referred to as a sport utility RV because they combine the living space of an RV with the storage capability of a sport utility trailer. This additional space for motorsport storage is available in both motorhomes and travel trailers.


  • Space for people and sports vehicles
  • Always have your “toys” with you
  • Bathroom and kitchen in most
  • Keep toys and bikes safe from the elements
  • Extra space can be used for more than motorsports


  • Potential odor, garage-like smell
  • Less living area
  • Sleeping area is typically high up
  • Heavier chassis
  • Less luxurious amenities

There are countless options when it comes to choosing a toy hauler. Whether you want a motorhome with space for your snowmobiles or a travel trailer with room for bikes, RV Lifestyle explores the pros and cons of ten toy haulers. If you’re in the racing or horse communities, you might also consider a toterhome! These heavy-duty haulers give you lots of storage space, adequate living space, and a gooseneck hitch so you can tow more behind you!

Now that we’ve covered the difference between campers and RVs, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of motorhomes, travel trailers, and toy haulers, it’s time decide which type of RV is best for you! Whether you’re searching for the best RV to live in full-time or you’re just looking for the most budget-friendly option for weekend trips, there’s a recreational vehicle that can work for you!

Need to store an RV, trailer, or camper? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facility locations across the nation with outdoor, covered, and indoor RV storage options available. Learn more about our RV storage solutions!

RV Pros and Cons

RV sitting in southwestern desert at sunset
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