Top 7 RV / Campers To Travel With

by Nancy

With the wide array of motorhomes and trailers on the market today, finding the model that’s right for you can be a daunting task. Just the list of companies currently producing recreational vehicles is intimidating, let alone the number of individual RVs and their unique amenities, along with their sizes, prices, sleeping and towing capacities—the list goes on and on.

Before walking onto a sales lot or throwing yourself into online listings, looking for the perfect vacation vehicle, you’ll want a general idea of what the top RV types have to offer. Listed below are three motorhome classes—A, B, and C—and four trailer types—folding camper, travel trailer, fifth wheel and toy hauler—along with information to help you decide which of them is best suited for your travel needs.

1. Class A

Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive motorhomes currently available, with standard lengths falling between 26′-45′ feet and average starting prices ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, with more extravagant models reaching a million dollars or more. Either standard or extravagant, they typically possess all the amenities and livability of a well-fitted apartment and are the RVs best suited to fulltimers.

RVs of this class are usually considered easy to drive and, despite their potential length, require no special CDL license to operate. They are. however, much too large to maneuver when simply trying to drive around town. Another vehicle will be needed for this purpose; luckily, these motorhomes can easily tow cars, so a second vacation vehicle can easily be brought with you. Unfortunately, class A’s are also known for having more structural problems and safety issues in crashes than B’s or C’s, compounded by the fact that the elevated driver position and width of the vehicle make judging clearance on the right side difficult. Additionally, due to their size and weight, these RVs are rather serious gas guzzlers, especially when compared to the Class B model.

2. Class B

Their van base makes Class B’s both the smallest and least expensive motorhome to own and operate; their van build also means they can easily be used as transportation around town or even as a second family vehicle when not otherwise in use. Even with their reduced size and weight, most can still tow a small trailer or carrying platform on a hitch while requiring no special storage when not in use. Limited interior space really only makes Class B’s practical for short trips, though, and constricts kitchen and bath amenities to no greater than kitchenettes and wet baths, a less ideal situation, in that regard, than A’s and even C’s.

3. Class C

Class C’s are compromises between A’s and B’s on cost, size, weight, and many amenities. New C’s typically cost between $50,000 and $115,000; used C’s run from $15,000 to $70,000. Even though they are smaller than As, an average length of 20′-33′ still makes some too large for driving around town, requiring alternate transportation. Fortunately, Class C’s are capable of both towing vehicles and supporting a carrying platform on a hitch, so if you have a second vehicle available, you can quite easily bring it with you. They are also considered safer than A’s because of their cockpit construction, and their smaller windshield, along with the curtain separating their cockpit from the rest of the RV, makes them easier to heat and cool than A’s. Even the largest models, though, typically do not have sufficient space or storage for full timers’ needs.

4. Folding Camper

Folding campers are one of the least expensive kinds of RVs with a new, basic model generally costing between $3,000 and $7,000; a larger model, with better appliances and amenities, can range from $8,000 to $20,000. They are typically very light and so towable behind smaller, lighter vehicles, and their folding nature makes for better clearance. However, this means, when folded, the living area is closed up—not just during transportation but also at rest stops. The pop-out portion of the trailer is also made mostly of canvas, so heating and cooling it is difficult and using it in very cold or hot weather is impractical. However, pop-up campers do require little maintenance and little storage space when not in use and make for easy highway driving and maneuvering in small spaces. While they are ideal first campers, they are highly impractical accommodations for full timers.

5. Travel Trailer

Because travel trailers do not have a driving or engine compartment, they possess more interior space per length foot than motorhomes and a more spacious open floor plan than they would have otherwise. When necessary, their tow vehicle can be used for local transport; thanks to being generally lighter weight RVs, they also make for better miles per gallon, and their lower profile means less concern about top clearance. They are, however, considered the least stable RV type on the road, requiring the most skill to tow and back up, with larger models being more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces and requiring large, dedicated storage spaces when not in use. Due to a lack of raised section, these trailers also have less interior storage compared to fifth wheels.

6. Fifth Wheel

In addition to having better storage and greater interior height than travel trailers, fifth wheels are also considered safer and easier to tow and easier to back up, but still require more caution and driving skill than motorhomes. Like other trailers, their lack of engine and driving compartments means they have more interior space per length foot (with usual lengths of 21′-40′), and this, in addition to available amenities, makes them well suited to longer-term RVing. By nature, they require trucks with fifth-wheel hitches for towing, but their towing vehicle can also be used for around-town driving. Due to their greater height, fifth wheels may cause clearance problems for operators, and their size necessitates a large, dedicated storage area when not in use.

7. Toy Hauler

Toy haulers are a mix of travel RV and sport utility trailer; they come in fifth-wheel and travel trailer models, with a cargo garage in the rear of the RV. The garage is accessible from the outside via a ramp that is also a folding wall. While toy haulers can measure 20′-40′ in length, if not more, they do sacrifice living space to cargo carrying capacity. Still, they can typically sleep anywhere from two to ten people, and are an excellent choice for anyone wanting to bring an ATV, snowmobile, or dirt bike with them on their RVing trip.