How to recognize the different Types of RV Campers.

Introduction

Over the many years that my wife and I have been campers, we have owned a variety of RVs.

We started out like so many young couples, with a cheap used tent and a few bucks for our vacation. For entertainment, we had our very young kids.

Our first actual Rv was a 18-foot teardrop-shaped camper that we found in someone's back yard, and they sold it to us more to get it out of their yard than to make any money off of it. After some gunk on the roof to stop leaks, and two new tires, we were official campers, with a real camper to stay in.

Since those early years, we have owned a variety of camping trailers, fifth-wheelers and motorhomes, and along the way we have learned a lot about the world of camping.

When our kids got into their teens, they no longer wanted to be seen with us, much less take vacations with us, and for some reason, my wife and I even spent over ten years with a House-Boat, which in itself is a great experience, and not unlike RVing on water.

Of course, I have friends who are also avid campers and who prefer a variety of the other types of campers than what we have owned.

In this article, I am listing the major varieties of campers that are used, for your reference.

They are all great vehicles for travel and camping, and each presents it’s own advantages and challenges; so, it really comes down to which one is the most enjoyable for you and your family.

Please realize that the history of the evolution of these RV’s would, by itself, make a great book, and I will be brief in my writing to keep the size of this article under control.

Pace Arrow Vision Class A motorhome

My first Class A motorhome, a 1996 Pace Arrow Vision
My first Class A motorhome, a 1996 Pace Arrow Vision | Source

Class A Motorhome

Class A Motorhome
Class A Motorhome | Source

Class A Motorhome

The Class-A Motor Home is very popular with many campers and is also referred to as a Coach, a Bus or sometimes, a Big Rig.

Today a Class-A is manufactured and built on special frames, and resemble the shape of a Bus.

This makes sense, as many of the first motorhomes were made by modifying coach buses.

Probably the largest cause for the popularity of Class-A motorhomes is the fact that the Driver and passengers operate the vehicle in comfort from within the coach, and are able to share all of it’s amenities while camping and while on the road.

No hitching and unhitching with these babies, you just pull into your campsite, and either run your generator for power, or connect to the campsite power and there you are, with all of the conveniences of home.


Class B Camper

Class B Camper
Class B Camper | Source

Class B Motorhome

The Class-B Motorhome was originally, and still is, basically, a Customized Van with certain camping appliances and sleeping facilities built in to the Van.

Most have a raised roof to facilitate walking around, and AC/ventilation Systems.They are small and obviously easier and cheaper to drive than a big Class A.

These once simple campers can now be as filled with accessories and amenities as a Class A, only smaller.

In fact, some of these Class B campers have evolved into such complex machines, with multiple slides and high-tech amenities that they are labeled as Class B-Plus campers.

They are popular with certain campers who need very little living room and concentrate more on fuel economy and driving convenience. Many owners of Class B campers use them for shorter periods at campgrounds than other campers.

Class C Motorhome

Class C Motorhome
Class C Motorhome | Source

Class C Motorhome

The Class-C Motorhome is one of the more popular motorhome designs used by campers.

Basically, it is a camper mounted on a small-to=midsize truck frame and chassis.

The front end or cabin of the camper is the truck front end and cabin with very few differences from the truck design.

The area behind the drivers seat, opens into the camper body where there are the same amenities of a larger Class A motorhome.

These are very popular with some campers, as you can typically get a lot of the same Coach options in a Class C, at a lower much price, than a Class A, typically.

Of course, the size of the truck chassis and its weight carrying capabilities keeps these Class C campers a little smaller that Class A motorhomes. But, with advances in truck technology and drive trains, there are Class C motorhomes that are over 40-feet long.

5th Wheel Camper

5th Wheel Camper
5th Wheel Camper | Source

5th Wheel Camper

The 5th Wheelers, or “Fivers” on the market today, can be a very luxurious choice of camper for many people.

They can include; multiple slides, Air Conditioning, high tech entertainment systems and many of the top end options found on more expensive units.

Many people will purchase a 5th-wheeler because they already have are are willing to purchase and use a PickUp Truck that can tow the camper.

A 5th Wheeler is a towed camper with a large connector hitch system similar to that used on a Tractor-Trailer rig.

These campers are generally pulled by Pick-Up trucks with the special hitch mounted in the bed of the truck. This type of hitch system provides more towing stability than the smaller ball-type hitch used on some smaller and lighter trailer campers.

One advantage to many campers is the fact that they can use their PickUp truck throughout the years, and not just for camping.

Travel Trailer

Towable Travel Trailer style of Camper
Towable Travel Trailer style of Camper | Source

Travel Trailer

The Travel Trailer style of camper has been around for decades.

Simply put, it is a hard-body trailer with a hitch that connects to a “ball hitch” on the vehicle that pulls the tailer down the road.

Today’s Travel Trailers can also have multiple slides, and some very exotic accessories, but generally they are built and priced for the camper who wants to invest in a relatively moderate amount of money, for his/her camping enjoyment.

Toy Hauler

A Toy Hauler is a relatively newcomer on the RV scene in the past decade, and is typically, either; a Travel Trailer, 5th Wheel, Class-C, or even a Class-A with the rear section designed to carry a vehicle, a motorcycle, a golf car, and/or other specialized equipment.

The advantage of these is that they provide a single vehicle for you to camp and live in, while at the same time having your other vehicle/s and peripheral equipment stored with you for use at your destination. And, you do not have to deal with other exotic towing solutions.

Typically, these are popular with people who use motorcycles, ATVs that they enjoy racing or operating in the wild.

PopUp Camper

PopUp Camper
PopUp Camper | Source

PopUp Campers

PopUp Campers

The original PopUp campers were not much more than a fold-away tent build onto the chassis of a trailer.

They provided the camper with more room inside for storage of accessories and for sleeping. They had simple fold-away beds and some even had a small icebox/fridge, a dinette table, even a "portable toilet".

The tent part had a hard roof, and could be folded away easily and quickly.

Today, they can be loaded up with better options such as a roof AC, a propane heater, TV connections and more.


OTHER Camping styles

Other Campers

We have to have an Other section here as there are so many additional types of camping vehicles that people use, but I want to avoid these that are typically simpler and used in lower numbers, some examples are; Bus Conversions, Hybrids, Park Models, Van Conversions, and so forth.

I have found that one should never underestimate the ingenuity of people, especially campers. You would tot believe some of the interesting designs that have been custom built by Campers that they use for their camping enjoyment.

In summary, there are enough varieties of campers to fill almost anyones' needs, you simply have to look for what suits you.

© 2014 Don Bobbitt

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Comments 19 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We have a Class C on a Ford E350 chassis, but I'm also looking for a used pop-up tent trailer to pull behind either my Jeep or 4wd pickup so I can go back in the boonies. The Class C is just too big for that.

Another good Hub, Dod


KathyMcGraw2 profile image

KathyMcGraw2 23 months ago from California

It really is amazing all the choices in RVs today. Glad to see you had an other section as I am converting my Suburban into a camper.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Will Starr- Thanks so much for the read and comment. I agree with you about different sizes being best for different kins of camping.

A PopUp is perfect for getting out there and "roughing it". They're lightweight and easy to get into small spaces.

Thanks again,

DON


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

I used to stare at these beauties as they pass by; and when I worked in the licensing department, we passed the photos around , oohing and aahing over motor homes like yours. Thanks for the classifications.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Kathy McGraw2- WOW! That sounds like a great project.

BTW, in case you are interested, there are a number of RV graveyards around the country, with one of the largest being in Arizona. I forget where, but I used to go to their site for good pricing on their used parts. Parts like; small sinks, water pumps, DC fuse panels, holding tanks, Roof AC, etc were available there. Even body parts.

Good Luck with your project.

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

MSDora- Thanks for the read and comment, but if you read my series of articles labeled "My Retro-Winnie" you will notice that I had to back off and let my "BIG RIG" go and eventually, I bought want anyone can afford; an older used motorhome. I now have the same amenities without an enormous payment.

PS. I was grand for a couple of years though! LOL!

Thanks again,

DON


Iris Draak profile image

Iris Draak 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

This is really good info for those new to all that RV lingo. Very informative article. :)


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Iris, Thanks.

This is why I write, and I like to think the same is true of others who wrote trying to explain things in their minds to others.

I have it (superfluous information? or valuable knowledge?) in my head, and I just want to share it.

Thanks again for the comment,

DON


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Iris,

Don, (not Dod...sorry about that!) is the best I've seen on making the RV world understandable. I read everything he writes.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Will Starr- You are very kind, my friend.

In all honesty, pretty much everything I write about with RVs is knowledge I have gained from doing things wrong the first time.

And when I write about it, I first put it on paper, and then I go back and remove the expletives. LOL!

Thanks again,

DON


StevenLay profile image

StevenLay 23 months ago

But, what is a pusher and all the other categories one hears about?


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Steven Lay- A Pusher refers to the fact that most Diesel Motorhomes have the engine in the rear and thus are called "Pushers". They were originally made like this because most of the original "Pushers" were modified city Buses that had diesel engines in the rear. These diesel engines were the ideal size and Horsepower to drive a motorhome versus the much higher powered Diesel engines/transmissions that were designed for the Front of Diesel Tractor-Trailer trucks.

Thanks for the read and check out my web site rvandcamper.org for even more information of Camping and Recreation Vehicles (RVs).

DON


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 22 months ago

I would love the class A but reality says I will own a pop-up. Thanks for sharing this information. One day I plan to travel in an RV to see the country. Till then, I'm dreaming as I read about this.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 22 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

teaches12345- Good Luck to you on your future camping plans.

But I need to advise you to make your first camper a sed one, in good shape. I have met so many people who retire and take a big hunk of their savings and buy what they think is going to be their "perfect" camper. Then, once they start to hit the road, they find that some of their fellow campers have a camper that would be better for their lifestyle.

Bigger and newer is absolutely not Best for a camper.

Each of us will have different lifestyles and along with that different needs to make their camping experience ideal for them.

So, I always recommend that the newbie purchase a cheap older camper and learn what they really like and dislike.

Thanks for the read and comment,

DON


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Something I would add to Don's excellent advice is to consider renting various types of RV's before buying, so you can get a feel for what you want to own. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

Or, if you only plan to use a rig once or twice a year, you might be better off to just rent rather than own.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 22 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

WillStarr- Great Point. I should have mentioned it. For the Novice, with no experience camping, just going out and purchasing an RV and finding out the lifestyle isn't what you expected, can be quite costly.

As Will says, a newbie should always consider a one or to week vacation in a rental whenever they can just to get the feel of things.

Again, Good Point Will!

Don


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 22 months ago from California

I don't think I could ever talk my husband into anything bigger that a Pod. Some friends are planning to RV around the country when they retire. They are looking at a trailer that has 5 pop outs. Who needs a house with that many pop outs.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 22 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

tirelesstraveler- Love the Pod thing!

Those slide-outs do give you more room but ...... They can be a mechanical nightmare depending on the designer.

Anyway, Keep the faith! Who knows, you might inherit a big Motorhome from an unknown cousin? LOL!

Thanks for the read and comment,

DON


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 22 months ago from California

LOL !My husband said "Those pop-outs sound like leaks waiting to happen".

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