If you’ve ever felt confused by the different RV classes, you’re not alone. From tiny travel trailers to massive mansions on wheels, the recreational vehicle world is rife with choices. Fortunately, RV classes fall into just a few categories, under the broader distinctions of “motorized” and “towable.” Our RV class guide provides an overview that will help offer clarity.
Motorized RVs include vehicles in which the living space and the engine are housed on the same chassis. In other words, motorized RVs are self-contained drivable units with no towing necessary.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A RVs typically range from 25 to 45 feet long and up to 8.5 feet wide. Not surprisingly, they’re usually the most expensive.
These heavy-duty vehicles are built on a chassis with two to three axes, like an 18-wheeler or a commercial bus. Class A RVs may run on gas or diesel, and usually get about 8 to 10 miles per gallon.
They’re known for being luxurious and spacious with all the amenities of home. You may find king-size mattresses, multiple bathrooms, washer/dryer combos, and even fireplaces on board. Many have multiple slide-outs to increase living space and comfortably sleep up to 10 passengers.
Class A RVs are great for those who want to feel extra comfortable, or plan on living full-time in their RV for extended periods.
Class B Motorhome
On the smaller end of the size spectrum lies Class B RVs. These “little” vehicles average around 19 feet in length. They tend to cost less and get better gas mileage than Class A RVs.
Class B RVs may resemble vans; some are even called “campervans.” You’ll find a pared-down kitchen inside most models and sleeping space for up to four. Some have a self-contained bathroom, too. These RVs’ interiors are often designed using nautical technology to save space.
Class B RVs are great for shorter trips, and they’re easy to drive and park.
Class C Motorhome
The Class C falls somewhere between the massive Class A and the smaller Class B. Most feature multiple sleeping areas (often over the cab), a kitchen and a bathroom. Some have slide-outs to increase space.
Class C RVs generally fall between 20 and 28 feet. They’re easier to drive than a Class A and tend to get better mileage. Some models can sleep up to eight passengers, but that might feel a bit crowded.
They’re a good choice for longer trips, those who don’t need as much space and those who want a versatile RV option.
Towable RVs don’t have their own engines. Instead, they’re pulled behind a vehicle. While smaller towable RVs may be pulled behind an average SUV, some require a bit more power.
Fifth Wheel Trailer
Fifth wheels hook up to the tow vehicle by attaching to a hitch that is installed in the bed of the truck. The trailer attaches to the truck with a special hitch that makes it track closely, and thus easier to drive and manoeuver.
Fifth wheels can be up to 40 feet long and 10 feet tall, making them a spacious choice. Some fifth wheels can accommodate eight passengers or more. Many come with multiple slide outs and luxurious amenities, making them a comfortable long-term option.
Travel trailers are pulled behind a vehicle. They tend to be lighter and smaller than fifth wheels but can range greatly in size. They also range in amenities; while some have self-contained bathrooms and kitchens, others are more bare-bones.
Travel trailers tend to cost less, as well. They’re among the most versatile of the RV classes, due to all the size, amenity and weight options. It’s easy to find a towable trailer for different types of travel needs.
Pop-Up Camper/Foldable Trailer
At the light end of the RV spectrum lies the pop-up camper. Also known as a foldable trailer, these compact, lightweight campers are cleverly designed to contract while being pulled, then expand (pop up or fold out) when parked.
Pop-ups come in many sizes. Some are tiny, with a single slide-out. Others are larger, with multiple slide-outs. Some have a rudimentary kitchen or bathroom, while others simply offer sleeping and seating areas. Most have canvas walls to keep them lightweight.
Knowing the differences between the RV class types can help you make an informed decision about which RV is right for you.