RV Classes: The Ultimate Guide
This post is sponsored by Outdoorsy
The options are endless when it comes to RVs. Okay, maybe not endless, but the options are definitely vast. So it’s helpful that RVs, both in their motorhome and trailer versions, are differentiated and categorized by class.
Buckle in for this breakdown. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, we have the ultimate guide on RV classes that’ll help you make the best choice!
Table of Contents
Motorized RVs are driveable, liveable, self-contained units. There are three different classifications — A, B, and C. These classes range in size with Class A’s being the largest, Class B’s the smallest and Class C’s somewhere in between. First up, the big guys.
Class A RV
What Is a Class A RV?
Class A RVs are known for their big size, ranging from 26 to 45 feet. They’re built on a vehicle chassis, commercial bus chassis, or commercial truck chassis. Comfortably sleeping up to 8 people, Class A RV rentals are perfect for long stays, big groups, full-time RVers, and luxurious riders.
A life of outdoor luxury can be found in a Class A. In many, you can expect a king-sized bed, two bathrooms, large living and dining areas, fully-equipped kitchens, and even a washer and dryer! See why they’re the perfect choice for long term rv rental?
- More space: The Class A has more storage and living space than any of the other classes. It’s an especially good option for families or larger groups.
- Towing ability: You can tow a vehicle or trailer behind. Some even have mobile garages.
- All the amenities: You can have just about any amenity you can think of in your Class A RV, depending on the model.
- Large holding tanks: Bigger freshwater, black water, and grey water tanks mean less refilling and emptying!
- Campsite restrictions: Campsites may have RV size restrictions
- Big and scary: Such a large RV can be scary to drive, especially for new RVers, and it may be difficult to maneuver down certain roads or in certain locations.
- Expensive: These are typically the priciest of the classes. As far as RV rental prices average, they cost the most per night. In addition to that, they are also pretty expensive to fill up as they have low MPG and are costly to maintain.
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*This is a sponsored placement by Outdoorsy.
Class B RV
What Is a Class B RV?
The smallest of the RV motorhome classes, Class B’s are commonly known as campervans or conversion vans. They’re built on a smaller vehicle chassis than the Class A’s and range from 17 to 19 feet in size. Don’t underestimate small RV rentals! Though they are more compact models, you can still sleep 4 people.
In these little guys, you can expect cooking facilities, a heating unit, folding beds, and a small living area, which is all you need for a weekend getaway or quick trip. Some have bathroom facilities and a freshwater tank, but not all.
- Easy to drive: Driving a Class B RV rental feels like driving a van.
- Easy to park: They fit in regular parking spaces and will meet most campsite size restrictions.
- Good gas mileage: Of all the motorized classes, the Class B gets the best mileage.
- More access: Because of their smaller size, you have access to more remote sites and scenic, narrow, winding roads that larger RVs don’t.
- Less space: Class B’s have less interior space and storage, so they’re best for solo travelers, couples, or short trips.
- Limited amenities: They don’t have all the amenities and may typically lack full kitchens or bathrooms.
- High price: The price per square foot for Class B’s is usually the highest.
Class C RV
What Is a Class C RV?
The Class C RV is built on a truck or van cutaway chassis. Imagine a smaller version of a Class A motorhome with a gas-powered engine. Though smaller, you could still squeeze 8 people in these mid-sized guys.
In order to sleep more people, most Class C’s will have sleeping quarters above the cab and more in the back. Many Class C’s will have the same features, appliances, and entertainment devices as their larger counterparts. You’ll find cooking facilities, bathroom facilities, heat and air conditioning, among other things depending on the RV. Quite the steal if you’re looking for a taste of luxury and a lower RV rental price!
- Comfortable drive: Class C’s are smaller than A’s, making them less intimidating to drive. It feels like driving a big truck.
- Decent holding tanks: Though not as big as the Class A models, the water tanks are still a good size.
- Standard amenities: The amenities aren’t as luxurious, but you’ll still have the basics, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, etc.
- Tight fit: Though smaller than A’s, you may still run into some restrictions and tight fits when it comes to narrow roads, remote locations, and campsites.
- Gas prices: Gas is more expensive, depending on the size.
- Less space: Because there is less room to live and store, they’re better for small groups or families.
Do You Need a Special License to Drive?
Whether you want to drive the big guys or the little guys, we have good news. You aren’t required to have a special license. As long as you have a regular, unexpired driver’s license, you’re good to go!
There are some exceptions. Some states require a special license to operate larger RVs, mainly those in the 26,000-pound range. Because each state issues its own licenses, the DMV regulations vary by state and may vary for each RV class.
Unlike the drivables, you’ll need your own vehicle to pull these along for the ride. If you have a vehicle with towing capabilities, an RV trailer rental might be just what you need for your trip. They come in many shapes and sizes, but here’s a basic breakdown of their classifications.
Folding Trailer (aka Pop-Up Camper)
What Is a Folding Trailer?
Also called pop-up campers, these trailers can be towed by most average-sized cars or SUVs with the proper towing capabilities. The sides of the trailer fold down and pop up, offering storage and easy towing. Always check to make sure your vehicle is good for RV towing.
With your typical folding trailer, you’ll get a double bed or two, sink, faucet, cooktop, a small dining area, and a screened-in sleeping place. In some bigger versions, you’ll find a toilet and even a shower.
- Inexpensive: These campers cost less than other RVs.
- Easy to tow: Because the sides fold in and out, you can tow with most cars.
- More compact: Some may weigh as little as 700, meaning better MPG.
- More time and effort: Assembly and disassembly can be time-consuming.
- Less space: If you bring your kids along or are in a larger group, you’ll have to get creative with sleeping arrangements.
- Lack of amenities: It is rare to find a full bathroom, or full anything, in a folding trailer.
What Is a Travel Trailer?
To tow a travel trailer, you’ll need an SUV, pickup truck, or van with the necessary hitch. Whatever vehicle you’re using to tow will need to have a towing package that will control the sway of the trailer when you’re on the road.
Many travel trailers will have the same amenities as the motorized RVs; however, some smaller versions will have outdoor kitchens, no bathrooms, cassette toilets, or fewer amenities than the drivables. Despite their lack of luxurious amenities, small travel trailers are all the rage!
- Options: There are many options to fit any need.
- Lightweight: The market has many lightweight models that can be towed by smaller cars. Lighter in weight also means better MPG.
- Good price: Travel trailers are the least expensive of the RV classes.
- Less storage: You won’t find as much storage space as you would in a fifth-wheel.
- Building quality: Some models may not be built for the wear and tear of full-time RVing.
- Towability: High winds or uneven weight distribution may cause some problems.
What Is a Fifth-Wheel Trailer?
The fifth-wheel trailer is the largest trailer for rent or purchase. They are called fifth-wheels because the front of them extends over the bed of a truck as if it were its fifth wheel. You’ll need a special hitch, a u-shaped coupling piece, to properly tow, which will make them easier to steer than most trailers. These rigs are perfect if you’re looking to stay in one spot for an extended period of time, as you can detach the trailer, drive your vehicle to various locations, and come back to your home on the road.
Fifth-wheel trailers offer plenty of space with slide-outs in some that allow for even more space while parked. You’ll find many comforts of home in these trailers, including bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens.
- Storage: Fifth-wheels have the most storage space of the trailer classes.
- Floor plan variety: There is a floor plan for everyone.
- Feels like home: With all the amenities, it’ll feel like your home on wheels.
- Towability: You need a heavy-duty, fifth-wheel truck to tow.
- Difficult fit: You may encounter size restrictions and limitations.
- Cost: Fifth-wheels can be more costly to maintain as they have more amenities and features.
- MPG: You’ll get less MPG than you would towing a travel trailer.
Find the Perfect Match
Still looking for the perfect match? Ask yourself three questions.
- How many people will be on your trip?
- Will you be venturing to many locations or staying at one?
- What is your overall budget?
You know what they say, “different strokes for different folks!” The perfect RV varies by RVer. Whether you’re on the hunt for an RV rental or purchase, use this guide to find the best one for you and your RV road trip
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