Comprehensive Guide to Recreational Vehicles (RV types and classes) 2020

Are you new to the world of RVs?

Are you looking to rent or buy an RV but aren’t sure which type to pick?

Simply put, there is a lot of confusing information out there about RVs. It can be hard to decipher the differences are between RV classes if you don’t know what you’re looking for. And even then, some of the key components to each class easily become bewildering.

In reality, you should know exactly what you want to rent or buy when you’re in the market for an RV.

RVs

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to RVs and RVing. Within this article, you can expect to know RV types and what the different classes are.

You’ll also discover how to determine what is within your budget, and what types of features you’ll get between a motorhome and an RV trailer. You’ll also find some information here about toy haulers and truck bed campers.

If you’ve ever wondered about anything RV-related, this is a great place to start!

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s buckle up, set this thing to cruise control, and learn everything there is to know about RVs.

What are the Recreational Vehicles (RVs)?

First things first, you’re going to want to know what an RV is defined as.

A recreational vehicle, usually shortened to “RV”, is a trailer or motorized vehicle with living quarters designed for accommodation while traveling.

There are many types of RVs including: motorhomes, campervans, fifth-wheel trailers, pop up campers, truck campers, toy haulers, and specialty campers.

Don’t worry, we’ll cover all of these RV types later in the article.

What you should know is that RVs include living quarters and designed for accommodation while traveling outdoor. That means that every class and type of RV shares this same basic tenet.

But hold on. What’s the difference between a motorhome, a camper, and an RV?

The term “motorhome” is a generic term that is usually regarded as a self-propelled vehicle with an engine. A “camper,” on the other hand, typically refers to trailers towed by trucks or that ride on the back of trucks.

And as for the term “RV”? An RV can generally refer to either a motorhome or a camper, as it broadly encompasses both into the fold of recreational vehicles.

The History of Recreational Vehicles

You may be shocked to find out that the idea for RVs came from the gypsies! No, they didn’t necessarily invent modern RVing. But the covered wagons they used to move from place to place has been a convenient travel mechanism since the mid-1800s.

When North American manufacturers began making in the early-1900s the idea was quick to catch on. Many of the first documented RVs came in the form of travel trailers. They were almost always made by hand in the early days.

When the 1930s rolled in, the RV was growing in popularity and certain companies started to make them available for commercial purchase. Some of these prolific pioneering RV companies are still around today. Maybe you’re familiar with Ford, Winnebago, or Airstream?

By the 1950s, RVs were becoming positively iconic for the newly growing age of exploration. Although most of these early RVs didn’t have creature comforts like septic systems or built-in stoves, it didn’t stop families from taking long road trips.

As RVs became even more popular and even started to be mass-produced by the late-60s, they began to evolve more into what people wanted. The ultimate goal was to provide similar comforts to what was available in the home. By the 70s, most RVs started to include plumbing, refrigeration, cooking appliances, and more.

Fast forward to today and the RV is a fully revolutionized luxury road cruiser. As the industry continues to meet customer demands and advancing technology, many new additions have been added. It’s not uncommon to find washer and dryer sets, showers and baths, large scale televisions, and Internet access in any modern RV.

RV Types and Classes

Let’s start by clarifying the four types of RVs.

For all intents and purposes an RV can either be:

  • A motorhome.       
  • A trailer.        
  • A toy hauler.      
  • A truck bed camper.

From here, each type of RV can further be divided down into a classification, which describes their basic size, shape, and functionality. For example, the trailer type of RVshas numerous classifications, whether it be a pop-up trailer, a teardrop trailer, or a 5th wheel trailer.  

We’ll get more into each type and classification throughout this article. For now, just keep in mind that the “type” is the broader grouping, while the “class” is the more specific categorization.

Motorhome Classes

Motorhomes are just what you think. They’re home on wheels and they’ve got a motor built into their frame. Motorhomes are great for people who want one designated vehicle for travel, without the hassle of having to tow.

Motorhomes can generally be broken into three different classes.

  1. Class A: The luxury “big box” motorhome built with quality materials on a very strong, heavy-duty frame.
  2. Class B: The van conversion that has been converted into a fulltime living space.
  3. Class C: The mini-motorhome with a boxy frame, but built on a smaller chassis with the front end of a van or truck.

Keep reading to learn more below about the specifics of each class of motorhome.

Class A Motorhomes

You’ve probably seen the Class A cruising down the highway with a family inside.

When most people think of motorhomes, the Class A is usually what comes to mind. They’re big, boxy, and oftentimes, exceptionally luxurious. The Class A can have everything from large flat screen televisions to king-size beds.

The Class A is known for its stylized boxy look, almost appearing like a large-scale shuttle bus. They can be used for touring long distances or taking weekend trips to the nearest RV Park.

These motorhomes have either a gas or diesel engine, and they are built for maximum comfort and durability.

  • Chassis of Class A Motorhomes

Almost every Class A motorhome to hit the market comes from one of a handful of chassis manufacturers. The chassis provides the foundation for the living quarters of the motorhome, as well as the engine and steering mechanism.

Ford manufactures many of the gas motorhome chassis for RV companies.

For diesel motorhome chassis, Freightliner is one of the most popular to manufacture diesel pushers.

Class A Motorhome Chassis
Image Credit: Freightliner Chassis RV

Occasionally the longer and heavier chassis will come with a second set of rear wheels, known as the tag axle. These additional rear wheels have the primary function of supporting the extra weight of the RV, rather than supplying power to the drivetrain.

Everything ride on the chassis and the further the bumper hangs out from the rear axle, the less control the driver typically has.

It’s important to ensure that the Class A motorhome has a strong chassis. Without a quality designed chassis, there will be increased handling issues, and the motorhome will need repairs before too long.

When in the market for a new motorhome, it’s always a good idea to ensure that the chassis manufacturer is reputable and did not cut corners.

  • Living Quarters of Class A Motorhomes

The living quarters and the furnishings inside are what make a motorhome a home on wheels.

The living quarter consists of everything inside of the four walls, ceiling, and floor. Between the furnishings and appliances, the quality of the interior can greatly determine whether the RV is a luxury model or a basic setup. Usually, it is up to the manufacturer on how the interior is designed.

Entry-level motorhomes generally have more basic seating and appliances, while higher-end RVs may have tiled floors, high-quality upholstered fabrics, and full-size fridges. The overall interior design will also be noticeably ornate compared to the entry-level model motorhomes.

However, in almost all of the RV models, you’ll find everything you need to make your living quarters comfortable.

Inside, you’ll always be able to find a separate bathroom, complete with a shower or bath, and at least one toilet. Some higher-end models have additional amenities in the bathroom.

Interior Class A
Image Credit: Newmar Dutch Star

You’ll also find a full kitchen setup with a sink, a table, a refrigerator, a stove, an oven, plenty of counter space, and room for storage.

In the back of the motorhome, you’ll also be able to find a fixed bed of varying sizes. Sometimes, depending on the model, you’ll find a king-size bed, while in other models, you may only find a full-size bed.

There may also be additional bedding, depending on the floor plan. This may include a set of bunk beds or even a bed that pulls out from the couch.

Class A motorhomes are fully self-contained living environments, making it easy and comfortable to live life on the road. Some additional amenities include clean water holding tanks, as well as grey water tanks.

  • Features of Class A Motorhomes

One thing you’ll notice immediately on the Class A motorhomes is the sheer amount of storage space they have underneath the living quarters.

Because the living quarters are raised above the chassis, there is a ton of storage space accessible from the exterior of the vehicle. The doors to the storage sections typically sit flush with the rest of the vehicle until unlocking the latch. The doors usually open upwards or to the side.

Motorhome_Class A

A standard 120-volt generator is also common on the Class A motorhomes. This allows you to power the air conditioning, as well as any other 120-volt appliances.

The generator is manufactured to use the same fuel that the engine of the motorhome uses, so setup is usually a breeze.

The other notable feature of the Class A motorhome is the slide outs. Almost every class A motorhome can be found with slide outs, allowing you to expand the living quarters.

Usually, the slide outs bump out from the sides of the motorhome, but sometimes you will find that the back of the vehicle has the capability to be expanded as well.

  • Cost of Class A Motorhomes

The cost of a Class A motorhome can greatly vary. They are, however, the most expensive of all the RVs on the market.

Although a Class A motorhome will cost a pretty penny, they don’t have to break the bank.

The basic models can cost between $150,000 and $400,000. If you’re looking for a higher-end model, expect to pay well over $400,000 for all of the additional amenities and luxurious interior.

A smart buyer, however, will never pay the asking price for retail. If you’re willing to put in a little negotiating effort, sometimes the price can be brought down significantly.

It also helps to know what exactly you’re in the market for, in terms of features and models.

  • Stats of Class A Motorhomes

The length is typically between 30 and 45 feet.

The average sleeping capacity is between 4 and 6, but sometimes more depending on the model.

There can be up to 4 slide outs on the Class A motorhomes.

The gas mileage is between 5 and 10 mpg. However, this amount will fluctuate depending on driving style, size, and whether the drivetrain is gas or diesel.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 22,000 pounds and 55,000 pounds.

The Class A can typically tow up to 20,000 pounds, but sometimes as low as 5,000, depending on the model.

The retail price is usually at least $150,000, but can be well above $400,000 if you’re in the market for a luxury model with all the bells and whistles.

Pros
  • Open floor plan, making for exceptionally large living spaces
  • Ability to tow another vehicle, making exploration even more possible
  • Self-contained, with everything you need to live life on the road
  • Extra-large water holding tanks
  • Plenty of storage space
Cons
  • Very large and long, often being a hassle to drive or to park in tight places
  • Due to its weight, the mpg is often very low
  • The most expensive of all the motorhome types

Class B Motorhomes

The Class B Motorhome is basically a commercial van renovation.

If you’re familiar with the #vanlife movement, this is where a lot of van dwellers look to build their home on wheels.

Class-B-Motorhomes

The basic build-out of a Class B motorhome starts with gutting the interior of an existing commercial van or ordering one that is already bare-bones. From there, the Class B is fitted with multiple accommodations to make it livable.

The Class B motorhome, in effect, is much smaller than Class A motorhomes.

  • Chassis of Class B Motorhomes

Although it is possible to make a homemade Class B Motorhome, there are also manufacturers that build them.

Class B motorhome Chassis
Image Credit: mbvans

If you’re interested in buying a manufactured Class B, you have three options for a chassis: the Ford Transit, the Ram Promaster, or the Mercedes Sprinter.

Once you decide on a commercial chassis to retrofit, it’s easier to narrow down companies to build out the living quarters.

The Class B also comes in diesel and gasoline options, aside from the Sprinter, which is only available in a diesel model.

  • Living Quarters of Class B Motorhomes

The Class B is significantly smaller than the Class A motorhomes.

However, the living quarters are still limited by the roof and the walls of the van. Many Class B conversions will be built from a van with extended ceilings. This allows extra headspace to walk around in.

You can usually find holding tanks for fresh water, grey water, and black water in Class B motorhomes. However, they will be comparably smaller than other models of motorhomes.

Most Class B motorhomes come with a basic kitchen setup. Oftentimes, this will consist of a stove, a sink, and a fridge. Homemade conversions may supply additional amenities for preparing meals on the road.

Interior Class B
Image Credit: Airstream

For sleeping accommodations, many Class B motorhomes will include a couch that folds down into a sleeping platform. This arrangement makes up for the limited space in the Class B.

Sometimes, however, the Class B will have two twin beds instead of a folding couch. This keeps the center aisle open with the ability to access the rear doors.

Either type of bed design will allow for extra storage underneath.

Due to the space limitations, the Class B usually only comes complete with a cassette toilet. These types of toilets are small permanent fixtures with portable black tanks. The black tank is then removed and emptied at a rest stop or bathroom.

  • Features Class B Motorhomes

Due to the fact that most Class B motorhomes start out as commercial vans, they are unlikely to be outfitted with slide-outs.

This also means that, unlike the Class A, there is very little exterior storage. However, most Class B motorhomes keep the rear doors on the van, allowing users to access the motorhome from behind the vehicle.

Many Class B motorhomes also supply a generator, which runs either from the rig’s fuel or from a separate propane tank. The generator is usually enough to power all of the appliances inside the living quarters.

  • Cost of Class B Motorhomes

The cost of a Class B motorhome can come as a bit of a surprise.

Although it’s possible to find cheaper versions in used sales or homemade conversions, the manufacturer’s retail price is usually between $100,000 and $200,000.

This means that a Class B can be even more costly than a Class A motorhome. Although, due to its lighter weight, the Class B does do better on gas mileage.

  • Stats of Class B Motorhomes

The length is typically between 18 and 30 feet.

The average sleeping capacity can hold up to 4 people. There are usually no slide outs unless it is custom ordered that way.

The gas mileage is between 10 and 25 mpg. However, this amount will fluctuate depending on driving style, size, and whether the drivetrain is gas or diesel.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 7,500 pounds and 15,000 pounds.

The Class B can typically tow up to 8,000 pounds, but sometimes as low as 2,000, depending on the model.

The retail price is usually at least $100,000, but can be up to $200,000. Cheaper models are also available in the form of homemade conversions

Pros
  • Easy to drive and maneuver in tight spaces
  • Many of the same features of a larger motorhome
  • 4×4 option allowing for more exploration
  • Better gas mileage than a larger motorhome
Cons
  • Smaller living quarter sometimes end up feeling cramped
  • Not a lot of storage space available
  • Can be exceptionally pricey considering the size
  • Smaller holding tanks compared to larger motorhomes

Class C Motorhomes

The Class C is another motorhome built on top of a van chassis.

The difference between Class C and Class B basically comes down to size. The Class C is significantly larger than the Class B.

Class-C Motorhomes

In addition to its size, the Class C generally has a section of the living quarters that extends over the front cab. This is possibly the most distinctive feature of the Class C.

  • Chassis of Class C Motorhomes

Most Class C motorhomes are built on van or truck chassis. The commercial frame is often cut away, leaving only the cab, and then retrofitted with living quarters.

The type of chassis that Class C motorhomes are built on are usually distinguishable by the front cab of the vehicle.

Class C Motorhome Chassis
Image Credit: Freightliner Chassis RV

Although 4×4 is sometimes available in the drivetrain, most Class C motorhomes come in rear-wheel drive. A good number of them also have dual rear wheels to compensate for the extra weight.

Gas and diesel options are available depending on how the chassis was manufactured.

  • Living Quarters of Class C Motorhomes

As one might expect, the living quarters in the Class C are bigger than the Class B but smaller than most Class A motorhomes.

The bigger the Class C, is the more spacious the interior living quarters will be.

Just like the Class A and the Class B, the Class C can come outfitted with high-quality luxury amenities, or can be stocked with the most basic materials.

The Class C has a separate bathroom from the rest of the living quarters, usually complete with a shower and a toilet.

Interior Class C
Image Credit: Tiffin Motorhomes

You will usually also find a full-scale kitchen in Class C, comparable to the types of kitchens found in Class A motorhomes. This means plenty of counter space, a fridge, a stove, an oven, a microwave, a sink, and any other small appliances needed.

The sleeping situation is variable depending on what is requested. It’s possible to find a king-size bed in Class C, but it’s also possible to find a couple of twin-size beds.

The Class C motorhomes are fully self-contained, with four walls and a ceiling. Most of them come complete with separate holding tanks for fresh water, and grey and black water.

  • Features Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes generally have much more external storage than Class B motorhomes.

Especially on the longer models, the Class C offers a number of hatches that fold up to reveal additional storage space.

There is almost always a generator built into Class C motorhomes, allowing the ability to power most 120-volt appliances inside. The generator usually runs on the fuel of the vehicle.

As an additional advantage over the Class B, the Class C also offers the ability for up to two slide-outs. This feature can make the already spacious interior exponentially roomier.

The bump out above the cab is also unique to the Class C. This space is usually used as sleeping quarters, much like that of a semi-truck. However, this space is sometimes used as storage or houses an entertainment center.

  • Cost of Class C Motorhomes

Depending on the features, the Class C motorhome can seem like a bargain deal, or it can cost a pretty penny.

The average costs range between $50,000 and $200,000.

However, the asking price always depends on the quality of the interior amenities and the features that the Class C has to offer.

  • Stats of Class C Motorhomes

The length is typically between 20 and 36 feet.

The average sleeping capacity can hold up to 6 people.

There can be up to 2 slide outs on the Class B motorhomes.

The gas mileage is between 10 and 15 mpg. However, this amount will fluctuate depending on driving style, size, and whether the drivetrain is gas or diesel.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 10,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds.

The Class B can typically tow up to 10,000 pounds, but sometimes as low as 5,000, depending on the model.

The retail price is usually at least $50,000, but can be up to $200,000.

Pros
  • Can be more affordable than a large scale Class A
  • More maneuverable than a Class A and better mpg
  • More storage space than a Class
  • Many have the ability to tow another vehicle behind
Cons
  • Smaller models can seem cramped inside
  • Limited storage on smaller models
  • Not as great mpg as the Class B

Skoolie Motorhomes

A skoolie motorhome is a renovated school bus made into a home on wheels.

The interior is usually gutted and new fixtures are retrofitted into the bus. They are oftentimes given insulation and many of the windows are replaced with paneling.

Although they come from school buses, most skoolies have a similar feel to Class A motorhomes.

Skoolie Motorhome
Image Credit: Nicolás Boullosa

The amount of hours that go into school bus conversions make commercial opportunities generally cost prohibitive. This means that most skoolies are retrofitted by DIY opportunists.

That’s not to say that there aren’t companies offering skoolie conversions, only that they are less likely than traditional RV manufacturers.

  • Chassis of Skoolie Motorhomes

As there are multiple types of school buses, skoolie conversions come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The type A school bus is the shortest available bus.

The type B school bus is slightly larger than the type A.

The type C school bus is the traditional transportation bus for K-12 students.

The type D school bus is the transit style bus with a flat front. The engine is sometimes located in back of the chassis on the type D.

The diesel skoolie conversions offer significantly better mpg than their gasoline counterparts. With a diesel model, expect 25 to 30 percent better mileage.

  • Living Quarters of Skoolie Motorhomes

Many DIY bus conversions end up lowering the floor and raising the ceiling. This allows for more headspace, especially if the interior will be insulated. Although this sometimes requires professional help, there are plenty of resources available online to assist with the transformation.

Interior Skoolie

Depending on the length of the bus, the living quarters can either be incredibly spacious or more like a tiny home. The type of bus chosen to be converted ultimately depends on preference.

In most skoolie conversions, you can expect to find similar amenities to the Class B motorhome. A full kitchen and large bed are not uncommon. In larger models, you may also find separate bathrooms and a dedicated entertainment area.

  • Features of Skoolie Motorhomes

While almost all of the skoolie motorhomes on the market are DIY conversions, the features included largely vary.

Some models may include separate storage components built into the frame. Others may have extremely limited storage. If you intend on building out your own conversion, it’s best to plan for all of the desired features.

Oftentimes, a generator will be affixed to the rear wall of the skoolie to supply power to the internal appliances.

Skoolie
  • Cost of Skoolie Motorhomes

Depending on how the skoolie has been retrofitted, you can expect a price range between $35,000 and $150,000.

The wide range in overall price takes a number of factors into account.

These factors include things like whether the floor has been lowered, the appliances inside, and the materials used in retrofitting.

  • Stats of Skoolie Motorhomes

The length is typically between 15 and 45 feet.

The average sleeping capacity varies. Depending on the build, it can comfortably sleep between 2 and 8 people.

There usually aren’t any slide-outs on skoolies.

The gas mileage is between 5 and 12 mpg. However, this amount will fluctuate depending on driving style, size, and whether the drivetrain is gas or diesel.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 10,000 pounds and 30,000 pounds.

The skoolie can typically tow up to 5,000 pounds, but sometimes as low as 500, depending on the size and transmission.

The retail price is usually at least $20,000 for a custom DIY build, but can be up to $180,000.

Pros
  • Can be completely customized to desired features
  • A variety of options for the length and weight
  • Can be more affordable than a commercial motorhome
  • Serviceable by school bus mechanics
Cons
  • Very low gas mileage
  • Can require time and expertise to customize
  • Searching the market for conversions takes patience

Types of RV Trailers

RV trailers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are, by far, the most popular type of recreational vehicle.

RV trailers require a separate vehicle to tow them to their destinations. Once the destination is reached, the towing vehicle is unhooked and the trailer sits in the chosen campsite.

Although there are multiple types of RV trailers, they generally fit into two main categories—the bumper pull trailers, and the truck bed trailers.

Bumper pull trailers

The biggest difference between the bumper pull trailers and the truck bed trailers is where the hitch is mounted. The bumper pull trailers affix to the back bumper of the vehicle.

Bumper Pull Travel Trailers

Bumper pull trailers typically fit four main types:

  1. Travel trailers.
  2. Pop up campers.
  3. Hybrid travel trailers.
  4. Teardrop trailers.

Travel Trailers

Easily the most popular of all the trailer types, travel trailers are basically boxes on wheels.

Due to their widely varying price points, different models of travel trailers can be found to fit anyone’s budget.

The frame is typically built with one or two axels. The front of the frame attaches to the tow vehicle. It can be helpful to attach a weight-distribution hitch or a sway bar.

The siding of these “boxes on wheels” usually consists of fiberglass panels, corrugated sheet metal, or aluminum plates. As the years have progressed, the focus of many manufacturers is to keep these trailers as light as possible.

Traditional Travel Trailer

Inside the trailer, you can expect to find a fully functioning home on wheels. This typically includes a full kitchenette, a separate bathroom, room for sleeping, and a small dining area.

The trailers also include fresh water holding tanks, as well as grey and black water holding tanks for waste water.

As the most simple concept for a trailer, it’s easy to see why this style of trailer has been around the longest.

  • Features Travel Trailers

Storage space can typically be found under the front bunk of most travel trailers. There are also a number of external storage compartments particular to certain models.

It’s a good idea to look at floor plans to see how storage space factors into the overall design.

Due to the boxy frame of the travel trailer, it’s not uncommon to see a number of slide-outs built into the design. Slide-outs can greatly increase the amount of livable space inside the trailer.

Interior Travel Trailer
Image Credit: Dutchmen RV

In most cases, travel trailers do not include built-in generators. This means that you will either have to find a campsite with electricity hookups, or expect to camp without power. In rare instances, travel trailers can, however, have a generator built-in.

The multiple possibilities for size make travel trailers a great option for any vehicle with towing capability. Smaller travel trailers can easily be hooked up to most SUVs, while larger travel trailers are made for pickup trucks with higher towing capacity.

For most vehicles on the market with towing capabilities, there is probably a travel trailer guaranteed to work with its size.

  • Cost of Travel Trailers

The cost of travel trailers are incredibly varied.

On one hand, if you’re looking for a smaller, more basic model, you could easily find a trailer for around $15,000.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a high-end, luxury travel trailer, expect to pay around $150,000 for a model with all the outfitted amenities.

The sheer number of travel trailers available on the market makes finding a travel trailer suitable for anyone’s budget.

  • Stats of Travel Trailers

The length is typically between 15 and 48 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 6 people.

There are usually up to 3 slide-outs on travel trailers.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $15,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $150,000.

Pros
  • Multiple sizes available on the market
  • Highly affordable options
  • Can be towed by almost any vehicle with towing capability
Cons
  • Can be difficult to maneuver, especially while backing up
  • Require a separate towing vehicle to travel with
  • Some need a heavy-duty truck to tow

Pop Up Campers

Pop up campers are the cousins of standard travel trailers.

While they both are essentially boxes on wheels, the pop up camper has the ability to fold into a more compact shape. This improves the overall storage capacity of the pop up, allowing it to fit into smaller areas.

In addition to storage, the folding ability of the pop up also improves its aerodynamics while towing. Therefore, pop up campers allow for much greater fuel efficiency in relation to their bulkier cousins.

Once you reach your destination, the pop up is usually opened by flipping a couple of latches and rotating a crank. There are manual and automatic cranks available on the market.

Pop-Up Trailers

There are two types of pop ups available: the soft sided pop up, and the hard sided pop up. The soft sided pop up is usually built with canvas in certain sections and fiberglass in others. The hard sided pop up is generally made of fiberglass panels all the way around.

Most pop up campers are pretty basic inside.

There usually isn’t a bathroom inside, and the kitchen area (if there is one at all) is typically pretty small. Some pop ups still make room for a dining area indoors.

The beds typically fold out from either side of the camper, one above the hitch, and the other on the back.

Due to their lightweight nature, most pop up campers can be towed by any vehicles with towing capabilities.

  • Features Pop Up Campers

Most pop up campers have hardly any external storage. Because they fold down into compact sizes, the potential storage space is usually compromised.

There are a great number of pop-up campers with slide-outs available. However, these slide-outs are usually manually operated, unlike the hydraulic slide-outs in larger RV models.

Although the pop up campers don’t offer a lot of amenities or space, they do truly save on fuel consumption.

Interior Pop Up Camper
Image Credit: ForestRiver

Many pop up manufacturers focus on making the pop ups as fuel-efficient as possible, without having to sacrifice too many of the necessary comforts.

  • Cost of Pop Up Campers

Most pop up campers on the market cost between $8,000 and $40,000.

Depending on the size, quality of accommodations, and other factors required, pop up campers can fit anyone’s budget.

  • Stats of Pop Up Campers

The length is typically between 8 and 40 feet (while open).

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 6 people.

There is usually only 1 slide-out on pop up campers if there is one at all.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,000 pounds and 6,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $8,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $40,000.

Pros
  • A step better than sleeping on the ground in a tent
  • Generally affordable for anyone’s budget
  • Higher fuel efficiency for towing vehicles
  • Extreme towing capability and maneuverability
Cons
  • Incredibly basic interiors
  • Not much protection from extreme weather
  • Usually lacks a bathroom area

Hybrid Travel Trailers

A hybrid travel trailer is somewhere in the middle between a pop up camper and a traditional travel trailer.

These trailers offer “pop outs” to the hard shell frame, making up for additional sleeping space. The pop outs can usually be found on either end of the camper, one above the hitch, and one at the opposite end.

Hybrid Travel Trailers

Sometimes there is also an additional pop out on the side of the camper opposite from the entryway door.

The hybrid travel trailer also offers the option for multiple slide outs, which adds overall living space to the interior. The slide outs can bump out the dining area, the kitchen area, and/or the bathroom area.

Most hybrid travel trailers look similar inside to the traditional travel trailer, aside from the fact that the pop outs provide the bedding area. You can also expect to see many of the same furnishing and amenities in a hybrid travel trailer.

The construction of the hybrid travel trailer generally consists of fiberglass panels and canvas for the pop out portions.

Hybrid travel trailers come in single axle and double axle versions, depending on the overall weight.

  • Features Hybrid Travel Trailers

The most notable feature of the hybrid travel trailers is the pop outs available.

This allows campers to more comfortably sleep a larger number of people.

However, there are limitations to having pop outs on your camper. The canvas does little to seal in heat during the colder months.

Pop-up Campers

This effectively means that most hybrid travel trailers can only be used during three seasons. The pop outs are also less durable when it comes to extreme weather conditions.

It’s best to stick to weekend trips, rather than extended travel in a hybrid travel trailer.

The slide-outs, however, are extremely useful and allow for more spaciousness than a pop up camper. You will generally find up to 3 slide-outs in these campers.

As far as external storage goes, you’ll be in better luck than the pop up camper. Due to the fact that they don’t fold in all the way, the hybrid typically has a great amount of storage space available.

  • Cost of Hybrid Travel Trailers

You will usually find hybrid travel trailers on the market for between $15,000 and $45,000.

The number of beds alone makes these trailers a worthwhile investment for larger family camp trips.

  • Stats of Hybrid Travel Trailers

The length is typically between 12 and 28 feet.

The average sleeping capacity can sometimes accommodate up to 8 people.

There are usually up to 2 slide-outs on hybrid travel trailers, along with up to 3 pop outs.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,500 pounds and 8,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $15,000 for a basic model, but it can also cost upwards of $60,000.

Pros
  • Can sleep more campers than other trailers
  • Easily towed by a number of vehicles with towing capabilities
  • Slide-outs and pop outs create tons of livable area
  • Affordable options for multiple budget ranges
Cons
  • Less aerodynamic than the pop up camper
  • Canvas pop outs don’t hold in heat during colder months
  • No option to enjoy camping with expanding pop outs

Teardrop Trailers

Teardrop trailers have begun to grow in popularity.

Their distinct teardrop shape makes them unique, as they appear entirely aerodynamic.

Most teardrop trailers can be towed by any vehicle with towing capabilities. They weigh very little and only need a small hitch.

Teardrop trailers come in a variety of sizes. These usually range from very basic, tiny camper shells, to larger models offering more amenities and spaciousness.

The smallest teardrop trailers only have a bed inside. There usually isn’t even enough room to sit up.

In the larger models, there is a basic kitchenette area accessible from a hatch on the back of the trailer. However, because the kitchen is only accessible from outside, expect to be preparing meals in all kinds of weather conditions.

Teardrop Travel Trailers

The outdoor kitchen area usually comes with a small sink for fresh water, a refrigerator, and a small single-burner stove.

When it comes to dining, expect to flip the bed into a table each time you want to eat. Having to do this every day can sometimes be a hassle, but some are willing to sacrifice the convenience for towing ability.

There is almost never a bathroom inside these sizes of teardrop trailers.

In the largest models of teardrops, there is a lot more headroom.

The largest models allow the ability to stand up inside. They contain full RV kitchens inside, as well as a separate bathroom.

These 20+ foot trailers often have a dedicated sleeping area, and a dining area with the capability to fold down an additional bed.

At this size range, expect to find everything that the traditional travel trailer offers, only in a unique teardrop shape.

The full-sized teardrop trailers usually have fresh water holding tanks, as well as grey and black water holding tanks.

  • Features Teardrop Trailers

The most notable feature of the teardrop trailer is its shape.

Although they come in a variety of sizes, the teardrop shape is incredibly unique and allows for a more aerodynamic aesthetic.

You can purchase a variety of teardrop sizes to suit your needs. If your only requirement is that you have a place to sleep, a tiny teardrop should do just fine.

Interior TearDrop Trailer
Image Credit: NuCampRV

On the other hand, if you don’t want to be without a kitchen and bathroom, the larger size teardrop will suit your interests. There is also the option to find something in the middle of both.

There are, however, no slide-outs available on any size of teardrop trailer.

  • Cost of Teardrop Trailers

Due to the fact that the accommodations vary so widely with size, pricing for the teardrop is expansive.

If you want a bare-bones model with a simple place to sleep, expect to pay around $2,500.

On the other hand, if you want a full-scale teardrop with all of the amenities available, expect to pay around $45,000.

  • Stats of Teardrop Trailers

The length is typically between 10 and 20 feet.

The average sleeping capacity is typically between 2 and 4 people.

There are no slide-outs on teardrop trailers.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,000 pounds and 5,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $2,500 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $45,000.

Pros
  • Many sizes available to suit camping needs
  • Smaller sizes are very easy to tow
  • Some models come with off-road axels for camping off the grid
  • Can be extremely affordable
Cons
  • Smaller models have exterior kitchens
  • Very few amenities depending on the model
  • Minimal headroom in basic models

Truck bed trailers

Truck bed trailers usually identify only one type: Fifth-Wheel trailers.

Traditional travel trailers attach to the back (bumper area) of the tow vehicle using a hitch.

Truck Bed Trailers

The truck bed trailers, on the other hand, require a pickup truck to pull. The hitch sits inside of the truck bed, making the trailer much easier and more stable to tow.

Truck bed trailers are also traditionally much longer than bumper pull trailers for this same reason.

Fifth Wheel Trailers

Fifth Wheel trailers are trailers that hook up to the bed of a pickup truck.

The fifth wheel has a front area that hangs over the pickup truck bed. This means that the living quarters has two distinct levels, with steps leading up to the raised level.

The raised area above the truck bed usually consists of a master bedroom. However, some models of 5th wheel trailers have a living room situated above the truck bed.

Although the towing requires a pickup truck, fifth wheel trailers can be detached at the campsite like any other trailer.

5th Wheel Travel Trailers

5th wheel trailers are constructed like most other trailers. They traditionally have siding made of fiberglass panels or corrugated sheet metal.

The interior looks almost identical to traditional travel trailers, aside from the additional raised portion in the front.

The main benefit of the fifth wheel is its increased stability. Because the hitch sits further forward on the towing vehicle, the trailer is less likely to sway.

You can find models with one axel, all the way up to three axels, depending on the weight and size of the trailer.

Fifth wheels are very spacious, oftentimes including space for full kitchens, separate bathrooms, master bedrooms, and additional seating areas. There are basic models for buyers with a budget, and high-end models with tons of additional amenities.

Almost every fifth wheel comes with fresh water holding tanks, as well as grey and black water tanks.

You can also order models with slide-outs built into the frame.

  • Features Fifth Wheel Trailers

The most notable feature of the fifth wheel is, the increased stability while towing.

Due to the fact that the raised area sits above the pickup bed, the ceilings are usually much higher than traditional travel trailers.

The fifth wheel is a good option for people looking to live long term in their camper. This is because of the spaciousness of the interior, additionally accommodating for more storage space.

On larger 5th wheel trailers, there is a massive amount of exterior storage space. This is especially so beneath the raised portion situated above the pickup bed.

Interior Fifth Wheel Trailer
Image Credit: ForestRiver

Some fifth wheel trailers even come with up to six slide-outs for increased living quarters.

The larger fifth wheel trailers also include generators, giving campers the ability to power 120-volt electronics. This is additionally a great feature to have when it comes to supplying air conditioning.

The generators on larger models can usually be found in the basement storage at the front of the trailer.

For the largest sizes of fifth wheel trailers, the tow vehicle is usually required to have super duty towing capabilities.

  • Cost of Fifth Wheel Trailers

There are so many fifth wheel trailers to fit almost anyone’s budget.

For extremely basic models with lower ceilings and limited amenities, you can usually find a price for around $20,000.

At the high end, for full-size, luxury trailers, expect to find a price range upwards of $300,000.

  • Stats of Fifth Wheel Trailers

The length is typically between 18 and 48 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 8 people.

There is usually 1 slide-out on basic models, while higher-end models can have up to 6 slide-outs.

Fifth-Wheel Trailers

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 3,000 pounds and 30,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $20,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $300,000.

Pros
  • Much more stable when it comes to towing
  • Tons of livable space including raised ceilings
  • A variety of lengths and amenities available on the market
Cons
  • Taller ceilings mean increased difficulty for storage
  • Longer trailers can be more difficult to maneuver
  • Heavier weight significantly reduces gas mileage

Toy Hauler RVs

What is a toy hauler RV?

Essentially, toy haulers are recreational vehicles with a separate compartment from the living quarters. This separate compartment allows campers to store their recreational toys.

Toy haulers come as traditional bumper pull trailer and it is also possible to find motorhome toy haulers, but they are far less common.

Depending on the size of the garage area, toy haulers can carry anything from a few bicycles, all the way up to a handful of ATVs and a small watercraft.

The garage area is traditionally built into the back of the RV, while the living quarters are situated toward the front. A hatch folds down from the garage to create a ramp, allowing for easy storage and removal of toys.

Depending on what kind of capabilities you’re interested in having, toy hauler motorhomes and toy hauler trailers are both great choices.

Toy Hauler Motorhomes

Although they are less common than trailers, toy hauler motorhomes do exist.

Toy hauler motorhomes come in Class A and Class C types. They are built on the same chassis as their regular counterparts.

The Class A toy hauler usually accommodates about 10 feet off the total length of the RV for the garage. This means that you will have roughly 30 feet of living space toward the front of the vehicle.

Toy Hauler Motorhomes
Image Credit: Thormotorcoach

The Class C toy hauler is shorter, only accommodating about 8 feet for the garage area.

With either class, the garage area has reinforced flooring to withstand the additional expected weight. The floors are also coated with a rubberized covering to make any spills easy to clean up.

Aside from the garage area in the rear, the living quarters of the Class A and Class C are exactly the same. The biggest difference is that the living quarters are shortened to account for the garage.

  • Features of Toy Hauler Motorhomes

The biggest feature you’ll notice on the toy hauler motorhomes is the garage space in the rear of the RV.

The garage area can vary in size, but usually will be between 8 and 10 feet.

To access the garage area, a large door folds down to create a ramp. This hatched door is typically on the rear of the vehicle, but can sometimes be found on the side of the rear.

The door itself can also be used for other purposes. Occasionally, manufacturers will design the door to double as an outdoor patio. Instead of folding down all the way, the door will sit horizontal and will be suspended with cables and ground support.

It is also possible to set up railing around the edges of the patio on certain models of toy hauler motorhomes.

Interior Toy Houler Motorhome
Image Credit: Thormotorcoach

Another notable feature on toy hauler motorhomes are the remote fueling stations.

The fueling stations make filling up recreational toys a breeze. It also means you don’t have to deal with messy gas cans sliding all over the place.

The fueling stations come complete with a fuel tank, a fuel pump, and a fuel nozzle.

Simply drive up to the fuel nozzle and top off all of your toys before setting out on an adventure.

The third most notable feature on toy haulers are the additional bed sometimes placed in the garage area. This is especially convenient when you have extra guests coming along.

The extra bed in the garage also folds up when not in use.

  • Cost of Toy Hauler Motorhomes

You can generally purchase a new toy hauler motorhome for anywhere between $120,000 and $250,000.

Much of the price depends on the amenities in the garage, as well as the quality of the accommodations in the living quarters.

  • Stats of Toy Hauler Motorhomes

The length is typically between 30 and 40 feet, depending on whether it’s a Class A or Class C vehicle.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 6 people.

There can be between 1 and 2 slide outs on toy hauler motorhomes.

The gas mileage is between 5 and 10 mpg. However, this amount will fluctuate depending on driving style, size, and whether the drivetrain is gas or diesel.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 15,000 pounds and 30,000 pounds without recreational toys in the garage.

Most toy hauler motorhomes can typically tow up to 8,000 pounds, but sometimes as low as 5,000, depending on the model.

The retail price is usually at least $120,000, but can be well above $250,000 if you’re in the market for a luxury model with all the bells and whistles.

Pros
  • Bring along recreation toys without needing a trailer
  • Place to store toys during inclement weather
  • Full fueling station built into motorhome
  • Ability to access motorhome from the rear of the vehicle
Cons
  • Garage area shortens the length of living quarters
  • Can be difficult to maneuver longer rigs

Toy Hauler Trailers

Toy hauler trailers traditionally have only two versions: Travel trailer toy hauler (bumper pull) and the 5th-wheel toy hauler.

The main difference between them despite how they pullover by vehicles are the garage areas and carrying capacity.

Bumper pull toy haulers usually have a smaller storage area and lower weight carrying ability than fifth wheel toy haulers.

Because of extra garage space and the weight capacity, 5th wheel toy haulers are the most popular version.

Travel Trailer Toy Haulers

Travel Trailer Toy Hauler comes in the widest variety of shapes and sizes.

You can find incredibly basic toy hauler travel trailers that have little more than a bed and a garage. There are also 38-foot monsters with all the added amenities.

The smallest of travel trailer toy haulers are called sport utility trailers.

Travel Trailer Toy Haulers
Image Credit: Jayco

These smaller trailers are often designed where the living quarters and the garage share the same space. This means that you’ll have to unload your toys before being able to use the living quarters.

In inclement weather, this can be a nuisance.

Due to the fact that there is no separating wall between the garage and the living quarters, the smells are also the same. If any of your toys is leaking gas or oil, you’ll have to put up with smelling that in bed too.

In the majority of travel trailer toy haulers, you’ll find a small electronically activated bed that drops down to save space. The small sofas may work the same way.

The garage area is usually reinforced to accommodate for the extra weight.

You may also notice 1 or 2 axels for the trailer, depending on the total length and weight.

  • Features Travel Trailer Toy Haulers

Hands down, the most notable feature on a toy hauler travel trailer is the door that folds down into a ramp.

This door allows you to access the trailer from the rear, and allows you to load your toys into the trailer.

There are some models of toy hauler travel trailers where the door can fold into a horizontal position. This means that you gain the ability to use the door as a patio.

When the door is in patio position, it is usually secured with cables and ground support. There is also the option to have railing around the perimeter of the patio.

Interior Toy Hauler Travel Trailer
Image Credit: Cruiser RV

Another useful addition is to secure the perimeter with screen, keeping bugs out and letting a breeze in.

With most larger toy haulers, you will also find a remote fueling station, complete with a fuel tank, fuel pump, and fuel nozzle.

This feature allows you to get away from having to haul tons of gas cans.

On some models, you may also have a built-in generator to power 120-volt appliances. The generator often can either run on propane or the remote fueling station’s supply.

  • Cost of Travel Trailer Toy Haulers

Toy hauler travel trailers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some have all the bells and whistles, while others are completely basic, only allowing enough room for a few toys.

Most toy hauler travel trailers on the market range between $15,000 and $100,000.

  • Stats of Travel Trailer Toy Haulers

The length is typically between 18 and 38 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 6 people.

ForestRiver Toy Hauler Trailer
Image Credit: ForestRiver

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on a toy hauler travel trailer.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 7,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds, without recreational toys on board.

The retail price is usually at least $15,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $100,000.

Pros
  • Great way to bring recreational toys along
  • Rear door folds into ramp for loading and can double as patio
  • Larger models include a remote fueling station
Cons
  • No separation between garage and living space
  • Garage must be emptied to use living space
  • Larger models require a heavy-duty truck to pull

Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers

Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers can be much bigger than their travel trailer counterparts.

The fifth wheel toy haulers have more garage area, allowing you to take along more recreational toys.

Unlike the toy hauler travel trailers, the garage area is usually separated from the rest of the living quarters.

The toy hauler fifth wheels are very similar to the regular versions, except for the fact that they have a garage built-in. This also means that you can access the rig from the rear garage door or the side entryway door.

Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers

The garage floor is reinforced and typically has a rubberized coating on it to make spills easy to clean up.

Inside the garage, there is usually a bed that electronically lowers from the ceiling once everything is unloaded. You may also find a number of sofas that fold out from the walls.

Everything in the garage area is meant to afford space without losing functionality.

Shorter fifth wheel toy haulers usually have two axels, but some of the larger, heavier rigs will have three axels.

  • Features of Fifth-Wheel Toy Haulers

As with most toy haulers, the features are usually similar to the regular models.

The biggest difference between the regular models and the toy hauler versions are the garages built into the rigs.

You will notice that the garage has a rear door allowing easy access into the garage.

The rear door, like most toy haulers, folds down into a ramp for loading and unloading.

Additionally, they usually have the added ability to fold into a horizontal position to create a patio area. In the horizontal position, the patio is usually made a little more secure with cables and ground support.

Interior 5th-Wheel Toy Hauler
Image Credit: Cruiser RV

The patio area can also usually be modified with a railing to make seating safer. You may additionally wish to find a model with screening for the patio, in order to keep bugs out and a breeze coming in.

Most fifth wheel toy haulers come with a remote fueling station. These fueling stations come complete with a fuel tank, a fuel pump, and a fuel nozzle.

This makes filling up your recreational toys a breeze, without having to haul tons of gas cans.

You can usually find a generator built into the rig as well, allowing for you to power 120-volt appliances indoors.

The generators either run off of a propane source or from the remote fueling stations fuel supply.

  • Cost of Fifth-Wheel Toy Haulers

It’s possible to find basic fifth wheel toy hauler models for about $30,000.

For the custom-built, high-end models, expect to pay upwards of $200,000.

  • Stats of Fifth-Wheel Toy Haulers

The length is typically between 30 and 48 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 8 people.

Toy Hauler

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on a fifth wheel toy hauler.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 10,000 pounds and 25,000 pounds, without recreational toys on board.

The retail price is usually at least $30,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $200,000.

Pros
  • More stable towing than travel trailer toy haulers
  • Ability to bring recreational toys along with you
  • Remote fueling station makes filling easy
  • Separate garage from living quarters
Cons
  • Requires a heavy-duty pickup truck to pull
  • In order to utilize garage area, toys must be unloaded

Truck Bed Campers

A truck bed camper is one that sits in the bed of a pickup truck.

They come in two different styles: the slide-in truck camper and the pop up truck camper.

The slide-in truck camper is hard-sided and does not fold. It simply sits on top of the truck bed and is ready to go.

The pop up truck camper has the ability to fold down to increase aerodynamics of the truck. This also allows you to use the camper only when you need it.

For simple accommodation, truck bed campers are a fantastic choice.

Slide-In Truck Campers

Slide-in truck campers allow you to hit the road without needing any additional trailers or rigs.

The camper simply slides in to the bed of a pickup truck. Once it is secured, the camper is ready to go and you can take your pickup truck wherever you’d normally take it.

Slide-in truck campers come outfitted with all of the basic amenities in a larger RV.

Most of them come complete with a sleeping area, a seating area, a kitchen, and a full bathroom.

There are usually also holding tanks for fresh water, grey water, and black water.

Pop Up Truck Campers

The exterior walls of the slide-in truck camper are made out of corrugated aluminum or fiberglass panels. There are a few manufacturers, however, that make the entire frame out of two pieces of fiberglass.

Depending on the size of the pickup truck carrying it, the camper can vary in overall design and interior amenities.

For example, some designs of slide-in truck campers have an overhang that is situated over the back of the truck. In other models, the frame stops at the back of the pickup bed.

If there is a rear overhang, this is most often used for storage purposes.

The overall length of the slide-in truck camper will be determined based on what model of pickup you have. Be careful, though. It is especially easy to buy too heavy of a camper for your model of truck.

Be sure to do extensive research before selecting a slide-in truck camper to outfit your truck with.

Most slide-in truck campers have jacks at each corner, allowing you to raise the camper high enough to back the truck up underneath.

Once the truck is beneath the camper, it’s relatively easy to lower down the jacks until the camper is sitting in the bed of the pickup truck. The last step is to secure the camper with a couple of tie-downs and turnbuckles.

After that, you’re ready to hit the open road!

  • Features of Slide-In Truck Campers

Slide-in truck campers have many of the same features that a larger RV would have.

Due to the fact that it doesn’t require towing, it’s possible to take your pickup truck anywhere that you normally would without the camper. The only real difference is that the camper sits a little higher than the cab of the pickup truck.

It is possible to find slide-outs on these campers, but this does add to the overall weight of the camper. It’s recommended that on heavy campers you have a pickup truck that can handle the weight.

On some models, you can also find a generator to power 120-volt appliances inside. However, this also adds to the overall weight, so they generally only come on larger models.

Interior Slide-In Truck Camper
Image Credit: Travel Lite RV

In most slide-in truck campers, you’ll find a single wet bathroom, where the shower, sink, and toilet are in a single frame. Although, there are some models that have dry bathrooms.

Due to the fact that these campers are already compact, exterior storage is extremely limited. There are a few compartments to store your necessities, but it’s a good idea to store most of your belongings inside the cab of the pickup truck.

If you intend on staying in one place for a good deal of time, it is possible to raise the camper on the jacks. The camper can be utilized while off of the truck, but it is recommended to place the feet of the jacks on stable blocks.

  • Cost of Slide-In Truck Campers

The basic and shortest models of slide-in truck campers are somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. Don’t expect much more than a basic frame and lower quality amenities for this cost though.

For a little more cost, you can order a higher quality frame with better materials, usually still able to fit in the bed of your pickup.

On the high end, for pickup trucks able to carry up to a ton, expect to pay around $80,000. However, this amount does include all of the flashy amenities and highest building materials.

It’s always a good idea to shop around for models and to do research for what will fit the model of your pickup truck.

  • Stats of Slide-In Truck Campers

The length is typically between 6 and 20 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 4 people.

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on a slide-in truck camper.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 600 pounds and 5,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $10,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $80,000.

Pros
  • Does not require a separate trailer or rig to camp
  • Can visit most of the same places with the camper attached
  • Easy to detach for exploring without the camper aboard
  • Same features as larger RVs in a compact size
Cons
  • Usually requires a heavy-duty pickup for larger models
  • Not a lot of storage space available
  • Can make the truck more top-heavy
  • Does tend to feel more cramped than larger RVs

Pop Up Truck Campers

Pop up truck campers are similar in many ways to their slide-in counterparts, except for one major difference.

Pop up truck campers have the ability to lower their ceiling.

This means that the overall weight is significantly less than the slide-in campers. It also means that the truck will be less top-heavy while commuting.

While the pop up truck camper appears similar to the slide-ins from the exterior, the interior is much more basic.

Outfitter_Pop Up Truck Camper
Image Credit: Outfittermfg

Unlike the hard-sided camper shells, the pop ups are designed only to include the basic necessities. This means that a separate bathroom is unlikely, and water holding tanks are usually not available.

The soft canvas sides of the pop up truck camper also don’t provide much protection in inclement weather. The canvas sides can be insulated, but they’re usually designed to simply keep campers out of the elements.

The biggest factor with pop up truck campers is to keep the overall weight low.

They don’t have the same “wow” factor that slide-in truck campers usually have.

The overall draw to a pop up truck camper is the fact that it keeps you off of the ground, and is a little more comfortable to sleep in than a tent.

It’s possible to order pop up truck campers with or without the rear overhang for extra storage.

The sleeping area is usually lofted above the cab of the pickup truck, similar to the slide-in hard-side truck campers. There are also jacks at each of the four corners, allowing you to raise and lower the camper for attaching or removal.

  • Features of Pop Up Truck Campers

The most notable feature of the pop up truck camper is the fact that the ceiling raises and lowers.

Although the pop up truck camper isn’t livable while the ceiling is lowered, it makes commuting much less of a hassle. This also means that the overall weight is significantly lower.

The pop up truck campers usually appeals to pickup truck drivers who have a ½ ton pickup, rather than a 1-ton pickup.

Interior Pop Up Truck Camper
Image Credit: Hallmark RV

You won’t find any slide-outs with this style of camper.

The biggest draw with this style of camper is its simple design. It may not have all the bells and whistles that larger RVs have, but some are completely okay with that.

The pop up truck camper makes traveling easy, and you can even go off-road without having to worry about how top-heavy the truck may be.

  • Cost of Pop Up Truck Campers

You can usually find a pop up truck camper for a price range of $6,000 and $50,000.

The large cost fluctuation depends on the overall size, as well as how much quality is put into the interior.

  • Stats of Pop Up Truck Campers

The length is typically between 6 and 20 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 4 people.

There are no slide-outs on pop up truck campers.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 500 pounds and 2,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $6,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $50,000.

Pros
  • Less top-heavy than the slide-in truck camper
  • Ideal for people who want to travel off-road
  • Does not require a separate trailer or rig
Cons
  • Incredibly basic, no-frills interiors
  • Canvas sides are not great for inclement weather

Specialty RVs

Specialty RVs are the “everything else” category of this guide.

We’ve included four additional styles of RVs under the specialty RV category: horse trailers, fish house trailers, RVs for the disabled, and park model RVs.

Each of these RVs are unique in their own way.

They hardly relate to one another overall, but may be related to some of the models mentioned further up in this article.

Horse Trailers

Horse Trailers are primarily designed for hauling a set number of horses.

While some horse trailers do provide living quarters for humans built on, the most common type is solely for horses.

Horse trailers can vary in size, with the ability to carry between 1 and 8 horses.

Horse trailers

This style of trailer is usually made with corrugated aluminum and steel to ensure that the frame is rigid and secure.

Most horse trailers have rear doors that swing open. On some models, you will also find a side door for alternative entry.

Depending on the size and model of the horse trailer, sometimes a heavy-duty pickup truck is required to tow.

  • Features of Horse Trailers

Smaller horse trailers only have one axel, while larger models can easily have up to two.

The interior of horse trailers are generally simplistic. They generally have mounts to secure a set number of horses. There are usually designated stalls as well.

On larger models, it becomes more common to have separate living quarters. The living quarters typically include the same RV setup as a normal 5th wheel trailer.

In the living quarters, expect to find a place to sleep, a small kitchen, a separate bathroom, and a dining area. Everything inside will look very similar to a fifth wheel trailer, aside from its shortened size.

However, you will find that the living quarters of most horse trailers are often highly luxurious.

Without the living quarters, the trailer essentially becomes a simple means for transporting horses.

  • Cost of Horse Trailers

The cost of horse trailers can greatly vary. Much of the price fluctuation depends on whether or not it has living quarters built-in.

However, the overall size of the horse trailer has a great impact on the cost as well.

For the smallest 8-foot models, expect to pay around $4,000.

For the larger models with living quarters built-in, and with the ability to haul up to 8 horses, expect a price range of around $200,000.

  • Stats of Horse Trailers

The length is typically between 8 and 48 feet.

The average capacity generally accommodates between 1 and 8 horses.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,000 pounds and 8,000 pounds, without any horses on board.

The retail price is usually at least $4,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $200,000.

Pros
  • Ability to keep horses safe while commuting
  • Some models accommodate for additional living quarters
Cons
  • Larger models can be extremely pricey
  • Smaller models do not have living quarters

Fish House Trailers

Fish house trailers are the primary means for staying warm while ice fishing.

Fish houses have come a long way, since there are now towable and more luxurious models on the market.

However, there are still very simplistic, yet towable models available too.

They typically come with one or two axels supporting the trailer, depending on the size.

Fish House Trailers

The trailer is usually built on a steel chassis, with fiberglass panels on the exterior, and wood paneling indoors.

Although fish house trailers are built for convenience, it is always a good idea to check the ice before towing a trailer onto it.

  • Features of Fish House Trailers  

The most notable feature on fish house trailers are the hatches on the floor. These hatches open up to reveal the ice underneath the trailer.

There are also usually wood burning stoves to keep the interior of the camper especially warm.

This not only makes ice fishing much more comfortable, but also more endurable that a shack.

In most types of fish house trailers, expect to find similar accommodations to other RV models.

There is generally a small kitchen, a separate bathroom, a dining area, and room for multiple people to sleep. A small 120-volt generator is usually equipped to power interior appliances.

  • Cost of Fish House Trailers

Due to the fact that fish house trailers can vary between basic boxes and full-blown houses, prices vary accordingly.

On the low end, a basic fish house may only cost $2,000.

However, if you intend on being comfortable while you’re out ice fishing, expect to pay up to $60,000 for a high-quality model.

  • Stats of Fish House Trailers

The length is typically between 8 and 32 feet.

In certain models, the sleeping capacity can accommodate up to 10 people.

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on a toy hauler travel trailer.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 2,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $2,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $60,000.

Pros
  • Ability to stay warm while ice fishing
  • Some models have tons of amenities
  • Great for weekend trips in the winter
Cons
  • Some trailers may be too heavy for the ice
  • Smaller models are extremely basice

RVs for the Disabled

RVs for the disabled haven’t been around for very long. However, as the demand grows greater, they are certainly becoming more common.

An RV specially manufactured for the disabled looks very similar to its standard counterpart.

RVs for the disabled come as motorhomes, as well as trailers.

RV for the Disabled
Image Credit: Winnebago

In order to make camping as inclusive as possible for the disabled, many features are slightly altered both on the interior and the exterior of the RV.

These RVs are a great option to make camping fun for everyone

  • Features of RVs for the Disabled

One of the most noticeable features on RVs for the disabled are the lifts that are generally built on.

The hydraulic lifts are electronically operated and make entering or exiting easier for people in wheelchairs.

Sometimes, you will alternately find a concealable ramp that slides out from underneath the door. With this option, the wheelchair can then be pushed up the ramp in order to enter the camper.

As a third option, occasionally models can be found with a rear door that folds down to enter the camper. These are similar to the toy hauler models of RVs.

Interior of Disable Special RV
Image Credit: Winnebago

On many models with built-in bathrooms, expect to find a toilet and a sink that accommodates those in wheelchairs.

These can come as wet bathrooms or dry bathrooms, depending on the model.

In addition to the bathroom, the dining area also is manufactured to allow plenty of room for wheelchairs to situate next to the table.

Most of the interior appliances and shelf spaces are manufactured with handicapped individuals in mind.

  • Cost of RVs for the Disabled

Depending on what kind of functionality the RV has, the price range of RVs for the disabled can vary.

To give you a general idea, the overall cost can be between $60,000 and $250,000.

  • Stats of RVs for the Disabled

The length is typically between 18 and 38 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 6 people.

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on an RV for the disabled.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 7,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds, without recreational toys on board.

The retail price is usually at least $60,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $250,000.

Pros
  • Open floor plan for wheelchair accessibility
  • Fully contained and allows ease for disabled
  • Makes camping fun for everyone
Cons
  • Larger models with added components can be pricey
  • Not all features will be able to accommodate properly
  • Sometimes may require extra work for setting up

Park Model RVs

Park model RVs are RVs designed to be placed in RV parks or on vacation property.

Park model RVs are similar to more permanent trailer homes, except they are typically more temporary in use.

The primary difference between a park model RV and a permanent manufactured home is its transportability. Park model RVs typically have wheels underneath.

They offer many of the same amenities as a more permanent home.

Park Model RVs

One of the best things about park model RVs is the extra space they allow for seasonal campers to spread out.

Many owners will leave them at a resort to enjoy seasonal camping experiences.

Once the owners want a change of scenery, they have the ability to tow them to a new resort.

Although park model RVs are much larger in size, and are likely going to be towed less than a travel trailer, they provide a greater deal of living space.

Most park model RVs have up to 400 square feet of living space.

Park model RVs are built on a single chassis and are usually mounted on two or three axels.

  • Features of Park Model RVs

One of the most notable features on the park model RV is the loft area for sleeping quarters. There is typically a set of stairs that lead up to the separate bedroom.

Aside from the lofted bedroom on some models, most of the amenities inside look similar to a standard trailer park home.

The main difference, however, of a park model and a mobile home is its smaller size.

Park model RVs come with direct hookups to water, electricity, and gas. These are especially convenient if the park model is placed in a resort lot, where these accommodations are provided.

The interior of the park model RV is usually partitioned off into sections. Aside from the bedroom quarters, you will also find a separate bathroom, a kitchen, and living space.

Oftentimes, park model RVs are made to accommodate multiple individuals. It’s not uncommon to find a park model RV with two master bedrooms.

Sometimes, they even have a third bedroom and an additional sleeper sofa for extra-large groups. Choosing the right park model RV depends on a few factors.

How many people do you intend to accommodate?

What type of climate will your park model RV be placed in?

Will your park model RV be out in the country or at a resort?

Having some idea of what you’re looking for in a park model RV can greatly aid your search in finding a satisfactory seasonal home.

  • Cost of Park Model RVs

Park model RVs can be ordered as basic boxes with limited amenities, or with all the bells and whistles attached.

On the low end, a park model RV will cost around $40,000.

On the high end, a park model RV can cost up to $150,000 or more.

  • Stats of Park Model RVs

The length is typically between 18 and 45 feet.

The average sleeping capacity generally accommodates up to 10 people.

There can be up to 3 slide-outs on a park model RV.

The vehicle weight usually falls somewhere between 8,000 pounds and 25,000 pounds.

The retail price is usually at least $40,000 for a basic model, but they can easily be upwards of $150,000.

Pros
  • A great option for new homeowners
  • Perfect for seasonal vacation homes
  • Easily customizable with personal furnishings
Cons
  • Semi-permanent structure that isn’t intended to be moved
  • Some models can easily have a high price tag
  • Not always built as strong as permanent houses

In Conclusion

The options are greatly varied when it comes to RV classifications.

It’s no wonder that the industry of RVs has grown so much. As traveling becomes more convenient, a greater number of individuals are looking for RVs to stay in while they explore.

Although deciding on the perfect RV can be a little overwhelming, taking note of what features you’re looking for can be extremely helpful.

Do you want a tow-behind?

If so, how long should it be to accommodate all of your guests?

If it needs extra space, maybe you’d do better with a fifth wheel?

Or maybe you’re interested in convenience?

In such a case, perhaps a truck bed camper would suit you?

Now that you have a clearer idea of many of the features and costs of various RVs, you should be able to determine better what you may be looking for.

With all that you’ve learned, are you ready to hit the open road?

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