Ultimate Guide To RV Types: Demystifying RV Classes

PublishedSeptember 6, 2019

Figuring out the difference between RV types is a confusing endeavor. 

What's a motorhome? What's a travel trailer? Is a toy hauler a fifth wheel or a travel trailer or a motorhome? Ugh!

On this page we answer the question, 'What are the different classes of RVs?'

We'll cover the basics of the different RV types, giving you a high-level overview of what's available in recreational vehicles. 

We will also give some general facts and figures about each of the different classes of RVs to give you an idea of what the different types of campers offer.

Class B motorhome

#VanLife

Travel Trailer toy hauler

Bring All The Toys!

In addition, you will learn the difference between a Class A, Class B, and Class C Motorhome.

You'll come away with an idea of the different types of camping trailers available.

Lastly, you'll learn a little about truck campers.

Let's get to it!

You're about to have a head full of RV knowledge and by the end of this, you will have a basic overview of the different types of recreational vehicles available today.

  • Build quality can vary wildly between manufacturers. Read our best RV brands article to find out who makes the best quality RVs.

Quick Note On Prices Shown

The prices shown for the different RV types is a retail price range for a new unit.

Assuming you purchase a new unit (this is a discussion for a whole other day...), never pay retail price.

It's fairly common to receive at least a 20% discount off the retail price on a new RV.

Depending on the make, floor plan, time of year, phase of the moon, and what the salesman had for breakfast that day, you may be able to do better than this.

There are some brands that only sell factory direct. In such cases, the retail price may be the price you pay.

Though, again, depending on different factors, you may be able to get a discount even on factory direct RVs.

  • Want to know if buying used versus new makes more financial sense? (It usually does.) Learn where to find used RV values so you can make an educated purchasing decision.

Motorhome Classes

Motorhomes are motorized RVs that don't require another vehicle to propel them down the road. They are broken into different 'classes', which describe their basic size and shape.

Here are the three different motorhome classes:

Class A: This is your basic box on wheels (The shape that first comes to mind when you think 'motorhome'). 

Class B: This is a van conversion, which starts its life in one form or another, as a van.

Class C: This is also a box on wheels but has the nose (front end) of a full-sized van or a pickup truck.

Keep reading to learn in more detail about the different classes of motorized RVs.

Class A Motorhomes

A Class A motorhome may be what you think of when you think 'motorhome.' It's the traditional rectangular box on wheels that is a common sight on roads and in campgrounds.

This type of motorhome offers the most interior space of all motorized RVs, with more storage capability than any other type of RV.

Often chosen as the best RV for full-time living, Class A motorhomes come in lengths ranging from about 28 feet to 45 feet and interior furnishing levels from the spartan to rivaling luxury condos.

B & Ks Newmar Class A

Class A Motorhome

This type of RV starts life as a bare chassis. Next, the fiberglass 'box' is built onto the chassis.

There will be either a gas engine (lower cost) or a diesel engine (more expensive), and a single rear axle (shorter rigs), or a dual rear axle (longer RVs).

If you are looking for a motorhome with lots of interior and exterior storage, multiple seating areas, and a tall, commanding view, the Class A may be right for you.

Class A Motorhomes In-Depth

  • Learn all about Class A's by reading our blog post What Is A Class A RV? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of motorhome.
Class A Motorhome Quick Stats:
  • Length: 28 to 45 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: 4 to 6 people (or more with certain floor plans)
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 4
  • Gas Mileage: 6 to 10 (will vary depending on size, gas or diesel engine, and driving style)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 22,000 pounds to 55,000 pounds
  • Towing Capacity: 5,000 to 20,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: Low $100,000's to $400,000+ (up to $2 Million+ for a bus conversion)

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Class A Motorhome Pros and Cons
  • Truly self-contained RV that is drivable and has everything you need to enjoy camping
  • Can tow another vehicle which allows you to explore the area without taking your house with you
  • Class A's typically have the largest fresh water and holding tanks of all RV types
  • Open floor plan due to driving area  being completely open to living area
  • Harder to maneuver and fit into certain places due to size and weight
  • Driving can be tiresome and a bit 'exciting' in certain weather
  • This type of RV tends to be among the most expensive

Who Makes Class A's? Which Class A Is The Best?

Class B Motorhomes

A Class B motorhome is also known as a van conversion. They are built using a bare van body which then has RV components installed inside.

The result is a small, fully self-contained RV that can navigate urban areas, and camp out in the wilderness.

The Class B is small and nimble enough that you can use it to run errands while out camping, eliminating the need for a separate vehicle.

Class B motorhome

Class B Motorhome

Another take on this class of RV is the Class B+ motorhome. Instead of using a complete van shell as the starting point, a Class B+ uses a cutaway van chassis (just the van's front with a 'bare' van frame behind).

A more traditional RV 'box' living area is built from the ground up on the bare frame portion of the cutaway chassis, resulting in a broader, roomier space while keeping the shorter overall length.

Class B+ RV

Class B+

A Class B/B+ is an excellent choice for the solo traveler or couple wanting all the amenities of a self-contained, drivable RV but don't want to have a large, full-sized motorhome that is hard to maneuver and find a place to park.

Class B Motorhomes In-Depth

  • Learn all about Class B's by reading our blog post What Is A Class B RV? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of motorhome.
Class B/B+ Motorhome Quick Stats:
  • Length: 19 to 27 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 4 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 2
  • Gas Mileage: 10 to 25 (will vary depending on size, gas or diesel engine, and driving style)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 8,000 to 14,500 pounds
  • Towing Capacity: 2,000 to 7,500 pounds
  • Retail Price: Low $100,000's to $200,000+

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Class B/B+ Motorhome Pros and Cons:
  • Same features of other motorhomes, but in a (much) smaller package
  • Easier to drive and more maneuverable than bigger motorhomes
  • 4x4 option is available from some manufacturers
  • Allows you to go places larger motorhomes can't
  • Interior space is limited due to overall size of RV
  • An expensive option, especially when you compare it to other types of motorhomes
  • Interior and exterior storage can be lacking
  • Fresh and waste water tanks smaller (often much smaller) that other motorhome types

Who Makes Class B's? Which Class B Is The Best?

Class C Motorhomes

A Class C is a type of RV that is built on a van cutaway chassis. Meaning it has the van's nose (driver's compartment), with the living quarters built behind it.

This type of RV is great for someone that wants to have a drivable rig that is sized right to make it easier to maneuver.

Class C Motorhome

Class C Motorhome

Class C RVs come in either gas or diesel engine versions and range in size from mid-20 feet to mid-30 feet in length.

They offer interior furnishings ranging from basic and cheap, to upscale and luxurious, with price ranges to match.

This type of RV is excellent if you don't want to tow a trailer but don't need some monster motorhome.

Class C Motorhomes In-Depth

  • Learn all about Class C's by reading our blog post titled What Is A Class C RV? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of motorhome.
Class C Motorhome Quick Stats:
  • Length: 24 to 36 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 6 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 2
  • Gas Mileage: 8 to 15 (will vary depending on size, gas or diesel engine, and driving style)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 10,000 to 14,500 pounds
  • Towing Capacity: 5,000 to 10,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: $80,000 to $140,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Class C+ (Super C) Motorhome Quick Stats:
  • Length: 32 to 41 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 9 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 4
  • Gas Mileage: 6 to 10 (will vary depending on size, gas or diesel engine, and driving style)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 23,000 to 33,000 pounds
  • Towing Capacity: 10,000 to 30,000 pounds
  • Cost: $200,000 to $700,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Class C Motorhome Pros and Cons:
  • Smaller sized motorhome with all the features of its larger relative
  • Easier to drive and maneuver than a Class A
  • Many have the ability to tow a small vehicle so you don't have to drive the motorhome to go exploring
  • Price can be lower than Class A's
  • Interior space can be at a premium on the shorter floor plans
  • Exterior storage may be lacking, especially on smaller rigs

Who Makes Class C's? Which Class C Is The Best?

An RV Is Your Home Away From Home

Except for basic, inexpensive trailers, a recreational vehicle has everything required to make it a self-contained home away from home.

Or possibly even your full-time home.

Sleeping Area

You will find various sleeping areas in RVs, including a traditional bed (anywhere from full to a RV king size mattress), bunk beds, sofa beds, and Murphy beds.

An RV can sleep from 2 to 8 (or more) people, depending on the variety of sleeping areas it has.

Kitchen

RV kitchens usually have everything your home kitchen has.

The stove, oven, microwave, sink, refrigerator, counter space, pantry, and storage space are there.

Some RVs even have dishwashers.

RV-specific refrigerators will run either off 120-volt shore power or propane (some smaller RV refrigerators can also run using a 12-volt power supply).

Larger motorhomes are increasingly coming equipped with residential refrigerators that only run off a 120-volt power source.

Bathroom

RV bathrooms have a toilet, separate shower stall, and a sink.

There are storage areas and medicine cabinets.

Shorter RVs may have a wet bath, which means that the shower and toilet share the same area.

This saves space but makes taking a shower less enjoyable.

There are some tiny RVs without bathroom facilities.

Living Area

The living area will consist of anything from a single seating area with a table that serves as an eating area and work area to multiple seating areas including couches, lounge chairs, and a separate dinette.

The larger the RV, the more seating options will be present.

Appliances

In addition to the kitchen appliances mentioned above, a fully self-contained RV will also have a water heater (that typically can run off electricity and propane)and a propane furnace (though some diesel motorhomes will have diesel furnaces).

RVs will also have entertainment systems that have TVs and stereos with DVD players or streaming capability.

Common household appliances that you use daily most likely will have an RV equivalent.

After all, most RVs are self-contained with all the basics a house has.

Some larger RVs will even have a clothes washer and dryer (often a combo unit).

While these are nice, they are heavy and use a lot of water and power, so you'll need to be hooked up to utilities to use these.

Holding Tanks

All but the most basic RVs have holding tanks, also known as an RV waste tank.

These include a freshwater tank, RV gray water tank for the shower and sink water (some RVs have two of these), and a black water holding tank for sewage.

Holding tank sizes vary greatly. 

The general rule of thumb (but not a hard, fast rule) is that the larger the RV, the larger the tanks.

Propane

Propane is used as a primary fuel on most RVs for many of the appliances.

Water heaters are capable of running on propane. Furnaces typically use propane.

Most recreational vehicle-specific refrigerators will be able to use propane when not connected to a 120-volt power supply.

Power

RVs typically have both a 12-volt and a 120-volt electrical system.

The 12-volt system gets power from the house batteries (similar to a car's battery).

The 120-volt system is powered when plugged into an external shore power (120-volt) source or if the RV has an onboard generator.

Types Of RV Trailers

The most diverse and popular among camper types are the towable RVs or trailers.

RV trailers require another vehicle (the tow vehicle) to pull it to your destination.

Once you have arrived at your campsite, towable RVs will be disconnected from the tow vehicle, which then can be used to explore the area you are staying.

There are two main types of RV trailers - the bumper pull trailer and the fifth wheel.

Bumper Pull Trailers

Bumper pull travel trailers are broken down into different camping trailer types - the traditional travel trailer, the pop-up trailer, the hybrid travel trailer, and the teardrop trailer.

They all have one thing in common.

They attach to the rear (bumper area) of the tow vehicle using an anti-sway hitch.

Following is an explanation of the different types of bumper pull trailers:

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are the traditional box on wheels that are towed behind another vehicle. Once you arrive at a campsite, you unhitch the trailer and have a 'normal' vehicle to drive around as you explore.

Because of their relatively low cost, this type of camper is an excellent choice for someone looking for a low barrier of entry to get into RVing yet has all the amenities you need while camping.

Pull behind camper

Travel Trailer

As you can see, there is a model to fit any camping style and type of use.

With sleeping areas for a couple up to a decently sized family, a full kitchen, seating area(s), bathrooms, and storage space, a travel trailer allows you to enjoy the camping experience without necessarily having to rough it.

Travel Trailers In-Depth

  • Learn all about travel trailers by reading our blog post titled What Is A Travel Trailer? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of camper.
Travel Trailer Quick Stats:
  • Length: 13 to 39 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 6 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 3
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2,000 to 11,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: $15,000 to $150,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Travel Trailer Pros and Cons:
  • Many models and price ranges
  • Much cheaper than a motorhome
  • With smaller trailers, you don't need a large truck to tow
  • Most floor plans have everything you need to make a home on wheels
  • The longer the trailer, the harder it is to tow and park
  • Longer, heavier trailers require large, heavy duty trucks to tow

Who Makes Travel Trailers? Which Travel Trailer Is The Best?

Pop-Up Trailers

Pop-up trailers do just what their name states. They pop up. The top half pops up when you are setting up camp. And the top collapses down when towing.

A pop up camper expands when the space is needed, and it collapses when it's time to move locations, or when storing the RV.

Pop-Up Tent Trailer exterior

Pop-Up Trailer

There are a couple of advantages to this transforming behavior.

When in towing position, a pop-up is lower and more aerodynamic, making it easier to pull.

This type of camper is lighter because the walls are canvas, and therefore incredibly light. Almost any car can tow a pop-up trailer due to the small size and lower weight.

This type of RV is best for people who don't want to tent camp but aren't ready to buy a regular RV.

If tent camping isn't your thing because you do like a few creature comforts, but the budget doesn't allow for a larger travel trailer or motorhome, then a pop-up may be right for you.

Pop-Ups In-Depth

  • Learn all about pop-ups by reading our blog post titled What Is A Pop-Up Camper? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of camper.
Pop-Up Trailer Quick Stats:
  • Length: 8 to 31 feet (in the 'open' position)
  •  Sleeping Capacity: Up to 6 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 1
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2,200 to 5,200 pounds
  • Retail Price: $10,000 to $30,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Pop-Up Trailer Pros and Cons:
  • Better than tent camping, but not as expensive as many other RV types
  • Almost any vehicle can tow a small pop-up
  • Small size makes them easy to maneuver and they'll fit just about anywhere.
  • Don't expect luxuries with this low-frill RV
  • Soft sides mean minimal protection from weather extremes
  • Some small pop-ups don't include a toilet or a shower

Hybrid Travel Trailers

Hybrid travel trailers are interesting. They combine many of the features of a conventional travel trailer with the added benefits of increased sleeping areas from pop-out areas similar to what you'll find in a pop-up camper.

They allow more people to sleep in a given length of trailer, which means you can bring a larger family on a camping trip without having to haul around some long towable RV.

Pop-Up Tent Trailer interior

Expandable Travel Trailer

However, the pop-outs only have canvas/fabric walls, so they offer little protection from the elements and certainly lack the privacy that you may enjoy in a more traditional trailer.

Interiors are equipped much like other travel trailers. You'll find a bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, seating areas, and interior storage.

This type of camper is best suited for weekend or week-long outings. It's not a great choice for anyone who intends on living in their rig full-time due to the lack of protection from the weather with the canvas sides pop-outs.

Hybrid RVs In-Depth

  • Learn all about Hybrids by reading our blog post titled What Is A Hybrid Travel Trailer? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this kind of RV.
Hybrid Trailer Quick Stats:
  • Length: 13 to 25 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 6 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 2 (plus up to 3 pop-outs)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 3,000 to 7,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: $18,000 to $40,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Hybrid Pros and Cons:
  • More sleeping areas than a comparably sized regular travel trailer
  • Sleep more people in the same sized campsite
  • Lighter weight means easier to tow
  • Little protection from the elements in pop-out portions
  • Less privacy (due to canvas walls) than traditional travel trailers
  • No real cost savings compared to traditional RV trailer

Teardrop Trailers

Teardrop trailers are a class of RV that has a very distinctive, teardrop aerodynamic shape to them.

Teardrops come in all different sizes, ranging from a small rig that only has a place for two people to sleep up to a fully-featured travel trailer but still retaining the classic teardrop shape.

Small Teardrop Trailer exterior

Small Teardrop Trailer

Smaller teardrops are little more than a dry, safe place to sleep, while larger teardrops offer all the amenities of a traditional travel trailer.

There are many different options with this RV class regarding space, size, and amenities.

Some have no cooking facilities, while others offer an outdoor kitchen accessible by opening up the rear clamshell hatch.

Bigger teardrops have inside kitchens just like a 'normal' travel trailer.

Don't need a bathroom? Smaller teardrops don't have them.

Need a bathroom? Medium to large teardrops either come with them standard, or they are an option.

No matter what style of camper you are, the teardrop class of RV most likely offers something that will make you happy.

Teardrops In-Depth

  • Learn all about teardrops by reading our blog post titled What Is A Teardrop Camper? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about this type of RV.
Teardrop Quick Stats:
  • Length: 10 to 21 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 4 people
  • RV slide-out: 0
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2,000 to 4,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: $3,000 to $40,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Teardrop Pros and Cons:
  • All different sizes to fit many different needs
  • Small teardrops can be towed by just about any vehicle
  • If you like the teardrop shape, there is a size and floor plan for you
  • Off-road axles capable of light off-roading are available on some smaller teardrops
  • The smallest teardrops offer little more than a dry place to sleep
  • Prepare to cook outside in all weather conditions if your teardrop has an outdoor kitchen

Who Makes Teardrop Trailers? Which Teardrop Is The Best?

5th Wheel Trailers

5th wheels are a type of towable RV that attaches to the bed of a pickup truck. Conversely, a bumper pull trailer connects to the rear of the truck. 

Fifth Wheel exterior

Fifth Wheel Trailer

A fifth wheel trailer is a popular type of RV for full-time RVers and those that like to have plenty of space while on the road.

Because part of the trailer is over the bed of the tow vehicle, the overall length of this type of RV when towing is less than a travel trailer of comparable length.

However, fifth wheels often are taller than their travel trailer counterparts, making for a formidable vehicle going down the road.

5th Wheel Trailers In-Depth

  • Learn all about 5th wheels by reading our blog post titled What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about 5th wheels.
5th Wheel Quick Stats:
  • Length: 19 to 48 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 8 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 6
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 3,500 to 24,000 pounds
  • Retail Price: $18,000 to $225,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Fifth Wheel Pros and Cons:
  • Very stable while towing
  • Many lengths, floor plans,  and interior appointments to chose from
  • Generally more interior living space than travel trailers
  • Often are much taller than a travel trailer
  • Weight of most fifth wheels requires very large tow vehicles
  • Fitting into certain campsites can be an issue with longer 5th wheels

Who Makes 5th Wheels? Which 5th Wheel Is The Best?

Toy Hauler RVs

Toy haulers are a unique RV class in that they let you bring your outdoor toys with you camping. (What is a toy hauler?)

The smallest toy hauler is no more than a short towable RV with a large access door that allows you to put in a bicycle or small water toy. The largest toy hauler is a monster beast capable of having at least one off-road vehicle, so you can go blast around at your favorite OHV park.

Toy haulers come in three RV types: Toy hauler motorhomes, travel trailer toy haulers, and fifth wheel toy haulers.

Travel Trailer toy hauler

Travel Trailer Toy Hauler

Motorhome Toy Hauler exterior

Class A Motorhome Toy Hauler

Most toy haulers come as towable RVs - either fifth wheels or travel trailers. Rarely will you see a motorhome toy hauler. In fact, only two manufacturers currently make these types of RVs.

These different types of toy haulers look like their 'normal' counterparts on the outside, but inside they have an open garage area to store all the fun things.

Typically a toy hauler will have a rear access ramp that comes down to allow loading of the garage.

Toy haulers aren't just for toys. They are also a favorite amongst people who are looking to be creative with an RV space. Home offices, artist studios, and large living areas are just some of the examples of how people have utilized the garage space for purposes other than transporting toys.

Toy Haulers In-Depth

  • Learn all about toy haulers by reading our blog post titled What Is A Toy Hauler? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about toy haulers.

See the What Is A Toy Hauler? article for quick stats and the pros and cons of each type of toy hauler. Below is a general pro and cons for the general toy hauler RV category.

Toy Hauler Pros and Cons:
  • Bring your toys with you camping
  • Increased cargo carrying capacity over similarly sized 'normal' RVs
  • Most have a separate fuel station for off-road vehicles and can be equipped with a generator 
  • Additional sleeping and seating areas in garage area (most likely requires toys to be outside)
  • With most toy haulers, in order to use garage sleeping and seating areas, toys have to be left outside
  • Most toy hauler trailers require large, heavy duty truck to tow

Who Makes Toy Haulers? Which Toy Hauler Is The Best?

Truck Campers

Slide-in truck campers are types of RVs that sit inside a pickup truck bed, making for an excellent compact recreational vehicle. They are pretty popular for weekends or shorter trips.

Because they don't have a massive interior space, they are not the most popular type of RV for long-term camping adventures.

However, their overall short length (not much longer than the truck itself) means that this RV class is relatively easy to maneuver and lets you access campsites and areas that larger RVs would have difficulty getting to.

There are two types of campers - the slide-in camper and the pop-up truck camper.

Truck Campers In-Depth

  • Learn all about truck campers by reading our blog post titled What Is A Truck Bed Camper? where we go in-depth on everything you want to know about the two different types of truck campers.

Slide-In Truck Campers

A slide-in camper is a hard-sided RV that sits in a truck bed. They offer all the basic amenities of larger RV types in a compact package.

Due to their overall small size, they don't have an abundance of storage space (or room in general), and their holding tanks tend to be smaller.

A slide-in camper can be removed from the truck bed when at a campsite, allowing you to use your truck normally, without the additional payload in the bed.

Learn more about slide-in truck campers.

Slide-In Truck Camper

Slide-In Truck Camper

Slide-In Truck Camper Quick Stats:
  • Length: 6 to 20 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 4 people
  • RV slide-out: 0 to 3
  • Dry Weight: 700 to 4,200 pounds
  • Retail Price: $10,000 to $70,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Slide-In Camper Pros and Cons:
  • Full featured compact RV
  • Models to fit anything from a mid-sized truck to a one-ton truck
  • Able to remove from truck at campsite, freeing your truck for exploring
  • Truck more top heavy with camper in truck bed
  • Interior or exterior storage space in short supply
  • Shorter length than other RVs means interior accommodations are typically cramped

Pop-Up Truck Campers

Pop-up campers serve the same primary purpose as their slide-in camper counterpart but have the advantage of lighter weight and a lower overall height when in travel mode.

The roof of this type of camper moves up to increase interior room while in 'camp mode' and lowers down while in 'travel mode.' It can do this because part of the sidewall is made of canvas material.

This type of RV is designed for people who like to camp way down off-road trails or otherwise need a lighter, more overall compact camper to sit in the bed of their truck.

Learn more about pop-up truck campers.

Pop Up Camper up

Pop-Up Truck Camper (Open Position)

Pop Up Camper down

Pop-Up Truck Camper (Closed Position)

Pop-Up Truck Camper Quick Stats:
  • Length: 10 to 15 feet
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 4 people
  • RV slide-out: 0
  • Dry Weight: 900 to 1,900 pounds
  • Retail Price: $8,000 to $42,000

*Above stats are approximate ranges just to give you a general idea

Pop-Up Truck Camper Pros and Cons:
  • Lightweight and low overall height while in 'travel mode'
  • Great for those wanting to go off-road
  • Interiors not as nice as a slide-in camper
  • Fabric sides offer little protection from temperature extremes

Who Makes Truck Campers?

RV Slide-Outs: Expanding Your Living Space

RV slide-out (slides) are sections of an RV's wall that electrically or hydraulically moves outward to create more interior living space.

Slides have three hard-sided walls, a ceiling, and a floor.

They have one open side - the one that faces the interior of the rig.

The purpose of RV slides is to have more interior living space without increasing the overall length of the rig.

 It's pretty common to see slide-outs in RVs starting at 20 feet (usually one slide).

The longer the RV, the more slides you are likely to find (with up six slides in some massive fifth wheels).

RV slide out

An RV Slide In The Open Position

Slides are in the closed/retracted position while traveling.

When setting up camp,  you extend the slides out to expand your interior living space.

Slides add weight to a recreational vehicle (due to the increased wall structure and the slide extension/retraction mechanism), as well as cost.

They also can be a trouble spot with RVs, especially if RV manufacturers take shortcuts to save money when picking slide mechanisms (yes, this happens VERY frequently).

One thing to be aware of when it comes to slides is whether or not your RV is usable when the slides are in.

It's relatively common not be able to access certain areas of a slide-equipped RV when the slides are retracted (in).

Areas affected can be the kitchen, refrigerator, bathroom, seating areas, and sleeping areas.

Marshall slide opened

Slide Open Creating Room

Marshall slide closed

Slide Closed For Travel

This becomes an issue in certain situations, such as a stop at the grocery store on a travel day, and you have to put a slide out (pain!)  to put your cold groceries away.

Or, if you want to do the Walmart overnight parking thing while traveling across the country, you have to put your slide out to go to sleep (typically, it is frowned upon to open your slides when staying in parking lots).

Heck, even getting to the bathroom when traveling between campgrounds can become a production if a slide is in the way.

These are things you may not think of when RV shopping.

Now you know to check the livability of your potential new RV when the slides are in (retracted).

Learn more about RV slides by reading our post on the Pros and Cons of RV Slides.

Dry Bathroom vs. Wet Bathroom

There are two types of bathrooms found in an RV - the dry bathroom and the wet bathroom.

Dry or wet. (Wut?)

A dry bathroom is one where there is a separate toilet area and a separate shower area.

The only thing in the bathroom that gets wet is the shower itself.

The rest of the bathroom is dry.

While the dry bathroom parts might all be in one room, the shower is a separate area (a shower stall).

Sometimes the shower is on one side of the RV and the toilet (water closest) on the other side (often across the hall/aisle).

RV dry bathroom

Dry Bathroom

RV wet bathroom

Wet Bathroom

Smaller RVs often have a wet bath.

This is a single compartment that has the toilet, small sink, medicine cabinet, and shower all in one.

The wet bathroom compartment will often be water-tight, so you can get everything wet in there.

Or there will be a shower curtain to keep the parts dry that aren't supposed to get wet.

While wet baths are great in that they save space yet allow you to have a fully functioning bathroom, they can be a bit of a pain.

They often don't have much room to 'spread out' while showering and may even require you to sit on the toilet while you get clean.

Also, due to the nature of the beast, the wet bath gets, well, wet.

You will need to dry off or squeegee everything once you are done showering.

Conclusion

Whew!

That was a ton of information about the different classes of RVs available.

Hopefully, now you know more about what type of camper is best for your needs.

If not, reread it!

Seriously. It's a lot to digest.

Most anyone can find the right (or good enough) rig for them among the RV classes explained above.

Yes, recreational vehicle sizes and types are all over the map, but the cloud of confusion should have been lifted at least a little.

Now go out and see some RVs in person.

Nothing compares with walking through a few RVs to get an idea of what makes a quality RV and to find one that is right for you.

Marshall Headshot

Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit. 

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  • Hi Marshall, just discovered your site, I`ve been camping for at least 25 years, going up the ladder we started tenting to pop up trailers and going on, we now own a fifth wheel Flagstaff 524 RLS, we retired and we want to travel quit a bite once of course the COVID is over and done with. We are now looking at a smaller travel trailer, 20-22 feet with one pull out and 2 axels. We want something comfortable but not too big, we are presently looking at Rockwood mini lite 2205S or the equivalent Flagstaff micro lite 22FBS. I was told to be very carefull with the lite models, they could be very fragile, do you have any recommendations?
    Regards,
    Benoit Lance

    • Hi Benoit,

      I’m glad you discovered Camp Addict!

      While I don’t have any specific recommendations for a lightweight travel trailer (it’s on my to-do list, just hasn’t been done yet), we do have an article about the best RV brands.

      I’m not sure it’s fair to say that lightweight trailers are fragile. What I think is fair to say is that if you buy any RV from an RV manufacturer that produces junk RVs, you stand a greater chance of having issues. Doesn’t matter if the RV is in the ‘lightweight’ category or a ‘normal’ weight RV.

      So investigate the better RV brands, see what they offer as far as lightweight (or lighter weight) trailers, and see if you find something that fits your requirements.

      You stack the odds in your favor by purchasing a rig built by a quality manufacturer. This doesn’t mean you won’t have problems, it must means you are less likely to have problems.

      Happy RV hunting!

  • Hi Marshall
    Really enjoying your site. I am a total Newbie. I saw your top 5 Class A picks. I am curious if there are any “Runner-Ups” so to speak. The top five are somewhat hard to find and expensive. Is there any one or two of the rest of the pack that are tolerable? Or, are there any one, two or so of them to REALLY stay away from?

    • Hey Jeff,

      I’d suggest you purchase one of the top RV brands used. Heck, I’d suggest any RV you purchase be used. But best go with a top brand.

      There are a lot of brands you should stay away from. As in most of them!

      Join the RV Consumer Group and see which brands are among the better ones. The ones that we didn’t include.

      Educating yourself is the smartest investment you can make before buying an RV. Knowing how to tell good from not so good will save yourself a lot of potential grief down the line. 🙂

  • Quite comprehensive for a newbie like me. We recently bought a bumper pull – and are very happy with our purchase – but it was enlightening reading about all the other options.

    • Hey Jim!

      Congratulations on your new RV! We hope it serves you well. Thank you for taking the time to send us the kind note about the post. : D

      RV types can be confusing. Glad to hear this helped you out a bit.

      Cheers!

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