Types of Recreational Vehicles
Conventional Travel Trailer
These are the rigs that roll along the highways pulled by pick-ups, SUVs, and for some small, lightweight models, even sedans. Once you hook-up at your campsite, you're set. Your tow vehicle is your means to get out and explore. Travel trailers run from 12 to 35 feet. The largest versions can sleep up to 10 people. Amenities vary. The larger trailers are set up with multiple sleeping options, often with a separate master bedroom. Most have at least one slide giving you more living space. A slide is a section that extends out from the trailer when parked, all at the touch of a button. Kitchens, dining areas and good sized bathrooms are the norm. Smaller travel trailers, more suited for couples, often have limited kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Fifth-Wheel Trailers, ranging from 21 to 40 feet in length, are similar to conventional travel trailers, with two big differences. One, the "fifth-wheel" is a special towing attachment that hooks up with a special hitch located in a pick-up bed. The end that is hooked up to the pickup gives the rig a bi-level floor plan. This, in addition to the slides, gives you even more living space.
Expandable Travel Trailers
Expandable Travel Trailers are hard-sided rigs that have tent-like sections that expand out, giving you more sleeping space. These trailers range from 19 to 30 feet, with the largest able to sleep up to eight people. Smaller models are light enough to be towed by mid-sized cars and trucks. You still have the advantage of a kitchen, bathroom and dining areas but also get a tent-like sleeping experience.
Folding Camping Trailers
Folding Camper Trailers are a smaller version of the expandable travel trailers. Available in lengths of 8 to 24 feet, they completely fold down into a low profile, lightweight trailer that can be towed by many family vehicles. When open, they have comfortable tent-like sleeping and dining areas and kitchens. Some units have slides to increase the living space. Smaller trailers may not have toilet facilities. Some models have a combination of hard and soft sides.
Toy Haulers can be either conventional or fifth-wheel trailers, or even a specialty built motorhome. They give you the creature comforts you enjoy while also having a closed "garage" to carry your camping toys. A panel, which doubles as a ramp, drops down from the rear of the vehicle and lets your easily load your off-road vehicles, motorcycles, or even small boats. Trailers average 19 to 39 feet in length.
Available in lengths of 8 to 20 feet, Truck Campers are mounted on conventional pick-up trucks. These are popular for camping in smaller campgrounds or more remote areas. Truck Campers also give you the option to tow a small boat or an additional trailer for your camping toys. When camped you can either leave the unit on the trunk or set it down on stands. Some of the larger ones can sleep up to six, especially those with a slide. Most include kitchen facilities, showers, toilets and storage spaces.
Motorized RV Types
Class A Motorhome
Ranging from 21 to 40 feet in size, these are the big guys with plenty of storage inside and out. Class A units usually have multiple slides, giving you even more living space. Most are designed to sleep up to six people. One drawback is that once you are parked, you need to completely un-hook to get supplies or sightsee. If you are headed to a national or state park, the larger rigs just don't fit all campgrounds. With few exceptions, maximum RV length in some parks is 28 to 30 feet. In some states, you may also need a special driver's license for the larger rigs, especially those with air brakes.
Class B Motorhome
Sometimes called van conversions, the Class B motorhomes range from 16 to 22 feet, and are easy to drive and park. While you still have to unhook to go exploring, it's much easier to get around. Typically able to sleep up to four people, these beauties have kitchens, dining and sleeping areas and bathrooms. You may or may not have a slide. Some of the smaller models are perfect for couples. Class Bs use either raised roofs or lowered floors so you can stand up with ease.
Class C Motorhome
Class C motorhomes, ranging from 21 to 35 feet, are the ones with a truck-like cab. Some of the larger models can sleep up to eight. Amenities are similar to the Class A. Some even have separate master bedrooms to provide privacy, making this a great option for families or couples traveling together. Most have at least one slide out. The cab section makes it feel like you're driving an oversized pick-up. Just be sure the size you rent matches your intended campground visits.