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What RV Is Best For Me? A Summary Of Every Type Of RV

What Kind of RV Should I Get?

Deciding on the right type of RV is one of the biggest challenges for anyone looking to get into RV life.

From compact camper vans to towable travel trailers to bus-sized motorhomes, there’s an overwhelming number of RV styles, sizes and configurations out there.

Related Product: No matter what RV you get the Andersen Ultimate Trailer Gear Kit (click to view on Amazon) has everything you need to get level and stabilized.

The ideal RV truly depends on your travel needs, camping preferences, budget and how much living space you require on the road.

To help navigate the many choices, this guide breaks down all the major categories of RVs.

We’ll cover the key details, standout features and what kind of camping experiences each type of RV is best suited for.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, full-time RVer, off-road adventurer or simply looking for an affordable way to make amazing travel memories, this guide is an excellent place to start.

See Also: 10 Things You Need To Think About Before Buying An RV

The Ultimate RV List

Here’s a list of the most common RVs you will come across in your search for your perfect camper.

  • Travel Trailer
  • 5th-Wheel
  • Toy Hauler
  • Teardrop Trailer
  • Airstream
  • Pop-Up Camper/Tent Trailer
  • A-Frame Camper
  • Truck Camper
  • Camper Van/Class B Motorhome
  • Class C Motorhome
  • Class A Motorhome

A Closer Look at Each RV

travel trailer rv perfect for people who can tow a trailer but don't want anything too big
Travel trailer RVs are a perfect middle ground for solo campers, couples, and families.

Travel Trailer

Travel trailers are towable RVs that attach to a vehicle’s tow hitch. They are one of the most popular and affordable RV options.

Travel trailers range from ultra-lightweight models around 15-20 feet that can be towed by many SUVs and crossovers, up to larger 30-35 foot bunkhouse or toy hauler models for bigger families or those wanting extra garage space.

The interiors typically have open concept living/dining areas, compact kitchens, and bedrooms.

Most medium to large travel trailers have slide-outs to maximize interior space when camping.

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A major advantage is being able to unhitch and use your tow vehicle for transportation when settled at a campground. It makes it easier to explore the area you’re staying in.

One downside is the challenge of maneuvering a larger trailer, especially for beginner RVers.

Stabilizing jacks, backup cameras, and sway control hitches help, but there’s always a learning curve, especially when it comes to backing.

Overall, travel trailers provide a great introduction to RVing with their relatively low costs and ability to match one to your ideal size needs and towing capacity.

5th-wheel rv trailer perfect for full time rving and families
5th-wheel RVs require trucks to tow and are more sutible for large campgrounds.

5th-Wheel Trailers

Instead of attaching to a bumper hitch, fifth-wheel trailers connect to a large hitch that’s mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.

This design provides a tall second-story area that’s usually a bedroom, but I’ve also seen it made into an entertainment area with couches, recliners and a TV.

The extra height and space saved from the living area above the truck bed and hitch makes 5th-wheels a lot bigger on the inside.

From the road, many fifth-wheels have a distinctive, residential-style profile.

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With lengths often spanning 30-40 feet, fifth-wheels are best suited for half-ton or larger trucks.

The significantly higher costs, large size and responsibility of a truck/trailer combo makes fifth-wheels better aligned with more experienced RVers, particularly full-timers.

However, the unmatched spaciousness and luxury appointments make them extremely desirable for extended RV living and travel.

5th-wheel toyhauler rv camper for full time rvers and off road adventurers
There are 5th-wheel and travel trailer toy haulers. Either style has a large garage area and ramp in the back.

Toy Haulers

Toy haulers are usually 5th-wheel trailers, but they are also available in travel trailers as well.

For adventure-seeking outdoor enthusiasts, toy hauler RVs provide the ultimate mobile garage and toy carrier all in one.

As the name implies, toy haulers feature a built-in garage area in the rear that can haul your favorite “toys” – whether it’s motorcycles, side-by-sides, four wheelers, dirt bikes, snowmobiles or any other large outdoor machine.

This garage space, often 8-14 feet in length, sets toy haulers apart from typical camper trailers.

The garage can fully close up and secure your hauled items during travel, then ramp down into a huge patio or storage area once at camp.

See Also: RV Toy Hauler Patio Kits: How To Turn A Ramp into a Deck

The patio is a really cool feature that can make a toy hauler a fantastic choice for any kind of camper, even the ones who don’t own any ATVs.

Many toy haulers include residential-style amenities like full bathrooms, kitchens, bunk rooms and large living areas.

This allows you to bring all your adventure vehicles plus have a fully self-contained living space – ideal for active families or friend groups exploring off-road areas.

With the ability to camp remotely while housing your ATV/OHVs, toy haulers provide a ultimate base camp for wheel based explorers.

small teardrop travel trailer RV with a bed inside and a pop-up trunk kitchen
The smallest teardrop RVs usually include a bed inside and a kitchen that pops open from the back.

Teardrop Trailer/Ultra Lightweight Travel Trailers

Ultra-lightweight, compact trailers are having a renaissance among minimalist campers.

As the name implies, teardrop trailers are distinctively shaped with a rounded front and tapered rear.

Inside, you’ll typically find just a sleeping area and some storage cabinets.

Some “squaredrop” models have more interior height and amenities like small kitchens.

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With lengths from 8-18 feet, teardrops can be towed by almost any vehicle. They provide basic, low-cost camping that’s easy to maneuver.

However, the tiny interiors limit their appeal for extended RV living. Teardrops suit campers looking for a simple way to get off the ground with minimum setup.

airstream travel trailer RV
Airstreams are always travel trailers, they’re simple, lightweight, and built extremely well.

Airstream Travel Trailers

The Silver Twinkie

Airstream is technically the name of an RV manufacturing company, but their campers are so unique they deserve a category of their own.

An American road trip icon, Airstream’s distinctive aluminum pill-bug design has been been around for over 80 years.

Beyond their eye-catching looks, Airstreams are renowned for their aerodynamics, quality construction, and capability to retain value over decades.

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Interiors typically feature Airstream’s modern clean aesthetic with upscale materials.

From compact Bambi and Sport models to 33-foot Classic trailer behemoths, Airstreams are available in a wide range of lengths suitable for rigs from SUVs to trucks.

The rounded aluminum body provides a quieter towing experience and a very durable build.

While pricier than typical fiberglass trailers, Airstreams have undeniable cool-factor appeal to discerning campers who want the crème de la crème of travel trailers.

tent trailer pop-up camper with canvas sides
The ability to fold down to a very small size makes tent trailers and pop-up campers a very versatile RV.

Tent Trailers/Pop-Up Campers

For an even more affordable, back-to-basics camping experience, tent trailers are hard to beat.

When collapsed for towing, they are compact boxes weighing just 1,000-3,000 lbs.

But when popped-up and assembled at camp, tent trailers provide walk-in headroom and sleeping spaces for 4-8 people.

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Most even have a dinette, small refrigerator, stove, and sink

No other RV packs down into such a small footprint yet expands into a fully-equipped camper.

The downside is having to crank open all the pop-out tent sections and deal with canvas sidewalls each stop.

But for entry-level RVing, pop-ups make camping more comfortable than tent camping while still being ultra-affordable.

pop-up a-frame rv
A-frame campers look like tent trailers when folded, but they’re very different when fully set up.

A-Frame Campers

A-frame RVs have a distinctive slanted roof design that gives them a triangular “A” shape when viewed from the front or rear.

Unlike traditional tent trailers, the roof of an A-frame camper is hard, making it more weather resistant and a lot quieter in the wind.

If you like to camp in the windy desert, I recommend a hard sided A-frame over a canvas pop-up trailer.

Inside, A-frames maximize headroom and living space through their clever wedge layout.

Typical floorplans position the sleeping quarters up in the pointed front, with a small kitchen, dining area and bathroom in the remaining space.

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Some A-frame models have expandable pop-outs or tent additions to increase interior room when parked.

One of the major draws of A-frame trailers is their compact size, typically ranging from 12-20 feet in length.

This makes them easy to maneuver, park and store compared to larger bulky RVs.

Their lightweight fiberglass construction allows them to be towed by many crossovers, SUVs and even some minivans.

Despite their small footprint, A-frames offer many comforts of a traditional travel trailer.

A-frames appeal to minimalist campers, boondockers and couple/solo travelers who want an easy-towing, distinctive tiny trailer to take on adventures.

They’re the perfect middle ground between teardrop trailers and tent trailers.

truck camper rv in the middle of a city
Truck campers are perfect for truck owners who don’t want to tow a trailer.

Truck Camper

A truck camper is a unique RV that loads into the bed of a full-size pickup truck, taking advantage of the truck’s four-wheel-drive and off-road capabilities.

Typical truck camper floorplans include a cabin area with dinette/couch that converts into sleeping spaces, a small kitchen and sometimes a wet bath.

While compact, they are designed to be self-contained with onboard water, power and heating sources.

This allows for dry camping for extended periods without relying on hookups.

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One of the biggest advantages of truck campers is being able to detach the camper unit from the truck when you reach your destination.

This allows you to simply use the truck for exploration without towing a trailer. The camper stays securely in place when driving but acts as a hard-sided tent at camp.

Truck campers are a minimalist’s dream for getting away from it all while still having basic amenities.

Their lightweight yet rugged construction from fiberglass or aluminum means they can handle rough dirt roads.

For avid anglers, hunters, rock climbers and overall outdoor thrill-seekers, the go-anywhere flexibility of a truck camper is the ultimate mobile back country base camp.

classic style class b motorhome rv
A classic Class B motorhome RV that could also be considered a camper van.

Camper Van/Class B Motorhome

On the opposite end of the spectrum size-wise are Class B motorhomes built on van chassis like the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit or Ram Promaster.

These “camper vans” pack a remarkable number of amenities into a compact, easy-to-maneuver form factor.

Layouts typically include a small kitchen, bathroom, seating area and beds. Some have pop-up tops to increase interior height.

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What camper vans lack in spaciousness, they make up for in drivability, stealthy camping, boondocking, and the “tiny home” experience.

Their compact size allows camping virtually anywhere – from national park campgrounds to Walmart parking lots.

Simple controls, reasonable costs, and low clearance makes them very friendly for solo travelers and couples exploring urban and outdoor adventures.

class c motorhome rv
A Class C Motorhome RV will always have a bed over the cab.

Class C Motorhomes

A very popular RV type, especially for families, are Class C motorhomes built on truck chassis.

They are easily identified by the cab-over bunk area which provides extra sleeping space over the driver and passenger seats.

Class C lengths typically run 20-35 feet, with living areas providing all the basics – kitchen, bathroom, dining, and sleeping sections.

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Many of them have slide-outs to increase living space when parked.

The appeal lies in their maneuverability, easy driving compared to larger motorhomes, and balance of amenities for weekend getaways or longer trips.

Many can tow a smaller vehicle for side exploring.

While not as spacious as high-end motorhomes, Class Cs pack a lot of versatility into a nice middle ground between compact Class Bs and bus-sized Class As.

very large class a motorhome rv
Class A motorhome RVs come in different sizes but the most common is the large diesel pusher style.

Class A Motorhomes

For those wanting a “house on wheels” experience, the iconic Class A motorhome fits the bill.

Built on heavy duty truck or bus chassis, these motorhome kings can span over 40 feet in length.

Amenities can be downright luxurious – residential refrigerators, washer/dryers, king beds, fireplaces, even bunk rooms for grand kids.

Basement storage, towing capabilities for hauling cars, and mile-high ceilings provide an amazing amount of room to roam.

See Also: The Surprising Differences Between 30A & 50A RVs

Class A motorhomes are comparable to 5th-wheel trailers because of the sheer size of them.

The downside is learning to drive a vehicle with lengthy wheelbases and heights over 13 feet.

Navigating cities, winding roads and campgrounds takes skill.

Gas and diesel pushers also have very high price tags, often over $300K for well-equipped models.

But for full-time RVers who want an amenity-loaded home-on-the-go, the Class A motorhome provides spacious premium digs.

Wrapping It Up

No matter which type of RV you ultimately choose, there’s no denying the freedom and adventure that comes with hitting the open road and taking your home along for the ride.

With so many RV styles to pick from, you’re sure to find something that fits your travel needs and camping preferences perfectly.

From basic pop-up trailers for those just dipping their toes into RV life, to luxurious Class A motorhomes that rival any residential home, to the iconic riveted aluminum Airstream – the RV world has an option for everyone.

See Also: What’s That RV? All Camper & RV Types Pictures & Basic Info

Remember, it’s ok if you didn’t get it right the first time. Many RVers have tried multiple types of campers trying to find the right one.

An in the ever changing world of RV camping, the perfect RV for you might still be in the works.

Whichever you choose I hope this short summary of the different types of RVs has been helpful.

Have questions? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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