Many people are embracing the new “van life” movement in many ways, from converting their own vans and living over the road to taking a newfound interest in RV camping. If you’re planning on spending quite a while out on the road or in the wilderness, it’s important to choose the right RV for your needs, as some RVs are better than others when it comes to thriving long-term. You’ll find that factors like size, amenities, and maneuverability make a big difference when an RV is your everyday experience.
These are the top tier of towable RVs. High-quality fifth-wheel trailers have all the same amenities as a motorized RV, including bedrooms, bathrooms, seating areas, and more. They also have a unique feature not found in most other RVs – something resembling multiple levels. Because of the area that sits above the truck bed, you often have stairs or a ladder up to a small extra space with varying uses. You can purchase a new fifth-wheel trailer for anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000.
Towing rather than driving the RV presents its own sets of pros and cons. Unfortunately, it’s commonly illegal (https://rvblogger.com/blog/can-i-legally-ride-in-a-travel-trailer/) to ride in a towed RV while the vehicle is in motion, which means everyone you’re taking needs to fit into the truck you’re hauling it with. With fifth-wheel trailers, you’re limited to a pickup that may have only two or three seats. This can limit the number of people who can come along unless they’re riding in another car.
The good thing about towing is that the trailer can sit standalone, so if you need to unhook and take your truck somewhere, you’re golden. Trailers are also usually more affordable not only to purchase but also to maintain and fix. If you have a pickup already and are looking for an option equivalent to a Class A but cheaper, a fifth-wheel trailer is a great choice.
- More affordable than motorized RVs
- Plenty of space inside the trailer, with all the amenities
- Can unhook to take your truck for day trips or errands
- The number of people is limited by space in passenger vehicle
- Can only be towed by a pickup truck due to design
- Sometimes difficult to maneuver
If you’re looking for luxury and a camping experience that almost feels like home, a Class A motorhome is a great option. These models are the largest and most expensive out of all RVs, and you certainly get what you pay for. Many come with queen or king beds in a master room at the back, a minimum of one full bath, a kitchen, seating areas, televisions, and fold-out couch beds. They can be as short as 21 feet and as long as 50 feet and cost as much as $200,000.
From a pure space and quality of living perspective, these are probably the best option for long-term camping or living over the road. You’ll almost forget that you’re living in a motorhome with a number of amenities available, and space keeps you from getting cabin fever on a rainy day. They can sleep as many as 8 people in some cases, so you can even bring the family.
The downside to Class A homes is also one of their upsides; they’re huge. This means that driving them anywhere is a hassle, and
parking them in places not designed specifically for RVs is completely out of the question. You can address this problem by towing a car behind the RV and using that car to go places while the RV is parked at the campgrounds or elsewhere, but this makes the initial journey even more unwieldy. However, you may find that it’s worth it to have the extra comforts of home.
- Packed with amenities and benefits of home
- Plenty of space to spread out for rainy days
- Good for larger families or crowds
- Difficult to maneuver or leave the campsite
- Very heavyweight may limit navigation
- Expensive to maintain and fuel
The Class C motorhome is a more affordable and slightly smaller alternative to a full Class A. It’s built on a truck or van chassis for a slightly smaller frame, but it still has many of the same benefits as a Class A. Most models come with a queen master room, a kitchen, at least one seating area, and a bathroom. Class C homes can get as expensive as a Class A but are typically on the lower end, between $50,000 and $100,000 (https://rvblogger.com/blog/how-much-does-class-c-rv-cost/).
Due to the way they’re built, they’re not as roomy as a Class A and don’t provide as luxurious of an experience. You’ll know you’re in an RV with more limited amenities, and you may find yourself short on space if you have more than a couple of inhabitants. Still, they’re much more accommodating than a tent or a camper van.
The size makes them slightly more maneuverable than a Class A, though they can get pretty large themselves. This is another option where you may want to tow a traditional car in order to give yourself some more freedom when it comes to leaving the campgrounds on day trips or for errands. Overall, compared to Class A, you sacrifice some indoor space for the possibility of fitting into more places with the RV itself.
- Smaller and more maneuverable than Class A homes
- More affordable to purchase than a Class A
- A fair number of amenities and comforts
- Smaller than Class A homes and can house fewer people
- Still bulky and may present problems with regular parking
- Moderately expensive to maintain and fuel
These trailers come in a variety of lengths and quality levels, so if you’re looking for long-term camping options, it’s best to go with a larger model so that you have enough space. The good news is, there are definitely models out there with more than enough room and amenities to make your stay enjoyable. In larger trailers, you’re likely to get a master bedroom, full bath, at least one seating area, and probably additional sleeping areas. They cost between $11,000 for smaller models and up to $35,000 for larger ones (https://camperreport.com/average-cost-new-travel-trailers-16-examples/).
Travel trailers can be towed by a traditional trailer hitch, which means you have a fair amount of freedom in what vehicle you choose. As long as your vehicle can safely haul the weight of the trailer, you can bring anything that you want, which greatly increases the number of people you can comfortably bring in your vehicle. Always a plus if you’re looking to go camping with friends or family.
Maneuverability can be very tricky if you’re not used to hauling a trailer, however. Due to pivot points and trailer swing, backing into spots isn’t ideal. If you can avoid backing, you’re better off, but in some cases, it’s simply unavoidable. Larger trailers can also prove to be a space challenge, as you’re dealing with the length of the car as well as the length of the trailer while driving. On the plus side, you can always unhook and leave the trailer at the campgrounds if you need to go anywhere for a day.
- Can unhook from trailer to take traditional vehicle places
- Larger models are as roomy as many motorized RVs
- Freedom in vehicle choice means more passengers
- Unwieldy and difficult to back due to pivot points and trailer swing
- Can put a strain on the vehicle at the trailer hitch point
- Smaller models aren’t suitable for long-term camping