I love RVing. We’ve done it 3 Summers in a row now.
We rent a motorhome because we don’t own a vehicle strong enough to tow a trailer. However, if you have a truck or SUV that can pull some serious weight, RV trailers cost a fraction of what motorhomes cost.
Not only do I enjoy RV trips, but I enjoy picking out which RV we’re going to rent. It’s a big decision because it’s going to be home. I tend to think bigger is better, but my wallet prefers getting what we need rather than what I want.
What I want to rent is a Class A motorhome.
What my wallet permits is a Class C motorhome.
But Class A and B motorhomes aren’t your only options, especially if buying.
Below is a list of the various types of recreational vehicles you can choose from. I get excited just looking at the pictures.
Table of Contents
- 1. Class A Motorhomes
- 2. Class B Motorhomes (aka Campervans)
- 3. Class C Motorhomes
- 4. 5th Wheel Trailers
- 5. Travel Trailers
- 6. Folding (Pop-Up) Tent Trailer RV
- 7. Sports Utility RV Trailer
- 8. Diesel Pushers
- 9. Toterhomes (aka Rockstar Motorhomes)
- 10. Ice Fishing RV
- 11. Teardrop Trailers
- 12. Pickup Truck Campers
- 13. Retro Trailer
1. Class A Motorhomes
Motorhomes are a staple of the RV scene. This is actually what most people would think of first when the subject of RVs is brought up. A motorhome offers people a way to travel without having to lose the normal comforts that they have come to expect. A nice motorhome can be purchased and stocked with all of the amenities of home, making traveling a lot less hectic.
Motorhomes come in three different classifications. The first and most expensive of the classifications is class A. These types of motorhomes are very spacious and will provide those who own them with the best traveling experience possible. Some of these class A motorhomes are really large and might even reach lengths of 45-feet.
There are some variations that you should be aware of even among class A motorhomes. For instance, some class A motorhomes will run on gasoline, whereas others will run on diesel fuel. Another important feature to note is that certain motorhomes will have sections that can slide outwards in order to give the people inside more space. This can help to make the bedroom areas a bit more spacious, but it isn’t a feature that all class A motorhomes will have.
The size of this vehicle can make it a bit difficult to handle for some people. It is not going to be the easiest motorhome to get used to if you have no experience driving such a large vehicle. You may be better off choosing something that is a bit more modestly-sized for your first motorhome. You don’t need a special license to drive a vehicle like this, but it is a bit cumbersome and can take some getting used to.
You should also be aware that class A motorhomes are very expensive overall. This is going to be the most expensive option among the normal motorhome classifications. If you are working on a budget, then this will not likely be the most cost-effective purchasing decision for you to make. These motorhomes are incredibly nice though, so use your judgment and determine if it is right for you.
2. Class B Motorhomes (aka Campervans)
Class B motorhomes are smaller and more affordable than the class A models mentioned above. These vehicles are usually built using vans as the overall frame. The roof of the interior area on most of these class B motorhomes is going to be fairly high. It should be tall enough for most people who are average height to walk upright in without any problems.
Similarly to the class A motorhomes mentioned above, there are differences between the different class B models. Some of the class B models are like campervans, and others will be a bit different. Motorhomes of this classification can run on gasoline but you will find some models that run on diesel. Whatever style it is that you decide to purchase, it should wind up making your camping experience much easier overall.
One of the advantages of purchasing a motorhome of this classification is that it is so much easier to handle. You will actually be able to drive this motorhome in a practical way. Many people actually use their class B motorhomes to go on trips to the store and to perform other tasks. It can be useful in everyday life and isn’t necessarily restricted to camping and road trips.
It will not be as spacious or nice as the class A motorhome, though. You will be sacrificing a certain amount of space in order to make driving it more convenient. You will be able to have enough space to stay comfortable but it may wind up being a little cramped. You will need to be mindful of how many people you are bringing on a trip when you have a class B motorhome.
It’s always important to try not to cram too many people in any size of motorhome or trailer, but these class B vehicles have limited space. A small family may be able to stay comfortable enough in a camping situation. This would be even better for a couple who just wants to have a romantic camping getaway. When you use your class B motorhome for the right purposes, it will definitely be a worthwhile purchase.
3. Class C Motorhomes
A class C motorhome is going to be much better for families to use than a class B model. These class C motorhomes are far more spacious than the class B versions. There is simply more usable space in the living section of the motorhome, and this makes it more convenient. You will be able to use this motorhome effectively for both camping purposes and going on road trips.
Most of these types of motorhomes should have an overhang section that will go over the cab. This is a usable sleeping space that you can take advantage of. It will wind up functioning like a bunk bed and is a popular spot for children to sleep while on the camping trip. Obviously, you won’t be putting the children there while the motorhome is moving, but it’s a good sleeping spot when you are parked for the night.
It isn’t as easy to drive as the class B motorhomes, so that is one negative that you will want to consider. It can still feel a bit cumbersome, but it isn’t as difficult as driving the class A models. You’ll be able to enjoy all of the basic amenities that you need, but you won’t have quite enough space for luxury options. This is a good practical purchase, and you’ll want to keep it on your shortlist of options to consider.
4. 5th Wheel Trailers
5th wheel trailers are among the most common trailers that people pull behind their vehicles. It is fairly simple to tow this type of trailer because of the way that it is designed. These 5th wheel trailers are designed to sort of hang over the top of your truck bed. The way that they connect to your hitch is very secure, and you won’t feel like there is a lot of play in the connection while you are on the road.
Not having to feel too concerned about the sway of the trailer is nice. When you are traveling a long distance, you don’t want to have to feel nervous while you’re driving the entire time. People who make use of these 5th wheel trailers get used to towing them very quickly, and it becomes second nature. The only limitation is that you will really need a truck that is the right size to be able to pull a trailer like this.
Some trailers can be pulled by SUVs and even other types of vehicles. A 5th wheel trailer will have the limitation of only being able to be used with a vehicle that has a bed that is the right size. This can be a bit unfortunate, but it is true that most people who would think of purchasing one will already own a truck. It’s just important to be aware of these limitations before you move forward with a purchase.
These trailers are fairly spacious overall, too. The overhang section of the trailer that sits over the top of the truck bed is usable space, as well. You will be able to comfortably camp outside or use it to stay the night while on a long road trip. It is a great trailer to own when you want to be able to travel across the country while remaining comfortable.
5. Travel Trailers
Travel trailers are fantastic for people who want to bring the conveniences of home on the road with them. You will be able to go out camping and will still be able to feel like you’re sleeping in a normal environment. Travel trailers will have a fully operational bathroom, a shower, a small kitchen for making meals, and much more. Sometimes these travel trailers will be a bit bare-bones to keep the general feeling of roughing it alive, but they can also be stocked with plenty of fun stuff if you so choose.
You can make a travel trailer into a truly mobile home environment. Some people put really nice decorations and comfortable beds in their travel trailers. It is really up to your personal tastes and your imagination. You can do whatever you want to do with a travel trailer.
Depending on your needs, you may wish to make an environment that is as comfortable as possible for yourself. People who are traveling across the country often use these travel trailers to their full potential. When you are going to be living in the trailer for weeks at a time, it makes sense to have it be as nice as possible. The sky’s the limit for these convenient travel trailers.
Towing these travel trailers shouldn’t be too tough either. Plenty of different vehicles should be able to tow these, so you don’t necessarily have to own a beast of a truck just to make use of this. You will want to be careful about the sway when towing it, and you won’t be able to drive in reverse effectively. Be prepared for this, and you will have a good experience during your trip.
See this RV trailer article to learn more about the different RV trailer options.
6. Folding (Pop-Up) Tent Trailer RV
A folding tent RV trailer is going to be one of the most cost-effective options for you to consider. If you want to start getting into camping, but you want to have access to something nicer than a tent, this is going to be a good way to go. You’ll be able to pull this folding tent trailer RV behind your truck or SUV without a problem, and it will work nicely for your purposes.
These types of trailers will typically have little tents that will fold out on each side. This gives you a convenient place to sleep, and you won’t have to worry about being eaten alive by bugs outside. It’s definitely preferable to a traditional tent in many ways. It is sort of like a half-step between staying inside of a camper and sleeping in a tent.
The negative aspect of this folding tent RV trailer idea is that there simply isn’t a whole lot of interior space. You might feel a little bit cramped inside of this RV trailer, and it definitely won’t house too many people. A small group could sleep inside of this tent trailer, but it may feel like things are a bit too cozy for your liking, depending on whom you are camping with. This is still a convenient option to consider when you are camping on a budget.
Purchasing a folding tent trailer RV is going to be a lot easier than many of the other options on this list. You won’t have to pay out too much of your hard-earned money for one of these, making it a desirable option. If you want something that is a bit nicer than a tent and won’t break the bank, then you should consider buying one of these. It can be comfortable for a small group, and you’ll be able to bring some amenities with you while you’re out camping.
7. Sports Utility RV Trailer
Some people have taken to referring to this type of trailer as a toy hauler. In some ways, this seems like an appropriate name for it. People use these trailers to help them get their favorite toys exactly where they need to be. When you are a snowmobile enthusiast or someone who loves riding dirtbikes, you will certainly want to own a trailer like this.
You will also be able to outfit this trailer with the stuff that you need to keep yourself comfortable. You can put appliances in this type of trailer or other essentials that you need for camping. Having an easy time camping is going to be good, and you’ll have all of your vehicles, too. It won’t be as convenient as a normal RV or camper trailer when it comes to amenities, but it will still be pretty nice.
8. Diesel Pushers
Diesel pushers are motorhomes that are a little bit different than the traditional models listed above. Firstly, the motor on these diesel pushers is located in the rear. This means that this vehicle can really showcase a lot of power. The pure horsepower that is present in these diesel pushers is very impressive, and it will be able to reliably get you to your destination.
This is an expensive type of motorhome to purchase. The exact cost of this type of motorhome is going to depend on several factors. How many amenities it has inside and just how large the diesel pusher is will go a long ways towards determining how much it is going to set you back. Most people will not be able to afford such a luxurious and advanced RV experience.
To give you an example, this type of RV is popularly used for people who travel all of the time. People who generally need to live the lives on the road will need to have access to something nice like this. Famous people, such as touring musicians and rock bands, own nice diesel pushers like this. Even certain sports stars make use of these vehicles to safely travel to different towns.
There are also wealthy individuals who purchase fancy diesel pushers when they wish to take a trip by land. They aren’t the most common type of RV by any stretch of the imagination. They are definitely really nice, and everyone would love to own one of these. It can make living on the road feel normal, and it offers all of the conveniences of home.
9. Toterhomes (aka Rockstar Motorhomes)
Toterhomes are motorhomes that are basically as luxurious as they can possibly be. If you are very well off from a financial perspective, then you could potentially afford one of these toterhomes. These are basically RV’s that are made for people who want to have the optimal traveling experience. They will be very large and will feature all of the luxurious amenities that you might expect.
These types of RV’s aren’t exactly common. You probably won’t be surprised to hear this when you see that the prices of toterhomes can be nearly one-million dollars, in certain situations. This is quite steep, but it is definitely going to provide you with a fantastic traveling vehicle. It is truly a vehicle that can function as a fantastic home.
This toterhome will wind up being nicer and more convenient than most people’s traditional-style homes. It has a price to match, so this won’t be something that most people will ever see in their lifetime. Even so, it is worth mentioning that these luxurious options are on the market. This is something that won’t be more than a curiosity for most people, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
10. Ice Fishing RV
Ice fishing RVs are a little bit different than a typical RV. If you have ever been ice fishing before, then you know that it can be very fun. It can be a bit uncomfortable though when you are trapped in a little shanty. Some people decided to increase their comfort levels while ice fishing by building RVs that they can use.
These custom-built RVs are an interesting development. They aren’t incredibly common, but there are some ice fishing enthusiasts that make use of them. Typically, these are modified RVs that have been reworked to help make ice fishing an easier experience. If you like the idea of ice fishing and want to have the most comfortable experience possible, then it is worth looking into this further.
11. Teardrop Trailers
If you want to be able to have a simple shelter option when you are out camping, then buying a teardrop trailer will work nicely. This is a very small trailer that will be towed behind your vehicle. You can sleep inside of it comfortably enough, and it will keep you protected from the elements. It is a minimalist RV experience that is the simplest option on this entire list.
Some people want to be able to keep things as close to roughing it as possible when out camping. This is going to be an option that will keep you safe without giving you access to all of the amenities. This can be a turn-off for some people, but others find it to be charming. You’ll have to decide which camp you fall in before making a decision about this trailer.
12. Pickup Truck Campers
A camper is an RV that fits in the back of a pickup truck. These are incredibly popular because they don’t cost much and they’re easy to cart around. You can easily accommodate 4 people in them. But, you do need a pickup truck.
13. Retro Trailer
If you’re looking for something different and like going retro, you can get fixed up retro campers and trailers from the 1950’s and 60’s like the one above.
Buy vs. Rent an RV
We don’t own an RV. We rent. We have kids in school so we only have a set amount of weeks to use an RV each year. It’s more economical for us to rent by far.
A motorhome will cost over $100,000. Renting a new motorhome for 2 weeks costs us about $5,000 CAD. That means we could rent one for 20 years for the cost of spending $100K. Moreover, $100,000 isn’t all that much; most motorhomes cost more than that. Finally, there’s the opportunity cost of lost investment income. When we rent, we can invest (in theory) the other $95,000, then $90,000 and so on. Over 20 years, those investments would result in a lot of money. That also doesn’t contemplate insurance and repairs.
Put another way, if we invest the $95,000 and rent one for $5,000, at the end of year one, assuming a 6% return, we could in theory rent for free each year from the investment returns.
So for us, renting is a much better deal.
A trailer is a different situation because they cost so much less. If you already have a vehicle capable of towing an RV trailer, you can get a decent trailer for $25,000. That would give you more vacation opportunities every year without spending all that much money. Our problem is we don’t own a vehicle that can tow an RV so we’d have to spend $40,000 on a new truck as well which isn’t worth it.
Who should buy?
If you plan to use an RV at least one month and preferably 3+ months per year, buying makes sense. For those durations, renting would be very, very expensive. An 8 week motorhome rental during the Summer would cost around $20,000.
However, if you plan to go RV’ing during the fall and winter, rental rates are much, much lower. I’ve seen month long motorhome rental deals as low as $1,600 CAD for the entire month. At 2 months, that’s $3,200 which is really cheap. Given you could earn more money from investments than the rental cost investing the purchase money, it’s hard to argue that buying is the best option.
For people who RV 4 to 8 months a year, buying is the only real option. In that case it’s a no-brainer.
Where to Rent
We rent ours at a local RV rental company called FraserWay RV. They do a great job. Their RV’s are new and are provided in immaculate condition. The prices are decent. We couldn’t be happier.
However, we’re fortunate to have so many RV rental options. British Columbia is a huge camping province. Europeans visit and rent RVs every Summer. In fact, it’s so popular, we reserve ours the previous November.
Another good option for renting an RV is on Craigslist. Many people with all types of RVs offer theirs for rent on Craigslist. You can get some very good deals.