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RVs can be divided into two basic categories — motorized RVs and towable RVs. Motorized vehicles travel under their own power; they include motor homes and van campers. Towable vehicles can stand alone at camp but must be towed by another vehicle. Versions include folding camping trailers, travel trailers, fifth-wheel travel trailers, and truck campers.
Folding camping trailers are ideal for families on a budget who want an upgrade from tent camping. Folding camping trailers can be pulled by a family car, and are easy to hook up and store. Some come with air conditioning, heating, toilets, refrigerators, awnings, and roof racks.
If you have a pickup truck, truck campers are a unit that slide on to the bed of a pickup. They sleep between two and six people, and allow you to tow other vehicles. Most truck campers have toilet and kitchen facilities.
If you need to accommodate more people, travel trailers range from 10 to 40 feet long and usually have full bathroom and kitchen facilities. Models come in different shapes and can be pulled by most vehicles.
Fifth-wheel travel trailers are the most luxurious of the towables. If you are planning to spend a lot of time in your RV, this is a good choice due to its home-like atmosphere, large living space, and ample storage space. Fifth-wheels are easy to tow and can be unhitched and left at the campsite.
Van campers are motorized and have either raised roofs or lowered floor sections that allow people to stand up in the center of the vehicle. Galleys, fresh water hookups, sleeping and dining areas, and sometimes even toilets and showers are available in these campers. This arrangement is best for couples or very small families, as space is tight.
If you need more space, mini-motor homes pack a lot of amenities in a compact space. A cabover bed is usually above the driver's seat, while a couch converts into a second bed. Mini-motor homes usually include a dinette, kitchen, and bathroom.
If you are planning to travel long distances or use your RV year-round, a motor home might be a good choice. A motor home is basically a living unit on wheels, and comes fully equipped. Some motor homes even have luxuries like marble bathrooms and icemakers, as well as washers and dryers.
When choosing your RV, it's important to consider where you are going and what your comfort needs are. Ask yourself how many people will be traveling with you, as well as how you will be using the vehicle. Finally, rate things like handling, ease of use, privacy, storage, and budget in order of preference.
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Recreational Vehicle Types - Guide to Choosing an RV