A – C And Beyond: 4 RV Classes To Know Before Buying

a line of parked RV trailers

Did you know that April is the most common month for camping? Each April, plenty of people will go camping, and many will use RVs. But not all RVs are created equal, which is why there are different RV classes.

Whether you want something fit for a king or a small camper, you can find an RV for you. That's all thanks to the variety of RV classes.

But what are the different RV classes, and why are they important? How do you choose between the different classes?

The Lowdown on RV Classes

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There are tons of RVs, and not all of them look the same. Some are small, while others are massive. Certain RVs can fit a family, but others barely fit two people.

That's part of why there are different RV classes. Just as there are different types of cars, from sedans to SUVs to pickup trucks, RV classes help to differentiate RVs by size and type.

Also like cars, different RV classes have different features and are better suited for certain types of people. However, choosing the right RV is essential, because you can't always bring a second RV if your first is too small.

So before you choose an RV, be sure you know what class it falls into and if it has what you need.

Why different RV classes exist


RVs featuring slide out rooms

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Someone who loves their sedan probably won't switch to a pickup truck or vice versa. Similarly, the people who like small RVs don't want to upgrade to something larger. And the family who needs a large RV won't trade it in for a small one.

Even though RVs aren't as popular as cars, we still need a way to categorize them and differentiate the different types. That's where RV classes come in.

Instead of having to give the specifics on every RV model, RV classes give a simpler explanation. If you know you need a larger RV with more features, you can request a specific class. You won't have to look for measurements or other features.

RV classes also mean you can cut down on time comparing RVs that won't fit your needs.

Why RV classes matter


a small camper van

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Aside from distinguishing RVs of different sizes, RV classes can affect how and where you drive the RV. For example, you may not be able to drive a big rig RV into a campsite.

Even if there are no official rules at a campsite, bigger RVs are harder to maneuver. So don't expect to take a big RV to a small campsite.

On the other hand, smaller RV classes don't offer as much space as larger ones. While a small RV might be perfect for a couple, it probably won't fit an entire family.

Also, there are many types of trailers and pop-up campers that you can use. These don't typically fall into any standard RV class. However, they're another option for camping.


Popular RV Classes

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You can find huge RVs built for full-time camping. And you can also find tiny campers that attach to your car like a trailer. Now, RV classes usually refer to vehicles that run on their own.

If you have to pull a camper with another vehicle, it's probably not an official RV. However, that doesn't mean they aren't worth comparing to traditional RVs.

Whether you want to set out on a weekend camping trip or travel across the country, you need the right RV. Luckily, RV classes make it easier to find the best vehicle for you and your needs.

Starting with popular RV classes can help you narrow your search for the perfect RV since different classes have their own sets of features and amenities. So, what are the most popular RV classes?

1

Class A


This class is for the big guys. Class A RVs can be 26 to 45 feet long, and they can weigh anywhere from 13,000 to 30,000 pounds. That's right; don't expect to fit one in your garage.

RVs in this class are basically motorhomes because they're so big. You can even tow a small car behind many Class A RVs.

However, these big rigs can be expensive. Of course, there's the initial purchase price or rental fee. But you'll also have to account for fuel since these RVs aren't usually fuel-efficient.


You will also have to make sure you can park the RV wherever you want to stop.


On the other hand, they have a ton of space to fit you and your whole family. Some even have nice amenities, like a king-size bed or a washer and dryer. You can also bring more gear, so they're great for longer trips.

2

​Class B


If you want something much smaller than a full-on motorhome, consider Class B RVs. These bridge the gap between RVs and vans. Specifically, they can be 17 to 23 feet and weigh 4,000 to 9,000 pounds.


A lot of them just have the basics, like a bed and a small amount of storage. However, some also have bathrooms, dining space, or extra beds. You'll definitely have to prioritize if you choose a Class B RV.

However, they do have their advantages. Their smaller size makes them easier to drive than Class A RVs, and that also means they can fit in more parking spaces.

Class B RVs can also be pretty fuel-efficient, and they can even go off the grid. Because they're small, Class B RVs can also be relatively affordable.

3

​Class C


Next, we have the Goldilocks of RV classes. At 20 to 30 feet and 10,000 to 13,000 pounds, Class C RVs are bigger than Class B but not as monstrous as Class A.


These RVs usually have a lofted sleeping area over the cab, and many have a second area at the back of the RV. Class C RVs, might also have a dedicated bathroom area that you won't find in a Class B.

This class of RV is the perfect compromise for many people. It's not as expensive or large as a Class A RV. However, it still has some space and amenities.

On the other hand, they're still more expensive than Class B RVs, but they do have more features. It's important to note that like smaller RVs, Class Cs might not be able to tow a second vehicle.

4

​Trailers and more


We've covered the three most popular RV classes, but what if even the smallest Class B is too big? That's where trailers come in.


Many travel trailers connect to a hitch, and the sizes vary as much as the three RV classes. Some trailers are small, while others are large.


There are also pop-up trailers that are compact for storage and transportation. However, they're easy enough to open for camping.


You can also find fifth-wheel trailers. These connect to a hitch, and they usually have a lot of the same amenities as Class A RVs. The main difference is that you can disconnect the trailer and use your truck for day trips.



How to Choose Between RV Classes

From the descriptions of the different RV classes, you may already know which is right for you. Or maybe you're even more confused than before.

In either case, there are a few things to consider when deciding between RV classes. Of course, certain factors, like price, can affect your options.

However, you may have some needs and wants for your perfect RV. Be sure you take those into consideration before you choose an RV or write off an entire class of RVs.

Whether you have an idea of your perfect RV or not, consider these factors when choosing between RV classes.

​Loving brood

If you plan to take the whole family on a road trip, you'll need an RV with space. Or maybe you want to go on a group trip with some friends. In either case, you have to make sure everyone has a place to sleep and store their stuff.

The more people in the RV, the more space you'll need. For example, a big family probably won't fit in a Class B. On the other hand, if it's just you and one other person, you won't need a ton of space.

In addition to the number of people, consider how many adults and children will be on the trip. Adults usually take up more space, but you may have to account for toys or other activities to entertain your children.

You'll also have to plan out the sleeping arrangements based on the number of beds as well as the layout.

​Towing and stowing

Regardless of how many people you'll be traveling with, you need to consider the size. If you know you'll need the space of a Class A RV, make sure someone can drive it.

And if no one is willing to drive a Class A, consider a spacious Class C RV. You'll still have some space, but the RV will probably be easier to drive.

Solo and duo travelers can go with something smaller since you won't need as much space. However, you should also consider how long your trip will be. Even if it's only a couple of you, you may still need space for food, clothes, and other necessities.

​Don't break the bank

Next, you have to consider the price. RVs can get expensive, and most of us aren't rolling in money. Whether you want to buy an RV or rent one, you shouldn't go too far into debt.

You need to decide on a budget and stick to it.

Are you willing to take out a loan, or do you want to pay for the RV with money you have? Also, consider splitting the cost, especially if you want to camp with another person.

Whatever you do, make sure you know your budget when shopping for RVs. A good sales associate will work with you to find an RV that fits your budget and has the space and features you need.

​It's the journey

Of course, you should choose an RV that you can comfortably drive. After all, you'll probably spend a lot of time on the road in your RV.

However, you should also consider where you plan to park your RV. Do you want to camp at a small campsite? Will you take the RV to a national park?

If you know where you want to take your RV, look up the campsite or park and look for any RV regulations they have. Some may have specific requirements for parking your RV, or they may even have size restrictions.

The last thing you want to do is get a huge Class A RV only to find out you can't take it on your trip.

​In the loop

Some RVs come with tons of amenities, from king-size beds to bathrooms to laundry. However, you may not need all of those features.

So consider what types of amenities you want in an RV. Long term travel might necessitate a washer and dryer. But a weekend trip won't need much more than a bed.

You should also consider what hookups the RV has or needs. Will you have to hook the RV up to a water supply? If so, you'll need the proper equipment.

Make sure you know what the RV needs and that you can find campsites and RV parks with those features.

​Quick trips

The final thing you should consider is what you'll do during days when you're not traveling between campsites. Will you want to make a day trip to a nearby town?
Or maybe you'll need to go to the local grocery store or pharmacy.

Consider whether your RV will be practical for those day trips. If so, you're good. But if not, you might need a second vehicle.

Of course, you can tow a car behind a Class A RV, but Class Cs don't always have that option.

Now, you can choose destinations with public transportation options. That way, you can park your RV and use the bus or train to get around town. However, that's not always an option, especially in rural areas.


​Buckle Up

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Traveling and living in an RV can be exciting. But if you've never done it before, choosing between the various RV classes can be overwhelming.

Each RV class has its own set of pros and cons. Luckily, RV classes are the perfect way to narrow your search for your perfect RV.

Once you know what class you want, you can stick to RVs from that class. Therefore, it could make the shopping process easier.

Just be sure you consider your needs and wants before you settle on any of the RV classes.
Have you shopped for an RV before? What RV classes did you consider? Let us know in the comments!

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