The Complete Recreational Vehicle (RV) and Camper Van FAQ

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Going on the road in a recreational vehicle (RV) can be thrilling and unforgettable. Choosing the best RV for your trip can be tricky, though. For one, there’s RVs and campers, and different kinds of both. Depending on whether you’re making a short excursion for the weekend or a lengthy trip across the country with the family, your comfort needs might change. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know before you rent or buy.

Complete RV and Camper Van FAQ

What is an RV or a Camper Van exactly?

Before you head out to buy or rent, it’s a good idea to figure out what you’re dealing with. RVs and campers serve similar purposes, and the terms are often used interchangeably. So which is it?

Perhaps the best place to start is with the motorhome. A motorhome is a distinct unit, in that it comes with built-in engine. They are meant to be actual homes that can be used for traveling.

People often call motorhomes RVs, which come in a variety of types and sizes. Camper vans (or campers), on the other hand, refer to any pull-type RV which includes travel trailers or fifth wheels, truck campers, pop-up campers, camper trailers or similar types. These need another vehicle to tow them from one place to another. So whether you’re looking for a larger drivable RV or a smaller, towable camper van, you’ll want to prepare accordingly.

Several options exist to provide accommodations and help for just about any trip. Some, like Escape Campervans offer rentals for the average trip, while others like Moterra provide a more luxurious experience.

An image of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad.
Nothing like taking your high school chemistry teacher out to the desert in an RV for some quality bonding time.

The Different Classes of RVs

Do you want the fully independent vehicle, capable of being lived in (among other things, if you’ve watched Breaking Bad)? You’re probably looking for a mid -sized RV, a class C. If you want to splurge, you might be looking for something that can house both your family and a couple friends or relatives, or a class A. Based on your needs, the right RV or camper is out there – you just have to figure out which one.

That’s right, in addition to the label “motorhome” or “RV”, there’s classes based on the size: Class A, B, and C.

Class A motorhomes are large, usually between 29 and 45 feet (8.8 to 13.7 m) in length, and often include separate bedrooms, full wet baths, and more. Class C RVs are slightly smaller, and class B is the smallest. I know, someone screwed up with that ordering, but that’s just how it is. Depending on the type, these vehicles are built on either a new or pre-existing chassis, designed to handle the appropriate load.

A small vehicle chassis.
The Ladder Frame Chassis, one of the oldest kinds ever made.

Class A RVs

These are generally defined as vehicles with strong frames built on either a commercial bus, truck, or other motor vehicle chassis. These are typically the luxury busses, with more residential interiors. There are often multiple multiple slide-outs for maximum square footage, and larger kitchens. RVers typically dream of attaining a class A RV. The largest of these RVs can sleep up to 10 people!

When it comes to driving, they’re pretty easy. No special licenses are required, as long as the weight doesn’t exceed 26,000 pounds.

You can expect 8-10 miles per gallon, which is decent considering their size. Some Class A RVs go up to 45 feet long and might not even fit in certain RV parks. It’s a good idea to check before booking your trip. Certain state and national parks have length limits as well, so verify with the park staff whether your RV will be accommodated.

View Class A RV Rentals in North America here.

Class B RVs

Class B RVs are built from the ground up, designed as recreational vehicles, while camper vans are cargo vans converted into campers. In reality, the two are quite similar.

Class B motorhomes are very different from other types of motorhomes, RVs, and campers. Class Bs are vans that have been converted to have living space instead of seats in the back. Depending on the specific models, they may or may not be self-contained with toilets and showers.

They’re easy to drive, get better gas mileage, and can manage on narrower roads. Class B’s do have less space, however. Accommodating more than 4 people is a stretch, and in some cases even 4 might be too many. If you’re planning on going camping or caving with a small group, this should be more than enough.

Winnebago, one of the larger RV manufacturers, makes class B RVs similar to the converted camper vans. It can be easy to mistake one for the other, so double-check before making a decision.

View Class B RV Rentals in North America here.

This image shows a class B motorhome, also known as a camper van.

Class C RVs

A Class C motorhome is built on a pickup truck chassis. The front structure looks like a pickup truck and generally has a bed over the cab. These are self-contained RVs and generally can sleep up to 8 people, depending on the size. They are easy to drive and get gas mileage of 9-12 mpg. These are less expensive than Class A’s but have more storage than a Class B and can be up to 41 feet in length.

Class Cs are recognizable by their over-cab sleeping and storage area, which provides additional living space for families of all sizes. Offering much of the craftsmanship of a Class A motorhome, Class Cs are smaller in size and offer a wide range of features. Recognizable by their raised sleeping or storage area, which extends over the cab of the RV, Class C motorhomes offer more living space than Class B camper vans but are smaller in size and can get better gas mileage than Class A motorhomes.

Features like power awnings, stabilizing jacks, tire pressure monitoring systems, built-in safety systems, and an onboard generator can make setting up camp a breeze.

View Class C RV Rentals in North America here.

See a Class B and Class C RV side-by-side below.

This image shows a Class B and Class C RV next to each other.

Super C RVs

There’s also a class called Super C RVs, which are built on the chassis of a Ford 550 or higher. Sometimes, they’re even built on the chassis of a Freightliner cab. With a wider wheelbase, these RVs are incredibly stable.

These have very strong motors, suspensions, axles, and also more storage areas than a typical Class C motorhome. And they can tow much more weight than Class C RVs. They are generally 33-45 feet long. They are considered easy to service and do not require a special license since most are under 26,000 pounds.

As you can tell, there’s a lot of details to consider. Let’s compare the RV and the camper van next.

The RV or the Camper Van: Which One Should You Choose?

So now you know there’s separate RV classes, and that camper vans are typically on the smaller end of the spectrum. Let’s take a look at the comparison between camper vans and RVs.

Camper Van vs. RV: Similarities and Differences

Although they have different sizes, features, and capacities, camper vans and RVs both serve the same function of providing movable living areas for camping and travelling. The following are some of the key parallels and contrasts between camper vans and RVs:


Both camper vans and RV are built with sleeping areas, kitchenettes, and bathrooms to function as self-contained living quarters for travellers. They allow you to take your lodgings with you, removing the need to make hotel reservations. Perhaps more importantly, switching locations quickly is possible with less hassle. If you’re on a caving and camping trip and want to hit a few locations in the same state, this is easier to handle.

Both campers and RVs can be parked in RV parks and campgrounds with features like power hookups, water connections, and trash disposal areas. However, as mentioned before with regards to Class A RVs, you may want to double-check that the larger vehicles will fit at the park you’re staying at.


Built on a van chassis, camper vans are often more compact and smaller than RVs. With more constrained space you get less features. Camper vans will often have less amenities, and provide less sleeping quarters, smaller kitchens, and no full bathrooms. They’re easier to navigate, but larger vans can still be a bit challenging in confined locations.

When it comes to customization, camper van owners and renters are free to do quite a lot. Check out this video to see how one company is adding features to their vans for renters.

Many renters and owners are interested in customization because of their own individual needs, or the needs of their family and friends. The interior design and features of camper vans can frequently be customized extensively, and owners themselves can even convert some. Of course, this usually comes with a mark-up, but it may be a deal breaker to find out you can’t add a certain customization on a smaller RV. This is where camper vans shine.

Also, compared to larger RVs, camper vans are typically more economical. The bigger motorhomes can range significantly in price based on their size and level of luxury, and some of this added expense is often unused on most trips. With that said, RVs are ideal for longer journeys or year-round habitation since they often have more storage room than camper vans.

You can see a variety of rentable camper vans in North America here.

If you’re concerned about towing, that’s another conversation. Let’s take a look at that next.

Who Typically Rents Camper Vans?

An imag eshows a beautiful RV campground by the beach.


Travellers frequently choose camper van rentals to explore new places comfortably and at their leisure, regardless of whether they are seasoned globetrotters or first-time adventurers. With a camper van, you may travel freely between different places without worrying about making hotel reservations or following a set itinerary.

Outdoor Enthusiasts

Camper van rentals give nature lovers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts a chance to experience the great outdoors fully. They may make the most of their outdoor excursions by accessing distant camping areas, national parks, and picturesque sites with a camper van.

Weekend Escapers

Camper van rentals offer an escape from the city’s bustle for people looking for quick breaks from their everyday activities. Weekend getaway seekers who can tailor their excursions can unwind, unwind, and refresh amidst the splendour of nature.


Getting to festivals, concerts, or sporting events frequently requires long drives and temporary use of hotel rooms. Renting a camper van enables event attendees to participate in the pre-and post-event camping experience and offers a pleasant place to stay.

Family Vacations

Camper van rentals are frequently chosen by families looking for a unique way to bond. Together with a feeling of adventure, it’s a great approach to making enduring memories while you’re on the road.

Budget-Conscious Travelers

Renting a camper van can save money for vacationers because they combine lodging and transportation costs into one bill. Camper vans provide an enticing alternative to conventional modes of transportation for people wishing to maximize their vacation budget.

Solo Explorers

Camper vans are designed for lone travellers who prefer freedom and seclusion when travelling. The camper van’s efficient and compact design ensures everyone can access the necessities without being overburdened by extra space.

People from many walks of life are drawn to camper van rentals because they provide independence, adventure, and a distinctive way to see the world. The draw of camper vans resides in the opportunity to explore, connect with nature, and have priceless experiences along the journey. This appeal extends to travelers, family vacationers, and outdoor explorers.

What RV Can I Tow?

To calculate the RV you can tow safely, consider the following before hitting the road.

A black pickup truck is shown, towing an travel trailer.

1) Identify the Type of RV

Motorhomes and towable trailers are the two primary categories under which RVs fall. Motorhomes are self-contained vehicles with engines that may be driven on their own.

On the other hand, a different vehicle is needed to tow towable trailers. Your choice of RV will rely on your preferences, your financial situation, and the size of the car you’ll be pulling behind.

The types of RV to consider include travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, and pop-up campers.

Travel Trailers

These trailers are lightweight and available in various sizes, making a wider variety of vehicles more easily able to tow them.

Fifth-Wheel Trailers

These trailers have a particular gooseneck design that increases stability and internal room, but towing them requires a truck with a unique hitch.

Pop-Up Campers

These modest campers, which can be expanded while parked, are perfect for smaller vehicles.

2) Know the car’s tow weight

Knowing your car’s tow weight is the most important step. This information can be found in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website for your car. A vehicle’s towing capability is the most weight it can securely tow.

It considers the frame’s strength, suspension, braking, and engine. Stay within the advised limitations to avoid accidents and serious damage from exceeding your vehicle’s towing capability.

3) Keep the RV’s Weight in Mind

Once you know your vehicle’s towing capabilities, you must consider the weight of the RV. RVs come in a range of shapes, weights, and sizes, and it’s not a good ide aot estimate without more information.

Usually, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) are used to describe the weight of the RV.

While GCWR covers both the RV and the towing vehicle together, GVWR denotes the maximum weight of the RV, including people and goods. Choose an RV safely towed by your car for a steady and regulated towing experience. Try to compensate for extra weight, which often happens when people bring more than you expected.

4) Consider the Driving Experience

Driving might be substantially changed when an RV is being towed. Larger and heavier RVs can harm fuel efficiency, acceleration, and braking distance. Before attempting to tow on busy roads, be ready for a different driving style and practice in an open, secure place.

5) Prioritize Safety

The main priority should always be safety. Make sure your RV and towing vehicle receive appropriate maintenance and frequent inspections. Invest in sway control systems, weight distribution hitches, and trailer brakes to improve towing stability and control.

To select the RV that will best meet your needs, you must carefully consider your vehicle’s capabilities, the weight of the RV, and its type.

You can have a pleasant, safe RV trip full of unique experiences and adventures by following safety precautions and remaining within your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Why is an RV so Expensive?

An image shows the inside of one of the most expensive RVs in the world.
If you’re going for something like this, you probably know more than I do.

Recreational vehicles can be pricy for several reasons.

RVs are enormous, intricate vehicles requiring specialist parts and creative designs. They are more expensive to produce since they need the integration of living rooms with motorized or towable chassis and the addition of water, electrical systems, and various amenities.

Features and Quality

Since many RV owners choose comfort and luxury when traveling, premium components and cutting-edge technologies are in high demand. An RV’s price might rise dramatically if it has expensive furniture, appliances, entertainment systems, and other features.

Customization Options

RV producers frequently provide a variety of modification choices, enabling consumers to individualize their vehicles. Depending on the degree and complexity of the changes, customizations may increase the final cost.

Chassis and Engine Costs

Unlike conventional automobiles, motorized RVs like Class A, B, and C motorhomes need their chassis and engine. Particularly in more costly models, these parts can be pricey.

Research and Development

RV producers consistently spend money on R&D to innovate and enhance their products. Consumers may pay more as a result of these costs being passed forward.

Which RV is the Best Quality?

The construction, materials used, craftsmanship, features, and general longevity all play a role in identifying the greatest quality RV.

It’s important to understand that different manufacturers excel in other areas, and what may be the highest quality for one person may be different for another because it relies on personal preferences and requirements.

However, several companies have continually built a reputation for manufacturing RVs of the highest calibre. Some of them are as follows:


An iconic brand, Airstream is recognized for its svelte, aluminium-clad travel trailers. They are recognized for their meticulous attention, robust construction, and aerodynamic design. Airstream recreational vehicles frequently have a classic appeal and hold their worth well over time.

Winnebago Industries

The RV industry has long recognized and valued the name Winnebago. They have many towable trailers and motorhomes renowned for their ingenuity, sturdy design, and dependable performance.

Tiffin Motorhomes

Tiffin is renowned for producing opulent Class A motorhomes. The business specializes in handcrafted coaches, guaranteeing meticulous attention to detail and top-notch features. The strength and opulent interiors of Tiffin RVs are famous.

Newmar Corporation

High-end Class A motorhomes, frequently customized to match particular customer desires, are Newmar’s speciality. Their RVs are recognized for their sturdy design, cutting-edge technology, and top-notch customer support.

Grand Design RV

Fifth wheels and towable trailers of exceptional quality are among Grand Design’s specialities. They place a strong emphasis on offering well-thought-out, roomy interiors and making use of premium materials to guarantee longevity and client happiness.

Oliver Travel Trailers

A tiny, family-run business, Oliver specializes in making fibreglass travel trailers. They are renowned for fine craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customizing possibilities.

Lance Camper

The travel trailers and truck campers made by Lance are renowned. They prioritize space-saving design and lightweight building, which appeals to adventurers that enjoy long trips to remote locations.

Although these manufacturers are well known for their high quality, it’s still important to research specific models and read user reviews to discover the RV that best meets your requirements.

In addition, it’s essential to examine the manufacturer’s warranty, customer care, and service network accessibility when evaluating an RV’s quality because these aspects can significantly impact how enjoyable owning an RV will be.

Will a Camper Van or RV Fit in a Garage?

If you’re interested in parking your camper van inside your garage, you may be out of luck. Most camper vans simply do not fit into a standard 7-foot garage door opening, so even if you have the space, you won’t be able to get it inside. A typical RV will not fit inside a standard garage, and is not built for that.

There are some lower roof vans with heights of 7 or 8 feet, but a lot of the other vans will rise to about 9 feet. This is not including additional accessories like fans, roof-racks, or solar panel that may create more complications.

With that said, if you opt for a smaller camper van and have a higher garage door, it’s worth a shot. Having it parked in the garage makes it a lot easier to work on the customization, and some people don’t feel comfortable keeping an expensive van with lots of possessions inside. Consider the garage’s measurements and the particular camper you are interested in, and try the following.

A diagram shows how to measure an RV's height and length.

1) Get an accurate garage measurement.

Measure your garage’s length, width, and height for precise measurements.

2) Check the Specs of the camper van.

Look up the camper van’s measurements if you’re considering buying one. The manufacturer typically provides the dimensions of a vehicle, including its length, breadth, and height.

3) Account for clearances.

Remember to account for additional clearances to facilitate simple access and leave. You’ll need extra room around the camper on all sides for maneuvering.

4) Consider the roof height.

Due to pop-tops or elevated roofs for more interior room, certain camper vans feature higher roofs. When determining if the camper will fit within your garage, consider the camper’s overall height.

Consider any impediments or elements in the garage that may reduce the available space, such as shelving, pipes, or garage door systems.

Check for fit.

Compare the garage to the size of the camper van you’re considering to see if it will fit. Alternatively, see the camper van in person and judge its size by visiting a dealership or a rental agency. Always remember that even if the camper van can physically fit in the garage, you also need to consider accessibility and the amount of space left for additional objects or vehicles.

Getting precise measurements and guidance from the camper van manufacturer or a nearby dealer is a good idea if you still need clarification.

Are Camper Vans Safe?

When utilized appropriately and with contemporary safety features, camper vans can be secure. Like any vehicle, safety depends mainly on appropriate maintenance, safe driving habits, and adherence to safety regulations.

To improve occupant safety, reputable camper van producers incorporate safety elements, including airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control.

Drivers should be aware of weight distribution, avoid overloading the vehicle, and adhere to approved maintenance schedules to ensure safety while operating a camper van.

Additionally, everyone inside must be buckled up while the van is moving. It may take some getting used to and adjusting to a larger vehicle’s handling and braking characteristics, like a camper van.

An RV is shown up close with a sunset in the background.

Should I Consider an RV or Camper Van Instead of a Hotel?

Your choices and travel style will determine whether you should consider an RV instead of a hotel. A unique benefit of choosing an RV is the freedom to go to different regions without bothering about hotel bookings and the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature by camping in beautiful settings.

RVs are suitable for families and travellers who want a home-away-from-home experience since they offer a comfortable and individualized area with the necessary facilities.

Additionally, since there are no hotel costs and you can cook meals on the road, an RV could be more economical for longer journeys.

However, while choosing an RV over a hotel, it’s crucial to consider elements like driving and maintenance duties, space constraints, and campsite accessibility.

Ultimately, an RV can be an excellent choice for your upcoming trip if you love outdoor excursions, value flexibility, and want a more personal travel experience.

When is an RV or Camper Van Too Old to Buy?

The condition, maintenance history, and intended usage of an RV all play a part in determining when it is too old to buy. With the proper maintenance, RVs can typically last a very long time, and some older models may still be in excellent shape.

But prospective purchasers ought to think about a few things. Start by evaluating the RV’s overall state, looking for wear or damage in the engine, chassis, interior, and outside.

Mechanical problems, severe rust, or water damage may be warning signs. Older RVs could also be deficient in more recent models’ contemporary conveniences and safety features. Additionally, they could be more difficult to locate replacement components for and less fuel-efficient.

To be sure an older RV satisfies safety requirements and is roadworthy, have it thoroughly inspected by a professional if you’re considering buying one. The choice ultimately comes down to your financial situation, ability to handle probable repairs, and comfort level with an older vehicle.

More Questions? Let us Know!

If you have more questions while figuring out what to do for your next caving or camping trip, be sure to let us know. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right RV, and depending on your needs, we may be able to assist in your decision-making.

Watch for more articles on the specifics of RVs and caving trips as well. I will do my best to answer all the questions I can.

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