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Recreational vehicles are divided into two basic categories: motorized RVs and towable RVs. In turn, each category contains several classes.
Motorized RVs: An RV built on or as an integral part of a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis, combining transportation and living quarters in one unit.
Class A Motorhome
Commonly referred to as "conventional motorhomes", Class A motorhomes are the largest, most luxurious of the motorized RVs -- a virtual "home away from home" on wheels, fully loaded and equipped for short trips, lengthy vacations and fulltime RVing. Class A motorhomes are constructed from the ground up on a bare, specially designed motor vehicle chassis.
Class B Camper Van
Commonly referred to as "camper vans", Class B motorhomes are built around a panel-truck or passenger van to which a raised roof has been added. The units are customized to include sleeping, kitchen, and bathroom facilities.
Class C Motorhome
Sometimes referred to as "mini-motorhomes", Class C units contain many of the conveniences of a larger motorhome in a scaled-down version and at a lower price. They are built on an automotive manufactured van frame with an attached cab section.
Towable RVs: An RV designed to be towed by a pickup truck, van, car, or other vehicle. Towable RVs are small enough so as not to require a special highway movement permit. They also do not require permanent hookups at campgrounds.
A two-level unit designed to be affixed and towed by a pickup truck equipped with a special hitch in the truck bed. Fifth-Wheel trailers are the most well-equipped of the towable RVs, offering many of the same features as Class A motorhomes.
Sometimes referred to as "conventional travel trailers", these units are designed to be towed by a car, van or pickup by means of a bumper or frame hitch. Travel Trailers provide all the comforts of home and are well-suited for weekend getaways, family vacations, and fulltiming.
Folding Camping Trailer
A lightweight unit with sides that collapse for towing and storage, the Folding Camping Trailer combines the experience of open-air tent camping with comfortable sleeping quarters, basic conveniences, and shelter from the elements. Folding Camping Trailers are also referred to as "fold-down travel trailers", "pop-up trailers" and "tent trailers".
Loaded onto, or affixed to, the bed or chassis of a pickup truck, Truck Campers are popular for backroad journeys and accessing remote locales.
In addition to the RV classes explained above, there are thousands of converted buses on the road that serve as recreational vehicles. However, that's a different story. For more information, visit our introduction to bus conversion.