The festive season of RV purchase is again upon us and will exert great influence upon those wishing to purchase their own RV. New RVs and RV products are already making their arrivals in the market and may turn out to be a cause of mounting pressure as you once again broach the subject of purchasing your RV. Whether you are a first timer or a diehard enthusiast and an RV-er , it is always advisable to revisit the basics before embarking on a trip to an RV dealer, especially when they bring multiple manufacturers under a single roof. 

The Basics

Simply put there are basically three categories of RVs

  1. A Motorhome
  2. Travel Trailer (aka towables)
  3. Truck Camper

In brief, a Motorhome is literally a house on wheels. The living quarters and the vehicle are combined and form one whole. A travel trailer is a separate housing unit that needs to be attached to a vehicle for traction. In a phrase it must be towed by a separate and compatible vehicle. Finally you can choose a truck camper. It is similar to have a living quarter piggy backing your pick-up truck. 

Now, in detail:


If you were to ask an RV dealer for a motor-home you are bound to receive question yourself: “which Class?” This is because a Motor-home itself is a category. It is divided according to classes, primarily according to their capacity:

  • Class-A Motor-homes

These are the largest motor-homes and are often considered as the “correct” depiction of an RV. Another convention for a Class-A motor-home includes Bus Conversions. These are large luxurious buses that have been converted to include recreational spaces generally for athletes.  

  • Class-B Motor-homes

These are the smallest. Class B motor-homes are on a van chassis and hence are not intended for extended indoor living. 

  • Class C Motor-homes

Although they are also built on van chassis but their size, luxury, and design allows Class C motor-homes to use for extended living. Their size can extend to match the length of Class-A motor-homes and hence are considered as mini-homes. Their distinguishing trait includes an extended section over the cab which usually contains an extra bed.

Travel Trailers (Towables)

Travel Trailer is another category that primarily refers to towable homes.  A diverse range of towables may be confounding since every other RV dealer may sport one of different shape and design.  But practically, long term living is possible only in travel trailers and fifth wheels for the majority of people.

  • Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are large trailers designed to sustain road stress and furnished to resemble an apartment. They depend completely on a separate vehicle for traction. Hence they are hitched to the back of the tow vehicle with enough power and torque to pull the trailer.

  • Fifth Wheels

Similar to trailers except that a fifth wheel has a gooseneck front section that extends over the bed of the pick-up truck/tow vehicle. Since the hitch is located in the center of the truck bed, fifth wheels can only be towed by pick-up or flat bed trucks.

Truck Camper

Technically speaking, any RV that one can easily dismount from its carrying vehicle qualifies as a truck camper. This is the main reason why it may be not be easy to differentiate between it and a Class C camper.  A truck camper contains most of the amenities found in larger RVs such as a proper kitchen, bathroom and showers etc. What differentiates it is the extensive use of slides- movable sections fo the wall to increase the available area.