SO MANY CHOICES
From trailers to motorhomes, there's an RV for you
By Paul R. Huard
Copley News Service
Whether you want a vehicle which is truly a home on wheels because of its space and luxurious appointments or a pop-up tent that offers comfort on a smaller scale, the world of recreational vehicles includes some amazing choices.
The simplest definition of an RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping. RVs offer a convenient, hassle-free way to travel - the amenities any vehicle offers are limited only by your budget.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, there are two main categories of vehicles: Motorhomes (motorized) and towables (towed behind the family car, van or pickup).
Type A motorhomes are generally the largest; Type B motorhomes or van campers are the smallest and Type C motorhomes generally fall in between. Types of towable RVs are folding camping trailers, truck campers, conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers.
Prices for new RVs are typically $4,000 to $13,000 for folding camping trailers; $4,000 to $26,000 for truck campers; $8,000 to $65,000 for conventional travel trailers; $48,000 to $140,000 for Type C motorhomes and $58,000 to $400,000 for Type A motorhomes, according to figures from the association.
Here's the breakdown on the different kind of vehicles:
Type A motorhomes are considered the Cadillacs of the RV universe. Generally, they are the roomiest of all RVs. Possessing luxurious amenities such as full kitchens and even plasma-screen televisions, they sleep up to six people. This luxury doesn't come cheap: Typically, these are the highestpriced RVs around.
Type B motorhomes are more modest but can still possess many comforts. Looking more like the family van, they drive more like a family vehicle, sleep up to four people comfortably, but have less room.
Type C motorhomes are less-extravagant versions of Type A vehicles, costing less because they offer fewer amenities but still possess large-chassis construction and cab-over sleeping options. These can sleep up to eight people.
In the world of towable RVs, the following types are the most common:
- Travel trailers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a small bedroom on wheels to the equivalent of a Type A motorhome without the engine and transmission. Travel trailers may be as small as 10-feet long or as big as 35-feet long.
- Fifth-wheel trailers are similar to larger travel trailers, but they have an extension on the front of the box that extends over the tow vehicle and a horizontal plate that looks like a wheel (hence the name) that rests on the tow vehicle for support. This hitch arrangement requires special equipment on the tow vehicle. Typically, full-size pickup trucks tow fifth-wheels and are outfitted with a gooseneck hitch for the job.
- Folding camping trailers are the least expensive RV. Also commonly referred to as tent trailers or pop-up trailers, folding camping trailers are designed to be lightweight and inexpensive while providing many of the conveniences found in a basic travel trailer. Because of their relatively small size, folding camping trailers can easily be towed by a typical mid-size car, and even compact cars in some cases.
- Truck campers are a camper body loaded onto the bed of a standard pickup truck. Usually the tailgate of the pickup is removed and the camper unit is clamped to the vehicle. The most yeomanlike of "home away from homes," they are popular among weekend travelers and people on a tighter budget.
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