The world of RVing can be overwhelming for those who are just jumping in. There are all kinds of things to learn before your first RV trip.
The very first thing you need to learn about? The types of RVs out there. After all, you can’t very well know which kind of RV you’d like to have without knowing what your options are.
The first question to ask yourself is whether you prefer a driveable RV or if you’d rather have a towable. Of course, if you want a towable, you will need to make sure you have a truck capable of pulling it safely. Because trucks are expensive and many people don’t want a truck they only use for camping, a driveable RV is the best option for many. This is especially true if you plan on renting the RV and taking it to your destination yourself.
All that said, even if you narrow down your choices to include only drivable RVs, there are still a few different types with dozens of different floor plans and other options. That is where this article comes into play.
Below, we dive into the facts on drivable RVs, teaching you about the different types and helping you decide which option might be best for you.
Drivable RV Types
First, let’s take a look at the different types of drivable RVs out there. This will help you further narrow down your options so you know just what you’re looking for when you start shopping for an RV to rent or buy.
Class A RV
Generally speaking, class As are the biggest of the drivable RVs (though there are some smaller models out there). These are the motorhomes that look like buses and are often referred to as coaches. They tend to offer the most living space, but also have the biggest learning curve when it comes to learning to drive them.
Class C RV
The class C RV is what many people think of when they think “motorhome.” This is the rig that looks a lot like a moving van. They are built on a van chassis and have a piece that juts out over the cab to make space for a bed, or sometimes an entertainment center. Class C RVs drive a lot like a van, making them relatively easy to drive, but they also tend to be smaller than class A RVs.
Class B RV or Campervan
Finally, there is the class B RV, or campervan. This is a much smaller rig, typically built into a cargo van. They don’t have slides and there isn’t much room for many amenities or extras. Instead, they provide just the basics in an easy-to-drive vehicle that can take you adventuring anywhere.
The Benefits of Small Drivable RVs vs the Benefits of Large Drivable RVs
Still not sure which option is right for you? Not to worry, we have more things for you to consider.
Another way to narrow things down is to decide how big you’d like your rig to be. That said, it’s pretty hard to know the answer to this without understanding what the pros and cons of each are. For this reason, we’re using this section to explain the benefits of both smaller RVs and larger RVs.
Benefits of Small Drivable RVs
Let’s start by listing our favorite benefits of camping in a small motorhome. If these benefits appeal to you, a small class C or campervan might be the best pick for you.
Easier to Drive
As mentioned before, class B and smaller class C RVs are easier to drive than the bigger rigs out there. They are built on van chassis, meaning they drive very much like a van—and of course, the smaller the rig is, the easier it is to maneuver.
More Parking Available
Finding parking for an enormous rig is a pain in the neck. Some parking lots simply will not be able to accommodate you, and squeezing into others will be dangerous and tedious. Smaller RVs, on the other hand, can park pretty much anywhere, and the smaller your motorhome is, the more parking options you’ll have.
Good for Off-Road Driving
Another thing small RVs can do more easily? Drive off-road. If you plan to do a lot of boondocking on undeveloped land, this can be a major bonus, so be sure to keep camping locations in mind when choosing the size of your RV.
Benefits of Large Drivable RVs
What about a bigger motorhome? Well, there are several benefits to having a larger home-on-wheels as well. If the pros listed below sound like something you’d enjoy, go for a class A or at least a larger class C.
More Storage Space
Generally speaking, the bigger your RV is, the more storage space you’re going to have. Therefore, if you plan to go on adventures with a lot of people or you want to be on the road for long periods of time, a larger motorhome with more storage bays might be your best bet.
Another thing that fits better in a bigger motorhome? More amenities. If you’re looking to have plenty of seating options, a bathtub, a large sink, and an oven, you’ll almost certainly be better off in a class C or class A rather than a campervan.
Room to Spread Out
If you’ll be spending lots of time in your RV, you’ll probably get tired of being in close quarters with family pretty quickly. For this reason, you’ll likely want to look into a larger motorhome that allows everyone to spread out and have their own space. This is especially nice when the weather isn’t great and everyone finds themselves stuck indoors.
Other Things to Look For in a Drivable RV
So far, we’ve discussed the types of drivable RVs, as well as the pros and cons of large RVs versus their smaller counterparts. This information has probably given you a decent idea of what you’re looking for, but there are more things to consider.
Be sure to consider the way the interior of the RV is set up. Think about day-to-day life in the RV, where everyone will sleep and sit, and how your family will fit into each floor plan you consider.
Because RVs are such small living spaces, storage space is very valuable. Keep storage in mind when RV shopping and make sure any RV you buy has enough space for everything you need to take along on an RV trip.
If you have specific amenities in mind, make a list of those so you don’t accidentally miss any. Some popular amenities include a bathtub, an RV prepped for solar, lithium batteries, heated seating, and fold-away furniture.
Holding Tank Sizes
If you plan on boondocking, the size of your holding tanks becomes very important. Make sure you look into the size of the tanks on any RV you buy. The bigger tanks you can find, the better off you’ll be, but keep in mind the fact that vans and other small rigs will almost certainly have smaller tanks.
In the case of drivable RVs, you’ll also want to consider fuel type. Diesel RVs tend to be stronger and do better on mountains. That said, regular gas is almost always cheaper and is easier to find anywhere. Additionally, the repairs on a diesel vehicle tend to be more expensive.
If you plan on traveling long distances, gas mileage can be another important factor to consider. As you might have guessed, smaller RVs almost always get better gas mileage, but this isn’t the only factor, so be sure to look at this before purchasing.
Cargo Carrying Capacity
Your cargo carrying capacity (CCC) is how much you can safely carry. Class A RVs have much higher CCCs than class Cs or class Bs, making them the best bet if you need to carry a lot of people and/or stuff. The CCC on a class C can be very limited, so keep that in mind as you shop.
You’ll also want to look at the tow rating of each drivable RV you consider. If you plan to tow a small car around, this number is very important, as it tells you how much weight your RV can safely tow, letting you know what kind of car you might be able to have.
Tips for Driving an RV
Once you decide on an RV, the next step is learning how to drive it. Fortunately, driving a motorhome is not nearly as intimidating as you might think. The best piece of advice we can give? Hop in, go slow, and practice as much as you can before actually hitting the road.
Here are some more tips for driving an RV:
Pay Attention to the Weather
Before your trip, check the weather report. Make sure there is not rain or snow in the forecast, as both of these things can make driving a big rig much more dangerous. If you do see that inclement weather is rolling in, consider rescheduling your trip or leaving a bit earlier to avoid the storm.
Adjust Your Mirrors
As soon as you hop in the driver’s seat of your motorhome, check the mirrors. Chances are they won’t be where they need to be, and since it can be so hard to see behind you in an RV, your mirrors are a super important tool. For this reason, you will want to adjust your mirrors right away.
Know Your Size
Tunnels, low-clearance bridges, and bridges with weight limits can be a bit nerve-wracking when you’re driving an RV. Make sure you know how tall you are and how much your motorhome weighs when loaded (you can get weighed at any location with CAT scales) before you hit the road. This will make it easier to determine if a route is safe for your rig.
Slow and Steady
As mentioned above, slow is the way to go in an RV. Go ahead and get all the way over to the right. Pick a speed around 55 or 60 mph and stick to it. Other people will go around you, but that’s okay. It’s better to take things a hit more slowly and stay safe than it is to get there a little bit faster.
Leave Space, Brake Early
Motorhomes are big and heavy, and they don’t stop as quickly as a small car. For this reason, it is extremely important that you leave a nice, big cushion of space between you and the car in front of you. Not only that, you will want to pay careful attention so you can begin braking earlier than you normally would. This will help you avoid rear-ending other vehicles, keeping you and those around you safe.
Hopefully this article helped you get a better understanding of drivable RVs. With this information you should be better able to pick the right RV for you and drive it safely, wherever your adventures should take you.
Still not sure which RV is right for you? Consider renting one of each type of motorhome so you can make your RV purchase confidentially, knowing you have the right information to make the right choice.