If you’re new to RVing choosing which type of RV can be overwhelming.  With so many different types of RVs, different lengths and sizes, and so many accessories to choose from, you need to know what do you need for your vacation. Do you want a luxurious trip with better amenities than your house?  Or do you plan to take a road trip tour of the national park? Or do you want to be off-roading, finding the best places for rafting and rock climbing?

We have rented and owned a variety of RVs.  We currently rent out an RV to other families to enjoy on their vacations. I have compiled the information here that we didn’t know before our first trip and many other renters wish they knew to help choose the right RV. 

These are my best tips to help you choose which type of RV to rent.

First, I will start with an introduction to the types of RVs you can choose from so you understand the difference between motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, camper vans, and more! Then I will talk more about the lengths and sizes of RVs. Last, but still important, I will have you understand the different accessories that are available to add to your comfort and enjoyment.

This is part of our series on planning an epic RV vacation, where we help you with everything from getting the best deal on an RV rental to scoring the best campsites, and what to do if you run into trouble. Read more on the blog:

Types and Classes of RVs for Rent

Let’s Get to know the different types and classes of RVs

When choosing whether you want to rent a motorhome travel trailer fifth wheel camper van he will need to understand the different types of RVs. Each type of RV has advantages and disadvantage is for age.

Classes and Types of Motorhomes

A motorhome (or motorcoach) is a self-contained unit that is both a camper and the driving vehicle together. Motorcoaches are described by the class and length of the rig. Motorhomes are divided into Class A, B, and C and range in length from 20 feet to 45 feet.

Smaller motorhomes are generally easier to drive than towable trailers because there is not pivot point to work around for backing up.

One big drawback of a motorhome is that this will also be your transportation unless you drive or tow a second car with you. This can make your daily movements more difficult, especially with longer rigs. 

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    Class A Motorhome

    Camping in Arches National Park
    Class A Camper in Arches National Park

    Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious of the self drivable RV type.  You can choose from a Class A gas engine or diesel (referred to as the diesel pusher) engine. These RVs resemble traditional buses and have vertical front windshields and large windows.

    The large Class A is ideal for long-distance and cross country adventures and offers ample space for families.  The drawback is the size and cost of this motorcoach.  In addition, you will be limited to flat, campgrounds as you will not be taking this vehicle off-road. 

    • Sleeps:  4-12 people
    • Average length: 25-45 feet
    • Rental Cost Per Night: $200 – $500 

    Class B Motorhome (Camper Van)

    Campervan on the side of a road in New Zealand by ivoderooij

    Class B motorhomes are a more nimble mid-sized camper van that is built on van chassis.   The camping conversion vans have raised roofs and dropped floors to give people more room to move around inside. Class Bs are equipped with essential beds and kitchen appliances, with the larger models featuring bathrooms, lounge areas, and holding tanks with ample water for your daily needs.

    The camper van is super popular in Colorado and other mountain states for couples and small families.  You will also see the camper van throughout Europe and other international countries. This type of RV is easy to maneuver, feels carlike to drive, and can fit easily in parking spaces.   If you like this style you can find the more in our article “smallest RVs to rent”

    You can rent this style at a company that focuses on camper van rentals, like Escape Campervans, and from the locals at RV share and outdoorsy.  

    • Sleeps:  1-4 people
    • Average length: 16-21 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $85-$200

    Class C Motorhome

    Class C motorhomes are built on a standard truck chassis alongside an extra space extending over the compartment of the truck cab.  Class C motorhomes are by far the most popular type of rental RV which you can see on the road (think the big rolling advertisement type) 

    The class offers the comfortable accommodations of the larger class A, but in a smaller, cheaper package. Many class Cs will have slide-outs that can open up the inside to make the coach feel more spacious.

    The drawback of driving an motorhome is that this will be your transportation and accommodation. This means packing up and moving for the day.

    • Sleeps:  2-8 people
    • Average length: 21-36 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $150 – $300

    Towable trailers

    Family RV camping with bikes for kids on the activities checklist
    Bring the bikes on your RV camping trip

    Travel trailer

    A travel trailer or a bumper-pull is a towable RV that is mounted on a trailer frame and is towed separately behind your truck or SUV.  You will see the frame and bumper hitch extending from the trailer’s front where it attaches to the vehicle. The camper is attached to a separate vehicle with a ball and hitch.

    Travel trailers are generally available more available on the peer to peer platforms such as RVShare and Outdoorsy because this is a popular RV to own. It features the comforts of a motorhome at a much lower entry price. In fact, here is the link to our personal listing if you are interested in our travel trailer.

    Travel trailers come in many sizes from tiny 10 foot to huge 40 foot. You can read more in our articles “largest RVs to rent”and “smallest RVs to rent

    One of the biggest benefits of a travel trailer is that you unhook the camper and still have your own SUV or truck to drive.

    When you rent a travel trailer, you will need to either use your own vehicle to tow it or have it delivered at a campsite. I will talk more about this at the end of the post.

    • Sleeps:  2-12 people
    • Average length: 19-40 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $90- $250

    Fifth Wheel 

    Large Arctic Fox 5th Wheel and a Ford F350 truck – Depositphotos

    The fifth wheel is also a towable RV except the hitch is inside the bed of a truck.  The trailer is connected to a with a kingpin to a U shaped coupling mounted in the bed of a truck.  This rig sits over the rear axle of the truck (similar to semi) and is generally taller and heavier than other travel trailers.

    The benefit of the fifth wheel over a bumper hitch is the stability while towing and the ability to make tighter turns.  The most obvious downside is the need for a specialized fifth wheel hitch in the bed of your truck.  Unless you tow large trailers with your personal truck you will not have this attachment.

    However, you may find that this type of trailer may be delivered and give you the similar accommodations and space as a Class A at a fraction of the price.  You can read more about large RVs for rent on our post.

    • Sleeps:  2-12 people
    • Average length: 19-45 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $90- $350

    Toy Hauler

    Screenshot of Toy Hauler for rent on Outdoorsy

    Another option in the towable RV class is a toy hauler, available in either a bumper hitch or a fifth wheel. The toy hauler is so named because it has a garage or added trailer area for taking your outdoor toys such as quad, Razor or motorcycle with you.  In larger models, the rear or side wall drops down to create a ramp to drive the big toys in and out.  The garage area will have beds or seating areas that raise and lower or fold up to allow the storage of smaller recreational toys.  These campers can have anywhere from the basic features to very nice accommodations. 

    Large motorcoach toy haulers are made that offer luxury accommodations but this would be a rare find to rent. 

    Toy haulers are quite unusual to see in the conventional rental market but you can find this type of RV on Outdoorsy or RVShare.  Just know that these trailers become large and heavy making it difficult to drive and maneuver. 

    The toy hauler in the picture is available for rent in Denver on Outdoorsy (with $1M insurance) at this link to the listing.

    • Sleeps:  2-9 people
    • Average length: 19-45 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $90- $300

    Pop-up Trailer

    Pop-up Camper at night – by Tony at Adobe stock

    A pop-up is one of the smallest travel trailers that you can rent. This type of trailer folds down into a small 10 to 20-foot unit that connects to your bumper hitch. When you arrive at your campsite you raise the roof and fold the sides out transforming your trailer from 4 feet tall to 7-8 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet long.

    Beyond the conventional pop-up trailer, there is a whole range of alternative designs of compact travel trailers including the teardrop, r-pod, micro – mini, and hiker trailers.

    One of the great benefits of a mini camper is that you can tow it with a car or small RV. Plus it is easier to find a parking spot and will maneuver in off-road situations much better. I like the camping feel of a pop-up since you are still sleeping under canvas, feeling the breeze and hearing the outdoor sounds.

    These novel designs are generally for rent at the peer to peer network and small local outdoor shops. Check out the fun variety of pop-up campers that average only $81 a night for rent at Outdoorsy plus $50 off your rental.

    • Sleeps:  2-8 people
    • Average length: 15-25 feet
    • Average Cost Per Night: $40- $150

    Cab Over Camper

    Screenshot Outdoorsy Cab Over 2010 Lance 825
    Screenshot Outdoorsy Cab Over 2010 Lance 825 in Oregon

    Another very small compact camper is the cab-over or truck camper which is a camper that sits right inside the bed of a pickup truck. This type of camper is quite popular to own but unusual to find or rent. One reason is that the camper and the truck would need to be rented together. However, I have seen a couple of units like this one here at Outdoorsy + you can use our $50 discount.

    • Sleeps:  1-4 people
    • Average length: Can add 2-3 feet over the tailgate
    • Average Cost Per Night: $100 -$250

    Tips for choosing the size of an RV to rent

    RVs are described in the length of the unit. Motorhomes are generally 20 feet to 42 feet long and are measured from the front bumper to the back bumper. Travel trailers however are measured from the back bumper to the front of the trailer not including the hitch link that sticks out from the front. Miniature compact trailers can range from 5 feet to 20 feet.

    Tips for renting an RV for cheap!

    How many seatbelts do you need?

    With a motorhome, one of the post important points is the number of seatbelts in the rig. Although not every state requires seatbelts inside of a motorhome, you will still want to make sure that every member of your family is safe (a wreck in these types of vehicles is ugly).

    We discuss the issue of seatbelts and car seats in more in depth in our post 17 tips for your first RV trip with a toddler

    What length RV should you get?

    The smallest travel trailers can range from 5 feet to 20 feet in length. Larger travel trailers and fifth wheels range from 20 feet to 45 feet in length.

    The benefit of a longer larger trailer is more comforts of home. You will find a larger kitchen larger refrigerator freezer more seating at the dinette and separate Bedrooms and even sometimes a washer and dryer. The rooms may even have separate doors instead of curtains (or nothing)

    Larger RV will also have extra sleeping space for additional guests. Even if you don’t have lots of people you will enjoy sleeping on beds and not transforming the dinette between a bed and table every morning. (Trust us, that get old quick)

    The obvious drawback of a large RV is the size. Longer vehicles present driving and parking challenges that will limit your choices during your trip. 

    With a 35 foot travel trailer we are almost 60 foot end to end which is similar length to a semi truck. It is not easy to maneuver through. 

    Also, the length of the RV can limit the places that you’re able to camp. Obviously off-road adventures are more difficult with a longer vehicle. More importantly, though is that many national parks limit the length of the RV camp spots. A shorter RV will ensure that you have the most flexibility and opportunities on your RV road trip

    I suggest choosing the smallest argument is safe and comfortable for your family. Here are our top choices for the smallest RV you can rent.

    What size RV should you choose?

    So what size should you choose? Here are the suggested links for based on family size  

    Family size (#people)    Length of RV
    215-25 feet
    2-420-35 feet
    4-625-40 feet
    6-1025-45 feet 
    What size RV to choose based on the number of people in your group

    Consider Having a Camper Delivered

    If you are wary of driving an RV for the first time or want to bring your car along, consider having a camper delivered. Many companies and owners offer delivery and set up. So you can arrive at your camp spot and have everything ready to go. You don’t have to worry about damaging the RV on a sharp turn.

    Delivery charges can range from free to per mile to a flat rate ($50 -$100). The average delivery charge is $100 up to 50 miles plus $2/mile after that.

    Check out all the options for delivery on Outdoorsy here.

    Airbnb is an excellent option for RVs but only covers stationary rentals so the rentals do not need driving insurance. It turns out that renting this can be a cheaper way to go. Plus here is our link for $35 off the first rental on Airbnb.

    Helping You choose the right RV for your next road trip

    Planning an RV rental road trip can be intimidating, especial if you are new to RVing. I hope this article helps you decide learn the basic types of RVs and which RV to choose for your trip.

    Don’t miss our best tips for planning an unforgettable RV trip. Follow along on our series on the blog:

    $85 off RV Rentals +RV Planning & Packing Lists

    Subscribe to start planning an EPIC Family RV trip! Get instant access and bi-monthy Travel Hacks.

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      Before you plan an RV trip you need decide which type of camper to rent. With so many types fo RVs how can you decide if you want a motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel or pop up. And what is the difference anyway? We help you decide what type of RV to choose for your rental.
      Which RV should you rent for your road trip?
      Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever

      Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  We travel with kids and extended family.  I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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