Rental Guide: RV Classifications

The first, and maybe most important, step in renting a Recreational Vehicle is choosing the type of RV that will meet your needs.  This includes the obvious things such as size, cost, and features, but also many other smaller details that most people don’t even know about.  This article is designed to help you with this decision and to give you the best possible RV rental experience.

RV Classifications:

Class A Recreational Vehicle:
These are the big RVs that you see going down the road.  They are typically 25-40 feet in length and are fully “self contained” meaning that they have both fresh and waste water storage.  They also come with a large propane supply tank that typically will last a week without refilling.  Onboard generators and a full compliment of utility hook-ups are also included.  Class A recreational vehicles are essentially homes on wheels.  Cost: $275-600 per night average.

Class B Recreational Vehicle:
Class B RVs are street vans with an elevated roof and sometimes an extended body.  These are the smallest class of motorhomes and therefor the easiest to get around in.  Most of these have fresh water supply and some have wastewater storage while others offer only ‘grey water’ storage.  If there is no wastewater storage then most are equipped with a portable toilet.  Sleeping quarters are often integrated into the living space and have to be made up each night and taken down each morning.  Class B motorhomes come with propane supply and have small but functional galleys.

Class C Recreational Vehicle:
Class C RVs are built on a cutaway van chassis that allows for a longer RV than the class B vehicles.  The driving cabin is made up of the remaining van configuration and the remainder of the RV is custom built.  These can be considered the smaller cousin of the Class A motorhome with all of the same amenities.  They are typically 20-30 feet in length.  While easier to drive, they are still a bit more to handle than the class B RV.

5th Wheel Trailer:
5th wheel trailer RVs are typically 32-45 feet in length and must be towed by a vehicle capable of pulling their weight safely (usually a ¾ -1 ton truck).  These offer all of the usual amenities that one would see in a Class A or Class C motorhome.  They may even have a washer and dryer included.  This is a very popular choice for travelers who want to be able to unhook their RV and be able to drive their truck around at their destination.

Travel Trailer:
The travel trailer can range in size from 10-36 feet in length and is typically smaller and lighter than a 5th wheel trailer.  Despite this they are still often equipped with a full galley, fresh and wastewater tanks, separate sleeping quarters, and living areas.  The overall length of the travel trailer dictates living space.  Generally these are good for a family of 4.

Tent Trailer:
The average length of a tent trailer is around 11-12 feet and when open can be up to 25 feet long.  The advantages are that they are lightweight, relatively easy to tow, and not mechanically complicated by comparison to the travel trailers or 5th wheel trailers.  They usually come equipped with a galley, two sleeping areas, propane, and fresh water tanks.  They usually do not have black water tanks, but may have grey water tanks integrated.  Some also have refrigerators.  A potential drawback is that the pop-up sides are usually a “tent-like” material and offer less protection against inclement weather.

Truck Campers:
These range widely in size from 5-11.5 feet long.  Some have slide out sides that offer more room in the interior when camping.  Most have propane and fresh water tanks with some including grey water and black water holding tanks.  Many will not have a shower or toilet, particularly in the smaller sizes.  These campers can weigh anywhere from 800 lbs. to 3000 lbs. fully loaded and so a truck with a large payload is required to handle hauling these.  One nice advantage over trailers is that you can still tow a trailer behind a camper if you have the proper hitch and hook-ups.

Our advice on selecting an RV to rent is to carefully consider what it is you want it to do for you.  Consider how many people will be traveling and living in it.  Look closely at your budget and then decide which RV rental will work for you.  Also consider your experience with RVs and what type and length you would be comfortable driving and operating.  Today even the largest Class A RVs are relatively easy to drive with some simple instruction at the RV rental center.