With provincial restrictions still in place in many Canadian provinces, those plans for an overseas vacation have again been put on hold and we’re once more assessing our holiday options for this summer.
RVing has risen in popularity as a means to maintain social distancing while still getting away with the family, but the RV world is a vast and confusing place. Our RVing 101 guides are designed to answer many of the questions a first-time RVer asks.
Let’s start with an overview of the different RV types which can be loosely categorized into motorized and non-motorized.
Non- motorized RVs are those which are pulled by a vehicle. These can be broken down loosely into three types:
Pop-ups or A Frames: These are lightweight trailers that are easy to tow with a regular car. They are usually soft-sided and can be raised in height once at your campsite to provide you with more space. They are more limited in space but are a step up from sleeping on hard ground in a traditional tent.
Hard-sided (Bumper Pull) Trailers: Known as caravans in other parts of the world, these trailers are generally mid-sized. They usually have all the amenities of home and have the advantage of being able to use the tow vehicle independently of the trailer when you are camped. Depending on the size of the trailer, a specific size of tow vehicle may be needed.
Fifth Wheel Trailers: These are also hard-sided but tend to be larger than bumper pull trailers. They require a truck with a fifth-wheel hitch in the bed of the truck to pull them. They also have the advantage of being able to use the tow vehicle independently of the trailer when camped.
Motorized RVs are all-in-one units. You can usually walk between the motorized cab and the coach area of the RV without having to go outside. Built on truck or van chassis, motorized RVs come in three classes.
Class C: These RVs are identifiable by their cabover design. They usually range in length from 20-35 feet. Most cabovers have one large bed over the cab. Some rental companies however have models with two single beds, making it easier for families to accommodate kids in their own spaces. Class C RVs have sleeping space for 6-10 people, depending on the size of the RV.
Class B: Smaller RVs, such as the Coachmen Beyond, are built on a van chassis and tend to be no longer than 23 feet. They are limited in space but can often be parked in regular parking spots. They are suitable for singles and couples. Class B has a subset, referred to as Class B+, which is built on a wide body van chassis and provides additional interior space and sleeping for two adults and two small children.
Class A: The grand-daddy of them all! Built on a commercial bus chassis, the Class A is often preferred by full-time RVers and tends to come fully-loaded with all the amenities of your own home (including laundry). Depending on layout, there is sleeping space for 2-10 people.
There is a third RV type which is often overlooked.
Truck Campers combine the versatility of a motorized RV with the ability to unmount the camper from the truck when parked. Unlike a towable which is pulled behind a vehicle, a truck camper is mounted into a truck bed making it similar to a motorized RV. Unlike motorized RVs however, there is no internal access from the truck cab. Truck campers tend to be compact but still come with an onboard bathroom, kitchen, fridge, furnace and other amenities.
Knowing the types of RV available will help you in your RV vacation planning. Choosing the type of RV that’s right for your family is the first step in planning your trip. The next step is to decide whether to buy or rent. Not all RV types are available as RV rentals so a decision to rent may limit your options.
Once you’ve decided on the RV you will take on your first trip, it’s important to know what to expect. Our handy Guide to Planning your First RV Trip has you covered, from booking to packing to camping resources, you’ll be an expert before you hit the road!
Canada offers a diverse range of scenery, activities and history – pretty much right on your own doorstep - and an RV vacation provides the perfect opportunity to experience it all – at your own pace!