Last week’s blog was devoted to understanding some of the criteria to use for choosing an RV. This week I want to look at the pros and cons of different classes of RVs. Although last week I mentioned that solo women tend to buy motorhomes, that’s not an absolute rule. Many also buy trailers. Especially now that we’re trying to improve our mileage, it seems easier to make lighter trailers than lighter motorhomes.
This week I’m having a little trouble writing the blog entry because I don’t want to be too simplistic for you nor do I want to omit any basic questions. At RV.Net there is a wealth of specific information for you under the “Rigs” category. Each type of RV is covered. Check out the entries for the type of rig you have or want.
Perhaps the most important lesson to glean from my blogs is that you don’t have to feel limited any longer by detailed discussions about technical topics. If you are traveling solo, you MUST learn everything you can about your rig. If you are traveling with a partner, you SHOULD learn all of it. As we’ve mentioned before, you never know when you’ll have to apply this information.
Here’s a mini lesson on types of rigs. There are two basic types of rigs. According to one of the informal polls I’ve done, RVers were about equal in their choice of motorhomes vs. trailers.
1. Motorized RVs have the driving compartment within the vehicle. They are constructed on a motor vehicle chassis.
2. Towable RVs rely on a separate vehicle with a driving compartment.
Motorized RVs: This is the rig most people think of when they hear the expression “RV.” Generally it’s called a motorhome, ranging in length from under twenty to more than forty feet. The price can vary from a few thousand dollars for an old well-worn rig to almost a million for a luxurious, customized vehicle. Motorhomes are easier to drive and park, plus they afford greater safety since if there is an emergency or anything suspicious in the middle of the night, the owner just turns the key in the ignition and leaves. The trailer owner must go outside to get into the tow vehicle.
* Class A: The Class A motorhome is often rectangular in appearance. The driver and passenger seats can swivel around and become living room furniture when the rig is parked. The amenities are self-contained bathroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, and bedroom. Class A’s handle more like a car (a very large car for the 30-40 feet rigs) and when you remove the towed car, they back up like a car so the driver doesn’t have to learn new skills.
The larger motorhomes usually tow a car behind, affectionately referred to as the “toad.” Although mileage is poor on the motorhome, the toad gets excellent mileage and is used for local transportation and sightseeing. One great choice is a 4-wheel vehicle for exploring primitive roads at your destination. If you choose to tow a car or dinghy behind your motorhome, check at Motorhome Magazine online for its comprehensive Dinghy Towing guide on what cars are towable with all four wheels on the ground. Solo JJ likes to travel toadless. Check out her blog for inspiration.
Although the motorhome has steps to mount from the outside, once inside there are no further steps, making it easier for a handicapped person to get around. In addition, it is easier for the handicapped person to get in and out of a passenger car than a large truck. Often the side of the motorhome is adapted to place a lift enabling someone to be raised via a seat or the whole wheelchair can be lifted up.
Many motorhome owners cite an advantage is that a passenger can get up to prepare lunch or go to the bathroom while the vehicle is in motion. In fact, that is a great danger. While tootling down the highway at speeds up to 65 mph, every passenger should be securely seated.
One disadvantage to the larger Class A is having two engines to pay for and maintain. Another concern is that despite the number of stuffed bears they use, people who live in their motorhomes cannot disguise the fact that they have a steering wheel in their living room. For those who are looking for luxurious accommodations on the road, it is generally more expensive to purchase a motorhome and toad than a large fifth wheel and truck.
* Class B: The Class B is built on a van chassis with a raised roof. Class Bs are smaller, compact, and very easy to drive. They contain the same lifestyle amenities, but usually on a smaller scale. New ones are expensive, particularly compared to a similar-sized Class C or Class A. The Class Bs have less sleeping space for additional guests than other small rigs or trailers.
They are not usually the first choice for full-time living, but some of our readers have used them for as long as nine months at a time. Miles per gallon is excellent. According to their Web site, Roadtrek’s smallest model gets 22mpg; next level larger gets 18-20; largest model still gets 15-16.
* Class C: The Class C is a truck chassis with an RV unit built on it. The cab is over the driver/passenger unit. Again, the rig contains all the lifestyle amenities but often on a more limited scale than the Class A. The Class C is often used to tow a boat or motorcycle, and can tow a car. This type is the least expensive of the motorhomes. An informal survey indicates that solos prefer Class Cs. Since my own experience was driving a truck for years when we had a large fifth wheel, I was more comfortable with the truck feeling of the Class C rather than the Class A when I decided to buy a motorhome for solo travel. Some of the Class Cs now have slideouts that provide extra room when parked.
Next week I’ll review the different types of towables. Has this been helpful to you so far? Any questions or comments?