The recent uptick in RV sales and rentals may have you asking yourself whether you’d like to join in on the fun. If you do, then welcome!
As a “newbie,” you’ll soon start to discover the enjoyment, freedom, and camaraderie inherent in RVing. But before you can get there, there are many things you need to know. Understanding the various types of RVs is certainly at the top of the list. Here is an overview of your RV choices; it’s extremely basic and you’ll need to do more research, but it’s a good place to start.
Making the decision of what type of RV you want depends on a variety of factors – how many people you’ll be carrying, which amenities you want, how much money you’re willing to fork out, and much more. RVs are grouped into one of two categories: drivable or towable. If you go for a towable, just remember: you’ll need a vehicle capable of performing the towing, another major factor in your ultimate purchase decision.
- Class A Diesel Motorhomes: These are the true definition of luxury RVs - great for long trips and cross-country adventures, which them ideal for the full-time RVer. But they will also set you back quite a few dollars.
- Class A Gas Motorhomes: Like the diesels, Class A gas motorhomes offer many of the comforts of home, so they are also popular for full-time or long-term RVers. Both types of Class A vehicles range between 30 to 40 feet in length.
- Class C Motorhomes: A smaller option; both gas and diesel options are available. Many Class C motorhomes offer similar amenities to the Class A variety - kitchens, bathrooms, and slide-outs - but on a smaller scale.
- Class B Motorhomes: Also called camper vans, these are the ultimate “home on the road” for adventurous RVers. They are an industry favorite because they drive like a standard automobile. They generally measure between 20-25 feet in length.
- Fifth Wheel Campers: The largest type of towable RV, they are pulled by large pick-up trucks with a special fifth wheel hitch. Fifth wheels are some of the most spacious RVs available, with extended length and numerous slide-outs.
- Toy Haulers: They can accommodate tons of gear and outdoor “toys” - motorcycles, dirt bikes, golf carts, snowmobiles, etc. They are available in towable and motorized RV types, but most toy hauler RVs are fifth wheels.
- Travel Trailer RVs: These appeal to almost any type of camper because of the number of floor plans and styles. Travel trailers are easier to detach and setup in a campground than fifth wheels.
- Teardrop Campers / Tiny Trailers: Ideal for weekend travelers who just want basic amenities when they travel. In other words, the simplest teardrop RVs are little more than a bedroom on wheels.
- Pop-Up Campers: These family-friendly RVs have a hard base with canvas sides that extend (or “pop-up”) to provide sleeping space. Perfect for young families who want to camp more but also avoid sleeping in a tent on the ground.
So, we’ve got the biggest, most obvious item out of the way. But having a great RV experience isn’t only about which type of vehicle you choose. It’s also paying attention to the little things: the assorted items and gadgets you don’t even know you need until you need them. They may seem insignificant, but we know from experience that they can have a huge impact on your safety, your well-being, and your enjoyment on each and every trip you take. (These are listed alphabetically, not in order of importance.)
Broom or Lightweight Vacuum
One thing you’ll quickly discover is that you and your fellow adventurers bring a ton of dirt into your RV. There’s no mystery as to why: often, you’re coming in right from your campsite or off a trail. You probably don’t need one of the heavy-duty vacuums you would use at home, but a smaller model or even just a broom will help keep floors relatively clean. At least for a little while.
If your rig has a slide-out, you know how easy it is to bang your head. Those corners can really hurt, especially if you are underneath one. Corner guards add a softer edge and prevent you from cutting your head or arms. The first time you bang your head on a corner guard, you’ll be thankful it was there.
Durable Disposable Gloves
You always want to have an ample supply of these available. There are a number of tasks within the RV for which you’ll need them, but few chores require them more than dumping out your black water tank. Trust us, you want to make sure you're not handling the sewer water with your bare hands. Notice we said “durable”: you definitely don't want your gloves breaking while you’re performing this chore.
An absolute necessity, per code. Fire can start up very quickly in an RV, and even the largest models can burn to the ground in minutes. RVs are generally equipped with one but may not be the proper size or have the functionality you need for your vehicle. Check out this review in Smart RVing to see their recommendations.
RV Friendly Toilet Paper
Regular toilet paper can easily gum up your RV’s sewer system, making it a mess to clean up (although you will have your durable gloves). RV-friendly toilet paper is supposed to disintegrate quickly to avoid clogging up your sewage system or tank. The paper has been specially formulated for RV use and will always be safe to use.
Along those same lines, get a durable indoor/outdoor mat to put in the entryway to your RV. It won’t catch all of the grit and grime, but at least it will get some of the big chunks off of your shoes so that your RV won’t get quite as dirty quite as fast.
Many brand-new RVs come with a filter of some kind, but as you have already heard from us numerous times, the filter that is supplied is not adequate to provide safe drinking water. The type of water filter you get is dependent on a variety of factors – RV size, tank capacity, cost, level of filtration, and more. To help your decision-making process, we refer you back to one of our recent blogs on water filtration.
These are just a small sampling of the “I didn’t know I need these but now I do” items. We’ll be featuring more in upcoming blogs.