Which RV is Best for Me?

I once heard an RVer sum up this question by saying, “In the end, people will buy the RV they can afford.”  But the decision as to what the best RV is for you, should be based on much more than money.  You need to think about….. 

  1. Where you want to camp 
  2. How often you will be camping
  3. Who will be using the RV 
  4. And how rustic or refined do you want your camping experiences to be

Quick Summary of the General Types of RVs

There are five basic types of RVs. However, within each category there is a huge selection of sizes, brands, floorplans, and features. Additionally, within these five types of RVs there is one other major distinction, and that is whether the RV can be driven or does it need to be towed. There are three categories of RVs with engines and two that must be towed.  Those with their own engine are Class A, B, and C, RVs, and those that need to be towed are 5th wheel trailers and travel trailers.  Additionally, there is one type of RV that is neither driven or towed, and that is a truck camper which is carried over the bed of a pickup truck.  

Within these types of RVs there are huge size differences, as well as appointments, features, floorplans, and costs. 

  • A large 5th wheel trailer and a class A motorhome may share many common features, but one is drivable and the other needs to be towed.
  • Similarly, a small Class C motorhome and mid-size travel trailers may share many common appointments, 
  • Or a Class B (van conversion) and a small travel trailer might also be similarly equipped. 

In each of these paired descriptions one RV can be driven, and one must be towed but these RVs may be very similar in price and features, and which RV is best for you, will depend on more than the basic categories or whether the RV can be driven or towed. The size and the way any one of them are equipped, plus the answers to the 4 questions below, should help you decide which RV is best for you. 

There’s so many types of RV’s, make sure to find the one perfect for you and your needs!

1) Where you want to camp will help you decide

If you plan to spend long stretches of time in terrain that has extreme weather, (excessive heat, snow, or ubiquitous rain) that decision should help inform you as to what type of RV will provide the maximum comfort.  Extreme weather will force you to seek shelter inside your RV, so if you don’t even have enough room to stand up, or cook a meal, or use the restroom, your tiny RV may quickly feel more like a prison cell than a recreational vehicle.

On the other hand, if you plan to camp in places with moderate weather, a small RV, such as an R-Pod or tear-drop trailer, which supports your outdoor lifestyle, may be the perfect choice.

2) How often will you use your RV will help you decide which RV is best

Using an RV for occasional weekend outings is vastly different from being a full-time RVer and your intended use should factor into your best RV calculus. But that doesn’t mean if you intend to use your RV as a full-timer you have to buy a huge motorhome or 5th wheel trailer.  In our travels, we have met full-timers who travel in small class C RVs, van conversions, and even one couple who have lived in a truck camper for over three years. 

Conversely, even if you are only going to use your RV for weekend getaways that doesn’t mean that a large motorhome or 5th wheel trailer isn’t right for you.  Your budget, your need for more storage space, a full galley, more sleeping quarters, or your need for more creature comforts, might push you toward a larger RV even for weekend getaways. There isn’t a universal formula for deciding which RV is best, based on your intended use. It is just one consideration.  You want to think about all the variables that will define your personal camping experience and make your decision based on all the information. It would be easy to generalize that a small RV is best for weekend warriors and larger RVs would be best for full-time RVers but this is just one variable in deciding which RV is best for you.  Remember, which RV is best for you is a personal decision.

Will you be traveling solo, as a couple, or as a large group?

3) Who will be using the RV is a major determinate

A single traveler’s RV needs differ from those of a family of five or six but the answer to which RV is best for each may not be obvious.  We have encountered families that chose huge 5th wheel trailers based solely on the assumption that their children would need the extra space for play and study time. But they soon discovered that their large 5th wheel trailers where hard to tow, difficult to maneuver and park, and their children did not need all that extra space.  On the flip side, we have met single travelers who were perfectly comfortable in their 40 foot class A motorhomes. 

Clearly, if you have a family of six, camping in a small van might be more difficult, but if you want that option, they do make a van with three slide-outs that will sleep 6. It might be easier with a large family, to camp in a larger RV, but again the answer to which RV is best for you, must be based on all the factors, not just one or two.

4) Do you prefer a refined or rustic camping experience?

Finally, and perhaps the most important question is how rustic or refined do you want your camping experiences to be?  This is a matter of personal choice, like all the other considerations. Do you want to get off the beaten path and into the back country? If so, you’ll need an RV small enough to be driven (or towed over) small back country roads. Do you want to camp in forest service campgrounds or are you more comfortable in designated RV parks and resorts?  Do you want to boondock for long stretches of time? If so, you’ll need an RV equipped with solar panels and large holding tanks. Perhaps you only need your RV as a base camp because you’ll spend the bulk of your time lounging, cooking, and recreating outdoors, so a small RV with minimal features would be fine.

On the other hand, you may be more comfortable inside your RV and you appreciate all the creature comforts that come in a larger motorhome, or trailer. Perhaps, you want an RV with multiple bathrooms, a washer and dryer, fully equipped galley, residential style refrigerator, multiple entertainment centers, recliners, and a Bose sound system throughout the RV.   Whether you’re boondocking in the back country in a small Class B van conversion or camping in an RV resort, in a 42 ft Class A motorhome, it doesn’t make any difference, as long as you’ve matched your own personal preferences to the type of RV that best meets your needs.  If you have the right RV it will feel right, kind of like a glove that fits, but if you choose the wrong RV it will never feel like a good fit.


Therefore, when selecting your RV, take your time. Consider all the pros and cons of the different types of RVs, and all the camping variables, as described here. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of which RV is best for you.  That is why there are so many different options, from soft sided pop-up trailers to half million dollar motorhomes.  It’s all a matter of your personal choices, preferences, and taste. It boils down to deciding what feels right to you, how, and where you plan to camp, who all will be using the RV, how many creature comforts you need, and finally what can you afford. 

About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.