Skip to main content

6 RV camper styles perfect for every family and budget

One of these RV types will match your needs

Family outside a pop-up camper
Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock

For those who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors — but don’t want to totally rough it — RV camping offers the best of both worlds: You can eat, sleep, and use the bathroom inside while also soaking up nature and enjoying the flexibility of travel.

Campers also make adventure weekends easy for busy families; instead of rushing home from work and school on a Friday evening to pack up the tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, and cooking gear, an RV lets you simply hook up and go. So, let’s take a look at the different types of campers to see which style fits your needs.

Types of campers and RVs

Pickup truck with travel trailer
Matthew Osborn / Unsplash

Buying a camper could make sense for a variety of reasons, but before heading over to the dealership, you’ll want to know about the different styles and price ranges on the market. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you get an idea of what you need to know to find the perfect fit for your family’s next adventure.

Truck camper

Truck campers sit directly in the bed of a full-size pickup truck. Although compact, they offer many of the same conveniences as other campers. They are easy to maneuver on the road and in the woods, making them popular with outdoor enthusiasts for hunting and fishing trips in remote areas, as well as families who don’t want to tow a big load across the state … or the country. Some truck campers sleep up to six people, although most sleep between two and four, and prices range from $8,000 to $40,000.

Pop-up camper

Pop-up campers are the first type of tow-behind camper many families choose for their outdoor adventures. The base and roof are hard-sided, like other campers, but the walls of the upper section are soft-sided so that the unit can fold up for easy towing and storage. These lightweight campers are easy to tow behind smaller vehicles like minivans, SUVs, and even sedans. Pop-ups generally sleep four or five people, and pricing starts between $10,000 and $25,000.

Travel trailer

The travel trailer category is incredibly diverse in sizes, styles, and price ranges. This type of camper offers more living space and amenities than pop-ups and, because the tow vehicle can be detached, they offer more flexibility than motor homes. Small (up to 20 feet long), medium (21 to 30 feet), and large (31 to 40-plus feet) travel trailers, with or without slide-outs, offer nearly endless possibilities for details like furniture, appliances, entertainment, and more. Lower-priced models offer a comfortable night’s sleep, while those on the higher end feel like a true home away from home.

The size and capability of the towing vehicle are extremely important considerations when buying a travel trailer. Lightweight models often weigh less than 4,000 pounds, but many of the larger ones weigh well over 10,000 pounds. A few of the smallest ones can be towed by light-duty trucks or crossovers, but most require the power and rugged suspension of a full-size pickup truck. 

Smaller travel trailers sleep four to five adults, while mid-sized models sleep up to seven, and the largest can sleep up to eight or more. Size does not always correspond with the price due to the availability of high-end details in smaller campers and the availability of budget-friendly large-model packages. Overall, new travel trailer prices average between $12,000 and $50,000.

Fifth-wheel travel trailer

A couple of unique RV subcategories include the fifth-wheel travel trailer and the toy hauler. Fifth-wheel trailers are pulled by large pickup trucks with the hitch located in the bed of the truck rather than below the bumper. This system makes the trailer much easier to maneuver. The raised forward section of the trailer over the hitch is typically configured as bedroom or living room space. Extended length combined with slide-outs create lots of living space, making fifth-wheel travel trailers popular with full-time campers.

Toy hauler

Toy haulers are so named for the rear-loading ramp door and garage space with room to haul ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts, bikes, or other small vehicles. The toy hauler configuration is available in both towables and motorhomes, but most are fifth-wheels. Most of the RVs in the fifth-wheel and toy hauler subcategories sleep six people, and prices average between $20,000 and $60,000.


Unlike other campers, motorhomes are built on vehicle platforms. Instead of hooking up to a tow vehicle, motorhomes are driven. Many families who travel in motorhome campers tow a “get-around” car so that they can set up camp while also having convenient mobility. Another difference between motorhomes and other campers is that motorhomes are categorized as class A, B, or C types based on their size.

Class A

Diesel- or gasoline-powered class A motorhomes are the largest, most luxurious types. They are popular for extended, cross-country trips and perfect for full-time RVers. Class As offer home-like comforts such as residential-style refrigerators, microwaves, washers and dryers, master bathrooms, designer furniture, and high-quality electronics. Most gain plenty of extended living space from slide-outs. Some class As sleep up to 12.

Class B

Class B motorhomes are also known as camper vans. Like the larger class As, these can have either a gasoline or diesel engine. They operate and feel much like conventional vehicles, making them quite nimble to maneuver in town or off-road. Their size makes them most suitable for individuals or couples. Class Bs sleep two.

Class C

Built on a truck chassis, the class C motorhome also comes in both gas and diesel options. These RVs are recognized for their unique cab-over design. They offer similar upscale details as the larger class A models but in a smaller package. Class Cs sleep up to six.

As with other broad categories, size alone cannot determine the price of a motorhome. High-end appointments easily drive up costs, even in small class As. On average, the entry price for a new motorhome is about $50,000. On the high end, the price can far exceed $250,000.

Which is right for you?

Scenic RV camping spot during sunset with a Class C motorhome camper
Virrage Images / Shutterstock

An RV is the single largest luxury purchase that most campers will ever make, and it’s a convenient way to travel, explore, and make memories that will last a lifetime. While there’s no set formula for determining the best camper for you, in order to make a good choice, take time to learn about the options and the experiences that other RVers have had.

Most RV shoppers spend at least a year researching and learning before they finally buy. Social media communities offer invaluable viewpoints and tips on everything from camping hacks to the best places to stay, but they also are some of the best resources for personal experience on all types of RV campers. Plug in, ask questions, and soon you’ll be ready to go for it.

Do campgrounds usually have spots for RVs and other types of campers?

RV settled into a camping spot
lindsywilliams / Pixabay

Yes, most campgrounds have spots for RVs. In fact, many campgrounds are specifically designed for RVs and offer amenities that RVers and travel trailers need, such as full hookups (water, electricity, and sewer), pull-through sites, and dump stations.

However, there are some campgrounds that are more primitive and may not have any RV sites. These campgrounds are typically located in more remote areas and may not have any amenities at all. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a campground for your RV:

  • Make sure the campground has sites that are large enough to accommodate your trailer or RV.
  • Do you need full hookups, or will you be dry camping (without any hookups)?
  • Is the campground located near the places you want to visit?
  • Campgrounds can range in price from very affordable to quite expensive.
  • Do you need reservations?

Here are some resources that you can use to find campgrounds that have trailer, camper, or RV sites:

  • This website allows you to search for campgrounds on federal lands, including national parks, national forests, and Bureau of Land Management lands.
  • RV This website allows you to search for campgrounds in U.S. forests.
  • KOA: KOA is a large chain of campgrounds that offers a variety of amenities, including RV and trailer sites.
Mark Wolfe
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Mark Wolfe is a freelance writer who specializes in garden, landscaping, and home improvement. After two decades in the…
A quick guide on how to clean hiking boots
Tips to ready your boots for the next outdoor adventure
Dirty, muddy hiking boots

No matter where you hike or what you hike in, one thing is for sure: Hiking boots are supposed to get dirty. Your new boots might look fresh and clean right out of the box, and after that, every scrape and stain may be a badge of honor. But that doesn't mean they should stay that way.

Follow the tips outlined below to keep your hiking boots clean, functional, and ready to hit the next trail.
How to clean your hiking boots

Read more
The 20 best U.S. national parks to explore now
There are a lot of national parks to see, so here's a list to start with
Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park

Soaring mountains, dune-covered deserts, glacial lakes, primeval forests, and red rock canyons set the stage for memorable adventures in splendid U.S. national parks — "America’s best idea," as filmmaker Ken Burns rightly described it. You could spend years exploring the countless wonders of these cherished reserves, but if time is limited, then focus your attention on the best of the best. Below is our admittedly subjective list of the top 20 parks, presenting a wide variety of landscapes and locales.
National Park Pass programs
Before we get into the list of U.S. national parks, let's cover how you can save money if you're going to be visiting several of America's best national parks. The National Park Pass is a program offered by the National Park Service that allows entrance to many federal recreation sites across the country. Depending on your needs, there are different types of passes to choose from.

Annual Pass: This pass costs $80 and is valid for one year at over 2,000 federal recreation sites managed by six different agencies, including the National Park Service. This is a good option if you plan on visiting several parks throughout the year.
Senior Pass: Citizens 62 and older can purchase a lifetime Senior Pass for $80. It grants the same access as the annual pass.
America the Beautiful Pass: This pass costs $80 and covers entrance fees for a single vehicle, including rentals and RVs, at national parks and federal recreational lands for 12 months.
Military Pass: Veterans get a free lifetime pass to national parks and other federal recreational lands. Here are some additional things to keep in mind about national park passes:

Read more
This luxe, high-roof camper van is like a Parisian micro-apartment on wheels
With a high roof line and clever convertible bed setup, this camper van sleeps four adults comfortably
Man stepping out of a Noovo Plus camper van parked near the beach.

Another week, another new camper van model to seduce you into trading all your earthly belongings for a free-wheelin' life on the open road. There are so many new van life-worthy camper vans on the market these days that it's damn hard to tell them apart. But the all-new Noovo Plus has one trick up its sleeve—er, roof—that truly sets it apart.
Get the full details on the new Noovo Plus camper van

The Noovo Plus joins two other camper vans—the Noovo Lite and Noovo Pop—as the flagship model in Noovo's lineup. What sets it apart from its more affordable brethren is its ultra-high roof profile. Built on the Super High Roof Platform, the Plus is purpose-built to offer a full seven feet of headroom. This provides for a more open and comfy interior (especially for taller travelers) and, more importantly, makes room for an electric lift bed mounted above the rear living quarters. At night, the queen bed lowers from the ceiling at the press of a button; by day, it rises out of the way just as easily. Along with the convertible sofa bed underneath, this camper van can sleep and transport four adults comfortably.

Read more