Have you ever wondered what does RV stand for in the RV acronym? Well, wonder no more! RV stands for Recreational Vehicle.
A recreational vehicle (RV) is a motorized, self-propelled vehicle or travel trailer designed primarily to provide temporary living quarters that can be used for recreation purposes, typically at camping areas.
An RV is a versatile full-sized traveling home. It can be driven on public roads towing a car, or on private land.
An RV has more included than just the basics compared to camping for instance. For example, it usually includes a refrigerator, sink, oven/stove combination, toilet, and shower facilities. A typical Class C motorhome could also contain a water heater, furnace, and air conditioning. Some RVs even have a washing machine and clothes dryer.
Whether your planning short getaways or even a more adventurous 3-week East Coast to West Coast road trip, we’ve got you covered on the different types of RVs you can choose from!
What Exactly is an RV
An RV is built to provide additional living space when traveling or camping. They are self-contained recreational vehicles that range from simple campers to luxury motor homes centered around a large chassis with wheels. RVs can be parked in one place and do not need to be hooked up to utilities while parked.
It is not necessary to own an RV to enjoy camping in an RV. Many people opt instead to rent RVs when they want the full camping experience without the commitment of having to buy all of the equipment. Sometimes, even if you do buy your RV, you may still choose to rent occasionally for convenience or to save money on storage during the off-season.
You can buy your new RV through many different places such as dealerships, RV shows, or via online classified ad postings. However you choose to purchase your first RV though, you must know exactly what you want before beginning the process.
Some choose to buy an RV because it is cheaper than buying a house in some areas of the country whilst others treat it as their holiday home on wheels! RVs can also be converted into permanent housing if needed and have become increasingly popular in recent years.
In this guide covering what does RV stand for, we also look to explain the different types of RVs and Campers that you may want to consider buying or renting for your next outdoor adventure!
Different Types of Campers & RVs
There are many different types of RVs. The type of RV that is best suited for you may depend on your situation, where you want to travel, and how long you want to stay out on the road.
Motorhomes are self-contained RVs that have a built-in engine with enough horsepower to pull the vehicle itself as well as a trailer. These RVs can be as large as a bus and often look like one (Class A), or they can be as small as a van and more easily resemble a regular vehicle (Class B).
Class A Motorhome:
The largest of the motorhomes, this type of RV has two axles and is usually more than 45 feet long with a full bathroom, a kitchen area, and sleeping space for four to six people. Due to its larger size, Class A RVs naturally tend to be more difficult at maneuvering.
Class B Motorhome:
This type of RV is smaller than the Class A motorhome and usually has only one axle. It offers many of the same amenities as a larger unit with the space and horsepower necessary to pull a trailer (such as an ATV or snowmobile).
Class C Motorhome:
Class C motorhomes are more like RVs with a cab-over sleeping area. This design creates significantly more headroom in the main living area of the RV but does not allow for much space to stand or walk around. The engine is usually smaller than either of the above types of RVs.
Campers are RVs that are pulled behind a vehicle, which can be another motorhome or a car. Typically, this type of RV has a kitchen area with a sink and some counter space for preparing food. The living area is typically located in the front of the vehicle. There are different types of campers, including:
The most basic of campers, pop-up campers are small RVs that have a collapsible frame and a hardtop that pops up to expand the living space. Once collapsed, the whole unit can be towed behind another vehicle or moved onto a truck bed or trailer.
This type of camper is as basic as it gets. It is essentially a tent with a frame on which to place a mattress. This type of camping is popular because it does not require any special licensing or tools, but be aware that the lack of protection from the elements also means that there is no shelter in case you need to park your car for an extended time.
Truck campers are similar to pop-up campers in that they can be collapsed and towed behind a vehicle or set up the top of a truck’s canopy, but they are larger and feature a fiberglass shell instead of a hardtop.
This type of camper is built on a truck chassis. The entire unit is enclosed and generally fully functional as a mobile home.
The smallest of the campers, camper vans are essentially small RVs that have been created by modifying a van. Although they may not be as comfortable as a larger RV, they offer complete freedom because no vehicle is required for their operation.
It’s exactly for this reason, flexbility and freedom, that campervan conversions have become increasinly popular in recent years, with avid travelers opting to design and customize their van to suit their budget and preferences!
This type of camper is very similar in design to a regular van but has been built for this specific purpose. It can range from a small shell that is completely enclosed with the living area at the rear of the vehicle to a much larger unit with an equally large sleeping space.
Trailers are towed by another vehicle, just like pop-up campers. The difference is that they have no motor of their own and are typically created from the back end of a truck or SUV. They may also be far bigger in size compared to typical pop-up campers.
Fifth Wheel Trailers:
This type of trailer attaches behind another vehicle using a small box at the front of the trailer. It sits on top of this box while in use. Fifth-wheel trailers are typically used to haul large RVs that require more horsepower than a truck or SUV can provide. They are popular because they are easy to attach and detach.
This type of trailer is similar in design to a truck camper, except it attaches at the back of the vehicle instead of sitting on top.
The second type of fifth-wheel trailer, the travel trailer is also similar in design to fifth-wheel trailers, but their shape is much more rectangular. They have a large opening at the back of the trailer so that everything inside can be loaded and unloaded from the back.
This type of trailer is a luxury version of a pop-up camper. It has a fixed frame but does not have a collapsible top. Instead, the back of the unit is attached to a truck bed or a fifth-wheel trailer. This type of RV is good for those who want a little more comfort and luxury than a pop-up tent, but do not require as much room and equipment as a bigger motorhome.
Frequently Asked Questions About RVs (FAQs)
Is there a special license that you need for an RV?
In short, no, the only requirement is usually to be at least 21 years old. That is if the vehicle does not extend beyond the maximum length or has a weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
Many states require registration and licensing of motor vehicles and also restrict driving with a provisional/probationary/intermediate driver’s license (where they are not yet fully licensed). You can find out what the requirements are by contacting your local DMV or checking their website.
The only special license you will need is if you want to drive the vehicle across US state lines. This requires an “interstate” application for a commercial drivers’ license (CDL). There may also be age and/or endorsement restrictions that apply, such as:
– “P” endorsement (passengers; required if transporting more than 15 persons)
– “S” endorsement (school bus; required if driving a school bus with passengers)
– “N” endorsement (required to drive tank vehicles or hazardous material, double/triple trailers)
Can you customize your RV?
Of course! Whether you’re purchasing a brand new or used RV, you will be able to customize your RVs interiors to fit your individual preferences.
Especially campervans have become incredibly popular in recent years, with travelers buying fix-me-uppers and customizing them before heading on a road trip.
Regardless if you want to kit out your motorhome with a new kitchen, planning to redesign the layout of your camper, or you’re simply looking to add your own touch when it comes to interiors and accessories (such as camper coffee makers, dishes, utensils, bedding, and more), you can make sure that your home away from home feels as personalized as you need it to be!
Where can you park an RV?
You can park anywhere! However, there are some places where an RV would not be able to fit. Some cities may also have certain restrictions that you must follow (usually enforced by the local police), like restricting parking within a certain number of feet from a fire hydrant or other street obstacle.
You can find out what these requirements are by contacting the city offices or tourism centers for any new destination you are traveling to.
What is RV boondocking?
Boondocking is a method of overnighting that involves camping in an area where there are no hookups or other utilities. There is no special license required for operating an RV, though parking and driving laws may vary by state. Some restrictions may apply for drivers under 21 years old or who are on probationary licenses.
You can park an RV anywhere you’d like, but parking areas may have certain obstacles where it would not be able to fit. Boondocking is a method of overnighting with no hookups, though there are other types of overnighting you can do.
Factors to consider when buying an RV
The first thing you must be aware of is whether it is a new RV or a used one. This decision depends on how you plan to use the vehicle. If you are going to be using it for a couple of days at a time, then you may consider buying a used one. However, if you are planning to live in an RV, then a new one is probably your best bet.
The size of the vehicle is another thing to consider. You should be aware that there are different sizes and shapes of RVs. There is the traditional camper size, smaller than a regular house. Then there is the long-haul truck camper that is a bit larger. Each size may present a different challenge in terms of maneuverability and ease of driving depending on its use.
The weight of an RV is another factor to consider. Smaller RV’s are lighter, but there is a limit to how much weight you can put on your tow vehicle. Also, if you go too light with the towing weight then the roads may not be able to support it.
Camper vs. trailer is another decision to make. There are pros and cons to both. If you want the freedom to go where you want, when you want, then a camper is the way to go. If your plan includes staying in one place for long periods (months or years) then a larger motorhome may be a better buy.
Fuel economy is another factor to consider. If you want this RV for a long-distance road trip you probably don’t want to go broke from constantly filling up. If this isn’t a concern then you can focus on other factors.
One final factor to consider is the cost of an RV. You want to get one that fits within your budget and meets your needs. But also keep in mind the general cost of maintenance that you’ll need to budget for each year, including for instance the annual insurance costs.
Although RVs can range from camping tents to enclosed motorhomes, the most popular type of RV is a fifth-wheel trailer. The other types generally lack the space and practicality that fifth-wheel trailers provide. Either way, no matter your choice, RVs are an awesome way to get out on the road and still be able to have at least the minimum of luxuries on hand to make the most or your camping and outdoor expeditions.