What is a Class A motorhome?

A Class A motorhome or Class A RV (recreational vehicle) differs from Class B and Class C motorhomes. Class A motorhomes have the appearance of a bus – usually with a flat front, large windshield, and captain’s chairs for driver and co-pilot that swivel around to become chairs as part of the RV’s living room.

Class A motorhomes are often larger than Class C motorhomes and far larger than the less common Class B motorhome. Class C motorhomes are characterized by having a pickup truck or van like front end. In essense they are based on pickup truck chassis. Class C motorhomes have a bunk or entertainment center above the cockpit, whereas the windshields on Class A motorhomes typically extend all the way to the roof line, creating a more spacious feel to the interior.

Class A motorhomes can weigh 15,000 to 30,000 lbs. and be up to 40′ in length.  Many are capable of accommodating a trailer or trailered car or SUV.  Due to their larger size and weight, Class A motorhomes are often powered by diesel engines. Those with engines in the rear are known as “Diesel pushers” because the engines pushes the vehicle from the rear.  Cummins and Caterpillar are typically the diesel engines of choice, and many Class A RVs are based on Freightliner chassis.

A common Class A floor plan has the living area forward, typically with a large sofa bed, fold down dinette that converts into additional bedding, and kitchenette. Often, on newer and more expensive models, there may be one or more slideouts that provide a significant amount of additional square footage (available only when the RV is parked). Heading towards the rear are bath and shower facilities. The very rear is the location for the bedroom – usually with queen bed, wardrobe and dresser, nightstands, and flat screen TV.

New Class A motorhomes range in price from $100,000 up to $400,000.  The prices reflect a high degree of comfort, luxury, and refinement. Class A motorhomes are often the vehicle of choice for pop, rock, and country stars on tour across the country.  Winnebago, Trail Aire, Zephyr, Regency, Embassy, Empress, Genesis, and Dutch Star are common brands of Class A motorhomes.

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Small travel trailers

There are many benefits to small travel trailers.  They can be much easier to tow than full-size travel trailers – meaning most can be towed by a medium size or larger SUV; they can be easier on gas; and last but not least, given their smaller spaces and often fewer bells and whistles, they can be easier to maintain.

There are tradeoffs, however. Most small or “ultra lite” travel trailers don’t provide some of the amenities of larger trailers, and they usually don’t sleep as many people as their bigger siblings. Cooking areas, bathrooms, and dining areas are all typically smaller than full-size, no-compromise travel trailers.

That said, small travel trailers can be an excellent choice for couples and small families who enjoy the outdoors and would like to get started in travel trailer camping without necessarily wanting to make a huge investment.  As a result, RV manufacturers have started to focus more seriously on the smaller travel trailer market, and consequently new small travel trailers represent a greater value than ever before.

Strictly speaking, small travel trailers have hard sides (distinguishing them from pop-up trailers), range from 16 to 22 feet in length, and sleep 2-6 adults.

At the smaller end of the range are the futuristic looking teardrop models, such as the Forest River r-pod, which comes in more than 11 floor plans to suit a variety of camping needs. The snazzy-looking r-pod ranges from approximately $11,000 – $18,000 USD.

Typically categorized as small travel trailers are hybrid travel trailers, which have hard sides and also one or more expanding sleep areas that increase the overall sleeping capacity.  These are offered by many manufacturers including Dutchmen, Forest River, Passport, and Aerolite, and have been around since the late 1990’s.  Hybrid travel trailers can be ideal for many families, especially those who camp primarily in the warmer months.  (The soft expanding sides do not provide much insulation against the cold.) Patient shoppers will find late model hybrid travel trailers in good condition for less than $10,000 USD.

In the cost-no-object category are the Airstream travel trailers – the smallest of which will set you back $25,000 USD or more.

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