An RV, short for recreational vehicle, is actually more than just that. To some, it’s more or less a permanent home, often fixed in place for years. To others, it’s the opposite – it represents freedom to roam and explore. As the world winds down from travel restrictions and people begin to look toward the outdoors with a thirst for rediscovery, you too might be considering how to spend more time in nature while still having the comforts of home along for the ride.

There are many types of RVs out there that cater to different styles and environments, so it’s important to know which one fits your needs. This is a guide to all the major RV types, along with information regarding their size and capacity. It must be said, though, that there is a great deal of variety even within single categories, and capacity often depends on how crammed in you can stand to be.

RVs, or campers, come in two major varieties – towed and motorized. Which RV is best for you? Read on and find out!

Towed RVs

Towed RVs, also called trailers, are separate units that must be attached to an existing vehicle, usually by a hitch or a fifth wheel. It’s very important to check your vehicle’s towing capacity – a trailer won’t do much for you if you can’t take it out of the driveway.

Pop-up camper

Length: from 8 to 20 ft
Capacity: up to 8 people

The smallest and lightest of all towed campers, the pop-up is great for short term trips and beginner RV enthusiasts who want to get the hang of a towed trailer. They’re made of a solid vehicle base with a collapsible canvas section on top. This means they require a little more care and maintenance, as well as more time to set up and take down. They should never be folded down when wet and never be transported while expanded. The amenities are minimal – they almost never include a bathroom or running water but may include a small food preparation area. Think of them as a luxury tent on wheels.

Pop up camper trailer parked in campsite in changing yellow Aspen tree forest on sunny fall morning

Their small size also makes them easy to store. The canvas material is made to withstand the elements, but for long periods it is much safer to have them away from rain, wind and debris. If you don’t have the option of a garage, an enclosed self storage unit is just as great. Pop-up campers don’t need specialized RV storage.

Truck Camper

Length: from 6 to 12 ft
Capacity: up to 4 people

Truck campers are basically a tiny RV mounted directly onto the bed of a pickup truck. Depending on the truck, this can make them the most adventurous form of RV, being able to traverse rough roads and uneven terrain. When it’s time to make camp, these trailers can be detached from the truck and left resting on their own extendable legs. Space inside is limited, but some do have slide-out sections. You can also tow something else behind your truck, be it another small trailer or a boat.
Mounted truck trailers are too tall to fit most garages, so your best option is dedicated RV storage. A roof over it will provide basic protection, but a full enclosure is safer.

Travel Trailer

Length: from 10 to 40 ft
Capacity: up to 4 people

This is by far the most popular and the most varied category of them all. What sets them apart is the fact that they have solid sides and hitch behind your vehicle. Some can have slide-out sections or pop-out canvas sections (the latter are sometimes referred to as hybrid trailers), and most have enough room for a bathroom, a kitchen, living area and sleeping quarters. Generators are common on larger models.

You’ll also hear about a type called a teardrop trailer. Their distinguishing feature is their aerodynamic shape, which has a retro appeal that many explorers enjoy. Their amenities are minimal, but they are easy to move, store and set up. An all-around great RV for beginners and travelers with fewer demands.

unhitched teardrop trailer side view with open door

With regular maintenance visits, a travel trailer can rest safely outside in covered storage. However, higher-end models might benefit from climate control.

Toy Hauler

Length: from 10 to 40 ft
Capacity: up to 4 people

Toy haulers vary greatly in size, but the one thing that sets them apart is the special garage space at the back. This can be used to transport “toys” such as motorbikes, kayaks and ATVs. This makes them great for those who take a more active approach to camping – you can just drop your trailer down as a basecamp and then explore further on a bike or boat. Due to this specialized use, toy haulers need to be built more sturdily and can be quite heavy. The good news is that many are designed in such a way that the garage section, once emptied, can be converted into extra living space.

The great thing about storing a toy hauler is that you get double the protection for your toys. Not only are they kept safe inside the hauler, but the hauler itself is also kept safe in its own enclosure.

Fifth Wheel Trailer

Length: from 22 to 40 ft
Capacity: up to 8 people

Fifth wheel campers are some of the biggest towable RVs out there and get their name from the fifth wheel hitching system they use. They are easily recognizable for the overhang at the front, sometimes called a gooseneck, which usually houses a sleeping area or a storage space. The fifth wheel linkage makes them easier to tow, but you’ll need a powerful truck to move them.

Fifth wheel camping trailer

Most have slide-out sections, which significantly increase interior space and are usually equipped with a generator as well as full-scale appliances, full sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathroom, which makes them great for full-time living.

Fifth wheel trailers can be outside for very long periods of time, which is why it’s important to keep them in tip-top condition while they’re stored. An enclosed RV storage unit is the best option, and a climate-controlled one will ensure your generator, battery and fixtures have a long life ahead.

Destination Trailer

Length: approximately 40 ft or more
Capacity: up to 8 people

Destination trailers go against the idea of most RVs. They are designed to be set up in one place for several years, if not longer, and thus can be quite large. People will often install and build on them in such a way that they might not even look like RVs anymore, with patios, awnings, wooden sidings and even little gardens!

Destination trailers are made to withstand all seasons, so storing them isn’t as much of an issue as with other RVs. Still, if you have an older model, it might be best to keep it in an enclosed storage unit when not in use, even if it’s not a climate-controlled one.

Motorized RVs

Motorized RVs, or motorhomes, have the advantage of being self-contained, easier to set up, and usable while moving. They come in three major classes – A, B and C.

Class A

Length: from 26 to 45 ft
Capacity: up to 10 people

These behemoths are the largest motorized RVs out there. They look like luxury busses and come with a bevy of amenities, some even having a special storage space for sports cars underneath! They come in two varieties: gas and diesel. The latter can be bigger and more powerful but more expensive to maintain. The most powerful models can easily tow another small trailer, car or boat behind them.

class a motorhome on road

Their size means that they can accommodate just about every conceivable amenity, but this limits their options when it comes to destinations – anything other than a smooth flat road can be a challenge. Their gas mileage isn’t great either, but when it comes to comfort on the move, these campers are hard to beat.

Storing them is much the same as with previous large campers in this guide. Class A motorhomes are a big investment that needs to be protected. Keeping them in climate-controlled storage units will ensure a lifetime of faithful service.

Class B

Length: from 17 to 26 ft
Capacity: up to 6 people

These RVs strongly resemble vans and are nimbler, more flexible, and fit into a standard parking space. They may include a bathroom (sometimes combined with a shower) but do not feature slide-out sections, and most of the furnishings are going to be foldouts. However, there are usually no restrictions on where you can camp with them, and they can usually pull another small boat behind them or a pop-up trailer.

class b motorhome van with bicycle on open rear door

Storing them is much easier too! They can fit inside a garage or an appropriately sized storage unit. The fact that they don’t have complicated slide-out mechanisms, generators or special batteries means you have more leeway when it comes to temperature and humidity.

Class C

Length: from 17 to 26 ft
Capacity: up to 6 people

Confusingly, Class C motorhomes are larger than Class B. These are some of the most rented types of motorhomes out there. They strike a good balance between size and agility and include a kitchen, a bathroom and a living area, with sleeping quarters often found in the cab-over section. Models with slide-outs are common, and they can include a generator. Towing something behind them can be an option if you want to go all out on your camping trip.

A family motor home for travel with the whole family

While Class Cs don’t take up nearly as much space as a fifth wheel or a Class A, these motorhomes are nevertheless big and will not fit into a regular garage. Storing them away from the elements is your safest bet when not traveling. A covered RV parking area is good, but fully enclosed units are better.

Where To Park Your RV When Not On The Road?

When you’re ready to find your RV a temporary home, check out StorageCafe’s RV storage search section. By selecting the area or city you prefer, you’ll be able to see your options, compare prices and amenities which naturally do differ depending on location.

Alright, you’re all set up! Your RV is idling merrily next to you, and you’re itching to get going. So… where to? No need to worry; we’ve dug around and found the best RV destinations for you and your camper. These spots have great amenities, stunning views and friendly prices. Have a safe trip and take lots of photos!


George is a Real Estate Writer and Lifestyle Editor for Yardi, with a background in languages, marketing and YouTube content creation. He is now seeking to bring his love of detail and storytelling to the world of real estate. You can find him browsing Age of Sail books at your local bookstore, probably...

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