Motor Homes – Making The Right Choice
When deciding on what type of motor home is right for you, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the many options and classes available. The trick is to do thorough research, understand your budget, and have a good idea of where you plan on traveling and who will be traveling with you.
In this article we outline the different classes and types of motorhomes that are available to you. Beyond categorize the different types, we also weigh the pros and cons of each option to make it easier for you to make an educated decision on the type of motorhome that’s right for you and your family.
There is nothing more enjoyable than the excitement of motor home camping, but not every enthusiast has the same needs or goals. It’s important to select a vehicle that fits your expectations and your budget. Motorhomes have several advantages over the travel trailer styles, they are usually completely self-contained, easier to set up at camp sites and have room for your passengers to move about while on the road.
There are three types of motor homes available to you. Let’s take a closer look at all of the pros and cons of the three basics classes of motor homes available to consumers:
1. Class A
Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive on the road, and they are preferred by the more dedicated travelers. Variants include converted busses and purpose built models. The drivelines can be set up as pusher or a puller configurations and powered by either a diesel or gasoline engines. While some of these may be as long as 45 feet, no special CDL license is required to legally operate one.
These motorhomes offer their owners the most interior space and available features. Some are equipped with slide-out sections that expand the living quarters, and it is common to have a separate master bedroom suite.
The list of features, amenities and appliances are endless. Common perks include a laundry machine and drier, ice makers, full bath and shower facilities, and robust home entertainment systems. They also have plenty of basement storage for cargo. Campers can stock their motorhomes with enough supplies to stay on the road indefinitely.
While these are great options for both quick weekend getaways and full-time camping, they are expensive, and their size is intimidating for many. Some narrow roads simply cannot be accessed. Maneuvering these vehicles through twisty mountain passes can be a hazardous and parking in restrictive camping sites may prove to be a hassle. After arriving and setting up, it is difficult to leave again to run simple errands, and many choose to tow along a separate smaller vehicle to overcome this concern. In addition to the initial expense of the motorhome, the costs of repairs, insurance and fuel are also the highest of any other motorhome.
- Large interior living spaces
- Plenty of cargo storage
- Many options and luxury amenities
- Intimidating to drive
- Cannot easily take day trips without a towing a separate vehicle
- Expensive to purchase, repair, operate and insure
While these may be impractical for many, they are an excellent option for long haul travel. They are increasingly popular with retirees and those interested in living on the road full time.
2. Class B
This class is often referred to as the camper van, and it includes many of the smaller vehicles that barely even qualify to be considered motorhomes. They are typically built on a standard full-sized van chassis and feature a raised roof to facilitate walking upright. Like the class A, it is possible to find both diesel and gasoline powered variations.
These basic travel campers provide their owners with comfortable sleeping quarters and all of the necessities of life. Due to their small size, they are the easiest to drive, maneuver and store. It is also possible to take one of these on quick day trips or to run errands. They can comfortably accommodate one or two travelers, and are usually fully self-contained. Campers enjoy access to a refrigerator, sink, hot water, showers, toilets, air conditioning and heating. While still initially expensive to purchase, they are much more economical to operate.
Interior space on these versions is often cramped. If more than a two people are going to be using it, the tight quarters can quickly become uncomfortable. The sizes of the appliances are also much smaller than most are used to. There is no space for luxuries like laundry facilities or full sized entertainment systems, and they do not have the cargo capacity to carry many supplies.
- Easy to drive and maneuver
- Simple campsite setup
- Less costly to fuel and maintain
- Convenient for day trip excursions and errands
- Limited amenities
- Restricted interior living space
- Small storage and cargo areas
- Suitable for one or two people
Single travelers or those without children benefit from the affordability and convenience of this type of motorhome. They are also popular with those who are still working and only have time for the occasional trip.
3. Class C
These are midsized motor homes that range from 20 to 33 feet. They are built on top of existing truck and van chassis and are usually intended for families or larger groups that need to vacation on a more limited budget. These will have many of the same advantages and considerations as the class A, but at a lower overall cost.
These versions offer a more living space than the confining class B motorhomes and many of the same amenities of the class A. They will usually have toilet and shower facilities, an adequate kitchen and plenty of places to sleep. Some of the larger models feature a master bedroom suite in the rear while others forgo this option in favor of a more maneuverable profile. Couches and tables convert into beds and the overhead compartment above the cab can be used for storage or additional sleeping quarters. Due to the compartmental design of the cab, it is easy to gain access through the side doors.
The class C motorhomes can be every bit as challenging to drive as the class A, but they are usually more easy to manage in restricted camp sites. Travelers often tow a separate vehicle for excursions and errands. The fuel costs are slightly better, as is the maintenance and insurance; however, these are still fairly expensive to operate compared to the class B.
- Large enough for an entire family
- Extra sleeping quarters or storage area above the driver’s cab
- Self-contained with all basic necessities
- Less costly to purchase than Class A motorhomes
- Still expensive to maintain and operate
- Driving may be challenging
- Some luxury amenities may not be available
- Difficult to take excursions or day trips without a separate vehicle
These are excellent options for families with children or for those on a limited budget.