Class A, B or C? What you should know before renting an RV

·8 min read



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It’s late July and back-to-school ads have already started appearing on our Instagram feeds, but that doesn’t mean summer is completely over. There’s still plenty of time to hit the road for one more memorable trip, and why not take this one in an RV? With rental sites like RVshare you don’t have to own your camper in order to take advantage of a hotel room on wheels.

What type of RV should I rent?

When it comes to types of rentals available on RVshare, there are two main categories: drivables and towables. Let’s break them down.

Drivables

Drivables are exactly what they sound like, RVs that you can drive; they require no extra vehicle to get from one place to the next. There are three different classifications of drivable: Class A (motor coaches), Class B (camper vans) and Class C.

Class A - These bus-like RVs are the largest at up to 45 feet long or more. They offer the most space and comfort out of any RV-type and commonly have the most creature comforts like full bathrooms with a shower, dishwashers, a washing machine, queen/king size beds and multiple TV setups. All of this luxury does come at a cost however. If you’re only used to driving a car, a Class A RV will be a big change in terms of drivability and maneuverability. Additionally, the cost of fuel is going to be a big factor as some Class A RVs get less than 6 miles per gallon.

Class B - These RVs are what are known as camper vans. Shaped like a normal van, Class Bs offer the closest driving experience to a regular vehicle and feature either a pop-top roof or a bed in the back for sleeping. These RVs are much smaller so they don’t offer anywhere near the amount of amenities as a Class A or Class C camper, and many of them don’t come with a toilet or shower, so keep that in mind when booking.

Class C - Contrary to popular belief, Class C campers are kind of a middle ground between A and B, offering many of the amenities of a Class A RV in a smaller, easier to drive package. Driving-wise, a Class C camper is comparable to a large pick-up truck, and generally includes amenities like a bathroom, full kitchen, and dining area in a more compact space.

Towables

Towables, or trailers as many people call them, include 5th wheels, toy haulers, pop-ups and travel trailers. Unlike drivable RVs, there can be a bit of overlap between each type of towable.

5th Wheel - 5th Wheels are the largest and usually the most luxurious towable RVs, sharing a lot of the same amenities as a Class A motorhome with the biggest exception being that you’ll need a large truck or SUV in order to tow it.

With all that luxury does come some trade-offs. Because of the size, 5th wheels are much harder to maneuver than other towables, so it isn’t the best fit for a towing novice. Additionally, the bigger the trailer the worse your gas mileage will be, as a general rule, so remember that when you’re planning your next trip.

Pop-ups - A pop-up is the smallest camper and can be towed by most trucks, SUVs and even some cars. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it isn’t spacious however, because once you get to the campsite a pop-up can evolve from a relatively compact trailer into a luxurious comfortable RV. In general, much like smaller drivable RVs, they tend to lack the amenities of larger towables with the trade-off being ease-of-transport.

Toy Hauler - A toy hauler is simply any trailer that has a garage in the back that can be used to store bikes, motorbikes, ATVs, snowmobiles or even as an extra bedroom. Most of the time these toy haulers are trailers but there are even a few Class A motor coaches available on RVshare that have garages.

Travel Trailers - A travel trailer is an all-encompassing term to describe almost all different types of towable RVs, including smaller, teardrop-style trailers. In general these trailers tend to be smaller and easier to maneuver than 5th wheels, but don’t necessarily expand like pop-ups.

How much will fuel cost? What kind of fuel is needed?

This depends on the RV. Trailers, obviously, require no gas since they are towed, but they will severely lessen the gas mileage of whatever vehicle you use to tow them. As far as drivable RVs, each listing on RVshare includes fuel type, fuel capacity, and fuel consumption so you’ll know before you book.

What happens if I get in an accident or a flat-tire? Am I covered?

All of the RVs listed on RVshare come with standard RVshare Insurance and you can choose to upgrade to Enhanced or Premier options at the time of booking. All rentals also come with 24/7 roadside assistance and free towing and tire service should anything happen while you’re on your trip. Renters are covered in all 50 states and Canada and both renters and owners will be issued a certificate of insurance on a per rental basis. You can read more about what is covered here.

Is there a bathroom on board? Am I responsible for cleaning it out at the end of my trip?

Many rentals offer bathrooms as well as optional upgrades such as a Black & Grey Water Dump Fee for a reasonable price if the idea of cleaning out the toilet already has your stomach churning. Just be sure to check before you book.

Additionally there are plenty of restrooms at campsites, rest areas, fast food restaurants and gas stations throughout North America, so you don’t have to use the onboard bathroom if you’d rather not clean it out or pay the fee.

Do you need a special license to drive an RV?

Most of the time, you do not. The majority of RVs on RVshare are under 26,000 pounds and therefore can be driven by anyone who has a regular operator’s driver’s license. For anything heavier than 26,000 pounds, certain states require special licensing. Make sure to check how heavy your fully-loaded RV is before setting off on your trip if you don’t want to run into any problems.

Are there certain roads I can’t/shouldn’t drive an RV on? Are there common restrictions for this type of vehicle anywhere in North America?

Some roads and bridges have length, width, height and weight restrictions that you’ll need to pay attention to when driving or towing a large RV. Like most things these days, apps and websites have made this much easier. With sites like The Dyrt, you can map out your route to make sure your RV will fit everywhere you’re planning on going.

In general it is always a good rule of thumb to assume that a bridge on the highway is actually six inches lower than the clearance sign states, since many roads get paved over and there’s nothing worse than getting stuck under a bridge in an RV because you underestimated its height. Another tip is to write down the weight of the RV (fully-loaded with all of your passengers and gear) as well as the height, width and length on a post-it note and keep that within view so you can check if you’re ever in question.

Does all of this have your pre-trip anxiety spiking? RVshare has plenty of Class B and Class C RVs available that are spacious, comfortable and small enough that you’ll never have to worry about if you’ll fit under a highway overpass.

Do passengers need to adhere to the same seat belt laws that apply to passengers in “normal” vehicles?

Just like with regular passenger vehicles, seat belt laws vary from state to state, so make sure you are aware of the laws before you set out on your road trip. Not driving outside state borders? It’ll be easy to remember. If you are, here’s a guide on all of the RV seat belt laws in the United States by state.

Additionally, according to RVshare, “sideways seats are not designated travel seats. Front-facing seats are the safest to travel in. Also, keep in mind that each manufacturer has different ways of testing their seat belts and there are no defined industry standards for these tests.” So while those sideways-facing dining table seats may come with seat belts, they’re not necessarily the safest way to travel.

Regardless of what the laws are, the science is clear. The best trips happen after you arrive at your destination safely. Wearing your seat belt can save your life if you’re in an accident, so if you’re moving, we recommend buckling up.

Is it pet friendly? How about smoker friendly?

Each RV listing has its own rules and policies like minimum renter age, if pets are allowed and what the rules are on smoking, so before booking make sure you’ll be able to accommodate your furry friends.

Can I rent out my own RV?

Already own your own motorhome? Does it spend most of the year parked in your driveway? Why not turn it into a cash-making machine by listing it on RVshare? Depending on what type of camper you have you can turn a serious profit. Travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-ups and toy-haulers can net up to $22,000 annually, while Class A, B, and C campers can net up to $30-60k. The best part is that you’re in control of your own listing. Have a camping trip already planned? No problem, you set your prices, as well as when and how many nights your RV is available.

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