RV VS Camper: The Difference Between a Camper and RV

Imagine you are traveling down the road in your brand-new RV and about to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Of course, hitting the road in an RV or taking in nature with a camper's windows will be much fun. But, you will never regret taking a camping or van life, as the saying goes:

“Adventure is always an option when you live in a van.”

You can pick between campers and RVs when searching for a lorry to stay overnight in for camping trips or road trips. These two might appear the same, yet they are different vehicles. The appropriate automobile for you relies on where you prepare to take a journey and what you intend to do.

rv vs camper

But what's the difference between a VR and a camper? And also, what are the various types? With many choices offered in the recreational vehicle globe, it can take a lot of work to know the different kinds and classes of campers. So to assist you in discovering the very best sort of camper for your journey, take a look at our overview of RV vs. camper below.

What is an RV?

RV stands for "recreational vehicle," although an RV is referred to by a variety of phrases and words. A recreational vehicle can be pulled behind your car, driven independently, or fitted into the truck bed. Usually, an RV includes the following characteristics:

  • 400 square feet or less, measured at the most prominent horizontal projections, was built on a single chassis.
  • self-moving or always towed by a light-duty truck.
  • designed primarily for a temporary residence for recreational, camping, vacation, or seasonal purposes rather than as a permanent home.

RVs, which stand for recreational vehicles and have a living area inside, are motorized vehicles. The motorhome is another name for RVs, yet some people mistake them for campers. RVs are available in three distinct sizes or classes. Here is a summary of what to anticipate in each class.

What is an RV

How do RV classes work? The RV class is a way to categorize different drivable types of motorhomes. For example, Class A motorhomes contain a commercial bus chassis, Class B motorhomes are built on an enormous van chassis, and Class C motorhomes have a large pickup truck chassis.

Class A RV Motorhome

Class A motorhomes are typically specified as lorries with robust frameworks built on either a business bus chassis, an industrial vehicle, or a car framework. These deluxe buses are first-rate and what several RVers imagine attaining. Depending upon the design, the largest of these Recreational vehicles can sleep up to 10 individuals and have great storage.

Class A motorhomes are relatively risk-free, simple to drive, and do not call for any special certificate as long as the automobile is under 26,000 pounds. The gas economic situation for these behemoths is around 8-10 mpg. These RVs can also depend on 45 feet long and may only fit in some RV parks. Some states and also national forests have size limitations also. Class A motorhomes have either gas or diesel-fueled engines and are known as pushers or pullers. A pusher means the machine is in the back; therefore, the driving cab is more relaxed and quieter.


✔ Large interior space

✔ Strong framework

✔ High storage

✔ Luxury amenities

✔ Pusher or puller


×   Hard to see the surrounding area

×   Expensive

×   Need experienced driving skills

Class B RV Motorhome

Class B motorhomes are also known as camper vans. Class B recreational vehicles are the tiniest of the RV classes. However, they are easy to drive, and because they are smaller and lighter, they can go to numerous places. Although they are more mobile than the other classes, they have much less space.

Class B motorhome is the tiniest option for a fully-motorized mobile home. This class is generally between 18 and 24 feet and supplies one of the most fundamental spaces and storage. Class B motorhomes can also be called van campers and resemble oversized vans for the household. As it is the tiniest motor home course, it is also the most inexpensive, cheapest on gas, and most convenient to park.

Overall, class B motorhomes are designed to be active and explorer-friendly. Given that these are smaller motorhomes, they permit you to take a trip practically anywhere and also park under the stars. The downside, of course, is that the van is commonly just large enough for 1 or 2 people. Some lorries are pop-up campers, indicating they have a bunk over the roofing to make it much more suitable.


✔ Easy to drive

✔ Inexpensive

✔ Cheapest on gas

✔ Convenient to park


×   Smallest size tiny interior space

×   Tiny interior space

×   Only suites for one or two people

Class C RV Motorhome

Compared to the cramped class B motorhomes, class C RVs have more extensive living space and many of the same conveniences as class A RVs. There are many places to sleep, a restroom, and a functional kitchen. While most smaller models have a queen-sized bed at the back of the RV, some larger models have a main bedroom suite at the back, in addition to the overhead compartment above the cab being utilized for storage or additional sleeping quarters, couches, and dinette tables.

Mid-sized class C RVs have lengths between 19 and 36 feet. The bed space that protrudes over the top of the driving cab makes them easy to identify. Many of the same amenities in class A RVs are also in class C RVs, which are less expensive.

Due to their affordability and ease of operation, class C RVs are typically the best choice for couples and families. You have fewer options for where you can travel and overnight park with class A rigs because they can be so large. Class C models are substantially more versatile because they have fewer limitations.


✔ More interior space

✔ Reasonable price

✔ Best for couples or family

✔ Fuel efficiency


×   Relative small storage

×   Limited towing ability

×   Not as luxurious as Class A

What is a Camper?

Any pull-type RV, including travel trailers or fifth wheels, truck campers, pop-up campers, and any variation of those, is referred to as a camper in the general sense. However, even though a recreational vehicle can be any of these things, it's typical for people to confuse RVs with motorized campers when they hear the term "recreational vehicle." In the following part, you can look at the types of trailers.

What is a Camper

Camper trailers come in a variety of styles, just like RVs. All of these trailers do, however, share a tow vehicle in common. So while you can leave your trailer parked without a car or truck attached for extended periods, you need a vehicle to move it from one location to another.

Truck Camper

An RV that fits inside the bed of a pickup truck is known as a truck camper. Small truck campers often have a bed and a kitchen space. Several have showers and bathrooms. In an RV park, a truck camper can quickly be unloaded from the vehicle and used as a standalone camper. Truck campers come in various sizes, styles, and storage capacities. They can have hard sides or hard and soft sides together, such as a pop-up truck camper. Others have slide outs as well!

These RVs are well-liked for their adaptability. They can pull boats, trailers, and other "toys" and can travel anywhere a pickup can and where other, larger RVs cannot. The ideal off-grid RV includes a sizable holding tank, a battery bank, solar panels, and generators. Additionally, you can travel in areas where few other RVs can if you have a 4-wheel drive pickup truck.


✔ Easy to unload

✔ Variety of sizes, styles, and storage

✔ Adaptability

✔ Affordable


×   Limited interior space

×   Top heavy for the large truck camper

×   Need a truck

Travel Trailer

Due to the inclusion of all non-folding camper trailer models under this category, travel trailers rank as one of the most inclusive campers. This RV can weigh between 1,000 and 12,000 lbs. and be between 10 and 40 feet long.

Travel trailers can range from heavy to lightweight, large and small, as this category contains the widest variety of vehicles. According to their size and the number of facilities they offer, travel trailers can range in price from inexpensive to luxurious. Like pop-ups, travel trailers can be towed, but only by powerful, heavy-duty vehicles.

Anybody with a suitable vehicle can tow a tiny travel trailer, like a teardrop trailer or a pop-up camper, to a camping location for a reasonable price. These aren't particularly large, but they have everything one needs to have a comfortable getaway in the woods.


✔ Vary from small, middle, and large size

✔ Towable for any camper

✔ Adaptability

✔ Affordable

✔ Cheaper insurance than RV


×   Require to be towed

×   Difficult to drive in reverse

×   Tail swing

Pop-Up Camper

A pop-up trailer or camper is one of the lightest and most portable recreational vehicles. This kind of camper ranges from 8 to 16 feet and is also known as a folding trailer.

A pop-up trailer can be towed by several vehicles, depending on its length and weight. These campers fold up, making them simple to tow and store. Of all the towable trailers, these are frequently the most affordable options, but they also come with the fewest amenities. Including bathrooms, kitchens, and multiple sleeping areas is possible in some larger models.

It is challenging to keep anything in these designs due to their nature. People should transport equipment and supplies separately. The canvas pieces and folding joints are susceptible to deterioration and leak development. Additionally, trailers with a tent-like design subject people to more elements. Other essentials like restrooms and kitchen facilities are frequently absent or very limited.


✔ Lightest recreational camper

✔ Fold up

✔ Most Affordable

✔ Easy to drive


×   Limited space

×   Limited storage

×   Low adaptability

Fifth Wheel Camper

Fifth wheels are as comfortable, spacious, and equipped as larger RVs. The flexibility and ease of not needing to drive a fifth-wheel camper are advantages nonetheless. Fifth wheels, unlike smaller campers, can only be hauled by full-size trucks with heavy-duty towing capacity requiring a particular hitch.

Fifth wheels have some of the best interiors of any RV. Families can stay there with plenty of room to spread out and feel at home because they are equipped with all the necessities. Despite the fifth wheel being such a massive vehicle, it will have a modest turning radius. It is useful when navigating in or out of tight spaces. These are not inexpensive, and when added to a truck that can tow them, the price of the bundle soars.


✔ Most comfortable, spacious, and equipped

✔ Best interior space

✔ Turning radius

✔ Reasonable price

✔ Full-sized trucks


×   Require a particular hitch

×   Need enough parking space

RV VS Camper: What’s the Difference

The most apparent difference between RV and a camper is that a travel trailer needs to be pulled, whereas an RV, also known as a motorhome, can be driven independently. However, both are now quite well-liked among travelers and campers. The adaptability of both types is one of their most appealing qualities. Depending on your budget, both RVs and travel trailers come in various sizes and with a range of features. Additionally, they can be altered to meet the owner's precise requirements.

Understanding how classes and trailer kinds differ from one another is one thing. Finding the relative merits of these two solutions is the next step. Please review the following RV vs. camper notes before deciding.

RV VS Camper: Size

As we've seen, there are various sizes of trailers and RVs, from tiny to enormous. Depending on the model you select, a trailer or a motorhome can hold up to eight people.

It would help to consider both the external and internal dimensions when comparing sizes. Because you have to consider things like low bridges and other clearance barriers, outside specifications are essential. On the other hand, the size of the inside area is crucial since you need to know if you have enough room to move around.

However, trailers will nearly always be longer than RVs because of the tow vehicle. Also, parking and backing into a slot will always be more difficult due to the way a trailer is linked. Therefore, an RV is typically better if you're looking for something more flexible and convenient. The following table shows the difference between RV and camper sizes.



Suitable for

Class A RV


Luxury and spacious experience for family or group

Class B RV


Easy to drive for single or couple

Class B+ RV


Drivable option for a couple or small family

Class C RV


Affordable vehicle for families

Truck Camper


Off-road adventure of single or couple

Travel Trailer


Vary from single to families

Pop-Up Trailer


Light towable trip for couple or family

Fifth Wheel


Enough interior space for families

RV VS Camper: Electrical System

Most campgrounds will give you access to an external 120-volt power source to connect. The heavy-duty power cord in your RV is typically about 25 feet long. It will either be a 50 Amp or 30 Amp system, depending on the type of RV you now own or intend to buy. Your RV will receive electricity when you plug it into the proper electrical outlet at the park. If you want to use the microwave, roof air conditioner, refrigerator in electric mode, or 120 Volt electrical outlets, you must have a 120 Volt AC power supply. And you will need a portable power station to get appliances work.

Jackery is the top supplier of solar generators and portable power solutions worldwide. It creates, develops, and produces portable power solutions for smartphones, computers, cameras, drones, and other electronic devices. It is committed to providing dependable and sustainable power solutions to consumers.

RV vs. Camper

RV VS Camper: Cost

We looked into the rental market to compare the price of RV vs. camper in some aspects. I looked at several factors and concluded that campervans are significantly cheaper transportation. We have included several more compact alternatives to camper vehicles just for good measure. It's understandable why campervan rentals are seriously eroding the market for RV rentals.

A motorhome often costs more than a trailer since it combines a vehicle and a living space. However, campers are less expensive since they require less engineering and preparation because they are self-contained units.

However, the cost comparison is only valid when comparing rigs of comparable sizes. Because it is larger and has more amenities than a Class B RV, a fifth wheel, for instance, will undoubtedly cost more. A teardrop trailer, however, will be less expensive than a Class B.

Maintenance and transportation costs are additional factors to take into account. No matter which type you pick, gasoline will be a concern. Although there are more moving components in a motorhome, finding a mechanic specializing in RV engines is more complicated. The details for RV vs. camper in cost are as below.

7-Day Trip Cost Analysis


Class A RV

Class C RV

Truck Camper

Minivan Camper

Rental Fee















Bedding Fees





Kitchen Fees





Fuel Cost





Campground Fee





Dumping Fees





Extra Fees





In Total





RV VS Camper: Drivability

Nothing compares to an RV for the ultimate "luxury on the go" experience. But unfortunately, it is illegal for anyone to be inside a travel trailer while being pulled by a vehicle. Therefore, any luxurious experience you were hoping for would have to wait till you got to your campsite. On the other hand, an RV enables guests to move around the cabin unrestrictedly (and safely!) while someone drives the distance.

Additionally, driving an RV is much more comfortable and enables the driver to travel at acceptable speeds without worrying about the trailer swinging back and forth. Finally, a motorhome or recreational vehicle (RV) may seem more controllable for someone unskilled with operating long cars or those with a pivot point.

More Related Questions for RV VS Camper

As we've seen, travel trailers and recreational vehicles come in a wide variety. So how can you choose between the two if you're undecided? Here are a few things to think about when conducting your search.

Consider the type of trip you'll be conducting as well. Do you intend to travel frequently on the weekends or once or twice a month? Or do you want to RV full-time? It would be best if you were prepared before deciding because full-timers have very different needs than weekend warriors.

1. Should I Rent or Buy an RV?

Before you buy an RV, if you are new to RVing, consider renting one. If you want more information, read my post, The Pros and Cons of Owning an RV, which goes through all the specifics of RV ownership. In the end, renting an RV is unquestionably preferable to purchasing one. It will enable you to determine what aspects of an RV you like and dislike so that you can decide more wisely before buying your new RV. Outdoorsy is an excellent resource for finding your preferred RV if you intend to rent an RV.

2. How to Choose an RV or Camper?

When choosing an RV or camper, many factors should be considered. The differences between an RV and a camper are numerous. The optimal course of action for you and your RV lifestyle depends on several things. First, you'll likely start with a budget when selecting your choice. Which RV model and size can you afford?

Trip Duration: traveling is very different from staying at a campground for a few nights. Even if you want to go camping for several weeks or months at a time, you still need a pleasant place to stay.

Trip Type: your decision to purchase an RV or a camper will mostly depend on the type of travel you intend to perform. A self-contained RV is frequently the best option for camping and boondocking. You won't have to worry about attaching and detaching your trailer every time you park overnight, and you can fit into more places this way.

Sleeping Arrangements: size does factor into comparisons between RVs and campers. Don't automatically assume that bigger is always better when deciding the size of your model. For instance, if you take most of your excursions alone, you can get away with a reasonably tiny RV or trailer.

3. What Supplies Should I Take for a Van Life or RV Life?

Various van life tools, gear, accessories, and needs are available on the market nowadays that can help you fill your van with extra comforts and necessities, especially the solar generator. RV solar panels are merely photovoltaic cells that transform solar energy into electrical energy. These silicon-based cells function by absorbing sunlight and subsequently releasing electrons. The liberated electrons produce an electrical current after their capture in a metal conductor. After being stored in the power station, this current can then power appliances and accessories for RVs.

An outstanding illustration of a solar panel system that may be utilized for RVs is the Jackery RV Solar Generator. RVs can benefit significantly from this solar power system because it can produce enough power to run several appliances simultaneously. You won't need to be concerned about overtaxing your RV's electrical system because it also includes a controller that aids in controlling the flow of electricity.

RV Life Supplies

Final Thoughts

You may choose the RV or travel trailer that is best for you now that you are aware of the RV vs. camper. Always remember that these are merely generalizations and that every rule has an exception.

So, before making a decision, take your time, do some research, and ask plenty of questions. Even better, renting an RV or trailer for a few days can help determine if you're making the proper choice. Besides, remember to take a Jackery portable solar generator to keep your devices charged. Most importantly, enjoy yourself on your upcoming road trip! Sign up to Jackery newsletter for product news and exclusive promotion.