In the camping world, the term “RV” can get tossed around several times in just one sentence!

But for many people who are new to camping, they might not know exactly what “RV” stands for. The same applies to those who have simply become so accustomed to hearing and using the word “RV,”

Most simply put, “RV” is an abbreviation for the term recreational vehicle. However, in the RV trade, for a motor vehicle to be considered a recreational vehicle, it needs to be mobile.

And, by “mobile” it means it can be moved via its own motor or can be towed by another vehicle, and it must include living space that is designed to be used for accommodation.

A generic term for RVs is “rigs”. A big rig means that it is a very large RV. The definitions can vary, but typically the RV is over 35 or 36 feet. Common issues for big rigs involve parking. Many campgrounds only have a limited number of spots that can accommodate the larger RVs.

The Different Types of RV’s and Motorhomes

What is an RV (Recreational Vehicle)

The term RV is short for a recreational vehicle, or a “motorhome” and is often used interchangeably.

From camper vans to bus conversions the form which an RV can take varies greatly. Recreational vehicles or RVs would at first seem so diverse as to defeat classification. However, insurance companies have grouped them in classes for insurance purposes.

So, nowadays we have a wide range of motorhomes, all neatly organized by classes: class A, B and C.

Image of an early RV trailer, showing what is an RV.

How much your RV will cost to insure will depend on:

  • the class of your vehicle,
  • how much you use it,
  • whether you live in it full time and
  • other factors.

Photo: By George A Grant. Photo courtesy of the US National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection., Public Domain, Link

However, RV is an umbrella term for several different types of vehicles, including motorhomes. Types of RVs are broken down into four classes and the full list follows:

  • class A,
  • class B,
  • class C, and
  • towable RVs.

Class “A” motorhomes have become extremely popular with people who want to travel in heavier, more secure vehicles that have certain amenities and comforts which are absent in other types of RVs. Nonetheless, these types of vehicles may not be the best choice for some folks because they have the potential of causing financial and safety issues that make people wish they had purchased something different.

Driving Licence Requirements for Large RV Vehicles

Whenever we tell people we’re going on an RV trip, we’re asked, “Do you need a special license to drive an RV?” Rest assured that in all 50 states, RVs weighing under 26,000 pounds don’t require a special license. Most are under that magic weight.

The definition of an RV is in its abbreviation. It is a vehicle for recreational purposes, generally referring to a trailer, motorhome, toy hauler, or anything that is similar to those vehicles. You might be familiar with these types of RVs. Some of them are and can be “motorhomes”.

There are two basic types of RVs:

  • drivable motorhomes and
  • towable ones and
  • subcategories among these as well.

Making Your RV’s Furnace More Effective

Before you start wondering what to do to make your RV’s furnace work better, take the time to ensure the doors and windows seal your RV well and prevent air leaks. It is a little silly to have a furnace blasting heat into your RV if the heat is immediately leaking to the outside world.

If your RV is still not comfortably warmed by the furnace. The first thing to do is take a good inventory of your RV and inspect all the slides, windows, and door seals. But, if none of the seals is faulty (split or perished) you will then need to check that the furnace is delivering the amount of heat it should be giving you. Look for a partially blocked chimney or flue and make sure that the furnace vents work correctly. Finally, check that the fuel, especially the logs in use are dry and of high heat value.

Towage to Nearest Repair Facility and Insurance Claims

Any good RV rescue service will tow you to the nearest repair facility to your dwelling or if touring the nearest to your campsite. If your motorhome or travel trailer is disabled within 100 feet of a road or highway roadside assistance should cover the cost of delivery of your RV to the local repair shop, or deliver the RV to your backyard. Breakdowns commonly occur due to a lack of fuel delivery, mechanical breakdowns, flat tires, and dead battery replacement.

If your motorhome or travel trailer is totally written off in an accident, the insurer should pay for a brand new one. That means if you paid $55,000 for your RV last year and it’s only worth $45,000 today, they’ll replace it with a new RV of the same model year or later, and the same trim level or better, even if it costs more than what you originally paid.

Another consideration, when having children as passengers in the rear of a motorhome, is that all of the objects within the motorhome may become projectiles in the event of a crash. Watch the YouTube video of a Swedish RV crash test. Or alternatively, the multi-series video from Bailey Crash, namely:

Having items that are not safely secured throughout the motorhome presents a number of safety-related issues for families.

Origins of recreational vehicles

A towable recreational vehicle dealer’s principal place of business is the most common origin of recreational vehicles. The minimum requirement should you wish to set yourself up as an authorized dealer shall include telephone service and an adequate office area, separate from other facilities. The professional’s office is used for keeping business records, manufacturer’s certificates of origin, certificates of title or other evidence of ownership for all towable recreational vehicles offered for sale. Evidence of ownership may include a copy of an original document if the original document is held by a lienholder.

Sometimes variety is too hot a spice for life, and that’s the case with recreational vehicles simply because there are so many from which to choose. The price spread is incredible, all the way from truly not much (hundreds) for something ugly and used, and then you can skyrocket all the way up to something astounding for 6 figures.

Loans for recreational vehicles

While an RV loan is typically a loan specific to the purchase (or refinance) of a recreational vehicle, it works much like any other consumer loan. In other words, a financial institution or lender provides the funds for the purchase, and you pay back the money, with interest, over a specified time frame. RV loans are secured loans, meaning they’ll be backed by collateral. This is typically the RV itself.

Words related to the recreational vehicle

A) “campground” means a lot or parcel of land occupied or intended for temporary occupancy by recreational vehicles or tents for travel, recreational or vacation usage for short periods of stay and containing a potable water source and public toilet facilities.

B) “habitation” means to “use for living space” and shall include, but not be limited to, acts of sleeping, cooking, bathing, occupying as a dwelling, or any stay within the recreational vehicle not directly related to its driving.

When in the market for a recreational vehicle (RV), be sure to factor in RV registration fees and other registration-related expenses once it’s time to estimate the overall cost.

Definition of recreational vehicle

Here is the legal definition of an RV according to hud. A recreational vehicle is a vehicle which is:

  • Built on a single chassis;
  • 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projections;
  • self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck; and

designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

Manufactured homes, mobile homes, recreational vehicles—definitions

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout. “conversion vending units” means a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle that has been converted or built for the purpose of being used for commercial sales at temporary locations. The units must be less than eight feet six inches wide in the set-up position and the inside working area must be less than forty feet in length.

A camper or recreational vehicle (RV) meets the IRS definition of a second home if it contains sleeping, bathroom, and kitchen facilities. “Home” includes a house, condominium, cooperative, mobile home, house trailer, boat, or similar property that has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities. Interest paid on a loan for the purchase of a recreational vehicle is, therefore, tax-deductible as valid home interest on a second home.

RV stands for a recreational vehicle. It is a generic term that encompasses all types of recreational vehicles – Class A motor homes, Class C motor homes, class B vans, travel trailers, and fifth wheels.

The “recreational vehicle” by another name

A motorized wheeled vehicle used for camping or other recreational activities
classified under is known as an RV or recreational vehicle. In other words it a self-propelled vehicle (a wheeled vehicle that carries in itself a means of propulsion).

For example, each of the following is a kind of “recreational vehicle” when motorized:

  • camper;
  • camping bus ;
  • motor home (a recreational vehicle equipped for camping out while traveling).

Other derivations are also used and some are trade names for specific product lines.

Changing Ages Recreational Vehicle Users

There was a time when recreational vehicle travel was mostly for over 55-year-old travelers. But in recent years, the number of younger people who buy RVs has exceeded that of the older folks who purchase them. In fact, people under the age of 45 are now buying more than half of the RVs that are sold in the US!

We are RV enthusiasts with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling, and living in recreational vehicles. One of the most important things for RV buyers to consider is comfort. Whether you plan to live or travel in a recreational vehicle, you should want the time you spend in it to be pleasant.

Campers, travel trailers, and motorhomes are not pleasant to use if they keep you from sleeping well, create neck and back problems or make you feel cornered while eating.

Recreational Vehicles Have Accidents Occasionally – So Do Take Care!

Recreational vehicle accidents occur more often than you think. Learning about them is highly upsetting, but it also serves to warn people about what can happen when things go wrong. They often happen to RV owners who either did not learn what they needed to know before buying a coach or who did not pay attention while traveling in one. Some, however, are caused by other drivers.

Choosing a Good RV to Buy

Since most recreational vehicles look alike, it is very hard for the average person to know how well they are made or how livable they are. Having this kind of information is more important than most people realize, but to obtain it, they must do a great deal of research and learn how to do thorough inspections.

An RV always needs to be well balanced

It is extremely important to learn how to load and pack your recreational vehicle both from comfort and safety standpoints. People often forget that an RV is basically just a vehicle, and as such, it needs to be well balanced if it is to move safely along roads and highways. Lopsided coaches don’t hold up well to slippery roads, nor do they do well in areas where construction is going on.

Technical Even Slightly Geeky Features of Recreational Vehicle Design

Wheelbase Ratio

There is a formula RV designers use for calculating the “wheelbase ratio”. It provides for a balanced vehicle design and will work for any recreational vehicle. However. it is most important for motor homes because this is where knowing the wheelbase ratio can provide the greatest safety benefits. To figure it correctly, they use a special conversion calculator. There are several types to choose from, but the best is completely accurate and helpful. RV users can feel secure in knowing that the figures the calculator produces are correct and not just “guesses”!

Pumping Equipment on Board

Different pump equipment is used for water supply and in some cases, drainage of the foul water is also needed for RV plumbing. The pumps come with filters, tubing, footswitches, non-return valves, growth tanks (accumulators), and even little beauties called “inline stress switches”. Several twelve-volt pump options are obtainable for caravan, motorhome, and smaller boat programs. By paying attention to the various varieties and brand names of pumps and their capabilities the owner of a recreational motor vehicle can meet any need for the motion of liquids.

The seasoned RV enthusiast will have encountered causes of stinky RVs. Odour problems do occur occasionally, but in most cases, there are many ways to fix, or better still to guard against them. If you have camped in these vehicles for long you will appreciate that there is no sense in paying a fortune for a recreational vehicle. Looking forward to enjoying the great outdoors for months, only for disappointment when the flushing and drain system fails. To have to travel in an RV that smells so bad that it ruins your enjoyment is no fun at all. Yet such problems are easily avoided by taking care to clean all of a vans services before and after periods of use.

Statistics on Why People Buy Recreational Vehicles

Here is a fascinating statistic on why people decide to buy recreational vehicles:

Surveys show that the main reason people purchase RVs is that it:

  • allows families a way to go camping that is easier than traditional camping options.

Roughly 89% of all people who own an RV say that the easy ability to make decisions to go, be ready, and away in literally just minutes, is a primary reason for their purchase.  via RVIA.

What is Meant by the Dry Weight of a Recreational Vehicle (RV

Dry weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment. We have seen the following variations to this definition:

  • includes commonly ordered optional equipment
  • includes fluids of the generator and other onboard equipment (oil, coolant, fuel)
  • may or may not include RV batteries.

RV Enthusiasts Need to Plan Ahead

All avid RV enthusiasts before long come to understand that your life and safety depend on the condition of your motorhome’s equipment. When traveling in a recreational vehicle, it is extremely important to pack the right foods as well as organize and store them properly. Doing this will assure safety, protect against insect and pest infestations, avoid spillage, and provide easy access. Neglect any aspect of your RV’s maintenance and pleasure can evaporate, but worse, such neglect can easily also spell danger.

More Variants of Recreational Vehicles

If you’re thinking about heading out on a camping or road trip, an RV may be an essential part of your journey. So, what is an RV? these recreational vehicles can come in many forms suited for various needs.

Just like cars, there are different types of RVs. Each one offers different features, and you will want to know what features you are looking for to determine what is the best fit for your needs. Here are the most common types of RVs

  • Class C Cabover – this RV has a van cab with an attached motorhome.
  • Class C RVs typically have a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen that can be converted into sleeping quarters.

Not quite as big as other classes of RVs, the class C Cabover can comfortably accommodate five people and is fairly easy to manage.

Deciding which class of motorhome is right for you can be a real challenge. You have the luxurious class A, the compact class B, and the well-rounded class C. To better understand which class fits your needs and budget, you must first learn what each one has to offer. Otherwise known as the king of motorhomes, class A is the largest of its kind, and it resembles a rock star’s tour bus. As a matter of fact, you will feel like a rock star exploring the country in a class motorhome because of its luxurious amenities.

There may be many variants on the standard RV, but enthusiasts soon get to recognize them all. Most RV types are easily recognized. Very few people are confused about the distinctions between fifth wheels, class As, and travel trailers, but admittedly when you get into the class B RVs, understanding the classifications is a bit more complex.

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