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RVs (Recreational Vehicles) are known by many different names

In North American English the term recreational vehicle, and its acronym RV, are generally used to refer to an enclosed piece of equipment dually used as both a vehicle and a temporary travel home. The term "Winnebago" is used interchangeable with RV despite it being a brand name.

RVs are intended for everything from brief leisure activities such as vacations and camping, to full-time living, for which they are often parked in special trailer parks. (However, many trailer parks are reserved just for mobile homes, not to be confused with RVs / motorhomes.) RV can also be rented in most major cities and tourist areas.

In British English the term Recreational Vehicle is little used. Terms covering some of the vehicles classified as RV in North America are camper van and caravan. The term motorhome is also used. In other parts of the world, particularly Australia, "recreational vehicle" may refer to a sport utility vehicle (SUV or 4x4).

In France, the French-made English terms Camping-Car, Caravane, Campeur is used, and term has also spread to Japan.

In Italy, the terms Campeggiatore, Roulotte are used.

In Spain it is called Autocaravana, Campista. The word Caravaning is also (albeit rarely) used to mean "traveling together as a group" in British English, leading to a different meaning.

In the German language an RV is called Reisemobil, Karawane, Wohnwagen. wohnen means to live, to reside; Wagen means vehicle. The word wagen includes also an implication of venturing or daring. etwas wagen means to dare something.


There are different classes of vehicles generally labeled as RVs:
  • Truck Camper
    A camper shell unit that is temporarily affixed to the bed or chassis of a pickup truck.
  • Folding Camping Trailer
    Also known as a pop-up, fold down or tent trailer, a light-weight unit with sides that collapse for towing and storage. Suitable for towing by many vehicles.
  • Travel Trailer
    Also known as a caravan, a unit with rigid sides designed to be towed by a car & some larger vehicles with a bumper or frame hitch.

  • Teardrop Trailer
    A compact, lightweight travel trailer that resembles a teardrop.
  • Hybrid Trailer
    A blend between a travel trailer and a folding (tent) trailer. One type has rigid sides and pull-out tent sections (usually beds) while another type top section of walls and its roof can be lowered over its bottom section to reduce its height for towing.
  • 5th Wheel Trailer ( 5th Wheeler )
    Designed to be towed by a pickup or medium duty truck equipped with a special hitch called a fifth wheel coupling. Part of the trailer body extends over the truck bed, shortening the total length of vehicle plus trailer combined.
  • Park Model
    This is a standard travel trailer that is not self-contained. It is designed for park camping only, and while it is easily moved from site to site, as a normal trailer is, it is not capable of "dry camping" as it does not have any water storage tanks and must be used with hookups. It is not a mobile home.

  • Toterhome
    An uncommon term indicating a motorhome built around a semi truck chassis (such as a Freightliner). This type of motor home allows the pulling of large and heavy trailers.
  • Sport Utility RV 
    This is similar to a Fifrg wheel trailer with living quarters in te forward section and a compartment in the rear for Sports equipment e.g. motorbikes, racing cars or livestock such as Horses.
  • Toy Hauler
    A motorhome, 5th-wheel, or travel trailer, it is designed to be part living space, and part garage for storing things such as motorcycles and ATVs. In North American (primarily), motorhomes typically fall into one of the following classes

  • Class A Motorcoach
    Constructed on either a commercial truck chassis, a specially designed motor vehicle chassis, or a commercial bus chassis.
  • Class B Campervan
    Built using a conventional van, to which either a raised roof has been added or had the back replaced by a low-profile body (compared to a Class C). Sometimes referred to as a Camper Van.
  • Class C Motorhome
    Built on a truck chassis with an attached cab section, which is usually van based, but may also be pickup truck based or even large truck (freightliner) based. They are characterized by a distinctive cab-over profile, the "cab-over" containing a bed or an "entertainment" section. Also referred to as "mini-motorhomes". The term "Minnie Winnie" sometimes is used in references to Class C motorhomes, originally coined by one of the founders of Winnebago Industries
Motorhome Features

A minimal Motorhome typically contains beds, a table, food preparation and storage areas. Larger models add full bathrooms, refrigerators, living areas, master bedrooms, etc. Some RV are very elaborate, with satellite TV and Internet access, slide-out sections, and awnings, and either storing a small car inside it or providing the option of towing it behind the RV

Many RVers stay at RV parks, most of which feature electrical, water and sewer service (full hookups), as well as cable television and wireless Internet. One can also get partial hookups in the same parks. Amenities often include swimming pools, gamerooms and even destination-resort activities such as horseback riding. Others prefer staying at locations in remote rural areas (called boondocking), and still others at public campgrounds with minimal facilities.

Also many RVers stay at city parks, county parks, state parks and national parks. The United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also offer camping, often at no cost to the camper.

Advantages of the Rving lifestyle include not having to move one things in and out of motel rooms, not having to rent multiple motel rooms, sleeping in a bed one is comfortable with. Also, preparing food oneself saves money compared to eating in restaurants, and better meets any dietary restrictions or preferences. At the same time, an RV provides more organized living space and better protection from the weather than a tent.