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What is RVing?
RVing is a term that encompasses any on-the-road camping lifestyle. If you take it on the road to camp in, you're RVing.
What is an RV?
If it has wheels and you can use it for camping - then you have a Recreational Vehicle (or a Recreation Vehicle if you're from south of the 49th). It doesn't matter what you call it, whether it's large or small, diesel or gas - the simple fact is that if you travel with it and sleep and cook in it then you have an RV.
The original RV?
How many kinds of RVs are there?
There are many makes and models but, essentially, there are two kinds of RVs - towables and motorized.
Towable - you need another vehicle to move it (fold-down camping (tent) trailers, travel trailers, truck campers, fifth wheels). All towables need a proper hitch package and a properly weight-rated tow vehicle.
Motorized - you can drive it (Class A, Class B/camper vans/van conversions, Class C and bus conversions). Motorized RVs either have a gas or diesel engine.
For the best RV insurance rates, visit
Ontario - 1-800-461-0318
Atlantic Canada - 1-800-595-3403
What do all the different classes mean?
Classes are different classifications of body type. There are seven basic classes plus the bus conversions and park models.
Fold-down camping trailer (towable): This is more commonly known as a tent trailer and is great for family outings. Unlike the old canvas tent trailers of years ago, today's versions come with hard-tops, slideout sections, some have toilet facilities, outside showers and much more. The sleeping areas are at either end and extend out from the body of the unit. Depending on the size, they can sleep up to eight and can usually be towed by most V-6 engine vehicles.
Travel trailers (towable): A classic example of a the original travel trailer is the Airstream trailer. These RVs come in a wide variety of lengths and many have extendable slideouts to create extra interior room. During the past few years, new travel trailer lines have evolved and now you can buy lightweight units (can be towed with a family van), larger models, hard bodies with 'extenda' sleeping wings (sort of like the tent trailers), units with roofs that lower for travelling and more. Travel trailers have a variety of floorplans including those with bunkbeds.
Truck campers (towable): These units have truly come "a long way, baby!". Designed to slide onto the bed of a pickup truck, truck campers feature just about every amenity found in the larger units. In Canada, most of the major truck camper manufacturers insulate the units and furnaces can be installed. These units can sleep four and are perfect for two. Sizes are available for just about every size of pickup bed sold in North America.
Fifth wheels (towable): The king of the towables, fifth wheels are high in preference for RVers who plan to stay on the road for long periods of time (the Class A is its motorized counterpart). These units can be purchased with multiple slideouts and just about every convenience found in a standard home. As with all of the towables, make sure that your tow vehicle and hitch package is rated for your fifth wheel's weight specifications.
Class A (motorized): These are what most novice RVers refer to as a motorhome or a 'Winnebago' (all motorized units are motorhomes and a Winnebago is a brand name, but sometimes the common name becomes the most well known). Class As are the motorized equivalent to the fifth wheel. They come with all of the bells and whistles needed for easy living - you can even have computer stations, freezers, washer/dryer combos and dishwashers and more installed. If you buy a Class A with an air brake, you should have an air brake course/licence (It is the law in many states and provinces).
Class B (motorized): Class Bs are built on a extended van chassis and are also known as camper vans or van conversions. These units are quite easy to drive and are scaled-down versions of a Class A. Although space is limited and each area is multi-functional, most have a wide range of amenities and they offer a compact choice for a couple or a single RVer.
Class C (motorized): Built on a truck chassis, Class Cs traditionally have a bunk over the cab. Some models have one or more slides. Some floor plans convert this bunk space into storage space or entertainment centres. Most Class Cs also feature a separate bedroom area, convertible dinettes (turn into a bed) plus full kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Bus conversions (motorized): These luxury units are in a class of their own. Basically a bus conversion means a company (or an individual) converts a bus shell into very opulent living quarters. Extremely expensive and many who own one are affectionately called "bus nuts".
Park models (stationary): These can't be driven and must be hauled (not towed) to their designated resting spot. Park models are usually set up in a seasonal campground community and make a good alternative to a cottage.
What is a tow vehicle?
A tow vehicle is a separate vehicle required to move your towable RV from point A to point B. Your tow vehicle ensures a convenient getaway is close at hand when you are set up in a campground and want to spend the day touring the countryside.
A toad is a play on words for towed car. This is a separate vehicle that is towed behind your motorized RV. A toad is used for running errands and touring when your RV is hooked up in a campground. Many owners of motorized units find it extremely annoying if they have to disconnect hoses and attachments simply to go into town for supplies. Most motorhomes are also too large for touring out of the way destinations and for traversing narrow roads in small towns. Toads can be towed behind with four-wheels down, strapped onto tow dollies or on separate flat trailers.
To read more about "toads" - click here to visit our Question & Answer Page
- a terrific informative site maintained by a licensed Canadian RV technician, Les Doll
What is ERS?
ERS stands for 'Emergency Road Service' - something every RVer should never travel without. When deciding which ERS provider to go with, carefully check the benefits offered. For example, during breakdowns, owners of a towable, must ensure your provider sends two tow-trucks if required. You do not want your RV left sitting on the side of the road while your tow vehicle is towed for service. Remember, this is one service you don't want to skimp on - if the price is low and "too good to be true" then you might be left spinning your wheels. Most RV clubs have member discounts for ERS plans. It might be worth your while to join an RV club (or two).
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