RV Buying Tips - Just in time for the Detroit Camper & RV Show

Deciding on a Recreation Vehicle for Your Family

Detroit Camper & RV Show runs Oct. 3-7 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi

Deciding on which recreation vehicle is best for you and your family is easy once you take time to learn the basics of how RVs are categorized. RVs are generally divided into two main categories—motorized RVs and towable RVs. Motorized RVs combine living quarters with driving quarters. Towable RVs are pulled by another vehicle such as a car, truck or SUV.

Motorized RVs are then sub-divided by size: Class A, Class B, and Class C motorhomes. The sub-categories for towable RVs are travel trailers, folding camping trailers, fifth wheels, and truck campers.

Choosing an RV will depend on use, family size, and budget, so understanding the different types and sizes of RVs available will make it much easier to choose the right one for you and your family. Here are brief descriptions of RV types:

Class A motorhomes are generally the largest RVs. These RVs range from 30 to 40 feet in length, have two or more slideouts and can sleep up to eight people. Class A units usually come with almost every comfort you would expect in a home including full kitchens, heating, air conditioning, full baths, propane gas supply, and electrical system. Many now have flat screens TVs, Wi-Fi, satellite or cable hookups, and even fireplaces. Their prices range from $58,000 to $400,000 or more.

Class B motorhomes, commonly called van conversions, are the smallest motorhomes. They are usually 17 to 19 feet in length and can sleep two to four people. Although living space is limited, Class B motorhomes receive high marks for economy, versatility, and handling. Class B motorhomes usually have a small kitchen, heating, a self-contained toilet, electrical system, water tanks, sink, propane gas supply and convertible/folding beds. Prices range from $40,000 to above $100,000.

Class C motorhomes are scaled-down versions of Class A motorhomes. They are usually 20 to 31 feet in length and can sleep up to ten people. Class C motorhomes usually have a sleeping bunk above the cab and a bedroom in the rear of the unit. Most models include a small kitchen, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water tanks, sinks, a propane gas supply, electrical system, and entertainment features. Class C models range in price from $48,000 to $140,000.

Fifth-wheel travel trailers are similar to standard travel trailers, but they have an extension on the front that goes over the tow vehicle (always a full-size pickup truck). The front of the camper is typically a bedroom and additional living space is created by slideouts. Fifth-wheel trailers usually have full kitchens and baths, heating, air conditioning, water tanks, a propane gas supply, electrical system, and entertainment features. They can sleep up to six people and range from $13,000 to $100,000.

Travel trailers vary in size and length—from 10 feet to 31 feet. Many feature one or more slideouts to extend the unit's living space. Travel trailers must be pulled by a separate tow vehicle such as full-size sedan, truck, van or SUV. Travel trailers have small kitchens, heat, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water tanks, shower, sinks, a propane gas supply, and electrical system. Travel trailers sleep up to 10 people. Travel trailers range in price from $8,000 to $65,000 depending on size and features.

Truck campers are loaded onto the bed of a standard pickup truck. The tailgate of the pickup is often removed and the camper unit is then clamped to the truck. Truck campers are easily loaded and unloaded and are popular among part-time RVers. Most models include kitchen facilities, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water tank, sink, a propane gas supply, and electrical system. Truck campers sleep up to six people and sell from $4,000 to $26,000.

Folding camping trailers are the least expensive RV and are commonly called tent trailers or pop-up trailers. They are lightweight, inexpensive and easily towed by a mid-size car. Most modern models have an automatic lift system for quick setup. Folding camping trailers usually provide small kitchen facilities, heating, water tank, sink with faucet, propone gas supply, electrical system, and convertible/pull-out beds. Folding camping trailers sleep up to eight people and are available from $4,000 to $13,000.

Now is a great time to buy an RV. Start exploring different types of RVs at the 23rd Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show and find your perfect RV!

The Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show will be held in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace, October 3-7, 2012, and is open weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost for adult admission is $8 (ages 13 and up); senior admission is $7; children ages 12 and under are admitted free! Purchase $2-off advance tickets at select Metro-Detroit Home Depot stores; visit www.marvac.org/marvac-rv-shows.html for a list of participating stores. Your RV show ticket will also get you into the Novi Home Remodeling Show in the adjacent arena, Thursday through Sunday.

The show is sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC), a member organization representing all aspects of the camping and RV industries.

Call 517-349-8881 ext. 11 or visit marvac.org for more information.