What’s the Difference Between an RV and a Camper?

RV park in Salem

At our RV park in Salem, we know that nothing beats hitting the open road and taking in the scenic views Oregon has to offer in an RV or through the window of a camper. If you haven’t experienced RV life before, you may not know the difference between a camper and an RV. Knowing the different types and classes can often feel overwhelming with so many recreational vehicles on the market. To help you better understand the best kind of vehicle for your first visit to our RV park in Salem, check out our guide below.

RV vs. Camper: What’s the Difference?

You probably already know that “RV” stands for “recreational vehicle,” but many words and terms can describe an RV. You can tow a recreational vehicle behind your car, drive it on its own, or incorporate it into the bed of a truck. As a result, the term “RV” applies to all camper trailers, pop-up campers, motorhomes, and more. Simple, right?

While the term RV can apply to many different types of vehicles, the term “camper” often only applies to RVs towed behind a separate vehicle, such as a car or truck. An RV usually refers to a vehicle that you can drive independently. No matter which term you use, let’s look at the different types.

Pop-Up Trailer/Camper

A pop-up trailer or camper is one of the lightest and most compact of all recreational vehicles. This type of camper can also be referred to as a folding trailer and measures anywhere from 8 to 16 feet in length.

Depending on the weight and length, a variety of vehicles can tow a pop-up. These types of campers fold up, enabling easy tow and store capabilities. These campers are often the most affordable option of all towable campers, but they also offer the fewest amenities. However, some larger models can feature bathrooms, kitchens, and multiple sleeping areas.

Travel Trailer

Travel trailers rank as one of the broadest categories of campers because this designation includes all types of non-folding camper trailers. This type of RV can range between 10 and 40 feet in length and weigh between 1,000 and 12,000 lbs.

Since this category has the broadest range of vehicles, travel trailers can vary from heavy to lightweight, large and small. Travel trailers also range in price, from affordable to luxury, depending on the size and the number of amenities it features. Like pop-ups, travel trailers can be towed but only by heavy-duty vehicles capable of pulling a lot of weight.

Fifth Wheel Camper

This is the largest type of trailer on the market before you move out of the towing category and move into RVs that move under their own power.  Fifth wheel campers range between 22-feet up to 40-feet in length.

Fifth wheels offer comparable comfort, size, sleeping space, and amenities to some of the large RVs on the market. However, not having to drive a fifth wheel camper does offer some more flexibility and convenience.

Unlike smaller campers, fifth wheels can only be towed using a special hitch attached to full-size trucks with heavy-duty towing capacity.

We hope this has helped you better understand the different types of campers you’ll see at our RV park in Salem. Come back next month when we’ll explore the difference between Class A, B, and C RVs.