Cargo trailers are generally enclosed unpowered trailer pulled or towed by a powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such vehicles used for transport of goods and materials. Cargo trailer types available include auto, motorcycle, snowmobile, concession, storage, office, specialty, racing, multi-purpose, landscape and gooseneck. Enclosed cargo trailers can be towed by commonly accessible pickup truck, suv or van which generally requires no special permit beyond a regular drivers license. Cargo trailers come in single and multiple axle varieties, to allow for varying sizes of tow vehicles.
Utility trailers are generally open unpowered trailer pulled or towed by a powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such vehicles used for transport of goods and materials. Utility trailer types available include auto, motorcycle, snowmobile, concession, storage, office, specialty, racing, multi-purpose, landscape and gooseneck. Open utility trailers can be towed by commonly accessible pickup truck, suv or van which generally requires no special permit beyond a regular drivers license. Utility trailers come in single and multiple axle varieties, to allow for varying sizes of tow vehicles.
Truck campers, sometimes referred to as pickup campers or slide-on campers, consist of a camper body loaded onto the bed of a standard pickup truck. Usually the tailgate of the pickup is removed and the camper unit is clamped to the truck. Because truck campers can be loaded and unloaded with relative ease, they are popular among weekend RVers. Truck campers usually provide cooking facilities, a refrigerator or an ice box, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, a fresh water tank, a waste water tank, a faucet, a sink, a LP (propane) gas supply, and a separate 100-125 volt electrical system. They can sleep from two to six people depending on the model. Prices range from $5,000 to $50,000.
Truck shells (also canopy, and sometimes topper, cap, or box cap) is a small housing or rigid canopy used as a pickup truck accessory. The housing is usually made of fiberglass or aluminum, but sometimes wood, and is mounted atop the pickup truck's rear bed. It usually covers the entire bed of the pickup truck, and is large enough to be used for camping purposes. Even though use for camping may have been its initial purpose, it now seems most often to be used for utility and storage purposes. Some camper shells are so large that they can overlap the top of the truck's cab, and some called soft-tops are made of canvas like convertibles.
Truck tonneau covers are used by owners of utility vehicles and trucks to cover and secure their pickup bed and come in a variety of styles. The most common style is the roll up tonneau made from cloth or vinyl which uses a rib-like structure to support the fabric and keep it taut. A snap-based system is also used, but has become less common due to truck owners not wanting to install the snaps on their vehicle as they typically require drilling or permanent adhesive. Roll up Tonneaus are opened by rolling the cover up toward the cab of the truck.
Another style of truck bed tonneau cover is a retractable unit, which is mounted at the front and sides of the bed and rolls up or retracts from the tailgate towards the cab. The retractable tonneau is typically made of vinyl, plastic or aluminum. Retractable tonneaus have the benefit of being more convenient than vinyl roll up styles as they don't involve time consuming assembly or disassembly. Retractable tonneau styles are usually lockable.
Fiberglass or hard plastic tonneau covers are also common. Some may be painted to match the truck, are solid in construction, and can be locked. These covers are usually heavy and require gas struts to assist in opening and closing. They operate much like a vehicle's hood, typically opening from the tailgate end of the bed (back to front). Some are available with multiple compartments that will open front to back, back to front, side to side, or even rise vertically. Fiberglass or hard plastic tonneau covers are sometimes installed as a factory option on new vehicles.
The word is sometimes spelled incorrectly as "tonno."
Travel trailers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a small bedroom on wheels to the equivalent of a Class A motorhome without the engine and transmission. Travel trailers may be as small as 10-feet or as big as 35-feet long. Many feature slideouts to quickly expand the unit's living space. Travel trailers must be pulled by a separate tow vehicle. For most travel trailers, tow vehicles must be equipped with a load distributing hitch and other special devices designed to control the sway of the trailer. Most full-size sedans, vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks are up to the job. Manufacturers have been introducing lighter weight models in recent years to reduce the burden of towing. Travel trailers usually provide cooking facilities, refrigerator, heating, A/C, self-contained toilet, shower, water tanks (fresh water, grey water, black water), sinks, LP (propane) gas supply, and a separate 100-125 volt electrical system. They can sleep up to 12 people depending on the model and floor plan. Prices range from $10,000 to $100,000.
Folding camping trailers are the least expensive RV. Also commonly referred to as tent trailers or pop-up trailers, folding camping trailers are designed to be lightweight and inexpensive while providing many of the conveniences found in a basic travel trailer. Due to their relatively small size, folding camping trailers can easily be towed by a typical mid-size car, and even some compact cars. A folding camping trailer can be thought of as a large, expandable tent built on a trailer. Most modern models incorporate a rigid roof and a lift system to expedite setup. Because the sides collapse for towing and storage, the units take up very little space when not in use. Folding camping trailers usually provide cooking facilities, refrigerator or ice box, heating, fresh water tank, waste water tank, faucet, sink, convertible/pull-out beds, LP (propane) gas supply, and separate 100-125 volt electrical system. They can sleep up to 8 people depending on the model and floor plan. Prices begin at around $4,000 and can go as high as $25,000.
Fifth (5th) Wheel trailers are similar to larger travel trailers, but they have an extension on the front of the box that extends over the tow vehicle and a horizontal plate that looks like a wheel (hence the name "fifth wheel") that rests on the tow vehicle for support. This hitch arrangement requires special equipment on the tow vehicle. Typically, full-size pickup trucks serve as tow vehicles for fifth wheels and are outfitted with a fifth-wheel hitch (also known as a gooseneck hitch). The hitch makes towing easier by placing the trailer load in the center of the tow vehicle instead of behind it. The extension on the front of the box also serves as a bedroom in most fifth wheels. Still more living space is afforded by slideouts that come as a standard feature of many fifth wheels. Fifth-wheel trailers usually provide cooking facilities, refrigerator, heating, A/C, self-contained toilet, shower, water tanks (fresh water, grey water, black water), faucets, sinks, LP (propane) gas supply, and a separate 100-125 volt electrical system. They can sleep up to twelve people depending on the model and the floor plan. Prices range from $15,000 to $150,000.
Class A motorhomes are generally top of the class of the RV world. Units range in weight from 15,000 to 48,000 pounds and stretch from 25 to 45 feet in length. Describing them as "motorhomes" is no exaggeration. Class A units come with almost every creature comfort you would expect in a home, minus the front lawn. They are frequently constructed on custom undercarriages or on a 3-10 ton truck chassis. Many Class A motorhomes also feature automatic slideouts. At the touch of a button, motorhome owners can extend a portion of their RV's exterior wall outward to expand their living space. Class A motorhomes usually provide full cooking facilities, a refrigerator, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water tanks (fresh water, grey water, black water), faucets, sinks, a LP (propane) gas supply, a separate 100-125 volt electrical system, and a full array of appliances and entertainment features. They can sleep up to ten people, depending on the model and the floor plan. Prices range from $80,000 to above $700,000 for high end rear diesel pusher models.
Class B motorhomes, also commonly known as van conversions, are the smallest fully enclosed motorhomes. They are constructed on a van chassis with elevated roof lines but no modifications to the length or width of the original chassis. Class B motorhomes generally weigh 6,000 to 8,000 pounds and are 17 to 19 feet in length. Although living space is limited, Class B motorhomes receive high marks for economy, versatility, and handling. When not RVing, many Class B owners make use of their units as family vehicles. Class B motorhomes usually provide cooking facilities, a refrigerator or an ice box, heating, a self-contained toilet, a fresh water tank, a waste water tank, a faucet, a sink, convertible/folding beds, a LP (propane) gas supply, and 110 VAC and 12VDC electrical outlets. Class B motorhomes can sleep from two to four people depending on the model. Prices range from $40,000 to above $100,000.
Class C motorhomes, sometimes referred to as mini-motorhomes, are scaled-down versions of Class A motorhomes. They range in weight from 10,000 to 12,000 pounds and stretch from 20 feet to 31 feet in length. Class C motorhomes are generally constructed on a larger van chassis. The driver compartment is similar to a van, with a large box in the back. Class C motorhomes usually come with a sleeping bunk above the cab, in addition to a bedroom in the rear of the unit. Like their Class A big brothers, many Class C units feature slideouts to quickly expand the motorhome's living space. Class C units usually provide cooking facilities, a refrigerator, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water tanks (fresh water, grey water, black water), faucets, sinks, a LP (propane) gas supply, a separate 100-125 volt electrical system, and a full array of appliances and entertainment features. Class C motorhomes can sleep up to ten people depending on the model and the floor plan. Prices range from $50,000 to around $250,000.
Recreational vehicles combine transportation and living accommodations for travel, recreation, camping and more. RV's cover a wide range of interests and budgets. At one end of the spectrum, there are folding camping trailers that sell for a few thousand dollars while at the other end you can find luxurious motorhomes that feature all the comforts of home and come with a price tag to match.
Before you buy or rent an RV, it pays to gain a basic understanding of how RVs are categorized. The RV world is generally divided into two broad categories: motorized RVs and towable RVs. Motorized RV's combine a motor vehicle chassis and living quarters into a single unit. Under motorized RVs, you'll find class A, class B, and class C motorhomes. Towable RVs are designed to be towed by a car, van, SUV, or pickup truck, but are small enough so as not to require a special highway movement permit. Under towable RV's, the accepted sub-categories are travel trailers, folding camping trailers, fifth wheels, and truck campers.
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