What is the Difference Between a Trailer and an RV?

By: South Thompson Motors & RV   |   30 Mar 2020
fifth wheel and travel trailer

In the camping world, the term “RV” can get tossed around several times in just one sentence! But for many people who are new to camping, or those who have simply become so accustomed to hearing and using the word “RV,” they might not know exactly what “RV” stands for. Most simply put, “RV” is an abbreviation for the term Recreational Vehicle. In order for something to be considered a recreational vehicle, it needs to be mobile, meaning it can be moved via its own motor or can be towed by another vehicle, and it must include living space that is designed to be used for accomodations. There are many different types of RVs out there and their various uses can be confusing - that’s why our team at South Thompson RV is here to answer some of the most common questions about trailers and RVs that we get from our customers!

So What’s the Difference Between an RV and a Trailer, Anyway?!

“RV” is a relatively generic term that can refer to travel trailers, motorhomes, fifth wheels, truck campers, popup campers and other variations within these categories. A trailer is considered an RV because it contains living quarters and can be towed by a vehicle - even pop-up campers are considered RVs, because they are towable and used for accomodations once you arrive at your site! RVs give people the unique opportunity to have all of the comforts of home, including places to cook, sleep, relax and use a washroom, while they travel from location to location. Some people stay relatively close to home, using their RV to escape into more natural habitats on the weekends, while others take on huge adventures across the province, country or continent.

Which is Better: A Motorhome or a Travel Trailer?

Whether you choose a motorhome or travel trailer often comes down to personal preference. A motorhome typically has all of your living accomodations and the cockpit for driving the vehicle all contained in one unit, so your passengers can use many of the amenities on board while you are driving. There are plenty of options when it comes to size, comfort features (some motorhomes are quite luxurious!) and price. You’ll also want to keep in mind that motorhomes require their own type of insurance, which can become quite costly for larger, Class A motorhomes.

Travel trailers also offer plenty of size, price and amenity options, but many people who opt for travel trailers like that they can park their trailer at a site while still having use of their tow vehicle. If you don’t have access to much land at home, a trailer can be a good option because you can rent a storage space for your trailer during the off-season and then tow it to a campsite in the spring, coming and going to the trailer as you please. Thinking about how long you’re planning on spending on the road, and what you plan to do once you arrive at a particular site, will help you decide on which option works best for you - and if you ever need a second (or third!) opinion, our South Thompson team is here to walk you through your options. 

The Term “RV” has “Vehicle” in it; Do I Need to Register my Trailer? What About a License?

The answer to this can vary between provinces, but in British Columbia you are legally allowed to operate a fully-loaded RV weighing up to 4,600 kg with a regular class driver’s license. Since most trailers weigh significantly less than this, many drivers are happy to learn that they can simply hitch-up their RV and hit the open road! If your RV weighs more than 4,600 kg (if you ever need help locating the gross vehicle weight of your unit, we are here to help!), then you will need to upgrade your driver’s license.

In most provinces, travel trailer insurance is not required; however, it is an affordable investment that our South Thompson experts highly recommend. Insurance will cover your RV for things like fire, theft, liability, vandalism and other unforeseen circumstances. Your regular auto insurance will typically not extend to your trailer, so it’s important to speak with your insurance broker about insuring your RV separately. If you own a motorhome, then you will require insurance since it is considered a vehicle.

There is a lot to learn in the world of RVs, and that’s why we are here to help! Our team knows the ins and outs of every camper, trailer and fifth wheel on the lot, and can help you make decisions that will work for your needs and lifestyle. Feel free to browse our inventory online or give us a call to schedule a tour of our South Thompson RV dealership in Kamloops, BC to find your perfect RV today!

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