Is a camper trailer considered an RV? (5 pros & cons)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is a camper trailer considered an RV? We will discuss the main differences between a camper trailer and a regular RV. We will also define what an RV is, and what a camper trailer is. We will then decide which type of vehicle is better for camping and travelling. 

Is a camper trailer considered an RV?

Yes, a camper trailer is considered an RV. More exactly, the term RV – recreational vehicle – includes:

  • Camper trailers;
  • Motorhomes;
  • And fifth wheels. 

Let’s see what is the difference between these three RV categories. 

Camper trailers and motorhomes: the difference

To understand if a motorhome or a camper trailer is better, it is first of all essential to have clear ideas, precisely distinguishing the difference between these vehicles. The motorhome is the definition of a self-sufficient vehicle in terms of traction. In front, there are usually two or three seats for the driver and passengers, while in the rear there is an area for the night, the kitchenette and the bathroom.

The camper trailer, on the other hand, is a trailer, so it cannot move independently but must be attached to a vehicle and towed. Inside, it has all the comforts typical of a traditional house, obviously depending on the model and layout. In any case, it requires a suitable vehicle based on the mass to be moved, so this aspect must be taken into account as your car may not be suitable for towing the camper trailer.

Camper trailers and fifth wheels: the difference

The fifth-wheel trailer is a type of trailer that offers better stability than camper trailers because of the way it attaches to the fifth-wheel located in the bed of the van. The weight is distributed to the rear wheels as well as the rear of the van rather than just the rear of the vehicle. 

A fifth wheel saves space due to the location of the bed which is the part that often covers the bed of the pickup truck. A Fifthwheel can usually hold more fresh water and wastewater than a caravan. You can thus extend your stay in campsites that do not have a facility for filling with fresh water and a wastewater dump station.

On the other hand, you can’t go on a road trip with your brand new Fifth Wheel if you don’t have a van. If you already own another type of vehicle, you will either have to dispose of it and opt for a van or keep your car and acquire a new vehicle, obviously a van. Also, you need to make sure that your pickup truck can support the weight of your new fifth wheel.

What is an RV?

RVs are self-sufficient vehicles, able to travel alone and guarantee full independence during a trip with family or friends. In these models, the cabin and the camper trailer are integrated within the same structure, with a different configuration depending on the vehicle. 

With a camper it is not necessary to use the equipped campsites, in fact, the vehicle is completely autonomous and able to provide the living environment with electricity, water and dedicated facilities for toilets.

Normally, a B license is enough to drive a motorhome, however, there are restrictions based on the mass of the motorhome. In fact, with this qualification, it is possible to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tons, so in the presence of a higher tonnage, it is necessary to take an adequate license for the camper. As for the costs, they are very variable, with models for all price ranges and the possibility of buying a new or used motorhome.

What is a camper trailer?

As we have mentioned, the camper trailers are towable trailers, which must be towed with a vehicle and can also be used independently, although they are not equipped with an autonomous traction system. 

Once positioned inside an equipped centre, the camper trailer is a real home with all the comforts of a traditional home. However, the camper trailer is not self-sufficient, so you have to connect it to an electricity source, a supply of drinking water and the drain for the bathroom.

In some cases, we speak of a camperized trailer, a term used to indicate a configuration of the camper trailer that makes it more similar to a camper, although it always remains a camper trailer in all respects. 

Camperizing a trailer means increasing its autonomy, for example by equipping the vehicle with batteries for electricity, or with tanks for drinking water and wastewater recovery. Obviously, it is not motorized, therefore it is in any case subject to the limitations set by the Highway Code regarding stops.

Driving a camper trailer requires a B license, provided that the towing vehicle and the camper trailer together do not exceed a mass of 3.5 tons, a restriction that does not apply only if the weight of the trailer is less than 750 kg.

Alternatively, it is possible to use the C1 license, reaching a mass of up to 7.5 tons with towing of trolleys up to 750 Kg. In any case, in the case of high tonnage, it is possible to take the B96 or B + license, approved with a total mass up to 4, 25 tons, or the BE license reaching a threshold of 7 tons.

However, driving a vehicle with a camper trailer attached is not easy, for this reason, even if the B license is enough, it is important to practice, learning to manage manoeuvres, calculate spaces well and get used to braking to ensure maximum road safety. In the past, the comfort of camper trailers was rather limited, but nowadays there are really interesting options available, able to offer a comfortable suitable for every need and a level closer to that guaranteed by motorhomes.

Motorhome or camper trailer: advantages and disadvantages

Choosing between a motorhome or a camper trailer is not a simple decision, in fact, a number of aspects must be taken into account, including your needs, the type of use and the number of people within the travel group. In addition, it is necessary to consider the expenses to be incurred, including insurance, maintenance, tires, storage and any repairs. 

The camper trailer requires a slightly lower cost as it is a trailer, while for the motorhome the costs are very similar to those of a large car.

The advantages of the motorhome over the camper trailer

  • Greater autonomy
  • High performance
  • Simple guide
  • Freedom of parking
  • Good manoeuvrability.

The advantages of the camper trailer over the motorhome

  • Lower price
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Small size
  • More comfort
  • Separate use of cars and camper trailers.

Why choose a motorhome

The motorhome is especially suitable for those who want a high-performance vehicle to travel comfortably and quickly, with performance similar to that of a heavy vehicle. 

Motorhomes can be used for any need, from a long vacation to a day trip, they can be driven easily without particular problems and are autonomous, so no external infrastructure is required. In addition, with a camper, it is possible to stop at any authorized lay-by, without the obligation to use only the campsites.

The motorhome can also be parked on the street, if you do not have an adequate garage or do not want to pay a night deposit that can accommodate the vehicle, in addition, it is possible to use the vehicle both as a mobile home and as a travel car. and trips out of town. 

The manoeuvres are quite easy to perform, just take measurements with the dimensions of the camper. On the contrary, the motorhome requires a considerable investment, maintenance costs are high and the comfort of the living area while driving is lower than in a camper trailer.

Why choose a camper trailer

The camper trailer is suitable for those who want to spend less on free tourism, in fact, they are less expensive vehicles for both purchase and maintenance. The camper trailer has smaller dimensions than the camper, while inside the space is greater because there are no structural restrictions related to traction. 

Usually, the camper trailer is suitable for people who take very long holidays, stopping for a few weeks in the same place and using it as a base to get to know the surroundings, but without changing the point of support.

At the same time, the separation between the traction vehicle and the trailer ensures more versatile mobility, in fact, it is possible to install the camper trailer in the campsite and move with the car in a practical and economical way. 

However, the camper trailer is more difficult to manoeuvre, so practice and be careful in choosing a suitable itinerary carefully. In addition, there are restrictions on parking, in addition to the need to connect the camper trailer with an external supply of electricity and drinking water.


Obviously, deciding whether a motorhome or a camper trailer is better is a completely personal decision, in fact, these two vehicles offer a different way to travel, to enjoy tourism in freedom in a different way. The motorhome offers great freedom of movement, high autonomy and is easy to park, allowing you to travel without planning every moment of your vacation. 

The camper trailer is cheaper, more comfortable and spacious, ideal for staying in one place for a long time, exploring the surroundings with the car and avoiding costly repairs.

What do you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions on the content with our other readers!

FAQ on Is a camper trailer considered an RV?

What is a camper?

A campervan is a self-propelled vehicle that serves both for sleeping and for travelling. The fundamental difference with lifelong campers is that they have been conditioned from the original vehicle, customizing the interior according to the purpose for which it is to be used.

What is a motorhome?

The concept of a motorhome applies to vehicles built with a special purpose for the transport and accommodation of people. This means that everything or that serves for autonomous transport – serves as a properly propelled vehicle – and accommodation is a motorhome.

Which is better: a camper or a motorhome?

Although there are exceptions, most motorhomes are better equipped than a camper van. In addition, they also have more storage space (the trunks of motorhomes are usually huge), and almost all motorhomes have a bathroom and shower, something that many campervans do not own.

Other FAQs about Travel Trailers that you may be interested in.

Is a trailer considered a vehicle or equipment?

Is living in a trailer safe?

Should I disconnect my travel trailer battery?


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