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Integrated Motor Homes Versus Towed Trailers

Oct 9, 2007
Motor homes and RVs come in two main configurations, namely, those that are integrated self-powered vehicles, and those that are towed by a detachable vehicle. There are classes of every size in each of these two modes, ranging from small camper vans to hundred thousand dollar conversion trailers on one side, and small caravan-style travel trailers to the largest fifth wheel coupling trailers and park models on the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and which is suitable for you really depends on your requirements, budget, and circumstances.

The single most compelling argument for your purchasing any of the integrated models such as Class A, B, C, conversion vans, or camper vans is quite simply that the vehicle is included with the RV itself. Towing is not a trivial process, and inexperienced drivers should not attempt to tow an RV (or anything else) without proper instruction or supervision of someone who does have the necessary experience. It should go without saying that practicing your towing skills on your brand new mobile home could prove to have rather costly consequences!

With the classes mentioned, the RV component of the mobile home is built around the vehicle chassis itself. This means that you can trust (with reasonable certainty) that the frame and engine of the vehicle are ideally suited to the load you will be carrying. While it's still necessary to approach the vehicle with many of the same cautions as you would when towing a load, such as paying close attention to how much cargo you load up, the road conditions, and your speed, once you've properly stowed everything and you're ready to move off, you can quite simply do just that: Drive away.

Some of these vehicles (conversion vans in particular) have the added benefit of providing immediate access to the rear, main compartment of the RV from the passenger and driver area. Many RVs are not designed to be used while in motion; however, this is not the case for some vehicles which feature this open-plan style design, which younger travelers in particular might find appealing for road trips and camping. Always consult your RV dealer on exactly what is safe to do in any particular motor home you wish to buy. Good dealerships will be able to advise you on the individual safety notes of each model they sell.

The advantages of bi-fold trailers, travel trailers, park models, and 5th wheel coupling trailers are also quite compelling, for different reasons. First and foremost of these is the simple fact that once the RV is deployed, the tow vehicle can be detached and driven away independently. This allows you greater flexibility once your RV is parked, in that you can drive faster and with greater ease than with the load on the back. As well as general ease, lightening the load will allow your vehicle to drive places the assembled RV cannot, which is likely to be advantageous if you're staying in national parks or away from major highways. Perhaps best of all, however, is the fact that without the extra few tons of load, the vehicle is much more fuel efficient when driving.

Other advantages to a hitched trailer are that once the RV itself is deployed, should you need to drive into town or go out for supplies, you needn't ready the RV for movement again, and anyone who wishes to stay with the trailer can do so. In the case of park models, 5th wheels, and some larger trailers, it is not normal for the RV to have a dedicated tow vehicle. Instead, a single truck can deliver and pick up the RV at a designated time, which is more cost effective for all concerned. You need only own the trailer itself, which allows more of your money to go into buying features, as opposed to the underlying vehicle, while the tow vehicle can be hired as needed from any trucking company.
About the Author
From small camper trailers to large luxurious motor homes, Bankston Motor Homes has provided sales, service and satisfaction for RV owners and enthusiasts since 1970. Search for your next motor home at http://www.bankstonmotorhomes.com/
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