Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine
Whether you’re simply in the research phase, or you’ve finally convinced a partner to make a purchase, this article will help guide you through some of the pros and cons of owning a Class A motorhome.
But first things first, let me specify what I mean when I say “Class A.” Whether you’re new to RVing or you also find the classifications a little confusing, let me make sure we’re all on the same page.
When an RV has an engine, they are categorized as either a Class A, Class B, or Class C. Class A’s are also known as a “motorhome,” and are essentially a big box on wheels. They are built on top of a heavy-duty bare chassis, and look like a “large tour bus.”
Speaking of large, that is the first point I’d like to make about a Class A. Class A’s vary in length from 25 to 45 feet. So, depending on which end of the spectrum you choose from, the class A you’re considering may be quite large.
Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But being large does have both its ups and downs.
Con – Class A Motorhomes Can Be Hard to Maneuver
Longer length can make driving down the highway, and fitting into compact campsites slightly more complicated than it is for their smaller counterparts. But thanks to modern technology, many models come already outfitted with a back up camera. Or, they’re fairly easy to install once you’ve already made your purchase.
Plus, a larger rig means a larger windshield! More room means a better view of all the incredible sites you’re going to see while you’re on your adventures.
A longer length also limits the type of campsites you can choose. Some sites (mainly in state parks) simply cannot accommodate longer rigs and because of that, they will be unavailable to you. So bear that in mind before making your purchase or planning your travel route.
You also need to be aware of your height clearance. While almost every Class A is between 11-13 feet tall, certain tunnels and bridges can pose a problem. Planning your routes in advance can also help you avoid the older bridges and tunnels that may force you to re-route because they simply cannot accommodate every Class A.
Pro – Class A Motorhomes Offer a Spacious Interior & Sizeable Basement Storage
While being large and in charge may make heading down the highway and parking a bit more complex, their large size means they offer lots of inside space. This means you can travel with more passengers, and there are more places to sleep. Or, you can cash in on having more inside space to escape the elements.
Also, having a big, deep basement offers plenty of storage space for all of your adventure accessories. Large pass-thru compartments allow room for larger items like grills, coolers, and fold-up furniture. Plus, they’re able to accommodate larger fresh water and wastewater holding tanks.
If you’ve ever taken a trip via RV, you know storage space can be hard to come by, and close to gold in value. So their big basements are highly coveted.
But on the contrary, having so much inside space requires a little more cleaning than a tiny travel trailer. Some Class A motorhomes even accommodate entire back rooms. More inside space will also require extra energy to cool and heat, and there may even be some circumstances where you need to get a little extra creative to help keep everyone cool and comfortable, or warm and toasty.
Pro – Most Class A Motorhomes Come Standard with a Built-in Generator
A generator Is an essential element if you plan to do any boondocking, or adventuring to an area without any hookups. (link to boondocking article) Plus, they can be an awesome asset if the campground you’re in happens to experience a power outage.
Not only that, but a built-in generator is able to be run safely while you are traveling. Because they are affixed to a built-in compartment, are well ventilated, and share the same fuel tank as your RV, they are able to do their job while you drive down the road. Interestingly, it’s actually more energy efficient to run your inside air conditioning via your generator as you drive than using your dashboard a/c.
Pro or Con? – Having a Class a Means No Detachable Truck
On the upside, not having to tow your rig behind a truck means you don’t have anything to hook up before you can be off on your adventure!
But once you’ve successfully situated yourself at your campsite, you’ll likely be interested in exploring the area around you. So unless you want to take your entire RV everywhere you want to go, you will need to tow a vehicle or have a family member follow behind in a car.
Or, if it’s within your budget, you can always rent a car or even Uber. Though, depending on where you camp, those options may not be available to you.
Also, if you find yourself experiencing any engine trouble, and it’s something you can’t repair yourself, your entire rig will have to stay at the garage while it gets worked on, as opposed to only having to take your truck to the mechanic.
But because we know wear and tear is inevitable, it’s wise to choose an insurance plan for your Class A that allocates hotel room expenses, just in case.
Con – Class a Motorhomes Can Cost a Lot More
If you’re operating on a limited budget, a Class A may be out of your initial price range. Purchasing such a large, luxurious RV is likely to require more of an initial investment than the smaller classes and towable options. Comfort and access to amenities can be worth the cost.
Though, scoring a sweet deal on an older unit isn’t entirely out of the question. Make sure to do your homework and explore all your options.
A diesel rig will be more expensive than gas, but diesel is more fuel efficient and offers more torque, longevity, and resale value.
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