Truck camper VS Class A

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Jul 10, 2006
Truck camper VS Class A.  Please bear with me, I know this sounds like a crazy comparison.

My wife and young family (6, 4, and 3 today) love camping.  We just got back from 4 days half way up the side of a mountain in a tent.  It was a marvelous experience, but a lot of work.  It took us 2 days to get prepared.  We have a full size yukon Suv and had it packed to the roof with the back seat removed.  We cooked all of our meals over a campfire, brought with us all of our drinking water, and pumped (by hand from a well) all the other water we needed.

If I had to work this hard at my job I think I would collapse.  The three great young kids that I have tried to help out (the oldest especially) but I found myself spending most of my time chopping wood, changing bums, trying to cook decent meals etc....

So I have decided  I would like to be a weekend camper, but also be able to relax a bit during the stay.

I have narrowed my RV choices to 2, a truck camper or a motorhome.  I have a small aluminum fishing boat and want to take it with.  Other than the boat I have never towed anything and have no interest in trying a triple.  The +/- to this decision seem to be as follows;

Truck Camper:

+ Can set it on a truck fairly easily ( I could quite easily justify a 1 ton disel for my business and use occasionally for pleasure)
+ Kids are strapped in just as they would be on any trip.
+ Can drop at a campsite and then launch the boat as easily as I could if I didn't own any type of RV.
+ Can get up at 6:00 AM, drag the boat to the water and not disturb the misses or the younger ones.

-  Not very big living accomidations (much better than a tent mind you), I haven't found a truck camper that will sleep 5.  I have considered having some of the group in a tent, but with the age "some of the group" would probably include me. 
- A big full size truck camper costs a lot of $$$$ compared to other RV's


+ Much more spacious accomidations.
+ Much more spacious accomidations.

- Have to leave the boat in the water overnight (and walk),  or pack everyone up and head down to the lake evertime I want to launch, or load, the boat.

As far as the Class C Vs Class A, I have decided that if I am going to go the MH root I will spend the money and go with a small used high quality "A".  life's too short, finance companies will go too long  :D.  I am mechanically and electrically inclined.  I would much rather own something that was well engineered and needs maintenance than something that was under engineered and needs repairs.

So anyone ever been in a similar situation?  I would love to hear the pro's and con's of both as I am truley an amateur in the RV world. 
I'm a camping newbie too (with no RV ownership as of yet), so don't take my comments as those from an expert.  ;)

First of all, you are the MAN for tent-camping with those kids.  My boys are 5 and not quite 2 and I still am wondering if MH camping will be difficult.  Our 5yo is autistic which presents its own challenges, but his condition is part of the reason we want to get a MH for traveling.  Anyway...

If you made a tent work, then a truck camper would obviously be a step up.  But like you said it seems like you would need something bigger (a tent) for sleeping capacity.  Unless the truck you buy is a crew cab, and someone could sleep longways in the backseat.  Sounds uncomfortable, but I've actually seen pickup seats turned into a pretty comfortable bed with a small mattress placed on top.  I don't know if they make mattresses for that purpose, or if it was a custom job the time I saw it.

allscott said:
I would much rather own something that was well engineered and needs maintenance than something that was under engineered and needs repairs.

I hope this is not a reference to a Class A being THAT much better than a Class C?  :-\  We are shopping for a Class C because of the convenience it offers for a family.  (1) Sleeping capacity is 6 in most C's I've seen, especially if those sleeping are kids (who can fit better into RV-sized beds).  Class A's often only sleep 4, even the huge ones.  (2) MH size is smaller when it comes to walking around, but otherwise a Class C still offers most if not all of the amenities of a Class A.  (3) A Class C can tow your boat, and you can still move it around easier to get the boat in the water when you want... unlike a big A, which is pretty much anchored and set until you're ready to leave camp (boat would have to be placed and stay in the water like you said).

Those are the reasons I would still consider a Class C... seems like the best of both worlds for your purposes.
Gosh? Maybe i missed something but I have a class A because of the sleeping coimpared to a C.? 2 in the bed, 2 on the couch, and 2 in the dinette bed, and 3 on air mattresses on the floor.? ?Very few of the coaches I've seen and been around have table and chairs if they are undet 36' in length. Except for some of the newest models for Fulltimers that don't have the kids around as much as we do.? Lot more room in an A and it's on a heavier chassis, not a lightweight van chassis that is almost over weighted to start with.? Pro A? ?Con C.? JMHO? Been at this since to 60's  We've even put up tents for kids to sleep in. 
Now now, I think I detect some sarcasm.  ;)  Most of the A's I've seen advertise a sleeping capacity of 4, but of course there are those with more... and I was not considering air mattresses or sleeping bags on the floor, but actual beds.  I don't have anything against Class A's and I might even end up with one, but from an outsider's point of view it seems that C's are a little easier to get around in (as far as driving, not interior "headroom") and pack more bang for the buck.

I can't even begin to address the issues you raise, but I do remember about 25 years ago our neighbors had about an 18-20 foot class C.  At the time their kids were around ages 10 and 3.  One weekend they were off at a remote lake with minimal facilities.  No showers.  No flush toilets.  Nothing except a boat ramp and some pit toilets!  Their youngest got really sick and I'll never forget Mom saying when they got home that she was so thankful she could just put him in the shower and hose him off.  Like most young families you might encounter such a situation and I know Mom and Dad at least will be thankful to have the larger class C or A.  Also, think about a week of bad weather where you have wet and muddy clothes and shoes.  A shower is an absolutely wonderful place to hang all those wet things (including bathing suits when it's nice).  Doubt you'd have that in a camper slide-in.  Not to mention what you would do falling all over one another when you can't go outside because it's raining.  Roughing it may sound wonderful, and it often is wonderful, but those negative experiences sure take the glow off it in a hurry!  When you make the decision you want to consider both the good and the bad so there aren't any unpleasant surprises.

In any case, I think it's wonderful that you all want to camp as a family and hope that whatever you end up with, it's a terrific experience the kids will always remember.  My own dad was in the military and gone a lot so I really treasure the memories of our times camping as a family in wonderful places like Mt. Lassen and the Sierras.

No sarcasm  Just the facts.  I've found very few A's with table and chairs. Now I 38 and 40' A's yes but not in the smaller units.  C's  No Room at all in comparison.  Unless you are looking at units I'm not.  And I look a them all.
Shayne said:
Unless you are looking at units I'm not.  And I look a them all.

Hehe, well I certainly haven't looked at them all.  ;)  I'm sure I'll be educated as I go on looking then.  So far for us however, I think a C is the best fit... smaller size (i.e. mini-motorhome) with same features.
It sounds as though a "C" may be th eright fit for you - I'll grant there are more C's with family-oriented floor plans than there are A's. Having said that, there is a family of 2 adults and three children (ages roughly 7-12) in a Class A Discovery parked directly across from me.  Got a dog too!

The only other comment I'll make that a 26 foot A and a 26 foot C are equally mobile, equally priced and equally good at launchning boats.  It is meaningless to compare a 26 foot C to a 36 foot A and then say a C is more maneuverable.
RV Roamer said:
The only other comment I'll make that a 26 foot A and a 26 foot C are equally mobile, equally priced and equally good at launchning boats.  It is meaningless to compare a 26 foot C to a 36 foot A and then say a C is more maneuverable.

Completely right, good sir.  :)  Honestly I forget that there *are* Class A's in the 20-foot range... most of what I've seen around here and for sale around my area is 30+, so that's what I always have in mind.
We had a 24-foot Class C. It would easily sleep 6 (adults or kids). You could seat 4 or 5 at the table to eat. But for just sitting around, it was extremely cozy with more than 2 adults and 2 kids and a large dog in it.

We switched to a 28-foot Class A with a slide. It is incredibly spacious compared to the Class C with lots of room when just sitting around. But it only sleeps 2 adults and maybe 2 kids plus a large dog on the floor or on the dashboard (you'd have to see our Sam to udnerstand).

As for getting around in either one, the Class C needed 2 parking spaces and so does the Class A. And neither one can do a really nice u-turn. Other than that, I can't comment as I let Mike do all the driving.
You'd best spend some time looking at C's and A's at an RV show.  I've had both and the "A" is the way to go.  You can tow a JEEP with your small boat on the roof.  In many states you cannot tow doubles.

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford a m/h of any size when the kids were small so we did the tent thing then moved up to a tent trailer.

The kids are young and small now, but two adults in a Class C is generally a full house.  Another thing to think about is how much weight you can carry or the CCC.  A class C with a slideout would just about be maxed out with you, wife, kids.  No extra weight for clothes, toys, bikes, kid's friends, etc.  Imagine those same little angels as teenagers and the "necessary paraphernalia". especially if they're girls.  You'll need a 40' dp and a 40' trailer for the girls clothes and shoes, let alone makeup. 

You're going to need all the room you can afford.

We (wife and I) were just out for a week.  It rained for 7 (seven) days and nights.  Picture that in a small class c or a truck camper and three kids.

I think a visit to an RV show with the kids and time to imagine where all would sit, fight, etc. will give you a picture of what I mean.

Most importantly; have fun!
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