Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes, sometimes called mini-motorhomes, are a more compact version of the larger, bus-style models like the class A's. These recreational vehicles are built on a van frame, or truck chassis, with an attached cab section. This means that the entire front-end of the vehicle is constructed in the same way as a van or pickup truck. Although they are built differently, these units can be just as luxurious as some of the other motorhome styles.
The class C is a popular choice because it tends to provide a more natural driving feel than some of the larger vehicles. This is particularly true for first-time RVers. However, while the mini-motorhome can sometimes be an easier transition for people that are new to the RV lifestyle, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Especially when you consider that some of the newer class C's are being built to rival the size and features of many class A's.
The Class C+
RV manufacturers are bulking up their class C models every year by skipping out on the van chassis and jumping up to a large Ford, Chevy and sometimes heavy-duty Freightliner truck chassis. Most of these larger versions are diesel-powered, which helps them pull a heavier load than a gasoline engine, and is also more fuel efficient.
Manufacturers are adding multiple slide-outs to increase living space, and have the ability to design a larger variety of floor plans with the larger chassis options. Some observation might be necessary in terms of how the model may need to be treated with multiple slide outs, however not all class C or C+ RVs are built in this way. There are many styles of motorhomes to choose from based on your individual needs. Be sure to look into features such as chassis capacity and wheelbase, as well as engine power and type. If you are going to be carrying more than a couple passengers, the class C+ may be the ideal fit for you.
Why Choose a Class C?
The class C has several benefits over the class A and B motorhomes, can be classified as the middle ground between the two. Class A's fall into the giant, bus-style category, and can offer a great experience, but take some practice to park or drive, while class B's are more like a customized family van and are suited for one or two passengers. Most class C's are spacious enough to house up to seven people, but are typically easier to park and drive. Other benefits include:
- More sleeping capacity
- Easier navigation
- Simpler to drive in adverse weather
- Built closer to the ground for a more convenient entrance and exit
- Generally safer because of the cockpit construction
- Less interior space to cool or heat
- Living area is accessible while the vehicle is moving
Class C's are usually fairly simple to handle and provide a similar experience to driving a moving van or truck. Since this type of motorhome has adequate space for both storage and people, it is a good choice for camping trips and extended vacations. If the RV is equipped with a larger motor and heavy-duty chassis, you will also be able to tow a boat or even a second vehicle on your travels.
A typical class C will be equipped with a stove and refrigerator, storage tanks for water and waste, a dining area, a bathroom (includes a shower, sink and toilet), cupboards and storage compartments, and several sleeping areas. The television in a class C will usually be mounted behind the cockpit or on the side of the living area, which is safer than being mounted in the cockpit over the driver and passenger's heads.
These motorhomes can pave the way for an RVer to experience the freedom of life on the road while keeping the comforts of home close at hand.
Most class C's are around the same size and shape of a moving truck or van. While a class A motorhome can reach lengths of up to 40 feet, the smaller class C's typically top out at about 28 feet. The shape of the class C resembles a van cab with an attached camper in place of the class A's bus-like figure.
- The average weight of a mini-motorhome is between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.
- The typical length can cover between 20 to 28 feet.
- The standard exterior height reaches about 10 feet.
Maintenance and Storage
With a vehicle this accommodating, you will also have to give back in the way of maintenance and storage requirements. If you opt for a smaller model then you may be able to park it in your driveway, however, even a mid-range build may not fit on your property. There are also some cities that limit RV parking on your property and require you to store them elsewhere. Some of the larger Class C units can also be limited on access to certain campsites but most models don't encounter these restrictions.
As far as maintenance is concerned, a class C that was constructed on a van chassis can usually be taken in by larger repair shops for regular repairs. However, a class C that is built on a larger chassis or a class C+ will probably need to be taken in to a truck service center.
The Discovery Period
Ask yourself what it is that you want to gain from your RV experience. Keep this in mind as you are checking out different options and during the trial period with your first motorhome. Figure out where you would like to go and how often. The time of year that you will be doing your traveling, the people you will be bringing with you and what you will be doing on your trips is also an important factor.
The initial experience you will have with your RV is a time when you will get to know yourself a little bit better. You will learn about your needs in relation to the unit and more about your likes and dislikes. It will take some time on the road before you really determine your particular motorhome requirements. This is why it can be a good idea to invest in a used RV before you jump into a brand new vehicle. Since the Class C motorhome offers a build and features that fall between a class A and Class B, it may be a good option for your personal discovery process.
While the class C motorhome is a relatively safe vehicle, there are some aspects involved in driving and handling that you should pay attention to.
- If this is your first time driving an RV make sure to get plenty of practice before you head out on a long trip. These vehicles are made to be drivable but there will be an adjustment period.
- Get an insurance plan that specializes in RVs and that will provide you with extensive coverage. Since you are carrying possessions, in addition to your passengers, you will want to make sure that you won't end up having to leave them all on the side of the road. Roadside assistance is an essential for RVers and you will need to check for things such as the towing distance.
- Keep track of your electrical usage. It is easy to just plug in everything that you need during your trip but RVs are wired to only accommodate a specific number of amps at once. It might be a good option to acquire a surge protector as well for safety measures when powering multiple devices.
- Inspect your RV before you take it out for a trip (or if you are a full-time RVer then you should have it checked out regularly) to avoid problems that could have otherwise been prevented. This should include every part of the vehicle from propane tanks to tires.
- Research road conditions when planning your route and also look into the wildlife specific to the destination.
The RVer Lifestyle
Whether you are a weekender, a snowbird, or a full-timer, you probably understand the common appeal of the RV way of life. This is not just a vehicle, it's a means to achieve the freedom you crave. When you make the decision to become an RVer, you are cutting away the restraints of the average life. You are opening yourself up to the possibilities of adventure, exploration and the breathtaking allure of the outdoors.
If you are planning on jumping into this as a total lifestyle transformation then you should definitely be in touch with what it means to be an RVer. If you want to take your home along on life's journeys to complement your nomadic nature then the RVer lifestyle is for you. If you want a vehicle that will act as your second home on the road for that long weekend, or extended vacation, there is an RV that will fulfill your personal needs. You can use your motorhome to take a personal expedition to find solitude in nature or a trip with the family.
There are thousands of RV parks, campgrounds and resorts that will allow you to experience the landscape of your choice. The average park will offer recreational activities along with a few other accommodations, while the most high-end resorts include many attractive features such as pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, golf courses, 24 hour security and other supplementary luxuries. Whether you need a place to park for a couple nights, or are in search of a feature-filled resort, there are many options available.National and State Parks
In addition to some of the well-known national parks such as Yellowstone, you can also find camping spots that are scattered all over the United States. This includes hundreds of parks and forests with an abundance of places to camp out. Some of these spots provide RV hook-ups while many others do not. They do however, offer beautiful landscapes at reasonable rates.
There are many websites that provide information on the different national and state parks such as www.recreation.gov. Be sure to check out the limitations and features of the specific park you are looking to visit to make sure that it will work for you.Resorts and Campgrounds
You also have the option of visiting one of the many privately-owned campgrounds and resorts in various areas across the country. The quality and features will vary in every location so you should research these beforehand as well. Here are a few of the more popular places to get you started.
- Zion River Resort
This is a popular destination for tourists and snowbirds and it is just a few miles away from Zion National Park. The Zion River Resort is a good base for day trips to the North rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and other Southwest attractions. This resort offers concrete parking pads, grills, full hook-ups and WiFi.
- Rivers Edge RV Park
This park offers over 170 sites and is located on the shoreline of the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. There is more than enough room here for guests to spread out and enjoy some privacy as well as access to numerous walking and biking trails. There is access to many features like full and partial hook-ups, cable TV, WiFi, and a gift shop. You also have the option of dining at the resort's restaurant or taking the shuttle bus to explore nearby locations such as Pioneer Park or the Trans Alaska Pipeline.
- Boyd's Key West Campground
Key West, Florida
This location is just a cab ride away from the many Key West attractions, with the added bonus of a pool and beach area onsite. It also provides other perks such as WiFi, 24 hour security, bathhouses and a marina. This camp has a tendency to get crowded even with its 250 available sites so it is important to make a reservation beforehand.
A class C motorhome is a great vehicle to get you out to some amazing destinations. It's large enough to carry all the amenities you need while still being compact enough to be driven by the average person. Whether you are looking to take a leap into the RVer lifestyle for the first time, or a fun way to get from point A to point B, this is an ideal motorhome to help you get there.
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