Should You Drive A Motorhome Or Tow A Camper?

If there’s one reason that many RVers decide to make the switch to motorhomes, it’s towing.

Travel trailers, campers, and even 5th wheel RVs all require towing, which means you’ll be pulling the trailer behind your vehicle. 

Learning how to tow your camper or trailer can be tricky – especially if you’re not used to driving large, bulky vehicles. F

or some drivers, the thought of constantly towing a camper while you’re on the road is too unappealing, but others prefer having a separate vehicle from their camper. 

So, should you drive a motorhome or tow a camper?

The answer can vary, but if you’re trying to figure out which type of RV lifestyle is right for you, here’s everything you need to know. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Motorhome and a Towable Camper

Making the right choice between a motorhome and a towable camper can come down to several different factors. 

5th wheel trailer
image: Larry & Teddy Page, Flickr, CC 2.0

How Much Are You Traveling? 

There’s a lot of differences between traveling with a motorhome versus a towable camper or trailer.

When you’re driving in a motorhome, your passengers (and you) have access to a kitchen, bathroom, and a bed whenever they need it. 

With a camper, you and your passengers are typically in the truck or SUV you’re towing it with – which means you don’t have constant access to those same amenities.

If you need to use the bathroom on the road, you’ll need to stop somewhere, and if you want snacks or food, you’ll either need to stop or pack those items in your vehicle ahead of time. 

As a result, motorhomes tend to be more convenient for longer traveling experiences.

If you’re driving across the country or taking a summer road trip, traveling with a motorhome may be easier. 

However, if you’ve got a specific destination in mind and you don’t plan to be on the road for weeks, a towable camper can work just as well.

Who Are You Traveling With?

If you’re traveling with small children, you may prefer a towable camper over a motorhome for one important reason: seatbelts.

In a towable camper, every passenger has their own seat with a seatbelt – which many families feel is safer, especially if they still have children in car seats. 

Motorhomes still have seatbelts, but they’re typically only on the couch or sofa, and most passengers aren’t wearing them all the time.

Still, some parents with children prefer the convenience that comes with a motorhome – with beds, a kitchen, a TV, and a bathroom, there’s plenty of things to occupy the entire family while you travel.

Pets are another type of passenger you’ll want to take into consideration.

With a towable camper, everyone must drive in the truck or vehicle – which can quickly get cramped if you’ve got dogs and cats with you. 

Motorhomes tend to be the better option if you’re frequently traveling with pets.

There’s plenty of space to put a litter box or crate, and your animals will have plenty of room to lie down. 

However, if you’re traveling on your own, you probably won’t need the extra space that comes with a motorhome.

As the driver, you won’t be able to use these conveniences while you’re on the road anyway. 

Driving Preferences

Besides how often you travel and who you’re traveling with, many RVers base their decision on their driving preferences.

The driving experience with a motorhome versus a towable camper is very different.

When you’re towing a travel trailer, your camper tends to sway more easily, especially at high speeds or on a windy day.

So, as the driver, you’ll need to maintain more control over your vehicle at all times. 

In comparison, driving a small motorhome can feel similar to driving a large SUV, and big motorhomes can feel similar to semi-trucks.

However, some people may tow their vehicles behind their motorhome – which can add a whole new level of difficulty. 

Both types of driving present their challenges, and it often comes down to which method is easier for you as a driver. 

Off-Road Driving

If you’re someone who is frequently driving off-road, you may prefer a towable camper.

These tend to be easier to maneuver on dirt roads than motorhomes are, and you may have an easier time making it to your destination or campsite. 

Maintenance

Towable campers and motorhomes also come with different levels of maintenance too.

Between the two, motorhomes tend to be more high-maintenance since they have engines.

This means regularly checking and changing your oil, taking care of the brakes, checking tire pressure, and taking care of maintenance any issues that come along with owning a large vehicle. 

Towable campers aren’t completely maintenance-free – you’ll need to check the tire pressure, make sure it’s hooked up correctly, and clean it regularly.

However, if you’re looking to avoid as much maintenance as possible, a towable camper might be the better choice.

Should You Learn How to Tow a Camper Before You Choose?

Depending on where you live, some states might require you to pass a towing class before you can register your RV – but even if it doesn’t, it’s still a good idea to learn how to tow a camper. 

Whether you choose a motorhome or a towable camper, you’ll probably be spending hours driving your vehicle – and you don’t want to choose something that feels uncomfortable to drive.

Even if you can’t master towing, it’s never a bad idea to learn how to do so. 

Final Thoughts

So, should you drive a motorhome or tow a camper?

The answer depends on your specific traveling needs.

Some people may be uncomfortable towing a camper on the road or just need the convenience of a motorhome.

Others may find that towable campers feel safer with families or they need a vehicle that’s easier to maneuver off the road. 

Both options have their pros and cons, so it’ll come down to what you’re looking to get from your RV. 

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