To cherry-pick the best of the different types of RVs and motorhomes for long-term, cross-border travel, you first need to know what exists. In our case, lacking any knowledge, we followed a fairly conventional approach by starting with a motorhome in its basic form: a light truck chassis with a house on its back. It was a good place to start…
But in our research travels, we’ve come across some remarkable variations on the theme that are influencing our decisions. We thought you might find them interesting and hope that you’ll be able to use them in your own deliberations.
The different motorhome types we have found include:
Four-wheel-drive (4WD or 4×4) motor homes
These range from specialist off-road expedition vehicles to 4×4 trucks that would be very well suited to our poor-road requirements. More research needed but, a priori, it looks as though slightly over-specifying might be a wise move.
Fortunately not needed in our case but some of the design characteristics could be useful. Especially the floor space and layout ideas.
At first glance the road equivalent of private yachts are eye-wateringly gorgeous. Costing upwards of $1 million they are luxury apartments on wheels. We’re not quite sure how they would handle travelling the world, however. Though there is a magnificent 8-wheel ex-missile carrier that has made its way through the African desert…
Vintage and old motorhomes
These types of RVs are classy, quirky and just plain fun. Vintage motorhomes are like vintage cars, an acquired taste requiring lots of tender, loving care. And the bank balance that corresponds… Reliability could be an issue here.
Bus and Van conversions
Converting a van is not really in our scope though it would allow us to custom-build to our requirements. The van, as we know them in New Zealand, however, may be just a bit small. A bus conversion, on the other hand could be a very interesting idea. Definitely something to consider and there are some new 4×4 buses being developed for the mining industry in Australia.
These are a type of motorhome we’d not really considered, partly because of the added shipping costs: we’d need two flat-racks instead of one. But the results of our research surprised us…
It seems odd that this would even be considered a “type” but for us it is crucial. Diesel is far more easily available worldwide that petrol (gas) and most modern truck engines run on diesel. Yes, the fuel type will heavily influence your decision in this regard.
Class Types of RVs and Motorhomes
Finally, the motorhome class system of the US that took us a little while to understand. Here, in New Zealand, we just have weight limits. In the US literature we discovered a whole new language, our interpretations follow… There are longer descriptions and places to buy these here.
Class A Motorhomes
Basically a bus, front or rear engined with as much luxury one can squeeze into 14 metres (45 feet). The base vehicle for most luxury motorhomes, these will prove difficult to ship and maybe quite limited in the types of roads they can cover. That’s not to say we wouldn’t like to have one at some stage…
Class B Motorhomes
The ubiquitous campervan. Self-contained, easy to drive and ideally suited to the holiday-maker, the more robust versions could easily satisfy the requirements for cross-border travel. More investigation needed.
Class C Motorhomes / Mini Motorhomes
Built on a van (in the US) or truck chassis, of all the types of RVs, these appear to suit our needs best – see our notes on motorhome chassis for more info. They are also known as Mini Motorhomes because they have most of the amenities of a Class A without the size.