Tents vs RV – Which Is Right For You?

Camping has been in my family since I was little, as well as my wife. We use to go camping in a self-made RV in the 70’s and 80’s as a kid. So when we had our family we wanted to experience the same thing with our daughter.

Having experienced tenting to RV’s now I can say that each has positives and negatives to it. The experiences are totally different for each.

Tenting Pain in the Rear End!

When I got married we decided to try tenting. It was a fairly small investment to get started. A tent costs about $100 to $300 and campstove, water storage and all the other stuff that comes along such as tarps etc to keep the sun off when the day is hot or when it is raining. All in less than $1000.

It wasn’t long before we started to discover that there definitely some positives and negatives to this. Although the cost to get started was quite low, that other factors soon came to limit the times that tenting was actually enjoyable. The perfect day and night were required to have an amazing experience.

The Pros & Cons of Tenting

The Pro’s

  • Low cost to entry
  • Easy storage
  • Can go places that RV’s and Trailers cannot go to

The Negatives

  • Open to the elements such as rain and wind
  • Open to wild animals (bears & coyotes etc)
  • No washroom
  • No kitchen
  • Setup and teardown time can be quite long and not so good in bad weather such as rain or wind.
  • Need additional cover such as tarps etc. at times.Tent TrailersReally this is not much better than a tent except that you are off the ground and sometimes there are stoves, sinks, and washrooms. Plus you can tear down a little faster than a tent on the ground.This is my least favorite personally!

The RV Advantage

The RV Pro’s

  • You have walls and security
  • You have storage of stuff for the season
  • Pack Up and go for the weekend or a few days.
  • You a washroom and kitchen
  • You have Air Conditioner and heat
  • You have protection from the elements
  • Tear down when it is raining or wind is quick
  • You have a longer season to Camp
  • You can just pull to the side of the road if on a long drive or dry camp for longer periods of time
  • Can have sliders that can expand the living space when camped.
  • Can have entertainment centers built in when the weather is bad or you want to have a family movie night together or if you want to catch up on Tv.

The Negatives

  • Bigger investment or sunk costs
  • Storage costs if you do not have a space on your property to store it.
  • Need insurance
  • Need registration
  • Maintenance costs can be expensive if you are not handy.

Trailer/5th wheel or Motorhome

The Trailer Advantage pros

  • The Trailer or 5th wheel you tow and really can be in it when you are moving.
  • You have a vehicle such as a truck to store stuff like kayaks and additional stuff & you have something to use to take short trips from your campsite
  • Typically can be cheaper than a motorhome

The Trailer Cons

  • You can’t easily get to the trailer when you are driving
  • Backing into a campsite can be a bit tricky if you are new to backing up trailers.

The Motorhome - Class A,B,C

Motorhome Advantage

  • The motorhome you can be in the back, though not recommended
  • The size of the motorhome can be quite large such as a Bus to a very small 20-foot unit which is not much larger than a small moving truck. This is really like a “home” on wheels as my wife says. You can also have all the luxuries in the motorhome or more than your home.
  • You can live longer in your larger unit.

Motorhome Cons

  • It can be costly to fill up your tank, but remember what you are bringing along on your journey.
  • Driving can be a challenge due to the size of the unit
  • You may be required to get another license to drive your unit depending on the size.
  • Your insurance can also be more due to size and type.

What is Right for you?

This is a question you need to answer for yourself and your family. For us, we bought a tent and rented a tent trailer and borrowed a motorhome. In the end, we settled for a little older motorhome for our family and we love it! It gives us the opportunity to do the weekend getaways and a little bit of traveling. Basically, it really fit our lifestyle. It really brings back memories for me and is creating new experiences for my family. Ultimately the choice is yours depending on your budget.

About the author

Arthur