Recreational vehicles, or RVs, make traveling around the country easy and fun, bringing you the comforts of home wherever you travel.
Many campers have expressed interest in investing in an RV for themselves or even renting one for a trip, but a tighter budget makes finding the right model for their needs frustrating.
This is an issue that quite a few prospective RV owners have; however, there are plenty of more affordable models on the market that will suit the needs of all campers, coming in a wide range of sizes with amenities that will add an elevated camping experience and a level of luxury that standard camping doesn’t compare to.
How much does a cheap RV cost, and what can you get for the money you spend?
A cheap pop-up used pop-up camper will cost $500-$1000
A cheap used cheap fifth wheel will cost around $30,000
A cheap used camper van will cost about $40,000
A cheap Class A will cost about $50,000
Be sure to read the whole article for more in-depth information and to watch some great videos.
If you are interested in renting an RV, be sure to check out this article that we wrote.
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Pop Up Trailers
Pop up trailers are the simplest type of recreational vehicles or travel trailers, and they offer the most basic amenities. They are also typically the most compact. Because of these factors, they are usually the cheapest option available.
- Features of Pop Up Trailers
Pop up trailers, otherwise known as fold-out campers, are campers/trailers that collapse into a compact package for easy portability. This is made possible because the walls are partially made out of canvas.
These trailers typically include a dining area, a sleeping area, and sometimes even a bathroom.
However, pop-up trailers do not offer A/C or heating, and the cloth walls allow less insulation from the temperatures outside. There are drawbacks to buying these if you plan to camp any other time than mid-spring or early autumn. You may have to buy your own fans and heaters to compensate for the lack of weatherproofing.
- Price of Pop Up Trailers: Buying
The price of a pop up trailer depends on the size that you buy and whether you get yours new or used.
- New Pop Up Trailers
New pop up trailers cost between $17,000-$20,000 on average. The smallest pop-ups can accommodate 1-2 people and have only a sleeping area. These trailers can fit on top of a small car, and they sell for anywhere between $1,000-$9,000.
The largest new pop-ups can accommodate up to 10 people, and they usually have a mess area and even a small restroom area. These are the higher-end models that will cost an estimated $20,000.
- Used Pop Up Trailers
Used pop up trailers are significantly cheaper than their shiny new counterparts. An average-sized model (sleeps 4-6) sells for $8,000-$9,000 on most used RV sites like RV Trader.
Larger used models that sleep 6-8 people cost around $14,000, typically. These models will have a dining area and several mattresses for comfy sleeping and eating.
- Price of Pop Up Trailers: Renting
You can rent a pop up trailer in nearly any size for a small fee per night. This is a great option for those who want to live the RV lifestyle for just a while without fully investing in one. (Note: listings vary based on the location you choose.)
- This 1991 Coleman tent trailer costs as little as $50/night with a minimum stay of three nights. It comes with a dining area and a mattress. It’s simple, but it offers far more comfort and convenience than a standard tent. It can sleep 4 people at the maximum.
- If you’re in need of a more spacious foldout, you can rent the 2007 Jayco Jay model starting at $85/night. This pop-up trailer sleeps 6 people at the maximum, and it offers a camp stove, griddle, awning, fridge, water tank, and even an outdoor shower. You get a luxurious vacation with a pop-up trailer for way less than it costs to buy one.
- For the largest groups, a 2006 K-Z Manufacturing Coyote pop up trailer sleeps up to 10 people. This large fold-out has plenty to offer in the way of amenities that most others don’t, including heating/cooling, kitchen appliances, and outdoor showers. This rental listing costs $105/night to rent.
Fifth Wheel Campers
Fifth wheel campers fall under the umbrella term of recreational vehicles, but they are towable instead of being drivable. These differ from pop up trailers because they don’t fold or have canvas walls. They often are more compact, though, and thus will be cheaper than their more spacious RVs.
- Features of Fifth Wheels
Fifth wheels are larger than pop up trailers in most cases, and they are towed behind your truck or car as long as it is equipped with a hitch. These campers have a dinette, sleeping quarters, a living area, and may sometimes come equipped with kitchen appliances and/or a bathroom.
Fifth wheels offer many benefits. Their easy maneuverability makes these RVs highly desirable to many prospective RV campers.
- Price of Fifth Wheels: Buying
As is true of any other vehicle, buying a new fifth wheel will usually be more expensive than buying a pre-owned model.
New Fifth Wheels
New fifth wheels cost anywhere between $40,000-$75,000, though some models can be more expensive. The price depends on the amenities that come with your fifth wheel, the size, and the year that it was made.
The smallest fifth wheels typically accommodate 3 people comfortably and are around 30 ft. in length. These are cheaper; the market price can be as low as $35,000. RV Trader offers listings for new campers as well as pre-owned.
Used Fifth Wheels
Used fifth wheels are much more affordable and can be found for as cheap as $13,000. These models are cheap, but they may require restorations.
- Fifth Wheel Campers: Renting
Renting a fifth wheel is the cheapest option out of all campers of this type. There are several listings all over the United States for these rentals.
- For $150/night, you can rent this 2015 Heartland fifth wheel model that sleeps 4 people. It comes with kitchen appliances, a bathroom, A/C, hot water, and an entertainment center.
- $110/night is a great deal for a 2016 Chaparrel Coachmen fifth wheel that sleeps 6 people. It is 37 ft. in length and includes amenities like kitchen appliances, a bathroom, hot and cold water, and an entertainment center.
- $79/night is an incredibly small price to pay for a fifth wheel for 2 people. The 2020 Teardrop Trailer a rental that is perfect for a couples’ getaway. There is only a 1-night minimum. The base rental price is cheaper than used fifth wheels for sale. It comes with temperature control features, a kitchen, a generator, an entertainment center, and a bed cushion.
The rental range for fifth wheel campers typically starts at $100 and can be up to $200+.
Camper vans are the smallest drivable RVs on the market, perfect for small groups to vacation in. They are considerably cheaper than class A RVs that accommodate larger families. We’re going to give you a price breakdown for both new and used camper vans whether you’re renting or buying so you can find the most affordable option for your needs.
- Features of Camper Vans
Camper vans are small class B RVs that are relatively easy to drive. They come with more amenities than pop up trailers or fifth wheels typically do, so their price range is a little higher in most cases.
- Price of Camper Vans: Buying
Buying a camper van is like buying another drivable vehicle like a truck or car. You will need to maintain them as such, so they will cost even more money over time due to fuel and maintenance needs.
New Camper Vans
The price of a new camper van, while varying due to several factors, is between $100,000-$160,000 on average, though luxury models can cost a great deal more. The smallest models, which sleep about 2 people comfortably, can be found for as low as $50,000 in new condition.
Used Camper Vans
Used camper vans likely have higher mileage and are older models, so they can be found with huge price cuts.
The smaller of the used models can be as low as $13,000 or as expensive as $200,000. Again, the price varies based on mileage, size, and amenities offered.
- Price of Camper Vans: Renting
Renting a camper van ensures that you can reap the benefits without having to stick to a maintenance schedule or worry about the pitfalls that can come with buying pre-owned.
- The 2014 Mercedes Sprinter camper van sleeps 2 people comfortably for $178/night with a 3-night minimum stay. The base price for a minimum stay is $534, a steal for such a great camper van. It includes temperature control, kitchen appliances, an outdoor shower, and driving safety features. It’s also pet friendly, so you can bring your furry friends along on your adventure.
- Renting a larger camper van meant for three can be more expensive, though it beats buying a camper of your own. For $325/night, you can rent this 2014 Mercedes Airstream and hit the road with your small family or two friends. It includes kitchen appliances, a bathroom, temperature control, and an entertainment center. This is the whole package and not something you find too often in a vehicle as small as one of these.
- A 2006 Dodge Sprinter is among the most affordable camper van rentals in the United States. This camper is built for 2 people. Couples, friends, and even solo RV campers will love this model! You can rent it for $130/night with a 1-night minimum stay. It comes with temperature control features (i.e. air conditioning and a heater), a basic kitchen, solar power, and extra storage.
Class A Recreational Vehicles
Class A RVs are the largest of them all. A typical Class A is the size of a bus and often requires a special license to drive. They are the most expensive RVs on the market, though they come in a range of price points and can be found used for cheap in comparison to the rest in their category.
- Features of Class A RVs
Class A RVs can be considered the most luxurious, as they provide the most comfort with amenities galore and more space than the rest. They often have bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and sleeping quarters at the very least. Most have indoor showers, though some are equipped with outdoor showers only.
- Price of Class A RVs: Buying
Buying a Class A RV won’t be cheap, no matter the make, model, or mileage. These are truly investments that you should only make if you are an avid camper and plan to use them a lot. If you can’t, then you are better off renting.
New Class A RVs
New Class A models can cost as low as $55,000 or can be in the millions. You have little need for RVs as large or as expensive as the high-end models if you’re the average camper, but a new one in the range you may want will likely cost you between $200,000-$400,000.
Used Class A RVs
Used Class A RVs are more affordable than new models, but they often require quite a bit of restoration and will not last as long due to mileage already put on the odometer.
Listings range widely from $6,000-$250,000 for your average Class A RV. Your local listings may vary in range. The cheaper of these are between $6,000-$90,000/ These models are older and offer less than the other Class A RVs do.
- Price of Class A RVs: Renting
Renting a Class A RV is more sensible if you only plan to use one a few times per year. This will cut out the cost of maintenance and won’t take up valuable space in your driveway.
- This 2008 Fleetwood Providence Class A sleeps 6 people at the maximum, and it costs $219/night to rent. There is a 7-night minimum stay. In total, you’re looking at $1533 without deposits or gas. This RV comes with Temperature control, a kitchen with appliances, a bathroom, entertainment features, extra storage, sleeping quarters, awnings, a washer and dryer, and a generator.
- If you’re in need of a Class A rental with more room, this 2019 Thor Motor Coach sleeps 9 people and will cost you $260/night with a minimum 4-night stay. In total, the base price for the rental is $1040. The RV includes 6 beds (3 bunk beds), a kitchen with appliances, a bathroom, temperature control, an entertainment center, and driving safety features.
- One of the most affordable rentals is the 2014 Thor Motor Coach in Cedar City, UT. You can rent this beautiful 6 person RV for $165/night with a 2-night minimum stay. The base price for two days is $330, hundreds of times cheaper than buying a new or used Class A RV for yourself. It includes temperature control features, a kitchen with appliances, a bathroom, a generator, an awning, and driving safety features.
Cheapest RVs: The Breakdown
Each type of RV has affordable options for renting and buying in their individual categories. We’ll talk about the cheapest RVs of their kind and what the most basic models offer.
Cheap Pop-Up Camper Cost
Pop up trailers, at their cheapest, are little more than sleeping quarters to fit two people at the maximum. They generally cost $500-$1000. The next step above these models are those that fit 3-4 people and offer a dining area and sleeping quarters. They sell for $4,000-$6,000 typically.
Cheap Fifth-Wheel Camper Cost
The cheapest fifth-wheel campers on the market cost between $30,000-$60,000 depending on whether you buy them new or used. This is the most affordable for an RV of its size.
Cheap Camper Van Cost
Camper vans are the smallest drivable RVs you can buy or rent. The most basic amenities offer sleeping quarters and an area for dining or entertainment. They generally cost between $50,000-$100,000. These are considered cheap for their category.
Cheap Class A RV Cost
Class A RVs can be cheap in comparison to other Class A types, but they are not considered “cheap” in the general sense of the word. “Cheap” models of this type start at $55,000-$200,000. They will have less in the way of amenities than the others, with basic kitchens, sleeping quarters, and bathrooms that may not have an indoor shower.
In conclusion, cheap RVs are subjective based on your budget and depending on the type that you want to buy or rent, the more affordable options range greatly. The cheapest of their categories will be lacking in amenities, but they will be perfect for those who only need their basic needs met or those that will only be RV camping infrequently. No matter which type of RV you choose, you will likely be able to find something that fits your budget and allows you to go on journeys that you’ll remember for a lifetime!
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