A recreational vehicle, or “RV”, is a term used to describe equipment that has a dual purpose as both a vehicle and a temporary travel home. These types of vehicles have been used in many different recreational settings, from brief leisure activities such as camping and traveling to full time living (mobile home).
RVs were first pioneered in the 1960s by the manufacturer Winnebago. The concept of a mobile living space while being able to travel was initiated a very simple design; essentially placing a camper on top of a truck’s chassis. The design proved immediately popular for both practical and expense reasons, and RVs became a worldwide phenomenon. They are currently over 15 major manufacturers of RVs in both North America and Europe, with 13 different classes of vehicles to choose from.
The basic RV contains a bed, table, kitchen and storage areas. Larger models offer full bedrooms and bathrooms, living rooms, complete kitchens, and a wide selection of accessories. The class of bus conversions and motorhomes can be very eccentric, with satellite television, Internet access, slide-out sections, and usually has a car either stored within the RV or being towed behind it. RVs therefore have a very large price range; the basic truck camper can be obtained for under $10,000, while a larger bus conversion can fetch upwards of $2, 000,000.
A giant support network, particularly in North America, has sprung up to support and service RV enthusiasts. RV parks are a regular feature on North American highways, and feature full water, electrical, cable television, and sewage service “hook-ups”. These parks will also have resort style amenities such as pools and activities. Many RVers will also stay at city, provincial, and state parks in zones specially designated for their vehicles.
The appeal of RVs has many different elements. First and foremost is the cost; it is perceived as being cheaper then having to stay in multiple hotel rooms. Furthermore, it enables users to prepare their own food, sleep in their own beds, maintain a steady and organized storage space so that their belongings are not always being moved, and also better protection from the weather than staying in a tent. Essentially, it is a home away form home, allowing RVers to focus more on their adventure and enjoying what the region has to offer instead of worrying about basic necessities.
RVs are also used in many other different capacities: political personalities on the campaign trail as well as professional musicians will often use them while on the road. Police have been known to use modified RVs as a form of command station when investigating crimes in rural areas. RVs are also employed as temporary living quarters in areas struck by natural disaster such as the Hurricane Katrina aftermath in New Orleans.