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One of THE problems in the motorcaravan world is the wide range of names applied to the even wider range of shapes and sizes of vehicles. What follows is a quick guide, designed to clear up some of the jargon at least.

Aliases: Motorhome, Motorcaravan, Recreation Vehicle (RV), Camper, Camper-van - these can all usually be used interchangeably

In order of decreasing cost(!):

A classA-class

Any motorhome built from the chassis up, i.e. there's no recognisable commercial cab up front. Everything above the wheels is pure motorhome etc. A-class motorhomes often have drop-down over-cab beds and/or permanent double beds at the rear.

CoachbuiltCoachbuilt (also known as 'Class C' or 'Class B' in the USA)

A (usually rectangular) motorhome body built onto the back of a commercial ('chassis cab') vehicle. The whole of the cab is usually retained unaltered, with the motorhome body 'sticking out' just behind the cab (and usually over the top of it as well). Nominally anything from 2 berth to 6 berth, coachbuilts are most commonly bought by couples. This fact has led to so-called low profile coachbuilts, with sleeker looks, only nominal headroom above the cab and lower wind resistance.

High topHigh top (also known as 'Class B' in the USA)

Using even more of the commercial base vehicle, high top motorcaravans are usually the full van with the roof removed and a custom, shaped, glass fibre roof stuck on, in a fairly aerodynamic fashion. Because the main body of the van is retained, the sides are fairly aerodynamic too, with no protruding edges. Sometimes the commercial vehicle itself comes with a 'high top' option, in which case you'll often see this used and all the converter has to do is add windows in the back of the van where necessary.

Rising roofRising roof

Again using the full commercial van shape and again with the roof removed, this time the replacement is a folding or concertina mechanism, by which the roof itself can be raised and lowered, without affecting immunity from the weather. The main advantage of rising roof is that you stand a chance of getting under some height barriers.


Fairly rare these days, except in the USA, these are fully self contained (usually glass fibre) motorhome units shaped to fit on top of (and into) a standard commercial pickup truck. The idea is that the truck can be used for commercial purposes in the week and then you load up the motorhome section at weekends!