Table of Contents Show
- What Are the Different Types of RVs?
- What Do Most Families Travel In?
- Things to Look for in an RV for a Family of 5
- 7 Best RVs for a Family of 5
- Choose an RV That Suits Your Family’s Style in 2023
Not all RVs are created equal. We’re not referring to quality or price. We’re talking about who they’re designed for. Some recreational vehicles are specifically made with the solo traveler in mind. Other RVs are made to suit a family of 5.
But what are the best options for an RV for a family? From personal sleeping spaces to ample storage space, a family of 5 will need unique features to make their camping adventures enjoyable. Let’s explore.
What Are the Different Types of RVs?
First, you can have drivable RVs or towable RVs. Even within those two distinctions, there are more specific classifications. Among the drivable RVs, you have Class A, Class B, and Class C options.
Class As are the largest motorhomes, generally from 35 to 40 feet long. They have a large windshield and can also tow the most weight. This is important for families who need to tow a minivan or larger SUV.
They also provide the most luxurious amenities. So if you’re looking to camp in style, a Class A may be the way to go.
However, because of their size, they can be more difficult to maneuver. They also have limited floorplans for additional sleeping space.
Class Bs are camper vans. This is the least ideal option of the drivable RVs for a family of 5 because they’re the smallest. Class Bs usually sleep one or two people and sometimes don’t include a bath. For families with children, this just isn’t feasible.
Class Cs are drivable RVs with a bed over the cab area. This provides an additional sleeping space, which can work great for families.
Class Cs can also tow a vehicle but generally have a lower tow rating than Class As. Usually, these motorhomes are smaller but also more affordable than Class As.
Among the towable RVs, you’ll see travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers. The rear bumper of a vehicle connects to a travel trailer to tow it. Fifth wheels use a special kingpin hitch in the rear of a truck bed.
Both travel trailers and fifth wheels offer great options for families because of the diverse floorplans. You can find front living spaces where sofas become beds. You can find bunk houses that provide a separate room for the kids.
Toy haulers can be travel trailers or fifth wheels. These towables have a rear garage to transport outdoor toys like a golf cart, an e-bike, a motorcycle, or an ATV. However, families who choose toy haulers generally renovate the garage space to be the kids’ bedroom.
Oftentimes, toy haulers also have an added half bath in the garage, which works well for large families.
What Do Most Families Travel In?
Most families choose a towable RV. Although there are many reasons why, one crucial consideration is the ability to put car seats in the tow vehicle. Motorhomes don’t always offer safety restraints for children.
So many parents choose to drive a large SUV or four-door truck that provides seat belts and undergoes stringent safety checks during manufacturing. Motorhomes only have to adhere to safety standards in the cab area, not the rear living space.
Another huge consideration is cost. Most traveling families don’t have a budget of $250,000 or more to spend on a drivable RV. Instead, they opt for a towable RV, which is much more affordable. Even if they have to buy a heavy-duty truck to tow the RV, they can usually remain within their budget.
Finally, the floorplans of towable RVs are more family-friendly. They offer the best layouts for families who need separate sleeping spaces. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a Class A with bunk beds, but you’ll have more limited options.
Things to Look for in an RV for a Family of 5
If you’re looking for an RV for a family of 5, you’ll want to consider a few things. Sleeping space should be top on the list, but you’ll have other important factors like storage space and tank sizes that will impact the quality of your trip. Let’s take a look!
When looking for an RV for a family of 5, one of the biggest must-haves is beds. You want every person to feel like they have a personal space. This doesn’t have to be a private room, but everyone should have a place to call their own.
You also want to consider whether or not you’re willing to transition multi-functional furniture every night and every morning. If someone will sleep on the jackknife sofa, do you want to pull it out and put it away daily?
If you only camp a few weekends out of the year, this probably isn’t a big deal. But if you travel across the country for two or three months, this might get old.
Also, keep in mind how big your kids are and what type of bed will work best for them. How much longer will your teenager be able to sleep comfortably in an RV bunk bed? Some options offer double bunk beds, which can work better for those older kids who might need more room.
When traveling with a family of 5, storage space is vital. A couple won’t need as much stuff as a family. You’ll likely have five camping chairs instead of two.
You might have an outdoor gazebo tent for a parent to work. You have lots more clothes, toys, and dishes. Everything is magnified when you include more people.
Ensure outdoor and indoor storage spaces will make camping comfortable for your family. Can you put five fishing rods in the pass-thru storage? Is there a wardrobe or drawer for every child in the bunk room? Do you have enough cabinets in the kitchen for food, dishes, and kitchen gadgets?
An RV for a family of 5 will also need a large cargo-carrying capacity. This is the amount of weight you can load into the RV safely.
Check that number as you search for RVs. This is usually on a yellow sticker inside the entry door. For full-time traveling families, 500 pounds per person is a good rule of thumb.
Drivable Versus Towable
One of the first things you need to narrow down is whether or not you’ll buy a drivable or a towable RV. As mentioned earlier, towable RVs are more popular among families, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good drivable options.
If you have younger children, you might prefer to have them safely buckled in a standard vehicle rather than in a motorhome. But if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of hitching and unhitching, you’ll want to pursue your drivable RV options.
Although this might not seem like a huge deal if you plan on staying mostly at campgrounds with full hook-ups, it’s important to think about the tank sizes of the RV. You don’t want to go outside daily to take care of the gray or black tank.
Plus, you don’t want your limited tank sizes to prevent you from boondocking for a weekend. If you don’t have tank sizes that will get you through the weekend, you’ll likely have a less-than-ideal camping adventure.
So consider both the gray and blank tank sizes and the fresh tank size when choosing an RV for a family of 5.
Most new RV owners don’t think about this when choosing an RV. But seasoned veterans know how important it is to access the interior of your RV on travel days.
What can you get to when traveling with kids with the slides pulled in? Can you make sandwiches and get to the fridge? Can a little one get to a bed for a nap? Think about the space you’ll have to move around when stopped at a parking lot.
You also want to consider the space that slide-outs provide once extended. An RV for a family of 5 should have enough interior space for you to enjoy a weekend camping trip.
Opposing slides in the living area create a large amount of room to have a movie night or game night. A slide or two in the bunk room may provide more space for several kids to feel like they have some privacy.
Finally, do you have a list of must-haves? Maybe you really want a washer and dryer hookup, outdoor kitchen, or free-standing dinette. Make a list of a few of your must-haves, and don’t waiver when you shop for an RV for your family.
This will help you narrow down the choices and give the dealer an idea of your needs. Just remember, no RV is perfect. So don’t let your must-have list get out of control.
7 Best RVs for a Family of 5
Are you ready to see the best RVs for a family of 5? Below we’ve compiled six towable RVs and one motorhome that make great options for families. Hopefully, you can find one you like within your budget and must-have list.
1. Alliance Valor 36V11
Length: 39 feet 8 inches
GVWR: 16,950 pounds
Features: This toy hauler fifth wheel has a front bedroom with washer and dryer hookups. The large living space includes a kitchen island with bar seating, a 17 cubic foot refrigerator, a huge sofa, and lots of pantry storage.
The rear garage measures 11 feet long and has washer and dryer hookups. It has a Happijac roll-over sofa with a 60-by-80-inch mattress and a half bath in the garage.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: This RV can work great for a family of 5 because of the ample sleeping space. The garage already has sleeping arrangements for at least four people, and you can renovate it to suit your needs.
Plus, the loft provides additional sleeping accommodations. Besides the abundant sleeping areas, you may enjoy the huge sofa for family movie nights. And the bar seating offers space for little ones who shouldn’t eat on the couch.
Finally, it has a cargo carrying capacity of about 3,000 pounds, which means plenty of weight for everyone to bring what they need.
2. Grand Design Solitude 3950BH
Length: 40 feet 4 inches
GVWR: 16,800 pounds
Features: This floorplan features a front bedroom with washer and dryer hookups. The kitchen island provides good counter space for meal prep, and the 20 cubic foot 12-Volt refrigerator offers plenty of room to store food for a family of 5.
The rear bunk room has three bunk beds, a sofa, and a second bathroom with a separate entrance.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: The cargo carrying capacity is almost 2,800 pounds, which means over 500 pounds per person. It has sleeping space for everyone, and with two full bathrooms, you have less chance of someone having to wait in line.
This Solitude is unique with the second entry door into the rear bathroom, which also helps when cleaning up after exploring outside without getting the whole RV dirty.
Keep in Mind: If you think these RVs are huge, then you need to see the Five Largest RVs Ever Made!
3. Keystone Cougar 364BHL
Length: 39 feet
GVWR: 14,000 pounds
Features: This fifth wheel features a front bedroom with side wardrobes and a wardrobe slide-out for more storage.
The kitchen island provides ample counter space like the Solitude, and the large pantry offers a lot of storage for dry goods. The rear bedroom has a 54-by-74-inch bed, a large loft, and a half bath.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: This Keystone Cougar is a great RV for a family of 5 because of the rear bedroom. Additionally, the large loft and bed provide more comfortable sleeping areas for families with older children.
This space also works for families with smaller children who might sleep together. In addition, the rear storage door provides more outdoor storage for those camping chairs, inflatable paddle boards, or fishing gear.
4. Jayco White Hawk 32BH
Length: 38 feet
GVWR: 9,995 pounds
Features: This Jayco White Hawk travel trailer features a front bedroom with side wardrobes. The living space has a tri-fold sofa with a booth dinette on the passenger side with large camp-side windows.
The rear room has two top bunks, an entertainment center, a sofa, and a half bath. It also features an outdoor kitchen and two awnings for a comfortable outdoor living space.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: The half bath in the bunk room provides a separate space for kids to brush their teeth or use the bathroom. This bunk room also features a wider bunk bed on the passenger side, which is ideal for an older child.
In addition, the tri-fold sofa provides another bed for an older child or where two younger kids can sleep together.
5. Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS
Length: 37 feet 4 inches
GVWR: 11,295 pounds
Features: Another option from Grand Design is this Reflection travel trailer with a front bedroom with side wardrobes and an additional wardrobe with washer and dryer connections. The living space has a kitchen island, a 16 cubic-foot refrigerator, a hutch, theater seating, and a booth dinette.
The rear room has two top bunks, an entertainment center, and a tri-fold sofa. The Reflection also features an outdoor kitchen and an outdoor TV connection.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: Like the Jayco White Hawk, this Reflection has the sofa in the bunk room that can transition into a sleeping space for an older child or a couple of younger kids. It also has ample storage in the bunk room for each child to have their own drawer.
Additionally, the outdoor kitchen works great when your family wants to keep the interior cool, but when it’s time to cook inside, the kitchen features lots of countertop space.
Pro Tip: How much should you expect to spend on an RV? Click the link to learn about the prices of RVs!
6. Open Range 321BHS
Length: 38 feet
GVWR: 9,995 pounds
Features: The last towable RV on the list is this Open Range travel trailer. It features a front bedroom with side wardrobes and a separate wardrobe with washer and dryer hook-ups like the Reflection.
The living space has a kitchen island, a booth dinette, and theater seating. The main difference between the Reflection and the Open Range is the bunk room with three bunk beds instead of two.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: This travel trailer makes our list of best RVs for a family of 5 because of the ample sleeping space and interior storage for everyone to have a closet.
Plus, the outdoor kitchen and two awnings work great for outdoor play. You can set up a playpen for toddlers and keep them in the shade during warm days.
7. Thor Quantum LF31
Length: 32 feet 8 inches
GVWR: 14,500 pounds
Features: This Class C features a 52-by-96-inch cabover sleeping area with a built-in skylight. The living space includes a 68-inch jack-knife sofa and booth dinette.
Although the kitchen is smaller than the other options on this list, this floorplan also features bunk beds in the hallway near the rear bedroom.
Why It’s Good for a Family of 5: The only driveable RV on this list is this Thor Quantum. The bunk and cabover beds provide several sleeping accommodations for a family of 5. And the 55 cubic foot exterior storage compartments mean plenty of room for your camping gear.
You also have seatbelts at the dinette and on the sofa for safe traveling. Finally, the 8,000-pound trailer hitch allows you to tow another vehicle to get around town once you arrive at the campsite.
Choose an RV That Suits Your Family’s Style in 2023
When it’s time to find your RV, know what will best suit your needs. Just because your co-worker has a Class A motorhome with heated floors and granite countertops doesn’t mean that’s the best solution for your family.
Consider the factors that pertain to a family, like storage and sleeping space. These options make great RVs for a family of 5. But you’ll have to choose the one that’s best for you!
What model will you be in your future?