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5 Cool RV Alternatives

An SUV parked behind a pitched camp on a mountain top.

The iconic RV (Recreational Vehicle) is almost synonymous to road adventure and freedom to travel whenever the itch kicks in. It makes domestic traveling a lifestyle. It’s convenient and it enables you to spend plenty of time on the road while still enjoying the comforts of home even when you’re away from home.

Owning an RV may be exciting and all but it doesn’t come without its set of drawbacks. The most obvious is its maintenance and proper storage during winter or when not in use. You need a good-sized garage that’ll fit your RV or you may need to rent a space and get your RV insured while it’s not in use.

With many factors to consider, it might be easier to opt for the easier route and enjoy RV alternatives instead before taking a plunge on the huge investment of purchasing an RV or even just renting one.

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1. Mountable Campers

Demountable camper parked on the side of the road.

Mountable campers are campers that go on top of your truck. There are some mountable campers that are designed to fit other types of vehicles, but most of them will attach to the hitch of your truck and then lay over the top of your truck bed. These types of campers won’t be too difficult to haul, and they can give you a lot of space to store stuff. If you need a camper that can give you a place to sleep, while also letting you haul your possessions, then this will work out nicely.

Most models of mountable campers can easily be taken off of your truck once you are done using them. You can take the camper off and store it in your garage until you decide to go camping or take a trip again. This is an easy option for people who need to have some of the conveniences of an RV. You won’t have to pay out as much money to get a mountable camper, so it’s going to be a better fit for most budgets.


The cost of these mountable campers will be reasonable enough to make them affordable. If you are looking for an RV alternative that will fit into your budget, then this option will appeal to you. You should be able to make use of this method easily, so long as you own a truck. People who own other types of vehicles will need to look elsewhere.


Sometimes getting the mounted camper on your truck can be a bit of a pain. This isn’t going to give you as much space as a normal RV would either. You will likely want to limit the number of people who are traveling with you. You should be able to fit two people comfortably inside of most mountable campers, but you shouldn’t go beyond that.

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2. Tent Campers

Tent camper set up on a clifftop with stunning ocean views.

Tent campers can potentially provide you with many of the same amenities of an RV. People like to take these campers out for weekends in the woods just as often as they take them on long road trips. If you pull one of these behind your vehicle, then you will be able to have a nice place to sleep at night. These tent campers are somewhat similar to the interior of an RV, but they also have the feeling of an actual tent.

Many of these tent campers come with amenities that will make your life easier on the road. Some will have facilities where you can cook and much more. You will often find that these tent campers can expand when you are parked, too. You’ll be able to extend things a bit to give yourself a bit of extra room to spread out.


You won’t have to pay an unreasonable sum of money to get one of these tent campers. The tent camper is going to be able to give you a nice place to sleep at night while you are out on the road. People use these tent campers for both camping purposes and as general RV alternatives. It shouldn’t be too tough to haul one of these for most people, but you will need a truck or an SUV.


This is comparable to a low-tier RV in some ways, but it cannot match the conveniences that most RVs can provide. If you want to save some money, while still having a fun traveling experience, then this is a good option. You just can’t expect it to match up to everything that an RV can do. The amenities will be limited compared to most RVs.

3. Conversion Vans

Conversion van parked up near Skogafoss waterfalls in Iceland.

Conversion vans are a popular RV alternative that many people choose to make use of. If you need an RV alternative that can save you money while still giving you plenty of space, then this option is going to work well. These conversion vans are spacious and will give you enough room to bring all of your luggage. Taking one of these on a long trip will feel close to being as convenient as an actual RV.

There are two important reasons that you should consider buying a conversion van instead of an RV. The first is that it is far more affordable than an actual RV. You’ll be able to save thousands of dollars by purchasing a conversion van instead, and you will find that it is still very convenient. Also, it is so much easier to drive a conversion van than it is a normal RV, so there is less of a learning curve involved.

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Driving one of these conversion vans is not going to be as cumbersome as driving an RV. You’ll be able to save a significant amount of money if you purchase one of these instead of an RV, too. Conversion vans are very nice and have plenty of room for you and your family. You’ll be able to take a long trip without things feeling too arduous if you have one of these to drive.


Conversion vans may come close to replicating the RV experience, but they cannot quite match up in every single way. If you want a vehicle that will give you comfortable sleeping quarters while taking a trip, then this type of van will work. It just won’t be able to fit as many people as a normal RV. Space is going to be more limited in comparison, too, so you’ll have to make some concessions.

4. SUVs

An SUV parked near a tree under breathtaking clear night sky views.

SUVs may not be the first vehicles that will come to mind when talking about RV alternatives. Even so, they are a vehicle type that many people choose to take on road trips. A good SUV can be spacious enough to make a long drive feel very comfortable. You can potentially drive an entire family across the country without it feeling like too much of a burden.

There are some negatives to going this route, of course. Unlike an RV, your SUV won’t be able to provide you with a comfortable sleeping arrangement when you are done traveling for the night. You will likely want to stay in hotels during your road trip. Those who enjoy camping could bring tents and stop off at different campsites, though.

An SUV is going to make for a good RV alternative if you already own one. If you have an SUV that you use as your daily vehicle, then there is no reason to avoid using it for long trips. It could work very nicely to provide your family with safe transportation. It’s a spacious enough vehicle type to give everyone some elbow room, and you’ll never have a problem trying to drive it.


SUVs are going to be a lot easier to drive than a traditional RV. Some people feel intimidated by driving RVs, but SUVs will feel very natural. Taking a trip using an SUV as your primary vehicle is going to be very pleasant. It may not have the amenities of an RV, but it can actually feel very natural.

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Driving an SUV isn’t going to offer you the same level of convenience that an RV would. You will be able to bring things with you on the trip, but space is going to be more limited than it would be in an RV. You also won’t be able to sleep in the SUV, in all likelihood. You may feel the need to pay for hotels along the route to your destination, which could wind up becoming costly.

5. Tow-Behind Trailers

Tow-behind trailer on a freeway road.

Tow-behind trailers are a really good alternative to purchasing an RV. You can wind up saving yourself a lot of money if you decide to go this route. One of the reasons that people are looking for RV alternatives is due to how expensive RVs can be. It will cost a fair bit of money to get a nice tow-behind trailer, but it will still cost significantly less than an RV.

If you own one of these trailers, then you will be able to fit a lot of things in there. It will come in handy for traveling with a lot of belongings, and it will give you a convenient place to sleep on the road. You can pretty much enjoy the traditional RV experience without having to pay out quite as much money. This is a good idea for people who want to take road trips, but who are working with a more limited budget.

Keep in mind that there are many types of trailers that you can choose to purchase. Some of the trailers will be great for sleeping in, whereas others will be better for hauling things. You’ll likely want to buy one of the models that is spacious and has some sleeping quarters. This will more properly replicate the RV experience.


You will be able to save a bit of money by purchasing a tow-behind trailer instead of a traditional RV. There are many different styles of these trailers to choose from, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs. You’ll also be able to find a trailer that works within the constraints of your budget. This option may be your best bet to achieve the general RV experience without having to pay the full price.


This isn’t going to be quite as convenient as most types of RVs. The space that you will have when using one of these tow-behind trailers will either be pretty good or a bit limited. If you are willing to pay the money to get a larger tow-behind trailer, then you could have decided to save towards buying an RV. Regardless, these tow-behind trailers can be quite nice and will provide you with a good traveling experience.