RV vs. tent camping. Trying to determine which you prefer? There are many benefits to both, but it all depends on your needs and budget.
Read below for a breakout of which is the best depending on what you are looking for in camping as well as a list of pros and cons for both.
1. What is Your Budget?
What kind of budget are you looking to spend? RV camping is more expensive than tent camping.
To start, an RV is going to be way more expensive to buy than a tent. So right off the bat, you would have to decide if you can afford an RV. If not, then a tent is the better option for you.
But looking past the expenses of an RV vs. a tent, you need to determine if all the other costs that go into an RV is worth going that route. You have to consider gas, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Also campsites will be more expensive for RV’s than for tents. For RV’s, you also need to consider sewer, electrical, and cable hook-up costs.
So if you have a tight budget and can’t afford RV camping, then tent camping is for you. However, if you can afford it and have it in your budget for the costs of RV camping, then buy that RV and head out on the road. You won’t be disappointed with the comfort level an RV can provide you.
2. What is Your Comfort Level?
You won’t beat an RV on comfort level. One advantage that an RV can offer over a tent is a bed. In an RV, you get the comfort of sleeping in an actual bed as opposed to a sleeping bag on the hard ground or your best option in a tent, an air mattress (if you have a big enough tent to fit one).
But other than sleeping, RV’s have other comfort advantages. In an RV, you will have your own bathroom equipped with a toilet and shower. You won’t have to share a communal bathroom (if the campsite even has a bathroom) that isn’t clean and where you’ll have to hike your way there every time you have to go the bathroom and take your toiletries, clothes, and a towel with you each time you need to shower.
The last comfort advantage an RV has is heating and air conditioning. If it is hot out, you can escape to your RV for a little while to cool down with your air conditioning. And some places, even in the summer, may get cold at night, so you can just turn up the heat in the RV and stay warm.
I know many times when I’ve gone tent camping, I’ve had to bundle up in sweatshirts and a travel heater to get warm during the cold nights when sleeping. You don’t have to worry about that in an RV.
So if you enjoy a nice comfortable bed, your own bathroom, and heating and air conditioning then RV style camping is right up your alley. But if you are one who likes roughing it then definitely stick with that tent.
3. What Amenities Would You Like?
Do you enjoy certain amenities while camping that will make it feel like you’re home? The 2 biggest amenities that I’m sure you’ll love in an RV is a bathroom and kitchen.
Having your own bathroom and not having to share a bathroom that isn’t exactly clean is most certainly a perk.
How about cooking? Do you like to cook? What if you had a kitchen equipped with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator and sink to clean dishes and wash up? With a kitchen you can cook up some nice meals instead of just eggs, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. on either a travel grill or over a fire. And having a refrigeration system is better to store your cold food and drink items than keeping them in a cooler and a sink in a kitchen makes clean-up from meals so much easier.
If these amenities are important to you than RV camping would be the choice to go with.
4. What Kind of Security and Protection Do You Need?
If security is important to you, you will be much safer in an RV. You can keep all your camping gear locked up and can also lock it up while your sleeping at night. You won’t be kept awake at night worrying about your stuff getting stolen or any animals or intruders because it won’t be an easy access to break into like a tent would be.
Choosing to RV camp over tent camp can also keep you protected from the weather, whether it’s really hot and sunny out or a rainy day, and it will also keep you off the cold, wet ground. Not to mention the creepy crawlers.
5. What Type of Maintenance Are You Looking For?
An RV has more maintenance than a tent. You will need to keep up general maintenance like you would need to on a car. Plus, an RV is like a house on wheels, so there is also the house maintenance. Just like with a house, you would have the maintenance of anything breaking.
You also need to think of the maintenance you will have at the campsites, like the septic tanks need to be cleaned and dumped, the propane needs to be filled and refreshed, and batteries kept charged.
But other than that, there isn’t much more set-up required when it comes to the RV. You don’t need to unpack your car because the RV is your car and everything was already set-up inside before you left your house. With a tent, you need to set-up your tent, but that can be done in 15 minutes with 2 people, then unpack your car and set-up your sleeping bags or air mattresses in the tent.
Over all though, tent camping requires a lot less maintenance, but possibly more set-up time when you arriving at the campsite. So if you are looking for low maintenance, tent camping might be the way to go for you.
- Kitchen to cook
- Regular bed to sleep in
- Refrigeration system
- Indoor lighting
- Protection from weather, animals, bugs and intruders
- Mobility — Can easily pack up and move
- Heating/Air Conditioning
- More room
- Less set-up
- Security benefits
- More maintenance
- More expensive
- Campsite spots cost more for RV’s
- Some campsites may not be able to accommodate RV’s
- Mobility — May not be able to drive everywhere with the RV
- Need to dump septic tank
- Remoteness — Can camp places that may not be able to accommodate RV’s
- No maintenance upkeep
- Cozy and intimate
- No gas and insurance
- Cheaper campsites
- No distractions from technology
- A lot more clean up
- Lack of comfort
- No refrigeration system to store food and drinks
- Less security
- No heating/air conditioning
So, RV vs. tent camping? What’s the verdict?
Tent camping can be a way to rough it and really enjoy the outdoors and nature while escaping the real world and unplugging from technology, while RV camping is a more modernized way to camp with the luxuries of more amenities. Choosing one over the other would depend on what type of camping you are looking for and what your budget looks like.
But whether you choose tent camping or RV camping, both are great ways to bond with your family and enjoy that much needed family vacation. Whichever one you choose, just make sure to enjoy that camping trip!
Thinking about camping, but have never done it before, why not start in your backyard. You can check out 7 Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Campground.