How to Read an RV Floor Plan
RV model numbers can tell you the type of floor plan, vehicle length, and option packages for your RV – but only if you know how to decipher them!
It can be confusing trying to figure out all the different numbers and letters. Bish’s RV has been selling RVs for decades, and we’re here to make it simple! We want to make your search for the perfect RV simple, so here we’ll break down how to read an RV model number.
What’s in a Model Number?
Unfortunately there is no one single, simple standard for model numbers. However, when you understand the basics you can usually figure out the meaning of most of them.
Most manufacturers follow this sequence, Manufacturer – Model Name – Option – Floor plan. Most floor plan identifiers have 3-4 numbers at the beginning that provide a rough estimate of the RV’s length and then letters to give you information about the floor plan layout or features.
What do RV Floor Plan Numbers Mean?
The numbers in your RV model number usually give you the length of the RV. The length listed is usually the “box” or living portion for towable RVs. Box length is the size of the RV itself, while the overall length is the length from the tongue of the trailer to the bumper.
As you can imagine, you can usually safely assume the overall length is several feet more than the number in the model number. While not exact, the model number gives you an estimate for the length of the RV you’re looking at.
What Do the Letters in an RV Model Number Mean?
The letters in an RV’s model number usually describe the type of floor plan.
It might take two lifetimes to list and define all of the floor plan codes used by RV manufacturers today, but here are 20 of the most common abbreviations you’ll see:
SLX, XLT, Xlite – A light weight offering of an existing floor plan or a light weight RV
BH – Bunk House
DB – Double Bunk
TB – Triple Bunks
WS – With Slide
S, SL – Single Slide
SS – Single Slide or Super Slide
DS – Dinette Slide
RS – Rear Slide
MB – Murphy Bed
QB – Queen Bed
CK – Central Kitchen
RK – Rear Kitchen
FK – Front Kitchen
IK – Island Kitchen
RL – Rear Lounge or Rear Living
FL – Front Lounge or Front Living
RB – Rear Bath
FB – Front Bath
FE – Front Entertainment
Why so Many Different RV Models?
You may wonder why there are so many different RV models, sometimes even from the same manufacturer!
Why? Well, because RVers want options.
Manufacturers keep building new and different RVs because there is a delightfuly large range of RVers with different needs and there need to be a lot of different RVs to meet that range.
Here at Bish’s we see singles and couples who are outdoor enthusiasts, families young and old, and the traditional retired and loving it folks. With so many different types of RVers, all with unique interests, RV manufacturers need to offer a wide variety of RVs.
In the past the customers were fairly similar to each other. We mostly only heard questions like, How long is it? and How many does it sleep?
Now we hear more questions, like where does my kayak go or how do I make sure Fido is comfortable when we leave him in the RV all day? More needs mean manufacturers will build more options to fit those needs.
Manufacturers look at sales trends and build RVers according to what RVers are looking for. Some manufacturers even try to foresee what the demand will be and design future RVs to stay just ahead of demand trends.
Towable vs Motorized Model Numbers
While every manufacturer does things slightly different, towable and motorized manufactures are the most different. Towables have a lot more model numbers than motorized.
Jayco – Towable
Jayco offers a Jay Flight, Jay Flight SLX 8, and a Jay Flight SLX 7.
The Jay Flight SLX is a lighter-weight version of the Jay Flight and the 7 or 8 tell us the vehicles’ widths in feet. These three trailer lines combined offer 27 floor plans.
There is also the Customer Value Package, Elite Package, Baja Edition, and Rocky Mountain Edition options. This leaves us with . . . approximately 85 bazillion different configurations, at least according to my calculations. My math may be a bit fuzzy but you see where we’re going here.
As a review, here is a Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 212QBW.
On this model you’ll see a 21-foot living quarter, lightweight Jay Flight that is 8-feet wide with a queen bed. The W stands for Western edition, which means that the camper was built in Idaho. If you live in the west, a western edition may be less expensive because transportation costs aren’t as high as they are for eastern built RVs.
You can learn more here about what a new RV costs and why where it’s built can make a difference.
Newmar – Motorized
Newmar only offers one model number for each floor plan. But, they also give their customers the ability to customize their motorhome. Because of this, two identical model numbers may bear little resemblance to each other with the exception of the layout.
Here is a Newmar Ventana 4002:
This model will always be a 40-foot, 10-inch long diesel motorhome with a bath and a half and king bed. After that, the ability to customize a Newmar built motorhome can create a one of a kind RV.
Why so Different?
Why would two of the biggest names in the industry choose such different approaches to model numbers?
A lot of it comes down to supply and demand. Jayco mostly sells towable RVs (travel trailers and fifth wheels) and Newmar sells motorized RVs (Class A, B, C).
When it comes to towable vs. motorized one isn’t better than the other. But towable RVs are usually less expensive, so more RVers can afford a towable compared to a more expensive motorhome. This makes towable RVs much more common than motorized.
The volume of towable sold drives manufacturer production and dealer inventory. Dealers may have 10 times more towables than motorized RVs, because they sell so many more towables. Like any retail store, a dealer will stock what they’ll be able to sell.
You also have to consider the behavior of different types of RVers. Most motorhome customers are upgrading from a different RV while a large number of towable buyers are making their first RV purchase.
RVers buying their first camper are eager to get the first trip under their belt. I can’t tell you how often a towable customer takes delivery and immediately embarks on their maiden voyage.
A motorhome customer has a little more of a “been there done that” attitude, and while their love for camping hasn’t changed their eagerness to go right now is tempered.
We see a lot of excited towable RV buyers who want to take delivery of their RV ASAP. Meanwhile, more motorized customers are happy to wait for an RV they’ve special ordered to meet their exact wants and needs.
This customer behavior means that a dealership needs to have a lot of different towable options on their lot, but can have limited motorized inventory.
The more models, the more likely a dealer is to have what the RVer wants in stock. This is why a towable manufacturer offers far more ready-to-go models than a motorized manufacturer.
Pick Your Ideal Floor RV Plan
Now that you know what the different numbers and letters mean in a RV’s model number, you can decide what floor plan is best for you. Looking for a mid-size travel trailer with bunks for the kids? Try a 26BH. Want extra living space? Find one with a slide with the 26BHS. Surely there is a combination out there that’s right for you!
From tiny teardrop trailers to Class A Diesel RVs, Bish’s has something for every RVer. Feel free to browse our inventory to see if we have the right floor plan model for you!
We also have an abundance of folks at Bish’s that are fluent in RV. So, if you’d like some help determining what a model number stands for or choosing the right floor plan for your needs, reach out anytime – we love to help!
Bish’s RV Content Writer & Editor
Thinks nature is great. Thinks it’s greater with a comfortable bed and working bathroom.