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Key Takeaways

  • Campers are not typically standalone vehicles. Instead, they hook up to an existing truck with beds, bathrooms, and kitchen access for temporary trips.
  • Mobile homes are not as mobile as they sound and serve as a long-term living solution in a local community.
  • Campers must be registered in nine states with a license plate, but all states require date plates and transportation permits to move a mobile home.

Mobile homes and campers offer some minor similarities, but they are much different, with various features that can be used for different situations.

Mobile homes are long-term housing solutions with minimal mobility. A camper is a short-term trailer without an engine or driving capabilities that can attach to an existing vehicle with a bed, bathroom, and kitchen. The camper is best for a family trip, while a mobile home doesn't move around.

Both campers and mobile homes have grown in popularity over the past few years because they are affordable. We have analyzed both options and listed the key similarities and differences below.



Camper Vs. Mobile Home

A camper is a trailer that is used for recreational purposes. It is usually a small, lightweight design with a low-profile fit in the back of the truck.

On the other hand, a mobile home is an oversized trailer vehicle that has been permanently built on wheels. It can be moved to different locations, but it will not be able to drive like an RV or car.

The main difference between these two types of vehicles is their size and mobility. A camper is smaller and more lightweight than a mobile home, so it can be towed by any car or truck with a hitch receiver, whereas the latter needs to be towed by an RV or truck with special equipment.

The mobility of both vehicles also differs as the camper can quickly move from one location to another without any problem. In contrast, the mobile home cannot do that because it requires more complex permitting to move around.

What Is A Camper?

A camper is a trailer with interior facilities like a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. It allows guests to live comfortably on the road while traveling around.

However, campers and RVs are often confused with one another too. A camper tends to be a type of trailer pulled by a vehicle, while an RV can drive separately with an engine and other vehicle components.

This can be a truck camper, pop-up camper, or trailer camper. All three classify together with significantly different designs, features, and pricing.

What Is A Mobile Home?

A mobile home is now being referred to as a manufactured home. Mobile homes are larger than campers and built on a permanent foundation. They’re designed to be installed in a community where homeowners are on a shared piece of land.

Mobile homes are common in retirement communities, parks, and trailer parks.

Mobile homes are often built with a similar design to site-built homes, but are smaller, have fewer rooms, and are made out of less expensive materials.

A mobile home is a prefabricated structure that can permanently or temporarily move to different locations. Mobile homes are most often used as residences or vacation homes for a more permanent living arrangement.

Differences Between A Camper And A Mobile Home

The main difference between these two types of vehicles is their size and mobility. Both serve different uses, so deciding which might be the better option depends on why the purchase is being considered in the first place.

Campers Can Easily Be Driven Around

Campers are often seen as a more mobile option for those who want to travel but don't want to be tied down to one location. Campers are also easy to drive around with excellent mobility.

They attach to an existing SUV or truck on wheels or directly in a truck bed. Depending on the camper's size, they can include all necessities like a bed, kitchen, and bathroom.

A camper's biggest benefit is versatility because they can travel with a truck freely. The setup is simple.

Mobile Homes Need Moving Permits To Relocate

Mobile homes are not as mobile as campers. They cannot be driven from place to place and cannot be parked in a different location when the owner wishes to move them.

Regarding moving, a mobile home requires a permit for relocation, and one is not allowed to move without one, unlike campers who can easily drive from one place to another.

All states require some type of permit to move a mobile home to a new lot. This is true whether the mobile home is leaving the state or simply changing cities in the same state.

Mobile Homes Are Hooked Up To Water, Sewer, & Electric Utilities

Mobile homes are different from campers because they hook up to a water system, sewer, and electric utilities too. These are all essential to living in a mobile home and qualify as basic necessities of life.

This is much different from a camper using a temporary system or a generator for power. Hooking up these utilities also requires a visit from a professional.

This is why paperwork and permitting are necessary too. Trailer parks that allow mobile homes have easier access to all of these things, making it possible to live there.

Campers Need License Plates & Mobile Homes Need Data Plates

Only nine states require a license plate when using a slide-in truck bed camper. However, this is still much different than the requirements for the average mobile home.

A mobile home is a manufactured home meaning the build must provide the unit with a home data plate. This is a metal with the following information.

  • Construction date
  • Manufacturer and manufacturer’s location
  • Vehicle certification numbers
  • Serial numbers or mobile home model number
  • Section code

If the mobile home doesn't have this plate, it must be replaced immediately. This is a major violation that can lead to fines.

Benefits Of A Camper

Comparing a camper with a mobile home is difficult because they are so different. Campers are ideal for shorter trips and not a reasonable way to live long-term.

However, they also include benefits like low costs, a wide range of options, and fast and easy installation.

Cheap To Purchase With A Wide Variety Of Options

A slide-in truck camper can be found for as cheap as $5,000. This is a low-cost entry-level product with plenty of options that cost up to $50,000 and more advanced features too.

Easy Installation For Last-Minute Trips

The other great thing about campers is how fast and easy it is to install. They can hook up to the rear hitch and slide right into the truck bed for immediate access, making them an ideal choice for a quick trip.

Benefits Of A Mobile Home

A mobile home is a great option for families who want to live in a community with other people. It also offers the benefits of moving to a new location for cheaper if needed compared to a regular house.

However, compared to a camper, the primary benefits are affordability and long-term living capabilities.

Mobile Homes Are An Affordable Manufactured Home

Because mobile homes are more of a typical living situation than a short-term trip, they serve as one of the most affordable housing options compared to traditional houses.

Ideal For Long-Term Living

Mobile homes are also ideal for long-term living and much better suited to support a family than a camper. They can be hooked up to utilities and provide much more basic necessities.