A small recreational vehicle is basically something with a motor made specifically for having fun, with the exception of sports cars.
ATVs, off-road motorcycles, jetskis, go-carts, fifth wheel campers and pop-up trailer campers all fit the basic description. However, the first four are specifically made for one or two passengers to ride on various terrains, sometimes very quickly.
Fifth wheel campers and pop-up trailer campers are intended for two or more persons to travel together on paved roads, with the additional ability to do most of what you would do at home in the same place. You probably wouldn’t be terribly comfortable sleeping in a go-cart or cooking breakfast on your off-road motorcycle.
As designs improve and space expands as a result, the typical small-group (we’ll just call them “family”) camper seems to be moving away from the “small” category. They still remain suited only for family trips, as enhancements allow greater comfort and usability without morphing into something akin to an NFL team’s bus.
Their appeal lies in their portability and readiness, and not what they can hold. A few hours’ preparation transforms them into a little home away from home while you’re…well…away from home. You can enjoy the feeling of firm walls and ceilings surrounding you and providing stronger protection from the elements than a mere tent can afford. It’s that sense of having a “place” to which you can return after exploring new surroundings that makes it fun.
Why then are they considered small recreational vehicles? They don’t provide the recreation. They simply make it possible in more places and more ways than it might normally be. You see the world and a lot more of it instead of watching it zip by you!