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The Pros and Cons of Open Vs. Enclosed RV Shipping

Apr 14, 2023 | News, Press Releases

Whether you are moving to another state, need your newly purchased RV delivered to you, or intend to start a cross-country RV trip on the opposite coast, you’ll need a way to transport your RV. While there’s always the option of driving your RV yourself to your destination, this option is simply tedious or time-consuming for many people. Not when there are businesses specialized in transporting RVs, vehicles, trucks, and so on. 

The single most important decision to make when shipping your RV is your choice of shipping company. There are many shipping companies out there promising fast and hassle-free services and it’s up to you to identify those that live up to their promises. With the choice of shipping company sorted out, the next thing to decide is the shipping method. 

“There are two main methods of shipping RVs and these are open and enclosed methods. An understanding of these two methods and their cost implications is needed to know the best method for your situation. 

Do your research and get a free no-obligation quote from a shipping company before making a final decision”, says A-1 Auto Transport, a reputable shipping company based in the United States. 

Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of shipping your RV via the open and enclosed method. Here we go:

Open Shipping Method

This is easily the most popular method of shipping RVs. Open shipping method involves loading multiple RVs on flatbed trailers. Chances are you’ve probably seen a truck transporting RVs or automobiles on the highway. 

The most obvious benefit of open shipping method is cost as it’s less expensive than the enclosed shipping method. Open transport also tends to be faster as flatbed trailers are easily available and this allows you to book a preferred shipping date and time. 

However, the flatbed trailers used in open RV shipping don’t have any external covering and this means your campervan is exposed to the elements and road debris. As a result, there’s always the risk of your RV sustaining damage although in most cases, the worst that happens to campervans transferred by open shipping is to get dusty, something that can be fixed with some water. Still, there’s the risk of your car getting damaged. 


  • Very affordable compared to enclosed shipping. 
  • Very popular shipping method making it easy to book a preferred shipping and arrival date and time. 
  • Suitable for standard models or used RVs.


  • RVs are exposed to the elements and road debris. This makes this method not suitable for high-end RVs where even a small dent or damage can be expensive to fix.
  • Expect to give your RV a good wash on arrival as it’s likely to be dirty. 

Enclosed Method

This shipping method involves transporting a RV in a completely enclosed trailer (with a roof and four sides). As a result, the RV is under maximum protection and certain to arrive in the same condition it was before being loaded into the trailer. 

Enclosed shipping method is typically used for expensive or high-end RVs. This method is also sometimes preferable for new RVs to ensure they arrive in pristine condition. 

Carriers used for enclosed RV shipping can only accommodate a limited number of RVs. This combined with the fact that enclosed shipping methods are more fuel consuming makes this shipping method more expensive than open transport. 


  • Maximum protection and security from the elements and road debris. 
  • Drivers handling enclosed carriers have extensive experience in high-value products. 
  • Suitable for expensive/high-end RVs.


  • Very expensive.

Which Shipping Method Is Best For You?

Open transport is popular among consumers because of its affordability. Also, shipping companies tend to have more open carriers than enclosed carriers, you are also bound to get your RV delivered faster and book a preferred shipping/delivery date and time. 

However, if you are transporting a really expensive RV, then you may want to consider enclosed shipping which provides better protection and security. As mentioned earlier, enclosed shipping is more expensive than open transport. 

Ultimately, your shipping needs and budget are the major determinants of the shipping method you go for. 

Other Factors That Determine Shipping Cost

Location and Distance

Your shipping destination also determines your shipping cost. RV deliveries to major cities tend to be cheaper as those cities are popular routes for auto shipping companies. If your RV is to be delivered to less popular routes, you may need to pay more. Distance also matters and the farther the shipping destination, the higher the cost of shipping. 


Demand varies throughout the year in the shipping industry. Spring and fall tends to be the busiest times of the year and anyone intending to ship during these times may have to pay more. Shipping fees may also go up during the winter months due to less-than-ideal road conditions. 

Size of the RV

Regardless of the shipping company you decide to go with, the size of your RV affects your shipping costs. The larger your RV, the more your shipping expenses as larger RVs occupy more space and mean the carrier won’t be able to accommodate more RVs. So, shipping services charge more for bigger RVs

About A-1 Auto Transport
A-1 Auto Transport is one of the largest USA-based worldwide auto shippers in the industry. They have offices and storage facilities located in major cities and metro areas throughout the U.S. and overseas, as well as a staff of experienced shipping professionals to make sure you get the service you need at a price that you’ll love.