RVing – Ugh! Decisions, Decisions!

So many choices, so little time.

On one hand, I wish there was a single, end all beat all RV that is perfect for what I want to do. Where I could walk in any dealer or RV show, tell someone “these are all of the things I’d like to do” and they could all point me to the same make, model and size every time. But on the other hand, I’m glad there are so many choices, and there isn’t a one size fits all option. Traveling, camping, and RVing in general would get really boring if you saw the same RV you have everywhere, wouldn’t it?

Since I have some time before I buy my next rig, I have the opportunity to really weigh the options and make a solid decision on what will ultimately work for me. One thing I don’t want to do, and can’t do, is to go around buying one of every type and size of RV and hang out in it for 3-6 months to see if I like it. That can be expensive and time consuming to say the least. Renting is an option, but again, that can get expensive, and I can’t really get a good feeling about a rig if I know I need to give it back soon and can’t really settle in.

My past experience has been with older class A’s. I have owned a 1982 33′ Winnebago Chieftain that I loved, but sold, and I had a 1984 32′ Holiday Rambler Imperial that I had plans to gut and renovate, and again, I sold that one too. I’ll be honest, the more I look at RVs, the more I’m leaning towards something that isn’t motorized, and go with a towable instead, as you’ve seen in my Airstream post. But, something with an engine isn’t totally out, because I’ve been interested in a bus conversion for almost 20 years. Yep, my head is starting to spin.

So what direction should I go? If anyone would like to help, I’ll gladly give you my wants and/or needs.

The Needs and Must Haves

  1. Ability to use full-time, and durable. I’d like to get at least 10 years out of it before upgrading.
  2. Has room for my kids, who will probably be teenagers by the time I buy. So, preferably a bunkhouse model.
  3. Capable of getting into National and state parks. Typically under 35′ from what I’ve read, 30′ is optimal.
  4. Easy to maintain. Meaning if I need parts, I could find a dealer relatively close.
  5. Fiberglass smooth sides. There’s just something about the ribbed sides that I’m not a fan of.

The Wants

  1. 6 years old or newer, but not brand new, unless it’s at a deep discount.
  2. Easy to add solar and other essential and convenience electronics.
  3. 50amp service, but no less than 30amp.
  4. Bunks/”bedroom” for my kids.
  5. Outdoor kitchen would be great so I can still grill and not have to carry a separate bulky grill.

If I happen to think of more, I’ll add them later.

As I mentioned, a towable is looking better every time I revisit this subject. And as nice and roomy a fifth wheel or toy hauler look, they are getting taller and longer, and not length and low clearance friendly. I want to run back roads as much as possible, and there is a larger chance I’d come across a low 11′ overpass that most fifth wheels and motorhomes can’t go under.

As a potential full timer, space needs to be plentiful. I have bikes, some hobby gear for rainy days, camera gear and tools I’ll need to carry for repairs/income stream, not to mention the necessities like clothes and food! Which all of that has me thinking, if I get a travel trailer, I would probably use a large 3/4 or 1 ton van to pull it with, and that van would have added room to haul gear I can’t fit in the RV. I’ve looked at a few 15 passenger vans to see if they would fit the bill, and compared to a smaller 12 passenger or cargo van, a 15 passenger would fit the bill.

If I can find what I want in the used market, about 3-5 years old, that would be awesome! But, I’m not totally opposed to buying new. It would just have to be an amazing deal though to account for the significant depreciation in the first 5 years, not to mention the first 5 seconds I’d drive it off the lot. For a budget, I’d like to keep it under $40,000 for new, $18-20,000 for used.

I couldn’t even tell you what brand I like now. Just thinking about how many are on the market is making my head spin again! An obvious first pick would be a Winnebago, since the first few years of my life were in a Brave, and later owning my Chieftain. I like what I’ve seen from Jayco, but I seem to remember hearing the quality wasn’t that great, but I’m sure I heard wrong. Airstreams are the holy grail, with a matching price tag, so those would have to be a much older unit. Coachmen, Grand Design, Gulf Stream, Keystone and Heartland were some others I was considering.

I guess I’ll just have to walk around drooling on all the new 2018’s at the RV show when I get home until I find the right one. Hopefully I don’t come home with the keys to a new unit before I’m actually ready to buy!

Anyhow, until next time, let me know your thoughts and ideas!

Your journey starts today!

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