Choosing the right RV for you and your family is HARD! Motorized or towable? Pop-up or toy hauler? Travel trailer or fifth wheel? Van life or a skoolie? Soooooo many choices! Aaarrggghhh!
This is where we have been for a long time. Maybe almost a year. It can be mind numbing cruising through all of the trader apps, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.
How do you decide?
I think, the best way to decide what best fits your needs is to ask yourself a few things:
- How often will you use it? Weekend warrior, a few months over the summer? Live in it full-time? This is something that determines the size and durability of the rig.
- Where do you plan to visit? Some places, like National Parks, have height, width, and/or length restrictions, usually 35′. Or the roads getting to some parks are too small for a large rig.
- What season, or climate, do you prefer to camp in? If you like camping in cold climates, a pop-up probably wouldn’t work. You’ll probably want an RV built for cold weather. If it’s a place that’s always hot, a good A/C unit may be a must when you aren’t out exploring.
- How many people will be camping? If you’re single or just a couple, something as small as a teardrop would be fine for weekend trips. Or if you’re a family of 4 of more, a Class A or toy hauler fifth wheel might be better for space.
- Do you prefer to drive it, or tow it? Towing a unit is sometimes better so you can park the trailer in a campground and drive your tow vehicle to explore. Similarly with a drivable unit and towing a car, you can leave the motorhome behind. Are you more comfortable taking care of one engine, drivetrain and set of tires, or two? But, some people prefer to just have a Class A, B or C unit and not tow a car, then take an Uber or some other local transportation to get around. A great option if you only camp close to a location with transportation available.
- Ready to camp right now, or needs some work? If you are handy and like DIY projects, then maybe picking up a vintage camper that needs work is right up your alley. But, that can be a long and expensive journey, depending on what work needs done. Others prefer to buy something they can bring home, load up and hit the campground all in the same day.
These are 6 of the basic questions you need answers to so you have a bit of a guide when you shop for an RV. Then you can worry about your budget, a tow vehicle and where to park it all.
Common Types of RV’s
- Class A – Drivable, looks similar to a tour bus
- Class B – Drivable, usually a conversion van or based on a cargo van.
- Class C – Drivable, looks similar to a box van, like a smaller U-Haul.
- Travel Trailer – A bumper pulled unit, ranging from 13′ to 35’+.
- Fifth Wheel – Connects to the tow vehicle with a hitch or ball in a pick-up truck bed.
- Toy Hauler – Typically a fifth wheel, but with a garage space in the back. There are some TT toy haulers available.
- Tear Drop or Pod – Probably the smallest of the categories, sleeps up to 2 people and can be towed by almost anything.
What are we going to do?
I “think” we have decided on a towable, between 25-30′, GVWR of 9000lbs or less, and something vintage. That last part is still in the air, I think. We’d love to get something older so we can really make it our own, and also have the cool factor of a vintage camper. But, we’d also like to have something ready to go whenever we want.
One RV we have our eye on is a 1968 Holiday Rambler. We have been waiting to check it out, but the seller is working on it first. It has character and a lot to work with. It’s about 27′, and has room for our family. And, it’s also light, under 9000lbs, so my current truck can pull it.
So, if a deal can be made with the vintage trailer with either trading for a car I’m selling, or pay cash, then we’ll pull the trigger. Or we may just pay off some more debt and look for a newer one. Only time will tell.