Decisions, decisions, decisions!
How do you choose the right RV? Well, I’ve been looking at all the different types of RV’s and floor plans for a few months now and I still can’t make a decision. One day I’m convinced that I’ll buy a 25′ fifth wheel, the next I consider a 25′ travel trailer, and the next I’m considering a Class C and towing a small car. One thing is certain (for now), I don’t want a Class A. For some reason the thought of buying a Class A lasts only a nanosecond.
So I thought I’d take a shot at writing down all my pros and cons in the hopes that it will help me make a decision. Hopefully, it will help you in the quest for your “perfect RV,” too. Even though no RV is perfect – you can get pretty darn close to what suits you best no matter what RV type that turns out to be.
Maybe I’m overthinking this to death, (see my previous post) but I’m looking for the RV I will be most comfortable living in full-time, as well as what I will be most comfortable towing or driving (and backing up!).
My RV preferences
Bedroom and Bath
- A “separate” master bedroom with access to the bathroom. By “separate” I mean that I definitely do not like the travel trailers where the bed is the main focus of the space. I would like, at the very minimum, an entertainment center separating the bedroom from the living area and kitchen. Having a separate space to sleep, especially if I’m not feeling well, is important to me. My bedroom is my own little private sanctuary, and I don’t want my head, or feet, next to the refrigerator or the sink! Plus I like having the bathroom next to the bedroom for showering and dressing.
- A rear bedroom and bath combo would be awesome, but I haven’t seen many of those floor plans for sale.
- I’d like a decent sized shower separate from the toilet. I can’t imagine taking a shower over the toilet. But that’s just me. You usually only see the toilet/shower combo in smaller Class B’s and Class C’s. A bath with counter space and storage would be great, too.
- A nice U-shaped kitchen or a kitchen island would be nice, but I’m really not all that hung up on the kitchen size. Most of my meals are cooked using one pan these days. I don’t do much baking unless my grandchildren want to bake cookies or cupcakes. I don’t make casseroles or cook roasts and stews much anymore, and I’d use a crockpot for that instead of the oven anyway. Cooking for one is extremely simple and fast!
- An outdoor kitchen would be nice because I really don’t want to cook bacon, sausage, etc. in the RV. But I could use a portable grill for that too. I have no real need for an outside refrigerator or sink. An outside “shower” might come in handy to rinse things off outside, especially my paint brushes and my dog.
- A dinette is a must! I’ve seen many floor plans that have only a couch with a table. I don’t see how that would be very comfortable to sit and eat, do paperwork, or work on the computer.
- Since I’ll be staying in one place for 3 – 4 months, I think at least one slide in the living area is a must. A bedroom slide is very nice because it usually provides extra storage space, but not always.
- I’m still torn between a rear kitchen or rear living area. I think the rear living area makes it seem a letting more like home.
- What can I say about storage? It’s kind of important to me. Although I have done some major downsizing, there are some items that I’d like to have when my RV’ing days are over. It’s not much, but they are irreplaceable items. It’s not enough stuff to warrant renting a storage unit, and besides, that gets expensive. I have downsized my closet quite a bit, but I still want to retain some winter clothes – you never know when you’ll need them. I have considered buying a bunkhouse unit and use the bunks as storage space, but I’m not completely sold on that idea. I’m thinking about storing some bulkier items in those vacuum storage bags to save space. Again, it’s not a lot of stuff, but I don’t want to have to keep moving them out of the way all the time either.
- An ultralight unit is definitely a must. Here’s why. I have never towed anything in my life. To start out, I think it would be best to tow something lightweight or go with a Class C.
My toughest decision points
- I love fifth wheel trailers, but do I really want to tow an RV that large? In most cases, it would require purchasing a more powerful tow vehicle. The total cost could be as much as simply purchasing a Class C. Right now I’m tossing around the idea of purchasing a Class C. Here’s why:
- It would be easier for me to drive and not have the stress of towing something. I have driven a Class C before and had no problems with it.
- A Class C would be easier to maneuver in towns and parking lots. And easier to backup. Easier to set up at a campsite.
- Initially, I could sell my 2015 Chevy Equinox (it’s not paid off yet, but there is equity in it) and Bank that money until such time as I think I absolutely must have a car (probably won’t be long). But I could purchase a small car anywhere in the U.S. at any time – I don’t have to have one initially. I’d just have to make sure the Class C I purchase is capable of towing a small car.
- Am I talking myself into this? Probably not. I’m still hung up on the idea of eventually having two engines and two sets of tires to maintain; not to mention 2 vehicle registrations, tags, etc.
- Do I really need as much space as I think I need? Do I need a 25′ – 27′ fifth wheel or can I live in something smaller? Although, from what I’ve seen, I’d still need at 25′ – 27′ travel trailer to get the floor plan I want (the bedroom/bath set up).
- I feel and have read that fifth wheels are safer to tow than a travel trailer. There are many lightweight fifth wheels and travel trailers in the 25′ range that I really like. But, the total cost for a travel trailer and a 1/2 ton truck would be far less than a fifth wheel and a 3/4 ton truck.
- The only hangup I have about purchasing a Class C or Class B+ (and towing a small car) is what do you do when the engine needs repairs? Just suck it up and get a motel room for a few days I guess. Considering what I’ve read on the Internet, it could take months to get an RV repaired.
- I’ve also read that the many Class C’s are underpowered. Making sure you purchase one with a powerful engine, especially if you’ll be spending time in the mountains.
Gasoline engine vs. Diesel engine
- If I do choose a Class C, should it be a gasoline engine or diesel? I read an article the other day that talked about how diesel engines are meant more for driving nearly every day. A gasoline engine would be better suited to long stays. Since I’ll be staying in one place for 3 – 4 months at a time, I think a gasoline engine would work best for me.
I have heard some horror stories about different RV manufacturers from different blogs and Facebook groups. But mostly those stories are about RV’s that have been purchased new in the last few years, and their problems have continued past the one year warranty period. But I try not to dwell on that too much. There are plenty of brands out there that most people have been perfectly happy with and have had no major issues. I plan to purchase an RV that is at least 3 – 5 years old in order to remove the “new” factor.
So the quest continues! The struggle is real! As I said, I am hopeful that the RV show next weekend will really bring this into focus for me. It’s a good thing I have plenty of time. Wish me luck!