How to Choose the Right Sized Rig for Full Time RV Living
This is something that we pondered for over five years. We started with a small pop-up camper that made us fall even deeper in love with the outdoors. But once we decided to go full-time, we elected to get something with four solid walls. We had a great time with our pop-up camper but could not afford a truck and trailer payment while trying to build a life on the road.
Finding the Right Model
With so many RV options on the market, we realized that we had to narrow down our choices, but how? We started out looking at Class A motorhomes, particularly the Thor Ace models, which are still on our radar for the future if we want to upgrade. The great thing about a Class A is the space, and they can be easier to drive than a lot of people think. The reason we ventured away from the larger Class A was price point, and we didn’t want to commit that much money starting out. That doesn’t mean they’re not for you, they are awesome machines and real road warriors.
If we were going to be going from full-hookup campsite to full-hookup campsite, we may very well have gone with a Class A. However, with space comes the downfall of not being able to go to as many remote locations. This was another thing that made us start considering other options, as a lot of National and State Parks have a 27- to 30-foot length restriction. We didn’t want to ever be restricted by where we could go in our new home.
After deciding that the Class As weren’t for us, we shifted our focus onto Class Cs. We liked the fact that they were shorter in most cases, so we could stay in more places across the country. There were several that caught our eyes, including the Thor Majestic and Coachmen Leprechaun. The big hurdle for us was my obsession with Chevrolet, and the fact that we couldn’t find a Class C we liked on a Chevy platform made this a hard box to check. Ultimately, after spending so much time looking at Class As, we were wanting too much out of the Class Cs and couldn’t see ourselves in one of those either.
Research, Research, Research
Research is the key component in all of this, and educated buyers always have an easier time deciding. Don’t rush the process; enjoy it. After eliminating two of the main classes from our radar, we started looking at Class B motorhomes. They’ve become so popular. There has to be a reason, right? They are really trendy, easy to drive and most modern models have high enough ceilings to stand in comfortably. Unfortunately, the only ones we could see ourselves in were the Mercedes Sprinter models. It again came down to price for us. We were onto something in our thought process ,though. Smaller in our case may be better. Which takes me back to the beginning.
Think of the RV in Use
How are you going to be using your RV? Obviously, if you are considering purchasing an RV, you have a general idea of what you want to do with it. This is the part that will make it easiest to start eliminating options and you will begin to feel a little less overwhelmed.
For us, we knew we wanted to be able to get on the move quickly and we had it narrowed down to a drivable home as opposed to a tow-behind fifth-wheel or travel trailer. We knew that something smaller would work best for our needs. Getting to secluded swimming holes off of narrow dirt roads could be missed with a large RV. Since we are planning to mostly camp off the grid without water or power hookups means we will have less amenities. Leaning towards a less-is-more approach, we continued on our search for the perfect RV for us.
Take your time on deciding. For us, this was really important. We weren’t just choosing an RV to use on the weekends. This was going to be our permanent home on the road, so we didn’t have room for mistakes. We spent countless nights watching hundreds of YouTube videos ranging from how to renovate older RV’s to actual footage of specific models driving down the road. We were in total nerd mode researching. We felt pulled in several different directions due to being excited about the adventure itself. Finally, we found something that we both agreed on instantly and it soon consumed the next several months of our lives. That was it! The one we had been waiting for, a Toyota Dolphin! It checked all of our boxes!
Once you finally reach a decision, it will feel amazing. However, the job is not done. You then have to research all the ins and outs of the vehicle and become one with it. This may sound silly, but you can spend $100,000 on an RV, and while they come with basic user manuals, they don’t include everything that the vehicle is truly capable of.
Now that you’ve chosen which RV is best for you, it’s time to personalize your rig and make it your full-time home. Again, it goes back to research. You can spend weeks at a time looking into solar setups, the best generator, etc. But there are many ways to get the job done. It depends on what you will be doing most. Cooking and hanging out outside were our main focuses. So since we will be spending most of our time outside of the RV, it didn’t need to be such a large indoor living space.
When choosing the right RV for full-time living, be sure to consider all of the options in all of the classes because there are pros and cons to all of them. Don’t get hung up on something that is a pipe dream. Take it one step at a time. Have fun with it, ask lots of questions. Follow people on social media and ask for advice. But mainly make a list of must haves for the lifestyle and usage you are choosing. Our must haves were multiple uses for the same space, easy to use, and reliable. Doesn’t get much more reliable then an old Toyota pickup and they are generally cheap to fix. However, stay tuned and follow us on [email protected] to find out that it’s not all fun and games (our first trip alone was sort of a nightmare!).