Buying an RV is a big step, and if you have ever dreamed traveling the open road, you may find you need a little help. This post will help you decide which RV style is a good fit for you.
For inspiration, there are many online resources that may help you decide which RV style you prefer. Personally, I like to follow other people who are doing what I dream of to pick up tips, tricks, and inspiration. Here are a few you might enjoy:
Technomadia.com - This couple travels in a converted bus.
RV Geeks.com - These guys move in a large Class A.
Gone With The Wynns.com - This couple has owned a variety of smaller Class A's.
The Long Long Honeymoon.com - This couple lives full time in an Airstream travel trailer.
Ditching Suburbia.com - This family is crisscrossing the country in a 5th wheel.
Drivin and Vibin.com - This couple travels full time in a small vintage Casita travel trailer.
The best thing you can do is research and understand your options. Choose something for your current situation and the future. How do you start? Let's Look At The Options.
Let's start at square one. If you plan to buy an RV, you have two basic styles to choose from: towable or motorized.
Towables: Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel
Motorhome: Class A (Big Boy) Class B (Camper Van) Class C (Family Wagon)
The Travel Trailer
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to travel? You may want to consider owning a bumper pull trailer. A bumper pull, often called a travel trailer, is affordable since it does not include an engine. Travel Trailers come in all shapes and sizes. The most famous and expensive are the retro classic, the Airstream. Less expensive options are made by companies like Forest River, Shasta, Jayco, Thor and Gulf Stream.
Travel trailers can come with a variety of slide-outs and can sleep up to 10 people. Most bumper pull trailers are pulled with a truck, but teardrop or T@B trailers can be towed by nearly any vehicle.
Choose a travel trailer if you are on a limited budget and don't plan to full time for years. The exception to this rule would be the Airstream Trailer. Airstreams are built to last, and many people choose these as their permanent home on the road.
The Fifth Wheel
Take a travel trailer, add a cab overhang and now you have a 5th wheel. A 5th wheel is one of the most popular types of recreational vehicles due to its home-like interior and ease of use. 5th Wheels range in length from 25 to 45 feet and can feature up to six slide outs.
5th Wheels offer the most variety when it comes to RV floorplans. From bunk house to two bedrooms and toy haulers to upstairs living rooms, the fifth wheel has a lot to offer. There is pretty much a floor plan for everyone; you just have to look around.
Another attractive feature of this RV is the oversized basement area built for storing everything. A fifth wheel trailer is made to be pulled by a pickup truck. The bigger the trailer, the larger the vehicle will need to be. Heavy duty units require oversized diesel dually trucks to maneuver the road safely.
A variety of well-known companies build Fifth Wheels. Some manufacturers focus on creating lightweight units, while others work to create heavy home-like quality. You can choose from different insulation packages, as well. Whatever you choose, be assured that this type of RV offers a lot of flexibility as a home on wheels.
Class B camper vans are made for exploring. These mini RV's can camp in remote areas that larger rigs dare not travel. Class B's are small and sleek with minimal living and storage space. With a campervan like a RoadTrek, you can hit the road in a hurry and even use your rig to commute to and from work.
Plan to live off the grid? Sportsmobile.com offers custom 4x4 van conversions. These RV's offer super durable suspension and oversized tires. You can go just about anywhere your heart can imagine in these rigs.
Got the DIY bug? A Class B can often be converted and customized by the owner to fit your adventurous personal needs. Youtube is a great resource for DIY ideas. With a little ingenuity, you can create your very own castle on wheels.
If a van is just too small, you may want to consider the Class B+. The Class B + is a bit bigger than campervans and are made by companies like LeisureVan. These units offer additional living space, but are still easy on fuel. They offer many practical ideas like the fold down murphy bed that operates with a touch of a button.
Class C is the middle child in the world of RV's. Larger than a B and smaller than the bus size A, the Class C is popular with families. C's can come as little as 23 feet or as large as 40 feet. The Class C typically offers an over the cab sleeping space where the headroom can be quickly changed to bed at night.
Class C's provide slide outs, as well as a relaxed approach to simple RV living. Most are assembled on a van or truck chassis, providing an easy way to service the engine. The Class C is the most popular RV in the rental industry. If you'd like to try before you buy, companies like RVShare.com and CruiseAmerica.com offer nightly and weekly packages to help you discover if this class of vehicle is right for you.
Super C's are a new class of oversized rigs built on a big rig chassis like the Freightliner. The Super C boasts a luxurious stay with the option of additional slide-outs and thus, more living space. Super C's are usually diesel engines, which cost more upfront, but save on fuel in the long run due to their better mileage.
Considered the big boy of the RV family, the Class A is offered in lengths of 30 to 45 feet. This recreational vehicle offers a bus-like style, offering full-timers and families a home-like environment that feels like a mini apartment on wheels.
Class A's offer different sleeping arrangements and can often sleep up to eight guests. Class A's are the most expensive of all RV's due to their large engines. While Thor and Winnebago are now making "entry-level" rigs, most Class A's start at $200,000 or more. Offering up to two bathrooms, and defined living, bedroom, and kitchens, these home away from homes are truly luxury on wheels.
Winnebago has recently released a retro version of the Class A that takes you straight back to the 1970's. The Winnebago Brave and Tribute are short, gas driven, family RVs. They have a lower price point and are a ton of fun.
When deciding on a Class A's, you can choose to purchase a gas (less power, less expensive) or a diesel engine (more power, more expensive). The Fleetwood Bounder is the most popular gas-powered Class A of all time. The Foretravel is one of the most expensive, with its sticker price at well over $1 million.
Bus conversions are part RV and part million mile bus. These oversized beasts can be customized DIY style or built using frames from Prevost and finished out by professionals like Marathon Coach. Prevost conversions are popular with rock stars, politicians and traveling CEO's and reflect that in price. Used Prevosts can be found on websites like RVT.com and RVTrader.com. While still expensive, you may be able to snag a well-built unit for half the original cost.
Newell Coaches are a blend between a Class A and a Bus Conversion, custom constructed on a handcrafted chassis. Handmade in Miami, Oklahoma, they are the king of RV's and as reliable as they come. Newell builds 42 and 45 foot big rigs called Diesel Pushers. These units are unique, as they are the only RV made with slideouts that can form an entirely flat floor(without a bump or step up where the slide out is). Owning a Newell is like owning a Ferrari. hey are expensive and exceptionally well built. They range from $1-3 million and are completely custom, but are available used for a huge savings at RVT.com and RVTrader.com.
A final option: Truck Camper
Finally, there is also the Truck Camper RV. A Truck Camper is a slide-in unit that fits on the back of your pickup truck. With this RV, you can go just about anywhere your vehicle will take you. The biggest challenge for full timing is their small size. If you plan to travel as a single, a truck camper may be the perfect fit. If you intend to go with two or more people, you will need to make the outside your priority and use the inside only as a sleeping space. Truck campers come in a variety of lengths and styles. You can find them with pop-up tent top and even slide outs. Truck campers are readily available used, and when purchased new, come with winterized packages perfect for staying in cold temperatures.
New Truck campers range from $30-75,000, and many people recommend buying the camper BEFORE you purchase the truck. Buying the camper first will ensure the right truck for the style of camper you have purchased. The key is matching the bed size and the overall gross weight. Used campers are available just about everywhere, and Craigslist is a great place to locate a private sale. As always, buying used can save you a lot of money.
As you can see, an RV is a personal decision based on your budget, family size and lifestyle. Here is a quick quiz that will help you decide which rig is right for you:
Which RV function is most important to you?
A. Lots of space
B. Easy To Move
C. Low Cost
D. Use The Truck I Already Own
What feature is most likely to make you pull out your wallet?
A. Lots of space
B. Low Cost
C. Easy Maintenance
D. Off Grid Living
What's Your RV Lifestyle?
A. All The Time
B. Every Weekend
C. Camping Only
D. Once In A Blue Moon
Ready to discover which RV is right for you?
Did you pick mostly A's? You may find a Class A, C or 5th Wheel is your best option.
Did you pick mostly B's? You may find a Class B, Truck Camper or Small Travel Trailer is perfect for you.
Did you pick mostly C's? You may find a pop-up camper or teardrop trailer will fit your camping lifestyle.
Did you pick mostly D's? You may find a Class B or Truck Camper is the best for you.
Where should you buy your RV? There are lots of opportunities both online and in person. Online you may want to look at RVT.com and RVTrader.com. In person, you can look in your local classifieds and at RV dealers in your region. Always make sure to hire a licensed professional to check your RV before you leave the lot. You want to make sure you are getting exactly what you paid for.
When you find that special RV, remember to get high quality, RV focused insurance. The agents at RVInsurance.com are knowledgable, informed and able to get you an amazing policy at a great price! Don’t wait, talk to them today.