Grant and I have been Full-Time in our 2015 Sanibel 3701 Fifth Wheel since July of 2019. I honestly believe that picking which RV to buy took the longest in the entire process of dreaming about full-timing. The reasons why are that there are so many great options out there and being the massive researcher that I am, I had to know what was THE best RV because that was the one I wanted to have.
The truth is, there is no best RV, but there is a best one for you!
This blog will cover some of the best questions that break it down and help you decide which RV is best for your lifestyle.
Type of RVs
This one is probably an obvious one, but there are a lot of things to consider here. There are basically 9 main types of RVs, both motorhomes and tow-behinds, to choose from.
Motorized RVs can be a great choice for people who want to be more spread out when travelling. You do have some freedom (depending on slide-outs) to move about the cabin. However, another motor means more maintenance and you would have to tow a vehicle behind the RV if you wish to venture out of the campsite and not have to rent a car or use rideshare. Not the biggest deal at all but it might sway your decision.
These are the different types of motorhomes. All of which can be either gas or diesel.
Class A: These are the biggest motorized RVs. You'll find the most residential options here.
Class B: These are camper vans. Super cool and trendy on Instagram right now! Not the most space but there are options to customize it and keep is most important to you.
Class C: These are smaller motorhomes. Mostly built on truck chassis which make them great for being more remote-friendly than Class A's.
These are the different types of tow-behind RVs.
Fifth Wheels: This is what we full-time in. Fifth wheels have the largest residential floorplans.
Toy Haulers: Just as big as and use the same hitch as a fifth-wheel, but they have a garage space in the back.
Travel Trailers: These are bumper pull trailers. These are probably the most popular type of camper because of their many different floorplans. They are also lightweight which make them easily towable with smaller trucks and SUVs.
Airstreams: Who doesn't love the classic look of an airstream? These can be great because in my opinion they are made more solid than travel trailers.
Tear-drops: These are tiny campers that are perfect for a weekend camping trip. I have heard about people being full-time in these but it would be tight.
Pop-ups: Same with tear-drops, pop-up campers are perfect for the weekend warrior. They sometimes have more room than a tear-drop but are obviously less insulated so they are more seasonal campers than full-time campers.
We chose a fifth wheel for a few different reasons.
We wanted a vehicle to take around town for day-trips
We didn't want to have to maintain another motor so we opted out of any type of motorhome
In my opinion, fifth wheels haul nicer than travel trailers and we haul a lot
Fifth wheels typically have more under-storage than travel trailers
This does not mean fifth wheels are best, however, it was the best choice for our life.
Will You Be a Full-Timer or a Weekend Warrior?
Again, maybe this is obvious but this will be something to consider. I love my fifth wheel but it's entirely too much for a weekend camping trip. The weight alone would be enough to deter people from choosing a fifth wheel and that's fine! Not everyone has a one-ton diesel pickup truck laying around which is what you need in order to haul our rig.
If you're planning to be off-grid and remote in all the trees and beautiful nature, a rig like ours (a whopping 42') is not for you. Honestly, sometimes I wish we would have gone just a tad bit smaller so that we would have more options of where we can park.
If you're just looking to dip your toes in and try being a Weekend Warrior before committing, you won't need a big, heavy rig. Travel trailers or smaller fifth wheels are a great option for you! (Obviously, I'm partial to tow-behind RVs)
How Many People Will You Need to Accommodate?
Every type of RVs listed earlier has different floor plans that can accommodate up to 10 people (maybe more if you get creative).
Bunkhouses are a great option if you want to full-time with your little ones and from my research when I was shopping they seem to be the easiest models you can find for sale both new and used.
I will add that most of the time if you do have a bunkhouse, the living room and kitchen are smaller. You have to sacrifice space somewhere, right?
We opted out of a bunkhouse because of this. We rarely have visitors since we are on the move so much so we would have rather had more space in our kitchen and living room area.
How Often Will You Be Moving?
Two of the main things to think of when considering how often you'll haul is weight and length.
You do get used to the weight when hauling, but with our rig being as big and heavy as it is, anytime we go to the store and Grant wants a new castiron skillet or another cooler, I have to remind him about weight.
A subpoint of weight is trailer breaks. If you have a big heavy trailer, hauling down the highway, and a deer runs out in front of you, you will be thankful you have a rig with good trailer breaks! We couldn't imagine hauling without them.
The second main thing is length. We are last mine type of travellers which means quite frequently, we are calling to find RV spots the night before a travel day. This has been a problem more time than I can count! We'll find a park, call to make a reservation, and they don't have any sights available that will accommodate our big rig.
I'm not saying if you are responsible and plan ahead you will have this problem as often, but you will see it.
Oh, and while I'm at important things... Land gear. Yes, it's important!
We splurged and got an Auto-Leveler. Imagine, pulling into your spot, dropping the front supports with a button, unhitching, and hitting auto level... And you're done! No jacks, no levels, no worries! We can set up camp in under 30 minutes from parking to relaxing because of Auto-Level.
If you're going to frequently be on the move like we are, this might be something you want to consider. We absolutely love ours and will never own a camper without them after experiencing how easy it is.
RV Weather Packages
Yep, just like a tent, RVs have weather rating. If you're going full-time, this is definitely something you will want! I've been in campers with and without and it is a noticeable difference.
That was a must-have when we were shopping because I'm a cold-natured person and ideally 65 degrees is perfect year-round at our house. Does that happen in an RV? No. But we get pretty close!
Different manufactures market them differently but anything that says 4-season, all-weather, etc. is what you'll want.
How Much Storage is Enough for You?
Ahh... the golden question when talking about going tiny.
A good thing to keep in mind is when downsizing, expect to downsize again once you move into the RV. I find myself donating clothes or home decor once every 3 months because things just accumulate. The longer I live tiny, the more I realize that material things are not what matters. It has become easier to let go of things that do not serve me. I'm sure that you will find the same is true along your journey.
Different types of RVs have different storage options and even if they don't come with storage there are ways to add more storage and organize your things to a certain extent.
Closet space was big for me. After all, I am a lady and a lady has to have options. We went with a rig that had a larger closet. Additionally, our rig's layout has a large linen closet right outside of the bathroom. We actually made that closet Grant's closet and all of my clothes are in the main closet. His idea, not mine!
If you don't have that luxury as many rigs do not, no worries! What I had planned to do before Grant suggested moving to the smaller closet was rotate out my summer and winter clothes. This works well for those with small spaces. Many store their seasonal clothes either under the bed or in the under-storage area.
How Important is in RV Laundry?
This wasn't a complete deal-breaker for me. Yes, our fifth wheel does have washer/dryer hookups and I love the convenience, but for the first 6 months, I didn't have a unit and went to a laundry mat once a week. It's not the worst thing in the world.
It's totally your preference. If you think laundry mats are gross, you might consider that on your must-have list.
Let's Talk About RV Kitchens
This is something that was a big deal to me when we were shopping. We cook almost every meal we eat so we wanted decent counter space. I also have an unhealthy addiction to coffee so of course, I needed a space for my coffee maker. The bonus was having a space for our toaster oven and knife block! Make sure to ask yourself how much room you really need in your kitchen.
Outside kitchens are wonderful in RVs! We do not technically have an outside kitchen but we do have a grill we love to use in order to keep the heat and the mess outside! Just make sure to pick up after yourself because animals could frequent your camp and it is just plain disgusting to leave your mess where others can see it. Be considerate, yall!
Each different type of RV, RV manufacturers, and their models have different kitchen layouts. There is no doubt that you will find the RV kitchen of your dreams! I sure did.
But What About Bathrooms?
Yes, RV bathrooms are notoriously tiny. My bathroom is a good 4x5 feet with only one person able to fit in it at a time. This is a thing in almost any type of camper.
*Unless you get one of the super fancy luxury RVs with a bathtub and double sinks. Yes, they exist! I've seen them at RV shows. In that case, if you get one with a killer bathroom like that, know that I am envious and send pictures.*
Back to reality, you're going to give up space in the bathroom more than anything. You have to decide what you would rather have; a bigger shower or more counter space.
For me, it was the shower! I used to work 10+ hours on my feet each night and I craved sitting in my shower, decompressing, letting the steam fix all my problems. Just me? Probably.
I truly hope that this helped you decide what RV is best for you. After all, Black Widow Adventures wants you to live your best life and chase your adventure!
If you have any questions or still can't decide, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message via the contact page.
Peace out, Adventure Tribe!
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