And The Best RV For Full-Time Living IS…

PublishedMay 4, 2020

Nope.

This is wrong.

Absolutely wrong. I feel you, but you're barking up the wrong tree, my friend.

Not the right full time RV

Yes, I'm waving my finger at you. (But I was in your shoes a few years back, so this isn't me judging you! It's me judging you with empathy, haha.)

Based on the title of this post, you want to know what the best RV for full-time living is. I'm here to inform you that it's time to change your mindset.

Why?

Because there ISN'T any one universal 'best' RV for full time RV living. There's not even a 'best-for-all' brand (details to come).

Any website touting one particular (or many) RVs in a list of the 'best' for full-time RV living is blowing smoke up y ... well, you get the picture.

Why?

Because EVERYONE'S wants and needs for a rig are different. No matter what type or brand you get, there's always a compromise.

All people want different bells and whistles for their full-time house whether they want a fifth wheel, a travel trailer, or a Class A. So how can there be a one-size-fits-all?

What?? No Unicorn Rig?

Nope, sorry. There isn't one.

Unicorn

That's not to say the almost perfect recreational vehicle doesn't exist for you. It does, but with some compromise.

It will be a great RV for full time living 'except' (choose one or all of these possible scenarios):

  • Not enough living area
  • It's too heavy for your truck
  • The floors are ugly
  • Terrible lighting
  • You wanted a camper slide-out
  • The bathroom is too small
  • You wanted a king-size bed, a fireplace, and a power awning, etc...

So it's time to change how you're thinking about finding the 'best' RV for full time living so that you can find the right one for YOU.

How Do I Pick An RV Then?

Full time living RV

That said, this guide will help you figure out what is most important FOR YOU.

This will be based on what I (after 5 years of full-time experience on the road) believe to be the most important full-time factors (Including input from Marshall and full-time friends). No matter what your final decision is, it will be made with compromises.

You have to figure out what's best for your own personal needs and camping style. Here you will learn to understand which aspects of your RV lifestyle are the most important features to consider.

Sure, figuring it out (and getting it right) is easier said than done, but it's doable.

Factors To Consider For Full-Time RV Living

Here are some of the many things you must consider before even thinking about what kind of RV might suit you for full time RV living:

Will you:

  • Stay 100% in campgrounds?
  • Boondock full-time?
  • Dry camp some?
  • Stay in one place for months at a time or move constantly?
  • Need a vehicle to get to town often?
  • Stay on a friend's property?
  • Be where the temperatures get below freezing?
  • Camp where it snows?
  • Be where the temperatures get above 80?
  • Have pets? (Some campgrounds won't take certain animals or limit the number.)
  • Be able to take care of repairs yourself?
  • Need a 4WD vehicle for winter?
  • Will you cook in your RV?
  • Need some room to get away from your spouse/children?

Most Important Factors:

I'd say these are some of the most important factors to consider for finding the best RV for full time living:

  • Length of stays: If you plan to stay at sites for long periods, you may enjoy a bigger living space such as a fifth wheel. It's a pain to tow, but you won't be towing it much. This way you can enjoy a larger space to full time in.
  • Floorplan: This is HUGE to get right. But never pick an RV based solely on the floorplan.
  • Family Size: How many people will live in it? Do you need bunk beds for the kids? Maybe you need an office space. Maybe you want a separate room to retreat to when you need some downtime.
  • Quality: Full-time life puts RVs to the test. Most manufacturers don't build for durability. They build as cheaply as possible so they make more money. The better brand you buy, the more it should hold up.
  • Climate: If you'll be stationary, what harsh weather will you deal with?
  • Your health: Do you have the strength/capabilities to do the physical tasks needing done such as motorhome maintenance, hitching up, cleaning the windshield, washing it, and taking care of other problems that may arise?
Kelly using manual trailer tongue jack

Hitching up a travel trailer does take a certain amount of bending, flexing, and strength.

Now let's talk about how certain types of RVs are good for or aren't good for these factors.

Considerations For Choosing Your Full-Time RV

Length of Stays?

To know what RV will be best for your situation, you need to know HOW you will use it.

You should consider these choices before you decide on an RV type:

First, you must know HOW you will full-time RV.

There's more than one way to be full time. You could be:

  1. Stationary not traveling
  2. Full time traveling
  3. Occasionally traveling
  4. Travel 1/2 the year, stationary 1/2 the year

Each style has its challenges and benefits and they are important to consider. You should also think about:

  • Will you be off the grid full-time and camping on public lands?
  • Campgrounds, private land, or public lands?

Why Are These Factors Important?

Because what kind of rig is best for you might depend on how you live. For example, if you're going to move every few days, a fifth wheel or a 42' motorhome probably isn't so great/convenient due to the large size.

They are great if you stay in one place for longer periods. However, you may not fit into certain campsites. (Be aware- most state parks and many national parks have a length limit.) They are big, long, and they take up even more room with their slides and awnings out.

If you're going to stay on public lands a lot, you need to worry about your ground clearance (and length). Public land dirt roads aren't level and flat. Therefore, they aren't always friendly towards low axles, long motorhomes, or long back ends that can drag.

Sure, anything can work on public lands. You will find it all 'out there'. But the longest and lowest of RVs won't be able to get to all places without damage or getting stuck.

Even More To Consider!

Kelly's RV in full time RV park

Are you going to always stay in campgrounds? Does it have full hook-ups so you can use everything? Will you need shower facilities? So much to consider.

Say you want to stay in one spot for extended periods. In that case, almost any variety will suffice. But if you can't connect to power where you are, you might need solar and/or a generator so you can use your air conditioner, microwave, or other appliances.

Then you must decide if it's best to have an on-board generator or a portable RV generator. Portables can be stolen, while an on-board generator in a Class A motorhome or a fifth wheel cannot. Travel trailers almost never come with an on-board generator.

On-board generator access is as easy as the push of a button. Portables must be outside and turned on outside unless it has a remote. Not as convenient, especially when you are boondocking. Things can get stolen, no matter if you're in a campground or on public land.

Does it rain a lot? That's not great for a portable. It's just a pain. You either need a cover for it or it needs to be under something. (Putting it under your rig might cause deadly fumes to come inside, FYI.) All are problem(s) to consider.

You may not yet know how you want to RV, but the more of an idea you have, your chances of picking the right RV package are much better.

So Many RV Floor Plans

RVs come with a crazy high number of different floor plans to choose from. Quite often, RV choice is made because of the design, the luxury, and/or the layout. Nothing else is taken into consideration.

This is a horrible way to choose which rig to purchase. There are tons of other factors and features to consider with any floorplans.

That said, floor plans can also make or break your happiness with any given unit. Counter space, flow, bedroom location, refrigerator size, dinette comfort, bathroom size, storage area, sink size and depth, living area comfort, lack of windows, and SO much more can make or break your happiness.

When you think you've found the best RV for full time living, test everything you will be doing in it before you buy it.

RV Compatibility Checklist:

  • Sit on the toilet (Errr, don't USE it though, lol.)
  • Stand in and bend over in the shower
  • Sit on the sofa and the dinette (they are pretty much ALL uncomfortable, but consider if it will be easy to socialize with the layout)
  • Imagine trying to use a cutting board. Or having two big pots on the stove. Or washing those big pots in the kitchen sink. Is there enough room?
  • Picture if it can store everything you want to bring.
  • What about power outlets? Are there enough and are they in the right areas? Any USB power outlets?
  • Are TVs 120v or 12v? Will you be able to use it without using shore power?
  • Is the workspace comfortable enough?
  • Do you FIT in the bed or is it too short? (Beds aren't all traditionally sized.)
  • Can you set your brush/hairdryer/shaving cream down in the bathroom or is there no counter space?
  • Cats- is there a spot for the litter box?
  • Dogs- where will they fit/sleep?

One of the biggest complaints is the lack of counter space in the kitchens. It is truly maddening to not be able to utilize enough counter space to make meals, etc.

It's frustrating to try to cook, work on the computer, organize paperwork, put groceries away, etc.

Is the table large enough? Are the bathrooms adequate? What about closets? Is there enough storage? Does the vanity have counter space? The list goes on and on.

A little good news? Almost all RV mattresses can be replaced, so don't worry if you don't like it. (But often the size has to stay the same.)

Will you want to be able to use your RV with the slides in on travel days or while overnight parking at Walmart? If access is blocked with slides in, you might consider a different RV.

RV with awning out in parking lot

No, this is NOT an acceptable way to camp or overnight. Breaking almost every rule. Awning out. Chair out. Taking up multiple spaces unnecessarily. Slides were even out. Huge no-no's. 

Your Family Size

Do you have kids? Or a partner? 'Cause this will also be a big part of what RV makes everyone happy.

The more people, the more room, the better. But not everyone can do that nor is bigger always easier.

Kids

I have friends with kids that have a toy hauler RV trailer. They made the 'toy' area a giant playroom. It was a separate section with a door, so parents had 'away' time when they were at play. (Genius)

You may need bunk beds. Not every RV model offers this setup. Find the ones that offer that layout.

Is there enough dining space and seating for everyone to eat? What about storage room for toys?

For more insights and helpful tips for full-timing with kids, check out Full-Time Families.

Couples/More Than Two

Almost any setup can work for two people. But if you want 'separate' living areas, you could consider towing a light travel trailer with a van conversion. (Example: Pull a trailer with a Nissan NV that has been converted to a camper.)

This is also tricky as you must watch weight ratings so you aren't overweight towing or overweight with what you can tow due to the added weight of the van conversion.

Then you have the van as a separate living quarter.

That said, I do know of families that live ONLY in a van. Don't ask me how they do it!!!!

Other Things For You To Consider

Your black and freshwater tank capacity(ies) will also be very important for you to consider if you plan on dry camping. The more people in the unit, the bigger your camper tanks need to be. This makes your ability to park longer without moving possible.

What size refrigerator does it have? Can you fit enough food to feed everyone without hitting the store every two or three days?

Will you want the convenience of a washer and dryer? Or are you fine using a laundromat?

So. Many. Things. To. Consider. (And I am glad I don't have to consider how I'd handle kids, lol)

RV Quality

This may be the most important buying decision you make. No RV is perfect, they can all have (and will) have issues.

Your odds of getting a good product are better if you chose an RV company that is know for making a quality product.

RV Manufacturer Logos

UGH, so many to choose from. Which brands have the best quality?

Me? I lucked out with my used 24' Crossroads Slingshot travel trailer with no slideouts. It's a Thor product, yet I have had virtually no issue with it in 5 years. So, just because you get a lesser quality RV doesn't mean you WILL have problems.

That said, some brands have much better reviews than others. You can find a list of those brands in our best RVs to buy post. The picks are not a guessing game and are not subjective. The decisions are based on a few factors, including real user reviews from real owners.

We suggest you do your due diligence and fill yourself with knowledge. Then you can find the best products that fit your criteria of facilities and comforts with the least risk, no matter what floorplans and amenities they have.

Climate Considerations

Cold:

If your dream includes staying where it will snow/get below freezing for periods, you should:

  • Get an RV with a four-seasons package (pipes won't be exposed and/or will be in a heated area) and keep the interior good and warm using your furnace, propane heater, and/or space heater to heat.
  • Double pane windows are another plus. Four season package rigs usually have double pane.

Hot:

If you are planning to stay in very hot areas, you should consider:

  • An RV with a four-seasons package may give you some protection here, too. (Better insulation.)
  • Get an RV with a lot of windows that open a good amount. (Mine is the BEST! All are exit windows that open all the way out.) This way you can open them up and use fans for good airflow when you can't use the AC.
  • Make sure your fifth wheel or motorhome has enough AC units to adequately cool the whole rig.

FYI- Two good brands with quality climate packages are Outdoors RV and Arctic Fox.

Benefits Of The Different RV Types

A few more tidbits for you first.

Don't expect to get great gas mileage from any of these. The lighter the better, of course. Also, consider diesel vs gas. Is diesel easily available to trucks/RVs around your area?

You may want to consider: Do you want to tow a car with your motorhome? (Also known as a 'toad'.) Do you want a heavy-duty truck with a stiff suspension to be your daily driver? (Fifth wheels usually require this.)

If you REALLY want a toad, then if you get a motorhome you will have two vehicles/engines to maintain.

This was of great importance to me and was precisely why I didn't want a motorhome. Also, a coach is normally much more expensive than a bumper pull travel trailer.

Read on to learn about the pros of different types of campers.

Fifth Wheels

  • Good for staying in one place for extended periods
  • Most have the feel of a house
  • Offer a lot of storage space/cargo room
  • Many have an on-board generator.
  • Roomy- they can be big and tend to have a lot of slide outs
  • Often need a heavy-duty truck to tow them
  • The largest have very high ceilings/roof, often feature a kitchen island

Travel Trailers

  • Short or long stays- the hitching up is a hassle, but your tow vehicle, when free, can be a more comfy ride if not a super heavy-duty truck
  • A pretty good option for living on public lands (but the shorter the better for this)
  • Bumper pull travel trailers are a lot cheaper (best value) than motorhomes or fifth wheels

Motorhomes (Class A, Class B, Class C)

  • A coach is physically easiest to use (no connecting/disconnecting/unless you have a toad. May not have to level, depending on what you get.)
  • All in one vehicle
  • Easiest to move around and set up
  • Usually has an on-board generator
  • Great for campgrounds but not for extra long stays. The engine must be exercised regularly.
  • Gas engine or diesel engine
  • Price may be very high

Truck Campers

  • You can get 'out there' almost anywhere
  • Stealthy (kind of) and fits into very small spots
  • Easy to move around
  • Though nimble, living full-time in this might be tough
  • No dishwasher (Heh)
Slide-In Truck Camper

Truck Camper

Full-Time Factors To Consider: Do You Really Want To Full-Time?

After having lived in MY best RV for full time living for about 5 years (Since May of 2015), I've collected some insights about it that might give you pause.

Hopefully, you're not basing hitting the road or just living in an RV based on #Vanlife Instagram photos. 'Cause they're not real life.

Repairs

Things will break. They will, no doubt about it. It's a home on wheels made of (usually) cheap materials on top of a chassis or a frame bouncing down the road. It's either fix it yourself or go to a service center.

If you don't have the means to do either, this life may not be best for you. If you expect just because you bought a brand-new RV you won't have any issues, you certainly have not done enough research on the life yet. All RVs end up with issues. Even (and sometimes especially) brand new ones.

Campgrounds

Campground life is not 'vacation' life. It's not that nice, either. People are constantly driving or walking RIGHT by your space. (OR playing right outside your living space.)

There's blower noise. Lawnmower noise. Dogs barking. People fixing or building stuff noise. There are a lot of rules.

You're often crammed into your space, neighbors in your face. Privacy doesn't exist unless you hide inside your RV (But keep your voice down so your neighbors don't hear you).

Reservations are a pain to make. You get to smell your neighbor's cigarette smoke. And many campgrounds ARE NOT cheap.

Loneliness

I am NOT lonely on the road. But I live among a certain demographic of people- very active and fun RVers.

We are not retired, we aren't seniors (some of my friends are), we are very social, and we don't sit around all day (unless we are working). I got lucky with my friends. You may not make friends on the road.

In that case, unless you are very content to be by yourself all the time, you may not like the lifestyle at all.

Cost

Oftentimes, people get the notion that living in an RV will be a much cheaper way to live. It CAN be, but it can also be comparable to living in an apartment. Campgrounds can be as costly as rent or a low mortgage.

Then again, there are locations where you can live for VERY little per month. But those types of campgrounds are often undesirable. So once again, what are you willing to live with?

You can boondock full-time and live for free as I do, but you must be either a remote worker or independently wealthy to do so.

Personal Health

Seeing a doctor is one thing if you are parking permanently. It's another thing if you plan to move often from state to state. Sure, freedom is great, but getting your meds and getting appointments to see new doctors can be a HUGE hassle and very expensive if out of network.

If your insurance doesn't cover you seeing doctors out of state, you could be in a world of hurt when it comes to medical bills. This is VERY important to research BEFORE you become travelers if that's your plan.

Best Choices For Harsh Winters

For cold winters, it would behoove you to get an RV made for 'four seasons'.

These may be better insulated, may have a heated basement, and should have the water pipes protected underneath. (This does NOT guarantee that they won't freeze in very cold temps. Even 'four-season' RVs aren't meant to endure the stress of long and hard cold spells.)

slingshot trailer in snow

This is not ideal full-time RV life.

Best brands for cold winters:

That said, my Crossroads Slingshot travel trailer does GREAT in the cold. Why? Because the pipes are all inside my trailer- I can see them inside and I know exactly where they are.

Therefore, I just need to keep the interior above freezing to keep them from freezing.

I help this by opening cabinets and the bathroom door so that the warmth can get to where the pipes are. So just because your RV isn't a 'four seasons' RV doesn't mean it can't survive a winter.

Conclusion

Rick and Mazzy

Rick enjoying his full-time life in his Class C motorhome. He since sold the Class C and bought a Casita trailer. Photo By James "WobblyCat" (Instagram)

Many factors go into deciding what is the best travel trailer or coach or whatnot for full-time living. There is NO one best RV brand in existence. Don't let any other website jerk you around with such nonsense.

Figure out as best as you can what living full time looks like for you, and THEN you can figure out what rig will best fit your new lifestyle.

You might sit in one place permanently. Or, you might take road trips. You may want to do a weekend trip here and there. Every way you could do this life will determine the elements that will make your choice the best for you as a beginner.

Do lots of research. Heck, do all the research. You might end up with an Airstream or a Class C motorhome. It all depends on your budget, what size holding tanks you need, if you want to road trip or sit still, what kind of campsite you will primarily be at, and SO much more.

The above is my advice to you. If you have a question, feel free to mention it in the comments below. I answer all RELEVANT, logical, well-written comments posted here.

Good luck with your decision!

Kelly Headshot

He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona. 

Other Articles You Should Read

  • Kelly:
    I found this article very helpful. You hit pretty much all of the issues my husband and I have been researching. We will be empty nesters soon and my husband works (mostly) remotely. I plan to look for camp host or other similar jobs.
    We will primarily follow 70° but plan on a 4 season for flexibility. We will spend summers “at home” in Colorado.
    So far, a 5th wheel is our top choice – converting the garage to an office.
    My biggest concern is reliable wifi and insurance for our rig. What do you recommend? I have done some research but answers are all over the place.

    • Hi MJ,

      Congratulations! Sounds like you have a good plan for the future. As far as WIFI goes, I use a Nighthawk portable hotspot, as do many of my friends. I have a MIMO antenna for it and rarely have any issues. I have ATT with it. Also, I can use my Verizon phone as a hotspot if I am in a place without good ATT.

      The people who are most up to date on technology are Chris and Cherie of Technomadia. They have this website on all of that: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com

      Insurance- personally, I have mine insured through USAA. They offer Progressive insurance through them. Don’t know how that all works, but that’s what I have. I’m pretty sure Progressive offers full-time RVer insurance. Who have you tried/looked at? What is the specific issue with finding insurance?

      Oh, Marshall also has his insurance with Progressive. Be SURE to let them know you are going to full-time.

  • The Winnebago V2427RB comes pretty darn close to being a Unicorn!! Huge Tanks, King Sized Bed, Big Bathroom and loads of space along with a 12cuft fridge…yep pretty close to perfect if you asked me!

    • Hey Kevin,

      Yay! Glad you found your ‘Unicorn’!! That’s exactly how it is… we all look for different things to fit our needs. I guess this is why no houses are furnished the same inside. (Not counting hotels, or any kind of chain where someone follows a pattern)

      I love mine, too. It’s pretty perfect. If only I could make it smaller but miraculously keep the same amenities…. asking too much? 😂

  • It is something to think about. It would just be myself & 2 cats. I work too just looking for something different I guess.

    • Hi Victoria,

      Lucky for you, you don’t need a large RV. I got my 24′ travel trailer THINKING my dogs would play in it and I liked the open floorpan of it. Well, they never played in here. They played outside, so I could have gone smaller.

      Still, I love my floorplan. Good luck to you in your search!

  • Thank you for this information, well written. We have a Big Horn but thinking of a bumper pull, not so many steps for us to maneuver.

    • Hi Bill and Sue,

      For sure- almost all fifth wheels have stairs to get to the upper section. Not great for some bodies! Plus they are just SO HUGE!!!! I can’t imagine having one! I like to be as small as I can, hence, a van coming soon.

      Good luck with your decision and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment. It means a lot to us!

  • I thought this was a great article!! In my 3 year search for an RV, I went through several phases. First phase was a teardrop trailer – easy to pull with a car, CUTE, functional, economical, environmental… Then I was reading some park campground info (can’t recall which) and saw this comment; “No soft side campers”.
    Uhh what??? Why???
    Bears.
    End of teardrop phase and anything requiring major outside add-ons; screen porches, outdoor kitchens, privvy enclosures, etc!! I decided at that time that I wanted to “camp” less and “tour” more. (Glamping) Granted my class C could probably be ripped to shreds by a bear, but it will take longer than a canvas side.
    I’m older now and not as fleet of foot!
    Billw

    • Is your middle name Marshall?? (haha!) Marshall probably researched RVs for about 10+ years before finally buying his first!

      Yeah, soft-sided campers may limit you in some areas. Not many, but for sure in bear areas! I have a friend with a class C RV who is currently in the Eastern Sierras. One night a bear legit tried hard to get into his door. Twice!!! VERY scary. Any soft-sided camper would have not had a chance.

      We’re happy to hear you liked this article. That’s some kudos from someone who has been researching for three years! We truly appreciate it.

      And we totes get the not as fleet of foot thing! LOL! And dangit. 😂

  • Hey there! I really enjoyed your article, lots of helpful information.

    At this time we aren’t looking to get a new trailer, but I wanted to share one thing with you all!

    We are stationary with our 2009 Puma. It has a bunkhouse which wasn’t something we wanted or needed, but….We use it.
    When we were looking to replace our old trailer, this one came available. I wasn’t too sure because we don’t have kids, and don’t have that many over night guests at one time. But we decided to go for it, and it was probably the best decision we’ve ever made! The bunkhouse is now our tv room. I added big comfy pillows to the bottom bunk, so it’s now more of a couch! And it’s big enough for hubby, myself, and the dog and cat! The upper bunk is now storage for bulk items like toilet paper, etc. I added some storage drawers and so far, this arrangement has been perfect for us!

    As with the gentleman who turned his garage in his toy hauler into a play area for his kids… sometimes it’s good to just try and think of how something that doesn’t seem ideal can be transformed!

    Cheers and thank you for the wonderful advice.

    • Hello Lee,

      Thank you for your comment, we appreciate your taking the time to write it as a benefit to others! Nice to hear that a bunk area can be a plus for people that need things it can provide. I would never have considered one, but maybe now I will.

      Except now I want a van, lol!

      Still, creative thinking is a big part of life that many people lose not long after childhood. So this is a great reminder to ‘look outside of the box’.

      Thank you for that!

  • Nice to read a well written, bias-with-commentary, article. Our family started camping with a used basic tent trailer, but a season of use led to a better choice for the next one. The constant mold issue with damp canvas led us to an entry level 16 foot trailer, but we sure learned about compromises and quality! Then, in 2014, we attended a Fall RV show and looked at the new (then) Outdoor RV Black Rock 19b. It ticked off so many boxes on our Wish List we bought it. And we had just spent $3,000 on end-of-season maintenance on our existing trailer!

    No regrets on buying the Black Rock. Yes, we found lots of things that Quality Control had missed, but we also saw good design and a consistent effort to be better than average.

    We’d buy an Outdoors RV again in a minute.

    As a general comment, I have to say that considering the number of folks who RV, there are very few reliable resources for information. You want an opinion on something? Come up with your own uninformed thoughts on something, and you’ll find lots of agreement for it. An example would be on deep cycle batteries. We just replaced 2 six volt 232Ah Interstate batteries with – wait for it – 2 new six volt Interstate batteries. Every single outlet selling competitive products assured us Interstate was rubbish. But ours had lasted 7 season, fed by a solar panel, and they never failed us. So, we decided, use them again! But the arguments rage on YouTube, 12v vs. 6 volt, this make vs. that make, this technology vs. that technology. But as you said in your article, buy according to your needs. Research, sift the info, but follow your own judgement…..

    • Nick, how correct you are!!!!!!! I rely on Marshall to give me the good advice and correct information about the things I need fixed or replaced, etc. It’s almost unreal how he always seems to get it right. This is exactly how Camp Addict was born. I thought there was a need for ‘everyone to have a Marshall’ at their side to give them the CORRECT (as much as that is humanly possible) answers they needed.

      And 5 years later, here we are.

      I love how you said “come up with your own uninformed opinion and you’ll find lots of agreement for it”. This is so well put and rings SO true. Heck, it’s how I have operated in the past. It’s hard to know how/what is right when you can find so much agreement for it. Grrrrr.

      It’s great to hear you got yourself a QUALITY RV brand… congratulations!

      And funny about your Interstate batteries- I got myself Costco 6v batteries years ago. Then they went bad, just over a year or so later… I went to buy new ones and turn in the old ones… and the sales guy INSISTED they just ‘exchange’ them for a new set. WHAT??? It had been over a year, so outside of the return/exchange timeframe. Well, do you think I would recommend Costco for new batteries? You bet your buns I would!

      We both used Costco 6v batteries until we upgraded to lithiums. Very very happy with Costco and their products and especially their customer support. Ok, I went off on a rant there. Point is, yes, use/do what works for YOU. Buy according to your needs.

      We hope you have many happy new adventures in your awesome Outdoors RV, and thank you for taking the time to post your kind comment! We truly appreciate it.

  • My husband and I both travel for work. I work (typically) somewhere for 13 weeks. We have been seriously considering getting a fifth wheel for a few years. It will be us and our shepherd mix dog. We both love to cook. How difficult is it to find a rig with a residential size fridge and a good stove? What brands usually have both? We have been looking at one bedroom rigs. Any insight you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and the awesome information in this article.

    • Hi Lori,

      Thanks for the kind comments about Camp Addict! We love hearing from our readers. 🙂

      I guess it all boils down to what you define as being a ‘good stove’. In the world of consumer-grade RVs (the ones that don’t cost into the 7-figures), I’m not sure there is anything that comes close to what you might find in a true cook’s kitchen in a sticks-and-bricks house.

      Keep in mind that RVs are a series of compromises. Space is the biggest compromise. And weight as well. A nice-sized stove, with plenty of cooking space, not only takes up valuable space but will be fairly heavy. So instead, you see RV stoves that might have 3 or 4 burners, but there is no practical way you can actually use all burners at one time unless you have micro-pots.

      Residential refrigerators (as in true, made for actual houses, refrigerators), as well as RV fridges that have a decent amount of interior space, are becoming easier to find. So that won’t be terribly difficult. Finding a stove that will ‘wow’ you might be next to impossible.

      It would take me a lot of time to come up with a list of brands, and floor plans, that meet your needs. Scratch that, I’m not sure what type of stove you are looking for exactly, so it isn’t something that I could even do for you. Buying an RV, and settling on a floor plan, is a very personal process.

      I’d suggest you take a look at our list of best RV manufacturers, and start looking at what they offer. Hopefully, you will find something that fits your needs ‘well enough’.

      Best of luck, and thanks for checking out Camp Addict!

  • I have appreciated all your information. I am whittling away at what to stay away from and would like to more about truck campers. Would you you expand on them? Also where to shop for used quality truck campers. Thank you.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Good luck on your truck camper search! They definitely fit the bill for some people. A quick, easy way to camp or just to have a bathroom with you at all times, lol.

      Marshall and I have never had a truck camper, so we don’t have insider secrets that others might about them. I’d advise you join truck camper groups on Facebook- there has to be a ton of information in those groups about the ins and outs of them and they may even have some listed for sale.

      As far as shopping goes, look at RV Trader online. Next, hit the Craigslist near you (or do a very wide search), and maybe try the FB Marketplace. Best to start with only looking at the best quality brands.

      Finding ‘quality’ means finding the good brands. RV Consumer Group has a truck camper guide to the best brands. I’d advise you join and find out what the best brands are (though actually, we find that most truck camper brands tend to be pretty good, compared to other types of RVs).

      Hope this helps and good luck with your search!

  • Hi!! This is a great article. I am now seriously looking into buying some kind of tow behind and am super overwhelmed. I was wondering if could help narrow down the brands I should look at. I vibe with everything you said in your bio, except I am a cooking machine hahaha It would be just me as my partner and I definitely recognize the need for separate space and I wouldn’t be moving mine very often. He has a big ol truck and would be able to get it from point A to point B for me. We would be parking it in Moab, so I think an all weather package would be best but it sounds like you came up with some clever work arounds for that. Anyways, I would deeply appreciate some guidance because damn there’s a lot to consider. Thanks so much and have an epic day!!

    • Hi Jessica,

      Yes, it is a bit overwhelming. Especially when you consider how many brands of RVs are out there.

      You can start narrowing down which brands you should consider by looking at our list of the best RV brands. That will give you an idea of which ones you should be considering.

      Are you going to be parking the RV in Moab all year? We’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the years, and it is wonderful during the shoulder seasons. But, dang, it gets hot!

      • Crazy story but my partner and I are actually buying a razor rental company and will be parking our rigs there 🙂

        • Fun!

          That explains why you are looking for something that can stand a bit of temperature extremes.

          Best of luck finding your ‘right’ rig and the new venture!

  • Thanks Kelly!! I am thinking of traveling to all of our national parks when I retire. I am currently single but with any luck I’ll find someone to travel with me. I’m guessing I’ll travel for two or three years and then decide if I want to stay in the RV. My plan is to stay for a week or two at each location then move on. Through my research I am leaning towards an Outdoor 27TRX toy hauler so I can take a dual sport motorcycle and do some trail riding and exploring. I’m also thinking of a Class C with a motorcycle carrier. I know having a truck would be handy but I don’t think it’s a necessity. If I am able to stay in fair weather I know I can use my motorcycle for shopping and laundry but I’ve never set up an RV so I don’t know how big of a hassle it would be to move a travel trailer every week or two. Depending on cost, I may try to stay at the national parks or find something cheaper nearby. I may try boondocking also. I know I still have a ton of research to do but I was hoping to get your opinion on what setup may be best for what my plans are. I hope your day is going well.

    • Hi Brad,

      Sounds like a plan! Happy to give my input.

      Don’t forget about motorcycle mounts for the front of a truck. (Depending on how heavy your bike is) Also, I have one friend who has a huge class a motorhome and has his dirt bike on the back on a mount. Seems to work for him.

      Ok, moving once every week or even two may get old quick with a travel trailer. Hitching up and disconnecting and leveling, all of that is a pain. I moved about every two weeks with my trailer for almost 5 years straight (I was stationary for about the first 8 months) and often longed for a small motorhome or a van.

      A motorhome will be easier to move that frequently if that’s your intent. But many people think they are going to bop all over the place, and it sounds great and exciting, but it gets old quick. Depends on your nature, I suppose.

      There’s a lot to see in the national parks. And you can’t be out exploring every single day. You may end up wanting more time at some of them. Maybe not.

      I’d plan to try using the motorcycle NOW as your only get around vehicle if it isn’t already. Things may not be so easy just relying on it for your primary transportation. Rain, cold, snow, even heat can make that ride and your national park exploring not so fun or comfortable.

      Personally, I’d want a car or truck to explore in and do my errands.

      The bike will be FANTASTIC for scenic rides in mountainous areas. Heck, for any scenic rides.

      I looked at that toy hauler. I am pretty disappointed in Outdoors RV with that one. Where in the HECK are you going to cook ANYTHING? I mean, really? That little flip up countertop is going to hold almost nothing. There’s almost more counter space in the bathroom than in that ‘kitchen’. I’d rethink that one very hard, unless you eat out three times a day.

      Toy haulers aren’t made for their comfort (Look at those ‘couches’. They are booths. No arm rests on either end. God-awful uncomfortable). You have to REALLY like your toys to live in one full-time.

      The shorter your setup is, the easier everything will be. How much do you really want to bring your bike? It’s another engine to service and it’s heavy, it will smell inside your toy hauler, and it’s not the most ideal thing to use for transport.

      It all depends on what you think is most important for you and how you will travel. Not sure I am helping here- that’s the thing about it… no-one can tell you what will work for you. It’s something you have to do your best to figure out before you do it.

      The good news is you are doing your research NOW. It will help you decide as you go what you think will work best for you. Just remember to get inside AS MANY different RV types and layouts as you can. Really imagine a whole day inside of it.

      Where will you sit? How do you cook? What do you cook? Do you like to watch TV? Is that chair comfortable? Can you actually lounge comfortably anywhere? Are there enough windows? Enough storage? Shower big enough for you to fit? Etc, etc, etc.

      Hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy!

  • Very well said! We spent a year researching EVERYTHING! The lifestyle, the job opportunity, the RV style, tow vehicles … everything. We ended up with a performance shop owners personal diesel pickup built to haul more than we expected to, an awesome floor plan 5th wheel and 2 years into workcamping (long stays at one place = exploring, touring and assimilating) we are diplomats for the life wherever we go. We LOVE it!

    • Hi Fred,

      That’s wonderful! A good success story. And you did your research. That’s key! (I didn’t back when I was a newbie, and I got VERY lucky with my RV! No problems and I still love it.)

      We hope you can continue to keep on camping and loving it!

  • Hey Kelly!
    Finally a no BS article about RV life and the options available to us. You seem to be firmly seated in reality! Good for you!
    So never having stepped into an RV, I started going to shows and doing my research for what would work for the wife and I and two small pups. Depreciation kind of killed the brand new route, so we found a used TT unit with a front toy hauler, thinking we would take the motorcycle everywhere. Never put the bike into it and use that area for a closet and storage. Best use ever! Storage is underrated as a decision maker! May stick our eBikes in there for future trips, but for right now storage rules!
    We found a campsite an hour away, on the river, close to Rocky Mountain National Park, great people, great fishing, and consider it our second home. We’ve considered traveling the west in a Class C, but why, when we’re happy with our program. Our TT has some issues, like you’ve said they all do, but for a 3-7 day getaway, we’re all good.
    I guess my whole point of commenting is, get the RV that fits your program, and just enjoy the outdoors! Our TT saved our sanity last year during COVID, and we’ve already reserved 6 weeks for the next two years at our campground.
    Stay safe and enjoy the RV adventure! Thanks for your great article!

    • Hey Terry!

      Wow! Great story! Sounds like that storage is really working for you. I once saw a TT with storage in the front like that and A DECK in the back with a sliding glass door! WUT? Too bad it was a bad layout and a SUPER cheap brand. Or, good. I kept my current trailer and I still love it!

      Glad you figured it all out, and glad you’re happy with your TT and that it saved your sanity. We have all had a rough time of it and need whatever helps us get through.

      Thank you for the great comment and happy trails to you guys!

  • This is one of the best article I have read.
    It took my wife and I three years before we picked and purchased a RV. We start out each writing down what we wanted and was looking for in a RV, including size and usage. Then we combined our list into one page. We had to justify each item. We had to agree or the item was dropped. Next each item was rated as a must have, have (or something similar to) and nice to have but not necessarily. Three of the must were, motorhome, under 30ft, and diesel. We research to get a list of RVs that fit. We managed to physically see all on the list by visiting RV dealers and going to RV shows. We then listed 5 RVs that fit the must have list. We sat down and had a discussion about each and how they match up to the entire list. We cut the RVs down to 3. We visited each one. Sat in it for an hour imagining living in it. Very importantly, we sat in it and moved around with the slides out and then with the slides in. It surprisingly how many RVs who bathroom door can’t be open with the slide in. We also looked at the outside for accessibility to exterior features including the roof. Then we made our choice. We also inquired about any upcoming model changes before signing.
    You are right about not getting everything you wanted. We did get 100% of the “must have” 80% of the “have” with remaining 20% being compromise features. A lot of the “nice to have” we have done ourselves. In the long run (3 years) we’re happy with our choice. We’ve looked at other models and still come back to our choice. I guess I can sum it up by saying “choosing a RV is a marathon, not a sprint”.
    Again, thank you for a great article.

    • Hi Richard,

      THIS is what we are talking about! You did it and you did it right. Congratulations! You saved yourself a lot of money and time by doing the research. It takes time. It takes commitment to research, find, and literally get into the RVs you think you want. I’m guessing you two have a pretty great marriage.

      And thank you for the kudos! We hope this article (AND your story) helps people search for their first RV in the future.

      Cheers!

  • I’m trying to look at what trailer would work best for me. I’m about to be newly single and have one small dog. I am active duty military so I do travel but honestly stay at one location often. A limiting factor is my truck. It’s nice feature wise but is only a Ram 1500 hemi (2017). It’s been daunting trying to look at trailers I want some elbow room but many keep putting bunk beds in them which for me is wasted space. I want a comfortable living area and kitchen. Any suggestions on brand to look at?

    • Hi Lance,

      It sure is ‘fun’ trying to figure out what travel trailer to buy, isn’t it? Especially when you are smart about weight (as you are) and want to keep things under the maximum weight of your tow vehicle, with some overhead just to be safe.

      A Ram 1500 with the V-8 isn’t a towing slouch, but it also can’t tow a fifth wheel or a really heavy travel trailer. But for a solo person and dog, you should have plenty of options.

      Start with looking at our guide to the best RV brands. Also, consider your namesake trailer brand, Lance.

      I have had a Lance the entire time I’ve been RVing (coming up on 7 years now) and it has treated me well. While it’s not currently on the top list of RV Brands, it’s really, really close and is a much better choice than the vast majority of RV manufacturers out there. (Side note: I’ll be updating the top brands list soon-ish and Lance may appear there again).

      I’ve got the Lance 1995, which (at least my 2014 model year) maxes out at 5,700 pounds. Easily towed by your truck.

      Hope that help! Best of luck finding that right RV for you!

  • You never mentioned the horrible construction of travel trailers. I understand why because it would take a New York phone book sized document to describe the grossly unacceptable materials and “workmanship – laughable to use that word”. Staples holding it together, cardboard under the exterior plastic fronts, leaky roofs, vanity shelves that fall off the wall and on and on and on. The trouble is, most people can’t look under the skin, until of course problems force them to. So a major recommendation to would be RV’ers would be to have electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and carpentry skills as they will be needing these. My Crossroads is unbelievable crap.

    • Hi GreatBlue,

      Yeah, it would definitely take a few words to describe how poorly RVs are made (by and large). I do discuss the subject on the Best RV Brands post, and we do discuss it here and there in other buying an RV articles.

      I can’t agree more with all that you say about the ‘great’ quality put into most >travel trailers. Kelly has a Crossroads trailer as well, and yes, it is put together with the bare minimum required to hold it together. Fortunately she hasn’t had any major issues with it, but she’s most likely an exception rather than what the majority experience.

      When you look at her trailer’s quality compared to my Lance trailer’s quality, there is a very noticeable difference. Yet my Lance still uses staples to hold together things that make me shake my head.

      And take a look ‘under the hood’ of an Airstream, a decent brand that demands top dollar. Again, you will be shaking your head.

      So even with better brands, there is definitely cost cutting and weight savings going on. Just the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

      Thanks for the comment! Hopefully your rig will hold together enough so that you can enjoy the great outdoors without constantly worrying about what is going to go wrong next.

  • Great info Kelly..my 3 cents [inflation] as your life experience changes so does what your comfortable with. Ex. I was a line haul trucker/bluegrass musician and now have a Roadtrek. To have all the special living facilities for my wife and myself, in about the same living area, is wonderful now that I am retired from trucking but still picking. My point is some things are really important and other stuff you first carried for what might happen are not usually necessary. I totally got what you were saying from get go. Its like the doctor, you finally have to pick and trust one and you learn from there. Thanks. Mr Doug

    • Hey Doug,

      Correct. This is exactly why no one RV is ‘best’. And now I want a van (again). To be able to hop around an area, especially a city, is VERY attractive to me. Not having to tow, blah, blah, blah. I can’t wait to finally get one!

      Happy picking and thank you for the comment.

      • And with a van, or a Roadtrek in my case, you still don’t want to have to drive it everywhere. It’s nice to carry a 2 wheel means of transportation for both enjoyment and in my case shopping for food. At 71 I converted my mountain bike to a front wheel electric. Still have the 21 gears for pedaling but electric when I need or want it.

        • Well, that makes you a better biker than I am! I bought an e-bike and it only lasted about a year and a half before I never used it and it simply bounced around in the back of my truck. I kind of knew it would happen it going in. Anyway, glad you found your best-for-you vehicle(s) and seem to enjoy doing it!

          Cheers!

  • Hi Kelly,

    First, thanks for this truly amazing post,

    Myself, my wife and 1-3 of our dogs want to stop putting off travelling the US and Canada. I always have to research everything to death which irks my wife, but here we go…

    I have travelled in a class C RV before through New Zealand. So I know how it is and although I liked it a lot, I want to rule out motorhomes for our next adventure purely for the lack of mobility and that I live in the US and don’t want something extra that has mostly one specific use.

    I also think that a 5th wheeler would be too big, require too much truck and be too much of a pain for me to maneuver. So my head is currently at some kind of travel trailer.

    We work remotely, are mostly fine with only our own company and have no problems living without stuff and a reasonable amount of roughing it. That being said, we often prefer to be away from people and in nature.

    So I currently have this chicken and egg problem. We don’t currently own any vehicle that can tow anything useful. I also don’t want to invest in a TV without having settled on a choice of travel trailer. Worried that if I get a TV first, I might find that my trailer requirements exceed that of the TV.

    How do you figure out which travel trailer works for you? How do you try them out and learn enough to know? Without having your own TV?

    I kind of like the 17 casitas from googling, but they might be just a tad too small with 2 people needing an office and the 1-3 dog situation. I’m also worried about towing something too big. For the life of me I cannot reverse with anything I tow. I have reversed down a mountain in New Zealand snow once, but that’s a story for another time.

    Definitively travel with 2 bikes, small chance of kayaks (since I read its a pain). Probably need some solar for boondocking, maybe higher axle and some kind of satellite setup (internet, no tv).

    Cost is a bit of an issue. We will have to finance whatever we buy. I’ll not be doing this full time initially. Not selling our house that is still under mortgage and quite expensive due to hurricane insurance. We bought it as kind of a retirement base.

    Both of us lost our jobs due to Covid, things will probably recover soon (job wise), but it reminded us of the importance of a frugal life. So will probably be willing to spend on getting the right trailer and then find a budget TV with enough towing headroom to tow safely. All things considered slowly ease into this and upgrade as the need and funds arise.

    • Hi Alwyn,

      First off, I’m sorry to hear about your jobs! Both of you?! That’s got to be difficult and something you didn’t see coming. I sure hope you get back on your feet soon.

      So, you’re asking the big question, eh? How does one figure out what will work best for their own needs?

      The unfortunate answer is that NO RV will fit every need you are looking for. Or, if you find one that does, you’re very lucky! Compromise is the norm.

      I’d say that the most important factor for what TT will work for you is #1- layout, and #2- mobility. Will you be comfortable in it and can you get to the places you want to go?

      The bigger your RV, the more restricted you are in many ways. (Campsites, getting into gas stations, state parks, etc)

      Get inside many trailers. SPEND TIME in them. Without the dang salesman there. Ask him/her to leave. You need to think and discuss. They should leave you alone. Stand in the shower. Pretend you’re cooking a particular meal- is the counter space adequate? The sink big enough? Can you fit your pots and pans you NEED in there? Will the bed really be big enough for you two AND the dogs? LOL Etc…

      You COULD rent a couple different TTs. They aren’t cheap to rent. But it’s an idea. Find one locally you can rent from an owner and see if you like the layout, etc.

      But honestly, most people just jump in. I did. I liked the layout, then I hated it for a year, then I loved it again. I picked very well but I think I got lucky. Not a lemon, and a functional layout for ME. I’ve had it for my entire 5 years on the road.

      But get into as many as possible at dealerships. Different layouts, I mean.

      I LOVE Casitas. I am probably getting one next. But for two people? Much harder to manage. Zero storage for the most part. With 3 dogs? Wow, I cannot imagine.

      I have friends who had a Casita as a couple and sold it. I have other friends who still have a Casita as a couple and they have a baby and are not full time anymore, but they do weekends in it with their new child.

      Your research will pay off. Keep doing it.

      Now the tough love part- LEARN TO BACK UP! It’s important. It’s easy if you think of it this way- whichever way the butt of the vehicle goes that you’re sitting in- the trailer butt goes the opposite. That’s it! Practice. You’ll get it.

      The smaller TT you get, the less of a truck you will need. Consider an older Toyota Sequoia. That’s what Marshall has. Excellent tow capacity and a GREAT turning radius. More nimble than a truck. But if you want to keep a generator in there, you’ll need to package it into a rubber storage container or the like to avoid gas odors leaking into the sitting area.

      Whew! I didn’t mean to write that much!

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks Kelly for all the useful tips!

        I think for at least the next 2 years it will only be short trips, so maybe a Casita will do. They keep their value so could sell. Anyway, will look around a lot before we get there.

        • If short trips, for sure! Casitas hold their value like crazy (as do any fiberglass trailers) and they are well-built. Good luck with your search!

  • Kelly, Lots of helpful info and …oh, good point to consider… I am doing lots of research and will be starting the next phase of my adventures in life, going Full time Rving in the next 6 months or so. Traveling with my two Aussies and working remotely.
    Have you done an article on or do you have a resource to recommend where to locate and travel plan places to camp. I want to move and see large areas of our country, but I would like to do that in between finding places that are a good fit me that I could stay for longer stays( a month or a few). Pretty and inviting in their own right, places in the area I want to explore and get to know. etc. Thank you

    • Hi Quantum,

      Congratulations- you have an adventure ahead of you! As far as resources for places to camp- I’m assuming you are going to be looking for campgrounds. (One cannot stay in public places for months at a time without moving, usually every 2 weeks or so, and out of the area)

      For campgrounds, depending on where you want to go, you can look at KOA, Thousand Trails, and other campgrounds websites such as Campendium and The Dyrt.

      There are thousands of private campgrounds. They range from very low 300’s a month to 1500+/month. Depends on where you go and how long you want to stay.

      Good luck with your search and have fun in your travels!

      • Thank you Kelly, Yes, campgrounds.
        I did not know about the campedium and Dyrt sites, so I will explore what they offer.
        I had the thought of finding a campground in an area with nature and vistas that appeal and activities and community offerings that would be fun to be part of. Like farmers markets or community connections… staying there for a month or so using it as base camp and exploring the area in more depth.
        Then doing some boonedocking and 1 or two night stays as I meandered to the next base camp campground…
        I was looking for a tool that would help me plan out not only the campgrounds that let me get a sense of what that location was like- to see if it was a good fit. And the surrounding community. But a tool that could then help me find and plan out overnight spots along the route and the route to get to my next good fit base camp.
        That way I could have a general direction and loose plan while being spontaneous with the next wow that I came to as I turned the next corner. 🙂 Your site is such a helpful resource. I appreciate finding you as I turned an internet exploring corner.

        • I don’t know about any tool that can or will help you plan out overnight spots- and I simply stay at Walmarts or truck stops. I find these using the AllStays camping app. It was $10, and I bought it long ago. But it has paid off.

          You might also look at a site called “Workaway.info”. You can work for people and stay on their property or farms. There are opportunities to learn farming, homesteading, or just helping someone with X projects at their place. This will give you an ‘in’ with a local immediately, and certainly you can explore an area while you are living there. Some of them are community minded with more than one person working at that location. Seems a super interesting way to learn a new area and get to know locals right away.

          You’ll also save a lot on campground fees!

          Good luck!

  • Great article. I’m a travel nurse looking to move to RV living because it can be difficult finding affordable accommodations in every city and sometimes with short notice. I want to go with something fairly small (under 20′) and will be parked for 3 months at a time. I’m doing a lot of research first and trying to find a unit with a lot of storage and a space that doesn’t feel too cramped. You provided a great check-list to look out for so I’ll be bringing that along with me. I didn’t really think I needed a dinette but now I think I do as it serves many other purposes. I’m hoping I make the right choice ????

    • Hi Andrea,

      Good choice of living! My mom was a traveling physical therapist for a good number of years while living in her class a RV.

      You can always find better deals on used RVs. There’s a good chance that all these people who bought up RVs during the pandemic will find that they really didn’t want an RV and sell them in the next year or two. But you probably want something sooner than that.

      It’s a very personal choice. Oh, and I LOVE my huge booth table. Yep, so many different uses for it. Think tax time. ???? You need somewhere to spread things out and sort!

      Good luck with your choice!

  • Hi. We have no experience with RV’s or anything like that, but my wife and I used to enjoy the outdoors when we were young… before we started on our careers. In a few years (3 – 5) we will probably retire and we would like to travel on something that can take us places where there are no paved roads (we are considering traveling from Guyana to Argentina), and we would also like to be able to drive thru cities.

    An expedition-type vehicle would be nice, but they are too expensive. We are thinking on a truck camper. We like the F 550’s 4×4 (or similar) and the camper should not have slide-outs, no basement, a side entrance and the truck cabin should be accessible to the camper. We are thinking about the F550 or similar because it seems large and strong; no slide outs because we don’t want additional headaches and we would like to go into the camper and the bathroom at any time – even when we are moving. No basement to facilitate access from the truck cabin to the camper (and vice versa).
    We like the NorthStar 12 STC. It seems to be the perfect size, it has a side entrance and there are no slide outs. But I personally don’t trust the laminated wood frame. I think with time and humidity the wood could absorb moisture and detach the laminate or spoil the wood.

    Questions:
    What other brands are out there similar to the NorthStar?
    Any thoughts about the best materials for building a camper?
    Any thoughts about our ideas? Are we thinking as typical non-experience first timers?

    Thanks, Gabriel.

    • Wow! That sounds like an amazing trip! A truck camper would do you well in that case. The smaller you are, the better. And the more nimble. Heck, I tried to google maps from Guyana to Argentina and it can’t find a route!! I thought Google Maps used dirt roads. Maybe not down there.

      Let us know how it goes when you finally do it! Would love to hear what camper you got and how it went.

    • Hey Gabriel,

      I thought I’d jump in here and add to what Kelly has already said.

      Wood frames aren’t inherently bad, unless they aren’t built correctly. And moisture shouldn’t be an issue if you maintain the seals in your rig properly. This means the Dicor around all ‘holes’, the roof covering itself, and any other place moisture may gain entry.

      You should be doing this regardless of how the RV is constructed.

      Have you checked out Bigfoot RV? They make truck campers with no slides using a two-piece fiberglass construction method. This might alleviate some of your concerns with wood framing.

      Definitely sounds like quite the adventure you are considering! I wish I could give you words of wisdom about taking such a trip, but I have never RV’d outside the United States.

      Have fun with whatever solution/RV you decide to go with!

  • I have lived in a travel trailer, and my dad built his own motorhome that we traveled in alot as a child. I am now considering living full time in one again (alone). My dilemma is class A vs. 5th wheel. I want a garage as a workout room (can also store a smart car) as I am an avid rower/cyclist. I will still have to work for about 10 years in one place (physician), so I will mainly be stationary in a campground. However about 4 times a year I make trips for 1 – 2 week regattas and would love to bring some teammates with me and be a “home base”. Certainly easier/more social in a motorhome. But living mainly in one spot would be easier in a 5th wheel, (not to mention better choices with toy haulers). Any advice on how to weigh the importance of periodic trips vs. Ease/space while stationary?

    • Hi Tara,

      If you want an RV with a garage (aka a toy hauler) you really don’t have much choice but to go with some sort of trailer. As there are very, very few Class A Toy Hauler options available. And I’d be surprised if any of them could handle the weight of a Smart Car (though I’m definitely not 100% certain on that).

      Furthermore, if you are going to be mainly stationary then a 5th wheel makes A LOT more sense than a Class A. They have a lot more perceived interior room due to their high ceilings, don’t have an engine and powertrain that is just sitting there (more expensive and sitting in one place for extended periods of time doesn’t do an engine/powertrain any favors), and just make a much better condo on wheels for most people.

      Of course you are going to need the properly sized truck (one ton dually at the very least) to tow a 5th wheel toy hauler that can potentially carry a Smart Car, so keep that in mind. Not gonna be cheap, even if you buy a good used unit (but that route would be a lot smarter/cheaper than new).

      A 5th wheel toy hauler is probably going to be setup to sleep a decent number of people for those times when you want to bring others along.

      So my vote is a 5th wheel toy hauler with the correct tow vehicle (truck).

  • I’ve been looking into a van or RV purchase for a while and I can say this is the most thorough and articulate summary I’ve read. Kudos to the author. Thanks for providing such a comprehensive view! You really have to consider all these things and go see many vehicle models in person to see if they will (hopefully) work best for you & your needs.

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for the kudos! I do hope this helps you in your deciding process. Yes, go see as many different variations of models as you possibly can. Sit in them. Lay down in them. Picture having others over and how comfortable will it be to sit down and have a conversation with them. Picture what you will use your RV for. How much you will be inside of it.

      Best not to have a pesky sales guy standing there chatting your ear off, but good luck with that, lol!

      Anyway, enjoy the ride and thank you for taking the time out of your day to drop your kind comment!

  • My spelling is not that good but I will try, thank you so much for this information. We sold everything seven years ago (our house was paid off) and decided to live in a fithwheel and I was going to show my wife the sights. We had gone camping and talked to the host and were thinking of becoming camp host at some time. Well, what really happen is we moved to a RV park and put our application online to be camp host got hired and never got to do no traveling. that was seven years ago this coming December. After reading your article it has put another spark in me and made me realize why we did this in the first place. I feel down deep we need to get back on our plan because we’re not getting no younger, again thank you for this article it’s open my eyes back up again.

    • Hi Clifton,

      I love putting sparks into people! Hopefully you already have the perfect vehicle. Sounds like you are ok with it as you have been in it for seven years. Yes, absoutely, get out there and hit the country! At least hit the west. Much more in the way of sights to see. : )

      And nope, none of us are getting any younger, are we? The time is NOW! Do it and enjoy!

      • They can consider leaving the 5th wheel parked and get an inexpensive small pull trailer and go on trips periodically then park the small trailer in storage when not using.
        Wolf pups as low as 10k new

  • Wow! That was very helpful and full of information. I’d like, for my situation, to purchase a Class B. I want to say “Thank you” to you for sharing your time and knowledge ❣️. Karen

  • Thank you so much for your helpful information. Selling the Concrete and T1-11 and going to a friend’s property to live out the rest of these 67 years. Looking forward to your tips and tricks to make the right choice on my forever here home. Blessings ✌

    • Hi Frances,

      Thank you for the kudos- we hope you like your new digs! We hope you can do some fun traveling in your RV along the way.

  • Thanks for this info! You solidified so many things we’re contemplating. Size, space, grounds, repairs, tanks, expectations and the 3 senses.. Lol! Absolute perfect read!

    • Hi KeeWee!

      First, I love your name!

      Second, thank you so much, I am very happy to have helped you out! Good luck with your choice. Just remember, just because you buy X RV doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. Buy smart, get the best deal you possibly can, and then if it turns out to be the wrong choice, you can always sell and get a better fit.

      I’ve had my trailer since the start, going on 6 years now. But MANY of my friends have changed RVs in that time. Some more than others, heh. (And I am still on the hunt for a van to tow with, which may end up being ALL I have as I may ditch the trailer. Only time will tell)

      So again, your first choice may not be your last. You may very well start with a ‘starter’ RV. LOL!

      Good luck!

    • Hi Greg,

      Huh, it looks ok on our end. However, something is wrong with the blog post photos on our homepage. We are looking into it today. Maybe whatever is affecting that is also affecting the color of the script on the page on your device. Sorry if so, hopefully it’s resolved with the photo issue. Maybe try checking on a different device?

      Thanks.

  • Kelly,

    Your article is great! I’m thoroughly enjoying yalls entire site. So far it seems packed full of “honest” info. No rainbow and butterfly painted stories and I love and need that. In the next year (likely less than) I plan to go RV full time. I’m 28, no partner or children and work remote. Georgia is home and I love it but every road trip I’ve made to Arizona, Colorado e.t.c and each stop in the states along the way drives me to want to see more! A quick 1 hour stop just doesn’t give enough time. I’m familiar with roughing it, my dad and I have done 8 week stays in military tents in Colorado! But I don’t want to just rough it I want to live and enjoy it. So plans are set, but still intimidating. I’m researching a ton! I do have a question and would like yalls feedback.

    I will be pulling a travel trailer with a half ton. I grew up with my dad owning semi company so I’m very familiar with rigs, limits, e.t.c. I love my truck and currently it’s the only option. I have my specs and started off wanting a 6,500-7,000 pound dry TT but now a month later I’m down to wanting a 5,000-6,200 dry weight unit instead. (That dry weight, plus cargo seems to be a better fit weight.) And now looking for a TT around 25-29ft instead of 28+ only. Any thoughts there? Space is a big thing for me. I need office space and will have 1000-2000 lbs of cargo from what I’ve figured so far (that includes water or lack of and will change depend on boondocking or not). I “feel” as if I’m checking each spot off on your list of things to consider. I’m social but also don’t mind being alone. I can work on practically anything. Regardless of will to fix things though I definitely want a reliable TT instead of an all out pain. I took yalls list of reliable brands down! Next big question I just discovered is 4 season RVs… I did not consider that until now. I’m looking to buy a used RV no later than 2010 model. How can I tell if it’s good for cold or has a 4 season like build to it? Just see if there’s exterior piping or not? Or is there more to it. I never thought much into winter months but I do think I’ll definitely be seeing some freezing temps plenty often enough.

    I look forward to hearing back and will be continuing to read more of yalls articles! Again, wonderful website! Thanks!!!

    • Hi Ted,

      Awe, thank you so much for the kudos. Glad you are loving Camp Addict!

      First, congratulations on your upcoming full-time, and at such a young age! Keep up the research. It’s going to be one heck of a ride. : )

      You asked about the size… well, I am always going to say smaller is better. (I’m still considering van life…) You’d be surprised how little you really need and how small you can live. You won’t have ‘office space’ in a small RV. You will have a space that you multi-task in. It will be your office space and your dining area and your socialization area as well.

      Still, it works! I need ‘office space’ too- and I have it- my booth area. My printer is stored under the stove. I bring it out when I need it. You can make it work. But the smaller you are, the lighter you are and the easier travel days are. AND there’s less to keep up/maintain. But that’s just me.

      You asked about four-seasons… well, I don’t recommend staying long/at all where it will get down to freezing. I mean, why would you? You’re on wheels!

      If you plan to boondock, you can’t plan to do it where it snows. You’ll risk getting snowed in. They don’t plow roads going into public lands. If you are going to be in campgrounds, you CAN stay in freezing temps, but again, why? (Unless you want to ski/board)

      Four seasons is great, but mine is not four seasons, and I don’t have double-pane windows, and I do fine if it drops below freezing with my propane heater or furnace on. I do ok because my water lines are all inside the living space.

      I keep it really warm in here and at night I open cabinets where applicable so the warmth is sure to get to those lines. If you have a Buddy heater or a Wave propane heater, it’s easy (and cheaper than using your furnace) to stay warm. You just have to worry about your lines. Four season RVs will have protected lines but if you stay where it’s cold ENOUGH, you still have the potential to have frozen lines. RVs simply aren’t made for very cold extremes. Ask the dealer if it’s a 4-season RV. If he doesn’t know, look it up.

      You probably already know Arctic Fox and Outdoors RV are known for being very good 4-season RVs but there are others. But again- it depends on how much you want to be in freezing temps (Don’t do it, lol) and for how long.

      Hope this helps, and good luck with everything!

      PS- consider joining Xscapers if you are looking for people. There aren’t many your age (there’s some), but we don’t care about age. If you get along, you get along! Hopefully we can start having convergences again someday soon.

      PPS- 2,000 lbs of (mostly) stuff? I have gotten rid of probably 3/4 of the stuff I started off with when I hit the road. You’d be amazed at how much you don’t really need! : )

      • Kelly,

        Wow, great advice! I could imagine this will be an experience. And also thanks for the great response and the extra tips! I have almost no prior experience with RV’s but plenty with tent life, traveling, and camping. So this RV life part is all new to me. Honestly it seems right though!

        With weights, I was thinking about the occasional 400lbs or so of water weight, generator, plus around 1,000lbs or so of personal belongings… But again, I am a newbie so that weight could drop a lot and/or my estimates be off! My thoughts of 1,000-2,000lbs over dry weight was mostly to not underestimate and end up overloading the GVWR’s.

        Cold temps, you’re right on without a doubt! I was thinking back to some Colorado trips I’ve had in the past. Early fall nights would drop to the mid and upper 20’s “occasionally.” It wasn’t great to wake up in a tent to LOL but, I will take your advice and look at avoiding the cold. Still speaking of cold I know (or think) even while RV’ing and like camping the occasional freeze temps are bounds to happen to me for a few days. I may be overthinking or over-preparing again but the thoughts of the freezing temps made me begin to wonder if I should do anything to make sure the RV I end up buying is for sure going to handle those occasional freeze temps (if it happens). I am not sure what to look for or what to avoid with an RV purchase in regards to freezing temps and since I am looking to buy used (and likely private party) that was what I was wondering about.

        Thanks for the Xscapers tip. I haven’t heard of that and will check it out, it sounds interesting. I agree on the age topic. Luckily I am always around generations older than myself with golf, business, activities, etc. so hopefully that will all fall right in to my normal life. I tend to be a 50/50 introvert/extrovert. I love alone time and plenty of it but can mingle with crowds, groups and people in a flash. My plans are to stay as little or as long in towns as I feel fit and go out and be social all over. Whether that be boondocking, campgrounds or non RV related activities. I guess that will be something to learn about as it happens.

        Those two brands look like great RV’s and I am already scouting them out!

        Oh and lastly with the office space “needs/wants” (and I am sure I will end up adapting and compromising) I currently have a 4 ft desk with desktop, 2 screens, printer, and half file cabinet. I constantly feel it’s still not enough space to work and run my business from and was concerned with downsizing. There is tons of paperwork… I was thinking about getting a bunk bed unit and tearing the bunks out for an open space for the “office” LOL. But if that’s not the best way to go or if it won’t workout well then I will have to adapt! I am not going to let that one concern be the stopping point in my plans if it poses as an issue.

        I love traveling and love the outdoors. I do not like feeling stagnant with always being in the same place and these last 4 years have been that. Same places, same people, etc. Love them and all around me but I also love exploring and adventures. Every time I roadtrip for work, I always want and wonder what it would be like to stay and visit certain areas for days, weeks or months instead of only grabbing dinner before hitting the road again to get to the destination. So this new idea for me to uproot and RV sounds perfect!

        Thanks again!! The extra tips, advice and detailed response was great and much appreciated! I will be locked on to yalls site and look forward to more articles. Best wishes and great travels!

        • Yep, you definitely don’t want to push your tow capacity, not even close. If you have to worry that you do or don’t fill your water tank, you’ve pushed it too close. Ask Marshall. LOL! I used to not have enough power to pull my trailer, either, and it wasn’t the most fun on long grades.

          Yeah, it’s just best to try to stay away from freezing temps with an RV. But if you see yourself being in them some, try to get pipes inside/or 4-seasons RV.

          Xscapers is wonderful. It’s how I found my ‘tribe’ of people. And we like to party when we can. SO FUN! But it’s not party all the time, not by a long shot.

          I know people who have more than one computer/screen in their RV. Yep, you may simply have to renovate a small space in a unit and you’ll be fine! Or find one with a big desk area. It’s possible. But not a popular item in most RVs. Bunk space could be perfect.

          Keep coming here when you have questions, hopefully you can find answer here. We keep putting out content but can’t put it all out at once. Wish we could!

          Cheers!

  • Nice article, as a career Master RV tech and RVer, you gave good truthful advice as only experiance can. An RVer MUST have 3 senses! A sense of adventure, common sense ,and a sense of humor!!!

    • George, you’ve got that right!!! LOLOL!

      You must have the three senses! And boy, not too many with all three these days it seems. YIKES!!

      But I think our readers are the good and smart ones. ????

  • Great article as in a year I am wanting to go full-time in some type of unit this gave me many things to think about and compare thank you

  • KELLY I read an article earlier that Marshall had written and just read your article I find them both very interesting and very helpful! I’ll look forward to reading more of your articles

    • Hey Jerry,

      Super to hear that you were helped out by our stuff! Thank you for taking the time for a nice and welcomed comment. We will keep doing our best to keep you (and everyone) ‘RV informed’ as much as two human beings possibly can.

      Hope you have or get an RV this summer and maybe we’ll see you out there. : )

    • Hi Glen,

      Hmmm, max length?

      Well, as I am sure you have already surmised, the longer you go, the less places you will be able to access. I have seen all sizes and types ‘out there’ from motorhomes to fifths to TTs. So if you have a giant 35′ TT, there WILL be places you can go, but of course some/a lot of spots (the better ones, for sure) might be off-limits.

      Why do I say ‘the better ones’?

      Because if someone can only get their 40′ motorhome only to a few spots, then they are limited to those spots. That’s going to be where you have to park as well. Others who are afraid to go deeper down a road will stay there, too. So the ‘easy’ places are going to be the most crowded, least ideal spots.

      Often, the junk spots are very close to the main road, maybe in a wide flat area. Not ideal. It really takes away from the experience. May as well be in a campground with the crowding, road noise, dogs running free and kids yelling and screaming outside.

      So, for me, my max recommendation is my current length.

      24′.

      I would NOT go bigger. It’s just going to be harder to tow, to get in and out of businesses, and I’ll have less spots I can just GO to without stressing if I will be able to access it or not.

      In 24′, I have almost never been limited to where an RV would reasonable be expected to go.

  • I just discovered your article Kelly. Excellent information and analysis. Thank you. I look forward to whatever you write next.
    Donal

    • Hi Donal,

      Why thank you! I hope to keep up this standard! LOL!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, hope it helped, and thank you for taking the time to comment. ????

  • Love Kelly’s energy and creativity in putting together this insightful material. Looking forward to more! Thanks from a South Carolina Class A RV’er.

    • Awe, that’s so kind of you to share, Ed! Thank you so much. Warms my heart.

      More is on its way soon!

  • I have been researching for quite a while. You have put together a very good article, impressive actually. Well done.

    • Wow, thank you, Lonnie! So happy you found this helpful. Good luck with your search. Oh, and feel free to send me some kudos any time! ; )

    • Hi Alan,

      Thank you for inquiring, but we haven’t as of today. However, there are many good articles on this topic out there.

      Most full-timers use, mostly for tax purposes (No state income tax) Florida, Texas, and South Dakota for states of domicile. There are other factors to consider, health insurance being one of the most critical ones.

      We both use Escapee’s mail-forwarding service. I am domiciled in Florida while Marshall is domiciled in Texas.

      There are other mail-forwarding services to be found if that is all you are looking for. Sorry, we have just not had the time yet to hit this subject.

      If you have any other questions about this and about Escapee’s mail-forwarding, just let us know.

      Good luck in your ventures!

  • Another factor is ability to climb stairs. My wife is disabled so 5th wheels are not an option. We have a class A and I installed a lift in the doorway to get her in and out.

    • Hi Chuck,

      Thank you for this valuable comment- you are absolutely correct. Stairs are a big factor for anyone with limited mobility. In fact, my mom is currently looking for another RV, and stairs are a huge factor. I’m discouraging her from getting a fifth-wheel as most have interior stairs.

      I have thought about her getting a lift as well, in the event she cannot install an appropriate ramp to get into her RV. I would love to see photos of your installation along with how you worked it, if you wouldn’t mind sharing!

      Thank you.

    • Thank you so much… you know just how it is to try to pick the right/best RV for you.

      I’m always dreaming of another RV, though I love mine so. I am truly afraid to ever get rid of it for fear I’ll never have one I like as much, lol! I need a fleet of them. : )

      • First let me set ya up … Lol we will be selling our house to move to a new state however this new state is super high with cost of living (homes and renting) be much cheaper to RV it… In order to get the room we need im looking at a thor outlaw 38kb turning the garage into my sons personal room after the atv is taken out and towing my van with NY mobility scooter inside its belly…i was also looking at a destination trailer with 2 lofts but then I would have to buy a 1 ton tuck and figure out what to do with my scooter and how i would be able to get around town (the camp ground is about 20 mins from town) if I go this way im praying 2 bills but they equal to the class A …now for the question: which one is more cost effective and would be more practical for us knowing ill be stationary for school year and out and about during sumers?

        • Hi Ranae,

          Going full-time RV life, eh? I do love it, but it’s not without its issues. Especially when staying in campgrounds.

          First, I am not sure what you mean by 2 bills. 2K? Without knowing the cost of each of the items, I don’t know how to let you know what would be most cost effective. I’d say the long-term prohibitive part will likely be the campground fees and the monthly payments on whatever you buy. I’d look into those costs the hardest. (And don’t forget to look at final cost- how much you paid for X WITH interest when all is said and done.)

          I WILL advise you to make sure you have your own transportation. The van route sounds best. You do not want to be stuck in a campground without having reliable transportation. This is no good. I’d stick with practicality so it sounds like the Outlaw would be the way to go. Who wants to drive a huge truck around all the time, anyway? Not me! I just sold my Ford Raptor and got a Toyota 4Runner and COULDN’T be happier!

          I hope that helps to answer your question. It’s hard to know how many variables and factors you need to take into consideration to give a good answer. Just do your math on all the parts (payments with interest, campground fees, gas money to get into town, insurances, etc.) Keep in mind that campground RV life can be as expensive or more expensive than having a mortgage or renting!

          Good luck

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >
    Send this to a friend