Some of the RVs I’ve lived in
Living in small spaces appeals to me. So living mostly solo in various RVs for the past 20 years has worked well. Started off in a van then slide-in cabover pickup truck camper, school bus conversion, bumper pull trailer, truck camper on trailer, motor home and 5th-wheel. I’ve learned to be picky like any home buyer. It took two years of hunting to find the 34 foot 5th-wheel I currently live in that was within my budget. I knew what I wanted, a rear living room with big Imax windows and slide-outs to make the space livable even when pulled in. I can easily see the 5th-wheel hitch but have trouble with a bumper hitch. My preference includes maintaining only one engine as my tow vehicle. I happen to like driving a truck. However your needs differ ensure you take some of the suggestions below into consideration to find the right RV for you.
Not all RVs, or people, are created equal
There are many considerations that potential RV buyers should think about. Go to the RV shows, even if you’re not considering buying new. This offers you the opportunity to check out various floor plans beyond looking at a picture. If more than one person will be living or traveling in this wheelestate it has to be comfortable to all. What are you’re needs?
Solo, couple, family, weekender, vacation, fulltime, boondocking off the grid, RV parks or campgrounds, extra toys like bikes, kayaks, motor cycles, power boats, ORVs, hobbies… Don’t be afraid to make a list.
Think about the basic living space. Rear living room, bedroom, bath room or kitchen? Because I spend most of my inside time at my desk in the living room and very little time in the kitchen I prefer the large windows in a rear living room. Yet I still have to cook and clean up the mess. Stand at the kitchen sink and pretend to do dishes. Will the sink accommodate your largest pan? Is the sink so far back you’re leaning over the counter in a back breaking position? Do you bump your head on the overhead cupboards? Are there enough cupboards for even a reduced lifestyle? Remember to consider weight so you don’t destroy your rolling home.
Sit at the booth or table. Did you have to squeeze in like a size 12 into a 2? How much elbow space? Would the table top hold 2-4 dinner plates without overlap? I prefer a free-standing table with chairs but that removes storage found under the bench seats of a booth. Plus the booth will usually make into a bed.
Wherever you will sleep, bed, booth or couch, lay down on that puppy, for a while. Both of you together if that’s the case. Does someone have to crawl over the other and is there head room for that? Some RVs advertise a “queen” bed but it’s not always a standard size so sheets are different. If/when the mattress needs replacing the odd ball size will have to be special ordered. Oh yea, I should mention that all items purchased at a RV Store are usually expensive.
Dare I mention the bathroom, if it has one. Not usually master bedroom size with a garden tub. Whether it’s a room of its own or not, sit down on the toilet. Time to pretend again. Can you reach the toilet paper without bashing elbows or tweaking your back? Same goes for showering, which you might already be in if it’s a shit/shower/shave style. Can you stand up, and turn around?
Slide-outs change a narrow road-legal width into a wider floor plan that offers a little more space and comfort. I put off slides until this unit for several reasons. Foremost, if a slide won’t come in via the handy little button operating a motor the next option includes hand cranking with multiple lift push human labor. Living alone and boondocking my ultimate fear was a slide malfunction. Would I be able to get slides back in by myself?
The other slide-out dilemma includes what you can’t get to when the slides are in. I’ve seen some strange layouts that make the kitchen useless and the bathroom inaccessible. Does that work for you? When on the road I enjoy the freedom to stop and make a meal rather than always pay to eat out, or think ahead which is not my style. During a quick park there’s not always space to open the slide(s). Can you access the refrigerator, sink, stove, pantry?
RVs come in many shapes and sizes to suite different needs, and bigger is not always better. Talk to RVers who will have many more suggestions I’m sure. Take your time looking around. I’ve had good luck finding used RVs on craigslist.
Making a purchase of my own
So why all this RV advice? Because I’ve been practicing what I preach. For about a year I’ve been shopping for yet another slide-in cabover truck camper. Yes, I live in a RV. It’s my big home that basically gets moved twice a year from my central Arizona winter place to the North Rim Grand Canyon. I don’t consider this camping and am no longer overly fond of sleeping on the ground yet still like to go to remote places. The truck camper is my toy to go play. And I found one. But in the excitement forgot to take photos and I haven’t brought it home yet. Soon. Then I can take a road trip.
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