Finding the Right RV can make or break not only your travels but your wallet. When looking to the right RV there will be a few concepts to look for before shopping and during the hunt. We will look at a few things to help narrow done the RV shopping for you.
Types of RVs
What type of RV is the right RV for you?
There are a few different types of RVs in the markets. Here we will break it down for the types of RVs, the average length, the average weight, and the average number of slides.
A concept in RVs that started in the late 1990s, the slide out option was added to expand the width of the RV and increase the living space. RV now can come with no slides or as many as six. These will increase the overall cost and weight while adding another maintenance concerns.
Finding the right RV for your travel needs is based on first looking at if you want a drivable RV or a towable RV. Both options have their Pros and Cons we will discuss in a moment.
Here is a list of each type of RV:
- Class A ~ Diesel (Diesel Pusher): These are the large RVs powered by a diesel engine. The Class A Diesel Pusher is the top of the line RV with luxury and all the accommodations of a home. Some of these RVs are owned by the rich and famous that at totally custom. They can range from the basic stock 30 ft RV to the 48 ft. totally custom. Since they have a diesel engine they are great for towing a secondary vehicle or “turtle.”
- Class A ~ Gas: Only a small step down from the Diesel Pusher, the Class A Gas RV provides some of the comforts of the Diesel. These are more for the weekender or people not planning on towing a turtle. A noticeable difference will come in the overall power while climbing mountains. Ths gas version will be a cheater at the gas station but will lack in the climbing and range from 24 ft to 40 ft.
- Class B: Whether you choose a gas or diesel, Class B is not much larger than a van. They can have a number of comforts and are great for weekends and short trips. The Class B RV is a great option for a single person or a couple who like spending time in the outdoors. The Class B can have as many as 3 slides and be up to 30 ft in length.
- Class C: A combination of the Class A and the Class B, the Class C will have a sleeping area over the driver and can be longer than the Class B. One of the biggest differences you will see is the overall space Class C provides the owners. These can be used by full-time RVers since they may have more insulation on the floors and walls. The Class C is a larger vehicle than the Class B and can range up to 35 ft.
- Fifth Wheel: The Fifth Wheel is the top of the line in the towable RV category. Like the Class A, the Fifth Wheel can be fully customized or purchased from stock. Over the years fifth wheels have evolved to have the largest selection to choose from. Although you will need a vehicle to tow this RV, some fifth wheels can be towed with a half tow truck while others will need a much larger truck. Fifth Wheels can have up to 6 slides and range from 24 ft to as much as 45 ft.
- Travel Trailer: Ranging from the small lite weight hybrid travel trailer to a larger luxury travel trailer. The travel trailer can be towed by any range of vehicles. This makes it a good option for a family just getting started in the RV lifestyle. They can be easily hooked up for a quick last minute trip for the weekend. Travel Trailer has a large option of slides from 1 to 6 that extend from 8 inches to 18 inches. This will extend the living area for more a comfortable and relaxing area.
- Toy Hauler: We put the Toy Haulers in a separate category since they can be purchased as a Class A, Fifth Wheel, or as a Travel Trail. This gives you the option of bringing toys like motorcycles, snowmobiles, and a golf cart. While not traveling and at a location. This section of the RV converts into added living space, a workshop, or a bedroom. Some Toy Haulers will use the dropdown gate as an outdoor living area as well.
- Pop-up: The lightest of the towable RVs, the Pop-up is a great option for getting off the ground, yet feeling like your in a tent. Some of the first RVs or campers where that of a Pop-up. Over the past years, manufacturers have been adding small slides to the Pop-up adding to the dining area or kitchen area. The Pop-up have canvas walls while the front and rear pop out into sleeping areas, hence the name.
- Truck Slide-in: Truck Slide-in or camper have been around almost since the pickup truck was born. These simply slid into the bed of a pickup truck and are great for the adventurer going off-road. Although so may not consider these as an RV, they have all the comforts of an RV and can be purchased with a slide or two.
Driveable vs Towable
One big decision to make is if you want a drivable vs. a towable RV. Both options have pros and cons which should be assessed properly to purchase. Here is a short list of pro and cons of both, you can come up with your own.
- Drivable :
- All the comforts of home
- Prepare meals while someone else drives
- More storage
- 2 vehicles to maintain with turtle
- Difficult to maneuver in cities
- Easy to maneuver
- Lightweight options
- Need additional towing equipment
- Longer set up times
- Less storage
Although everyone will have a different budget range, we don’t want to go bankrupt if this is just for vacations or weekends. An Rv, especially the Larger Luxurious Class A RV could cost upwards of $500k or more depending on customizing, If the weekend warrior is in the mindset, a used RV for a beginner is a good choice.
When considering your budget, think of the fuel costs when looking at a drivable unit. Some are becoming pretty fuel efficient while not giving up some of the options. If the towable is your choice, remember your tow vehicle will have a noticeable decrease in fuel economy.
For example: My first RV was a 24 ft travel trailer that was a hybrid. The weight fully load was at 7430 lbs., I only know this because I had it weighed at a local weigh station. I was towing with a 2007 Ford F-150 Super Crew with the 5.4L v 8. Normally I was getting about 15 to 17 mpg. While towing, my mpg was down to 10 to 12 mpg.
While some may not think the travel destination is not important at this point of the Budget. Registration and insurance will also be an expense to consider. Check with your insurance company to see what options and what coverage you will need. Some insurance companies will cover a vehicle in tow under your current policy.
New or Used
NEW or Used? What are your options? The best way to look at this starts with how much are you willing to jump into this lifestyle? A used RV may be the best option even to save money in the beginning for a full-time RV as well as the newbie. Look at the options you want then go online and do the research. There are a lot of great used, well-maintained RVs for reasonable prices.
Once you have been on the road for a period of time you can start looking for a newer RV. New RVs do come with some added bonuses like extended warranties, while some dealer offer incentives to cut the cost. If you are in the market at the right time, try heading to an RV show. The dealer is given options from manufactures to give added price decreases at RV shows to more new products.
Finding the Right RV as a beginner doesn’t have to be difficult. Knowing what you want and where to start is really all about your adventure. Remember your new RV will be your home for a vacation or if you are jumping in fulltime. It will need to be comfortable and affordable. You don’t need to go bankrupt buying an RV.
When you start looking there will be some options that can be changed in and out in the new RV. It’s like buying a car in one sense, but you are buying a home.
Good luck in your search.