One of the most frequent questions I get from wannabe RVers, whether they are considering a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, is what size to get. And there is no way I can answer that question, because there is no one size fits all. Each of us has our own needs and priorities, and the 40 foot long diesel pusher that works for me may not fit you at all.
RV size is a tradeoff. Bigger RVs give you lots more living room, more storage space, and offer more options than smaller units do. However, smaller RVs are easier to maneuver on the highway, they allow you to get into state and national park campgrounds where a big rig may not fit easily, and usually get better fuel mileage.
Do you like having the ability to carry plenty of tools, or craft supplies, or books? Are you inside people (yes, there are a lot of RVers who prefer to spend their time inside rather than out), do you have a pet or two, or do you enjoy cooking? If so, the cargo carrying capacity of a bigger motorhome or fifth wheel, more living space for you and your furkids, and the larger kitchen might suit you.
But maybe you’re an outdoor type who likes getting off the beaten path, finding that hidden camping spot next to your favorite fishing stream, and being able to get away from the crowds. Do you enjoy hiking and bird watching more than web surfing and the boob tube? If so, a smaller motorhome, maybe a Class C or even a B-van may well be the perfect RV for you.
We know many fulltime RVers and snowbirds who live in huge rigs that feature everything from multiple slideouts to fireplaces, dishwashers, and two bathrooms. We have also known people who are quite comfortable in pickup campers. One couple we met years ago at Rainbow’s End campground in Livingston, Texas were fulltiming in a tiny little10 foot Casita travel trailer that wasn’t much bigger than the sleeper of a semi-truck. In fact, before retiring they were over the road truckers who had lived out of their sleeper, so to them the Casita was palatial by comparison!
Just remember, no matter what you have, from the smallest or oldest RV in the campground to the biggest mansion on wheels, if it meets your needs it’s the right RV for you. And no matter how big or small it is or how much it costs, the view out the window is the same.
Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my stand alone mystery set in a small town in Ohio in 1951. It’s grittier than my Big Lake series, but everybody who has read it says it’s my best work yet. I tend to agree. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – Calories are tiny little creatures that live inside your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every week or two.
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Nick, We couldn’t agree with you more on this — from personal experience. We made a choice that we thought was the right one… and it wasn’t, and it was an expensive mistake. We now have a much smaller rig and enjoy it so much better.
This post reminded me about a comment that I left on The Bayfield Bunch blog on February 23rd that I wanted to make into a blog post, which I did: Big is not necessarily better!, and gave you credit for the inspiration to go back and get the material.
How right you are on this topic. We had the 40’s then down to a 25′ for Alaska trip. Now back to 32′ Winnebago for more mobility. In fact we have more space than we can fill up. Hope to get back on the road 5-6 months per year. Serious case of hitch itch. We continue to enjoy your blog and books. One question, how do we tell on the electronic magazine what is experation date?
We have friends who fulltimed for a year with one of those motorcycle trailers that fold out to make a bed. It was pulled by their Prius. They now part time ( 4 or 5 months at a time) in a Casita. Hardy people for sure. (BTW they are in their mid 60’s).
I am much too much of a wimp to do that.
Gene, on both the print and the digital edition we send renewal notices two issues before you are due to renew, and then again with you last issue.
Those of us who live most of our lives inside our computers can get by with a very small rig. I love my B van but it is because I had a custom interior done so I have a six-foot long kitchen counter with only a sink in it plus a desk at which I can sit comfortably in my computer chair for hours on end.
I’m so glad you wrote this. When we were getting ready to go fulltiming, we knew we wanted a motorhome but neither of us wanted a really big one. I started a thread on an RV forum asking for imput from anyone fulltiming in one under 35′. You would not believe the responses I got! People were downright obnoxious.
One person even said if we couldn’t afford something bigger, we shouldn’t be fulltiming. It was so weird. It was never about the money, we just really don’t like big motorhomes or fifth wheels. We almost gave into the peer pressure and started looking at bigger ones but I hated them. Luckily, early in our search, we walked into a slightly used 32′ Tiffin Allegra and knew immediately it was the RV for us. It has been perfect for us and we both frequently say how glad we are that we didn’t buy something bigger.
I’ve heard many, many people say “buy the biggest one you can afford” and I think that’s terrible advice. I’ve seen several couples quit fulltiming because they just didn’t enjoy driving around in the monster they got talked into. Even now sometimes, when we tell someone our motorhome is 32′, they act like they pity us. It’s so funny because I don’t envy the big motorhome owners at all, if anything, I envy the vandwellers!
I’ll add one more thing…My advice to anyone considering fulltiming is “Don’t take too much advice.” Yes, it’s smart to read blogs and forums to learn from more experienced folks but this is YOUR life. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing or follow all the generally excepted wisdom from the “experts.” Take it all in and consider it but create the life that fits you.
Accepted not excepted. Geesh, I think I got a little over-excited there. 🙂