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Old 10-01-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 99
How can I most easily distinguish "weekender" vs. snowbird/fulltimer RVs?

How can I most easily distinguish "weekender" vs. snowbird/fulltimer RVs in my search for a used fifth-wheel for permanent year-round living on my rural, on-grid, Bryan/CollegeStation/Caldwell, TX site? (It will rarely, if ever, get moved from the property, if things work out well. I live alone, and am willing to do diligent routine maintenance/upkeep. After the first winter, I will probably add total shade and additional canopy/roof shelter for it.)

Yes, from my research and dealer visits, I'm aware of the more elite and best constructed full-timer units but it is many of the other lesser-known models/brands which can be harder for me to ascertain their "category". And I understand that some of the best known full-timer models have their own lower-level economy model alternatives meant for the weekender---and I don't yet know those distinctions. (Yes, price strata can sometimes tip me off but I'd rather defer to those with more experience and expertise.)

Should I look to the RV Consumer Group guides at libraries for classifying full-time vs. snowbird vs. weekend RVs? Or can I find some general "lists" online to help me figure out why one 36' 2005 is $29,000 while another is just $12,000 despite similar basic specs?

[Yes, it is usually not difficult to distinguish the 30amp vs. 50amp units and the 1 AC vs. 2 AC and underfloor ACs and heat pumps. But I also want to know the thickness & type of insulation and suitability for winter comfort and the risks of wall condensation.]

For what it's worth: I want to maximize the number of slides (so 3 slide-outs or even 4 in the ideal), the longer the better [38' to 42' would be wonderful], and I want to maximize through opposing slide-outs the rear living room. I prefer an "open look" without the kitchen dominating the unit. (Lots of storage desirable but I'm not adverse to adding my own.) I'm willing to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000 but wonder if long-term, one-site living in Texas with my willingness to cover windows to save energy might make it possible for me to adapt an economy unit to fulltime/all-season comfort. (I grew up poor and still like to choke a dollar to make it work hard. I don't worry about appearances or about keeping up with the Joneses. So I may add floor insulation and anticipate generous use of insulated curtains. So if some extra work & tolerating some ugliness in adaptiung an economy unit saves me $10,000 upfront, I'll gladly save the money.)

Advice? Recommended links?

P.S. I sure wish I had an easy way to look up insulation specs by brand/model/year for wall/floor/ceiling.

FT'er,38' 5W/ToyHauler but no toys; rural eastern Texas 140mi.from Houston coastline.[On-grid gray/black-water code-compliant.] Interested in feedback re: climate/mold issues, vermin/pests/coyotes, energy-conservation tech & experiments, passive solar, RV security.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Champlin, MN
Posts: 163
It's been 6 years (already??) since we started our research on what to buy, so I don't remember all of the specifics. We bought the RV Consumer Group guide, and I highly recommend it. If I remember correctly, one of the ratings is for full-time use.

I do remember that, for the most part, the higher rated rigs are built better, and will hold up better to full-time use. This statement is based on inspecting many different brands and floor plans, talking with people who own different brands, and our experience with the rig we own. We don't use our rig for full-time living, as we still w@#k. But we will be in the market for a longer full-time rig in the very near future.


'05 NuWa 29.5 lktg HitchHiker II
'05 Chev 3500 4X4 Crew LB SRW Duramax/Alison
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:51 PM   #3
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Location: Palm Coast Florida
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Here is a list of full-time units that I know. I would guess this list is probably be 80% complete as I have been looking at various units and researching for the last 7 years. In that time I have had a 22' TT, a 37' 5th wheel and a 29' TT.

Here is a list of units I consider full-time units.

NuWa, Carriage, DRV, Lifestyle, King of the Road, Newmar, SpaceCraft, New Horizons, Excel.

I would look for a 2005 or 2006 NuWa or Carriage for the most bang for the buck.
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