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Old 02-19-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
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What is the most sensible way to get into full-time RVing?

Basically, I'm looking for some suggestions before getting into full-time 5th wheeling.

We are still few years away from retirement so we will not be going full time right away. I was thinking of getting a used 5th wheel and try them out during our vacations and weekends. Once we retire, we can head south.

So given this, what would you recommend?

I can see us spending around $100k when we are ready to go full-timing for both the truck and the trailer, which means Excel and similar trailers are out of question.

So given this, what would you do?

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:57 PM   #2
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You might consider renting one for a weekend or something and trying it out to make sure it's what you want before laying out big bucks. Just a thought.

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Old 02-19-2013, 09:28 PM   #3
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Did you just use the word "sensible" and "Full-Timing" in the same sentence?

How do you know you want a 5th wheel?

For 100g's you can get an ok used 2006 or 2007 diesel pusher motorhome. Or a 2010 or 2011 gas motorhome. For the same 100g's you can get a very nice new truck and new 5th wheel. Plan on getting a dually truck.

I went thru looking at motorhomes 1st before I decided on a 5th wheel. It is an exercise you should go thru. You might pick the motorhome.

Also whose idea is it to go full time? Both people have to be full in.

Try being seasonal 1st. Become a snowbird for a few years. If you like it then go full time.

Also I would wait as long a possible before buying. Seems things are improving all the time. Two examples: in 2007 tube TV's were being used. By 2009 they were all LCD. In 2011 all trucks improved. Now Ram is improving again for 2013. The improved trucks will be out in the next month or two. Then Ford and Chevy will need to keep up.

Go to the full timing section and sift through that forum.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:26 AM   #4
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Talk to people to find the good as well as the bad, many have tried FT and failed to include their marrage. others done it, love it. Down sizing is the hard thing. selling things, giving things away, what to put in storage. There is more to this then you think. There is no need to buy a 100K unit a good used one is the way I would do it, easy bought easy to sell as for waiting for improvements you will wait forever as improvements are made all the time either on 5'ers MH, TT or PUs, you have your dream, follow through your dream and start now, read, talk, start looking what you want and don't want so when the big move comes , you will know what you want, where your going . start out going part time
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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First you must convince yourself and your life partner that you want to get rid of most of your accumulated "stuff" and downsize so everything fits in the RV or tow vehicle or toad, without being overloaded over any of the weight limits. And do you really want to get rid of your home base? I wouldn't dream of full-timing because we really enjoy our home on 9 acres. We've done a lot of RVing in both a 5er and a TT, but we still have the house and barn and fish pond to come home to.

Before you commit to a lifestyle that would be hard to back out of without severe economic penalty, try RVing for a while in a rented unit that's close to what you plan on buying. Load everything you plan to keep and go somewhere and stay for at least month or so. Learn all the stuff you left behind that you don't want to do without, then the second trip, bring that stuff too. Yeah, renting RVs and tow vehicles is expensive, but not nearly as expensive as buying the rig then wind up selling it a few months later for a big loss.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #6
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You already have some good advise. When we started full timing, the hardest thing was giving up "stuff". I had tools that I had owned for 45 years and had earned a living with for some of those years. We are lucky in that both of us dreamed and planned for full timing for years before we started. As to the type of RV, that is a personal choice. It is a matter of traveling style and what you want in a RV. There are trade-offs either way, motor home or fifth wheel. We have been on the road since June, so it has not been a long time, but, so far, I would not change a thing about what we did or go back to the other life style.

Trying out the life style in extended vacations is a good idea. But, you need to be out of the "vacation mode." You do not have to see everything possible in two weeks and go back to work. Whatever you decide, I hope you have as much fun as we are.
Jim and Darlene Wright
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:07 AM   #7
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We always wanted to fulltime.

We did not want the house we were in.
Sold house, invested the $
Everything we were paying in R/E taxes, utilities, yadda-yadda is now more than paying for everything we do.
We will do this until we cant, or we change our minds. We can always buy another house!
Everything the kids were going to inherit, they already have.
Everything we had for 40-50 years owed us nothing. Found a picker. Made a deal. He wrote a check and hauled it all away the same day! Dont miss any of it.
Fulltime is not for everyone. Thank goodness for that! If it was, the housing market would crash, again.

Best wishes, and happy trails!
Dave and Nola, RVM1
The Journey is Our Destination!

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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Wisdom galore on this thread:

Make sure you both really want to fulltime.

Spend time and money finding the right rig for you. Shop, deal and buy smart what you want.

Don't do anything drastic until you are sure.

Give yourself and out for a time if you do everything above and you still do not like your choice.

Then go for it.

Personally we would never be able to handle fulltime, admitting it is a good thing. So we are at peace where we are.

Hope all your best wishes come true.
I do all my own stunts
03 Dolphin LX 6355, Workhorse W22, 8.1 vortec, 04 CR-V, Blue Ox, Brake Pro----Norm, Barb and
Doc(He's a PhD)
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:38 AM   #9
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This our second full-time RV adventure and I would echo the comments about starting modestly and investing well within your means for the equipment. BTW....we had a 5er and much prefer the MH.

All the shiny bells & whistles seem so important at the beginning, but they are expensive and may not really be necessary. For example, as FTers we follow the weather and seldom use either our AC or our furnace.....as a result, I am glad we did not spend money for either an agua-hot system or three AC units, ......we use CG's exclusively so our generator gets very little use, our batteries, inverter, etc are all under utilized......on the other hand you may want to do a lot of boon docking and these things may be much more important.

We also knew going into this lifestyle that it would not be a forever thing for us. Our goal is to last 36mo., but there is a good chance my wife will kill me in my sleep before we achieve this milestone. Often it is just the knowledge that we have our Home to return to that keeps us going ..... 2-300sq/ft and 24/7 togetherness is not for everyone! I am also glad that our rig is adequate for our needs, but does not represent a major investment for us....when it comes time to sell we will not expect much or need much from the resale to move forward with our next adventure.

Good luck.
Jack & Maggie
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advices, everyone!

Reading through them, I realized I should have mentioned a thing or two about ourselves...

We have been camping for a very long time. As long as the temperature is above freezing point, we think about going camping. Just about every day of our vacation weeks are spent towards camping days. But the age is taking a toll on us. We still want to travel but without the nasty cold (or too hot for that matter) temperature during sleeping time. Also, having the ability to take occasional shower and toilet right next to us would be nice. And a nice shelter when the weather turns ugly. The trailer sounds like a perfect fit!

We don't believe in accumulating stuff, so we will not have hard time giving them away. Little things that do matter to us, we can continue to enjoy in the trailer. We love hiking and we will hike every day if we can.

I'm pretty sure turning full-time or at least snowbird life style will enforce our marriage relationship, not break it.

Our current plan is to purchase a used setup (both tow truck and the trailer), try for few years and if we like it, then go full blast, which means selling our current home. We were going to sell this home regardless since we wanted to move further away from the city, somewhere more quiet. Our plan is to park the trailer at camping sites, stay there for a month at a time, and look for as much places to see and hike. I believe a truck + trailer combo will work better than a motorhome for us.

My wife & I are really excited about the possibility of visiting places we haven't been before throughout the year... This is still few years away from us, but we both are already very excited! I think this will give us some time to learn more about full-time RV living. We will only be able to camp 5-6 weeks per year for the next few years so we don't need a full-time-like setup just yet.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:15 AM   #11
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My wife and I are working towards full timing as well. We are still about 3 years out but I found this site to be really helpful. Considerations, cost factors, etc that really help in answering questions.

Could RV Living Be Your Dream? Let's Find Out!!

Good luck!
Ken & Diane
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:45 AM   #12
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You've got the right idea -- get a starter rig first and then get a fancy one later. And camp as much as you can with the starter rig... (you say you've been camping a long time and by the description it sounds like you mean tent camping)...

While out there talk to the campground hosts (likely full-timers or at least long-termers), talk to other RV owners in the campground to find out how long they've had their unit, how often they use it, how they like it, how many others they've had, etc. If they are FT, invite them over for a beer at your site and learn as much as you can from them.

Experiment with your own RV camping style -- how do you organize your things? how do you manage a small space with your spouse, what do you do all day? How do you plan your travels?

The more you use your first rig -- a simple and cheap one you can sell later -- the better informed you will be about what to get for a full-time rig.

Also, your first full-time rig may not be your last. We upgraded after our first year of FT. Once you are on the road full-time, it is a whole lot easier to visit manufacturers and dealerships to see how the rigs are made and to get the best pricing (it varies a lot state to state).

We found the best place to buy a truck was in Idaho at the Dave Smith dealerships. The best place to buy a fifth wheel was at the NuWa factory in Kansas.

So you may take your first starter rig on the road for your first months/year of FT and then get your new fancy rig once you have left your house behind... one advantage of this is that you will start FT with very little stuff (first rig is not that big). Then you will upgrade to your REAL full-time rig and will suddenly have lots of extra space to grow into...

We love the FT lifestyle. We have seen things we never would have seen otherwise, and our relationship has strengthened tenfold. Do it!!
Emily & Mark Fagan, traveling full-time since 2007
2007 Hitchhiker II LS & 2007 Dodge RAM 3500 4x4
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:55 AM   #13
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:09 PM   #14
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You are starting out the right way, IMHO. We bought a 2000 Avion 5'r in 2005, we thought we would use it for vacations also. Then we put $$ for an option on 40 acres of land, we thought we would subdivide it to 10 acres each and build a house every 2 years. Well, when we used the Avion for vacations we never wanted to come home! We gave up the option on the land, sold our house and hit the road March 9, 2006. It's been great, no regrets. So glad we bought a used unit first,we have since bought 2 new units and believe that we have bought the last one. Good luck and go for it, buy a used anything and use it for the next few years, since you have camped before you aren't complete newbies, you'll know what's best for you. Good luck!

Jan & Thomas
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2012 Ford F350 Super Duty
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