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Old 07-22-2019, 01:58 PM   #1
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Thoughts on Our Full-Time Options?

We are looking at going full time in an RV by the end of this year and are weighing our options. We started visiting some RV dealerships a couple of months ago - originally looked at travel trailers, then went to Class A's, then Class C's, and now we're back at trailers.

Our planned usage: Stay parked 1-3 months at a time (sometimes longer), then move to the next destination. This could be anywhere from a few hundred miles down the road to 1-2 thousand. We will need something that can handle winter - there will be snow-chasing during ski season . We're wanting to find out the necessary upgrades (insulating piping, etc.).

Our thoughts on the different styles:

Class A's: Love the storage space inside and out. Seem like they have the most expensive maintenance - powertrains are more difficult to work on. Seems to be the highest start-up cost. Floor Plans we like are in the 30-35 ft range.

Class C's: We like these as well, plus their powertrains seem easier to work on (more like a pickup truck). Floor Plans we like are also in the 30-35 ft range.

5th Wheels: We saw some beautiful units, but they were much bigger than what we actually need (maybe better for people with families). Many of them require massive 1-ton trucks to pull.

Travel Trailers: Current winner for us. Some of these, with a slide-out or two, are still spacious while keeping things simpler, which is what we want. Floor Plans we like are in the 26-30 ft range. Looking at the GVWR of some of these units (around 7500-9000 lbs), they seem like they can be pulled by newer 1/2-tons (provided they have the proper towing package), or we'd need an older 3/4-ton.

Based on the frequency of moving that I mentioned earlier in this post, is it even worth going the motorhome route? That's an extra (expensive) powertrain to maintain that we'd only use maybe 5-10 times per year. If we go the 5th wheel or travel trailer route, would it make more sense to rent a truck to move it each time? Otherwise, it goes back to owning something (large truck in this case) whose capabilities we'd only use a small number of times per year. We currently own a newer car that we really like as a daily driver but of course can't tow anything livable. If avoidable, we'd rather not trade it for a massive truck.

What do you folks think?

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Old 07-22-2019, 02:14 PM   #2
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We FT and will spend 1-2 months in a area and then move up to a 1000 miles to the next spot. We have a 34' fifth wheel which works good for us, but we have met others doing the same lifestyle in Class A's and C's and trailers. My advise is to get the style of rig that you are most comfortable with and make it work. Try the idea of paying to have a RV Transporter move your fifth wheel/travel trailer and you always have the option to purchase a truck later if you decide to.

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Old 07-22-2019, 02:21 PM   #3
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The longest travel trailer I'd try to tow with a 1/2 ton pickup is 28 feet and that would be marginal. Even if the TT did not exceed the max tow weight and truck payload maximum, wind and passing tractor trailers would push it around.
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:43 PM   #4
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We've full-timed in a 27' travel trailer (too small and no storage); 33' 5th wheel (good size, 3/4 truck, good storage but hated driving the truck for our siteseeing. Friends got us hooked on 4-wheeling so we got the 40' motorhome (better handling than the 36' or 38') bought our Jeep and had lots of fun. We both drove all of the above and the 40' motorhome was the best handling. We rarely were on interstates. We did secondary highways and dry camped/boondocked on public lands most of the time. We moved approx. every 10-14 days when we needed to dump our tanks and replenish fresh water.

Winter skiing? Although we're skiers we had no urge to drive winter mountain roads with an RV. Keeping comfortable in it would be another downside. We brought our skis along at first and we stayed in Albuquerque and just drove our vehicle for day trips to Santa Fe. We decided it just wasn't worth hauling the equipment around for the little we used it.

Our motorhome didn't give us any repair issues just regular maintenance. The oil change is costly but it lasts a long time. There are many RVers who spend the whole winter or summer seasons in one place in a motorhome. It doesn't hurt them to sit. Some take it out for a highway ride to exercise it occasionally but you don't want to stay in the campground and just turn the key for 15 minutes. That's worse than just letting it sit. Of all, we preferred the motorhome.

Good luck with your future plans.
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Old 07-23-2019, 03:01 AM   #5
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We went back and forth before we started fulltiming about whether to go 5er or motorhome. We had a Class C and our cats did well in it and they never had to be moved out of their home - plus I did not want a truck for our daily driver. Our coach is 37' long, has everything we needed and we have over 160,000 miles on it. We no longer fulltime, spending the winters in a Park Model in Arizona and the other 6 months in the coach on the road. Besides our cats, we also geocache, which was much more convenient to do with a small car. We started with a manual transmission Subaru Forester and this past year (after 14 years) traded it in on an automatic Ford CMax hybrid which we love. We have often parked for 3 -5 months during the winter. In fact, now she is in storage and we schedule her maintenance work for about 1/2 through our winter stay, so she gets out on the highway for a 30 mile drive, otherwise every 6 weeks we fire up the generator and recharge the batteries. Then throw the disconnect switches and she's sleeps for another 6 weeks.
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:44 AM   #6
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Noticed you are kinda new on IRV2 and wanted to say hello!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

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Old 07-23-2019, 02:11 PM   #7
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We've had both trailers and Class C and Class A motor homes. I do not know why you think that a gas class A would be any harder to work on than a gas class C. I find it easier. I bypassed a diesel because it was harder to work on. Most class C's have less outside storage and have far less OCCC that a class A. The larger ones usually have very little reserve capacity and tend to have long overhangs that cause sway issues. We had a lot more leaks in our class C as well.
The trailer can be a good option for staying put in one place a while. But the truck gets poor fuel ecconomy all the time and the truck/trailer combination is every bit as expensive as a gas class A. My wife never liked driving while towing a trailer, but is very comfortable driving a 34' class A.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:29 PM   #8
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When you narrow the field to units suitable for four season use, there will be a lot fewer choices. Hard to find a TT or C with insulated plumbing. Some fivers. Plenty of A’s.
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Old 07-24-2019, 03:22 PM   #9
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It's going to be difficult finding something that can easily handle snow season winters. Snow season is often below freezing for long stretches. It takes good insulation, a constant heat source, and most likely a skirt around it to keep the belly from freezing. You're definitely not going to find something like that cheap. For your situation, a Class A would be best IMO. I've never had one, but from what I've heard, they tend to do better in the cold than towables. Traveling during snow season might be a problem though. I certainly wouldn't want to be driving a big Class A through several inches of snow. Then again, I wouldn't want to drive anything through a few inches of snow. I'm a southerner.
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:03 AM   #10
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There are only a couple of travel trailers ive seen handle cold winters. the artic fox and the excel winslow TT. the artic fox kinda common. the excel quite rare. But both have insulated and sealed under bellys. 5th wheel new there are few basically only two or three that do it great. Used there are quite a few that handle cold with ease.

New 5vers: new horizon, spacecraft, artic fox,

Used 5vers: Excel, Teton, NuWa, Newmar, Carriage, Royals International,

Those are just a few. Other rv's might do winter but they will need help. Skirting, heat lamps, cost of heating will be more. Windows blocked up to keep draft down. all things that make winter a chore.

Those listed above especially the Newmar Kountry Aire and the teton. Very simple in winter. Heated water hose and let the furnaces (2) do there job. ive not skirted and done the other chores and been fine ive wintered in MN, now OK and no issues with either.
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:18 AM   #11
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There's a reason you won't see a lot of RVs running around in the snow to go to skiing locations. I'm not surprised when I don't see expensive RVs in the parking lots at Timberline during ski season. Have you chained up a big class A? How about a pickup truck and trailer? I have. I carry chains for my pickup truck and trailer now to get myself out of trouble, not into it. It's not my idea of fun, but I don't kink shame other people.

In places that get a lot of snow, the RV parks may be completely shut down. You might want to look into this before you get your heart set on this kind of lifestyle.

Can an RV get through sub-freezing temps? Yes, but each one will be at least a little different. I've had my trailer parked and hooked up to shore power in sub-zero temps and still had flowing water, but it would have been much harder to keep the water flowing if I wasn't connected to shore power and had easy access to a propane dealer.

As to what RV to buy, find a floorplan that you just love to death and can't live without, because you'll be living in it full time, and then see what it will take to buy and maintain that RV. If you can't make it work out in your mind, keep shopping.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:20 AM   #12
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Thoughts on Our Full-Time Options?

We each make our choices for our own reasons. When we were planning to FT 8 years ago, it was fifth wheel or Class A. Class A won out mostly because we couldn’t accept having to cage our two cats in the back seat of a pickup whenever we travelled.
First advice I would offer is to buy quality. To live in it 24/7/365 it has to be able to withstand the usage. Some brands are built for that, some are built to go camping 6-8 weekends per year and will wear badly under heavier usage. You’re better off with a 7 - 10 year old high end coach than a brand new low end unit.
Second advice is to buy bigger than you think you need. Minimum standards are exactly that— minimum. “Too big” will only last a month or so. “Too small” will last forever.
Good Luck!!
John & Diane, Fulltimers. RVM103 NHSO
On the road since June '12 with Lincoln, the guard cat.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:46 AM   #13
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If by a class A you mean a diesel pusher, yeah there's a lot more maintenance. But a class A gasser is pretty simple and much like a class C. I think you'll find the class A gasser will have generally have more storage than and cargo capacity that a similar length of class C. We have a 32 footer and it's perfect. Easy to park and maneuver, but feels really big inside. We even have a king bed.

As for fifth wheels, there are many in the 30-35 foot range that can be towed by a 3/4 ton pickup, even a few by a 1/2 ton. Again, you'll probably find your typical fifth wheel has more storage and cargo capacity than a travel trailer.

But we know people that full time in class C's, class B's and travel trailers. Depends on your wants and needs. But don't assume a fiver or a class A can't meet your needs. When it comes right down to it, floor plan is king! A rig can have all the amenities, storage, cargo capacity, etc. but if the floor plan doesn't appeal to you, it's worthless.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by grindstone01 View Post
We FT and will spend 1-2 months in a area and then move up to a 1000 miles to the next spot. We have a 34' fifth wheel which works good for us, but we have met others doing the same lifestyle in Class A's and C's and trailers. My advise is to get the style of rig that you are most comfortable with and make it work. Try the idea of paying to have a RV Transporter move your fifth wheel/travel trailer and you always have the option to purchase a truck later if you decide to.
That's what I am going to be doing, although I was going to limit myself to the western USA except for CA, OR, WA.. Not fond of those three states at all, and I prefer not to pend money there. I live in CA now, but when retired I will never come back to this state.

So I have NV, WY, UT, CO, ND, SD, ID, AZ, NM and MT where I will be. Moving around from month to month.

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