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Old 01-16-2014, 02:34 PM   #1
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Just how important is it to be <30'?

Hi all,
First post here on this great website.
My wife and I (early 30 somethings with 3 dogs and no plans for kids) would like to have a go at RV'ing this summer (I teach and wife is leaving her job) for 3-4 months and also winters. We have been researching MH's for the past few months and plan, budget, plan, and budget every day and know what we can afford.
I practically grew up in a VW westy so am familiar with the life on the go, and we are super into the outdoors and peace and quiet.
We have ZERO aspirations to EVER visit a campground or stay in a wallmart lot.

I understand all aspects of boondocking from a technical sense and what we will need to do for waste and energy conservation/generation, etc.
Having never camped on BLM or NF land in anything other than tents, just how important is:
1.) being under 30'?
2.) having a small and nimble MH?

I understand we wont be rockcrawlin with a class A but is something like a Monaco Monarch SE 32wbd really feasible to get into some quiet peaceful places out west?
We are looking to go from NJ down along smokies and then ozarks to TX and NM, then AZ and up along coast to BC and back along the top of US and CAN. Of course we want to hit the rockies but that may wait til next summer: As with everything in life, this isn't set and is subject to change at any moment

We are currently looking at:
Monaco:
30sfs and 32wbd...LOVE the 32wbd but it is 34' long the 30sfs is over 30' as well
Thor:
ACE 29.2 and 30.1 Nice coaches, but kinda cheap feelin and same price as monacos

of these four, which would be your choice and why?

Am I overlooking anything?
Will a 31'ish MH preclude us from accessing, through technicalities or practicalities, certain areas?

Thanks all, and looking forward to interacting with everyone here in the future!
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:51 PM   #2
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what you should look at is floor plan, make sure ya got plenty of room, take 2 different models say 34footer, one will have more room than other, for a first mh, best to get one few yrs old, (make sure u get a warranty). see if its going to be what you both want. then after yr or so, trade up. as for gas/diesel that depends on long distance or short trips, possible lot of repairs on gas with lower $$, long time before repairs on diesel but with big $$. also when looking at rv's. dont just look into the next 3 months what you plan on doing, think 6months or longer, im also a biker, an i see this happen lots of times ppl buy a motorcycle an 4 months later want a bigger one. but at same time good to start off with something they can handle.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:52 PM   #3
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I had a 28. Now a 37 love the room. No probl with getting where we want to go and stay. Sure it's bigger but not so much as to be a problem and the added room is well worth it. IMHO.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:49 PM   #4
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you well find your self in state parks mostly when trying to camp that way

if you really want a get away from it all i would look in to solar so its the size of roof space for that you have to think about ... you dont have to go as nuts as i did but some thing to think about

so again state parks its hard in some places to get in over 35 feet long
with my wife pass we get in for 5 to 12$ a night even free in some places so some thing else to think about as this is with power trash them kind of thing

if you really want to be out there on BLM land you may find slides may get in your way from staying out of site

but like all ways in the net you can all ways find yes and no on any thing

i am 34 and my RV is only made for boondockinng and has no gen or a way too get power form the out side
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:30 PM   #5
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You might look at the Safari Trek.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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terry735001, I'm really interested in your solar setup. To not take this thread to far astray perhaps you could post some info about it in the Going Green section. Thank you for your consideration.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #7
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When I read the subject of this thread my first thought is
OH how nice it would to be under 30 again, no arthritis, No Diabetes, no neuropathy, no congestive heart failure, No carpel Tunnel,

Then I realized you were talking FEET not YEARS.. oh well.
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm
When I read the subject of this thread my first thought is
OH how nice it would to be under 30 again, no arthritis, No Diabetes, no neuropathy, no congestive heart failure, No carpel Tunnel,

Then I realized you were talking FEET not YEARS.. oh well.
and I thought, well as long as the coach is 25' wide I'm cool with it.

The important thing in the end is a comfort level that suits you and yours for the use intended. That's floor plan - amenities - features and functions that make your time in the coach as pleasant as homelike as you need and want it to be MOST of the time.

For many years my first RV - a 19' 1991 Airstream B Van was perfect for 2 adults and a child. Except - when the weather turned on us. If you enjoy living and being outside most of the time you can be happy with very close quarters. With the B Van we did not need a toad. We could set up anywhere and go anywhere we wanted. But after a couple days of rain - small areas get smaller.

With 28' - < 30' you may find a toad handy - and that's where the trade offs begin. What can ya tow - how will it handle with a toad. How much cargo capacity will you need and have. Can you store enough groceries - hold enough in the refrigerator for the time periods you intend to be on the road.

Overall length is just one of many factors. Today you can't imagine wanting to spend a month in a resort destination - tomorrow the idea of two weeks on BLM land with a small footprint might seem like a curse.

Unless ya have lots of money to buy and sell Motorhomes to fit changing needs and wants - try to split differences to achieve the widest variety of use and comfort you can. When making these decisions - take your time. There is no better life than happy camping - and no worse than feeling locked into something that won't meet your needs (just guessing on that second part). Some days 38' and 3 slides seems like a lot - other days another 4 or 5 feet would seem nice. On balance, for us - 38' rings the bells 90%+ of the time.

Good luck in your hunt.
The journey is the destination!
Steve and Annie
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:01 PM   #9
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You may want to take a look at the Mercedes Sprinter chassis-based units. Great for what you are considering. I prefer the Winnebago versions, now on our second one.

Good Mercedes diesel performance and handling, good Winnebago quality. We typically bring along our toad.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:27 AM   #10
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X2 on this. However, the last ones were made in 2008 so you would have to find a good used model. A benefit of the retractable bed is outstanding space utilization. Treks were produced in low volume as a high quality product at the opposite end of the "bigger is better" thought process (although that's what some people really like).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrekPR View Post
You might look at the Safari Trek.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
and I thought, well as long as the coach is 25' wide I'm cool with it. The important thing in the end is a comfort level that suits you and yours for the use intended. That's floor plan - amenities - features and functions that make your time in the coach as pleasant as homelike as you need and want it to be MOST of the time. For many years my first RV - a 19' 1991 Airstream B Van was perfect for 2 adults and a child. Except - when the weather turned on us. If you enjoy living and being outside most of the time you can be happy with very close quarters. With the B Van we did not need a toad. We could set up anywhere and go anywhere we wanted. But after a couple days of rain - small areas get smaller. With 28' - < 30' you may find a toad handy - and that's where the trade offs begin. What can ya tow - how will it handle with a toad. How much cargo capacity will you need and have. Can you store enough groceries - hold enough in the refrigerator for the time periods you intend to be on the road. Overall length is just one of many factors. Today you can't imagine wanting to spend a month in a resort destination - tomorrow the idea of two weeks on BLM land with a small footprint might seem like a curse. Unless ya have lots of money to buy and sell Motorhomes to fit changing needs and wants - try to split differences to achieve the widest variety of use and comfort you can. When making these decisions - take your time. There is no better life than happy camping - and no worse than feeling locked into something that won't meet your needs (just guessing on that second part). Some days 38' and 3 slides seems like a lot - other days another 4 or 5 feet would seem nice. On balance, for us - 38' rings the bells 90%+ of the time. Good luck in your hunt. The journey is the destination! Steve and Annie
Glad you're feeling better Steve. We are looking at 37-40' coaches, and saw you on this thread. Got a phone call from "potential boat buyers " last Fri, that want to drive over from Fl east coast with down payment and binding contract for our boat!! Getting anxious now. Wife couldn't sleep, so bright and early drive to Tampa Super Show. Nice rigs, but out of price range. Long ramble to my question but, any thing I need to be extra cautious of looking at used RVs for full time? Have heard lots of used come on market after show (dealer and private). Leaning toward dealer, after seeing a few "pristine" private units that owners were very proud of!! Advice?! RVM43
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:15 AM   #12
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^^^^ - Whoot Whoot! Great news on the trawler Mike. I'll shoot ya PM. I'm sure others will add to the below...

Quickly On Buying New: Sticker shock on new rigs at large shows isn't uncommon. It's also fairly common to read posts suggesting that big shows can be higher priced and less willing to deal than new rigs on a sellers lot. Then there the is the negotiation game where you try to get the 25 - 30% discount off MSRP and dealer try's not to give an inch. The whole discussion of why pay the depreciation hit on a new rig also has some validity. So yep - buying new has pros and cons as does buying used. Every negative of the new rig purchase can largely be set aside with a single assertion - we're going to keep this rig forever, keep it in top shape until the residual value is nuthin. Issues dispelled so long as you can afford it and keep it.

There is also no arguing that there are many lightly used, well maintained units on the market at reasonable prices. Usually the private seller is higher than a dealer but not always. Just depends on motivation and how well the current owner bought in the first place. Private sale can be good but sometimes means the seller couldn't get what they wanted or needed in trade or sale to a dealer. Even buying used from dealer or private seller you have to do the hard negotiating. When looking at used you have to do lots of due diligence - mechanical records, systems all working properly etc (same as you did with the trawler - the RV will sink no matter what though ) You just have to be careful - and who wouldn't be when laying out this kind of money.

Being in Florida you are in a good position to see lots of rigs - new and used - and there are independent PDI folks down there that can help you assess what you're looking at for a couple hundred bucks. Then there are fluid tests you can have done, have chassis company dyno the rig - Just depends on what your looking at.

I wrote way more than I thought I would - cause I'm excited for you - and anyone in the first time buyers seat. I left lots out - and others will surely add more or PM you as well. Maybe you should start a new thread - as the OP had some specific rigs they were inquiring about. I can't speak to those units - which is why my initial post was limited to the size and livability factors.

Hopefully the OP and others will forgive the New / Used discussion. Congrats Mike - I know you and Harriet are beside yourself.
Steve and Annie
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:30 AM   #13
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As a regular boondocker I can tell you that the more remote you want to get, the lighter a vehicle you should look for. If you really want to get "out there" on dirt roads and back country, then you need to be nimble with high clearance (I.e. Truck camper or truck+small trailer). If you're willing to make compromises then you can go to a larger, less clearance vehicle. It all depends on your tastes.

We have a 40-footer and we boondock a lot, but it also takes a lot of planning. I have to be very sure the ground can handle our weight, I have to be sure the road is not too bumpy etc. we make do, but we do end up being closer to the main road than some of our more nimble friends. The *one* advantage we have with the bigger rig is BIG tanks. We just boondocked for 4 weeks straight (over Christmas) without needing a dump. That's something the smaller rigs can't do. Still, I personally wish we'd gotten a smaller rig. We'd be so much more nimble for boondocking.

You're welcome to knock on over to my blog (in my signature) to see the kind of camping we do. This winter we don't plan to see a regular campground of any type until March.

Hope that helps!

Nina
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:46 AM   #14
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By the way I should say that with 5 years on the road, around 30'ish would be my "ideal" size. I would go up to 35'. That would be the right compromise (for us) between size and being somewhat nimble for better boondocking. The smaller you go the more places you'll be able to access, especially in mountains, forests and older state parks, but you'll want to think about comfort too. Slides (rather than length of coach) make a *huge* difference in comfort and floor plans in smaller coaches can be exceptional.
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