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Old 09-09-2021, 08:11 AM   #1
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The 'Best' RV for full time living

I suspect that will raise some hackles, however hear me out first.

Wife and I will be going full time in a few years, and we've been all over the map on size and type of RV. We're not interested in staying for months in a RV park, we're more interested in disperse camping and traveling to see parts of the country we haven't been to. Because of that, the size of the RV is less important than the ability for it to handle different weather conditions and to get into and out of more remote campsites.

Camper vans are too small, 5th wheels way to large, so 20-25 foot travel trailers/truck campers seem to be right in our sweet spot.

I've looked at the Outdoor RV and Northwoods RV units, since they have excellent reviews both from RV Consumer group and the folks who own the units and they are '4 season' rated. However, I've recently become aware that the construction of these models, and by default almost all the other TT available, will be highly susceptible to mold growth if these are used for any length of time in the winter or in cool, moist climates. Plus, my guess is that wandering down undeveloped roads with most TT on the market will begin to stress roof seams and create opportunities for water leaks that most units wouldn't experience.

So my questions are these:

1). how much an issue is mold growth in these units? I'm reading batten insulation is a huge problem, and that block foam walls are more preferable. That eliminates almost all TT except for Lance and some specialty guys like Imperial Outdoor. Can you grow mold in the block foam/aluminum TTs?

2). Does anyone have experience with the stress disperse camping might put on the roof structures? I'm aware that you should be checking the roof every 6 months or so, but I assume that is for when you're just driving on the highway.

3). Is RV armor worth the cost? I've seen the videos, and it certainly looks like it would prevent leaks, however if the issue with mold growth is because of humidity inside the trailer, this roof coating looks like a great way to seal all that mold on the inside of the trailer.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:46 AM   #2
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May not be able to answer many of your questions but am also looking for something similar and have been leaning to Truck campers like Host who has the Mammoth model that is 3 slides and gives good space for living. You then can also tow a cargo trailer with your other goods. Need a one ton truck for sure with dual rear wheels
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:53 AM   #3
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I can only give you personal experience
We FTd for 7 yrs TRAVELING weekly/bi-monthly---we Hit the Road to Travel

We have a Quad Cab Long Bed and towed a 34' 5thwheel
*More storage in 5th wheel then TT---less truck bed storage which didn't matter as we had truck front bed mounted Generator and a low profile tool box at rear of bed

**5th wheel 'travel length' is shorter then comparable TT due to 5th overhang and TT tongue


We used secondary/back roads exclusively....hate Interstates
Small town USA is where it's at

We stayed in state/national CGs, COE CGs, Fairgrounds, City parks, public CGs, private CGs and Boondocking

During our travels were we in very HOT weather, Very COLD weather and everything in between
We had NO issues with Mold/Mildew----walls/ceiling are block insulation, underbelly is enclosed with heat duct

SEEMS SOME ARE having Mold Issues...on-going thread about that
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f282/ano...ml#post5907443

RVs moving are subjected to a 4.0 earthquake at minimum. Nature of the beast
So upkeep and maintenance is the norm

FTng is a Lifestyle/Adventure........Enjoy it

Good Luck!
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:18 AM   #4
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First, there's no reason to be in extremely cold... travel with the seasons.
If you get freak cold spells you need to ventilate... crack open windows/vents; wipe down moisture as you see it; minimize cooking inside & definitely open the window near the stove to get the moisture out. Minimal shower time... water off/on. Pull the mattress away from the wall a few inches during the day or you'll get a wet mattress & the wall will never dry out.

Avoid single pane windows. You'll have constant moisture on them. Wipe them down continually... including the tracks.

Travel trailers are typically under insulated and lack double pane windows unless you go up in price.

We full-timed 16 years and boondocked or dry camped in public campgrounds 95% of our time. Our 27' travel trailer lasted one winter & we knew it wasn't going to work... too cold and too hot. We got a 33' 5th wheel - high quality Travel Supreme which was much better. Folks got us interested in Jeeping and the last 8 yr. we had a 40' motorhome pulling the Jeep.

Honestly, we never had an issue getting into awesome boondocking spots on national forest lands or BLM lands. No, you can't go on every road but there are plenty that you can easily drive with a bigger RV - in the West. Public campgrounds were no issue with our 40' MH. We stayed easily in most national parks and many, many state parks and national forest campgrounds. We stayed multiple times in Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Arches, Bryce, Rocky Mtn. Big Bend, etc, etc.

With a bigger RV you won't fit in every place but neither will a smaller one. You'll always be limited somehow. Get what you'd be comfortable living in and keep in mind bad weather days when you're inside.

Good luck in your planning for a terrific new lifestyle!
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
First, there's no reason to be in extremely cold... travel with the seasons.
If you get freak cold spells you need to ventilate... crack open windows/vents; wipe down moisture as you see it; minimize cooking inside & definitely open the window near the stove to get the moisture out. Minimal shower time... water off/on. Pull the mattress away from the wall a few inches during the day or you'll get a wet mattress & the wall will never dry out.

Avoid single pane windows. You'll have constant moisture on them. Wipe them down continually... including the tracks.

Travel trailers are typically under insulated and lack double pane windows unless you go up in price.

We full-timed 16 years and boondocked or dry camped in public campgrounds 95% of our time. Our 27' travel trailer lasted one winter & we knew it wasn't going to work... too cold and too hot. We got a 33' 5th wheel - high quality Travel Supreme which was much better. Folks got us interested in Jeeping and the last 8 yr. we had a 40' motorhome pulling the Jeep.

Honestly, we never had an issue getting into awesome boondocking spots on national forest lands or BLM lands. No, you can't go on every road but there are plenty that you can easily drive with a bigger RV - in the West. Public campgrounds were no issue with our 40' MH. We stayed easily in most national parks and many, many state parks and national forest campgrounds. We stayed multiple times in Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Arches, Bryce, Rocky Mtn. Big Bend, etc, etc.

With a bigger RV you won't fit in every place but neither will a smaller one. You'll always be limited somehow. Get what you'd be comfortable living in and keep in mind bad weather days when you're inside.

Good luck in your planning for a terrific new lifestyle!
One man's extreme cold may be another man's ski vacation . While I don't intend to live through the winter in Alaska, I want the option of having extended stays in cold weather and not have to worry about mold growth.

And if the construction of the rig resists mold growth even if condensation is present, then that's the direction I would be heading. As for size/length of the RV we're pretty comfortable with the more maneuverable units. I get the appeal of the bigger ones, but that's not our style.
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Old 09-09-2021, 11:50 AM   #6
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If you really want to get to remote campsites, try one of these https://slrvexpedition.com.au/products/commander-4x4/
or any of these
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=...w=1120&bih=547
or these+
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=...w=1120&bih=547

Joel
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Old 09-09-2021, 11:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kstills View Post
One man's extreme cold may be another man's ski vacation . While I don't intend to live through the winter in Alaska, I want the option of having extended stays in cold weather and not have to worry about mold growth.

And if the construction of the rig resists mold growth even if condensation is present, then that's the direction I would be heading. As for size/length of the RV we're pretty comfortable with the more maneuverable units. I get the appeal of the bigger ones, but that's not our style.

Azdel walls with aluminum framing.
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:19 PM   #8
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Azdel walls with aluminum framing.
So the Lance?
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NewBlackDak View Post
Azdel walls with aluminum framing.
https://www.camperupgrade.com/azdel-problems/
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:20 PM   #10
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I know you said you don't want a motorhome and that's fine. However, Newmar has an excellent construction process and there are videos on this. Look at them and then compare how other RVs are constructed so you can get an idea of the good and bad. Some travel trailers are on the production line and finished in a day. Newmar takes weeks to complete. Just a difference. I'm really not pushing Newmar but just want you to be aware of differences and what to look for in your search.



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Old 09-09-2021, 01:48 PM   #11
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Ever notice how a lot, and I mean a lot of information written about RVing on the web seems to come from folks where English appears to be a second language?
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:17 AM   #12
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Kstills…..
a few general points on your subject:

1. Unless you’re planning extended travel in the far north or an equatorial rain forest, I suspect you may be overemphasizing this mold concern.

2. I don’t know why you are excepting Class A motorhomes and fifth wheels from your decision process as “way too large”. Size is a relative and malleable notion, and often has little to do with access to a campsite. In my experience, people new to the process often underestimate what constitutes adequate space until they’re living in it. Once you commence fulltiming, “too big” will only last for a month or so. “Too small” will last forever.

3. There is no Best RV for fulltiming. Too many variables as to what you like and how you’ll use it. There may be, however, a Best Type of RV. As a very general rule, high end coaches and fifth wheels are built to a higher quality standard than their lower priced cousins. The most important feature of a high quality item is that it will last. It will stand up to regular, frequent, even continuous usage. If you buy a late model high quality unit, someone else will have taken care of the inevitable (these days) manufacturing defects, and you will have a well made, reliable unit for many years. This is far more important than newness.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:37 AM   #13
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I always hear folks planning full time traveling talk about wanting something small so they can get into State parks and remote camp sites. I always want to ask them, if you are an avid fisherman do you build your house in the middle of a lake?

When we began full timing and looking at floorplans we kept reminding ourselves that this would be where we would be living. The RV would need to hold all of our clothing, food, and everything we needed year round. After looking at dozens of RVs we knew that it would be impossible to live in anything smaller than a 39' to 45' RV.

We have camped in State parks, County parks, and numerous boondocking spots all over the country in both a 43' diesel pusher and a 44' fiver. When we are out exploring and sightseeing the 1-ton 4-wheel truck will get us where we want to go or we jump on the Harley.

Do this little experiment before leaving your sticknbrick. Rent a small RV for a couple weeks. You don't have to do a long distance trip but just a short two week run somewhere. Stay gone long enough so you visit a campground or public laundry a couple times and experience it. See if you can live in 200 square feet or less with all of your "stuff" 365 days a year. We certainly could not.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:11 AM   #14
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^^^^^^^^ Excellent. Very well put. I have heard so many stories from folks that buy small at first, and then lose money upgrading larger later.
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