Which RV?

When wading into the Full-Time RV waters, one quickly sees that there are hundreds of choices in teardrops, popups, hybrids, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes. There’s just so much to choose from.

I’ve even seen people pulling medium-sized travel trailers behind large motorhomes!


Found on the web: A motorhome towing a custom-painted travel trailer.

Clearly, we need to set some ground rules that will help us to decide what trailer we want to call home. Some of our starting requirements:

  • New. Yup. I said it, “New.” Not used. Not “pre-owned”. Not “gently-loved”. New. That doesn’t mean that one can’t find great deals on last-year’s models still taking up space on dealer’s lots. In fact, those would be ideal for us.
  • Towables only; no motorhomes. “New” means that the entry cost of a current-model motorhome is incompatible with our budget predictions.
  • Hard-side models only. The comfort we prefer in the climate extremes in which we’re interested aren’t necessarily well-suited to the canvas walls or bed ends of popups or hybrids for full-time use.
  • Fixed beds for everyone. Lots of RVs claim to sleep 8 or 10 people, but with the exception of the owner’s queen- or king-sized bed, it often requires that you unfold a couch or transform the dinette into a bed. We want our kids to each have a bed that doesn’t require rearranging the living space to get to it.
  • Sufficient storage for bicycles, outdoor furnishings, tools, and support equipment for the RV.
  • Indoor sanitation*. A full bath is a plus, but ¾ bath is a minimum.
  • Full kitchen facilities*. Sink, refrigerator, cooktop, oven, microwave or convection oven combination.
  • Heat and A/C*. The extremes in our preferred environment can be from 15F to 95F, so a bit of modern machinery to maintain comfort is important.

Those last three items are usually standard equipment on every modern towable.

So, essentially we’re looking at new, bunkhouse-type travel trailers and fifth wheels.

There are still lots of choices in that regard. Here are a few representative models in varying sizes that tend to fit those criteria:

Small


Jayco 228: A wonderful little travel trailer that has all of the amenities. But, for full-time use for our family of four, we think it’s just too small.

Medium


Jayco Half-Ton 27.5BHS: A fifth-wheel with what we would consider our minimum livable space.

Large


Coachman Freedom Express 320BHDS: Those larger slides make a more spacious interior. It’s toward the larger end for our preference in travel-trailer-class towables.

Jumbo


Heartland Cyclone CY4100KING. How about a two bedroom (one is a loft), 1-½ bath, with a one-car garage, and a deck? Very nice, but possibly too big for us!

Again: these are just broadly representative of the choices out there. Presently, we can look for the Goldilocks trailer — it’s not too small, not too large, but just right for us. We have some time.

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