RVing Full Time | How to Buy an RV When You Have No Clue

  • SumoMe

If only picking an RV was as easy as picking your horse...

April 2011.

Full time RV family…almost ready to pull the trigger.


Checkbook…present but still in its fuscia-colored, pocketbook holster.

Dad…feeling like he’s gonna hurl.

Mom..supremely confident.

Kids…somewhere in the RV showroom hurting each other.

There we were, standing on the precipice of the largest rolling tin-can homestead decision of our lives…

How to Buy an RV if You’ve Never Gone RVing

Did I tell you we have never really RV’ed before? But there we were in the RV showroom about to put a big wad of cash (actually just a big check with zeros at the end of it) down for a brand new Chapparal 330 FBH Fifth Wheel..

We went RVing once up to Maine in a “Class B” rental RV.

It’s called “Class B” because that is what it actually is. Have you ever seen a “B” movie? It’s kind of the same thing.

We really hated it. Too small, too bouncy, too cramped. We were miserable.

Well, actually Jen and I were miserable…the kids thought it was like a big playhouse on wheels.

Having said all that, deciding to RVing full time is a curious way to see the country, especially if you consider our less than stellar track record of success.

Extended stay hotels were considered. Camping was considered.

In the end, RVing won out.

How to Go RVing When You’re Not Really Sure If You Want to Go RVing

When we made the decision to go RVing to realize our ethereal dream of “location independence” (inspired by Timmy Ferris and his memorable book The 4-Hour Workweek), we knew we wanted to travel, to be free, to be released from the chains of location….

Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it?

By traveling in the Class F, we had kinda figured out what we didn’t want.

That was good.

Sometimes, its better to know what you don’t want before you know what you do want…

So we got the huge Chevy 2500 Diesel behemoth truck and the bigger behemoth Chapparal fifth wheel instead because no other RV fit our style, plain and simple.

And this is what you need to know when you buy and RV:

Know what you want.

How to Pick The Right RV For You

Close your eyes.

Come on, close your eyes.

Are they closed?

Ok, now imagine yourself in an RV.

You have been traveling for 11,000+ miles.

Every ten or so miles the kids start shouting “Are we there yet” or “I’m staaaaaaaarving, when are we eating?” or “Can we got to McDonalds?” or “I gotta go to the bathroom!”

Now, think of you.

  • Are you claustrophobic and anger-prone?
  • Are you mild-mannered and calm?
  • Are you on Xanax and Percocet and just don’t care?

If you’re the first one, then a Class B (or less) is not so good for you. If you’re the second one, then a Class B may be good for you.

If you’re the third one then you may need to seek some counseling…

However, if you’re like us and have businesses, two kids and a short fuse, then you need more space.

If so, a fifth wheel RV is the way to go. No question.

Plus you have a truck to travel to the local Starbucks with too…(don’t haul the fifth wheel there…parking is a bitch!)

Don’t Try to Be Perfect Along The Way to Full Time RVing

What we found out in or Maine debacle is that the Class B just didn’t fit our style.

We absolutely hated being in the same unit we were driving as when we were living. For most full timers, this may sound crazy. But for us, it was essential.

If you are looking to buy an RV, you need to know this for sure.

We also work from home, so we needed space away from the kids to get some semblance of peace so we could work uninterrupted.

Without realizing it, we had actually made our first RV buying decision. We knew we couldn’t go with a Class A or a Class B.

So despite a painful disaster in Maine, some wisdom rose from the ashes of that first fateful trip. If we were going to go, we needed a trailer…and a big one to haul all our stuff.

And boy do we have a lot of stuff. We have books, computers, a guitar, toys, a practice drum set…the list goes on and on.

So when we decide full time RV cross country, we knew we had to get a fifth wheel and a big truck.

First big RVing full time decision…made.

So before you make the big decision on which RV to buy before you go full time RVing, do what we did. Make some mistakes. Go on a tleats one trip in a rented RV. Figure out what you don’t want.

In doing all that, you’ll figure out quickly what RV you do want.

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