Deciding on the right RV is actually important. Trust me, I know: I bought 2 RVs within thirteen months due to complications with the first. To allow you to create an informed and confident purchase – and get it right the first time! – I put together a list of things that are important to think about when purchasing an RV.
(Click here to read “Choosing The Right RV: Part 1” by my fellow Campanda Ambassador Camille Attell.)
Note: This article is not just for prospective RV owners. Several things – like safety, drivability, and comfort – are just as important for anyone planning to rent an RV.
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You might believe that every RV on the dealership floor is actually roadworthy. But with a purchase this huge, you deserve proof.
When you are purchasing a used rig, make sure it includes maintenance records. You must realize that the RV had great care over its lifetime.
When my husband and I purchased our first RV (a fifth wheel), we knew nothing about its past. We quickly found out it’d not been stored properly and that the seals weren’t properly maintained. We’d to spend our Christmas and Thanksgiving completely replacing walls due to water damage (you can read that fun story on the blog) of mine. In total, we spent approximately 9 months renovating the rig to get it up to code.
But all that time wasn’t in vain! When we purchased our second RV, we knew just what to do: We asked for maintenance records, we checked seals, and we inspected the roof for any water damage signs. When the rig was confirmed roadworthy, we just knew it was the right RV for us.
These checks are just as important when you purchase a brand new vehicle. Make the dealer go through all of the systems to make sure they’re working. This includes propane, slide mechanisms, air conditioner, engine (if applicable), and some other amenities that come standard with your prospective rig.
In case these methods are not working, don’t wait to stop the progression. Don’t purchase if you’ve even the smallest suspicion that the RV is not prepared to hit the road!
If we are truthful with ourselves, full-time RVers like myself will be the first person to admit that most RVs are not as comfortable or cushy as the houses we left behind. For full-timers, that is a fair trade-off for the freedom and adventure life an RV offers. But that does not mean you need to settle for an uncomfortable RV!
Look for a rig that can feel great to you. You do not wish to feel claustrophobic or perhaps cramped on long trips. Do you prepare a lot? Be sure you love the layout of the kitchen. Do you want your privacy? Search for an RV that has dividers and doors.
Many people like Class As due to the larger windshield. They are saying it offers a far more open feel with stellar views while driving. Others love fifth wheels or perhaps travel trailers since they believe the most love “a regular house.”
Personally, I love our Class C because the seating in the driver’s cab is very comfortable for traveling, and the overhead bunk gives the daughter of mine a place of her own without sacrificing some space.
Go to a dealership to get a feel for the different RV classes. (Campanda’s comprehensive guide to the different RV classes is yet another great place to start your research.)
When we moved from our apartment to our first RV, I thought we would have to downsize a lot. With the storage our fifth wheel provided, that was not the case. Actually, we ended up ripping out some inside storage for a cleaner look.
But when we made the switch to our Class C motorhome, there was almost no outside storage. My husband had to create a chest inside.
Always consider storage capacity when purchasing an RV! Think about who’s going camping with you and just how much stuff they have to bring.
Is there enough room for the clothes of yours, shoes, along with other important belongings? Where will you store your camping gear and RV accessories? What does the kitchen offer in terms of food storage?
4. Floor Plan
Deciding on the perfect RV floor plan can be very time-consuming. All things considered, there are literally thousands of them!
Ick a floor plan where every camper has their very own place to sleep (unless you plan to regularly travel with 8 folks – good luck finding a vehicle large enough for 8 separate beds!).
Whether you work with the RV of yours for weekend trips or even want to become a full-timer, this decision will end up affecting the quality of your experience for worse or better. You ought to also consider the pets of yours, and in case you are going to bring them – additionally, they have to have a place to rest.
Create a list of “must-haves” and stick to it. Different floor plans offer unique amenities.
Do you want a washer and dryer? Just how many TVs do you want? Are bunk beds essential, or perhaps can you make do with fold-out couches? Just how many bathrooms do you need? Do you want a door that closes to your bedroom?
When we first started RV shopping, I thought I wanted a travel trailer with a separate bunkhouse. On paper, this layout looked perfect! After walking through a few of those floorplans, I realized they were way too large for our family, and we could choose an RV without having a bunkhouse.
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