This two-part series is targeted at those readers who are new to RVing. Part one will cover how to decide what kind of RV to buy, and next week’s article will focus on some basic RV functionality.
So you have decided to join the ranks of RV traveller, congratulations! Both RVs and owners come in many types, so the first step is to decide what type of RVer you are and what kind of RV you want. Owners range from occasional or seasonal users to weekend warriors to full-timers. In many cases, the latter will not be new to RVing, but it is certainly not unheard of for retired folks who have never stepped foot in an RV to take the plunge. If you are graduating from tenting, you are likely familiar with the joys of camping. If not, the entire experience of RV camping (or “glamping”) may be new to you.
In terms of RV types, the basic categories are truck campers, towables (including pop-ups, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, and hybrids), as well as Class A, B, and C motorhomes. Class A motorhomes are the bus-style vehicles that range from roughly 23 – 45 ft. in length. Class B and B-plus motorhomes are van conversions in both regular and wide-body styles. A Class C motorhome is shown at the photo to the left.
The first question is whether you want a trailer or motorhome. Be aware that if you opt for a trailer, it will require a suitable tow vehicle. This is especially true if you decide on a fifth-wheel. My family and I have always opted for a motorhome because we value the comfort and space it affords while traveling. One benefit to a towable is that you have a commuter vehicle once the trailer is setup at the campsite. Our family has compensated for this by walking, biking, towing a vehicle behind the RV, taking the bus, or ride sharing. The type of RV you buy may be dictated by your budget (especially if you already have a suitable tow vehicle), but otherwise put some careful thought into whether you prefer traveling by motorhome or towing a trailer. While safety is paramount while driving, it is possible to safely stretch your legs, or even use the washroom, while riding in a motorhome, which is something you can’t do if towing a trailer.
Another consideration is space; how much do you need? If you are a family with children, travel trailers and Class C motorhomes tend to have the most sleeping capacity, although this is starting to change with new floorplans being offered on some motorhomes. Class B vans are only suitable for two people, but are an efficient way to travel, mostly because they are highly maneuverable and easy to park. But you must be aware that they are small and spending too much time in them with your significant other can cause frayed nerves, even for the hardiest of relationships! Nevertheless, van conversions are becoming increasingly popular for couples, mostly due to the array of amenities available in them. They do include the same basic features that large fifth-wheels and motorhomes have, including microwave, bathroom, full kitchen, and even entertainment centers.
Spend some time with your RV sales rep, research on the internet, and talk to family and friends to help you decide what type of RV suits you. Most RV owners trade over or up throughout their RV experience, so don’t be afraid to start small.
Next week I will discuss some basics of RV operation.
About the Author:
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
Bob L. TX~ “I want to thank the entire Coach-Net Team for their attention and assistance in providing service to us. When the first tech could not fix the issue and I contacted your group and they immediately replaced the first tech with a new company, S.O.S. Truck & Trailer- ‘Pat’ flew in like superman and even had the correct replacement parts for our air ride system. Short time later he announced proudly that all was well. Started the engine and up came the coach. One of my neighbors stopped by with an issue on his motor coach and I referred both Coach-Net and S.O.S. With our family – you are number ONE. “