Living in a van down by the river is a figurative expression meaning being a complete failure at life, a drain on society. However, nothing could be further than the truth for many, including us, who choose to live minimally while enjoying freedom and travel. So, fasten your seatbelts! We’re going to take you on a wild ride showing you how downsizing RVs works for us…and maybe give you that nudge to do it too!
Almost every week it seems, on one or more of the RV related Facebook group pages we frequent, a topic we call ‘RV Wars’ happens and sometimes…no…EVERY time, it gets very heated. Comments end up getting deleted by the Admin of that group or the discussion is just plain shut down. They always end badly…ALWAYS!
Anyways, this morning, I rose with the sun, grabbed my big cup of hot joe and sat down to see what excitement I missed our favorite pages since during the eight hours I slept. All was going well until…yeah, until I start reading a new member post the forbidden, nails-on-the-chalkboard question that had me snort coffee out of my nose. There it was, staring right back at me on the computer screen…“Hi! We are newbies and were wondering what is the best RV type we should buy?” Now if that ain’t a loaded question, I don’t know what is. If only facebook groupies knew how to use the ‘search bar’ for said group’s page and typed that question instead of posting it, we wouldn’t have this come up almost every week…oh, and my laptop screen would be cleaner, but I digress. We wouldn’t have these perpetual ‘forgive me if this has been posted before but…”; its like watching the movie ‘Groundhog Day’.
Hold onto that thought…
Look, there is no right or wrong answer or best or worst RV out there. Its all a matter of perception and opinion. Everyone’s journey and dream is different. There is no ‘one size fits all’. Our perspective and experience will be different from others. We each find what fits our situation, family size, interests, toys, cost, floorplans, etc. So when someone posts that unnerving comment, “well, motorhomes are better easier…” or “5th wheels are so much better because…” or the bold faced question in the previous paragraph, you can begin to understand why it is such a controversial subject. So to help with that, we’ve compiled lists that may help answer those unnerving questions or comments.
- Easier to set up/take down (this is hugely debatable)
- Huge windshield for awesome viewing and photography
- Comfy passenger seat with platform area for laptop computer working in transit
- Passenger(s) can watch tv/movies while in transit
- Passenger(s) can make sammiches or go pee while in transit
- Generator enabled at the push of a button from inside
- Driver/Passenger(s) don’t have to leave the inside of the coach
- Large propane tank which results in less visits for refill
- More comfortable ride in transit
- Price tag; much more expensive unless you hit the lottery or heir to the queen
- Engine and Maintenance Costs are significantly higher
- Two vehicles to finance; Motorhome and Toad (transportation vehicle)
- Insurance Cost is higher; don’t forget to add in the Toad
- If your engine breaks down, could cost $$ for lodging while motorhome gets serviced
- Built in generator malfunction requires garage service
- Bigger Propane and Fuel tanks scream OUCH at the pump
- While in transit, driver and passenger(s) hears every shake, rattle and roll of everything inside
- must use high clearance/truck stop type fuel stations because of height
- Affordability (new and pre-owned)
- Maintenance is much simpler and less costly
- Space inside RV is not taken up by engine, transmission or cockpit
- Don’t lose RV home to a garage if mechanics needs to go for service
- More floor plan options and roomier
- More homey feel; residential recliners, fireplace, large entertainment centers
- Larger kitchen/galley with island
- Storage is inside the RV (cabinetry) and not underneath
- Extra storage space in truck bed away from hitch (if needed)
- Insurance is substantially less
- Easier to resell
- Can fuel truck at any fueling station without tow
- No making sammiches or potty breaks while in transit; need rest stops
- Setup/Take Down requires precise hitching/unhitching & leveling
- Smaller windshield and cockpit
- Must be proficient in large vehicle towing and backing up
- Most states disallow passengers to ride in the trailer in transit
- Lighter in weight means less stability during transit
- Riding all day in a pickup truck can be uncomfortable
Both still have to hook up or unhook utilities outside (ie. electric, water & sewage) taking the same amount of time. The only difference we’ve observed is that Class A owners can auto-level from ‘inside’ whereas 5th Wheel owners must level or auto-level from an ‘outside’ cargo compartment, however, that said, if both measured on a stop watch, the task length pretty much equals.
Class A owners claim that 5th Wheel Owners must take extra time to hitch and unhitch however, if Class A owners are towing a toad, they still have to take that same time to hitch or unhitch their toad, sometimes taking longer. As well, Class A owners claim in foul weather, they can pull into a campsite or park, lower their jacks and be done with it while its assumed that those towing a 5th wheel or travel trailer must get out to unhitch to do the same. Not true. If its nasty weather, as 5th wheel owners, we can stay hitched, level the front jacks quickly to take the weight off of the hitch and go inside to put the slides out. We can properly unhitch and fully level in the morning or when the weather breaks.
Just keep “living YOUR dream”!