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Living a Full-Time RV Life, Let’s Get Started!

Many questions arise during the process of pursuing a full-time RV Life
> Where do I want to go?
> What do I want to see?
> Who do I want to visit?
What experiences do I want to have?
Early on during this thought process, the big question hits you like a ton of bricks

 What kind of RV should I buy?

 Whether you are someone with years of experience with the variety of Coach’s to look at or you are looking to find out what types are available. The real question doesn’t necessarily lie in the particular unit but in your particular style.  In the full-time life, we call this style the three R’s.

 The Three R’s

  1. Residence
  2. Retreat
  3. Rest

 The Residence Lifestyle

This style mimics the life you are living now. These folks are happy to have the ability to free themselves from a life chained down to one spot. It is the ability to stop paying a mortgage and holding down a 40+ hour a week job. To transform from the “sticks and bricks” home they still need lots of space, storage, a big comfortable bed, and room for friends and family.

The type and style of RV needed to have a residence lifestyle include:

  • Class A, large Class C or larger 5th wheel
  • Wider more luxurious floorplan, tall ceilings
  • Living room with opposing slides (5th wheel) Large slide for dinette & sofa (motorized)
  • Large Kitchen, refrigerator/freezer combo, 3-4 burner cooktop, microwave, oven, dual sink w/sprayer, pantry
  • two-three flatscreens possibly 40-50″ some with outdoor units
  • Several storage units, cabinets, and drawers
  • Ample wardrobe space
  • Stand-up shower
  • Porcelain toilet
  • Bedroom slide for queen or king size bed
The floor plan is designed for longer stays and larger families to offer more space inside. The overall length and width may be challenging when going to National Parks, smaller RV parks and while driving away from major highways through town or running errands.

The Retreat Lifestyle

The “Retreaters” spend a greater part of the day out and about enjoying the sites, attractions, and nature. Some even spend the day working a part-time job to help make ends meet. The use the RV to retreat from whatever they spent the day doing. This RV will be noticeably smaller but still have many of the luxury items mentioned previously. A nice thing about the floor plan is that you may still have access to the restroom even if you have all of the slides in which can be important.
The type and style needed for a retreat lifestyle include:
  • Class C, 5th wheel, travel trailer or large Class B
  • One – three slides, smaller sofa, and dinette
  • Typically 8-10ft wide with  6-7 ft ceilings
  • Smaller Full Kitchen, RV fridge, 3 burner cooktop, microwave, basin sink
  • Limited storage, cabinets, and drawers
  • Some under the bed storage, outdoor pass-through storage
  • One or two flatscreens 24″-32″ possibly 42″
  • Some wardrobe space
  • Smaller bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower
  • Two twin beds or one queen

 The Resting Lifestyle

Enjoying the great outdoors is paramount with the resting lifestyle. Whether being in the wilderness, hiking up the trail or kayaking in the rapids. These full-timers spend the majority of their time in the great outdoors. They play hard and crash hard. They need an RV that is built to rest in.
The type and style needed for a resting lifestyle include:
  • Class B, small Class C or 5th wheel, travel trailer
  • One – two slides for small sofa or dinette (but not Class B)
  • Around 7-8ft wide 6-7ft ceilings
  • Efficiency Kitchen, small fridge, microwave, 2 burner stove, basin sink
  • Limited on room and storage
  • One flatscreen TV 24″-32″
  • Some wardrobe space
  • Small bathroom (wet bath possibly)
  • Two twin beds, possible full size bed

 Types of Recreational Vehicles

Class A RV – The Largest Class Available

full time rv life, lifestyle, living, class a

  • Range anywhere from 26 feet to 44 feet in length with the shape of a bus
  • Ford chassis, V10 gas engine, steel chassis, full body paint
  • Aluminum framing walls & roof, most common roof covering is TPO some are fiberglass
  • Generally tow 5,000 – 8,000 pounds
  • Self-sufficient with a generator on board,  30 amp or 50 amp electric
  • No special training or licenses to operate
  • The main advantage of this RV class is that they are spacious.
  • The main disadvantage – harder to operate and are often too big to access certain campgrounds or remote locations

Class A Diesel – Most Expensive and Luxurious

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  • Class A motorhome with a large Diesel engine by Cummings, Caterpillar or International (Navistar)
  • Chassis by Freightliner, Spartan, Roadmaster, Dynomax or Freightliner Custom
  • Fiberglass over aluminum framing with TPO or fiberglass roof
  • Lengths generally between 26 feet to 45 feet
  • Towing capacity 5000 – 10,000 pounds
  • Generator on board
  • Air ride with air brakes

Class B RV – The Smallest Motorized

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  •  Smaller in size than your Class A or Class C similar to a custom van
  •  18 to 24 feet in size, some have a generator
  • Chassis built by Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and Mercedes
  • Compact with a good choice of amenities but have small holding tanks, kitchen & lavatory
  • Popular among people who don’t want to operate a large vehicle or tow around a trailer.
  • The main advantage – easier to drive and navigate than larger models.
  • The main disadvantage – less spacious and can make traveling with your family uncomfortable.

 Class C RV – Small Motorized House on Wheels

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  • Typically smaller than your Class A model ranging from 22 feet to 33 feet
  • Steel Chassis, most common is Ford, can be Chevy, Dodge or Mercedes
  • Aluminum framing, the roof can be TPO, fiberglass or rubber
  • A most common feature is the large overhead above cab for sleeping bunk or storage
  • Generally tow 5,000 pounds, generator on board, full body paint
  • The main advantage of this class is that it comes with the cab-over-beds which provide more sleeping space.
  • The main disadvantage is that it is not quite as roomy as a Class A and is more difficult to operate than a Class B.

5th Wheel Trailer – The Luxury of Home

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  • The two-level pull behind unit with many luxuries and amenities
  • Range in length from 24 feet to 40 feet
  • Sleep between 2 – 6 people, can entertain 8 – 12
  • Multiple slides for expansion from 8 feet up to 14 feet
  • Larger kitchen, living area and can have multiple bedrooms
  • Requires a separate truck to tow but this can be an advantage
  • Easier to maneuver with a bigger turning radius

Travel Trailer – A Great Place to Start

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  • Specifically designed to be towed by a van, car or pickup truck by means of a frame or bumper hitch
  • Range in length from 14 feet up to 33 feet
  • Smaller propane tanks, holding tanks, space, and storage
  • Can be placed in remote areas for hiking, hunting, and fishing
  • A travel trailer provides the comforts of home and is a good choice for the RV Life
  • The main advantages of a travel trailer are they can be towed by lighter vehicles and they are simple to unhitch
  • The main disadvantage – harder to tow which can be more dangerous than 5th wheel trailers

The Toad

The other piece of the puzzle to consider is that RV’s have hook-ups for water, electric, sewer, as well as cable, phone, satellite, and internet. Once on location and hooked-up, the idea of heading into town for groceries could be a challenge. Do we unhook everything on the motorized, dismount the truck from the pull behinds or do we bring a car with us? A tow vehicle or “Toad” could be considered when it becomes necessary to leave the grounds. Taking a 40ft Class A motorhome to the store on a 10-mile jog could take over an hour just to get there. Originally only cars with a standard transmission could be towed behind an RV. Now, small car manufacturers are making cars with automatic transmission available that can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. Going out with towable vehicles is a great option for the RV full-timer!  Pulling a car while living the RV life will decrease your gas mileage on trips, however, some full-timers consider a “toad” a necessity. Give this idea some thought, it just might save you not only time but make your life a lot easier while on the road.

Thrive and Survive

When planning, researching and designing a full-time RV life there are a lot of important questions that will need to be answered. There will be even more questions after you have hit the road and are well on your way. Knowing what style and class of RV to buy is one of the biggest and probably the one that will take the most effort. Realizing up front if you desire a residence, retreat or resting type of lifestyle is the best way to start.

Why not start now, the open road is calling your name!

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