When my wife and I settle into a campground, we like to walk around and look at other rigs. When the owners are outside we often ask them how they like their RV. At one campground in Heber City, UT, we asked a couple how they liked their 32 ft. towable. The husband said they had it for about 2 years and “loved it”. But then his wife chimed in and said they are looking to upgrade to Class A Motor Home. Her husband then followed with “Now don’t get us wrong, we love it but………” And then the list of dissatisfaction quickly grew longer than the list of satisfaction.
In our travels, we have found this phenomenon of “RV envy” to be quite wide-spread. RVers seem to be forever in search of their next RV. We have a 2010 Lexus 460L and a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland and we rue the day that we have to part with either of them. That is because we are totally satisfied with each vehicle quality, performance, comfort, and capabilities. Unfortunately most RVers are never completely satisfied with their current one. There are several reasons for this and they are in many ways a cautionary tale to all current and future RV owners.
Unlike our Grand Cherokee every type of RV has some significant trade offs. Most of us don’t have these kinds of trade-offs in automobiles. Our Cherokee tows 7400 lbs, has a beautiful appointed cabin, handles well, and is incredibly capable off road. What’s not to like? No matter what RV you buy, there is always something not to like. Welcome to the world of RV’s.. Let’s examine some of these trade off’s. So, before you buy another RV for yourself or decide yours is good enough, just remember to first think about your life and that will lead you in the right direction.
Class A are best for people who like to be self contained, plan on being on the road more than 2 weeks a year and like to take the comforts of home with them. At today’s prices for large class A rigs, you might pay the same for a vacation cabin in the Sierras. Class A are the best bet for full timers, but on a par with Fifth Wheels which are also good for picking a place and then staying for several weeks or even months.
C ‘s are similar to ‘home away from home’ but usually have front engine cabs and can be relatively small, but still might fit a family. You see these for rent in places like “Cruise America” with following rates typical for a rentals.
Day Trip $75 to $350 (Plus Tax)
7-Day Trip $500 to $2,400 (Plus Tax) Most common period of rental.
One Month $1,750 to $10,000 (Plus Tax)
A 7 day rental is most typical and this is good because Class C Motor homes are notoriously hard riding and squeaky. That 7-days might be too long, but at least you get to experience life on the road on a trial basis. Plus you don’t have to keep it with you and pay for repairs or depreciation. These are best for short trips and moving frequently.
Towables are probably the most popular type of RV. They are cheap and cheerful, can be roomy, and no rough riding since you are towing them. But beware. While dealers will let you drive even the biggest Class A with no experience, they won’t let you practice tow a trailer. They claim for liability purposes, but we suspect they are afraid that you might not like towing something behind your vehicle, or try to back these things up, which could be difficult and humiliating. Also, many of these trailers can sway badly in the winds and create a “Tail wagging the dog” phenomenon which can be dangerous. And most people wanting to test tow a trailer, usually don’t come with an anti-sway trailer hitch which dampens the swaying.
Towables can be pretty, with all kinds of creature comforts, hence they can be good for long or short term stay. Many families love these due to their price/value equation.
Fifth wheels are probably the most stable in the road. The front of the trailer goes over the pickup truck cab and thus puts weight down on the back of the pick up bed. It thus creates much greater tire “stickiness and stability” to the rig. Not so much swaying as with a towable and they are much easier and forgiving when backing into a narrow camp site. It can carry a lot of weight and equipments, but remember you need a pick up truck. So the combination of a Fifth Wheel and a new Pickup truck can set you back well over $100,000. This might almost equal to what you pay to drive a new 34 ft motor home towing a small car like a Honda Fit.
We only recommend Class B for couples who are deeply in love and at least one of you has to be very organized. They are cleverly designed but difficult to move around in with two people and the shower is generally in the bathroom. B’s are not really our cup of tea, but many people love them and the segment is growing. You can even get an off road version with 4 wheel drive to take out on the beach. Many fit-ins to normal parking spaces, thus no need to have a tow.
The most important lesson is to make sure you are clear about what lifestyle you seek on the road. Readers, please look for our following articles where we discuss each of these RV types in more details and will tell you more things about each type that most people don’t know.
Read Other RV Articles:
1] 5 Critical things to think about before you purchase Class-A Motorhomes
2] Duct Tape never RV without it
3] Never buy an RV at RV Shows Instead follow these steps | RV Buying Tips
4] Only buy a new RV in these states