Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Full disclosure, we still have never owned an RV, but that day is coming, and it’s coming fast. It was a giant leap closer when we were finally able to settle on what we think will be the best fit for us right now. Honestly, I can’t stress enough, and I am sure you have heard it before, if you haven't then I hate to break it to you, but there is no perfect RV. There certainly is an RV that meets all your needs, as well as some number of your wants but you just can’t have it all. We may have never owned an RV, but we have spent hours upon hours trying to find the perfect trailer for our family to travel full time across America in. Unfortunately, unless we found some kind of “TARDIS” or “Bag of Holding” technology, there was just no way for us to fit private space for everyone, storage for everything we could want to bring, storage for everything we NEED to bring, all the people needed to use it, and fit it all in a National Park friendly, 24 foot travel trailer that can be pulled by any old half ton. There was some serious compromising to be done.
The very first thing we had to ask ourselves was “do we want a bigger truck?”. Obviously, this was a hard decision to make. Just kidding, of course we want a bigger truck. What we don’t want is a bigger payment, but every trailer we could find that was big enough to carry us, our 16-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, our cat and our dog, and have storage for everything we own, either didn’t have the cargo weight capacity to put our stuff in it, or it wasn’t even close to half ton tow-able. That made the decision pretty easy. We need to trade in the half ton for a 2500 HD Diesel. It’s not that I want to. I need to. For the good of the family.
Next thing we had to decide was if the RV should be new or used. Both have some great benefits, and both have some drawbacks as well. Do any amount of research and you will notice everyone saying the same thing. Buy used. New generally comes with a significantly higher price tag. It also comes with a warranty, but I hear that the warranty is usually a real pain to deal with and sometimes void when you live in it full time. Used RVs have a significantly higher chance of having undisclosed damage, no warranty, but costs thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars less. Either way, you are going to need to be good or get good at fixing RVs or have a good budget for repairs. We decided that having everything in and about our brand-new home being brand-new and made to order, as we start a brand-new journey in our brand-new lives just felt right. That’s right. We fell for that shiny new look and new RV smell. We felt that way, pretty much, from the beginning so deciding between new and used was easy for us. Though, financially, we probably made the wrong decision.
Choosing to upgrade the truck really opened up the possibilities. The weight of the trailer was no longer an issue, but we still needed to figure out what the best balance of convenient living to convenient parking was. After much thought, we realized that thought wasn’t going to figure this out for us. It was time to go look at some RVs. We needed to walk around inside these things to see and feel what might really work for us. What I found, personally, was quite interesting. The floor plans that I liked the least when looking online, ended up being the 2 floor plans I liked the most in person. What we all found was an RV that felt like home as soon as we walked into it. From that moment, not a one of us could see this happening in anything else. From there, we were able to figure everything else out. We now know that our trailer is about 37 feet long and parking in a national park is near impossible. With that in mind, we can plan ahead and find suitable camping outside the park, quite possibly for free, and just take day trips in.
So, after doing lots of research into what works for other people and contemplating what could possibly work for us, what we found was, armed with some knowledge about the available options we prefer and some of the common issues we are likely to find, all we really needed to do was start walking around in different models until we found one that FELT the most like home. Because everything else can be figured out but you can’t force a place to feel like home. And let’s keep it real, 1 year after living in it, we are probably going end up with a list of things we wish were different and what the next one will definitely need to have, but this one will still feel like home.