Great article about buying an RV. Very informative.  The wife and I are starting research 5th wheels and plan to purchase probably a used one in a year or so.  You wrote that your two favorite picks were the Mobile Suites and the Van Leigh. 
  What are your thoughts and opinions on the Grand Design 5ers.  We really like their floor plans.    
Thank you,   Jeff


RVlivingfulltime.com says:

Morning Jeff,

I have been doing some research on Grand Design Products. A couple of things:

1. They have been around since 2012 and were independently owned until 2016

2. In 2016 they were bought by Winnebago

3. Winnebago does not have a great reputation for Quality, in my estimation. As an example, Newmar was recently acquired by Winnebago and a lot of motorhome RVers shuttered as they felt that the well established Newmar quality as a high end motorhome would suffer. I am not sure that has come to fruition as yet, but the acquisition was not looked upon favorably.

4. The roofs on Grand Design Fifth Wheels are TPO fabric material. In my experience this type of roof covering is very common in the RV industry but is not of the level of quality as a fiberglass roof.

5. They appear to have good insulation quality and the primary construction material in terms of beams and supports is aluminum. The roof trusses are wood.

6. This link is a couple years old but gives a lot of detail on the construction characteristics. https://familyrvingmag.com/2018/12/01/grand-design-solitude/
It is a pretty favorable review.

7. I don’t know, at this point, where you are planning to go in your fifth wheel and how extreme the climates are going to be. The answers to these questions are pretty important as they should dictate how important things like insulation R factors and dual pane windows are. In the “Choosing Your RV/trailers” section in the Blog, i have a link to an article on RV insulation. If you haven’t done so, i would read the entire section on trailer “Budget and Construction” then do some comparison to the Grand Design.

In conclusion:
1. After doing some research and general reading, I think that I would rate the Grand Design Fifth Wheel Product as “upper middle of the road”. It is not top quality, but neither is it near the bottom.

2. As with any RV a lot of the reviews mention issues with the dealership that sold them. I would suggest that you do some research on any dealership that you are contemplating using. As about their warranty service, time frames for repair, delivery process etc.

3. As with any RV, you are bound to find groups of owners who are thrilled with their purchase and those that are very disappointed. It is always a challenge to walk away from reading articles and reviews with your own meaningful opinion.

I hope that I have given you some things to think about as you contemplate your decision. As you have some time, I would look at alternatives and do a lot of comparisons. I give you some really specific pointers on what to look for and compare in the Blog articles on “Choosing an RV”

Best regards,

RV Living Full Time



I want to start by giving you just a brief bit of background as to my RV buying experience.

First off, you should know that one of my semi retirement jobs was selling new and used cars for a Chevrolet Dealership for almost 2 years. I was a really good salesman and was given the GM Award of Excellence. In addition to this great experience, I have pretty much been a sales person most of my adult life, after my experiences in social work and teaching. The only reason I am telling you this, is to give you confidence that I understand the buying process from both sides.

I have also bought and sold many RVs over the years. In the “About Us” section, I detail the 8 different trailers and motorhomes that I have owned over the past 18+ years. I have only traded RVs once, the rest of the time I sold the old RVs myself, usually using Craig’s List.

The discussion below is going to sound a bit negative, I am afraid. But my goal here is to be very honest in my cautions to improve the chances that you will have few if any regrets, months after you make your purchase. You will have lots of time after you buy your new RV to enjoy the incredible, positive RV experience!

To make things much clearer, i am going to list the tips I want to give you. I am going to group them under buying a new RV and buying a used one:


Buying a New RV

1.Do your homework!

I can’t tell you how much of an advantage the sales person has over you if you arrive at a dealership with very little knowledge of the market place.

a. TYPE – Start with knowing the type of RV you want. bumper pull trailer, fifth wheel trailer or class A, B or C motorhome. Use the “Choosing Your RV” article in our BLOG to help you decide.

b. LAYOUT – Decide on a layout, if you can. Choosing a layout is critical in the beginning and there are lots of things to consider when choosing the best layout for your living situation. These are all detailed in the “Choosing Your RV” section. Layout is not something that you can change later so you need make sure that you understand what you need to live comfortably. In the process, also consider the length of the RV.

c. BRANDS – After you have decided on the type and layout of the RV you need to decide on a couple of brands that you want to consider. Obviously in considering these brands, you have determined that each offers the layout that you want. There are lots of brands of brands to consider and just as many opinion as to which is best. After doing lots of research, talking with people who have them, and drawing on my own experiences, the following are my recommendations:

Travel Trailers – The Best – Airstream, Casita and Oliver

Avoid – any Thor , Gultstream or Coachman products

Fifth Wheels – The Best – Mobile Suites and Van Leigh(Tiffin)

Avoid – any Thor, Gulfstream or Coachman products

Motorhomes – The Best – Prevost, Tiffin, Newell, and Newmar

Avoid – any Thor, Fleetwood, Gulfstream or Coachman Product


Obviously, i have left out a huge number of brands that are somewhere in the middle between the Best and the Worst. I would research those brands carefully and then decide.


2. Go to an RV Show

This is a great way to see a lot of options in one place and at one time. There will be lots of layouts and brands and it will give you an opportunity to further refine your search.

a. Decide before you go whether you are “researching” and NOT buying or “shopping”, meaning you have done your research and know what you want. This means that you understand the actual costs of the brands and layout you want and can actually buy with knowledge.

b. Sometimes you can find a some great deals both for the RV and in financing at RV shows.

c. If you have lots of time, visit the factory where your potential new home is built. Get an idea of how it is put together and the level of care that is taken in construction.


3. Go to a Dealership

Going to a dealership to buy an RV is not like buying a car. An RV is incredibly more complicated by its very nature and often times much more expensive. It some ways it is like buying a car and a house at the same time.

a. A sales person is there to make money, and the only way he or she can do so, is to sell you something.

b. The sales person is not your friend. It is great to establish a nice cordial relationship with a sales person, but just remember fostering a trusting relationship is their first objective and is part of the selling process.

c. Getting your trust is key for then in selling you an RV. This is the entire reason why you must go to a dealership prepared, knowledgeable and determined.

d. Ask lots of questions. You should be sure before you go that if you are purchasing a trailer or fifth wheel, that your vehicle is up to it. You should have researched the weight of the RVs you are looking at in your final list and be sure that your vehicle can tow them.

e. Find out in advance what the delivery process and follow up after the sale is like. You deserve a delivery process that leaves you feeling like you understand your new purchase and generally how to operate everything.


4. Negotiate

Knowing generally the cost of what your new RV is selling for in the market place is key here.

a. You should generally get between 25% and 30% off the MSRP (manufacture’s suggested retail price) of a new RV. Do not fall for phrases like “RVs like this are hard to find”, “this RV will not last” “the market place for RVs is particularly hot right now”.

b. If you find the sales person difficult to deal with, too pushy and unable to answer your questions knowledgeably, then leave. There are usually lots of dealerships available. You can also request another sales person.


5.Deposits/Test Drives/Inspections


a. You should never have to put down a deposit to take a test drive in a motorhome. That is ridiculous. To me it is insulting and suggests that the dealership does not believe you are a serious buyer. My suggestion is to walk away.

b. Negotiating such things as trailer hitches, sway bars and fifth wheel hitches should be brought up when you are beginning to narrow you decision and before you make any deposit.

c. $500 to $1000 is more than adequate of a deposit to give a dealership to hold the RV until you get financing, if that is required. Because our last purchase of our Tiffin was 600 miles away, we gave the dealership $500 refundable deposit to hold it until we could get there to view it and take a test drive. We had secured the financing, insurance and everything else in advance of going to see it.

d. Inspect, inspect, inspect. Never assume even a new RV is in complete working order. Allow an entire day for the buying process, beginning early. Take a printed list with you of things to check, plumbing, electricity, heaters, AC etc. It is always a great idea to take an impartial friend with you that you can turn to for advice. This should be someone who will not get caught up in the emotions of the purchase experience.

e. Get it in writing – If anything is not working, make sure you get agreement that it will be made right, in writing with a specific time frame when it will be completed. I have heard many horror stories of issues with RVs, even new RVs that dealers refused to fix or that took months to resolve.

f. Get it in writing – If the issues are extensive, or major, do not accept the RV, do not sign, do not pay any money until the issues are solved. This is very hard to do sometimes when your new baby is sitting there, begging for you to take her home. Remember when the dealer has your money, and you have signed, the RV is yours. Your chance to get issues resolved at this point just rests on the good will of the dealership. Remember my comment earlier about the sales person not being your friend?


6. Extended Warranties

I know the arguments for and against buying and extended warranty and for a used RV, I am for it. We purchased one when we bought our 2005 Tiffin Phaeton motorhome 2 years ago. Like the purchase price of the motorhome, however, we negotiated even threatened to buy it else where. We financed it in. Some thoughts:

a. If you are a bit financially stretched buying your new home, like we were, you might not have the extra cash to pay for any issues that might come up. Trust me they will in even in a pristine used motorhome and a new one.

b. An extended warranty can give you enormous peace of mind. RVs can be very complex and remember they are rolling earthquakes, so things do break.

c. I would not buy one on a new RV that already has a warranty that comes with it. Wait until the new warranty is up then consider purchasing and extended one.

d. Warranties are a huge money maker for the dealership and sales person, so again, negotiate.

e. Read the fine print. Like anything else, there are good and bad warranties. All of them generally make you go through some hoops to collect. As an aside, I have heard nothing but horror stories about Good Sam warranties.

f. Putting the money you would pay for a warranty into a savings account for repairs is a pipe dream for most people, but if you can do it, more power to you.

g. Finally in my opinion you should NEVER buy separate warranties on the paint or inside fabrics. These are a total waste of money, and are simply gravy on top of the sale for the sales person and dealership. I speak from experience. Trust me they are worthless.


7. Delivery

RV Dealerships are notoriously bad at deliveries of used and new RVs. I have talked to many people who leave with their very expensive new home and haven’t a clue as to how to operate it.

a. Insist on a thorough delivery process wherein a knowledgeable person walks you though all the systems in the RV and explains how everything works. Thoroughly understanding the delivery process is something that is good to find out right up front, as soon as you arrive at the dealership.

b. Plan on a “shake down cruise” if you will, near by, preferably near the dealership. On this initial short trip, go to an RV park in the area and set up your new home and stay over at least one night. Make plans in advance that you will be calling the dealership for information as things come up in this initial trip. It is a good idea not to do this “shake down cruise” on the weekend so that dealership personnel will be available.



Buying a Used RV

All of the considerations and cautions given above in buying a new RV from a dealership apply equally to buying a used RV. There are some additional things to consider, however.

a. Before you purchase any used RV, you should have it inspected by an unbiased person incredibly experienced in RVs and that you are paying. If you are purchasing a motorhome, you should have the engine also inspect by a licensed mechanic.(a diesel mechanic if you are purchasing a diesel powered motorhome). A couple of tips:

b. Employing a professional, licensed NRVIA (National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association) person is an excellent idea.

c. Do not take the dealer up on the offer of providing you with an inspector. This is obviously a conflict of interest.

d. If a dealer refuses to allow an independent inspector on the premises, then offer to take the vehicle off the premises. If they still refuse to allow the vehicle to be inspected by your inspector, find another dealer.

e. Chances are almost 100% that your inspector will find that your used potential purchase is not perfect and that there are some issues. But the key is that you now know them before you have paid for the RV. Sometimes, if you still want the RV you can negotiate the price down, or the dealership will pay to fix them. Refer to the “get it in writing”section above. It is also very possible that the inspector will miss some things but a good inspector will not miss anything major.

f. Make sure you follow the inspector around the RV. Take the time to ask questions as you go. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how your new-to-you-RV works. A good inspector will make recommendations on how to repair issues, the cost of repairs and even recommendations of resources.

g. Buying a used RV from a private party is not a lot different from all of the above with a few additional cautions:

1. If you are buying a used RV from a private party long distance, never send money to hold the RV.

2. Request lots of pictures of the exterior and interior and inspect them carefully before you take the trip. Private sellers often over sell the condition of their RVs.

3. Hiring an inspector is even more important in buying an RV from a private party. With a dealership, if things go really wrong, you have a company that you could sue or fight with bad publicity. With a private party, you have no real recourse if you failed to see issues before the purchase.

4. Financing will be more challenging buying a used RV from a private party. Make sure you understand if there are loans on the RV that need to be paid off and how that will work.






Class A Motorhomes

This is a fairly large grouping of motorhomes with lots of options. These motorhomes can vary from 25 ft all the way up to 45 ft. Probably the biggest differentiator other than just length is source of power. Typically class A motorhomes are either diesel pushers, meaning they have a diesel engine mounted in the back or they are gas powered with a gas engine in the front. Having said that, there are some motorhomes that have a front mounted diesel engine, but they are not as common.

To many, the class A is the perfect motorhome for full time RV living as its size enables you to have more of the traditional amenities of a traditional home. Most class As have a separate shower, separate larger oven, wide screen tvs and even washer dryers. Luxury class As require little to no compromise on creature comforts and can be more upscale than many condos or apartments .



LIke the class C and B motorhomes, one of the advantages of a class A motorhome is the turn the “key and go” aspect.

One of the distinct advantages of a class A over a fifth wheel trailer is that because most people tow a car behind their motorhome, they have a more economical and maneuverable form of transportation when they arrive at their destination. This is also a down side as it does not make it as easy to go each morning as you must hook up the car if you unhooked and explored the day before.

The class A motorhome is not as maneuverable as smaller motorhomes and care must be taken in terms of getting into fuel stations and RV parks.


Number of People

Class A motorhomes come in a wide variety of floor plans and accommodations. Some have a second small bedroom in the hall way area with bunk beds, for example. Most have a pull out couch in the living room to accommodate guests. Some are configured with a built in dinette which can accommodate 4 adults or more children and others have the pullout table with 4 chairs for dining.


Physical condition

Class A motorhomes, themselves do not require physical strength or agility but depending on if you tow a vehicle you would need both of these.

There are two ways of towing a vehicle, flat towing or using a trailer dolly. Both of these require some physical strength and agility.

I will be devoting a separate post to discussing the advantages and disadvantages of both of these towing methods, as we have had both.

For this discussion, it is important to note that you should not choose to trailer dolly your vehicle if you are not in fairly good physical condition. One needs physical strength and agility to use a trailer dolly. By the way, just for clarification, only certain vehicles can be “flat towed” meaning all 4 wheels on the ground.


Working while roaming

Working from a class A motorhome can be a real pleasure. Many come with built in work stations and if not, the dinette serves the purpose very well. Because the class A is so roomy it is relatively easy fo another person to do their own thing while one person works from home.

We will be devoting numerous blog posts in the future to such subjects as ”internet access on the road” and other work at home topics.



Class A motorhomes are not the best choice for off-roading and exploring the less traveled roads.

Depending on the size, you may even have some difficulty going into National Parks. Keeping the size of your class A home under 35 ft is the best length for entry into these areas.

There are, however, areas that you can go to and still boon dock in a larger class A such as the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas in Quartzite Arizona, just to name one area. You can drive out in the desert on firm dirt roads and park for very low cost and boon dock. The class A with its larger holding tanks and generator is well suited for this type of boon docking.

I want to address the issue of power when it comes to mountainous terrain. There is always much debate by motorhome owners as to the advantages and disadvantages of gas vs diesel power.  It is our opinion that if you are planning travel in mountainous areas, your best option is a diesel motorhome. We have had both, and have concluded that although a large gas motorhome will make it up the mountain, it maybe a nail-biting experience, incredibly slow and noisy.

Coming down the mountain cam be even more scary as gas motorhomes do not have exhaust brakes, an incredibly valuable feature which uses the engine gears and exhaust to effectively slow the vehicle as you descend. There is much, much more that can be said about this topic and likely other blog posts will explore this further. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to write us. Click here to go to the “Contact Us” page.


Budget and construction

Class A motorhomes are the most expensive of all the motorhomes. They are usually built on custom chassis meant for motorhomes and can cost anywhere from just under a $100,000 to more than a million. They are not an investment by any means as they depreciate as a car would and as all RVS do. But they are an exciting lifestyle choice and for many of us, the lack of appreciation has been accepted as worth it.

Motorhomes vary greatly in quality of construction, plumbing, electrical components and fixtures and “furniture”. The list of things to look for when considering a new motorhome or used one is detailed in our discussion of trailers. Click here to go that that section of the blog.

In our opinion there are two higher level quality motorhome manufacturers Newmar and Tiffin. We have owned both and have extensively researched and looked at others. Both of these manufacturers produce a wide variety of gas and diesel models with may layouts to choose from. There is an even higher level of motorhome construction and quality but those are motorhomes built on Prevost shells, a well known bus manufacturer. These motorhomes routinely are priced more than a million dollars.

We will discuss the advantage and disadvantages of choosing a used motorhome vs a new motorhome in subsequent posts.


Level of comfort

Class A motorhomes can have an extraordinary level of comfort. As mentioned previously, they can have multiple TVs, washer and dryers, AC and central heat, large convection/microwave ovens, heated tile floors, ceramic tile showers, electric fire places and the list can go on and on! Depending on your budget and size of your selection the amenities and options are truly amazing.



One’s handiness and being able to handle what may happen as your home experiences the continuous “earthquake” of going down the road is pretty much the same as those points made in the trailer discussion of this topic.

A class A motorhome is even more complicated than a trailer, in no small part do to the increase in number and quality of amenities and options as we discussed above. So there is even more opportunities for things to come loose, break, leak etc. I do want to add here that it has been my experience that the original quality of the construction, fixtures, furniture etc has direct bearing on how easy it will be to successfully address the issue ALL motorhomes and RVS regardless of the brand will have these issues but the higher the level of original quality the easier it will be to fix them.



Most new class A motorhomes have considerably higher ceilings than older models and therefore impart a more roomy feeling. This same ceiling height, unlike a fifth wheel extends to all part of the coach as there is no “upstairs” in a motorhome.

With the advent of slides, the living areas in motorhomes have opened up even more. Many new motorhomes have 4 slides that oppose one another on each side of the coach. This creates a great feeling of openness and space. Many full timers feel this is essential for living in an RV full time.



Class A motorhomes have considerable storage space both in side their cavernous interiors and outside in large bays that are built into the area between the floor of the RV and the underside of the vehicle above the road. The construction of a motorhome is very similar to a bus with very large bays outside for storage. Even RVers with hobbies having storage requirements should find the the average class A will work for them.














 2020 Newmar Canyon Star Gas


  Canyon Star Floor Plan












  2020 Tiffin Allegro 34 Gas


  Allegro Floorplan











 2020 Newmar Dutchstar Diesel


 Dutchstar Interior










2020 Tiffin Phaeton 40


Phaeton Interior


Class B Motorhomes

Smaller and more nimble, class B motorhomes or “camper vans” are generally between 15 and 26 feet long. Of all the motorhome variations, we think that this option is probably the least desirable for full time Rv living. I should note here that I have not owned a class B motorhome so my opinions in this discussion are based on research and general knowledge. You might want to visit this website as it has an article about a couple who has been living and working in their class B for more than a year. click here



One of the distinct advantages of owning this type of Rv is that you can pretty much go anywhere you can go in a car. It is very versatile in this way and very easy to maneuver and drive. You don’t need to tow another vehicle behind and as a result your opportunities for camping are almost endless. A class B motorhome is also the most fuel efficient of all the motorhomes.


Number of People

Size is the biggest limiting factor in the selection of a class B motorhome. It is built on a van chassis so the space is limited. The bathroom is usually one small area and includes perhaps a shower in the same room as the toilet and sink. Usually the class B can accommodate 2 people but it is one room so it makes for close quarters for the two.


Physical condition

The class B is a small, nimble and easy to use to explore. As a class B owner, you would not be towing any other vehicle and would have very little to set up at your camp site and nothing to hitch or unhitch. The entrance to this motorhome is like a car so there is no stepping up like in a class A..

Owning a this motorhome does not require any physical prowess or agility. Larger individuals or those with physical handicaps could find moving about in a class B challenging.


Working While Roaming

Because of the limited space in this rather small motorhome, working at home could be a challenge, but not one that others have not over come. Travelers have extensively remodeled their class Bs to include mini work stations with printers, computer desks etc, so it certainly is possible. If you are traveling with someone else, though, there is little opportunity for privacy . There really is no additional space for the other person to go.



Because of its size, the class B, “camper van” can go pretty much anywhere a car or suv can go. Finding camping sites and entry into camp grounds is generally very easy as is entrance to national parks. Most of these vehicles are not four wheel drive, so going off the grid should still be done with care and within the limits of its capability.


Budget and construction

Class B motorhomes are amongst the most expensive by square foot of all the motorhomes. But they are very well constructed and  sturdy as they are built on a full van frame. They also seem generally to hold their value a bit better than the larger motorhomes. Because of their size, the Class B motorhome has the best fuel mileage of all the motorhomes and many models are available in a diesel version.


Level of Comfort

There is a huge selection and lots of variations in layout of class B motorhomes. If you are planing to spend a good deal of your time outdoors, hiking, taking pictures, and exploring the sites and especially if you are definitely into the “camping” experience in the classic sense, then this might be the perfect motorhome for you. Amenities offered by this motorhome are at the same time generous but limited by the space. Bathrooms and kitchens are smaller and limited. In many area the class B is perfect for “boon docking”, going off the grid without electric, water or sewage services. But the size of the holding tanks in this configuration of motorhome is very limited so in that respect it can be limiting.



Although i have not personally owned a class B motorhome, it would seem to me that they might be more difficult for the do it yourself person to work on. Plumbing, wiring and appliances are more compact and under flooring and behind walls. The type of materials used for the systems in these motorhomes is not substantially different than the other RVs we have been discussing so far. Engine maintenance is easy and access to the engine is through the traditional small hood in the front of the vehicle.



Actual physical space for living is obviously limited in this smallest of the three types of motorhomes. Ceiling height can be extended as most new vans are extra tall so that feature will help with the openness. If you are looking for lots of space to stretch out, we recommend that renting a class B would be a great option to assure you would be comfortable living in its limited space.



Storage in a camper van is very limited. Depending on the configuration, there will be small bays outside and cabinets and closets inside the cabin. If you are into hobbies that require lots of room then this motorhome may not be right for you.




2020 Winnebago Revel


Revel Layout








2020 Airstream Interstate


Interstate layout







  Leisure Travel Unity 25



Unity Interior



Unity 1 of 6 Layouts









Class C Motorhomes

I need to note here that I have not personally owned a class C motorhome so the information here is from research. The class C motorhome is built on a truck or van chases and is easy to spot because of their over hang of the cab which usually contains a bed. They are usually between 21 and 28 ft long and can be gas or diesel powered. They have many of the features that the large class A motorhomes have but in a smaller, more compact size. Some of the newer “class C+” motorhomes are larger and offer more luxury and features at a heftier price tag.


1. Mobility

If you plan to travel from place to place a lot as a full time RVer, then the class C motorhome might be perfect for you.

Because it is smaller, you can go into places that larger motorhomes, and trailers and fifth wheels would have difficulty going to.

The class C is very maneuverable as it is built on a regular truck chassis.

You can quite easily tow your car along so that when you get to your destination, you unhook the car and you are off for sight seeing.

Like a full size motorhome, in this mini motorhome you have access to the inside cabin while moving along. In bad weather, this can be a really comforting feature.


2. Number of People

Because of its limited size, the number of people the class C motorhome can accommodate will be modest. Generally a couple or children can sleep in the over head bunk and another couple could sleep in a pull out couch, generally a standard feature. The bathroom in a class C usually has a separate shower from the toilet and sink.


3. Physical Condition

A class C motorhome really does not require any physical strength or agility to drive and maneuver. Because it is lower to the ground than a full size motorhome/bus, it is also easier to enter and exit and requires no stairs. The larger class C+ may be higher and have stairs, however.


4. Working While Roaming

Managing a home office in a class C motorhome should not present any particular challenges. This smaller motorhome is plenty roomy, although the “desk” would likely be the kitchen table. Some research, however, will reveal that creative full timers have done some amazing remodeling to their class C homes to include mini offices.


5. Terrain

Although certainly not usually a four wheel drive vehicle, class C motorhomes can certainly be taken off road to a certain extent. They are by nature and length quite maneuverable and like any large truck, they are pretty versatile. One of the advantages of owning a smaller motorhome like a class C is the you can easily qualify for entrance to most national parks and it is generally easier to find camping opportunities than in a larger vehicle or even in a longer trailer.


6. Budget and Construction

Class C motorhomes are generally some of the less expensive RV options out there, certainly in comparison to the class A “bus”. They also hold their value somewhat better than their larger counter parts. Because they have standard truck gasoline engines they can be easier and less expensive to maintain. In many cases a good qualified small truck mechanic will be able to service and repair the basic drive train. The same i believe would be true for the diesel versions of the class C.

Class C motorhomes are also use less fuel than the larger class A motorhome

The construction of a class C motorhome by it nature of using a truck front end crumple zones and is generally safer because of this front cockpit configuration. The general construction does not vary considerably from other rvs. Generally the fresh water, gray water and black water tank capacity of a class C will be considerably less than the class A. More heavily insulated class C motorhomes are available including those with double pane windows.


7. Level of Comfort

Although they are smaller than traditional class A motorhomes, class C motorhomes can be very comfortable and luxurious. Many new models come with slides. Whether you are comfortable in a class C is very much an individual preference and as with all RVs the layout is the most important consideration.


8. Handiness

The level of handiness required in owing a class C is similar to owning any RV so previous comments made in the “Trailer” section apply here. The main difference in terms of maintenance and repair is that as an owner of a class C, you now have the added factor of the drive train (engine and transmission) As we mentioned earlier, however, the fact that this vehicle is built on a truck chassis means that often routine service and repair can be done less expensively by a truck or general service mechanic.


9. Space

Class C motorhomes can be quite roomy. Their ceilings are not particularly high and the slides and not huge, however. The newer breed of class Cs have innovative layouts with dual slides. The “super Cs” or “C+” motorhomes approach class A bus in roominess and appointments. The view to the outside in a class C is fair. The over hang prevents some of a view accept in the driver and copilot seats and the windows along the side tend to be somewhat smallish.


10. Stuff

Due to the design and construction of class C motorhomes, the storage capacity is considerably less than a fifth wheel trailer or class A motorhome. Many have a nice, roomy rear/side “basement” as the main outside storage which makes use of space under the bed in the rear. Full time RVers considering a class C will find that over all storage of “stuff” is limited.  Again, the “super C” version will have considerably more storage space.







2020 Winnebago View2020 View Layout


2020 View Layout













2020 Tiffin Wayfarer



2020 Wayfarer Layout













2020 Jayco Seneca 37{super C}


Seneca Interior back to front



“What every full time RVer should remember when choosing an Rv to live in”


Price and markup

Typically a new motorhome has a 25% markup. Negotiate, negotiate. Be wary of extended warranties and fabric and paint treatments.


New Rv vs used

New motorhomes, trailers and fifth wheels depreciate enormously like a car the moment you drive it off the lot. Consider a late model used RV that has been well taken care of.



It is worth having even a new RV inspected by someone you trust and knows RVs well. Buying a used RV should necessitate hiring a paid person to do the inspection. Down load an inspection check list and use it. Don’t be rushed in your inspection!



It is recommended you spend some time in any RV that you are buying as a home. Renting a similar one is a great way of getting to know a potential purchase.



Living full time in an RV is different than using an RV for weekends. We recommend researching construction techniques, insisting on the best R rating in insulation and dual pane windows.


Quality of fixtures

Living full time in an RV means that plastic toilets, sinks and faucets will not hold up. We recommend ceramic toilets and stainless fixtures.


Gas vs diesel in motorhomes

Diesel motorhomes are considerably more expensive than gas and for a reason. We feel they are more dependable, have better fuel economy, perform better in all terrains and are better for resale.


Heating and cooling

Make sure that the heating and AC of your new home is up to the task. What kind of maintenance do they require? How noisy are they? (The total living space is a much smaller area than your house so this will matter.)



Layout is everything and something you can’t change but will have to live with. Check out all the options and spend some time in your potential purchase.


Creature comforts

Check out carefully the essentials of everyday living. Is the shower large enough? How hard is it to make the bed? Simple things for sure, but in day to day living you want to be sure you are comfortable.  Do you always have to move things to get to things and do the chores of everyday living? 



No question you are going to be substantially paring down your “stuff” but is there going to be room for all your “essentials”? Check out drawers, cabinets, under the bed and outside storage. Envision where you are going to put everything, clothes, food, pots and pans etc.


Kitchen amenities

You are going to be cooking and preparing meals. Makes sure that size of sink(s). stove, oven, and refrigerator are large enough for your needs.



A class A motorhome, like ours, will usually have 40 gallons of gray water storage(sinks and shower), 40 gallons of black(toilets, sewage) and 100 gallons of fresh water storage. With great and conservation care two of us can last almost a week boon docking. It is always the gray that fills first. Use this example as a guide. Ask about the capacity of tank storage, it will be important, I promise.



How much of an effort is your potential RV choice going to be to get ready to leave on a trip and at the end of a trip? How difficult is it to get to everyday items? Do you have to move stuff to get to stuff?


Ongoing cost

If you are on a budget, make sure you sit down and figure out how much the approximate bottom line cost it is going to be to live in and travel in your new home. It is a great idea to do some research to help you and to talk to another full timer. There are great groups on Facebook for example.



If you are considering buying a motorhome as your new RV home there are lots of things to think about. A motorhome is a motorized, self propelled RV that goes down the road as a truck or car. It requires registration as a motorhome in most states, and requires a valid drivers license to operate. Some states require a different license to drive certain motorhomes, usually the longer class A units.

First of all there are basically 3 distinct types of motorhomes with some variation under each grouping





The class C is built on a truck chassis and is distinguished by the over hang over the truck like cab. It is a very popular style of motorhome and is often the choice of new RVers.

2021 Thor Chateau 34




The class B is built on a van chassis and are the smallest of the three classes. They can be powered by gas or diesel. Of the three types, it would seem that the camper van configuration would be the most difficult for full time RV living. There is very little storage in this type of RV and the toilet area is usually a combination “wet” room with the toilet, shower and sink all in one very small area.

2020 Winnebago Revel



The class A is usually the most expensive and luxurious. The two adjectives “expensive” and “luxurious” are very subjective, I realize and subject not only to individual interpretation, but also to the year, model, size and price of the vehicle. A class A motorhome can be powered by gas or diesel. The larger ones, over 35 ft or so, are almost always diesel powered. The maximum size for this class is approximately 45 ft.




2020 Tiffin Phaeton



Directory of Posts:

Class A

Sep 23, 2020

Class B

Sep 22, 2020

Class C

Sep 22, 2020


(Note Jeff’s comment and my response)
Fifth wheel trailers have really advanced over the years and for many full-time RVers, they are the RV of choice. Looking at the 10 criteria that we outlined in Choosing Your RV, much of what we posted for Trailers applies to Fifth wheel Trailers as well. As a result, the discussion below will only include the Assumptions/Questions that distinguish the Fifth wheel from the Bumper pull trailer.


1. Mobility

When we discuss mobility, as we outlined before, we are speaking about how often you are moving from place to place.

A Fifth wheel Trailer differs from a bumper pull trailer in two main aspects related to how often you travel from place to place as a full timer:

  • The first is the vehicle required for tow. Many new travel trailers are constructed to make them very light weight and as a result in some cases you can pull them with a good SUV or even a hefty car. This means that when you get to your destination, after you have unhitched, you have a car or suv to drive around in to see the sights.
    Not so with a Fifth wheel which requires a truck to tow it. A special hitch is mounted into the center of the bed of a truck and usually bolted through the bed onto the frame of the truck so it is not easily removable. The hitch takes up a considerable amount of the bed so its usefulness is definitely changed.

The bottom line here is that when you arrive at your destination, after you have unhitched, you now will be driving a truck around to sight see. This would not be a huge inconvenience accept that in most cases most Fifth wheels that you would want to live in full time, will require a full size truck, either 1/4 or 1/2 ton, gas or diesel. If you move around a lot and want to explore your new destinations, this should be something you want to consider when choosing the Fifth wheel option.

An important feature of the towing set up of a fifth wheel is increased stability. A fifth wheel is far less likely to sway and the possibility of jack knifing is greatly reduced. A tow vehicle and trailer “jack knife” when the driver looses control and the two vehicles collide into one another.

2020 Escape 21

  • The second consideration in mobility with the fifth wheel is the hitching and unhitching of the Fifth wheel. In our opinion this process is easier with a fifth wheel than with a travel trailer. It also requires no physical strength or lifting capacity. You are carefully backing the vehicle to the correct location and engaging the pin on the trailer with the receptacle on the truck hitch. The jacks on the trailer are almost always motorized accept on the oldest of fifth wheels.

The time that it takes for the entire set up process of a fifth wheel is probably similar to that of a travel trailer.


2. Number of People

The size and layout of a fifth wheel trailer varies greatly like a travel trailer. The larger the fifth wheel the more people it can accommodate and with greater comfort. Almost all fifth wheels have a spacious “upstairs” area where the bedroom is located.


3. Physical Condition

As mentioned in “Mobility” it is our opinion that a fifth wheel requires less physical strength and agility to hitch and unhitch than a travel trailer.


4. Working While Roaming

A fifth wheel will have the same considerations as with a travel trailer.


5. Terrain

A fifth wheel, we believe, is less suited to almost any kind of of-roading than a travel trailer.  Given the nature of the hitch set up and the added weight of a fifth wheel,  we would urge caution when purchasing a fifth wheel if you intend to take it off road into the boonies. Any roads with sharp inclines or declines can pose real issues for the tow vehicle and trailer relationship. Traveling up hills on normal roads require the same considerations in choosing the tow vehicle as does a travel trailer. Make sure you have enough power to do it safely.


2020 Winnebego Micro Mini 25











2020 Pinnacle 32RL

6. Budget and Construction

The selection of a fifth wheel for full time living warrants the same considerations in this area as when purchasing a  travel trailer.


7. Level of Comfort

A fifth wheel’s level of livability and comfort varies as that of a travel trailer. Layout is very important and all the accessories that come with it.


8. Handiness

The maintenance and level of handiness in coping with things that need fixing is pretty much the same with a fifth wheel as with a travel trailer. The electrical system and plumbing are no different.



9. Space

You will find as you look at RVs that fifth wheel trailers generally have considerably more space than a travel trailer. The biggest difference in determining the more spacious feeling in a fifth wheel is the enormous ceiling height. The main living areas the kitchen/dining room and living room area all share a very high ceiling. The upstairs level with the bedroom does not. The ceiling in this area is reduced by the height of the stairs traveling up to the bedroom.

As with travel trailers, all newer fifth wheels have multiple slide outs. I have seen as many as 6 slide outs on a fifth wheel. These all add to the roomy feeling.

Fifth Wheel Interior Living Room

10. Stuff

One of the biggest differences between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel is storage space. Fifth wheels have an area under neath the stairs and forward bedroom, accessible from an outside bay door, that can really be enormous. This area is usually unencumbered by plumbing or other parts the supportive systems and invites you to bring more of the stuff you would have had to give away or store.

Hobbyists who want to take their crafts with them, will find that most fifth wheels excel at having more storage. In addition to the area under the stairs, most fifth wheels also have storage in the very back of the unit, under the flooring of the living room.

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Fifth Wheel Pass Through Storage



(The Rvs pictured here and else where are samples.  These are not specific recommendations as we have not researched them)

This category of Rvs is a really huge one. There are lots of variety when it comes to deciding on a travel trailer. There are some options that we are going to exclude, however, from our discussion.

Fifth Wheels we have decided to put in a category of their own. We are also not going to cover popup trailers, those that have a physical body but have a canvas structure on top and the smaller “tear drop” shape campers. Both of these trailer options are lacking in what we think are essentials for RV living full time such as showers and usually toilets. No question that some people could live in one of these choices, but I think in most cases these are reserved for a temporary “camping” experience and not full time living.


2020 Airstream Bambi 16rb

1. Mobility

  • a travel trailer requires a tow vehicle the heftiness of which depends on how heavy and large the trailer is. Usually the range varies from a 6 cylinder SUV to a 1 ton truck.
  • if you are planning on going to a location and staying for a while then going through the process of unhitching is perfectly doable.  You would then use the tow vehicle to explore.
  • If you are planning on traveling frequently from location to location then you will want to remember the hitching and unhitching process and the degree to which you are OK with going through it frequently. Some people take bikes with them on the back of the trailer or in the bed of a truck to use when exploring.


2020 Humingbird MBS

2. Number of People

Most travel trailers can accommodate various numbers and configurations of occupants from the solo traveler to more than one couple/children. Just remember that the more occupants, the larger the trailer and therefore the larger the tow vehicle required. * Layout is really key here. Its the one thing you really can’t change very well after purchase, so it is good idea not to compromise on it


3. Your Physical Condition

Hitching and unhitching a travel trailer of any size does require some physical agility and strength. Most travel trailers come with a motorized jack stand, so you can raise or lower the tongue of the trailer to level of the ball on the hitch of the tow vehicle. This helps, but there is still putting down jacks to stabilize, attaching hitch equalizer bars, if you have them, and other steps.

We recommend that if you have any doubts as to whether you can comfortably hitch and unhitch a new trailer, you should ask the seller to teach you the process and experience it first hand before you buy.


2020 Winnebago Micro Mini

4. Working While Roaming

If you are planning on working in your RV home while traveling, almost any layout will do to a point. Using the main dining table is a good start, but some larger travel trailers even have a type of desk option. Keep an eye out as you shop for a layout that enables you to comfortably work without having to extensively rearrange things. Constantly moving things to get at other things in a smaller unit can prove to be a chore after a while.


2020 Forest River R-Pod

5. Terrain

Consider what kind of exploring you plan to do before you purchase your new travel trailer home.
if you really love the idea of taking your trailer on the back roads, and live off the grid, the type of trailer you want to consider changes dramatically. You will want to consider ground clearance of the trailer, tire size, black and gray water tank capacity, suspension, storage and perhaps power generating. Likely that you will also want to research the type of tow vehicle also.

If you see yourself mainly highway driving to wonderful but easily accessible destinations, the type of trailer you can consider will expand greatly. RV parks often offer a couple of different types of hook ups to your trailer. A full hook up includes 30 or 50 amp electric service, and sewer connection. A electric only hookup is as it implies and dry camping is without either electricity or sewer. The cost gets cheaper as you move towards no facilities.


2020 OPUS Off Road

6. Budget and Construction

Depending on your budget, we often suggest that people should consider a used, quality, high end trailer. A high end, used trailer that has been well taken care of can be a great purchase. Such a unit that might have been unaffordable when new, has options that perhaps you really want but couldn’t afford right off the show room floor.


Buying used also means that many of the bugs of a new unit have been ironed out and there can be less headaches right out of the gate.


As we suggested, however, it makes more sense for a lot of reasons that if you are going to buy used, you spend valuable time researching which trailers are exceptional in quality when they are built. Buying a used trailer that was inexpensive to begin with and poorly made is not a good idea, in our opinion. An inexpensive trailer usually has low quality components, cheaply made fixtures, low end construction materials, limited insulation and other features that you very well may regret later after you begin living in it.


It is important to point out that, that most RVs are not designed and built for full time living. This is a fact which becomes very apparent if you choose an RV that is not up to the task of full time living and later are beset with endless issues brought about by simply living in it. I don’t mean to scare you here, as there is plenty you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen. It begins with researching and looking very carefully at how the trailer, new or used is constructed, the components its built with and making sure it has features that are necessary for full time living. There are really only 3 general areas that you need to focus on.


They are:

  • Insulation – learn more here  Note that no RV has the kind of insulation that a house has, but it is a great idea to begin to have some familiarity with range of R values in trailers. Trying to heat or cool a trailer in extremes of weather can be an impossible task if its not built with enough insulation.


  •  Heating and cooling – Usually the trailer will have a propane furnace. Note the BTU rating and how much propane the tanks hold. How large is the AC? Is it large enough for the size of the trailer?


  • Fixtures – Plumbing(pipes, sinks, faucets, toilets and showers) and wiring are important. Research the quality of the components that went into building the trailer.  I know that it seems like we are trying to turn you into an architect , but for full time RV living this kind of basic understanding can make the difference between a burst pipe in the middle of a cold night, or a blown circuit breaker on a hot summer day.


2020 SportTrek Touring Edition Luxury

Travel Trailer


7. Level of Comfort

Many of today’s travel trailers truly bring the comfort of home with you on the road to new adventures. They have TVs, microwave ovens, comfy queen/king beds, hot showers, and many other features that promote that “I really am at home” feeling. In choosing a trailer, it is important for you to decide which of these features are the most important to you. RV living full time implies that you have chosen an RV that really does satisfy your needs for a certain level of comfort.

This is especially true for the size of trailer that you choose. Larger trailers tend have more features; a second tv in the bedroom, a microwave AND convection oven, a separate stall shower and a private bedroom with a real door. Before writing the financial check, do a reality check of your own to make sure you can live in this RV and not feel deprived.

2020 Whitehawk travel trailer


8. Handiness

Now we come to what we mentioned before is a very important consideration necessary for your day to day enjoyment of living full time in your trailer.

Think of a trailer as your home and when it is going down the road, think of it as your home subjected to a constant earthquake. This is really important concept for new RVers to understand and helps explain why RVs require constant tightening, recaulking, repositioning, regluing, rerouting and patience. If you understand this fact of life about your RV, you will feel less discouraged when things need fixing and maintaining.

Any RV, new right off the showroom and “gently used” will require this kind of attention. No RV makers that I am aware of tests its RVs by shaking to simulate going down the road. You can depend on even a new RV, especially a new RV, to have things that will need adjusting and fixing.

A used RV, if taken care of, may actually be less likely to have as many issues.

We would like to suggest that as a new “full timer” you join lots of support groups on Facebook etc. These groups are incredibly supportive and will help you with questions, guidance and tips on how to maintain your new home. Keep coming back here for new and updated information and take advantage of our offer to personally answer your questions.

One of the things implied here is that there are people out there you can pay to do all the maintenance and “fixing” for you and some are very good. BUT this can be expensive, and such resources are not going to be available 24 hrs a day and at your location. Developing some basic understanding of how your Trailer works and some ability to successfully address minor issues will serve you well.

1987 Airstream Excella

9. Space

Living full time in an RV means that the amount of actual square footage that you will have to move around in, either by yourself or with others is going to be less than any house. That can be a great thing or intolerable one, depending on you. We have had people come over and visit us in our very spacious 40 ft motorhome with 4 slides and ask how can we live like this. Obviously RV living is not for everyone.

Just make sure before you select your dream RV that you have spent some time in it. It may seem wonderful and roomy at first, but imagine how you will feel during a long string of rainy days. Trailers really do vary in this regard and slides really make a world of difference.

Newer trailers often have “opposing” slides, meaning slides on both sides of the living room for example. These two slides can make a huge difference in the actual space in the living room which is the main living area in the RV.

Ceiling height can also add more space and create an enhanced openness. Newer RVs and especially fifth wheel trailers usually have higher ceilings.

We could begin to quote square footage available in a trailer but i am not sure how that would help with this discussion. RV brochures never quote the square footage in their units because it is hard to measure and it really doesn’t help appreciate the actual space available. In a trailer the furniture is built in and assessing the degree to which you feel an openness of the living space is very much a personal experience, one i encourage to explore carefully.

2017 Jayco Eagle

10. Stuff

Closely related to actual living space in a trailer is the built in furniture, discussed above, and the amount of your personal stuff that you want to bring along. Trailers do not have much storage space. Of the three main groups of RVs; trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes, trailers have the least.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first of these is simply weight capacity. A trailer is pulled by a hitch on the back of the tow vehicle. There is tongue weight which is the weight pulling down on this hitch by the tongue of the trailer. Then there is the weight that is born by the wheels of the trailer. Most newer trailers are built out of light weight materials so that more fuel efficient vehicles can tow them. As a result of all these factors, the actual weight of stuff, including water and contents of black and gray tanks is limited.

The second reason for the limited storage capacity in a trailer is how they are built. The super structure in a trailer is built on the frame as opposed to a motorhome, for example which as storage bays between the frame and the super structure. In a motorhome this area also houses the engine etc. A trailer, as a result, will have some smallish hatches here and there outside to store some supplies. Inside there likely will be storage under the bed, maybe the couch and in cabinets. But if you are looking to take a lot of “stuff” with you, generally a travel trailer will have the least ability to accommodate you. As always, the larger the trailer the more storage it will have. At the same time a larger trailer increases the heftiness required in the tow vehicle and reduces maneuverability.

Obviously these are all considerations to think about as you choose your new RV.

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Qutside Trailer Storage

Inside Trailer Storage


This section of our blog is specifically meant for the person completely new to RV living full time. Please forgive us if we sound preachy and we are definitely not trying to scare you. RV Living full time is our passion and we wouldn’t live any other way! We feel confident that you will love it as much as we do!


There are a host of things to think about when deciding on the type and size of RV that you want as your new home. 

There is no question that the considerations are different if you are going to be living in your new RV just occasional weekends or are planning on giving up the “sticks and mortar” house for the RV life full time.

There are basically 3 different broad categories of RVs: Bumper Pull Trailers, Fifth Wheel Trailers and Motorhomes. Notice that I said “broad” categories as there are lots of variations under each one, especially motorhomes. Each category and variation has advantages and disadvantages for “RV living full-time. We could write books on the subject, but to give you information that you can use quickly, outlining each seems the best approach.

Note: Here are couple of assumptions/questions that will guide our discussion:


  1. Mobility – We are assuming that you are not intending to stay in one place and will be traveling periodically. How frequently are you going to be traveling?
  2. Number of people – Are going to be living in your RV solo, with one spouse or in a larger group?
  3. Your physical condition – Are you generally physically fit or have some limitations?
  4. Working while roaming – Are you going to be working from your RV Home?
  5. Terrain – Where are you planning to go on your travels? Are you planning to travel only in one area generally, or is anywhere in the country a possibility?
  6. Budget/construction– Are you on a limited budget when purchasing your RV? How about traveling on a budget? As with any large purchase your budget will determine the level of quality in construction.
  7. Level of comfort – Are you a “camper”?  This means are you ok with roughing it, getting off the beaten path and living? Or are you looking to bring lots of “creature comforts” with you on your travels?
  8. “Handiness” – This is one of the most important topics that will be covered in this Blog. It goes without saying that any RV is going to require a certain level of “handiness’ meaning the degree which you are comfortable and adept at fixing or maintaining things. There is a huge range here.
    • Some people are not comfortable at all dealing with things that might break or need maintaining.
    • Some RVers are ok with handling small things by themselves and are resourceful finding other to handle more complicated issues for them.
    • Others are totally comfortable tackling almost anything and are really skilled at learning how to repair, adjust and maintain their RVs regardless of the level of challenge.
    • It is important to note that we are talking emotional comfort level, as RVers who are comfortable but don’t know can learn and many people gradually move from the first group to the second or third group as they gain more experience. I don’t want ever to say you should forget about RV living full-time but if you are expecting for your RV never to need maintenance or repair and are totally uncomfortable with determining how to deal with that, you might want to reconsider your decision.
  9. Space – How much physical space do you need to live in an RV? Some people never get feelings of claustrophobia but others do.
  10. Stuff – This is a really important consideration when choosing an RV for living full time. It is always amazing how much stuff people figure out how to bring with them, from double trailers with boats and ATVs being towed behind motorhomes, to arts and crafts hobby supplies crammed into every nook and cranny. But there are limitations and if you can’t live without your possessions and don’t want leave them behind, choosing your RV with an eye to where you are going to put stuff, is important. We also might want to group pets in this category. Obviously your 4 German Shepherd family members will need accommodations.


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