Just recently retired... thinking about spending some time ( perhaps a year or two) traveling in the RV world. BUT before anything is done, I need some basic information...please. Where could I go to find facts on best type of RV for myself and traveling companions (dogs), is there a way to gestimate weekly or monthly expenditures, are there areas of the U.S. that are "RV friendly" or not "RV friendly". How do I decide what type of vehicle I need, or which is the most economical at this time? What are some of the restrictions that I may run into? I realize that a lot depends on the type of motor home, where I head, and how long I stay, but like I said I am just in the beginning stages of interest and don't really know where to start looking. I know that gas prices are going out of sight, but I would like to lay some groundwork. If anyone out there can help, I would greatly appreciate you sharing your experience. :) Thanks

DL Rupper

Senior Member

Hey Daryl, welcome to the forum. Reading the past and present postings is the best way to answer your questions. Another way to get good information is to subscribe to TrailerLife and MotorHome. Books on Fulltime RV'ing answer most of the questions involved with extended trips. Which type of RV is best is a personnel decision. There are pros and cons for all types of RVs.


Senior Member

The first decision, is will you like RVing? Best way to find out is to rent or borrow one and try it for a week.

The next question, is what type of RV?

The choices are:

Pop-up trailer (cheap to buy and own, low maintenance, towable by nearly any vehicle). These are generally best for short term, recreational camping, (due to small size), and preferably in good weather (due to canvas sides).

Slide in camper (cheap to buy and own, low maintenance, takes up the entire bed of larger pickups). These are generally best for short term, recreational camping, (due to small size) and particularly where length and/or road clearance are limited.

Travel trailer (Cheap to moderate to buy, cheap to own, low maintenance, can be towed by any vehicle with enough capability). These can be suitable for any type of use, depending on the size and quality of construction. They can be a problem to tow, unless you have the right hitch, set up correctly. Due to a lower height, they have less wind resistance, but less headroom.

Fifth Wheel (Cheap to moderate to buy, cheap to own, low maintenance, can only be towed by a larger pickup or specialized tow vehicle with enough capability). These can be suitable for any type of use, depending on the size and quality of construction. Generally considered easier to hook up and tow than a travel trailer, with an overall shorter length for a given floor plan, but takes up a lot of the truck bed and is a 'two-level' floor plan (steep set of stairs to portion of floor plan which is over the truck bed). These seem to be the towables preferred by most 'full-timers'.

And then there are the motorhomes. Since they are complete vehicles, they are more expensive to buy, more expensive to own and require more maintenance than a towed RV. Plus, with the possible exception of the Class Bs or very small Class Cs, once you reach your destination you can't practically drive it around, meaning you will either need to rent (or borrow) a car at your destination, or tow one.

Class A - This is a Motorhome specific chassis; basically a bus. They tend to be the most expensive, and the most luxurious and spacious, with the greatest towing and cargo capacity. Seems to be the most common motorized choice for 'full-timers'

Class C - This is a van cab and chassis. They tend to be cheaper and smaller than class As, but other than that they are less useful for long term usage. If you have small, agile kids, the over cab bed can be a plus. Generally they don't have much towing or cargo carrying capacity. I've seen some lately which are built on a large truck cab/chassis, which may be more useful than those based on a van.

Class B - This is a van cab/chassis and body, outfitted for camping. Also called a 'van camper'. These are very small, so can fit in most parking spaces and some garages, with comparitively good gas mileage and slightly reduced maintenance costs. On the other hand, they are very small, with cramped living space and low cargo carrying capacity. These shine for travelling from place to place, but may be less pleasant for staying in once you get to your destination.

Hey Dl Rupper...thanks for the info. Like I said, I am just starting out, but trying to find the "Start" has been like searching for the needle in the ... well, you get the drift. There are so many options, but from some of the folks I have talked to, this might be a way great way to spend some time seeing the sights. Again, thanks.. I will take your advice and check out some of the magazines.

I started out buying a used camper, sleeps six and is a 1987 21 foot Prowler I took the time searching the Used Rv ads. It only cost 2450.00 and its in excellant condition inside and out. It has everything stove,fridge,bathroom and shower take your time looking there out there. I decide on a trailer because the cost of pop ups are so high so I get more bang for my buck just buying the used trailer.
Then of course I started the search for a Truck 3/4 Ton to pull it,its better to have at least a 350 engine to pull the 21 foot trailers. Its total towing capicity is at least 8900 which is more than enough to pull a 21 foot trailer loaded.
I took my time searching car lots and gave up there, they arent interested in selling a used truck at a reasonable price. I went to the newspaper ads and sure enough I found this 1986 Chevy 3/4 ton with 350 engine with a 5.7 liter. It gets about 90 miles to a quarter tank of gas, a 5.0 would be better but there even harder to find used and in good shape. So this used one cost me 3,800 but its got 70,000 original miles and its like new inside and out. Its been garaged since 1989 so I couldnt have gotten this nice of truck at a car dealer for what I actually paid for it. As long as you know what to look for in used vechiles you can do okay. Both total cost 6250 what a steal.
My only real advice make sure to get a 3/4 ton when pulling a trailer thats weighs loaded 5100 lbs. Its easier on the truck and brakes.

Good Luck

The advise Hertig gave you is top of the line. Also If you are just geting atarted you might want to start out cheap then the advise Darr47 gave is good.
Sounds like with the two dogs you need a Class C. If you pull a trailer with a truck the two dogs will not be happy. I am sure they would like room to move and still be near you. With a Class C they will have that.
Whatever you do, Good Luck.