10 TIPS FOR FINDING THE RV MODEL AND FLOOR PLAN

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect RV Model and Floorplan

If you are a first time RV shopper, you might be surprised–and a little overwhelmed–at how many options there are out there! Once you have settled on the type of RV you are looking for (travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome), you’ll still have to decide the size and floorplan that will suit you best.

There’s definitely something for everyone out there, and we want you to find your perfect match. So here are our top 10 tips for finding your perfect RV model.

 

  1. Know Your Numbers.

 

Research your tow capacity and payload capacity if you are purchasing a towable. Don’t take guesses or rely on social media for this information. Use your VIN to get the specs directly from your vehicle manufacturer. If you are buying a motorhome, double and triple check the weight of any vehicle you are planning to tow behind the RV. These are the first specs you should look at when shopping. Believe us, picking out an RV that doesn’t work with your current vehicle situation can be expensive and unsafe.

  1. Count the number of dedicated beds you’ll need.

 

We highly recommend looking for RV floorplans that will provide a dedicated bed for anyone who will be sleeping in the rig most of the time. When shopping for their first RV, some folks think it’s no big deal to make up the dinette or pull out the sleeper sofa every night. We know from experience that this can be a frustration in the long run.

Solo campers or couples who need just one bed will find tons of great options across every RV type. Families with one or two children will be happy to find bunk models in travel trailers and motorhomes. If you are traveling with more than two children, travel trailer and fifth wheels offer many bunkhouse floorplans with 3-4 beds in a separate sleeping area.

If you are looking for a small towable that still offers dedicated beds for everyone in the family, check out the Murphy bed floorplan options. This latest trend has grown pretty popular over the past couple of years, so there are quite a few of these models out there!

 

  1. Decide on a wet bath, dry bath, or no bath.

 

Some shoppers love the idea of having a large, private bathroom no matter where they travel. Other folks are just fine with the idea of using campground comfort stations. This is a pretty important part of the RV experience, so make sure you get what you want in this department.

Many smaller RV options like Class Bs, Small Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers only offer wet baths, bathrooms where there isn’t a separate stall for the shower. Think hard about whether this will be a deal breaker for you.

 

  1. Decide if you’ll want to boondock or camp all four seasons.

 

Another trend in the RV industry is more models that offer four season features like insulated walls and underbellies. If you want to camp year-round, or at least in the cooler shoulder seasons, look for RVs that include these options.

And if you are looking to boondock (dispersed camping in places without hookups), make sure to search for RVs with larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks. Other attractive features for folks looking to get off the grid are on-board generators and solar prep.

  1. Think about how much time you plan on spending inside the RV.

 

There’s no right way to camp. Some people are shopping for an RV with a clean bathroom and comfortable beds that will keep them warm and cozy at night. Other campers are seeking a smaller version of their sticks and bricks house, with all the creature comforts of home. Will everyone be able to eat a meal, play a board game, or watch a movie? Think about how you want to live in the RV, and make sure the floorplan will support that dream.

  1. How much cooking do you plan on doing in (and out) of the RV?

 

Once again, there is no right answer to the question of cooking in the RV. Some people use their RV kitchens all the time like us, and some people have never even turned on the oven. If the RV kitchen is a major draw for you, look closely at storage, counter space, and refrigerator size. If you love to cook in the open air, check out all the amazing outdoor kitchen options. However, if you don’t cook a lot while RVing, skip the outdoor kitchen to get more interior space and storage.

  1. Will you need to work in the RV?

 

The ability to work remotely leads a lot of people to check out the RV lifestyle. If you have to punch the clock, you might as well do it in a beautiful location, right? So, if you’re planning to work on the road, make sure you choose a floorplan with a spot for you to comfortably set up shop. Many people are using the flexible space in toy haulers to set up mobile offices. Another popular option right now are fifth wheel models with office space in the middle.

  1. Visualize where all the stuff will go!

 

Storage varies drastically in different models and floorplans, so think specifically about the things you want to pack. From the big stuff like bikes, kayaks, and golf carts, to the little stuff like clothes, linens and towels, food, and kitchen supplies…actually imagine where all your stuff might go.

  1. Can you access all the important features in “Travel Mode”?

 

One of the greatest benefits of RV travel for our family is being able to use the bathroom and have a healthy lunch in our RV kitchen while at rest stops. If this is also important to you, make sure you can access everything you will need even with the slides in. Can you access the bathroom, open the refrigerator, and get into the bedroom? Don’t be embarrassed to ask the salesperson to bring in the slides for you to double check!

  1. What extra features are important to you? Every RV is a bit different than the next, and some options will be more important to you than others. That’s why it’s important to have a list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves” before you even start looking. Here are a few features that may or may not be on your list depending on your RV lifestyle:

 

  1. Large awning
  2. Exterior bathroom entrance
  3. Outdoor shower
  4. Power and automated systems for stability jacks, tongue jack, and levelers
  5. Smart technology and outdoor entertainment

Take your time and have fun with this part of the RV shopping experience. There are so many great RVs out there right now, so make sure to find the perfect one for you.

 

We’ll see you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

RVFTA’S GUIDE TO BUYING A NEW RV

Narrowing Down Your RV Type: 5 Questions That Will Help You Find the Perfect RV

 

If you are in the market for a new RV, we’ve got some pretty great news for you: there are more options out there than ever before. From lightweight travel trailers to motorized RVs with powerful diesel engines, there is something for every shopping budget.

There’s also something for every camping style. If you want to hold on to the rugged outdoors experience, there are RVs specifically designed for off grid adventures. More interested in feeling like your RV is a luxury vacation home? No problem! Plenty of new RVs come with stainless steel appliances, reclining living room furnishings and residential design features.

But here’s the bad news: you probably have to pick just one RV to buy, and that can be pretty overwhelming.

 

We are here to help you through the process. Over the course of years of podcasting, blogging, and presenting at RV events, we have talked with thousands of RV shoppers. We’ve listened to the lessons that they have learned, and learned a few of our own along the way as well.

 

Want to find that perfect RV? Well, the first thing you have to do is narrow down the RV type (or class) that will work best for your needs. Here are five questions you should ask that will help you decide which RV type should be on your short list.

 

Note: If you’re still trying to learn what all the different RV types are, check out Go RVing Compare RVs tab. You can also check out our post, Which RV is Right For Me?

 

  1. What’s your price range?

 

Okay, in a perfect world there would be no budgets, right? Unfortunately, money matters and we all have a general idea of how much we can afford to spend on an RV purchase.

There is something out there at every single price point, from $7,000 folding camping trailers to $30,000 travel trailers to $200,000 motorhomes. Once you have settled on a comfortable shopping budget, it will be much easier to narrow down your options and focus on the rigs that are in the running for your first purchase.

  1. What is your current tow vehicle situation?

 

Now, this is important! If you currently have a truck or SUV that can tow an RV, you are in good shape to buy a folding camping trailer, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. Make sure you check what your vehicle can tow before buying the RV though. Don’t take someone’s word for it—use the VIN number to get an accurate number. There can be a wide variety of towing capacities for the same automobile model because of optional packages.

However, if you don’t already have a tow vehicle, carefully consider a motorized RV purchase. The price of a tow vehicle plus towable RV can easily be equal to a Class C price. There’s no reason to give up that great commuter car if you don’t really want to!

  1. Who will be traveling in the RV?

 

We’ve seen something common at dealerships and RV shows. Some folks shop thinking about anyone and everyone who may at some point join them on their travels. It’s a good idea to focus on shopping for the people (and pets) that will be in the RV mostof the time. If you’re thinking about towable RVs, would everyone in the family have a comfortable seat in the tow vehicle? If looking at motorized RVs, make sure there are seatbelts for all travelers and think about where you would place necessary car seats.

  1. Are you a road tripper, destination traveler, or seasonal camper?

 

We tend to be road trippers, heading out for weeks at a time and visiting lots of different locations. This means we like an RV that is pretty easy to hitch and unhitch. We also don’t want to worry too much about height restrictions when traveling around our native northeast region.

 

Some folks, however, love to take their RVs to just one amazing spot and set up camp for a week long vacation. For them, a spacious fifth wheel might fit the bill. Traveling in more urban places? Check out Class Bs. Want to cover a lot of distance in comfort and style? Class Cs or As are often perfect cross country options.

  1. Do you prefer private or public campgrounds?

 

If you are new to RVing, this may be a tricky question to answer, but here is a quick tutorial. In general, public campgrounds tend to be more rustic and natural. But they also tend to be older and less modernized. So if you know you want to stay in state and national parks, make sure you don’t purchase an RV that is too big for the majority of the campsites. The rule of thumb is to stay under 30 feet if you want to camp mostly in public campgrounds.

On the other hand, private campgrounds often offer pull thru campsites that can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet long. So if you know you prefer modern amenities and full hook ups, go ahead and get that larger fifth wheel or Class A.

When you imagine that RV dream, what does it look like? Are you escaping from the city and heading for off the grid adventures? Maybe you’re driving all over this beautiful country, exploring urban destinations and national parks. No matter what your RV dream is, there’s a rig that will be perfect for it.

So go start shopping, and then we’ll see you at the campground!

 

Stephanie + Jeremy

MOUNT ST. HELENS

We recently spent an amazing 25 days exploring the Pacific Northwest, and the single most surprising thing was how much we enjoyed our stop in the Mount St. Helens region.

 

To be completely honest, we pretty much expected a cool photo op and not much more.  Look kids…a really big volcano. Smile!

 

Well. It was in fact an amazing photo op. But it was also so much more.

 

Mount St. Helens ended up being one of our very favorite experiences, and we all wished we had more time to explore the area. In fact, we are already planning a return trip when the boys are old enough to do the 10-mile round trip hike up to the summit.

 

So, what is there to do at Mount St. Helens besides look at a big volcano? Here are our top recommendations for your visit.

 

Read More

PODCAST: RVFTA’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

We’ve recommended a ton of fantastic RV gear over the years, so it’s always hard to narrow down our choices for fellow camping enthusiasts. On this special podcast produced exclusively for Go RVing, we picked some of our very favorite gifts.

We have broken it down into three different categories: Gifts for the Lively Little Campers, Jeremy’s Picks, and Stephanie’s Picks. If you want to find even more great gift ideas, check out our other Holiday Gift guide podcasts available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.

Gifts for the Lively Little Campers

Trivial Pursuit National Parks Edition ($20)

This trivia game is great for long car rides with energetic kids. 600 questions come on cards stored in a hard sided case with a secure carabiner latch. This latch will keep the cards from exploding into a spontaneous game of 52 card pick up. Trivial Pursuit is a great way to pass the time in the car and build your knowledge of national parks. It’s entertaining and challenging for kids and adults alike.

National Parks Monopoly Edition ($40)

This is a perfect game to keep you entertained through the long winter months especially if you, like us, have to winterize your RV. Monopoly is one our kids’ favorite family games, and even our four year old can play along with a little help from his brothers. The board features 22 of the most popular and scenic national parks. An additional game feature has players match animals to the parks they inhabit. Parents will appreciate the optional 60-minute game speed play rules.

Motorola Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies ($90)

We have been using these walkie talkies for years at the campground, and they have never let us down. Kids love to use these with their siblings and friends. The secret is that they are really more of a present for parents. We can keep in touch with our boys when they are riding their bikes or walking to the playground, even if we are in a remote environment with no cell service. The range is great, and we love that we can lock in the settings so the kids can’t change channels.

Nebo Poppy Lantern and Spotlight ($20)

Flashlights go with camping as much as the requisite marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Let’s face it: making smoke sabers in the campfire with flashlights is a right of passage for RV kids. We love this Nebu Poppy because it combines a lantern with a spotlight, making it perfect for finding your way to the bathhouse or reading in bed at night. This product combines functional with fun..the perfect match for an RV-themed gift.

Stephanie’s Picks

Camp Casual Throws ($80)

If you really, really love someone, then get them one of these blankets. There is simply no cozier item on the face of the planet. Our boys walk around the house with these wrapped around their bodies. We have the Sequoia Throw for our RV master bed. One snuggle with these throw blankets and you will be hooked.

Beddy’s ($200)

Use code RVFAMILY for 20% off!

Nothing gets the heart rate up like making RV beds, and some people brag about the calories burned during this activity. RV beds are not only notoriously difficult to make, they also are tough to keep neat and tidy. Beddy’s bed sets are like one giant fitted sheet that easily wrap around the RV mattress. A zipper runs around the bedding set just like a sleeping bag, but way more stylish. If you know someone who stresses while making the RV bed, this would make the perfect gift!

Stainless Steel Wine Glasses ($25)

No self-respecting oenophile should be drinking wine at the campground out of red solo cups. In fact, any sort of plastic cup just doesn’t seem to cut it. However, glass isn’t a good match for RV travel for a lot of different reasons. Enter the stainless steel wine glass. We added these to our camping collection last year and they are one of our favorite RV items of all time. Practical and fashionable equals gift perfection.

Family Camping Sign ($50-$100)

Creative Designs 77 

Black River Wood Shop

Take a stroll around the campground and you will quickly notice that personalized camping signs are a favorite accessory for RVers. We bought our family camping sign just weeks after we came home with our first pop up camper. Etsy has a wide variety of shops with adorable sign options, all customizable with your family’s names, hometown, and even pets’ names. We particularly like the colorful, fun signs from the Creative Designs 77 Etsy shop and the rustic, outdoorsy options from the Black River Wood Shop.

Jeremy’s Picks

Nebo Slyde King Flashlight ($40)

It’s tough for someone with a world-famous flashlight collection to pick a favorite, but if you shined a spotlight in his eyes, Jeremy might pick the Nebo Slyde King. It’s made of high-quality aluminum and is water and impact resistant. Use it as a standard flashlight or slide it open to reveal a work light. Jeremy particularly loves that it’s USB rechargeable and has a magnetic base for when you need to be hands free.

UE Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker ($80)

Most RVs come with exterior bluetooth speakers, but most of the time we don’t want to broadcast our music to the entire campground. The UE Wonderboom speakers are compact, lightweight, and waterproof. We use them by the grill when cooking, at the picnic table while eating, and around the campfire at night. The cute colors are just an added bonus.

Cabela’s Roughneck Flannel-Lined Stonewash Canvas Shirt ($40)

Can a man camp without a flannel-lined canvas shirt? Well, Jeremy certainly can’t. It’s hard to find an option that is warm and comfortable without being too bulky. This is his favorite wardrobe addition in a long time. Jeremy is no fashionista, but this shirt makes him act like one.

See America Prints ($25-$70)

We have bought our own fair share of these See America prints over the years, but they are also one of our favorite gifts to give friends and family that love to travel. If there is a national park or historic monument that your loved ones visited this year, a framed picture from See America will bring back those wonderful memories for years to come.

Picking out the perfect gifts for your friends and family is part of the joy of the holiday season. We always like to remember, however, that the holiday spirit is really about spending time and creating memories with the people you love.

Just like RVing.

A very, very happy holiday season from our family to yours. See you at the campground in 2018.

Stephanie and Jeremy

WHICH RV IS RIGHT FOR ME

If you are shopping for your first (or next!) RV, the good news is that there are a ton of great choices out there right now. However, the number of options can be quite overwhelming.

On this special episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, developed exclusively for Go RVing, we are helping you find your perfect RV, starting with a break down of each RV ‘type’.

From towables to motorized units, we will describe each major type of RV, plus give some of the reasons it may or may not be for you.

We wrap up the episode by adding a few of our own tips for smart RV shopping.

You can take a look at the pictures below while listening to get a better idea of the RV features that we discuss. We also highly recommend checking out Go RVing’s Compare RVs page, where you can learn more about each RV type and also get some personalized feedback using the “Find My RV” tool.

We believe the perfect RV is out there just waiting for you to bring it on some amazing adventures. But for now, enjoy the shopping part of your RV journey!

And soon enough, we’ll see you at the campground.

Stephanie + Jeremy