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Author Topic: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?  (Read 3759 times)

weretherussos

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We've gotten some great answers on this forum already so we decided to post another question. We're torn between three RV's, all within our budget, that are three different sizes, 34'11" (Gas - Class A); 36'9" (DP - Class A) and 38'6 (Diesel Super C) - these are actual size. We really like the layouts of all three and each has their good and bad. We are planning to travel and see the country and want to go to State/National parks when possible and boondock as much as we can - staying in private parks only when necessary.

We keep hearing varying information with some telling us to stay under 35' and others saying we'll be fine if we stay under 40' for what we want to do. Based on the researched we've been doing, we found that over 35' feet we'd be more limited but as we continue to read some say that some of these "limits" are recommendations and people have been fine going well over them whereas in other parks there is a line painted on the ground and if you're over the line you don't get in.

Just wondering if ya'll could provide some other real world experience and help guide us here a bit. Given the amount of driving we'll be doing, we'd be much more comfortable in one of the diesels but we dont want to do so in sacrificing being able to stay in a majority of places (and we have looked at the smaller DPs and dont like the layouts).

Thanks!
Going to start full-timing soon - check out our progress here: http://weretherussos.com/

CLiNTon

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 12:31:42 PM »
The smaller the better, especially for boondocking period, especially in state or national parks.
I think you'll find, in many instances, the larger sizes are more limiting on where one can actually go.

I'd say keep it under 32 feet.
2006 Dodge RAM 2500 Diesel
2013 Shadow Cruiser S225RBS from Cruiser RV

weretherussos

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 12:35:13 PM »
The smaller the better, especially for boondocking period, especially in state or national parks.
I think you'll find, in many instances, the larger sizes are more limiting on where one can actually go.

I'd say keep it under 32 feet.

Thanks Clint. If it was just the two of us, we would probably go for something that was 31' or so, but we have two BIG dogs (about 80lbs each) and it would get really cramped in there with the four of us - hence how we ended up with the smallest of the bunch at an inch under 35.
Going to start full-timing soon - check out our progress here: http://weretherussos.com/

bucks2

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 12:37:27 PM »
Pick 10 places you think you'd like to go. Go to their websites and see if the 3 RV's you're contemplating would have any restrictions. Then pick another 10 at random and see if they have restrictions you couldn't accommodate. Now you have proven to yourself whether or not you'll be restricted by the length of the rig you want.

If you find that you just can't go to all the places you want to go, because you absolutely must stay at XYZ Campground decide how happy or unhappy you'll be with a gas rig versus a diesel, 2 or 3 less feet of length and the amenities that come with the different rigs.

An example of a very restrictive park is Yosemite. Here is their website restrictions:
"Maximum RV/trailer lengths: In Yosemite Valley, the maximum RV length is 40 feet and maximum trailer length is 35 feet, however, only a total of 12 sites of this size are available (six sites each in Lower Pines and North Pines, which are open spring through fall). Many more sites exist in Yosemite Valley and elsewhere in Yosemite that can take RVs up to 35 feet or trailers up to 24 feet.
RV length and trailer length are not the same! Please note that many campsites have different maximum lengths for RVs and trailers. This is because many of the campsites are back-in sites with limited turning radius. We do not enforce the length limits as long as the RV or trailer can fit on the parking pad in the site. However, if you reserve a site for equipment other than what you bring, and the site can't accommodate your RV or trailer, we will not be able to find a different campsite for you."


If it will ruin your whole trip to not be able to stay inside the park, then be sure to stay under 35 feet. If you can live with parking outside the park and driving the toad thru then go for the size and comfort of the bigger rig.

Since you specifically mention boondocking pay particular attention to tank sizes. Holding and fresh water. An extra 20 gallons here or there is a big difference when boondocking.

Ken

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2015, 12:44:43 PM »
Simplest answer - there will always be more small spaces than large for that kind of camping. Easier in, easier there, pick a snuggly spot, etc.

Complicated answer - everything everybody else says. Ken makes a good point about the number of factors that go into any campground choice.

If you are going to be rigid, go small. If you think you can compromise, move right along.

We have missed any number of super campgrounds because of our size, but then, we are not hard core boondockers.

We saw a Tiffin Zephyr towing a large Class C in California. There's more than one way to skin a cat!

Take your time and consider carefully what YOU want. It's not like there's only one way to do this.

Kim
Kim & Christi Bertram
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weretherussos

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 01:01:14 PM »
Thanks guys - all really good points and the wheels are turning. We actually considered getting a small travel trailer and spending a few months in that until we had a better idea of what we were doing, but again not enough room for us and the dogs.

 
Going to start full-timing soon - check out our progress here: http://weretherussos.com/

TonyDtorch

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 01:37:37 PM »
I am a beach bum, so I endeavor to live at the beach the remainder of my live.

 many of  the CA state beach campgrounds are limited to 30 foot along the front row.

I have a 35 foot class A which my wife and I have lived in full time now for 3+ years.... and it's fine.

I bought it just because it's 35 foot with the biggest slides I could afford...but sometimes I'm parked in one of the back row beach spots.

yes, there is some front row 35'+ spots available, .....but you're not online the very second they become available .... they're all gone in the first 30 seconds for the whole year.

so I'm actually thinking about buying a smaller class C just so we can have a couple weeks of the affordable good life in the front row every once and a while.

I don't know much about boondocking but is kinda easy to spot a 35' class A that is boondocking somewhere.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 04:36:17 PM by TonyDtorch »

Wendy

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2015, 03:39:04 PM »
We traveled most-time (75%) in a 28-ft Class A for 10 years, me, Mike and a 90-pound dog. Did lots of boondocking. We were fine. Now we have a 33-ft Class A with a much bigger slide  and still have a 90-pound Labrador. We can still fit in Most of the places we like. And we'd probably be just as happy with a 32-ft. If you can't bear the thought of something in the 32-foot range, go with the 35-foot so you can camp where you want, most of the time.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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CLiNTon

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 11:42:47 PM »
You can also get decent living space in a smallish unit by choosing an RV with ample multiple slide out space.
Many places too will be asking how many slide-outs you have, so that may be a factor as well.
2006 Dodge RAM 2500 Diesel
2013 Shadow Cruiser S225RBS from Cruiser RV

Jeannine

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2015, 01:33:24 AM »
Length isn't the only factor you need to consider for boondocking.  How big is the fresh water tank?  How big are the holding tanks?  Small tanks can severely limit the number of days you can spend at a site before you have to drive somewhere to get more water and empty the holding tanks.

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RodgerS

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2015, 07:38:12 AM »
Good set of choices, though I would add a Breeze 32 into the mix despite "mixed" posts.

I have read that as people get older their needs change, so getting it perfectly right the first time is an interesting thought...for me, less time on the road driving, more mobility and flexibility.

My biggest issue is I don't want to be limited to an rv. I want to travel the US in an rv for extended trips and stays, but I also plan to do some three to five month extended stays overseas.I also have no plans to sell my house.

I do like the idea of hydronic heat and hot water, and putting it in aftermarket is pretty much not the way to go.

boondocking, parking by a stream, staying at a big rv park like the ones I saw in az....the word better goes in all directions.

but, full time quality in a shorter rig...well, there are some shorter diesels, but seemingly not as many choices as in gas. My question I always ask is what is more important if I limit my daily mileage to, say a couple of hours on the road, the house or the chassis (as in gas v diesel). Don't know for a fact because of lack of butt time.

But, I will start on with extended stays overseas and renting an rv in the US, then go from there.

Fulltiming in an rv is not of interest for me.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 07:44:49 AM by RodgerS »
Gone RVing with Susan
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RodgerS

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2015, 07:49:11 AM »
Note: There is a trend towards more, not less people on the road, traveling in an rv.

There is also a trend towards less, not more, available service technicians in ratio to the number of motorhomes.

At the rental agency I work at, temporarily, there are two spots open for service technicians that simply won't get filled.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 07:53:19 AM by RodgerS »
Gone RVing with Susan
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TonyDtorch

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2015, 12:29:30 PM »
American automotive manufacturers have always looked to the European designers for new ideas, and most them are building very efficient smaller Rv's with big slides. 

Does that indicate an end is coming for the 3 axle 45 foot busses ?

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2015, 12:49:47 PM »
Probably not for a lot of us who are already there...there's always going to be a market for the big rigs. The smaller rigs with better use of space will show the greatest improvement in sales and that will allow a lot more folks into the market.
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Wanderlust RV Park, Eureka Springs, AR

TonyDtorch

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2015, 02:44:53 PM »
Yes the older rv population will continue to travel around in the ol' Wanderlodge bus  running  44k lbs. down the road at 8 mpg.".......
and just like the Buick Electra and the Lincoln towncar, they were fine vehicles ... But, they are no longer being made.

Many people are going to smaller more compact fuel efficient vehicles,

I guess there will always be people driving a brand new 45 foot Newell with a Lincoln Navigator in tow.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:14:29 PM by TonyDtorch »

bucks2

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2015, 06:50:13 PM »
Some people will always drive small cars and some people will always drive large ones. Witness the longevity of Volkswagen and Mercedes. Look at the Ford F series trucks being the most sold vehicle for years. Most people will drive what they are comfortable in. I can afford to drive my 44,000 lbs down the road @ 7 mpg. I enjoy the comfort it provides. Others are more comfortable driving a Volkswagen camperbus down the road. If that makes them happy, then we're good to go. I'm not jealous of what they have and hopefully they aren't jealous of what I have.

I've read a number of books about Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, the Dodge brothers and others. None of the books mentioned them always looking to the European designers. In fact most of them spoke about the American ingenuity and ability to design and invent. Odd huh?

Ken

TonyDtorch

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2015, 08:17:03 PM »
I was wondering what fuel milage one of those 45 foot Newells gets,

So I asked a guy in our park and he says to me...."anyone that even cares about fuel mileage should not own a Newell" 

CLiNTon

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Re: Big or Small - The Perfect Size for Fulltime Boondocking?
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2015, 01:22:09 AM »
I don't care much for the European RV industry model, they're just way too small. (pathetically so)
But they do tend to have some "other" pretty cool features not found here.
2006 Dodge RAM 2500 Diesel
2013 Shadow Cruiser S225RBS from Cruiser RV

 

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