Requesting opinions on rv type selection

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Jobad72

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Hello. I am brand new to the idea of full time living in a RV and its a bit daunting looking at all the different kinds out there, so I am asking for opinions after I give you a bit of a idea why I am considering this. Thanks in advance.
I have traveled for 30 years working as a electrician and now a construction supervisor traveling the nation and sometimes over seas working in data centers.  My wife and I have been apart off and on the whole time, but the older we get, the harder its becoming to say so long, so since I make plenty to support us both, shes thinking of retiring early and traveling with me. Originally we looked at class A's, but they're so darn big and I've read that sometimes its hard to find places to rent long term in one. Then we looked at class C's, which is leading the race right now because she'd feel comfortable driving one and we could tow a car as well, assuming we got one big enough.  Recently though I have been looking at these big slide in campers for a truck and thinking I could tow a enclosed car trailer with her car in it and have extra room for my woodworking hobby tools as well as extra space for stuff.  Then when we go to the next job, usually lasting 6 months to a year at a time, she'd have her car, I'd have the truck and the slide in could sit at the campground. We really haven't discussed a budget, since this will be our primary residence, we're thinking less that 150k all in.  I mainly work on the east coast to the mid west and occasionally Texas.  Regardless of what we end up with, is there a app or a resource for finding long term slots for RVs across the nation?  I know this is a lot, but if some of you could answer any of the above or opinions, I'd sure appreciate it, since I've been pretty much alone trying to figure all this out thus far.
Thanks again!!!
 

Isaac-1

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Well let me start with saying your idea of a slide in camper likely will not work as many campgrounds will not allow a slide in camper to be left not mounted to a truck, at least not on short term site rentals.  There are various theories as to why, liability, as well as the fact they would be unable to move it should something happen to your truck while you are out and about (get in an accident, etc.).

As to the class C's the biggest limit you will likely find here is lack of cargo carrying capacity, a class C is going to be built on a 12,500 - 14,500 pound GVWR chassis, where even a small modern class A (less than 15 years old) will be built on at least a 17,000 pound GVWR chassis, even a 30 ft class A may be built on as heavy as a 22,000 pound GVWR chassis.  The end result is you can haul more junk around (tools, pots, pans, bbq grill, ....).  I notice you left out the option of getting a 1 ton truck and hauling a 5th wheel around, this is the option that seems to be the most popular with contract workers where I live.
 

Jim Godward

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I can't help much but since you are in the industry of traveling construction, check with your co-workers to see what they have and also where do they park.  Years ago, I found parks that primarily catered to construction workers, they did not advertise and depended on word of mouth among the workers to fill their spots.  Most that I used were in metropolitan areas and many were connected to motels where you could use the motel facilities such as laundry, gyms, etc.  There were also independent ones, just a RV park but most had nice amenities, swimming pools etc.
I admit this was about 20 years ago but this existed even back in the 1950s when I was in a traveling construction job in the summer while going to college.  Several of my co-workers lived this way then.  That was how I knew to check and make use of the system.

Just a thought,
 

Optimistic Paranoid

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Since it sounds like you will be leaving the RV in one place for long periods, then moving it to another long term place, I would say you want a travel trailer or fifth wheel rather than a motor home.  A good big one ton pickup to pull either.  Your wife could DRIVE a second car the few times you're moving camp. 

NO RV is as well insulated as a home, your furnace will run almost continuously,  and given that your water supply is a garden hose and your gray and black water tanks will need draining once a week, I would NOT recommend this plan if your job required you to be somewhere COLD in the winter.  Your wife would be within her rights to divorce you over that, claiming cruelty and mental anguish issues . . .
 

DearMissMermaid

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I think your idea sounds wonderful and doable. :)

It's all about livin with less and doing more.

There are many privately owned campgrounds that do accept long term "workers" but many do NOT advertise that they have long term availability. That way they can decide on a case by case issue.

When you have an opportunity to go work somewhere then it's worth it to try to make a quick trip there to find a campground.

As for the truck camper, I've seen plenty in my travels parked on their stilts without the truck underneath and never once saw it in the rules anywhere that this could not be done. So I am clueless about that posting that says it can't be done.

You may want to start out USED on your initial selection because then it's much easier to trade around should you decide you need something different after testing out this lifestyle.

I have also run into workampers where one spouse is working part time at the camp while the other other one is working fulltime in a job. In that case it's easy for the camper to be parked long term and typically with great benefits too (due to the workamper) so that is an option worth keeping open. I've seen this in state and federal parks which typically don't allow parking over 2 weeks except for the workampers.

There are many creative solutions to your situation. Keep in mind that RV parks do not exist in all areas, so once you find a job some where, you need to research that right away to find out if camping is going to be 10 miles or 100 miles away.

Sometimes it might be possible to get hookups for your rig right on the jobsite if you're willing to do double duty as live-in security. This prevents theft of materials after-hours and many code regulations will make an exception for this arrangement during construction.

Enjoy the adventure and think outside the box and I bet you can make this situation work out for you. Many others do. ;)
 

Larry N.

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Keep in mind that RV parks do not exist in all areas, so once you find a job some where, you need to research that right away to find out if camping is going to be 10 miles or 100 miles away.

She makes an excellent point here. When we visit our oldest in Baltimore (actually, a northern suburb), the nearest RV park was about 25 miles north of him (plus some side roads), almost to the Pennsylvania border, and we were lucky to find an empty slot there for a week (it was almost full). With part of that distance being narrow, winding two-lane roads, it was well over half an hour to get to his house (with light traffic). Had he been much further south, or further from the freeways, it would have been a lot longer. I think there might have been a state park a little closer, but with not much in facilities.
 

Koodog

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When working out of town I've used both a TT and a class A pulling a jeep.
My preference is the class A.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Living in an RV and having the wife with you is a grand idea for both of you. DO IT!

I think your fears about a Class A are unfounded. They start at about 30 ft in length (there is even one 26 footer!) and they can park at any campground a similar sized trailer can use. A 32-38 foot coach can fit in almost anywhere that can host RVs.  A Class C is going to be cramped for two people long term, plus you need space for year-around clothing, room to relax (read, tv, whatever), maybe your own washer/dryer, enough weight capacity to carry your daily living stuff, and just plain room to move around when the weather is poor.  You would end up wanting a Super-C and those aren't any different than a Class A for driving or parking. Basically just a front engine instead of rear.

That said, I agree with Paranoid that a trailer makes more sense if you park much more than you drive. Cheaper to buy and cheaper to maintain, and you maybe need (or at least want) a pick-up truck anyway. One big savings is that you don't need liability insurance on a trailer, and that alone can add $800/year  (rates vary a lot, though).
If your work is more often in metro areas, RV parks (whether fancy are basic) are likely to be well away from city and pricey besides.
 

Kevin Means

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It's just my opinion, but I think most full-timers appreciate the extra room larger RVs offer - especially when they're couped up in it for days at a time. While I understand your concerns about some RVs being so large, and limited as to the sites they can get into, the vast majority of people get comfortable driving them in no time at all, so I wouldn't let that get in the way of your desires.

Yes, finding campsites for large RVs can sometimes be a challenge, especially out here in California and near many large cities, but that issue is usually abated with some pre-planning. We deal with it all the time, because we're 43 feet long (63 feet when towing) but we always manage to find a suitable place to camp.

Like I said, my response is purely my opinion. Some of the newer cab-over campers have slides, and are really nice. our first RV was a cab-over camper, and now we're on our 3rd Class A. It's really nice having the extra room motorhomes offer, especially for longer term stays.

Kev
 

Larry N.

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I agree with Kevin -- a class A likely suits full timers better, and extra length is an occasional pain, but more often is a major asset, since it gives you extra storage space, more room inside to roam around when you're cooped up during inclement weather, and more weight you can carry, in addition to usually having larger fresh water and sewage tanks, thus extending your time a bit when boondocking.

Our previous coach was a 45 foot Beaver, and we miss certain amenities (not all having to do with space or weight), but we're not even close to full timing, usually just a few weeks at a time. We occasionally had to work a little harder at finding a place for the night, but most of the time it didn't matter at all. If I took a wrong turn, it was a little more of a headache to get turned around, but only a little more.

Our current Newmar Ventana is a 38 footer, and we have almost as much basement storage as in the Beaver (no tag axle), but come up a LOT short of inside storage. Our water tank is a little smaller, though not much, and same for holding tanks. It is a little easier to maneuver, but is almost as difficult to find a turn around spot for as the Beaver, but we have about the same luck finding a spot for the night as we did in the Beaver.

The biggest two assets for our Ventana over the Beaver are that it gets better mileage (8-9 vs 5-6) and it has less maintenance expense (I think the PO of the Beaver abused it), though similar for routine stuff such as oil/filter/lube/air filter, etc.
 

Optimistic Paranoid

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You mentioned using a car hauler trailer to set up a hobby woodworking shop.  There is a category of trailers called "TOY HAULERS" which have a built in garage for carrying motorcycles or off road quads.  This space could be perfect for a shop.
 

Jobad72

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Nov 3, 2018
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Thanks for all the replies. I truly appreciate it. Actually my original thought was a big 5th wheel that I could pull with my Dodge 3500 dually.  I normally pull a small office trailer with it from job to job, but the company is willing to have that towed professionally.  Its only 8x18 feet and I have always had a helluva time backing it, not to mention towing it as its just a big aluminum box thats like dragging a dumpster down the highway through the hills of west va. its a bit daunting thinking about backing double that if not more.  So, now leaning towards either a class A or nervously a fifth wheel. They are making massive class c's too that I have been seeing on youtube that are like a kenworth big rig looking front. Theres just too much to look at and consider...
thanks again!!
 

muskoka guy

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If you already own a one ton truck, the fifth wheel is almost a no brainer.  If you only move a couple times a year, have the fifth wheel moved professionally, and tow the office trailer, or a car hauler for your shop and the wifes car inside. Even if you didnt own the truck, a fifth wheel would still be practical if you seldom move it. Just have a transport company move it for you.
 

rbrdriver

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I'm thinking a large fifth wheel toy hauler would be the way I would go because of more payload, that way you can carry your tools, etc., given the fact you have the truck to pull it.
 
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