Saving or Regreting not Spending the $30000-$40000

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Well-known member
Jan 22, 2006
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
In our quest to fianlly retire and settle the whole," What do we live in?" I came across the Montana's and the Excel 5'rs.  I really like the Excel and when confronted with the $100000 cost it made me pause for thought.  We looked at the Montana's and they had floorplans and innovations that made them shine and on a par with the Excel.  I figure it has to be in the construction...but I am just not sure what the Excel has over the Montana.  Can someone give me insight into this.  Essentially why would I want to spend the extra 30K for an Excel, or for that matter a Teton, over a Montana.  Any help would sincerely be appreciated.  I figure you get what you pay for, but what am I paying for?
Tough question, Phil, and one a number of us have faced.  The differences tend to be hidden in the details and even when enumerated they usually don't sound like they are worth the hefty premium. I also suspect that high end models are priced somewhat higher simply becasue people shopping in that tier are more focused on quality & amenities than price.

I can't speak to those particualr brands, but here are some typical differences to look for, that is if you are able to dig out the infor.

o Stronger, stiffer frame. May be thicker steel or higher tensile strength steel, welded vs bolted joints, more/better cross bracing
o More standard features (just compare the standard vs optional lists)
o Higher quality cabinetry - better grades of wood and better construction. Look for solid woods thrughout (can be difficult to tell these days) and the depth of the shine. High quality woods just seem to glow with a rich depth whereas lesser grads just have a shine.
o Grade of carpet and carpet pad (difficult to tell unless you are more familar with carpets than most). Many RVs have really cheap thin carpet pads and only average carpets. Good carpeting is quite a bit more expensive.
o Grade of uphlostery, both "leather" and fabrics (again, hard for most people to judge)
o Amount and type of insulation, especially in floor & ceiling, slide rooms, etc.

What you generally won't find is many notable differences in the systems and appliances - the water heater, pumps, a/c, washer/dryer, fridges, etc. will be pretty much the same across the board.

Take a look at the Keystone Everest, which is Keystone's luxury model and therefore perhaps easier to compare to the Montana in terms of construction, amenties and price.
One of the things I did notice between the Excel and the Montana was the weight difference.  The GVWR of the Montana was sub-15000lbs and the Excel of same length was around 17,000+lbs.  Wood 2X4 construction versus aluminium in the walls I suspect. Is there a quality difference?  Wood cabinets in the Excel were Brazilian Oak versus a Cherrywood color in the Montana.  Excel did provide us with a DVD which is very informative so I can clearly see one side of the equation.

Thanx for your response Gary.  Research, research research!


In motorhomes the more they weigh the more they cost...This translates into stronger heavier frames, 3/4" solid wood cabinets, steel construction, residential quality floors, rugs, tile & granite, more electronics & larger engines & transmission's.

I don't know if this is the same for trailers but I expect it is on the top of the line ones.

Take a look at the Sunnybrooks.  They compare theirselves to the Montanna.

The "Brits from the Bayou" had a Sunnybrook and then went to something like a Travel Supreme for full timing.
I appreciate all of the comments as they are helpful.  Realistically and philosophically we will be choosing a home that we will be living in fulltime.  We will depend on that home to keep us dry in rain, warm in winter and cool in summer.  We will be asking it to stay together as we travel and provide comfort in the evening after a long hike.  We want a home that requires minimal fixing and something we can depend on to face the elements successfully without problems.  Is that Teton or Excel going to be any better than the less expensive Montana or a Sunnybrook for that matter?  It is not an ego thing as much as getting the real deal, something that works well for the lifestyle.  Will the 30-40000 additional dollars address that concern or will a Montana (or likeness) do it as well?  I see smart money being spent where it will make a difference.


Here is my non-expert opinion on this topic.  Buy what you can afford and what you can live in.  It's almost guaranteed, that your first purchase will not suit you and you will probably trade at least once to get what you want.  We were completely new to rving/camping anything along those lines when we bought our first.  It was a real dog and we were too dumb to know it.  However, after being on the road and seeing and hearing how others could buy bigger and better, we found our dream in three tries in about four years.  We have now owned it going on nine years and are totally happy with it and have no intentions of trading again.  We expect it will outlive us. 

Good luck in your choice, but don't be afraid to make a mistake.  Most of us do, but realize it too late.  So we lose some depreciation, but it may be worth it to find what you can really live with for a longer term.


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