When is big just too big?

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Scoundrel

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Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Posts
106
Location
Corona, California
Hi everyone,

I'm going to sell my 26' Fleetwood and start seriously looking at a larger MH. I thought something around 30' would be about right but I'm beginning to wonder if something around 36-38 might be better.

Oddly I found that many of the larger MH's are actually cheaper then the smaller ones. Is this because people have decided that the larger MH's are not accepted in most CG's? or are they more costly to maintain?

I have seen many retired couples with 36,38 and even 40'+ MH's. Why do they feel it necessary to have such a large MH when there are no children?

I guess I'm looking for the pluses and minuses of having a larger rigg...

And lastly, when is big just too big?
 

jamesnaddie

Active member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Posts
41
Location
College Station, TX
Its what you're comfortable driving.  Our first motorhome is a 40' and we love it.  I like the big shower and my wife likes the nice size kitchen area and the washer/dryer.  It tows a full sized pickup without even knowing its there.  We also invite another couple to travel with us at times and the two pullout sofa sleepers work just fine.  With 40 feet there is plenty of room for 4.

To me driving a 40' is no more intimidating that a shorter coach.  With all the cameras and a walkie-talkie to help guide me in I have no problem parking.  Mine also has a lifting tag axle that really reduces the turning radius and tire scrubbing in tight spots.
 

Jim Dick

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Feb 11, 2005
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7,651
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Titusville, FL
Don,

RVing is just like boating. You tend to get two foot-itis. You buy small and next year you want one just two feet larger. Then you want another only two feet larger. Pretty soon you've gone from a 30' to a 40'! I would suggest getting one with which you feel very comfortable. Don't worry about maneuvering a large motorhome. Once you learn where the rear axle is located it's very, very easy to drive any size coach.

As far as when is big too big....usually only when wanting to visit mostly state and national forests. They many times have a length limit even though it might not be truly warranted. If you are content to park the coach in a campground and use the toad to visit the parks then it shouldn't be a real problem. You really need to examine what type of RVing you spend most of your time doing and go from there. How much time you actually spend in the unit is another determining factor.
 

cuts_up

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Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Posts
549
Location
Texas
We just bought our first motorhome a few months ago.  We are not fulltilmers.  There are usually just the 2 of us, but we have promised our grandson we'd take him on some trips and he can bring a friend along, so we'll need some extra room.  There is another couple we like to do things with, and they will camp with us also.  And then there are our children who might want to tag along some.  After looking at a lot of 34' mh's we decided we wanted 36'.  But the one we decided we had to have is 34'.  Yes, you can tell there isn't quite as much room, but we liked everything about this one so much better than the others we looked at online and in person. 

 

Bob Buchanan

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Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
3,038
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Scoundrel said:
I have seen many retired couples with 36,38 and even 40'+ MH's. Why do they feel it necessary to have such a large MH when there are no children?

I guess I'm looking for the pluses and minuses of having a larger rigg...

My rigs have been 28, 18, 24, 29, and now, '34. The pluses of a longer rig are more storage and a more workable floor plan. As you look at each incremental 2 feet, you will find a nicer feature that the manufacturer has added. For example, a 30' rig does not have a table and chair behind the passenger seat (in a gasser). More shelfing in the kitchen and fore and aft of the frig is available in those 2 foot increments -- as is larger bathrooms.

Each 2 feet of under rig and in rig storage space can really be great -- especially if you are a full timer like I am, plus running a small business. Tanks will also get larger as the length increases. I can't begin to explain the total difference I experience now by going to 34' w/a 14' slide, as opposed to my last rig with 29' and no slide. So if the floor plan of a 36' or 38' is what you feel good about -- IMHO, go for it. An empty MH is like an empty home or apartment, in that it is "amazing" how much smaller it becomes once you get all your "stuff" on-board.

I agree with Jim in that examining the type of travel you will be undertaking -- and match that up w/the various floor plans. If the floor plan works for you -- go with that length as opposed to worrying about ease of driving and parking. The later worries will work their way out in short order. Someone once mentioned that the extra 2,4,6', or whatever incremental length you choose will just follow you in whatever direction you steer. It doesn't sway back and forth back there.  :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
We just skipped a 2 foot step and went from 36 to 40. And there's just two of us.  We simply wanted more room in various areas and the extra length - as well as an additional slideout - gives us what we are looking for. This time, anyway.

No motorhome is big when it comes to extended travel/living. Even in a 40 foot with slides we are talking about living in around 350 sq feet. If I tried to get you to move into an apartment that size you would probably call me a lunatic!
 

Lowell

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Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Posts
2,221
Location
Tempe, AZ
RV Roamer said:
Even in a 40 foot with slides we are talking about living in around 350 sq feet. If I tried to get you to move into an apartment that size you would probably call me a lunatic!

I'm continually amazed when I go to IKEA and see what all they can pack into 400 sq. ft. of living space.  And an RV is even more amazing.
 

Tom

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,937
Don,

Suffice to say that you'll expand to fill the available space. We owned a 29 foot Pace Arrow for 15 years. It had no slideouts, small storage bins (this was one model year before the first basement storage models came in), but lots of utility in the living area. A queen sofa bed behind the driver's seat, table and easy chairs behind the front passenger seat, booth style dinette, full kitchen and an additional drop-down bunk. The bathroom had a shower and small tub. The tradeoff for all this utility was a full size master bed, which we'd find really small today. We thought we were in the lap of luxury with all the features and space we'd ever need.

A couple of years ago we upgraded to a 38 foot Monaco DP with 3 slideouts. We've already remodeled one side of the living area, although we really do feel that we have as much motorhome as we need. OTOH some friends/forum members recently bought 44 foot coaches with 4 slideouts which make our coach look small. One difference is that our friends fulltime, whereas we're part timers, although we spend as much as 3 months at a time on the road.

I sat in our coach a few days ago, taking a break from some pre-trip preparation, and said to myself "This is a nice coach", but then added "I don't think I could live full time in this".
 

Shayne

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Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Our 1st unit was a 19ft in the 60's  each since has been longer, currantly a 37'.  looking at 40 and up./  Personally I don't think 45' is big enough, but that's me others may think 32 is too large.  It's all up to you or should I say then lady of the family.  JMHO
 

Jeff

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Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Posts
8,965
Location
SD/AZ
Like others here we started at 21' with three kids and had a great time. Four m/h's 'later we are full timing with a 39 footer and fill all the room we have. If you are still working and taking 1-2 week vacations your needs for room are certainly less than ours and the smaller the unit the more places you get to go.

To paraphrase Betty Brewer answering someone asking about a budget for RVing, you use what is available.
 

chaajoad

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Joined
May 29, 2006
Posts
322
Location
Poulsbo WA
Scoundrel -

My two cents:

From many posts on this board, it's pretty obvious that nearly everyone new to RV'ing wants to buy up from their first purchase. Very rare to see anyone state they want to go from a 40' rig to a 20' pop-up camper.

When I was looking for our first MH last Spring, I started small. At first I looked at trailers, some as short as 17' for three people. When it dawned on me I'd need a new tow vehicle to tow a rig of any length, I started looking at MHs. Like you, some seemed incredibly big. I've ridden in or on everything from a bicycle to a semi to a Blue Angel F-14 but thinking of wheeling down the road in what's really a modified city bus made me very anxious. But I took my own advice and i've said this many times. In nearly any major
purchase - a coat, a house, a car, a watch - buy the biggest and best you can afford.

Decades back, my first real motorcycle was a 400 cc bike and I thought I was Evil Kneivel. That didn't last long. I traded it in for a 750. Again, it felt like a bad ride but soon felt like a put-put. I now have an 1100 cc bike and I lust after an 1800 cc bike.

You might want to rent a good-sized rig just to see how it feels. But previous posters are correct. With a back-up camera and just a tiny bit of thinking ahead, bigger rigs are no problem. I looked at a 28' Bounder, thinking I should start small. But there was no couch and it just seemed cramped. I tried to imagine the three of us stuck inside during bad weather and ...

I ended up buying a 35' Bounder. The 5 extra feet means a walk-around queen bed, good sized tub, more seating and lots more storage. Still, whenever I see it next to the house, it's hard to imagine that huge piece of machinery is ours, ready to roll on to the next adventure.

My advice? Buy as big as you can afford. Skip the intermediate steps.
 

Smoky

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Mar 11, 2005
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3,589
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wherever we are parked
I agree with Chaajoad.  Skip the intermediate steps as you are just throwing away money when you keep trading up.

When we decided to full time, we bought the best and largest coach we could afford.  Many people advocated starting out small until we knew more about our needs, but we knew we would not be able to afford constant trades.  So we did the "needs" search on the front end and took almost 3 years to make our final selection.  We test drove everything under the sun.

If we have any regret, it is that we could not afford to purchase anything larger than 40 feet.  We have 4 slides and we need every inch of the space it offers.  I guess if you are not fulltiming, space would not be at such a premium.

But personally, if I lived alone and even if I had a stick house, I would not want anything smaller than what we currently have.
 

NWRVer

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Posts
12
I started with a 29' class C, bunkhouse model (4 bunks in the rear) as I have 3 kids.  When the kids were small it worked well.  As the kids got bigger, the RV got smaller.  After looking at all types from 30' to 40', we opted for a 32' class A with a 14' x 36" slider.  It has a very nice layout and the price at the dealer was great, which made it more attractive.  It has a queen bed in the back and a queen hide-a-bed up front.  The dinette easily converts to a bed as well so we all can sleep comfortably.  It is much more comfortable than the old one, which makes it more enjoyable too. 

We go to ski resorts frequently, and the bigger rigs do have more trouble it tighter places.  I tend to park out back of the parking lots if there is no dedicated RV parking.  A longer walk, but easier to maneuver around.

My suggestion is to get as big as you are comfortable with.  We could have gone bigger, but just didn't see any real pluses in it.  Then there's the additional cost.  If we were full timing we might have done something different, but that's not what we need.  It's our vacation home.  It fits us nicely, drives very well, so so gas milage (it's a V-10), and we are able to go pretty much anywhere we want for a weekend, live comfortably, and have a good time.
 

Wendy

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May 14, 2005
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12,554
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Colorado
Ok, I'm going to disagree again with the 'buy the biggest you can afford' theory. Find the unit you're comforatble with and buy that. I would never be comfortable with a 45' MH, never. Right now, we're very happy with our 27' Winnebago but we've been looking at 30 and 32' units 'just for fun' and I would be comforatble going up to one of those lengths. They would still fit anywhere we wanted to go. And if I had to, I could drive our 27' and maybe something 4 or 5 feet longer.

JMO
Wendy
 

chaajoad

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Joined
May 29, 2006
Posts
322
Location
Poulsbo WA
Hey, Wendy - Good point and it really goes without saying. But right in your post you mention you're thinking of moving up in sizes a bit. What usually happens is that you'll get comfy with 32 feet and then start looking at 35' rigs and so on. Like you, a MH 10' longer than mine would freak me out. Frankly, I was nervous the first time I drove our Bounder and i still get sideways thinking about it. Our second trip I got sidetracked in a neighborhood with narrow streets and would still be there if not for a kind neighbor who came out and stopped traffic so I could back out.

So if not the biggest, how about the best you can buy? If Scoundrel's comfort level is at 28', then he should look to buy the best 28' rig he possibly can. I don't think buying the biggest or best rig is lamented nearly as much as buying too small or too chintzy.

But your point is well taken.
 

Tsalla Apopka

New member
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Posts
4
I have to admit that my "mantra" is always "Think first about how YOU will use it, then get one that fits YOUR use. All the rest of us can give you information and tell you how we use our rv but you have to apply that info to yourself. Here's my bit of input.

We have a 30 foot gas coach with 2 electric slides and a "Majic Bed" which allows for a large kitchen and large bath in only 30 feet. And at 30' we don't need to tow a car and the big Workhorse 8.1L engine pushes it down the road like a sports car. With Karen and I, and the two big Belgian Sheepdogs that are always with us, it's the right RV for us at this time.

Have fun, that's what's important!!!

 

cuts_up

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Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Posts
549
Location
Texas
I'm much more comfortable driving our 34' now than when we first got it.  I've had nightmares a couple of times that dh was driving, he drove off the shoulder and we tipped over.
 

Gasser

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Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Posts
173
Location
Ada, Oklahoma
Size can also be constrained by what you tow as well.  I drive a car in race events for weekend fun.  I pull an enclosed trailer that is 24 feet.  Most states have a max length your total rig length can be.  Here locally there is  a limit of 65 feet total length.  My rig is the same as smoky's.  It is perfect for our part time needs and weekend family trips and stays leagle for taking my trailer along.  Sure, a nice high end rig with a tag axle would look cool but I could'nt do anything with it.

I would rather buy a little smaller and spend the money on quality and craftsmanship.  Again, it all boils down to what you really need mixed with a little extra wants and feel goods. ;D

FWIW.


Jeff
 

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