I have in the past weeks had a number of people ask various questions about choosing an RV. Imagine my surprise. I got my first RV a year ago in August. Why would people think I know anything? Imagine my surprise again when, in the answering of these questions, I realized that I have gained a vast amount of knowledge on the subject, and that gained mostly from hard hands-on experience.
Like everything, this choice of an RV is a very personal deal. What I can do is give you a peek into my experiences.
From the beginning, I went at my choice of RV from a consideration of how I would use it. I had no idea if I would like camping in an RV, so I did not want to sink a lot of money into one. I discarded any idea of getting one of the big Class A rolling home types. Not only could I not afford that, but I wasn’t going to drive one. I also discarded the idea of Class B and Class C because I had decided to buy new–a choice I’ll explain further down–and new Class B and Class C would be more expensive than I wanted to stretch my budget, or my uncertainty.
In the end, what determined my choice was 1) wanting to use the SUV I already owned as my tow vehicle. I did not want another vehicle to maintain. 2) I wanted to be able to unhook at the campsite and have my vehicle for getting around, and 3) okay, and most importantly, the cuteness factor. I was thoroughly seduced by the nostalgia and warmth of the Gulfstream Vintage Cruiser. Upon stepping into it, I got so darn happy. My friend and fellow author Cait London calls my camper my playhouse.
Back to the decision to buy a new camper. This choice was based on the belief that by buying new, everything would work and I would not have the stress of having to do a great deal of repair. This assumption is true only in part. My experience with leaks (and some the dealer service personnel did not adequately fix, requiring I return a number of times to the shop) of windows and lights that simply were not caulked at all and water pipes with loose connections gives evidence of speedy and slipshod manufacturing practice. Where my trailer started with brand new firm flooring, how much damage has now resulted by the leaks is not known.
However, my problems with my camper were small and I can report I’m happy with it. I am fortunate when compared to many people who bought campers in the past five years. What happened is that in 2012, the RV industry exploded with sales. In 2017 more RVs than ever in history were sold. In their struggle to keep pace with the fast-rising demand and in eagerness to reap profits, many manufacturers have sped up their production lines to the point of losing quality control. Pictures supporting the mess that is often underneath and behind the pretty face of camper walls supports this fact.
So, if you are a handy person, or have a handy partner, you do not need to be afraid of considering that cheap deal on an RV built before 2012. The experts tell me that those are far better built. You can update an older RV in the same manner you would update that second little home.
For myself, I have no desire to full-time RV, but thoroughly enjoy getting away to state parks, where I can camp in convenient sites in the trees and enjoy hiking trails with my dog through the woods. Very often I toy with the idea of getting a truck and fifth-wheel camper; the roomier size and ease of connecting and disconnecting draw me–and give me pleasant dreams.
But as a woman on her own, camping–any sort– is lonely business and quite a bit of work. I have women friends who gather in groups with their campers, but when they go home, the husband or partner is there to handle the parking and unhooking, if required, and all maintenance such as tire inflation, battery, washing and waxing. My dear ‘Little Lucy’ has never had a full bath–yet I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying her.
Last night I went out to put fresh sheets on the bed in Little Lucy. I turned on the stereo system and played music from Spotify on my phone, bopping to the beat of a Rascal Flatts tune. I realized I now have a ‘she-shed’ to slip away to for whenever the real world and demands get too much.
Remember dear hearts, just because an RV has wheels doesn’t mean it has to move.