Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A List for Buying the Perfect RV- Reflecting back…

our new motorhome 2-2010

imageLooking back at some old notes I made when we first started looking at buying an RV to fulltime in, there was a list of items we felt were important to us to have. Seeing list nearly three years later I thought it would make a great topic for a blog especially for those just now looking at what RV to buy for their future fulltiming needs.

Let me set the stage… we knew absolutely nothing about RV’s except what we had read online. Now we have nearly three years of fulltiming experience under our belts so I thought I would go back and comment about each item on the list given our last three years of experiences. Below is our original list with my comments added after each one…

1. It needs to *feel* comfortable – it turned out to be an absolute must item and one we found when we finally found the “right one” for us

2. a living room/dining room slide – we have two slides and love our large dining/livingroom slide

3. a bedroom slide – we love these slides too as it makes it nice and roomy

4. nice size kitchen with double door fridge – cabinet space and storage is critical

5. sturdy shower door – we have no problem at all with the door

6. We wanted a bedroom with a queen bed (walk around) with night stand/shelf (for book, glasses, drink) and a dresser and closet –we  have this wand love having all these items

7. less than 5 years old – buying used saved money and it was "broken-in"

8. less than 25000 miles – ours had fewer miles than I would have preferred for breaking-in a  diesel engine

9. under $65k, out the door – this would have been nice but we were over by about 50%

10. prefer double pain windows- we have them and although they may fog in between panes and need replacing ($$$) they are excellent for providing a sound barrier as we hear hardly anything through them

11. ice maker separate from the frig –we love having this

12. At least a 10 cubic foot Refrigerator – we double door fridge is a must have for any RV’er who cooks a lot in their home

13. need 3000 lbs carrying capacity for our stuff – we have a bit less and would prefer 3000 lbs to make us worry less about uneven loading

14. Insulation Package – sure helps in the heat and cold, better insulation equals better results

15. Adequate space on both sides of bed for ease in making it – luxury item but one we love having

16. Convenient access to dump valves – I think we found that nearly all have this

17. Large Pantry – important to us as we cook a lot in our RV

18. Large windows and lots of them – great for when we have those scenic stays

19. Space for at least two house batteries – more the merrier – wish we could store 4 now for any future solar needs

20. Tinted Windows – yes, yes, yes – allows us more privacy in narrow RV slots

21. Black Tank Back-Flush – very important but again we found most have this

22. Desk Area – we don’t have this but don’t really miss this item since I can use the dining table for a temporary desk

23. loads of storage inside and in the basement – we feel his is very important to a fulltimer

24. light cabinets and interiors – we have lighter wood interior cabinets and feel it makes it brighter and roomier feeling inside

25. at least one "all the way thru" storage in basement – we don't have this and would love to have one, although we have done fine without it

26. Make sure the bin doors outside are large enough: Imagine a folding lawn chair, can it fit through the door? – or buy smaller chairs ;)

Well, there you have our list we initially created over 3 years ago when looking for our perfect RV. I think this list works well for both Class A’s or 5th Wheels but we chose a Class A. Sure hope our experiences help out those that may be just entering the market with little to no previous RV experience.


  1. Bill & I made also made a list when we began RVing. Like you, we'd never even been inside one and had no idea what they even had to offer. You'd laugh if you compared our lists... don't think we have more than two or three items in common.... but we'll celebrate 13 years as full-timers next month in the same rig we started out in.... which just verifies that everyone has different priorities and needs (or wants). It's so interesting to see what's important to other folks.

    1. well I have to admit I was pretty anal when it came to lists... as a former IT guy I usually over analyzed everything... but your right what might be perfect to us may be horrid to others and visa versa ;)

  2. Going about purchasing an RV with a list of "would like" and "must have" items helped us to quickly whittle down the so many options out there and helped to find the gently-used Phaeton that has been a perfect home for us. That it had some extra bells and whistles (like a King bed) was a bonus.

  3. I have the same motorhome that you do, and I hate the upward opening bin doors..... Getting under them to the sewer locker causes me to crawl on the ground... Tiffin has changed this now as most doors open sideways........

    1. I agree with this statement as well, they are a bit awkward to get in and out of and sideways opening doors would be preferable

  4. Pretty good list and am glad to got a good one!

  5. Yes, our list was different from yours also, but that's what makes RVing fun...different strokes for different folks. Also interesting is the fact how those important things change once you've lived in an RV for a while. We love the storage of our 5th wheel, opposing full slides in the living area for more room and bedroom slide for ease of making the bed and extra room. But basically, just love fulltime RVing!!!

  6. Our list was very much the same except for wanting two living room slides.
    We are fine with one. Now I would add sliding shelves in the bays, ours are adequate, but it can be a pain to get things in and out from deep within.

    So many of the new big As have such dark woodwork. We love our light oak and large tinted windows.
    I found your research helpful at the time. Thanks.

  7. Great list. I think the most important is "it needs to feel comfortable". :-)

  8. We bought a used 30 foot Class C a little over a year ago and developed a similar list. Of course, a "C" doesn't have as many options as you larger "A" but the basics of comfort and storage remain.

    Our budget was tighter than yours but we found a 2006 gas model with 120,000 miles on it in excellent shape. It was fully refurbished before we took possession and we've had no problems so far. Not being full timers we put less strain on it, but we are very diligent about preventive maintenance and servicing of all the major components.

    The Ford E-450 V-10 should give us many years of service.

  9. Hi:
    I just 'stumbled into' your blog through Croft's Mexico. This post is a great one for me to keep in mind. I recently bought my first Class A - 2001 Fleetwood Flair 25F and a Smart car as my toad. My intent was to travel throughout North America for a year to two years. Well, now into my fifth full month I'm realizing that I love this lifestyle; and, although my Flair is pretty comfortable I may want to look into something a little more comfortable and efficient. Your list is a great jumping off place for me. Of course, I don't need quite the space as a couple, but I can modify your list as I feel I need to. Thanks for this post and I'm going to add your blog to follow.

  10. Excellent list! I've been debating how old to buy used...and answered that..also excellent advice about under storage and yes I would cook most of my meals.