A Few Thoughts on (RV) Size

At this point we have been traveling for 14 months, living in our RV full-time while on the road. Some of you have asked how the RV feels and if it’s becoming cramped. Here are a few of our thoughts on the subject – if you’re in the market for an RV of your own, perhaps they may be of some help.

Where we live

We have a 2002 29′ Class-C motorhome that we remodeled. It definitely feels like home and we love it more the longer we live here. We can see ourselves living here for many years, even if we decide to stop traveling. It’s more than big enough to be comfortable – we feel neither cramped nor is anything too far away if we have to go and get something we forgot.

Physically, the length from bumper to bumper is 29’10” and is externally 8′ wide. So, at most, we have under 240 sq ft of room. Though we will need a workshop or storage shed for storage once we settle down (there are tools and such in storage now), we don’t currently want anything bigger. If we were to build a house of the same size and add a loft above it this would feel absolutely luxurious as we’d have a whole extra room to use for something.

If anything, for traveling, we need something smaller.

We have stayed in a variety of locations – from WalMart parking lots to gravel campgrounds to spots in the woods miles off of a gravel road. Especially with the trailer added in, we are just under the common length limit for a number of campgrounds. While that hasn’t affected us it would be nice to be smaller and a bit more nimble, mostly for our times out in the wilderness. Our entire bedroom sticks out past the rear axle, so we have to be extra careful crossing pot-holes and dips, otherwise we can scrape with the rear bumper and trailer-hitch.

We have had to pass up on some splendid-looking sites because we couldn’t cross the drainage ditch at the entrance. A truck-bed camper in a 4-wheel drive truck or a 4×4 conversion van would suit perfectly for access to the back-country sites that we are drawn to. It would be small for long-term living (or so we imagine) but perfect for our time spent traveling.

A shorter version of what we have now would also allow us to be a bit more flexible, though we’d have to jettison some more stuff to shrink down somewhere smaller. Perhaps having a conversion space – a fold-down (murphy) bed of some sort – would be a good compromise.

Myriad Options

Along the way we have seen quite a few different RV’s of all shapes and sizes. I am intrigued by all of them and interested in trying everything out, at least for a bit. The teardrop trailers look like they’d be perfect for vacationing – small, light, cheap and nimble. The Class-B’s look rather agile and relatively fuel efficient, I’m especially drawn to the RoadTreks. We both think that the classic Airstreams look like a lot of fun and could have very interesting interiors (though I wouldn’t want to polish the outside of one). Always a fan of DIY projects, I love the idea of building a motorhome out of a work van of some sort.

There are so many different variables to consider, it can be hard to choose. We didn’t have, or want to purchase, a vehicle to pull a trailer, so those were out. The Class A’s (look like greyhound busses) were bigger than we wanted, narrowing the field further. Class B’s (that look like a big van) often didn’t have a dry shower (separate shower and toilet space) or permanent sleeping area and we didn’t want to convert our eating booth into a bed and back every day or have a wet toilet seat in our long-term home.

Our decision was relatively easy, as we lucked into a good platform that was readily available at a price we liked. Would we make the same decision today? Absolutely.

While a smaller RV of some sort would open camping options and we would be perfectly comfortable in one, we weren’t just buying for a road trip, we were purchasing a long-term house. We are comfortable inside, with enough space for our things and projects and to individually spread out and also comfortable driving (as long as we aren’t downtown somewhere or on a curvy, slippery road up in the mountain top). A larger RV would give us even more space but we don’t feel that we need it – though we might if we were stationary for longer periods of time.

Eventually, I expect that we’ll try out something different – maybe we’ll have a travel trailer of some sort for vacationing or build a conversion van so that we can spend more time in cities. Until then, we’re happy with our RV, love our home, and really can’t imagine anything better.