Our choices in an RV directly reflect our history of ocean cruising on our 33' sailboat. We discovered that size is not necessarily on the top of our priority list. Every RV has a purpose, and that no one RV would match our visions as the perfect camper for us. Prioritizing and making compromises helped us to focus on what would best work for us. We focused on:
These are our top priorities:
Amenities that are important to us include:
Places we want to visit:
While we want tons of space. We had to sacrifice it for our dream camping experiences, especially boondocking in Alaska. Getting off the beaten path is difficult with large, low-hanging rigs. Maneuverability versus size was a huge trade-off. We opted for less size.
We were torn between a small class A or C, but we did not find any that were up to some of the roads that we plan to frequent. They also tend to be difficult for a short person to drive. When I sat in them, I could not adequately reach all of the controls and pedals. We looked into modification, but when I sat in a Ford truck, I loved how I could reach everything, and it made driving fun for the first time. There were a few models that fit the bill, but the bill was way too rich for our budget.
We did consider a Class B, but the size and available layouts were not to our liking. The beds were either twins or fold-out, and no dry showers or kitchen space... deal killers for us. We loved the mileage and the overhead clearance, but not enough to get serious about a purchase.
Safety and comfort on the road are very important to us, so we opted for a truck as our base unit. We liked that we could still change our minds about the need for a larger camper. We could swap for a travel trailer or 5th wheeler later. We settled on a slide-in camper with one slide-out. While we are not fans of slid-outs, it was the best option for the space that we wanted. We even found a camper that had a dry shower, an oven and more holding tank space than some of the larger RVs.
New or Used
When we were sailing, our biggest headache was the constant repairs on an older boat and maintaining it in off-shore ready condition. We knew that a new camper would not be a wise financial investment, but we decided that our headaches with repairs and immediate modifications were worth a lot more than the end value of the RV. We also planned on sticking with the truck for its useful lifespan. While we may have lost money driving a new rig off the showroom, we enjoyed not having to immediately spend a ton of money and time making it workable.
We purchased a new Arctic Fox 992 and a Ford F-350 with duallys to handle the heavy camper. We have had our rig for the last four years. It has been a perfect summer home for us. Starting this year, we will be taking longer road trips. We will see how our choice holds up with our new plans to spend time traveling throughout the year. We will also contemplate on making this our choice for full-timing. The beautiful thing is that we can always change our minds and get a rig (or a boat!) that best suits our needs. Most people we know wind up swapping RVs a couple of times before settling on the one that is perfect for them. We hope our decision making process helps you choose the RV that will be perfect for your situation.
writes for Iris Blume Publishing. She is an Alaskan who has a love for traveling and writing. Join her as she rediscovers and shares her home state.
Where are we now?