CLASSES / TYPES
Trailers, or towables, range from a travel trailer to a toy hauler that folds open with a rear "garage" for atv's or motorcycles, popup trailers of different sorts - half trailer, half tent, and 5th-wheel trailers which are the largest and require a special hitch in the back of a truck.
I originally was leaning toward a 5th wheel trailer. I'd seen many of them at rv shows and was very impressed with all the space and storage in them. Many have slide outs on both sides of the living space which can quite literally make it feel like a very large living room. Some had full kitchens with a wrap around bar and more. One I saw had a "forward living" design where instead of the bedroom being in the upper area, the living room was there with 2 couches, a recliner, a fireplace with tv above, and the sleeping area was in the back. So they are very versatile and spacious.
The downside of a 5th wheel, or even a large trailer, is that you have to have a pretty beefy truck to pull it. The bigger the 5th wheel (and I would have wanted pretty large to live in full time) the bigger the truck needed. Now I plan to be stationary in the Portland area a good portion of the year, and even when traveling I'll likely be in one place a few weeks here, a couple weeks there, or more. So during the time the trailer was parked, I'd have to drive that big truck around as my daily vehicle.
I also spoke with my friends Bobby and Darrell (Hi guys!) who have been full-time rv'ers for going on 4 years now and the informed me too that the setup when you reach your destination is more time consuming and involved. Additionally, passengers including my pugs, could not ride in the trailer when in motion. If you have a guest with you, they can grab a beverage a snack, etc (carefully) on the road. Not so when it's a trailer of any sort.
So with those details in mind, I shifted my search back to a Class A motor home. With a class A everything is self contained and it's very easy to arrive, park, level, extend the slide outs, hook up to the park water, power, etc, and you're done.
GAS VS DIESEL
Then, I had to consider a gas or diesel model. This is a considerable piece of the puzzle. It seems that most people would tell you that diesel is better. They often get better MPG, I believe I've been told that the motors likely are more durable and longer lasting, and you'll usually hear that they have more power for climbing hills, for towing, etc.
|Wellington RV! A 2003 Fleetwood Pace Arrow |
with GM 8100 gas motor, Workhorse Chassis, Allison Transmission
Also, with a class A I can tow my jeep wrangler unlimited behind the RV from place to place. With the addition of a tow bar on the jeep, a tow bar, and some lighting wires installed, I can quickly hook up my jeep to the back of the RV and tow it down the road. It's easy to disconnect when I arrive and then I have my beautiful Mango (name of my jeep) with me to drive around wherever I happen to be.
It happens that Jeep Wranglers are one of the easiest vehicles to modify and tow 4-down (all wheels on the ground) of the limited number of cars that can be towed this way. And since the transmission is completely disengaged when towing, no miles are added to the odometer while towing it.
So all of these considerations have to be weighed if you're considering an RV for part time or full time use. In the RV parks I see probably a near equal number of Class A and 5th Wheel types, and then a lower number of trailers. Of course I don't know how many of of them are full-timers. And within each class there's many near standards of floorplan pieces, but also many many creative and unique layouts suited for different needs. It's a good idea if you're considering an RV to try to visit a good RV show, to see how things vary and get a sense of options. If you're looking for a used RV, check out a number of different dealerships to see what might be available and in your price range.