Written by 1:31 am Class A

Best RV To Live In Year Round (Full-Time Living Choice)

Class A RV

What is the best RV for Full-Time Living?

If you want the very best and you have the budget, the Class A RV is considered to be the recognized winner.

However, there are other options that you will probably want to consider.


Let’s walk through a list of options decide which RV is best for your life and budget.


Motorized vs Towable

When choosing your RV, you will need to decide between certain features. One of those choices will be whether you value the additional space and easy detachability of your tow vehicle versus the easy setup of your campsite, constant bathroom access, and easy travel of the motorized RV.


If you want the quick public poll, towable vehicles are generally considered to be the RV choice for the occasional weekend trip, and the motorized RVs are the choice for those that intend on living in their RV full-time. Everyone has different needs though, so let’s delve a little bit into why that is to see if you agree with the common logic.


Towable Benefits


Easy Access to Tow Vehicle – You will have difficulty with maneuverability and parking if you plan on living in an RV that approaches 30 feet in length or longer.  Having an easily attachable and detachable truck can make those trips into town a lot less frustrating.


More Space – Towable RVs have a lot of extra room because they don’t need to house all the parts that make the RV function like a regular vehicle (You know, parts like an engine). It all adds up to a decent amount of additional space that you will value as your mind inevitably switches from counting feet to counting inches.


Fewer Repairs and Removing Some Potential Major Repairs – When your RV doesn’t need to pull itself, things become less expensive. You don’t need to repair an engine that doesn’t exist. Sure, the tow vehicle will still need repairs, but that is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than an expensive RV repair. Fewer mechanics have what can be considered qualified experience on repairing RVs (More Complicated Machines) which can make them more expensive. It is a more specialized niche.


Also, less time in the shop means less money paying for other accommodations.


You Might Save on Gas – When your Camper is parked, your easily detachable tow vehicle will very likely have much better gas mileage than the motorized camper that you might have otherwise been taking.


Towable RVs are much Cheaper – Towable RVs are essentially odd shaped houses when you remove the parts that give them the ability to move themselves. The comparatively simple design makes them a cheaper purchase.


Motorized Benefits

Simple Arrivals and Departures – Motorized vehicles are famous for the simplicity of the transition from a campground to the road. If you are not hooked up to a power, water, or sewage pipe; you can literally wake up, walk to the driver’s seat, and take off. The value of this can not be overstated if you plan on traveling from point-to-point on a normal basis.


Access To the Bathroom and Food Storage While Traveling – In a motorized camper, you have constant access to almost everything while you are on the road. Being in the same vehicle as the bathroom can save you from making so many stops. This benefit multiplies when you are traveling with a family, especially a large one like my own. Every bladder has a countdown, and not needing to factor that into the travel time reduces more stress than you might expect.


You Don’t Need to Leave the Vehicle

You will really appreciate owning a motorized RV when you pull up to your campsite during a rainstorm or snowstorm. You don’t have to set a foot outside to get to your home. You are already there, so sit on the couch, crawl into bed, maybe watch some TV, or read a book. The point is that you can relax in hopefully complete protection from the elements.


RV Length

When you are going to live in a camper, the bigger the space is the better. Obviously, the length is going to be a sliding scale expense. You will need to decide if you prioritize the features of the RV or the length of the RV. It makes it much easier to narrow down the trailer selection when you settle on this decision at the get go. It was mentioned early, but make sure to keep in mind that maneuverability and city parking become difficult as you start approaching the RVs with a length of about 30 feet.


Too Large to Park

Another important consideration will be the restrictions of national parks and campgrounds. Many of them will not be built to accommodate the longer RV’s, so you will be forced to mosey towards another location. 


Gas Versus Diesel


Diesel Engines – Better MPG, But Fuel Costs More

Diesel Engines use a direct injection system and do not require spark plugs to set off the reaction. When the pistons of diesel engines compress they increase the pressure and that increased pressure increases the heat. When it is sufficiently compressed, the heat will ignite the fuel/air mixture.


More power is generated from less fuel due to the increased compression in diesel engines. Better gas mileage is obviously desirable, but there are drawbacks to consider.


According to WorkTruckOnline, diesel has averaged an additional comparative cost of 14 cents per gallon versus the cost of regular gasoline. However, at the most expensive point, in 2008, that 14 cents of separation jumped to a whopping 76 cents.


The Noise, Noise, Noise!

Diesel engines are plagued with a rather noisy operating knock that make you think that something is wrong. There probably isn’t…It is just part of the package.


Idling Damage

Diesel Engines require a higher operating temperature to create the right conditions to create the necessary molecular reaction to explode all of the fuel that is let into the cylinder. This isn’t much of a problem. It was mentioned earlier, but I will reiterate that diesel engines are more durable than their gas fueled counterparts. That said, unneeded damage will happen if the engine is allowed to run for periods of 10 minutes or more while sitting in a single spot


There is a built in feature for this scenario. RVs with diesel engines almost always have a high idle toggle for those moments when you are stuck in traffic or just need to let the engine run for some random reason.


Maintenance Costs Further Deteriorate the Financial Advantage of Diesel Engines

While the diesel clearly wins in regards to the fuel efficiency of that type of engine. Gas engines win in terms of maintenance costs. Diesel engines are special components that are not required on a gas engine. Sometimes those parts need replacing, so that means additional maintenance costs. Also, the intervals between necessary maintenance are farther apart in gas engines, which of course, further reduces the cost.


Diesel Are More Durable and Have an Increased Life Span

While their may be more maintenance to a diesel engine, it makes up for it in its life expectancy. Of course, these numbers will vary from engine to engine, but you can probably expect to have an increased lifespan of roughly 50% between comparable engines. Repeating for emphasis – This will vary, so do not assume, do your research.


The reason for the increased life span is due to the necessity of a more durable engine. As stated earlier, diesel engines must withstand more powerful explosions because the fuel ignites at a higher level of compression. Specifically, they must withstand a compression of 17:1 vs a gasoline engines compression of 9:1.


Gasoline is also known to be more corrosive than diesel, so it can wear down the cylinders much faster.


This increased durability has a solid affect upon the resale value of your RV, so consider that if you plan on switching to another RV somewhere down the line.


Differences Between RV Classifications

Now that we have considered the basic options. Let’s look at the differences between the following RV classifications:


The Motorized Classes AKA Motorhomes


Class A – The Beauty Is the Beast


BIG – Described as large and boxy, these are typically the largest RVs on the market. If you have ever rolled up next to an RV that looks like a bus; that is probably a Class A. That observation wouldn’t be far from the actual truth because these motorhomes are actually built on either a bus chassis, a motor vehicle chassis, or a commercial truck chassis.


The size can vary and overlap with the Class C Motorhome and Fifth Wheel Campers. It is common to find these motorhomes between the length of 21 to 45 feet.


Class A RVs have large bedrooms and kitchens, and are equipped with slide outs that can increase the width of the rooms by one to three feet (Generally Speaking of course).


Bad Gas Mileage – It doesn’t take a large leap in logic to realize that the bigger the vehicle the worse the gas mileage is going to be. In the case of Class A campers, you are likely looking at about 8 – 10 MPG.


Fully Featured – This is the luxury class of Motorhomes, so it is expected that it is going to have all of the features. This means big bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen. The bathroom will have an enclosed shower, there will likely be an ice machine, dishwasher, multiple slide outs, high quality entertainment system (surround sound and HDTV’s), and a basement for storage.


Sleeps a lot of people – The numbers very because the size and features very. However, you will find that the Class A’s will comfortably sleep somewhere between 1 – 10 people

A Giant In a Land Of Midgets

It will be stated several times, but it needs to be understood that the larger sizes can make some roads inaccessible, and parking lots can be a bit of a nightmare due to the size and maneuverability.


Camper vans

There are a lot of advantages to camper vans, but I can hardly recommend for anything more than a weekend trip. It might be perfect for you though, so let’s see what it has to offer.


The Benefits and Disadvantages of Small RVs – Sure, large RV’s are the height of camper luxury. They offer amenities that you couldn’t hope to fit into a camper van. There are things to be envied in these little homes.

Gas Mileage – You will appreciate the gas mileage of a camper doesn’t need to haul around a cabin that is the size of a bus. The actual MPG will vary, but it will be consistently higher than anything that a Class A or C could offer.


Driving is Easy – You can drive anywhere that a normal van can drive because you are almost the same size.


Small Spaces and Small Storage – You’re tiny which means your storage is tiny. Anything you bring aboard is going to take up some very valuable space. This class of RV typically have a bathroom, kitchen, and a living room, but none of it would be described as comfortable. There may be some exceptions to this, but this will be the general rule.


Wetbath – Did I mention tiny spaces? By necessity, the toilet and the shower will share the same spaces. This works in the short-term, but it isn’t something that I would want in a full-time living situation


Class C

This type of motorhome can be identified by the space that extends over the cabin which will either be the sleeping quarters or some extra and valuable storage. It is a bit of a mishmash of the different class RVs which helps to bring the expected features of the Class A’s- including slide outs – into the price range of someone with a slightly tighter budget. Class C’s are built upon the chassis of a truck or a van which helps to bring the cost down a bit. Middle class luxury describes it pretty well.


Sleeps a Good Amount – These motorhomes will typically have enough beds and convertible sofas to comfortably sleep 4 to 8 people.


The Cost – When compared to the cost of a Class A RV. Apples to apples, you are going to save a rough 10k to 15k at the dealership.


Sleeping Spaces – Remember those luxurious large rooms in the Class A’s? You will find similar rooms here. Fantastic for living in on a more permanent basis.


Cheaper Repairs – When it comes to RV’s, you are usually going to spend a lot ro repair them. Class C’s are a bit of a special case. The engine is accessible as any truck, and it is built upon a common chassis. These RV’s can be repaired by most mechanics


Lighter, Generally – This breed is usually lighter which makes the MPG a bit more affordable.


The Towable Classes


Quick Rundown

Fifth Wheels are fantastic for full time living.

Travel trailers can be good for a vacation.

Popup campers (folding trailers) are good for a weekend at a campsite.


Fifth Wheels

These luxury liners are the only trailers that can match the titan that is a the Class A’s. They are fully featured, and they actually even beat the Class A kitchens in size. Usually equipped with an island – you have a kitchen that even an Iron Chef would envy.


Better Turning Radius – The towing vehicle will add a pivot point that will allow the 5th wheel RV to manipulate small spaces more effectively than a Class A motorhome. You will appreciate this more if purchase a longer vehicle, but it will be useful no matter the length.


Taller Ceilings and Wider Rooms – The camper life will not be attractive for some with claustrophobic issues. The fifth wheel is the best at alleviating these ceilings with its higher ceilings. The rooms will also be larger, this choice will go a long way to making people feel as  comfortable as possible.


Cheaper Insurance – Clearly, the insurance is going to be more expensive than a camper van, but it is also going to cheaper than its running mate, the class A. Removing the engine and other automotive pieces mean that there is less for insurance companies to insure.


Storage Space vs Carrying Capacity – You will likely have more storage space than you can actually use because of the maximum carrying capacity of the fifth wheel. I’m not sure if that should be considered a good thing or a bad thing.


Travel Trailer

These trailers are typically on the small side which can be a pro or a con depending your set of needs. They are a fantastic option for those on a budget that would still like some space to stretch. They are priced at a reasonable $3,000 to $65,000 which is within reach of most people with a decent credit score and a stable job. If you’re interest in staying on the smaller side I would recommend reading this post we wrote on small trailers that also have a bathroom


Length – These trailers can vary in size from what most would consider small to a mid range RV. You will find that most of them will be somewhere between 12 to 35 feet which can make towing a manageable experience for the average newbie.


Sleeping Situation – Depending upon the length, you can expect to snugly settle 4 to 8 people in the provided sleeping quarters.


Expandable – Not all of the travel trailers offer this, but you will tend to find that most of the modern travel trailers are expandable.


Popup Campers (Folding Trailers {Tent Trailers})

Pop up campers are good for a weekend, but I highly doubt that you will be comfortable with a vehicle that perspires. Condensation is a real issue here which means so is mold. Also, you will not want to live in one of these if you plan on living in a climate that hits temperatures too far outside your ideal range.


Very Small Living Quarters – You won’t be able to stretch in a tent trailer. They aren’t designed for long term comfort. They are designed for a fun weekend.


No Bathroom – There aren’t any bathrooms on a tent trailer.


Canvas Walls – There is a reason that these are called tent trailers. They are mostly canvass, so say goodbye to any sense of privacy.


That’s It For Now!

Okay, I hope that this helps you to narrow down the search to find the RV that works for you and your situation. Let me know if there is anything else that you think that I should add, and I will be happy to do more research for all of you. Good luck in your search. Happy Home Hunting!

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