Thanks for stopping by our Full Time RV Living website! We hope you find the many pages and posts helpful as you investigate your decision to join us on the road as full-time RVers! Please “Like” this page if you found my website helpful. You can also visit our Youtube Page for videos of our experiences.
Full-Time RV Living
Pam and I started RVing when we got bored with the more traditional vacations, and that was back in 2002. It had been a dream of ours that when we reached retirement, we would travel the country in an RV. We always loved hitting the road in any vehicle and thought an RV would be awesome because you would always have a clean bathroom, kitchen, and bed. You basically could have everything you need with you at all times. We figured what could be better than the Full Time RV Living Lifestyle?
We did not care so much about fuel costs because the other vacations we took were the same if not more expensive than our RV trips. So, one year we finally decided, “Let’s give it a try!” We had been looking at RVs for years and dreaming about traveling in one – that was back in the mid-1980s. So, we rented our first Class A gas RV and took it on a 3,500-mile trip to visit family, as well as other spots we had not been to before.
We were out for three weeks and fell in love with the thing! It was everything we had dreamed it would be! I was fascinated by how all the RV systems worked so well, how comfortable it was, and easy to drive too! I came home after that trip and said, “If we don’t have one of these in five years, let’s sell the house and get one to live in full-time!” Well, Pam said, “Hold on there big fella! You want to sell our dream home?”
We are not retirement age, and we wanted to get out on the road while we were still young and healthy enough to enjoy everything that you can do when you can travel around the country.
Most of the full-timers we meet are older, and it appears they can’t enjoy their RV adventure as well as if they had started the lifestyle twenty years earlier. We have had many of our fellow RVers admit that to us. We did not want to wait till retirement, and we are so glad we did not put it off and just stepped out in faith!
We have folks at RV parks tell us that we are too young to be out doing this kind of thing. What they don’t realize is two things: first, we are not retired, and second is we run a business out of our RV home to make money and fund our travels.
We have some great friends and business associates that shared with us years ago that if you are going to live the lifestyle, find a way to be able to subsidize your activities. There is only one way for a full-time RVer to do that!
So, back to our beginnings that I was describing a little earlier. After six more trips in even bigger and better RV’s than on our first trip out, we had the house sold, and we purchased our RV. We were now full-time RVers!
We have logged over 150,000 miles in both rented and owned RVs. We found RV rental was an excellent way to try before you buy. If you are unsure whether you want a towable RV or a bus-style RV, this is a great way to get a feel for both.
We have been enjoying full-time RV living since 2008 and we have no plans to go back to the “sticks and bricks” dwelling! Oh, and by the way, the five-year decision to sell the home took seven. But that’s okay. “A dream is a dream until spoken words become reality.”
We now run our national RV inspection corporation from the comfort of our RV home! Running a business from an RV is the best way to take advantage of all the tax benefits available to us. We went from full-time RVers to full-time RVers who also own a great RV inspection business! We are blessed!!
Over the years we have discovered that our knowledge base could benefit others by sharing our experiences in not only the RV life but with health and nutrition counseling as well. Visit our Healthy RV Living section of the website to see if we can assist you!
We hope our website will help you in your journey towards the RV lifestyle, or if you are lucky enough to be able to, the full-time RV living lifestyle! Enjoy the journey!
Please check back with us on a regular basis! Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions about the lifestyle!
If you have purchased a used RV and want to share your experiences with others, please visit my Used RV Purchase Experiences Facebook page and join the group. Perhaps you can help someone else find a good RV dealer for their full-time RV purchase!
Our Current RV Home – 2023 Newmar Super Star
Howard & Pam
Co-Owners of Your Full-Time RV Living and
Please feel free to leave comments so I can answer any questions you may have!
Are you still in Galveston? We need an inspectionfor our warranty
Sorry Victoria! We have traveled out of the area with the RV. Sarah and Corbin Croy are in that area. You can find them at nrvia.org (find an inspector). Best wishes on your RV search!
Hello! I am interested in having an inspection on a 2014 Keystone Bullet that is located in Orlando. How can we schedule this? Thanks.
I responded to your email address with info that will hopefully help you out.
Hi – We have two toy poodles and are considering a Type B RV. We are first time RVers in our 60s and don’t feel comfortable going big. Our plans are for 2-3 week trips. As I said, we are new to this and because of the dogs need to understand how leaving the dogs in the RV while we are out sightseeing works. Can you help? Also, any other tips for traveling with dogs would be appreciated…..(they are our babies)
Being first-time RVers and not really knowing what it is like to live and travel in an RV, I would highly recommend you rent one first. That way you will get a better sense of what will work for you and your dogs.
Good Morning, We are in the process of finalizing our order of a 2022/2023 DRV Elite Suites 36 rssb3 fifthwheel from Rolling Retreats in Elk City, Ok. They tout their own 500 item pdi checklist and have a great reputation. Have you previously completed inspections at this dealership? How much lead time do you typically require for scheduling? I would be interested in the highest level of inspection.
A nticipated delivery in April/May 2023. Thank you.
I have not been to that dealership. NRVIA inspectors like to have five days of notification before an inspection to be sure things are set up properly for inspection day. Since I am a full time RVer I can’t guarantee that I will be available during the timeframe, but you can go to nrvia.org/locate and find another NRVIA inspector on that website. Best wishes on your new RV home!
A very interesting article on new RV inspection. I am an RV newbie and is considering to buy a new Winnebago Class C. It will be an order from the manufacture. I am worried about the quality due to the high demand now. Do you have any recommendation of an RV inspector in Houston area? Is it expensive?
Pam and I just purchased a 2021 Tiffin which is supposed to have a better name in the industry. It is our second Tiffin. I inspected it for my own purchase and with what we found we kept it at the dealership for two weeks after taking possession.
Being a newbie, I would highly recommend having one of the NRVIA inspectors in the Houston area take a look at it for you once it arrives at the dealership. I will email you a way to get in touch with some inspectors that you can contact.
Best wishes on your RV purchase!
My name is Paul west I have a 2001 Alf see yea 38 ft motor home .problem I have is about to drive nuts ? generator power work fine.when I plug into shore power my refrigerator does not work it it runs fine on generator. I think I for got to on plug when I started the generator. And it started this . I have power every ware else on shore power . I check my gfi there fine and so is Panay box 762-333-4600 ga boy paul
I am assuming this is an RV type refrigerator that runs on propane and electric, and not a residential fridge. Do this: while plugged into shore power, and the refrigerator set on electric, not propane, go outside, remove the lower cover to the refrigerator, and with a plug tester or a voltmeter, test that outlet that the fridge is plugged into. If you have no power there, then I would work back to the breaker that controls the fridge and see if that is allowing electricity through the circuit. You can test that with a voltmeter as well.
Give that a shot and let us know what you find.
We are Tiffinites as well and we can see your RV from where we are parked now in Hahira GA. We do the same thing that you do, we are 54 and 46 and sold everything to get on the road. We are here for a bit because we just became grandparents and our daughter lives in Valdosta.
I just saw that you do inspections, and guess what, we haven’t been able to find anyone to do one here. So, if y’all are still here Sunday AM and want to do one while here, well, I’d be glad to hire you! ?
2019 Tiffin Allegro Red. The one with the American and French flag across from the pond from where you are.
Hope to chat soon. Happy travels!
Hi Alain and Leah!
As stated in our email to you we are sorry that we were unable to hang out and assist you but we needed to hit the road. Best wishes in your new lifestyle of full time RVing!
Bwhahahahaha! Love the start to this video! And WOW! That 360 camera is great! Thanks!
Thanks for stopping by Phylana! We are glad you enjoyed our intro video.
I am a first time camper with a r pod 151. I went to get it out of storage and the battery was gone. I attempted to plug in the lights but the would not come on as it was night. Do I need a battery to on the camper to make the lights work?
Yes, for the CORRECT operation of the RV’s 12-volt house system, you need to have a battery installed. The lights run off the 12-volt electrical system.
Hello. I have a used 2002 Gulfstream Conquest Lite 19’ bumper pull travel trailer. It was a handyman special. I had to replace the converter about a year ago and everything worked fine (the fuse panel and distribution panel was not replaced). I n making soft spot repairs the trailer sat for over a year (not used). So now repairs are done and I’m ready to camp BUT the lights and pump won’t work off the battery. They work fine on shore power (converter output 13.75v at the terminals and at the lights but while on shore power voltage at the battery is 12.4v (battery voltage). Unplugged from shore output at the converter terminals is 0,43v. I performed a number of tests. With both hot wire (coming from the battery with no device installed in this wire) and the ground disconnected from the converter voltage at the ends of these wires is 11.9 v. I made a ground jumper wire bolted to the frame and test hot wire to jumper wire and had 12.2v. I reinstalled Hotwire to converter and tested (+) terminal to jumper ground: 11.4v. I tested the (+) terminal to the original ground wire: 1.0v. I reattached ground to converter (so now Hotwire and ground are attached to converter) test at the terminals 0.43v. I again removed the original ground and attached the jumper ground and tested at the terminals: 10.49v (but lights didn’t work). I have connected the camper to the tow vehicle and the interior lights did work but voltage at the terminals was bouncing from 11-14v. Parallax Power assured me this problem isn’t in the converter it does output 13.75v on shore power. What do I need to be looking for/replacing. Thanks, Doug
How old is the battery, Doug? If it is new try removing it and fully charging it separate from the system, then reinstall and check lights and pump operation.
I notice you have a Tiffin Allegro. We have done a lot of research and really like the Tiffin motorhomes. Question: what is the noise level in the Open Road? We have heard one primary downside to gas vs. diesel is the noise level while traveling. Thanks for your feedback.
We don’t have any issue with engine noise, but everyone is different. The best way to answer that question for you is to drive both and see which one suits your wants and needs.
We are trying to get a plan together to go full time. We currently live in SC, but are wondering what the process is if we want to use (say FL) as our Residence. Do we need to own property in a state we choose as our residence or just obtain a PO Box? We don’t mind keeping SC, but currently, they charge personal property taxes on a Motorhome ($2300 a year for a valued home of $100K). Is a state like FL a better deal? Or where would you recommend?
Thanks for stopping by!
I have several references about domicile state choices when full-timing in our Full Time RV Living link on our website. I have also answered questions about this in the RV Question and Answer post.
We are new full time RVers and have a 5th Wheel. We stay in a RV park, but will be going on an overnight trip w/o the RV. Temperatures are starting to change and get colder and it looks like the night we will be gone, it may get close to freezing the night we are gone. What do we need to do prevent anything freezing since we will not be home? We are connected to city water and sewer in the park.
To protect your hoses I would shut off your water and disconnect your hose and put it away. The sewer hose will not have much liquid in it so it may be okay left attached. If in doubt it is always best to disconnect just in case it gets colder than predicted. Also, wind chill factures can make a huge difference in freezing up those services.
If you leave the furnace on inside to sixty degrees and your RV is set up to allow the RV furnace heat to flow to the plumbing bay, then that will help that area from possibly freezing. If not then you may need to put a heat source in the plumbing bay to keep it warm. I have used a utility light in the plumbing bay of a small class C RV to accomplish that.
Where are you located? I live in Orlando, Fl. We purchased a travel trailer and are clueless as to how things work. We could use a good inspection and some information on getting things working right. We’ve had some issues, one being that we are currently connected to a campsite and it doesn’t seem like our camper is drawing the power it needs. They said that the power is fine. Also, we discovered our rear slide leaks in the closed position. We are trying not to get discouraged, but it’s hard.
Thanks for stopping by our website!
We are sorry that we are not currently in Florida, but are traveling in Texas. If you will drop me an email at email@example.com I will get you some information on RV inspectors in your area that you can contact. I know most of them and can steer you in the right direction.
We own a 2002 Monaco Windsor (original owners). Recently our overhead fluorescent living room lights quit working. Replacing fuse as per schematic did not work. Any suggestions? Your help would be deeply appreciated.
It is possible that the ballast units have gone bad. After a while, like any fluorescent light, they need replacement. If that is the case, perhaps now is a good time to replace them with LED lights. There are conversion kits that retailers sell.
Finding a job you can do while living in an RV is what’s holding a lot more young people back from full-timing. In the various RV FB groups the question of “how to make money living in an RV” crops up time and time again. So few of us are able to find something to make it work.
I’m curious how your inspection business works while travelling? Do you travel to clients or have a set base/state/city you operate from? Or?
Thanks for stopping by Gary!
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some information.
I’m so thankful to find your website! We bought our grand design, set it up permanently in a park, live in it part time to be close to help with aging parents.
Once you buy your camper it’s as if the dealership just throws you off a cliff, lol!
1st: our power bill is OUTRAGEOUS! People who live here full time pay very little more than we do. The camp owners are trying to say it’s our converter. Is that true? Our converter is using $110 worth of power every month?
Also: our black tank always stays on 1/3 full. Never changes. I’ve tried discussing with dealer, paid for mobile tech to come check, and no one has an answer.
Thank you for all that you do, and for helping me!
Thanks for stopping by our website!
No, the converter, which is your battery charger, will not use $3 or more dollars a day to operate. An AC unit could. What electrical items, other than the converter, are you using when generating $110 of electrical charges per month?
Black tank sensors after a period of time will seldom reflect an empty tank unless you are extremely diligent in flushing out the tank every time you drain it, after being full. As long as they show a full condition as the tank fills, that is the most important thing.
We are also full-time. Just recently we replaced our travel trailer’s battery. My question is, should we leave the battery ON all the time? We have a shut-off switch. Otherwise, how often should we put it ON?
If you are plugged into shore power and living in your RV fulltime, leave the battery on. The converter will keep it charged and the battery will help clean up the converter 12-volt power.
Research queen here. I stumbled upon your webpage because I have learned that there are so many horror stories out there about rv buyers spending a lot of money on RVs that are full of hidden problems. By trade, I am a residential real estate specialist and I know the value of a very good and honest home inspector. My immediate thought when hearing about all of these buyer beware stories was that there needs to be a thorough inspection process and sure enough, I found NRVIA. My husband and I began talking about this lifestyle in 2015. We will be relocating south in 2019 and I plan on renting out our newly built beach house 4-5 months out of the year making it possible to travel in an RV during those months.
I can easily see where my husband and I could move into owning and operating an RV inspection business in about 3 years. We are 55 and 60 now and I wish to semi/retire soon while we are in good enough shape and health to enjoy RVing for the next decade. Over the next 6 months, I will be emptying, staging and selling my own home; trading in my Lincoln MKX for a Ford dually and buying a fifth wheel. I’m pretty much on my own with this as hubby travels extensively for business —a big reason For this lifestyle change. Wish me luck!
Thank you for all of this very helpful advice and what do you think is the most intelligent way to transition? We will be living in the rv while the new beach Ho e is being built.
Thanks for stopping by our website!
Sounds like you have a plan formulated. I sure hope you have been visiting RV shows and dealerships to get acquainted with all the types of RV’s that are out there. Once you find one you think you like I would suggest renting that brans to see what it is like and if it is really for you. RVshare and Outdoorsy are two good online sources to find an RV rental.
When you are ready to buy, whether new or used, get it inspected. We have a lot of folks who are adopting the full time/part time RV lifestyle that take the RV inspector training so they can inspect their own. When having to look at multiple RV’s to find a good one, the cost of training more than pays for the inspections it will take to find one. I recommend buying a few years used, like Pam and I have done, and save tens of thousands of dollars!
Best wishes as you move forward! Keep us posted on your progress.
Hello, I have a 2016 Shasta revere travel trailer. The air and heater were working great yesterday. Today neither of them work! I checked the fuses, breakers and put on a new thermostat . Still nothing?. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,
See the comment made to Joy Goetzke.
Love your story. Truly a great lifestyle.
Thanks for stopping by our website Ray!
Howard and Pam,
I enjoyed listening to your video. My husband and I have thought about owning a RV, but waiting until the kids are older. Your website is nicely put together. I like that you included photos and posts with your corgi. I am currently working with Wealthy Affiliate (https://yourfulltimervliving.com/websitetrainingsupport) to create and get my website going too. I wish you all the best!
Thanks for stopping by! Best wishes as you develop your website and possibly the freedom to venture out in your own home on wheels!
Hi! Thanks for this site! We are planning full time living in RV. Been researching/ shopping for around 6 months. Just looking into financing and most won’t finance if you are planning on FT living. Also teething to figure out abbrev. in some of the ads. Is there an RV Glossary? Thanks!
Thanks for stopping by our website ToniAnn!
Yes, we RVers do have our own set of terms that tend to leave people wondering what we are talking about. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anything that has been written on the subject.
As far as financing for full time RVers, we have heard the same that not all RV finance companies will support full-timers. You can check with Alliant Credit Union to see if they still are doing so.
I am looking at a 2007 Four Winds 5000, do you do inspections in eastern pennsylvania?
Thanks for stopping by our website! Where is the RV located? Is it at a dealership or private sale? What City?
Hi My 2 sliders with not slid or even make a noise. I keep hearing about a battery but have no idea if I have one in my rv. I have a 2011 fairmont serenity model It has not moved since it was delivered to my lot in a rv park they worked and all of a sudden stopped.
Any ideas will help
Hi, Ann Marie!
Chances are you have a battery given you have slideouts, and my guess is that if it is six years old and not maintained, it needs replacement. If you are not knowledgeable about these things, I would seek the services of a qualified RV technician. You may have issues with both the batteries and/or your converter.
Hi! I have enjoyed your blog and traveling…RVing. But for me I still have to make some money now and then.
How do you go about making some money. I am a massage therapist and also have done home care. I am licensed in 2 states. I have tried different avenues but I always bumped against a wall. Any ideas would be helpful.
Thanks for visiting our website! We are glad you have enjoyed the information we have shared as full timers for 9 years and counting.
For us, making money on the road involves running multiple streams of income through our S Corporation. I offer clients services: RV inspections, fluid analysis, RV walk-throughs, lifestyle seminars, and teaching.
What do you want to achieve with your RVing lifestyle? Do you want to be on the road full time? Can you only do what you do in two states? Are those the states you want to full time RV in?
I’ve created a problem with an inverter installation and I have no idea where I went wrong. I purchased a Magnum MS2812 inverter/charger and installed a 675 AH battery bank (6 x T105 Trojan batteries). I wired it in per the directions with a 400 Amp fuse on the Positive lead from the batteries and I put in a BMK battery monitor. I added a 30 amp fuse to the main panel in the fifth wheel and ran the power from that to the inverter. I have the AC output from the inverter running to a small sub panel in which I’ve installed four breakers to power the AC outlets (including the GFI outlets), the microwave, and the fridge. When connected to shore power, with the inverter off, everything works fine through the sub panel. If I try to run the inverter (no shore power connected) I run into real problems. Within seconds of trying to run the microwave the DC-powered lights dim and I trip a fault in the inverter. The second issue is that the battery bank is draining when I drive with the inverter turned off. I’ve triple checked everything and can’t figure out where I went wrong.
Nice little project you have taken on!
First off, with the batteries fully charged, what voltage are you generating from the bank of six batteries? What size wire did you use from the batteries to the inverter as well as between the batteries? Starting with the basics to see where you are at.
Is this an inverter replacement, upgrade, or new installation? What kind of RV?
Also, did you check the troubleshooting recommendations on page 53 of the Owner’s Manual?
Hi Howard, I used heavy 2 gauge battery cables between the batteries and inverter and I have the inverter as close to the batteries as possible so the run is less than 3 feet. The batteries read 12.5 vols on my multi-meter and the BMK says it’s 13.5 to 14.2 depending on when I check it. Part of the problem seems to be that the batteries are constantly being drawn down so they never hit full charge.
This is a new installation on a 2016 Forest River Wildcat 5th Wheel model 337FB. It had a converter installed and I completely removed that from the trailer to avoid any issues.
I actually spoke to Magnum technical support since posting this and they’re scratching their heads as well. They found a discrepancy on the ARC50 panel in which the float charge is 13.3v + 12 A but the BMK DC Amp is 35.6 ADC. What does that mean?…not a clue but apparently its abnormal. All they could suggest is that I take it to an authorized shop.
Thanks for the additional info!
The BMK says the Magnum Inverter/Converter is charging the batteries, but it seems by your VOM reading that they are not, which would lead to a problem when you try to use the inverter under load with the microwave.
I would say an authorized service center may be a good idea. If they can get their hands on it then they can test the unit to see if it is okay.
Best of luck!!
Great info on your site. Just curious though, in one of your articles you state a 5er is the best way go for fulltime (your opinion), but your current setup is not a 5er. Could you shed some light on this?
Thanks for visiting our website and checking in!
We have been out full timing now for nine years. We started our journey in a 5th wheel and our full-timing experience involved staying in areas for three to six months. Therefore the RV did not move that much each year. For this type of full time experience, a 5th wheel is great! (Our opinion) I have stated that several times in our articles about the benefits of towable’s and motorized RV’s.
When moving around a lot, for us, the 5th wheel was too much work to get parked, setup, and broken down. It also did not do well when boondocking in multiple environments. Plus, at almost sixty-five feet in length when hooked up, it was just too big to go where we wanted to.
We just visited friends in Colorado Springs, CO and stayed in a rustic campground that is typical for the area. When coming into the park it took a 180-degree sharp turn and up a hill to get to the RV sites. It was tough for me to make it with the class C and trailer. I could not imagine the 5th wheel we had and trying to negotiate that. I would have had to stay somewhere else and miss out on parking next to our friends and spending an evening catching up while enjoying our RV too!
They have a 42 foot Redwood pulled by a Dodge 3500 dually. They have had it for a year and a half. They admitted to us that it is too big and they are looking to downsize for similar reasons that we did. They find it difficult to drive the rig and they can’t get to places that they now want to visit. (Their opinion)
Full-timers will find that as they evolve in their full-timing experience, their needs will change based on things they could never have known when starting out and choosing that first RV. It’s a natural process I think we all must realize will occur. We did the best we could when we started out based on how we thought we would live the full time RV lifestyle.
We never dreamed we would be running another business out of our full time RV home. That certainly changed our needs as far as the RV was concerned!
Since our current lifestyle involves lots of travel, our class C RV has suited our current full time RV lifestyle much better! As I write this post, we are parked in a smaller Cracker Barrel parking lot while traveling through Colorado. It’s smaller size and drivability makes it easy to do these sorts of things.
I am confident another full time RV home is in our future! What will it be? Stay tuned! I can tell you it will be a motorized unit and also a class C.
So, I hope that helps clarify our opinion on this subject James! Please feel free to comment back if needed.
After a quick peek, i think it is interesting to become a rv inspector and driving around helping newbees (and older bees) with the purchase of an rv. Because born and raise in Europe(the Netherlands) it is my dream to become a full time rv person. But the questions that will raise are how to make money and what is a good rv. I’ve been a fan of rv’s sonce a year and have several brochures of different types of rv’s. In the beginning my mind as set for a A or C class but not a 5th wheel. Later that year, wich is somewhere in december, my mind was completely changed. And now, i don’t care, as long as it an rv. I met a American woman and we have talked about full time rving and going on the road for a couole of weeks is okay but not full time. I can live with that but the money for even a ticket is a problem. And the costs of living in the States are about $ 20,000.-, at least what i’ve heard.
In the mean time i will do some research at this website, to see if i can find some interesting things. I have your email adress added to my favourite in case i have some personal questions.
Thank yoy from the Netherlands,
In the mean time i will
Thanks for stopping by our website! We are glad to see we can have an impact in other countries besides the United States!
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Hello! Thank you for all the help you offer! Where exactly does one do RV inspection work while full timing?
Thanks for visiting our website! When full time RV living, RV inspections can be done anywhere one is located. It just takes marketing yourself through multiple sources: social media, a website, face-to-face contact, magnetic vehicle signs, referrals from the NRVIA website, etc.
Hello, we currently own a 2016 32ft travel trailer and we’re shopping for an upgrade of a 5th wheel. I owned 09′ Ford F-150 when we purchased the TT and January of the this year I upgraded to an 2016 Ford F-250 6.7 diesel crewcab 4×4 with a 6.75ft bed. We’re not interested in a toy hauler 5th wheel but we want good quality one for full time living. Are they’re any manfactures you recommend and should I be concerned because of my tow vehicle?
Thanks for stopping by our website!
What is the maximum load you can place in the bed of your pickup and what is the maximum weight trailer you can pull?
The Ford site is showing the specs for towing is 15,100lbs and the payload is 3100lbs.
Most of the 5th wheels I am familiar with that I would believe would be good for full time RV living are in the 16k+ range with at least a pin weight of 3k lbs or more. At least you are aware of those numbers, and as you look around you can match what you have with the RV that will not exceed those values.
Hi Howard, thank you for the wealth of information. I have not had a chance to go through all of the content here so forgive me if this is mentioned elsewhere. I am working toward my full time journey and have set my departure date one year from now. I have been researching the lifestyle for a few years now and up until recently I was set on purchasing a motorhome for this lifestyle, recently though something has changed and I have really been heavily considering starting out with a fifth wheel and truck instead. Many reasons, but primarily because I do not want to be in debt on the road and this seems to be a cheaper route for what my budget consists of. My question is most likely redundant but I cannot seem to understand how to figure out what the right tow vehicle would be for a fifth wheel, I know it depends on the weight but how do you figure it out? I have read so many articles about this but it is so confusing to me. I’m looking at a 1999 sunnybrook 27′. dry weight is around 7500 and GVWR is around 9600, I need the exact numbers but that is ball park. I have also read that any fifth wheel should be towed by a 3500 or dually. If you have any insight that would be greatly appreciated, I just want to be safe out there!
Thanks for stopping by our website! Looking to start the full time RV lifestyle is exciting and at the same time requires lots of research! We have had friends that went in with great expectations but were saddened to learn that the reality was it was not what they expected. So, the research phase that you are spending time doing is a great way to assure success on the road while full timing!
In regards to your truck question, there are many opinions on this subject but just one fact! You should never exceed the tow vehicles rated GCWR, GAWR, and GVWR! If you are within those numbers and you have adequate and working breaks on the trailer, you should be okay.
That being said, in my opinion, buy as much truck as you can afford. You may upgrade your trailer in the future and it would suck to have to buy another truck. Also, I feel the truck should at least weigh more than half of the trailer’s weight. We had a 40′ Newmar that weighed 20k pounds loaded. We pulled it with an MDT that weighed 12k lbs.
The truth is you can pull anything. A Toyota Tundra can drag a space shuttle. Does that mean the vehicle will last very long? Overloading creates excessive wear on engines, drivetrain, suspension, tires, etc.
Do you need a dually to pull 10k pounds? The truck salesman would say no. Could a 3500 do the job? Sure! 9,600 pounds is not a lot these days when it comes to 5th wheels. But, that 1999 will not last forever and most 5th wheels being made these days seem to be bigger and heavier. So, think ahead, continue to research, and go from there.
If you can get on the escapees website they have some great articles under RV Safety that may be of interest to you!
Good Luck Nicole and enjoy the journey to your new lifestyle!
hi john my wife and i are planning to travel ,six monthh of the year.never been west. will be back on east coast for spring summer and fall. not selling house . will be able to stay in a portion of it when we are home . but we plan on alot of side trips with the grand chlldren when home. both of us a starting to have health some problems,so its now or never. we don,t have much money to buy the rv. 10 or 15 thousand. can,t decide between a or c class.also need to make some income from the internet . any advice would be greatly appreciated . as to comfort difference we owned a c for 8 yrs. when kids were little
. but this is different .
Thanks for stopping by our website Joe and Nancy!
Search carefully for an RV in that price range. You may find a class A or C in that range. Be sure to get it inspected so you don’t wind up buying a money pit!
As far as income from the internet, that is something that will take time! There are a lot of scams out there. Please don’t get involved with one of those. The only people who create real income online are the ones offering a tangible service or product through a credible website. It can be done but it can take years for an online business to create an income that one can live off of.
We are not retired but have had our 36 ft. Georgie Boy class A since 2005 and are frustrated travelers! We were hoping to travel more and eventually go fulltime. Years ago we opted to do some cruising and Europe traveling that put us in credit card debt by choice. Long story short, we are taking the plunge, selling the house, paying off all our debt and living in a nearby RV park. It actually brings one of us closer to work! Downside is having to walk 4 dogs instead of a fenced back yard and using a laundry mat. We have found a nearby storage facility. As we get the house ready for sale we are planning a yard sale. Eventually we will relocate to Florida so we are storing some appliances and seasonal clothes. We have never towed so just had a mud flap installed and a trailer ordered. We may be at the park up to a year and hope to take some trips during that time. Can you think of anything we have forgotten? I think our 3 adult kids think we are crazy. We are 66 and tired of waiting! Exciting and scary too.
Hi, Nancy and Ray!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey towards your full time RV lifestyle!
Selling all and eliminating the debt is never a bad thing! It sounds like you have done your research. Pam and I did a similar thing with our big expensive house but we decided to only keep that which we could travel with. We have talked to others who store items but never use them and eventually wind up selling them. If in six months you don’t see the need to have those stored items you can always sell / donate them and move on.
We always found we wanted everything with us that we need. We are in our eighth year of full time living and we still get rid of stuff we don’t use. We make it a point to go through the RV and trailer to look for things to discard. After all, it’s all weight that we have to carry.
Best wishes on your journey! Stop by and let us know how you are getting along with your new RV life!
Sorry Howard, I called you John. Love your site.
No problem! Thanks for stopping by our site!!
Just discovered your site. My wife and I have been Full Timing since 2006, wintering in Arizona and spending summers in Devon Alberta Canada while traveling for 2 months of the year. I find your articles and information right on. Thanks.
Thanks David! So glad to hear you are enjoying your full time RV lifestyle! Thanks for stopping by our site!
Just curious why you decided to sell the 5th wheel and move into a motor coach? Was it easy of mobility?
Thanks for stopping by our website! Yes, the 5th wheel and truck were awesome for the six years we had it, for extended stays while full time RVing. But, when it came time to move it around it took more time and planning then we now want to spend when it comes to travel plans. We are moving around quite a bit with teaching advanced RV Inspection classes for the NRVIA and we just needed things to be easier, and smaller. I never thought I would say that as our last home was 3,800SF! Now, instead of spending a day or more to get ready, we can be out in under an hour. And we can fit in any park we choose to visit!
Hi, Guys! Wonderful blog!!! My wife and I have opened EVERY topic…..quite an education. We plan to have our home on the market by June 1, and hopefully sooner. We will be full-timers after selling. Just a few questions we hope you can help us with:
1. Your RV hauler: We’re interested in a MDT like yours, either a Freightliner or Volvo and either an extended cab or crew cab. We have looked at Mountain Masters in Phoenix, but our options on places selling MDT’s appear very limited. Do you have dealers/customizers or sites you can refer us to? We need to look at pre-owned. What should be our budget range for a dependable MDT?
2. Clothing: We know we need to downsize our closets also. Any suggestions on essential clothing and brands for us to look at?
We appreciate your time in advance! I’m sure we’ll have more questions soon. Hope our paths cross soon!
Soon-to-be-vagabonds, Dennis and Sheryl Eastridge
Hi Dennis and Sheryl!
Thanks for stopping by our website! We are glad it helped you out as you look toward starting the lifestyle.
Freightliner Sportchassis (actually made by Freightliner) can run you $60k and up depending on who is selling it and the model year. 2005 was the first year of the newer body style. Before that it was the FL60 and FL70. You can get those cheaper, but I did not like the look of them as much. There are companies like the one you found that buy the Freightliner chassis and do the conversion themselves. The Sportchassis made in Clinton, OK by Freightliner is the nicest of the MDT trucks. Do a Google search for Freightliner Sportchassis and you will find dealers across the country who have them for resale.
The Volvo HDT is a big step unless you have been a trucker and are comfortable with that size rig. We have had friends who have them and you do limit yourself to the parks you stay in because of their size. The only reason to have one is if you are pulling a heavy 5th wheel that is in excess of 32k pounds. The Sportchassis will handle a 5800 pound pin weight on the air hitch with a 32k max trailer weight. That’s more than enough for today’s 5th wheels! Yiu can get the used HDT’s cheap and convert them but seek the experience of someone who has done that. There are HDT groups that you can find on the Escapees forums. Here’s a website you may find interesting: http://www.jackdanmayer.com/
As far as clothing, we love Columbia Sportswear because it is lightweight for summer, easy to wash, dries fast and packs nicely. If you are in colder climates their winter wear is excellent too. Have lighter jackets you can layer, some long sleeve, some short sleeve, pants that have zip-off bottoms that can then be both long pants or shorts. The new technology clothing allows for easy folding, less wrinkling, no ironing, and overall comfort. Most fivers have plenty of closet and drawer storage so you will find that having what you want aboard fairly easy. Be sure to get a washer and dryer to save yourself from the headaches of the weekly laundry chore. If you are looking at an MDT then I am assuming you are looking at a 40’+ 5th wheel.
Enjoy the journey and thanks for stopping by!
Great, site I love it.You have nice pictures of you and your wife.I think you will be very successful with this one.
Love it! I have been thinking about the RV lifestyle for years. looks great and I will be back to your site to get more information when I get closer to RV’ing!!! thanks.
Thanks for the input Trish! Let me know if we can help!!