Home » Attitudes » What is THE RIGHT RV?


I grew up camping. I was born in Elkhart, Indiana and lived in Middlebury until I was 11. If you’re familiar with camping back in the 50’s and 60’s, that was the Camper Capitol of the World.

I’ve camped in a sleeping bag/tent-less, in a pup tent and in a big family tent –Β  but most of my camping has been off the ground in something.

My Dad’s the one w/o the cowboy hat. Can’t remember him ever wearing one.

The green and yellow Cox fold down was our main summer get away for years and years. Those were the days of big hair and big curlers – even in Indiana. Except for me, my Dad cut mine as you could probably have guessed.

1965 – me, my Cousin, my Sis, Mom, my Aunt & Uncle. I don’t know why the Cox is set up. Surely they didn’t fly from CA to be relegated to the backyard?

A few years later, my folks bought a little 19 foot Phoenix Travel Trailer.

1968 – new trailer, old Chevy

I’ve gotten so many emails asking what THE RIGHT RV is for Full-Timing and for Gate Guarding. This isn’t a topic I probably would have ever addressed but I’m glad you’ve asked because this is one area where I’m strongly opinionated.

Here’s my advice: Buy what you want. πŸ˜€

Really folks, telling someone what kind of RV to get is like telling them whether to buy a Cape Cod or a Tudor or Condo – or rent an apartment!Β  How presumptuous to think we know what’s right for someone else. Doesn’t that just floor you?

We’re not talking about camping anymore. For some, an RV is their home at least half of the year. For many of us, it’s our only home. So I’m completely baffled when people write to me and say that a blogger has told them never buy (all of these have been mentioned): *New, *Used, * 5th wheel, *Motorhome, *Trailer, *White Paint, *Special Paint. *Too Big, *Too Small…

A fool and his advice are easily parted. (OK, that’s not exactly how the saying goes but I think it’s just as true.)

The right RV is the one that you’re comfortable with in all aspects: budget, pulling/towing, amenities etc… I received an email from someone who said a gate guarding blogger wrote: Only an idiot would buy a new RV and bring it to Texas.

Down here they’d say: He’s all broth and no beans.

For me, that would have been the end of that. I’m not likely to seek advice or even just have many conversations (or blog visits) with someone who shares his opinion by insulting others. But it bothered the person who wrote to me quite a lot, so I’ll address it.

As they say in the South: Well, slap my head and call me silly! because I’ve done that twice (bought a new one and brought it to Texas).

Well, technically, only once. Heidi bought a new 2007 32 ft Motorhome in the spring of 2008 (better price because it was last year’s model). Eventually, Henry and I hopped aboard and we headed for Oregon and ended up in Texas.

Last fall, for a variety of reasons, we decided to switch to a 5th wheel and bought a new 2012, 40 foot Brookstone. There she goes again, bless her heart. I’ve been told that, in Texas, you can get away with all insults by adding bless her heart at the end. πŸ˜‰

If you’re truly in a quandary between a Class A and a 5th Wheel, I’ve written about it a couple of times: Full Timing It in an RV, What Would You Buy which includes a reader’s poll and some really interesting comments. And The Winner Is…which lists some of the pros and cons that other RVers were kind enough to share and more of their comments.

But in the end, there’s no right RV. Get what you like. Get what works for you.

We’re in the middle of a move – 16 miles down the road. By middle, I mean we were suppose to move yesterday morning at 8 and found out yesterday morning at 6:30 that we’re moving tomorrow morning at 9 as far as we know this morning at 4. πŸ˜‰

Flexibility is key in this job! I’ll write about that in my next post.

22 thoughts on “What is THE RIGHT RV?

  1. I remember wanting to buy a buffet at the thrift store, I was in love with it, my mother didn’t like it, my husband didn’t like it and I fell to tears….I was 18 at the time. My mother took me outside and explained to me that this piece of furniture was for me and if I liked it that was all that mattered. I paid the twenty dollars they both helped me haul it home and I can tell you 30 years later it is still a favorite of mine. It was built in a European furniture facility, the drawers pull like a dream and I love that!

    It is so important to learn what you like and get it as often as you can!

    Thank you again for a wonderful write!

    • Sherrie –
      You’re amazing!
      Only you would find the life lesson in a post about buying RV’s!
      Yes! That’s exactly the point. Too often too many voices tell us what we want/ or what we should want/buy/do/ be.
      Thank you for adding the perfect example! πŸ˜€

  2. Love you, Debbie, and how you help others out all the time. Like letting them know it’s okay to buy whatever you want, to do this job!! I’m sure it’s a big decision and just hearing that there is not a wrong way to do at least that part of the job, will make it easier! God bless you and loads of love for your day!

    • Debbie –
      There are some ways that we’re all similar – taste isn’t one of them! πŸ˜‰
      We made the move and are still recovering!
      It was interesting.
      We’re now sitting in “High Cotton” which must be higher in Alabama than it is here. Anyway, that’s the tune of the night. Probably a little old and a little country for Aub. πŸ˜€

  3. Well, I’m glad I won’t need to fret about making these kind of decisions. And, bless your heart, anyway–I say it all the time (hadn’t thought about working it to soften my occasional sarcasm–thanks for the tip!). Bless y’all BIG–love, sis Caddo

    • Hey Caddo –
      These next few posts will be of little interest to you but you’re kind to read them anyway. Besides, who can’t use a Texas tip on how to sweeten their sarcasm! πŸ˜‰

  4. IMO- if we were just gate guarding it would be a 5th wheel for all the extra space – but since we intend to travel we bought Motor homes since 1990 (3 of em). In 2005 bought a new motorhome with two slides and full timed for 3 years. 2008 built a new home and enjoy traveling in motor home.
    Have given alot of thought to buying a new 5th wheel/truck if we continue to do gate guard work. You buy the most comfortable pair of shoes

    • Mickey –
      If everyone would just start out the way you do IMO, I wouldn’t have had to write this post in the first place! πŸ˜‰
      Thank for you O by the way,

  5. All broth and no beans. I have been laughing about that all day. Saying someone is an idiot because they buy a new rv to gate guard makes as much sense as the gate guard next door (who we had never met) came by and got out of his truck and announced he “hates” all Halliburton drivers. We have never had anyone come through our gate that we hated. Bottom line is people need to get what they like and what they can afford. Just make sure it has air. Everybody’s needs are different. Rob and I don’t require much. Some people have so much stuff they have to have an extra trailer. It all comes down to what will make you happy. I do think all the dust is tough on rvs but it comes with the job. You won’t be happy doing the job if you are not comfortable in your rv. We have a very simple 30 foot fifth wheel and we are very happy. We bought it new a few years ago. However, there are many times we wished we had our truck camper back. New or used, big or small – do what makes you happy and comfortable.

    • Jill –
      All broth and no beans seems really fitting here, don’t you think! πŸ˜‰
      I love it that you and Rob miss your truck camper.
      Now you are two people who don’t need much personal space!
      I completely agree with you – new or used, big or small – folks just need to figure out what works for them.
      I have no idea why this blogger is being so didactic about it. My best guess is that he’s that way about a lot of things.
      It’s sad to me that some people are reading and feeling like they’ve made the wrong choice.
      Thanks so much for jumping in the pot with me! πŸ˜€

      • Our truck camper was awesome!! It was a Lance and the biggest they make with a slide out on the side. Once we decided to start volunteering and now gate guarding it was too small. However we sure miss it in the summer as we could park anywhere!! You know us we are not too social. LOL We should have just kept it. Oh well don’t look back – just forward.

        • Jill –
          We could have used your truck camper yesterday when it was time to leave. They built a wooden frame around the guy’s septic and water tanks. Steve couldn’t get in to move our septic wagon so we couldn’t get the truck in to hitch up.
          Stallion had to come down and knock out the wood before we could roll on out.
          Yep, a truck camper would have been just the ticket! πŸ˜‰

  6. I don’t understand what difference it makes if you are gate guarding in a new or a used RV. They all get dirty just the same and they all clean up the same. Why worry about bringing a new one out here to South Texas? We are full-timers so our rig is our home… new or used it doesn’t make a difference. It is what it is! We really like the gate-guarding gig and our luxury motorhome gets dirty, but it also gets clean again. No biggie!


    • Vicky –
      Honestly, I felt silly even writing about it, but someone is coming down really hard on people for buying new??? I have no idea why this matters to him but it’s making folks think they can’t gate guard if they have a new RV.
      Must be a gate guard with too much free time. πŸ˜‰

  7. I agree whole-heartedly Debbie… get whatever you will be comfortable in. For us, it is a Class A motorhome. We like the convenience of being in the climate controlled cabin while we travel (when we are not gate-guarding). If a person was going to only use it for gate guarding, then a towable would probably be best since sitting for long periods of time would not be a big deal. No engine maintenance to worry about. Whatever I got, I’d have a back-up generator so if the provided one stops running you won’t bake until it’s fixed. Great post!

    • Vicky –
      The prospect of 5 years of gate sitting went a long way toward our decision to switch to a 5th wheel. But I did love driving down the road in that Class A! What a view! πŸ˜€

  8. Debbie– I’ve never bought a new car and I don’t plan to ever do it. But buying the new RVs made sense to me. I also despise going into debt, so you can bet that I had reasons for wanting to get these. If we had to do it over, I’d start out with a 5th wheel because of the extra living space and the fact that the engine is not in the house. I don’t see any disadvantage except the learning curve for hooking up! Yesterday our night company man wanted to see the layout of the trailer so I gave him the tour. He was surprised at all the room inside. He has a toy hauler– something else I’d never buy. You’re so right. It’s very personal and I’d suggest people read your previous posts for more information and opinions. It’s a huge decision, but easier to get out of than, say, a marriage. So far, I’ve had fewer regrets, too.

    • Heidi –
      I never cease to be amazed at people’s investment in other people’s personal decisions.
      I’m beginning to feel like I need an Just My Opinion button on every post. I don’t think people take me too seriously, though. πŸ˜‰
      Steer me clear of advice giving – it’s one habit I’ve tried really hard to break.

    • We also are gate-guarding here in TX and just bought a new fifth-wheel 3 weeks ago. We have been told several times in the last 3 weeks, “I would never buy a new RV and bring it out here gate-guarding”. I’m going to start telling them, “Well, the IRS is paying for it!”. The new fifth-wheel will help us keep from paying taxes on our gate-guard pay. That’s just more money in our pocket.

      • Carol –
        OK, that’s funny!
        Aren’t you amazed at how many opinions everyone has about your life! πŸ˜‰
        Hope you enjoy your new home!

    • Susan –
      Really it’s a pretty silly thing to write about but someone seems to have a bunch of folks stirred up so I jumped in the pot. πŸ˜‰

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s