Hi, I’m Kate. I’m a full-time RVer that lives in a 2021 Forest River Sabre 36BHQ fifth wheel with my husband, 16-month-old son, and our golden retriever. When we first decided that we wanted to downsize from our 2000 sqft fixer-upper house that was entirely too big for our little family, we started looking at the possibility of living in an RV.
My husband and I had always been fascinated by the idea of “tiny living,” and we knew it would be a lifestyle that both of us could adjust to easily. When our home finally sold, we packed up our essentials, donated the rest, and started getting ourselves ready to move into our fifth wheel. If your dream is to downsize into a house-on-wheels that will let you travel and spend more time with your family, check out my tips on how to pick an RV for full time RV living.
Assess Your Essentials
Before you take the leap, the most vital part of making the transition to tiny living is assessing your “essentials.” RVs are built with storage in every spare inch of space, but you will still have to get rid of 90% of your stuff to fit into a fifth wheel, travel trailer, or motorhome. For us, this was a bit of a task. I am an avid crafter, so I had to trim down my hobbies into the ones that bring me the most joy. Clothing was another area that we were concerned about, but we ended up finding a fifth wheel with a massive master wardrobe, so I was able to keep the majority of my clothing.
Ultimately, you will need to assess every “area” of your life: work, hobbies, kitchen essentials and accessories, bathroom and shower necessities, clothing, outdoor equipment, and entertainment are just a few examples. If you own multiple pots and pans, pick a few that you use everyday and donate the rest to a family in need. You’ll find that having fewer things will make you more resourceful with the things you do have.
Plan a Space for Everyone
Having a space for yourself is essential for most people. If you work-from-home, look for an RV that offers a space for you to work in. For us, I prefer to work in a comfortable chair or couch with a TV tray as my desk so that when work is done I can pack everything away. My husband needs a place to leave his computer set-up for easy access. The fifth wheel floorplan we settled on provided the space for both of us to have a “workspace” that met our individual needs.
Another critical factor in our decision process was discovering we were expecting a baby. We had fallen in love with Forest River RVs because of the panoramic windows and neutral interiors. The Forest River Sabre 38RDP fifth wheel was our first choice because of the large living space and kitchen. However, we had to change our plans and decide that an RV with a second bedroom was more important. Now, our little one has a private nursery of his own, and we don’t have to give up our living room at 8:00 P.M. every night because the baby needs to sleep.
Walk-Through the Floorplans You Like
This year has changed the game for a lot of RV dealers and RV buyers. Almost every RV offers a 360-degree floorplan view that will allow you to virtually “walk through” your RV before purchasing. This was a huge deal for us when buying our RV. I recommend walking through lots of RVs with similar floorplans before deciding on one. It’s best to see it in person, but the 360 virtual walk-throughs are incredibly useful.
Ask About Customization Features
It is not always obvious, but most RVs will offer customization options. For example, if you don’t prefer a booth dinette in the dining room, ask your RV dealer about getting a removable table and chairs set instead. Additionally, if you’re planning on full-time living or taking your RV south for the winter, you may want to ask about having it equipped with a second air conditioner. Talk to your dealer about your RV custom packages and options before purchasing.
Know Your Towing Vehicle
I cannot stress this point enough. Do your research and learn about your towing vehicle and the weight of your RV. If you’re planning on traveling every month or every few weeks, like most full-time RVers, you’ll need a towing vehicle that can handle the weight. If you’re in doubt about your vehicle’s ability to tow your dream RV safely, invest in a bigger truck. You won’t regret the peace of mind that comes with towing safely.
Don’t Rush It
Deciding to RV full-time, or become a snowbird each winter, is a big decision. You will want to take your time finding the right RV for your family. You will want to take your time finding the right RV for your family. Browse tons of RVs for sale to find a great fit for you. You can shop RVs by floorplan to find a bunkhouse or rear kitchen design you’ll love, or shop by RV type.
When picking your RV, whether it’s for full-time RV living or regular family vacations, these tips can help you make the most of your time away. Making the decision to go to tiny living can be a great adventure when you have the right RV. Find your dream RV today!