How we got into the RV life (Part 1)
It was early 2020, before the pandemic was a real thing, that I began to watch more and more Youtube videos about the RV life. I don’t know why the algorithms started showing me “Vanlife” and “RV full-timers”, but they sparked a dream that would deepen on the months to come: to work from the road in an RV.
Why was I drawn to the RV life?
In 2019, I was traveling a lot for work across the US, Europe and Middle East. I had spent 120 nights away from home that year, and was on pace in early 2020 to do the same until the world shut down. Once lockdowns began to ease, we launched a 10 day, 4200 mile road trip from our home in DC up through the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan, all the way down to Oklahoma and then back home. We knocked off the last of the “lower 48” states, with just Alaska and Hawaii left to go (we did visit Hawaii last year, so one to go!).
When we vacation, we tend to try to see as much as possible, rarely staying more than a night in a location before running off to the next. But this pandemic trip was a little different because we brought so much of our stuff with us, not knowing what would be available due to shortages and restrictions. I wasn’t used to packing more than 1 bag, but we found ourselves with multiple bags, groceries and coolers. I figured there had to be a better way, and when we returned, that’s when my research into RVs really accelerated.
Way too many RV options!
There are numerous types of RVs to choose from:
- Class A Motorhomes: These are the largest and most luxurious RVs, resembling a bus in appearance. They offer spacious living quarters, multiple slide-outs, and a wide range of amenities, making them ideal for long trips and full-time living.
- Class B Motorhomes: Also known as camper vans or van conversions, these RVs are built on a van chassis and offer a compact and versatile option. They are easier to maneuver, provide better fuel efficiency, and often include basic amenities such as a kitchenette, sleeping area, and bathroom.
- Class C Motorhomes: These RVs are built on a truck or van chassis, with a distinctive cab-over design extending over the driver’s compartment. Class C motorhomes offer more space than Class B vans and typically include sleeping areas, a kitchen, a bathroom, and additional amenities. You might hear about “Class B+“, but those are just narrower Class C vans, and without the cab-over design.
- Travel Trailers: These are towable RVs that range in size from compact teardrop trailers to larger models with multiple slide-outs. They are designed to be pulled by a truck or SUV and offer various floor plans, sleeping arrangements, and amenities. Travel trailers can be a versatile and affordable option for RV enthusiasts.
- Fifth-Wheel Trailers: Similar to travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers are towable RVs. They require a special hitch mounted in the bed of a pickup truck. The unique hitching mechanism provides stability and better weight distribution, allowing for larger living spaces and amenities compared to traditional travel trailers.
- Pop-up Campers: Also known as tent trailers or folding campers, pop-up campers offer a compact and lightweight option. They feature collapsible walls and roofs that can be expanded when parked, providing sleeping space, a small kitchen, and basic amenities. Pop-up campers are easy to tow and store when not in use.
- Truck Campers: These RVs are designed to be mounted on the bed of a pickup truck. They offer a compact and self-contained living space with sleeping quarters, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. Truck campers provide excellent maneuverability and allow for off-road exploration.
It can be overwhelming if you’ve never camped before, much less owned an RV. But once you start to consider how you travel, your budget, where you can park something, whether you have a tow vehicle, etc., you’ll be able to narrow down to a smaller list like we did.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I cover our wants and needs, key Youtube channels that helped us decide and reveal what RV we purchased!
Mike is the original Clever Dude, starting the site in 2006 because his wife said “you need a hobby”. Mike loves helping others to avoid the silliness and stupidity that got him into extreme debt, but also learning general life skills and hacks along the way. Mike and his wife “Clever Dudette” are DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids), travel the country in an RV from their home base in DC and are passionate about their respective careers in technology (him) and nutrition (her).