What is a Class B + Motorhome?

Class B + motorhome? Hmmm…

In general, when the various classes of motorhomes are discussed, Class A, B, and Cs are covered. But motorhomes are limited to Class A, B, and C rigs. Or are they?

We know that Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious of the three classes of motorhomes (with diesel pushers sitting at the top of that class), Class B is the smallest (often referred to as a campervan), and Class C is the middle child usually distinguished by a bed or entertainment center/storage covering the entire area over the cab.

But you may have heard of a newer class of motorhomes notably the Class B +. But what exactly is a Class B + motorhome, how will you know one when you see one, and why might you want one?

In today’s post, I’m covering the ins and outs of the Class B + motorhome—what it is, how it differs from Class A, B, and C motorhomes, and what would it cost to buy one?

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a Class B + motorhome?

From the perspective of federal regulations, a Class B + motorhome is technically a Class C motorhome. Let’s say that again for the sake of clarity.

A Class B + is technically not in a class of its own but is instead a type of Class C motorhome. All federal regulations that apply to Class C motorhomes apply to the Class B + category of motorhomes, too.

Now that I’ve dropped that little bombshell and absorbed that interesting information, let’s look at what makes a motorhome a Class B +.

As you might imagine, the term Class B + refers to a motorhome that sits somewhere between Class B and Class C. Like Class C, the B + is wider than Class B and is built on a truck chassis.

Unlike Class C motorhomes, the Class B Plus doesn’t have a bunk (or storage/entertainment area) stretching over the cab. And that obvious structural difference is pretty much how you can tell the difference between a Class B Plus motorhome and a Class C motorhome when you see one driving down the road.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s the difference between a Class B and Class B +?

As I’ve established, a Class B + is built on a truck chassis. A Class B motorhome on the other hand is built from a van. Often referred to as a camper van, Class Bs are essentially long, high-top vans made into motorhomes with all (or most of) the features of a larger rig but in a smaller package. The traditional Class B contains all of the features of a motorhome within the van body without any additional walls, floors, or roofs added in.

As a result, Class B motorhomes pack their bathrooms into tight spaces which is why most have a wet bath—that is, a shower, toilet, and tiny sink occupying one small space (and yes, they all get wet when the showers used, hence the term wet bath).

Class B motorhomes typically have smaller refrigerators, two-burner propane stovetops, and storage everywhere there’s a space for things to be stored. They usually don’t have the space for a dedicated dinette but they do often have front captain’s seats that swivel around to face the rear of the motorhome and small tables (sometimes one in the front and a second in the back) that can be placed in use or stored.

Class B + rigs can be laid out somewhat similarly but because they’re wider, longer, and taller, differences are afforded by the additional space. For example, a Class B + might have a little dinette, a larger refrigerator, a slide, and sleep 1-2 more people than a Class B motorhome could sleep. (All of this depends on where you obtain your information. More on that in a moment!)

One of the most appreciated features of a Class B + compared with a Class B is that a Class B + is often large enough to accommodate a dry bath, that is, a separate toilet and shower area (so you’re not showering all over the little sink and toilet as you would in a wet bath).

Class B + rigs also tend to offer more storage on both the interior and exterior of the motorhome and somewhat larger fresh, gray, and black holding tanks as well. In addition, the larger chassis affords the Class B + motorhome more towing capacity and a greater GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).

When reviewing the differences between a Class B and B + it’s easy to see why the Class B + is technically classified as a member of the Class C family. The B + is quite clearly more like a Class C than a Class B.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How big are Class B+ motorhomes?

A typical Class B + motorhome is between 23 feet and 25 feet in length but they can be longer. They’re generally easy to park and maneuver through city streets or over terrain that may be a bit more remote.

There are versions of the Class B + that are able to accommodate a slide or two offering even more room to the interior living space. The larger the Class B + rig is, the larger the holding tanks tend to be and the more storage and sleeping capacity the rig affords.

Most Class B + motorhomes come with exterior storage large enough to accommodate such things as bicycles, kayaks (especially inflatable ones), and golf clubs. And, they’re typically designed to comfortably travel and sleep 2-4 people whereas Class C motorhomes are large enough to accommodate more.

With all of that said, if you do a little research online, you’ll find lots of conflicting information on Class B + rigs. Some articles say they’re built for no more than two people. Others say the larger units have slides and plenty of room to sleep four or more.

The truth is this: The Class B + evolved from requests from folks in the market for a Class C-sized rig who were asking for a Class C without the over-cab piece. So a Class C-sized motorhome with a cutaway truck chassis was designed and the term Class B + was born strictly as a marketing tool.

That’s right—it’s a made-up marketing term to indicate the design difference and to appeal to a particular audience. (Reminder: these so-called Class B Plus rigs are technically Class C motorhomes.)

So, it’s no wonder that the details of Class B + motorhomes vary depending on who’s reporting. A Class B + isn’t so much a specific entity as it is a marketing tool.

Features and amenities of a Class B + motorhome

Class B + rigs are often marketed as small luxury RVs with many of the amenities of a Class A rig, only smaller. Class B + motorhomes are indeed often high-end, small motorhomes for sure (and their prices tend to reflect this—more on that in the next section).

A Class B + motorhome has a permanent bed, most often a queen though some manufacturers have begun to offer Murphy beds which make for additional interior space during the day. Some are all-wheel-drive and many have features such as lighted awnings, roof-mounted solar panels and inverters, larger refrigerators than their Class B counterparts, entertainment centers with storage over the back of the cab area, dinette lounges, high-end galley (kitchen) amenities, and fairly spacious showers.

Many of the Class B + motorhomes offer European design with sleek exterior lines and relatively fine interior finishes.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How much does a Class B+ cost?

Many people look toward the Class B + as a nice midway between the smaller, van-like Class B and larger, more boxy Class C motorhomes with what they suspect will be lower cost compared with the Class Cs. Not so!

Class B + motorhomes are often priced quite high running anywhere from around $90,000 to upward of $300,000. It’s a big price range that’s largely dependent on the model, amenities, and manufacturer.

A Class B + motorhome may afford you a sweet ride and a relatively luxurious small motorhome but it won’t offer you a budget RV by any means and it won’t save you money over a Class C. Class C motorhomes are almost always less expensive than Class B + motorhome. 

How many people can a Class B+ sleep?

I touched on this earlier in the article but most Class B + motorhomes are designed to accommodate two adults and maybe a small child or two comfortably (in the converted dinette) though some manufacturers offer floor plans that can sleep three or four adults.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are Class B + motorhomes good for full-time living?

This is a tough question for someone who lives in a 38-foot diesel pusher. I prefer a fair amount of room for full-time living, working, and traveling (although I’d happily downsize if there was a 35-foot Class A diesel pusher floorplan we wanted).

Conclusion

Despite the fact that it’s sort of a fake class created as a marketing tool that belongs to the Class C family, a Class B + motorhome is a great traveling rig with just the right amenities for the right travelers. Larger and therefore roomier than a Class B and less boxy and top-heavy than a Class C, the Class B + offers plenty of comfort and ease of driving that delivers just the right balance for many RV owners and renters.

Worth Pondering…

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.

—C.W. Ceran

Gas or Diesel Motorhome: Which is Better?

Which is better, a gas or diesel motorhome? That’s one of the biggest questions RV buyers need to answer. It’s important to ask and answer before buying a motorhome.

“Should I get a gas or diesel motorhome?” It’s a question that will repeat itself through the ages as long as we have fuel.

Maybe electric or another option will be added to the comparison charts in the future. In other countries, propane is a cheaper fuel. It’s used in many hybrid cars although it is rarely used in the U.S. and Canada  For now, it’s gas versus diesel.

RVers love to argue about the best RV fuel. Gas versus diesel motorhomes is the topic of many campfire circles. But we can’t argue until we understand the features and benefits of each type.

Let’s take a look.

A gas-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gasoline powered motorhomes

Gasoline is the most used fuel.  It is easily combustible which allows for quick starts and fast acceleration.  It is also the leading contributor to pollution. According to AAA, nearly 1/5 of all emissions come from vehicles. Your engine determines which grade of gasoline you can use. You have regular (87), premium (91), and mid-grade (89).

A diesel-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Diesel powered motorhomes

Diesel is more fuel efficient. In traveling, you can usually go about 20 percent farther on a gallon of fuel than gas-powered vehicles. This is one reason why you will see most truckers with diesel engines. It also produces less carbon dioxide. But, it still creates nitrous oxide which causes smog.

There are six things to consider. I’ll go through them one by one.

A gas-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. The mechanical basics

For those who might not know the difference between diesel and gas engines, it’s worth spending a little time talking about the basics.

Without being overly technical, the first and perhaps most notable difference is the thermal efficiency of diesel engines which refers to the work that can be expected to be produced by the fuel put into the engine. As mentioned above, a diesel engine is about 20 percent more thermally efficient than a gas engine. That means a 20 percent increase in fuel economy.

Diesel engines also run at a much slower RPM (revolutions per minute) than gas engines. Slower RPM translates to less wear and tear and a longer life cycle for the engine.

Further, increased thermal efficiency also translates to more power and torque. A diesel engine’s high torque application is very beneficial for hauling heavy loads.

Gas engines, on the other hand, deliver a much higher volatility point but a lower flashpoint. A spark controls the combustion of a gas engine. Diesel engines do not use a spark but what’s called a compression combustion engine.

Essentially, a gasoline engine is a spark-fired combustion and a diesel engine utilizes compression.

Now that you have some background on the differences between gas and diesel engines, let’s look at the pros and cons of each about RVing.

A diesel-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Costs of gas vs diesel motorhomess

The first consideration for many people shopping for a new RV is the price. Simply put, does it fit your budget?

On the whole, diesel-powered motorhomes are much more expensive than gas-powered motorhomes. For that reason, first-time motorhome buyers often decide to go with a less expensive gas-powered RV rather than a diesel or luxury unit.

However there are various degrees of quality within each type. Depending on what you are looking for, the best gas motorhomes on the market stack up against some lower-quality diesel units.

However, well maintained diesel engines have a longer life than gasoline ones and can still perform reliably after extensive mileage. This means diesel-powered motorhomes tend to retain their value longer and have higher resale values than gas-powered units.

A gas-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Differences in mileage

As mentioned above, the second factor to take into consideration is the fuel economy. After all, fuel is expensive and adds up over time. Here are the main differences in mileage between gas-powered and diesel-powered rigs.

Gas-powered motorhomes:

  • Depending on chassis, gas motorhomes will have between 80-100 gallon tanks (Class A) and 20-30 gallon tanks (Class B)
  • Average of 6-10 mpg (Class A), 10-14+ mpg (Class B and Class C)
  • Widespread availability at all fuel stations
  • Less expensive than diesel
  • Gas has an odor when burned; the smell can fill the cabin
  • Gas has a shorter shelf life due to evaporation

Diesel-powered motorhomes:

  • Depending on the chassis will have between 80-150 gallon tanks
  • Average of 6-18 miles per gallon with Class Cs and A motorhomes getting less, Class Bs and B+ RVs getting more
  • More expensive than gas
  • Diesel is available at most but not all stations but maneuverability presents a problem for most diesel pushers (Class A motorhomes)
  • Diesel has better fuel efficiency meaning less frequent refills at the pump
  • Diesel burns cleaner than gas
A diesel-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Maintenance

Gas engines are easier to maintain and repair compared with their diesel counterparts. If you have a general knowledge of gas engines, you can probably do the bulk of the repairs and maintenance yourself.

A downside of a gas engine is that it runs at higher RPMs meaning it will always be working harder than a diesel engine. Running at higher RPMs allows for a smoother, quieter ride with faster acceleration but more frequent upkeep is required.

Diesel engines are considerably more expensive to maintain and require specialized training to service. Diesel engines run at a lower RPM meaning slower acceleration and lower top speeds but less strain on the engine and you can drive more miles between servicing.

A diesel-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Oil 

All engines require oil. Diesel-powered engines use a lot more oil than gas-powered engines but the oil only needs to be replaced once a year or every 12,000-15,000 miles (depending on the chassis). You’ll need to change the oil in a gas engine every six months or less.

In a gas engine, if you know how to change oil you can do it yourself. Diesel oil changes are more complicated, so you’ll probably have to take it to a professional mechanic to do the work.

A diesel-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Speed and towing ability of gas vs diesel RVs

Gas-powered engines typically have higher horsepower and less torque so you can accelerate and maintain higher speeds. However, having less torque adds more strain on the engine while towing and climbing inclines.

Diesel-powered engines are designed for higher torque at lower speeds but are not as fast as gas engines. More torque means slower acceleration speeds but greater towing power and ease in steep inclines.

As you can see, there are some pros and cons to both styles of engines but ultimately the decision for you boils down to personal preference and your budget.

Are you planning on carrying a toad? Do you frequent the Rockies and the Northwest Mountains? Having the power to climb hills with a load lends to diesel-powered engines.

Or are you planning on RVing without a toad and in relatively flatter areas such as Florida and Louisiana? In that case, a gas-powered engine would work well for you.

A gas-powered motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gas or diesel: The bottom line

Simply put, the bottom line on gas or diesel comes down to your particular situation and preference.

YOU are the most important factor when it comes to the best RV fuel option. 

All the miles you drive, where you drive, how you manage your fuel usage, cost of ownership, how long you plan to keep your RV, resale value, and your RV maintenance habits affect you more in the long run. Hopefully, if you already own an RV, it meets your needs. 

We are RVers! We aren’t like everyone else already and neither does our fuel use have to be like everyone else’s. Whether we choose a motorhome that uses gasoline or one that uses diesel, the RV itself should match our travel needs. 

Every RVer’s bottom line is different. If you don’t plan to travel as many miles or aren’t concerned about resale value then a gas-powered RV might suffice for you.

Worth Pondering…

Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space.

Born To Be Free, words and music by Mars Bonfire

7 Pro Tips for Backing up a Motorhome

Ah, the fun part of driving an RV—RV parking

Whether your motorhome is a smaller Class B, a Class C, or a large Class A rig like ours, backing up a motorhome can be a concern for every RVer. Backing up a Class B van is undoubtedly far more manageable than backing up a Class A motorhome, but backing up a motorhome of any size or type probably isn’t high on anyone’s list of things to do just for fun.

We travel in a 38-foot Class A diesel pusher, so I understand the challenges that come with backing up a larger rig. Although after nearly three decades on the road, it’s something we’ve done hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

Catalina State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How do you back up a motorhome?

In a word, carefully! But seriously, backing up a motorhome, even backing up a large Class A motorhome, is like anything else we learn to do well—it requires practice and more practice.

If you’re just learning how to back up a motorhome, find a large, open, empty parking lot and spend some time getting a feel for the following tips. As you begin your practice sessions, be sure not to position yourself near objects that could cause damage to your motorhome or anything in the area. You want to give yourself as much freedom as possible as you master these tips about backing up a motorhome.

While I understand that backing up a motorhome can be intimidating for many reasons, I’m confident that you’ll become more at ease with the process with practice and the mastering of these tips. Even if you’re backing up a Class A motorhome, the more you understand about the process, the easier it will be.

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 1: Take a mental picture

Before backing up a motorhome, stop the RV and get out and walk the site while making a mental picture of the area you’re about to back into. Make a mental note of any and all obstacles. Since your motorhome is tall, think in three dimensions looking for trees, poles, and any other obstacles.

Extra pro tip: Know in advance how to pace off your rig’s length. For example, I know that I pace off exactly 12 steps plus two feet (two of my feet) to equal the length of our motorhome. As a result, I can enter walk into any site and know if we’ll fit, even before bringing the rig into place.

While backing into the site, if you’re unsure about anything at any point, get out and look (known by the acronym GOAL by professional drivers).

Hollywood Casino RV Park, Bay St. Lewis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 2: Use ALL of your tools when backing up your RV

When backing up a motorhome, it’s important to use EVERY tool at your disposal: All mirrors, both flat and convex, your windows (yes, if your driver’s window allows it, you can stick your head out while stopped), a spotter (if available), and your backup or side-view cameras (again, if available).

The helper/spotter must be aware of your plans (where do you want to actually stop/park the motorhome), be in your mirrors all the times and both have established signals to help each other. A Walkie Talkie is an awesome tool for this.

If things are really tight and you don’t have a spotter, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. If it’s just too tight, consider approaching from the opposite direction or even request another site altogether. Usually, approaching a site that requires backing into is easier from one side rather than the other.

A note of caution about spotters: A well-intentioned helpful stranger with whom you have no real rapport or understanding can back you into something (especially an obstacle that’s high up that they may not think to look for, like a tree limb). While they may mean well, you’ll be the one who’s left to deal with the damage. So choose your spotter carefully.

For example, if you’re backing up a Class A motorhome, you may not want to choose a neighbor with a Class B van to back you if there are folks a few campsites over with a Class A motorhome. Experience appropriate to the rig you’re backing up is most helpful.

If you have a traveling companion, formulating a language that you both understand well before backing up a motorhome at a campsite can be very helpful. Hand signals should be clearly understood and walkie-talkies are often even better. Be sure to take that partner along with you for parking lot practice.

McKinney Falls State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 3: Don’t be driven by pressure

Never let pressure, nerves, or anyone else drive your RV for you. That means that if you’re trying to maneuver in a tight spot and you’re not 100 percent sure that you’re clear of that power pedestal or tree or picnic table… stop! Don’t continue moving just because stopping and getting out and look (GOAL) may block the campground roadway or make other campers think you don’t know what you’re doing.

First of all, they’re strangers so why should you care what they think of you as you’re backing up your motorhome. Second, anyone who’s had experience backing up a big rig and in particular backing up a large Class A motorhome knows that it can be a delicate process especially when the space is tight. They’ll also understand that nothing is more important than avoiding contact with a fixed object or other obstacle.

We’ve seen accidents where drivers were too embarrassed to simply stop, get out of the rig, and evaluate the situation. And all because people were watching them!

It’s ultimately far more embarrassing to succumb to pressure, appear cavalier, and hit something that causes damage to your rig, someone else’s rig, and/or the campground pedestal than it is to GET OUT OF YOUR RIG and size up the situation from outside the RV and THEN resume backing up your motorhome safely.

Butterfield RV Resort, Benson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 4: Beware of reverse off-tracking when backing an RV around a corner

When backing up a motorhome around a corner (or any other time you’re not rolling perfectly straight back) beware of something called reverse off-tracking. It’s a seldom-discussed related danger when backing up that you need to be aware of it.

When backing up a motorhome with the wheel turned to the right, the left side of the rig sweeps out to the left basically moving diagonally/sideways. Even though you’re sitting right there in the driver’s seat on the left side, it’s easy to forget about that sweep. This could allow you to strike an obstacle with your left side, right down below or behind the driver’s seat unless you remember to monitor the convex mirror and/or out your left window.

Open your driver’s window when maneuvering back into a site for just this reason. You can stick your head out to look straight down and along the left side of the rig if needed. That’s especially important when items are low and/or close along the left side like a picnic table or fire pit. The open window also allows you to hear better including instructions from your spotter.

Of course, you can’t as easily look down along the right side or stick your head out the right window. That makes the right front corner one of the most vulnerable spots when backing into your site.

When backing up a motorhome with the wheel turned to the LEFT, the situation is even more insidious because now your RIGHT side (which is, by definition, your weak side because you’re sitting on the left) is sweeping across toward the right, basically moving sideways/diagonally as you back up.

Taking that mental picture in advance will allow you to know that there’s a picnic table, fire pit, or other obstacle down there. On that note, keep in mind that a mental picture won’t take into account obstacles that move like a youngster riding a bike or chasing a ball or a dog that’s off-leash.

Distant Drums RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important note: Monitoring the right convex mirror is the key in this case but not an absolute because it can’t see everything. When I’m backing up with the steering wheel turned fairly hard to the left with my right side reverse off-tracking toward my weak right side, that’s when I’ll often ask my spotter to watch my right front corner near the entrance door. Not doing that is a common cause of damage to the side of an RV in the area close to the front end. It’s also a good way to yank the front bumper off, too, by getting it hooked on the bumper of a car that’s down low and out of sight.

Having a spotter there is sometimes even more important than having them behind me. I can see behind the RV pretty well in the backup camera but I’m blind down low near the entrance door where that picnic table or car may be lurking waiting to damage my right side.

Smokiam RV Park, Moses Lake, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 5: Whenever possible, back to the left when backing up a motorhome

This means positioning yourself whenever possible with the spot you’ll be backing into on the left side of your RV. We do this because the left side is our strong side due to the fact that our vehicles have the steering wheel and driver on the left. In countries where the driver sits on the right, the right side is the strong side.

It’s easy to remember that the left is your strong side because you sit over there allowing greater visibility in both the left-side mirrors and out the driver’s window. As a result, backing up a motorhome or any large vehicle to the left is always easier than backing up to the right.

There will, of course, be times when the campsite you’re backing into may only be accessible from one side. For instance, if you’re on a one-way street through the campground and/or the sites are at an angle. But when you have the option, approach the site from the direction that will allow you to back to the left.

Bentsen Palm Village, Mission, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 6: Line yourself up while still driving forward

Always, always, and always (did I say always?) pull forward more than you feel is necessary. Watch professional truck drivers—they always pull up much more than needed and have themselves positioned where they want to be—before backing up.

You absolutely want your rear most wheels past the apex of the turn. I’m referring to the curb cut/opening that you are trying to back into.

Again, watch truckers—they will always pull their trailer wheels past the opening they want to enter. The rear wheels of your RV are the same. They MUST be past that area to allow you to back in quickly and professionally.

Take control! The road is only so wide and you really can’t or at least don’t want to go on the site on the other side. Most campsites require you to back into a space on the driver’s side. If you are too far over to the right when you start to cut your front wheels you’ll be driving on somebodies site!

The most common difficulty newer drivers have is steering while backing. Sawing the steering wheel back and forth too much or too far is a common challenge to overcome.

When you pull up and past your driveway/campsite entrance, position yourself so you are on the wrong side of the road. It won’t hurt! Put your 4-way flashers on and be sure nothing is coming towards you and steer over to the opposing lane and past your driveway. Now, when you start to back into your driveway/parking spot you’ll be able to quickly do so, without cutting your front wheels onto someone’s site.

That wasn’t so bad was it?!?

Have a good helper that knows your plans, pull forward past your entry point and start from the wrong side of the road.

Everything will fall right into place—quickly and professionally!

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TIP 7: Pay attention to your right quarter vision when backing up an RV

You may have noticed that when you pull up to a stop sign where the cross street is angled about 30-60 degrees from your position with the left turn being shallow and the right turn being sharper, you’re unable to see down the road to the right. That’s because the vast majority of RVs don’t have a continuous row of windows down the right side, like a car does.

The mirrors won’t do the required job here either because the flat mirror only sees into the distance mostly straight back along the RV and the convex mirror doesn’t see very far into the distance and mostly downward preventing you from getting an all-inclusive view of objects above ground level such as tree limbs.

That area, generally about 30-60 degrees off your right side is often mostly blind and you need to be aware of that and aware of what’s potentially lurking there. The left side is easier than the right because you can simply look out the left window at almost any angle especially if you’re able to stick your head out. Again, this is part of the reason the left side is your strong side and the right side is your weak side.

When you in this situation, you again can ask your spotter to watch the right side rather than the back at least until you clear any potential conflicts on the right. Then, the spotter can return to the rear of the motorhome to finish backing all the way into the rear of the site.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion: You can handle backing up a motorhome

These are seven tips I think will be helpful to you when backing up a motorhome. So now you’ve got some extra ammunition to make your RVing experience a little safer, easier, less stressful, and less likely to result in damage to your RV or anything else.

With a bit of practice, you’ll surely find yourself more at ease when backing up a motorhome—and safer and more confident, too.

Worth Pondering…

I’m still learning.

—Michelangelo

How to Travel Safely with a Big Rig

Big RVs are packed with amenities and camping comfort but they also call for added planning and a bit of flexibility when you’re on the road

Traveling in a large RV offers perks beyond just added floor space. Big rigs host large fresh water and holding tanks, residential refrigerators, roof space for solar panel setups, and power generators—allowing for extended stays in dispersed and non-serviced locations. Bonus amenities such as washers and dryers, full-sized showers, king-size beds, multiple living spaces, and extra storage capacity can typically be found in RVs that are longer than 35 feet. 

Big rig driving Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you’re a weekend traveler, a part-time RVer, a snowbird, or live in your rig full-time, navigating roads and campgrounds in a big rig often entails a bit of extra planning.

RVs are long, wide, and difficult to maneuver. But, don’t forget—RVs are tall, too. This means when it comes to overhangs, bridges, canopies, and power lines, you have to be careful; RVs and low clearances don’t play well together. Here’s what you can do about it as an RV driver starting with knowing the exact height of your rig.

Overpass on Colonial Parkway in Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not how tall the owner’s manual says it is but how tall it really is? You simply have to go out and measure it yourself. This way you know for sure and that helps you better plan your traveling route without worrying about losing your satellite dish under a lower-than-expected bridge or underpass. The highest clearance is typically found toward the center of an underpass.

Always check the weather forecast when you’re driving or towing your big rig. The flexibility to leave a location early or late depending on wind or precipitation conditions could save you from a frightening driving experience or serious accident.

Consider weather conditions © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s especially prudent to consider weather conditions when planning to traverse a route with numerous sharp curves or steep grades. Big rig engines are subject to overheating when pushing or pulling up long grades. When the outdoor temperature is high, the risk of engine overheating rises. If you don’t have a substantial braking system on board or the weather is not optimal, routing around long or steep downgrades may be worth the added time and fuel. 

Related article: 5 Tips for Safe RV Travel

Big rig driving Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The taller and longer the RV, the more susceptible it is to strong crosswinds. The National Weather Service says that winds of 30 miles per hour will make it difficult to drive high-profile vehicles. If wind speeds are any higher, namely higher than 40 miles per hour, it’s best not to drive big rigs. A crosswind that strong can easily knock over these taller vehicles.

Before you set out on a trip, be sure to check wind advisories along the route. If you know where and when there will be inclement weather you can modify your route, postpone the trip, or find a safe place to hunker down and wait out the weather.

Big rig driving north on US 89 to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider commuting with empty holding tanks. Not only do full tanks decrease fuel efficiency and tax an engine, but added liquid weight can decrease braking efficiency. 

RVs have advanced in both design and size but not all campgrounds were built or have been upgraded to accommodate large or heavy rigs. Confirm that a campsite can accommodate a big rig by verifying that both the campsite you’ve selected and the access roads to that camping space can support your rig’s overall length, width, weight, and ride height.

Big rig camping at Canyon de Chelly National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If the campsite pad is dirt or grass, make sure you have the correct tools to level your rig. Heavy rigs and their levelers are known to sink into soft pads—including asphalt. Wet weather can further impact a site’s ability to support larger rigs.

Related article: Yes, YOU Can Drive an RV: What YOU Need to Know

When researching, consider the campsite’s stated length and width. Look out for any mentions regarding vegetation overgrowth or low-hanging tree branches. Be prepared to respect the boundaries of established campsites. It’s necessary to choose another option if you suspect or realize your rig might negatively impact campsite conservation. 

Covered bridges and big rigs don’t mix © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep reports of a campsite’s grade in mind. Most refrigerators need to be level to function properly but RVs with longer wheelbases (especially Class A motorhomes) can be difficult to level in a site with a moderate grade or more. 

Check out the campground’s official website, read reviews left by previous travelers, utilize satellite-based mapping tools, and/or contact the RV park to confirm the accuracy of the information. 

Not a good camping site for a big rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you arrive at the entrance to your destination and are concerned about accessibility, scout the area. While this practice is typical for RVers with big rigs exploring dispersed camping areas, it’s also good practice when pulling up to any campground with dubitable access. Unhooking a towed vehicle, dropping your tow-behind RV, or walking the route may seem like a hassle but it can save you stress, time, and money.

Driving fatigue besets many big rig drivers more quickly than when driving an automobile. Also, big rig-accessible rest stop locations aren’t as readily available, especially on secondary highways. Planning possible break locations ahead of time at rest areas, truck stops, or big box store parking lots makes for a more enjoyable and safe journey.

Be aware of overhanging trees when selecting a camping site for a big rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Big box stores and grocery chains typically feature large lots with ample, big rig-friendly parking options during local operating hours and are often within walking distance of restaurants and coffee shops.

Related article: I Did What My GPS Told Me

It’s in everyone’s best interest that large RV operators move slowly and methodically even if that means holding up traffic. When the opportunity to allow more agile vehicles to pass arises, it’s courteous to permit that.

Oops! This could have been a disaster! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Careful research when traveling with your large rig will lead to an enjoyable and safe adventure. Equip yourself with a plan, a backup plan, and flexibility for all your big rig travels.

Related article: What’s so Different about Driving a motorhome?

Worth Pondering…

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

—Mark Twain (1835-1910)

What’s so Different about Driving a motorhome?

7 tips for driving a Class A motorhome

Class A motorhomes are the largest motorhomes on the road. After all, you’re bringing all of the comforts of home with you. While these roomy RVs might seem intimidating to drive at first, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. Plus, many luxury motorhomes are already designed with ease-of-use and driver comfort in mind, so there isn’t as much of a learning curve.

Class A motorhomes at RV dealer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Still, it’s important to understand how to handle a vehicle of this size, especially when you drive one for the first time. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a top 7 tips for driving a motorhome to help you safely and confidently drive your diesel pusher motorhome to your next adventure. With these motorhome driving tips, you’ll be handling your RV like a pro in no time.

Class A motorhome near Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Make Sure You Have the Right Class of Driver’s License

Depending on your state (or province), you may be required to get a Class A or Class B (commercial or non-commercial) driver’s license before you can legally drive a motorhome that weighs over 26,000 pounds.

A commercial driver’s license is a driver’s license required to operate large or heavy vehicles.

Class A Motorhome at Wahweap Campground in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Every state issues different types of licenses, so it’s not always as simple as, “Do I need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive my RV that weighs over 26,000 pounds or not?” 

Related: Buying an RV

The question looks a little more like, “Do I need a special license, and if so, in what cases, and what kind?”

Class A motorhomes on Newfound Gap Road in Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Several examples follow:

  • In California you need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • In North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Pennsylvania you need a Class B license for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need a Class A license to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • In Texas you need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds

Since regulations do change it is recommended that you contact your local DMV if your rig is close to 26,000 pounds or more.

Class A motorhomes on Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Know How and When to Brake

It’s important to understand that the larger and heavier the vehicle, the longer it can take to stop. You’ll need to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to slow down and come to a complete stop, even in normal weather.

Class A motorhome at RV dealer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s also important to keep in mind that hot brakes don’t work as well and they wear out faster. To keep your brakes from overheating, avoid riding your brakes and use your gears to downshift (engine brake) when driving downhills. If you do start to notice a smell coming from your brakes, pull over when it is safe to do so and give the brakes a chance to cool off before continuing your drive. This is especially important when driving in the mountains.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Perfect RV for Your Family

A good rule of thumb is to descend a hill in the same gear (or one gear lower) than used to climb the hill.

Class A motorhome at 12 Tribes Casino RV Park, Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Leave Enough Following Distance

Since it takes longer to brake, you’ll also need to make sure you’re leaving sufficient following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The general rule of thumb in normal weather is to leave one vehicle length for every 10 mph. So if you’re driving 60 mph, leave six RV lengths in front of you.

For a 40 foot motorhome, that means leaving 240 feet of space between you and the next vehicle on the road. However, you’ll need to leave even more space if driving during inclement weather like rain, snow, or fog. Even if the road doesn’t look slippery, it’s always best to slow down and leave plenty of room.

Related: Meet the RVs: Find the Right RV Class for Your Travel Style

Some RVs include technology to help the driver mitigate potential accidents. For example, some models are available with collision mitigation technology, adaptive cruise control, and adjustable following distance control—all to take the guesswork out of your drive.

Class A motorhome on Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Stay in the Right Lane

Most motorhome drivers find themselves driving at slower speeds than the rest of traffic—and that makes sense. The ideal speed to drive an RV is around 55-60 mph—the so-called sweet spot for RV fuel efficiency. However, the speed limit on most US highways is between 65-75 mph. Traveling in the far right lane allows you to drive your RV at the optimal speed for your own safety and fuel economy while allowing other drivers to pass on the left.

Related: Meet the RVs: The Towables

Staying in your lane can be somewhat challenging for high-profile RVs which can be prone to drift when there are crosswinds. Newmar’s Comfort Drive feature prevents this type of drifting with adaptive steering that automatically adjusts to help you stay in your lane—without requiring a death grip on your steering wheel. That said, it’s always wise to keep both hands on the wheel.

Class A motorhome on Newfound Gap Road in Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Understand Your Tail Swing

Once you get the hang of it, driving straight in an RV can quickly become second nature. Getting used to turning might take a bit more practice since you also need to take your tail swing into consideration.

Class A motorhome at Columbia Sun RV Park, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a tail swing? For every three feet behind your rear axle, you have the potential for one foot of tail swing heading in the opposite direction. So, if you’ve got 12 feet behind your back wheels and you want to take a sharp right turn, you need to be aware of what’s immediate to your left. When you’re just starting out, it can be helpful to have a spotter outside the vehicle to guide you as you practice turning and parking.

Know your clearance; Colonial Parkway, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Know Your Clearances and Plan Your Route Accordingly

Diesel pusher motorhomes aren’t just longer and heavier, they’re also taller and wider than any other cars or trucks you’re used to driving. Because of this, your RV may not meet the clearance requirements for certain overhangs and it may be more challenging to navigate narrow roads in older towns.

Know your clearance; Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be particularly aware of low overhanging trees, the height of tunnels and overpasses, and the clearance at fuel stops. But don’t let that hold you back. It just means you’ll need to plan ahead and stay aware as you drive which are great things to make a habit of anyway, no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.

Know your height; Parke County, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are navigation tools and technologies available to help alleviate some of the planning for you. After inputting your coach’s dimensions, they can plan the best routes for you based on them.

Class A motorhomes at Newmar Service Center, Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Don’t Drive Tired

When you’re driving a Class A motorhome, there’s a lot to be aware of as you’re driving including your following and stopping distances, your turn radius, your overhead clearance, and more. Plus, you’re probably driving long stretches at a time. Driver fatigue is one of the biggest dangers on the road especially when driving a big rig, so stay safe and avoid driving when you’re tired.

Some roads are best not traveled in a Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion

Driving a recreational vehicle is an extremely rewarding experience. Now that you know these Class A motorhome driving tips, there’s no limit to where your RV can take you.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Yes, YOU Can Drive an RV: What YOU Need to Know

RV driving for beginners: All the tips you need to drive an RV for the first time

If you’re new to it (or even if you’re not) driving a Class A motorhome can present a challenge. Even if you’re been driving cars and smaller vehicles for a long time, it takes practice to get used to the quirks of such a large and heavy vehicle. The following Class A motorhome driving tips will help you to stay safe on the roads and feel confident behind the wheel of your luxurious RV.

Class A motorhomes at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a Class A Motorhome?

Motorhomes are divided into “classes” based on their size. The average, small motorhome that you see used for road trip vacations is probably a Class C. These smaller vehicles typically weigh between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds. Class A motorhomes are the largest class and can weigh anything from 13,000 pounds up to as much as 30,000 pounds.

Even a Class C motorhome can feel unwieldy and bulky to someone who is accustomed to driving a car. Class A motorhomes are huge by comparison and they handle more like a bus than a car. The trade-off is that there is far more space for home comforts and many Class A motorhomes are just as comfortable and luxurious as a small family house.

Class A motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do I need a RV License?

The idea of an “RV license” is a bit of a misnomer. The rules on vehicle licenses vary from state to state and province to province. No state currently has an explicit law that relates to the driving of RVs. States do, however, divide their licenses up into classes based upon the weight of the vehicle that the driver is handling and in some cases whether or not they have a trailer.

The sheer size of Class A motorhomes means that in some cases a motorist may need a special license to drive one. It depends on the weight of the motorhome. Let’s imagine you live in Pennsylvania. If you are driving an RV that weighs less than 26,000 pounds you don’t need a special license. If the RV weighs more than 26,000 pounds you will need a Class B non-commercial license. If you have a trailer and the weight goes over 26,000 pounds then you need a Class A non-commercial license.

Every state has different rules. Some states are more lenient than others. It’s a good idea to check the laws in your state or province and those you intend to regularly travel in before buying a large RV.

Class A motorhome at Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Handling Tips and Tricks

Once you’ve cleared up the legal aspects, the next challenge is to hit the road. It takes a while to get used to handling a large motorhome but it’s worth it once you master it because you’ll be able to visit new places and see the sights in luxury free from the constraints of a hotel.

Class A motorhome on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Start with a Short, Easy Trip

Keep things simple for your first trip. As strange as it sounds consider a “staycation.” The last thing you want is for your first trip in your brand new RV to be marred with stress, broken itineraries or worse, a broken-down vehicle. Drive on easy roads that you’re familiar with and stay in a local campground. Give yourself plenty of time to get used to how the RV moves, how well it handles hills, how much space you need to stop, and how it turns.

Class A motorhome at Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tech Makes Life Easier

When you’re sitting in a Class A motorhome you’re higher up than you are used to being in your sedan or even in a smaller motorhome. Since your vehicle is also longer and wider you need more space to turn and you’re heavier so your stopping distances are longer. You need to take this all into account and it can take a while for your brain to adjust when it comes to judging distances. You’ll also have blind spots that are bigger than the ones you’re accustomed to in the mirrors of a standard car.

The good news is that there are high-tech answers to some of these problems. Some Class A motorhomes offer driving assist technology such as back up cameras, lane tracking, and adaptive steering. They make parking, backing up, and other maneuvers much easier.

Class A motorhome at Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t Fight the Vehicle

Modern motorhomes have many nice “quality of life” features such as power steering, auto-leveling, improved suspension, and ABS. Take advantage of these. Be gentle on the steering, drive slowly and steadily, and give yourself plenty of space for any turns you need to take. Remember that ABS is designed to cut your stopping distance but in a very heavy vehicle you still have a lot of inertia especially on downward slopes. 

If you’re nervous about handling an RV, consider taking classes. Many companies offer rentals and classes where you can practice driving in a controlled environment to build your confidence.

Class A motorhome on Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take Regular Breaks

Remember that you don’t have to get to your destination on a fixed schedule when you’re on a road trip. If you’re held up for a while, that’s not a crisis. You quite literally have a house behind you. If you’re feeling tired, stressed, or slightly concerned, pull over at the next rest area or truck stop and take a break. Get your co-pilot to take over the driving for a while if they’re able to do so. If not, just take a nap, go for a short walk, and then start driving again.

Don’t drive in difficult conditions such as heavy rain, fog, snow, ice, or excessive wind. If you don’t like driving late at night, rest. The point of owning a luxury motorhome is to do things on your terms. Take your time and get to your destination safely then enjoy your holiday.

Class A motorhome at Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

No matter where we go in our motorhome, that sense of independence is satisfying. We have our own facilities, from comfortable bed to a fridge full of our favorite foods. We set the thermostat the way we like it and go to bed and get up in our usual routine.

Meet the RVs: Find the Right RV Class for Your Travel Style

Recreational vehicles take many different forms—from small and simple tow trailers to mobile mansions with king-sized beds and granite countertops

Consumer preferences have changed drastically since the start of the pandemic with travel being no exception. Thousands of Americans and Canadians have opted out of airline tickets and hotel reservations in favor of RVs, a safer method of travel that allows for self-contained excursions with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen all on-board.

Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering if the RV lifestyle is for you. Good news—it most likely is! Because RVs offer so much variety in form, function, and value there’s bound to be an RV that suits your lifestyle and travel needs. Just like families, RVs come in all shapes and sizes. From large class A motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers to compact pop-ups and camper vans, there is an RV that will fit your lifestyle. From weekend getaways to touring the great outdoors to working from the road, there’s an RV for every family and every budget.

When deciding between different types of RVs, it is important to understand the features and amenities associated with each and the pros and cons. The categories are not super difficult to grasp. Motorhomes come in Classes A, B, and C and trailers break down into fifth wheels and travel trailers. I’ll dive right into each category including its pros and cons, model details, features and amenities, and approximate cost. In today’s post we’ll focus on the three classes of motorhomes.

Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class A Motorhomes

Class A motorhomes are built on specially designed motor vehicle chassis. This type of motorhome often includes multiple slide-out rooms. Class A motorhomes offer as many luxuries as the average house—and in some cases more! It is not uncommon for these coaches to include a king-sized bed, two bathrooms, washer and dryer, a large living area with sofas and reclining chairs, a dining table, a television, a fireplace, and a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, microwave, oven, stovetop, residential refrigerator and freezer.

Class A motorhomes are popular with those who spend considerable time on the road including snowbirds and full timers and anyone with a mobile lifestyle. Due to their size and weight, these coaches are not suitable for all travel routes. The largest class of motorhomes, they can be powered by either gas or diesel engines. Towing a car behind the motorhome is an important consideration since running errands is easier in a smaller vehicle—you will not want to pack up the entire coach simply to go do some local site-seeing or shopping.

Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Model Details

  • Length: 26-45 feet
  • Cost: $150,000-$1,000,000+
  • Sleeps: 2-8

Typical Features & Amenities

  • Ample living space and storage
  • Full-sized bathroom
  • Residential kitchen
  • Full entertainment system
  • Can tow another vehicle
Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros:

  • Contain all living amenities on board
  • Spacious and potentially luxurious
  • Does not require a towing vehicle and can tow another vehicle
  • Lots of storage space

Cons:

  • High cost of purchase, insurance, and service
  • Poor fuel-efficiency
  • Often need to be parked offsite when not in use as many communities do not allow them in driveways or parked on residential streets
Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class B Motorhomes

Class B motorhomes also known as camper vans feature the conveniences of a furnished motorhome. They are built using an automotive manufactured van or panel-truck shells. Class Bs are easy to drive, park, and maneuver and include standard home-like amenities including a bathroom, sleeping area, and basic kitchen. What sets them apart from regular vans is that they are equipped for camping. Class Bs are best suited for users who have a smaller budget, need a smaller vehicle, or want a mobile base for their outdoor camping activities.

Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Model Details

  • Length: 16-21 feet
  • Cost: $110,000-$200,000+
  • Sleeps: 2-4

Typical Features & Amenities

  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Shower and toilet
Class A motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros:

  • Easy to navigate in traffic and park
  • Fuel efficiency is high relative to other RVs
  • Lower initial cost

Cons:

  • Tight living quarters, limited storage space
  • Limited creature comforts
  • No space for features like laundry, dishwashers, and other larger appliances
Class C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes are ideal for families and groups of friends who want the adventure and flexibility of spontaneous vacation along with the convenience and amenities of home. Built on an automotive van frame with a wider body section attached to the original cab, Class C motorhomes are easily recognizable by the over-the-cab portion that is often an optional sleeping area. Many models have slide-out rooms.

Class C motorhomes © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Model Details

  • Length: 25-35 feet
  • Cost: $110,000-$200,000+
  • Sleeps: 2-8

Typical Features & Amenities

  • Loft for extra sleeping space
  • Kitchen and bathroom facilities
  • Bedroom
Class C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros:

  • More affordable than Class A motorhomes
  • More spacious than Class B motorhomes
  • Reasonable fuel efficiency

Cons:

  • Less spacious than Class A motorhomes
  • Fewer amenities than Class A motorhomes
  • Less affordable than Class B motorhomes

An apology: Why no image of a Class B motorhome? After searching through my vast photo file I came up blank and having made a decision early on to avoid the use of stock photos, and for this I apologize.

Worth Pondering…

No matter where we go in our motorhome, that sense of independence is satisfying. We have our own facilities, from comfortable bed to a fridge full of our favorite foods. We set the thermostat the way we like it and go to bed and get up in our usual routine.

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Perfect RV for Your Family

The first barrier to living the RV life is discovering which type of RV is right for you

A comfortable bed to sleep in after the day spent playing at the lake? A kitchen to prepare your family’s favorite meals? A shower to clean up in after a long day on a hiking trail? A home away from home in all your favorite places?

Fifth-wheel trailer with tow vehicle at Leaf Verde RV Park in Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you want a big rig or a camper van? Will you drive a Class A or a bus conversion? Should you explore a Class C, or will a travel trailer work well with your truck? In the beginning, there are lots of questions. Yet asking questions is a good thing!

Class C motorhome at Wahweap RV Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’ve decided you want to experience the RV lifestyle. Or maybe your family’s needs have changed and it’s time for an upgrade. With so many RVs to choose from it can be overwhelming. Don’t worry! Ask yourself these questions to help make the decision easier.

Travel trailer at Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do You Have a Tow Vehicle?

If you have a tow vehicle then you’ll want to narrow your search to RVs within your vehicle’s towing capacity. Don’t forget to add the weight of passengers, cargo, and liquids to the dry weight of the RV. You don’t want to fall in love with an RV only to determine that it exceeds your vehicle’s maximum capacity to tow safely.

Toy hauler fifth wheeler and tent trailer at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Many Beds Do You Require?

Sleeping arrangements in RVs range from plush king size beds to fold out beds. Think about how many your RV needs to sleep, and also the bedtime routine. Some people don’t mind turning dinettes or sofas into beds every night while others consider a designated pre-made bed for each person a must.

Truck camper at Saguaro Lake, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where Will You Camp?

When most people think of RVing they think of campgrounds, but RVs open up a whole world of different types of adventure and exploration. Some RVs are better suited for boondocking or off grid camping with larger holding tanks and generators or solar panels. Perhaps you plan to use your RV to tailgate at sporting events. If your goal is to spend as much time as possible in national and state parks then length will be a consideration.

Boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Amenities Do You Require?

Some buy an RV because they no longer want to sleep on the ground and want more protection from than what a tent offers. But creature comforts don’t stop at a roof and a bed. RVs are available with numerous amenities including gourmet kitchens and state of the art entertainment centers. Make a list of your most important amenities and prioritize.

Full service site including 50-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Activities Do You Enjoy?

Hobbies and activities will help you narrow down your RV search. Sport utility RVs, or toy haulers, provide space for ATVs, golf carts, and bikes. Since some RVs offer more storage space than others, consider where all that gear will go.

Taking everything with you! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Much Space Do You REALLY Need?

This is different for every family. Do you plan to use your RV every weekend all summer or for extended trips? Or is it going to be an every once in a while outing? Do your kids need their own bedroom? Do you need your own bedroom?

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Is Your Preferred Floor Plan?

Visit RV shows and dealerships to get an idea of what floor plan will work best for you family. Spend time in the RVs. Sit on the couches. Lay on the beds. Walk into the bathrooms. Imagine cooking in the kitchen. Ask for brochures to take home. Most dealerships are happy to let you spend time in their RVs because they want you to be happy with the RV you choose.

Teardrop trailer at Distant Drum RV Park, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider Maintenance and Repair

All RVs have maintenance and repair issues from time to time. New models come with a warranty where manufactures and dealerships take care of the repairs for a set amount of time. Pre-owned RVs are typically sold “as-is” meaning all repairs are your responsibly.

Class A motorhome (Diesel Pusher) at Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Is Your Style of Travel?

Do you like moving every night or do you prefer to set up and stay at one campground for a while.

Airstream trailer at The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Is Your Budget?

Just as there is an RV for every lifestyle, there is an RV for every budget. Decide on a budget before beginning your search. Pre-owned RVs are a great option for a limited budget.

Taking it all with you at Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buying an RV will be one of the best decisions you’ll make for your family. At the end of the day or a long weekend, spending time together and creating memories are what is important and that will happen in any type of RV.

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin