Jump to content
snickl

Military family considering doing full time

Recommended Posts

Ok so first let me say we're well aware this would be a HUGE change for us. Not only would it mean downsizing A LOT, but we've never done RVing either. I have lived in small spaces like a sailboat and teeny tiny dorm rooms, and hubby has managed in all kinds of conditions in tents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but yeah, not really what you want for your home. That being said, there are a fair number of elements that would make this a good choice for us. We'd be doing it when our kids are young and stop when they get to high school. (3 boys, will be 1, 4, and 6 when we "start out".) Hubby is set to retire in 2025. We come back from Japan most likely in 2018. So, that's the time frame we'd be doing this. Obviously there's a thousand choices and none will be made easier doing this from here.

 

We think we can make the smaller space work, and honestly are sick of our things being broken, lost, and etc. by the military movers anyway. Base housing takes your full allowance and is often old with many maintenance issues, and several of the places we may have to move have very expensive cost of living, so we'd be stretching things financially. We have moved so many time we're not particularly attached to "stuff", and part of the draw for us is cutting down on clutter and sticking with what we actually need. The extensive costs associated with PCS moves would be cut a good bit, no thousands for deposits, paying leases through months we don't live there, or a crap ton on hotels looking for a house to rent. Not to mention throwing away all that rent money. We do not currently own a home, and have a 2014 F150 crew cab truck that will be paid for upon our return to the states. We also want to RV around to national parks and such with the boys as vacations, and having this as an option both during and after the military time would be much more helpful than paying away all that money in rent. We'd also considered using our F150 to pull a storage trailer for things we can't fit into the RV. (off season clothes and etc. )

 

We've done some research and it looks like our most likely option that would work best is a larger truck better suited for towing, maybe a F250? and a 5th wheel. I considered the Class As as well, but we'd need a second car for both of us to go to work. I'm a RN and shouldn't have a ton of trouble finding work as we move around, and otherwise we'll be based at or around his duty stations, living hopefully in the same place for 3+ years at a time.

 

Those duty stations are Bethesda, MD, Jacksonville NC or FL, Portsmouth VA, Pensacola FL, San Antonio TX, San Diego CA, 29 Palms CA, or Bremerton, WA. His job is very specific and pretty based only around the major Naval medicine complexes. Having gone overseas it's highly, highly unlikely we'd have to deal with that again.

 

I've seen there are "boot camp" classes to learn how to drive these and how to operate the water lines, tanks, and etc. I haven't found yet how much these run and the requirements to attend. (i.e. you don't need to have your rig first do you?). Also where all these are offered. We could take leave for a while after returning to the states and do this as well as shop around a bit, but it would be a 30 day max time frame in which we'd have to get it all done and settled, at the next location.

 

Also, what brands of the seemingly 50 million out there are the best for longer term use? I'm under no illusions that 3 boys and 2 adults won't put a decent amount of wear and tear on any trailer, no matter how well we care for it. Cost wise I think the $40-50k range for the trailer is reasonable from what I've seen. Ideally we want a bedroom area (bunk house?) for the boys and a bathroom for them separate from ours.

 

Has anyone done with with similarly aged kids? Do they adjust well to the smaller spaces? We'd be spending a lot of time outside, but I know what space is "theirs" will be very limited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, welcome to the Escapee forums! We will do all we are able to assist and support you in this endeavor. Many of us here are veterans and while most are also retired, we do have a growing number of members who still work and live/travel by RV as well as an increasing number families, with the newest member of the Escapee management now having two small boys!

 

Since you are not yet back in the US, I suggest that you start the process by reading one or two books on the subject of full-time RV living. There are many excellent ones and an easy place to locate them is via Amazon Marketplace since they are available everywhere. By doing this first it will help you to realize the sort of problems and choices which one must make to live in an RV. There are also many excellent information sources available on the internet and a very good way to start learning about RVs and how we live is to visit the websites and blogs of those who post on these forums. Many of us keep a web presence and you can usually find a link to the author's website in the signature line of their posts, such as that found in my own. I strongly recommend that you spend some time looking through and reading what can be found in them. There are also several websites specifically to address the challenges of family RV living and I suggest you check out Families on the Road, and also the Newschool Nomads, both of which I have had good reports on. Also there is a listing of similar blogs and websites on Ditching Suburbia website. You may want to check out some of these, since few of us here have children still living with us.

 

With 9 years until retirement, you will not be traveling constantly for a time so you have options to consider in educating your children as well as all of the other options. You don't mention how long until you return to the states, but you need to take some time to study RVs when you get back and not rush into a purchase.

 

We've done some research and it looks like our most likely option that would work best is a larger truck better suited for towing, maybe a F250? and a 5th wheel. I considered the Class As as well, but we'd need a second car for both of us to go to work. I'm a RN and shouldn't have a ton of trouble finding work as we move around, and otherwise we'll be based at or around his duty stations, living hopefully in the same place for 3+ years at a time.

There are a lot of choices in RV and all aspects of what you are considering. There is little doubt that more than one way has been used for others in the past so choose carefully. We lived 12 years in a motorhome, towing a small car but we didn't have children or jobs to consider. There are families who live in motorhomes but the fifth wheel trailers seem to be the more common choice because those generally have larger living space. Towing a large fifth wheel does require at least a 3/4 ton rated truck and a 1 ton or larger is even better. It is vital that you study and learn about the weight ratings of the tow vehicles, trailers, motorhomes, and all of the various choices because those are designed for both safety and reliability. An overloaded vehicle is neither safe to travel in nor reliable on the road. Weight ratings is critical for you to understand before you buy either a truck or an RV.

 

You do have a job advantage with the nursing profession as most areas do need more nurses. But you could also face some challenges with the child care side of things since you may be located in places with few children. The RV population has families with children in it, but they are not a large share of that population so you need to be aware of this. Most of the families that live in RVs that I have known are also home school families.

 

I've seen there are "boot camp" classes to learn how to drive these and how to operate the water lines, tanks, and etc. I haven't found yet how much these run and the requirements to attend. (i.e. you don't need to have your rig first do you?). Also where all these are offered.

Escapees RV Club does offer a "Boot Camp" several times each year, one in TX, one in AZ and another at whatever location the national rally takes place. You don't have to buy the RV first as some do stay off site, but it helps. I am not aware of any driving school that does not require that you have your RV to take the classes in. It is much too expensive for them to provide one. There are several RV driving schools and one of those is present at each "Boot Camp" as well as in other locations. There are also one or two other groups now doing some training such as the "Boot Camp" but I have no real knowledge of any of those.

 

Also, what brands of the seemingly 50 million out there are the best for longer term use?

I suggest that you start your education in this by joining the RV Consumer Group and study the materials they supply to new members. What they do is to educate RV buyers and even though we had owned RVs for many years, we found them to be very helpful when we purchased our RV which we lived in for 12 years and owned for 14 years. There is no brand of RV which can be said to be universally good for full-time living because the products vary in quality and cost widely. Quality control is a major weakness of the RV industry and for that reason it is imparitive that an RV buyer educate himself as much as possible and it is helpful to get professional help, especially if buying used. As an RV ages the condition becomes all important and even the best one is not suitable if it has been neglected or abused. There are no RV manufacturers that are so good that they have no dissatisfied customers and none so bad that they have no satisfied ones. You must learn about reputations and then work from there with as much help as you can find.

 

Feel free to come here with comments and questions as much as you wish as we are here to help and we promise to do our best! Keep in mind that we all have opinions and there will be times that we don't all agree since we all have different experiences. Brand names of quality are a very subjective subject and most of our opinions are probably biased, mine included.

 

Welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome and thank you for your service to our country.

 

We homeschooled our children until they went off to college. Since I was a teacher, time to travel was limited, so we didn't get to travel as much as we would have liked. Your plan should be great for your boys.

 

It sounds like your plan is to buy an RV and park it at a military campground while you are stationed there, thus giving you the ability to take off with your home whenever time permits. That would suggest that a towable (fifth wheel or travel trailer) would be the better choice. I'm going to suggest that you look closely at fifth wheels (aka 5'ers). An F250 probably won't be enough truck for what you will need, but the difference between an F250, F350, or F450 isn't all that great as far as price, but huge as far as capacity. If you need to have two vehicles it simply means that on travel days you will have to drive separately, no matter what you choose.

 

My suggestion is that you buy a USED coach first, rather than a new one. Few people get it right the first time, especially if they have little RV experience. There is a huge depreciation hit when you drive a new coach off the lot, so it makes sense to minimize your loss. Look at what most people think are the highest quality coaches, join the owners forums for those brands, and ask lots of questions there. When you get back to the States start going to as many RV dealers and shows as you can. Look at everything there, no matter what the price or condition. You are looking for livability. How does that floor plan fit your family, not only now but next year. It won't take you very long to figure out what floor plans will work for you. Then you can start looking at which models of your top quality brands fit your needs. Do lots of research and ask lots of questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We've done some research and it looks like our most likely option that would work best is a larger truck better suited for towing, maybe a F250? and a 5th wheel.

 

An F-250 (or similar size in Ram or Chevy/GM) will limit the size fifth wheel you get.

 

What I suggest is that you find the fifth wheel FIRST that will meet the needs of your family and THEN get the truck that will tow -- and stop -- it safely. As Kirk said, make sure you understand all the weight ratings before purchasing a tow vehicle. Here's a fifth wheel weight calculator that will walk you through the math:

 

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-fw.shtml

 

I also second Kirk's recommendation of joining RV Consumer Group and studying the educational material they send.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok so first let me say we're well aware this would be a HUGE change for us. Not only would it mean downsizing A LOT, but we've never done RVing either. I have lived in small spaces like a sailboat and teeny tiny dorm rooms, and hubby has managed in all kinds of conditions in tents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but yeah, not really what you want for your home. That being said, there are a fair number of elements that would make this a good choice for us. We'd be doing it when our kids are young and stop when they get to high school. (3 boys, will be 1, 4, and 6 when we "start out".) Hubby is set to retire in 2025. We come back from Japan most likely in 2018. So, that's the time frame we'd be doing this. Obviously there's a thousand choices and none will be made easier doing this from here.

 

........

 

I admire your planning and scheduling you are using the prepare for this adventure. But I really would like to ask for further details on one item. You plan to start this in 2018, right? That is 560 days from today, right? 194 (2016) + 365 (2017) + 1 (2018) = 560 days at least until you do this. Your youngest boy has not yet been born, right? In fact not yet even conceived (in the physical sense, only as part of this plan). Do you plan to use in-vitro fertilization, adoption or some other method to know that your youngest, when you embark on this adventure, will be a 1 year old boy? :)

Edited by Legendsk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May I make a suggestion, just something to consider?

 

Most of the military families I have seen who full-time in an RV do it upon retirement. Why? Because for one full year after retirement the government will store your belongings at their expense. You are receiving a military retirement (and possibly VA disability), so there is some income, but you are unencumbered by employment. The families I have known who have done this saved up for several years, then used savings plus retirement bennies to maintain a cash flow they are used to. With belongings in storage for free and a good cash flow, they take off for at least a year, worry-free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a retired military member and full-timer, we have stayed at a number of FamCamps and military resorts. The situation varies from place to place, but here are a couple of things we've found.

 

1) All campgrounds we have encountered have stay limits (usually 14 days). Active duty often get priority with reservations and sometimes, at the local commander's option, exceptions can be made on length of stay.

 

2) Some of the nicest facilities we've seen are run by the Navy... but they're also the most difficult to get into (with some it's impossible). I think it's a combination of the prime location(s) and the fact that - at some Navy locations - exemptions have been granted for stay limits due to on-base housing shortages.

 

Some of the most impressive young families we've met we full-timers with kids and were home-schooling their children (including two military families doing this). Done the right way, it's a wonderful way to educate the kids in all aspects of life - academic, cultural, social, and service to others. Good luck with your plans!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm concerned about possible duty stations in the northern states. RVs are not built for true winter weather no matter what they advertise. Do you have any input at all into which stations you may be assigned?

 

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys!

Another retiree here. I retired from Lackland AFB TX, and we moved right into a 36 foot fiver. We had our kids early so no kids when I retired at age 45 from the USAF.

 

I second Linda's recommend to look at diesel duallys. I bought a just repainted and new transmission installed 92 RAM diesel 1 ton with 100k miles on it, and it was fantastic. I did learn I needed an exhaust brake but now they have a tow haul mode that works much better than we had with the early models.We started fulltiming soon after getting the truck as we planned to go on the road debt free and initially we paid little attention to what brand/size rig we wanted and got some great advice from Bob Gummersol and others that have moved on from SKPs since. This was before the SKP forums came into being and long before satellite Internet or fast cell data services came into being.

 

I also used the RV Consumers Group publications and membership when I went looking too.

 

I bought cash on the truck and trailer which are pictured in my website, along with our preplanning in our newsletters section.. That way we had no problems back in the under a buck a gallon days of diesel fuel in traveling and living on our single military senior NCO retirement. We did 7 years from 1997-2003 fulltiming and traveling. We came off the road to care for elderly parents and soon, unfortunately, will be done with our caring for the last remaining parent, sooner than we'd like.

 

I am a Ram fan and just bought a 2006 short bed and Anderson Ultimate steel hitch, later realizing after two long beds one a dually, that the 2500 short bed rode badly off load and on because of the kid lift kit and other mods, and I just sold it a month and a half ago and bought a new to me 2004 long bed quad cab Ram Diesel. It took a month to find my long bed as many folks over price them, and most of them are short beds, lifted, missing the muffler and resonator leaving only a catalytic on some. I managed to trade a stereo for an unused set of stock rims and took the balding, mudder, oversize Nitto grapplers and custom rims off, and the price I got for those rims and tires bought me a new set of tires for my stock rims. The leveler kit and all the kid stuff just turned me off. It was not what I wanted. I did get a 2004 2500 Ram diesel because we are only towing a lightweight 2003 28 foot 5th wheel with super slide. Also because my previous three Rams were sold still running great at over 400k miles, one with ~700k and the short bed 2006 with 140k on it. This one had 142,202 on it last week when I bought it. Email me for any info on why the Cummins six cylinder diesel is my preference. My email is on my website at the bottom of the home page.

 

Welcome, feel free to ask me on and off the forums if I can help.

 

Edit,

Agree on the comment that Linda made about RVs not being for freezing weather. You guys might do better with an HDT from the gitgo and a 40 foot fiver. Read some of the HDT threads. All the HDTs and over the road 18 wheelers run inline sixes like the Cummins in the Rams.

Edited by RV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another retiree, just not full timing. We have two grandsons that stay with us occasionally and they sleep on two air mattresses in the living area of the 5er. Just might want to consider a bunkhouse model trailer. They do cut down on living space but it will give the kids their own room. Like others have stated I would if at all possible go with a 1 ton drw, at least a SRW 1 ton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I admire your planning and scheduling you are using the prepare for this adventure. But I really would like to ask for further details on one item. You plan to start this in 2018, right? That is 560 days from today, right? 194 (2016) + 365 (2017) + 1 (2018) = 560 days at least until you do this. Your youngest boy has not yet been born, right? In fact not yet even conceived (in the physical sense, only as part of this plan). Do you plan to use in-vitro fertilization, adoption or some other method to know that your youngest, when you embark on this adventure, will be a 1 year old boy? :)

 

LOL Youngest boy will arrive in September of this year. (I'm 6 months pregnant) We actually move either the very end of 2017 or first of 2018. So, he'll turn 1 in Sept 2017, so...still pretty little. Major limiting factor is having such limited time to actually go look at options and all once we're stateside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm concerned about possible duty stations in the northern states. RVs are not built for true winter weather no matter what they advertise. Do you have any input at all into which stations you may be assigned?

 

Linda Sand

Oh sure.....lol. No, probably not really. There maybe 1 or 2 choices and we can pick from those, but no input as to what those choices might be. I had seen the "enclosed bottom" trailers are considered more winter weather appropriate? Protection for the hoses and such...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh boy, that's a lot of info! Thanks everyone! I have been also considering a park model home, as I see they tend to be a reasonable price but don't move a ton. Hubby thinks the being mobile is more important than I do. I would rather end up owning something in the end and saving $$. However, I've also seen that even annual based monthly rates for a lot can vary a lot, but would be probably at least $300-$400. I assume a loan on a park model RV would be done with a term more like a car instead of a mortgage? So...5 or 6 year repayment? That would mean a high monthly total, maybe $500-$600. Add electric and propane we'd be paying as much as for a "regular" apartment or home in some locations, and in others I assume the lot rental would go up a good bit. (San Diego for example) Also there's the costs of moving it between duty stations. We'd likely only have to do that 3 times. Once from the manufacturer, once between duty stations, and once to our own land. But....that's all pretty much billed by mileage? So San Diego to Jacksonville, Fl would be a FORTUNE....no? Budgeting 5k or so over 3 years may or may not suffice I take it?

 

Doing a 5th wheel and larger trucks seems good but then we'd have the truck loan, trailer loan, AND lot rent...oy vey. I'm guessing this is why people save enough to outright pay for the trailer at least.

 

I wish we could just get one and be in one spot with it...but it's not to be for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a retired military member and full-timer, we have stayed at a number of FamCamps and military resorts. The situation varies from place to place, but here are a couple of things we've found.

 

1) All campgrounds we have encountered have stay limits (usually 14 days). Active duty often get priority with reservations and sometimes, at the local commander's option, exceptions can be made on length of stay.

 

2) Some of the nicest facilities we've seen are run by the Navy... but they're also the most difficult to get into (with some it's impossible). I think it's a combination of the prime location(s) and the fact that - at some Navy locations - exemptions have been granted for stay limits due to on-base housing shortages.

 

Some of the most impressive young families we've met we full-timers with kids and were home-schooling their children (including two military families doing this). Done the right way, it's a wonderful way to educate the kids in all aspects of life - academic, cultural, social, and service to others. Good luck with your plans!

 

Hubby swears up and down he knows guys who have lived with their families at several bases. I'm guessing they were the "CO exceptions" you mention. I'm not sure how hard it would be to obtain that, and of course, it would vary by CO...But yes, given the water access I suppose it makes sense that spaces might be premium. Dang!

 

On the other hand, our kids would hopefully not be homeschooled. I have my doubt about public schools, but the oldest is just starting Kinder this fall, so I will have to see how it goes. I was homeschooled until college and honestly would not pick it as a first option if I can help it. We wouldn't be moving as often as the families who are truly mobile though, so I wouldn't think staying in a local school would be a problem. I do really like the idea of teaching them that "stuff" isn't nearly as valuable as our society implies though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys!

Another retiree here. I retired from Lackland AFB TX, and we moved right into a 36 foot fiver. We had our kids early so no kids when I retired at age 45 from the USAF.

 

I second Linda's recommend to look at diesel duallys. I bought a just repainted and new transmission installed 92 RAM diesel 1 ton with 100k miles on it, and it was fantastic. I did learn I needed an exhaust brake but now they have a tow haul mode that works much better than we had with the early models.We started fulltiming soon after getting the truck as we planned to go on the road debt free and initially we paid little attention to what brand/size rig we wanted and got some great advice from Bob Gummersol and others that have moved on from SKPs since. This was before the SKP forums came into being and long before satellite Internet or fast cell data services came into being.

 

I also used the RV Consumers Group publications and membership when I went looking too.

 

I bought cash on the truck and trailer which are pictured in my website, along with our preplanning in our newsletters section.. That way we had no problems back in the under a buck a gallon days of diesel fuel in traveling and living on our single military senior NCO retirement. We did 7 years from 1997-2003 fulltiming and traveling. We came off the road to care for elderly parents and soon, unfortunately, will be done with our caring for the last remaining parent, sooner than we'd like.

 

I am a Ram fan and just bought a 2006 short bed and Anderson Ultimate steel hitch, later realizing after two long beds one a dually, that the 2500 short bed rode badly off load and on because of the kid lift kit and other mods, and I just sold it a month and a half ago and bought a new to me 2004 long bed quad cab Ram Diesel. It took a month to find my long bed as many folks over price them, and most of them are short beds, lifted, missing the muffler and resonator leaving only a catalytic on some. I managed to trade a stereo for an unused set of stock rims and took the balding, mudder, oversize Nitto grapplers and custom rims off, and the price I got for those rims and tires bought me a new set of tires for my stock rims. The leveler kit and all the kid stuff just turned me off. It was not what I wanted. I did get a 2004 2500 Ram diesel because we are only towing a lightweight 2003 28 foot 5th wheel with super slide. Also because my previous three Rams were sold still running great at over 400k miles, one with ~700k and the short bed 2006 with 140k on it. This one had 142,202 on it last week when I bought it. Email me for any info on why the Cummins six cylinder diesel is my preference. My email is on my website at the bottom of the home page.

 

Welcome, feel free to ask me on and off the forums if I can help.

 

Edit,

Agree on the comment that Linda made about RVs not being for freezing weather. You guys might do better with an HDT from the gitgo and a 40 foot fiver. Read some of the HDT threads. All the HDTs and over the road 18 wheelers run inline sixes like the Cummins in the Rams.

LAWD- I don't know what half those abbreviations mean but I'll get to reading! ;) Is the RV consumers membership a type of national membership? I've seen it mentioned that some campgrounds or series of campgrounds offer membership which can be rather advantageous. Is the generally higher cost of diesel these days worth it for the truck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May I make a suggestion, just something to consider?

 

Most of the military families I have seen who full-time in an RV do it upon retirement. Why? Because for one full year after retirement the government will store your belongings at their expense. You are receiving a military retirement (and possibly VA disability), so there is some income, but you are unencumbered by employment. The families I have known who have done this saved up for several years, then used savings plus retirement bennies to maintain a cash flow they are used to. With belongings in storage for free and a good cash flow, they take off for at least a year, worry-free.

yes, that would be ideal. I get VA disability now...so there's that. Hubby undoubtedly will as well, but of course that's hardly a speedy process. The timing of his retirement however does not match well with the ages of our children and full timing. They will be 14, 12, and 9 give or take a bit when he retires...a good time to get into a more "regular" home. We really just need the savings in the meantime to be able to afford the type of home we want. Not much flexibility in having to have 20% down for construction/land loans I've noticed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the RV consumers membership a type of national membership? I've seen it mentioned that some campgrounds or series of campgrounds offer membership which can be rather advantageous. Is the generally higher cost of diesel these days worth it for the truck?

The RV Consumer Group is a consumer protection/education membership organization. They have nothing to do with campgrounds or RV parks of any kind, but do have to do with determining what RVs are well built, quality products that will last for many years. They supply educational materials to new members to help them get a good return the money spent. They also rate RVS for the various purposes designed and they educate consumers on what to look for and how to bargain for an RV. They have done a great deal to educate new RV buyers and to promote RV safety and reliability.

Edited by Kirk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Snickl,

The RV consumers group is purported by some who misunderstand it as a guide for what to buy. They do some heavy math combined with physical inspections of factories and models that results in a good idea of what not to buy. Subtract the lowest rated models and you are left with a little less overwhelming list. They give you materials you can take with you when looking.

 

NCO is a petty officer I think.

fiver is a 5th wheel

HDT is Heavy duty truck. There are three broad classifications of trucks Heavy duty trucks, medium duty trucks, and light duty trucks.

 

Heavy duty includes two classes of truck and look just like the trucks you see pulling big 18 wheeler rigs on the highways. If you look in the main list of forums you will see an HDT forum.

 

Medium duty trucks are the 4000/5000 class of pickup looking trucks but much more beefed up in suspension and brakes, as well as suspension.

 

Light duty trucks include the 1/2 ton 150/1500, the 3/4 ton 250/2500, and the 1 ton usually dual rear wheels (Duallys or Duallies) although there are single rear wheel 1 ton trucks.

 

If you just list the jargon that you missed we can fill them in. Just go slow and relax, none of us knew it all when we started RVing, although we all know folks who think they do! :lol:

 

I looked up Navy slang and here https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Glossary_of_U.S._Navy_slang I could not tell you half of them. AF slang is different.

 

Here are a couple of online dictionaries for RV Slang. These are just examples, find one you like if these aren't suitable:

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/rv-terms.html

http://www.goodsamcamping.com/rvresources/RvGlossary.aspx

 

You landed in the right place as there are lots of knowledgeable folks here that enjoy mentoring noobs to the lifestyle. We won't tell you to go get a gig line or a bucket of prop wash here. We have fun but not at the expense of others.

 

So ask. We'll get you up to snuff. It doesn't take a village to learn RVing, it takes a forum, and then some land trials. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, that would be ideal. I get VA disability now...so there's that. Hubby undoubtedly will as well, but of course that's hardly a speedy process. The timing of his retirement however does not match well with the ages of our children and full timing. They will be 14, 12, and 9 give or take a bit when he retires...a good time to get into a more "regular" home. We really just need the savings in the meantime to be able to afford the type of home we want. Not much flexibility in having to have 20% down for construction/land loans I've noticed.

If you and dh are both veterans, then no doubt you will be eligible for the VA home loan program which enables you to get a home loan without paying any down payment at all. No 20% needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The RV consumers group is purported by some who misunderstand it as a guide for what to buy. They do some heavy math combined with physical inspections of factories and models that results in a good idea of what not to buy. Subtract the lowest rated models and you are left with a little less overwhelming list. They give you materials you can take with you when looking.

RV is correct, but there is more to it. They don't test every RV as that would be far too expensive, but they do tour a lot of factories and they contact each manufacturer for information, which some supply and others try and avoid. Their reports tell the user if the manufacturer cooperated with the evaluations. They also collect owner surveys via their internet presence. The information that they compile is offered to members and to the public for a price. We were members of the group for about 10 years and like him, we believe that their information is very helpful to the new RV buyer. I also believe that they have played a major role in the improvement of safety and quality within the RV manufacturing industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We know of two families at least that full time with young kids and one that travels part time. All have 5th wheel trailers and use a HDT as their tow vehicle mainly due to the size of the trailer and the weight capacity to haul their possessions. HDT's are not for everyone but you can find out more info on them under the HDT forum page and at one of the various rally that are held at different times of the year. Most of the families mentioned above were at the East Coast Rally in April in TN. You do not need to have a trailer or truck to attend these rallies.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kirk is correct but the surveys are not supplied as raw data or lists. They compile a list of RVs divided into categories based on their use and database information into the RV ratings book/database. For example their "Fulltime" rated rigs will have better construction and cost more than a "Vacation" or "Weekender" rated rig. Then within each category they apply their Manufactiurer survey data, some very few factory visits, and their user surveys to rate each model. They supply this to you in the RV Ratings book. I remember working with JD and Connie by phone in the early days and answering questions here after consulting with JD, and later Connie when she took over. Of course they have grown since the mid 90s, as has their maturity as a consumer advocate. J.D. Gallant did seminal work on the dangers of motorhome wood frame construction without driver and passenger metal cages and several other industry manufacturing issues. They have testified before Congress and have been sued by one manufacturer, such is their advocacy. If you would like to learn more of how they came to be here is a short about article: http://www.rv.org/about.htm

 

Their membership package I found to be worth every penny and then some when I was a newbie researching back in the mid 90s for our trailer. You can see it here and click on each item to see what each volume covers. http://www.rv.org/member.html

 

But you don't have to be a member to start learning from them, read their e bulletins http://www.rv.org/bull.htm. There is a sample of how the individual RV reports are organized here: http://www.rv.org/TT-rept.pdf If you scroll all the way down the report you get an idea of how much is contained in a smaller format.

 

I trust them, JD's reports on motorhome safety angered many of the Motorhome owners and it is reflected in the negative views of some.

 

Once you have years of experience the rating books seem to be stating the obvious. For example I rely on the Consumer reports only for items I am not familiar with like vacuum cleaners ratings, not computers, which I am very familiar with technically. When buying a used car I do check out their repair frequency ratings for that model/year. Consumer reports gets their reliability and frequency of repair ratings primarily from their member surveys too.

 

The RV Ratings book has some few folks questioning their ratings when the rating is poor for the type/model RV they own. But in most cases, no one disagrees that the lowest rated RVs belong there.

 

Many feel it gives a great way to start RV hunting by steering me away from the worst rated. And JD and Connie became friends of mine back in the 90s when we talked over the phone many times in helping me fact check a few of my articles.

 

JD drew the ire of many, especially the motorhome manufacturers because of his passionate and decades long battle to get manufacturers to build them as safe as we do cars and trucks. Here is a 2008 5 minute news video that shows JD Gallant of the RV Consumers Group pointing out the issues of one wreck, and his simple minimum demand that the manufacturers secure the interior built-ins of motorhomes. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=jd+gallant+motorhome+safety&qpvt=jd+gallant+motorhome+safety&view=detail&mid=5CB42F7318BF90A08D265CB42F7318BF90A08D26&FORM=VRDGAR

 

With trailers, the precious human cargo is traveling in air bag equipped, occupant roll cage protected, engineered collapsing designs, with structures materials all designed to protect the passengers. Trailer owners and passengers who have a wreck are not in the trailer if/when it comes apart in a wreck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh sure.....lol. No, probably not really. There maybe 1 or 2 choices and we can pick from those, but no input as to what those choices might be. I had seen the "enclosed bottom" trailers are considered more winter weather appropriate? Protection for the hoses and such...?

 

Yes, enclosed and heated basement are better but still not rated for true winter. Double pane windows also help. But needing to dump and fill when the weather is below freezing is not something most of us would want to have to do. If you can even find a place to do that. In Minnesota, for instance, most private and state parks close Oct 15th and reopen Apr 15th.

 

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you and dh are both veterans, then no doubt you will be eligible for the VA home loan program which enables you to get a home loan without paying any down payment at all. No 20% needed.

 

And if you bank with USAA the process is even easier because they sure know military needs and wishes.

 

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you and dh are both veterans, then no doubt you will be eligible for the VA home loan program which enables you to get a home loan without paying any down payment at all. No 20% needed.

 

Oh yes, that would work for a regular mortgage, but not a construction or land loan...VA does issue them, but hardly any lenders do, so it's just about impossible to find someone who will do either without the 20%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

Cummins Home Generators

RVTravel.com Logo

Make Money and RV Logo



×
×
  • Create New...