Buying A Small RV: Priorities

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When we purchased our first small RV 3 years ago, we didn’t know what to look for, or how to make the right choices. We had our first RV for only 3 months, and ended up trading it for our current RV. We are now starting into our third year with our Leisure Unity MB. We now know how important it is to sort through our priorities when buying an RV, large or small.

There is a real need to make a list of what’s important to you. What makes you comfortable, and what is doable, versus things that just aren’t acceptable. We found out the hard way that a corner bed was not comfortable, or convenient, as I crawled over my husband to get to our tiny little bathroom during the night. The bed was too high, and close to the ceiling. The whole thing felt claustrophobic. As seniors, enjoying our golden years, this was not the dream!

We began to ask ourselves some important questions about our priorities when traveling. Here are some of things we think are important priorities when buying a small RV.

How You Spend Time in Your RV

Do you like to be outside, more than inside? Or do you prefer to relax inside your RV, after a long day of driving? Do you like to take an afternoon nap? Is there somewhere to take a nap? This is another issue that has come up for us. Our current Leisure RV has a murphy bed, which is great for sleeping. It’s so comfortable! But my husband needs a nap, and the recliner chairs aren’t comfortable for him, and pulling the bed out for a nap is inconvenient. We are now considering the floor plan without the recliners, that has a daybed/sofa/chairs configuration. It’s the Leisure Lounge instead of the Leisure Lounge Plus. Or, we may look at some of the other floor plans they offer, but I really don’t want to give up our enormous bathroom and shower. Which brings me to our next consideration.

Room to Shower and Dress

We need room to take care of our grooming, and hygiene. I don’t want to bend over, and hit my rear on the wall, or sit on the toilet while I shower, as in a wet bath. Are we asking too much of a small RV or motorhome? I don’t think so. We currently have a huge residential style bathroom in our 25 foot Leisure Unity MB, and we love having the ability to move around, take a nice shower, and get dressed, with our clothes conveniently in the closet within the bathroom. So if these things are important to you, be sure to put them on your priority list.

Where Will I Put Everything?

Storage is definitely a priority, if you like to take lawn chairs, a grill, bottled water, tools, etc with you. And you also need a place to store your water and sewer hoses, power cords, adapters etc. Some people store lawn chairs and foldable tables, etc inside the RV while traveling, but I personally don’t like that idea. I like my RV accessible when I stop for lunch, or a rest without having extra cargo taking up living space. So storage should be priority to consider when buying a smaller RV.

Showering in an RV

If you thrive on a long, hot shower, an on-demand, tankless hot water system is a must. Without that, in most cases, you will have a 6 gallon window to take a shower. I know many like to dry camp, and some use RV Park showers. I am spoiled now, and love my On-Demand Hot Water, but I am old, and don’t like my shower cold. 🙂

Is TV A Priority?

In our case, it definitely is a priority, and there are a few things to think about regarding a TV in a small RV. First of all, ask yourself if it is in a comfortable viewing position. The last thing you want is a kink in your neck from looking sideways, or up. Ideally, it should be as close to eye level as possible. Next, ask yourself how much you watch TV. Do you need a satellite? Do you enjoy streaming movies? These are questions you should discuss with your dealer. Some now offer WiFi hotspots, such as Wingard to keep you connected. If TV isn’t important to you, and you are just getting away from all that, it won’t be a priority for you. My husband can’t do too much walking or hiking, so, for us, it’s a must.

Our Leisure Unity, was supposed to have a Samsung Smart TV, but it didn’t! We didn’t think it was important, but it turned out to be an issue, and we will definitely make sure we have Smart TV in the next one. It just makes things easier.

Is the Floor Plan Accommodating?

Is it important for you to be comfortable, and feel at home in your RV? Having a floor plan that works with your lifestyle is crucial. Think about what you do when you’re in the RV. Do you like to read, write, draw, work on your laptop? Do you cook, bake, or do barbecue prep? Or is watching TV or movies your preference? I like to cook a meal while my husband relaxes, watching TV, so it’s important that we are not in each others way during that time. He can relax, and I can go about my meal preparation without interruption. Other times, one of us may be outside just enjoying the view.

The ease of set up falls into this category. Converting from dining to sleeping arrangements should be simple, quick, and easy. As well as changing back to lounging mode. Having a space that serves as multiple living spaces is genius, if it works easily and quickly. Look for amenities in the RV that compliment and assist you in your tasks, or enjoyment.

Obviously, there are many priorities when buying an RV, but this list will hopefully help you avoid some of our pitfalls. It’s a learning curve.

Ease of Driving

In our case, the ease of driving was a major priority. My husband doesn’t drive anymore, so I would be the one driving. Our first RV was a Ford chassis, and I am a short person. I could barely reach the gas pedal with the seat pushed all the way forward. Needless to say, it was awkward, and unsafe. When we began looking for our second RV, I was delighted when I slid into the seat of our diesel, Mercedes Sprinter Leisure Unity. I was comfortable, and it drives like a dream. Driving an RV that is easy to drive and handle should be a priority. Being comfortable behind the wheel, makes for a happy journey.

RV Price and Budget

I know we can not ignore the priorities of price, gas mileage, and budget. But in all honesty, you should be able to meet most of your priorities, no matter what your budget is for your RV. It’s all relevant. Whatever level you are starting the journey, your priorities when purchasing your RV are going to lead you to a happier RV living and traveling.

My name is Bonnie, and my husband and I recently purchased our first RV for our love of long drives and nature. We're learning as we go, but we'd love to swap RV travel stories, so please drop us a line or comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

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