What to Consider When Buying Your RV

You know you love road trips, but how do you choose which RV is right for your family when so much goes into it on and off the road? Here are a few things to think about before diving into this purchase. 

Driveable or towable?

Maybe your fancy new pickup truck is ready to tow a few thousand pounds across the country, or maybe you don’t own a vehicle with any towing capacity at all. Either way, you’ll need to seriously consider whether you prefer a towable or driveable RV. 

RVers for decades have debated whether motorhomes or towable RVs are easier to drive. Motorhomes provide the convenience of having just one vehicle to worry about, giving them the loving nickname of a “house on wheels”. But despite being one compact unit, many motorhomes end up being larger than many towable travel trailer setups. 

Despite the frequently tiny size of travel trailers, many people just don’t like towing something. You’ll have to give a motorhome a test drive, and then tow a travel trailer, to see where you land on this debate. 

What are you towing with?

If you do end up choosing a towable RV, that’s great! What are you going to tow it with? The answer to that question will determine how big or small your travel trailer, or even fifth wheel, can be. Some travel trailers, like this Little Guy, can be towed by a vehicle as small as a Toyota RAV4, a small SUV. But Fifth Wheels, typically the largest towable RVs, can sometimes top 15,000 pounds. 

The most important part of owning a towable vehicle is towing safely, so be sure to do your own research about what your vehicle can and cannot tow before proceeding. 

Cargo Capacity

Keeping size in mind, your RV’s cargo capacity will tell you how much weight you can put in it. This includes everything you’re bringing along, so while your campground bathing suits are lightweight, the full 60 gallon freshwater tank is definitely not. 

Cargo capacity isn’t as big of a deal if you’re camping in one place all summer, where water refills and waste dumping is easier, but it’s important to keep in mind on more road heavy trips. Extra storage in and around the RV is also essential for those bringing a significant amount of luggage. 

What is your RV for?

Are you permanently retiring in your RV, which you plan on parking in Florida forever? Are you working remotely and driving to a different National Park each night? Are you camping at one campground for two weeks each summer? 

It’s good to have at least a rough idea of how you’ll be using your RV before you buy it. If you’re on the road daily, you’ll want to seriously consider purchasing as small an RV as you can, to save more gas and generally make driving easier. 

Many state and national parks do not have campground spots for RVs longer than 35, or sometimes even 30 feet. Even if you plan on parking in one private campground, check if they have any size restrictions. 

Buying a RV is the highlight of a lifetime for many campers, and your big purchase deserves the same enthusiasm! Check out our RV Education section at petesrv.com for more information about RVing, and the best RV selection around in our inventory!