So you’ve finally decided to purchase your own home on wheels? How exciting! The next step after making such a big decision is deciding on what kind of mobile home to get. Do you want to go for a motorhome or camper trailer? How big should it be? What amenities are an absolute must? In the midst of a pandemic, now more than ever, it’s important to do your research carefully before making a decision as big as this.
That’s why we’re here to help you out! We present to you a breakdown of the factors you have to take into consideration, and the pros and cons of each type of RV.
4 Main Factors to Consider When Buying a Home on Wheels in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Number of passengers
There are usually two primary determinants that will help you decide on what size of RV is ideal for you. The first one is the number of people who will be living in it. Will it be for you alone, you and a partner or friend, and/or family? Kids, grandparents, pets? If you have pets, how big are they?
We cannot stress enough the importance of being comfortable with the size of your living space in relation to the number of people who will be sharing it with you. Remember, you will be cooking, eating and sleeping together in close quarters, probably for the duration of the whole pandemic. It would not do if the space doesn’t allow for everyone to be able to sleep comfortably, or use the toilet when they need it.
For solitary RVers, a teardrop trailer, mini motorhome, folding trailer, or a truck camper will offer plenty of space. Any of these choices also has enough room for a couple of RVers who don’t mind the small space. Usually, three people or a couple and a pet will be comfortable for smaller trips in either of them. However, if you plan to shelter in space in your RV, we would advise against this.
For three or more people, a bigger RV would definitely be more comfortable for long-term RVing.
Your level of comfort with crampedness
Aside from the people, the furniture, appliances and gadgets will definitely take up a huge chunk of RV space, some more than others. Consider yourself and all the people who will be living in the RV. What’s everyone’s level of comfort when it comes to crampedness and minimalism? How are your organization skills?
Some people can easily adjust to a smaller counter space and tiny mini fridge capacity, but will not compromise on a conventional oven. Will you be comfortable with bunk beds or do you insist on sleeping on a king?
All of these must be taken in consideration when choosing how big or small your RV should be. Will you all be fine living the minimalist way with barebones appliances and furniture? Or do you think all the creature comforts of home should be in your RV, especially if you’re planning to call it home for possibly months or years.
If you’re the former, then a medium-sized conventional trailer should be perfectly comfortable for three or four people. If you’re the type who’d rather have all the luxuries of home with you, a class A motorhome or Fifth-Wheel trailer may be more ideal.
What other use will the trailer be for
Bonus factor: usage. If you’re the type who wants their toys with them such as mountain bikes, surfboards, motorbikes, or even boats and jet skis, then you will need even more space, and likely, a specially modified one at that. You should consider looking into a toy hauler.
Knowing what types of places you’ll be mostly staying and sheltering in is a principal factor in choosing the best RV to buy in the Coronavirus pandemic. Consider where you will likely be camping and/or sheltering. Are you planning to visit and stay in enormous parks and campgrounds or camp in secluded beaches and near less popular hiking grounds? Are you boondocking in places accessible only via difficult, narrow paths or staying at a well-kept RV resort with wide, perfectly paved roads?
Motorized RVs are easier to drive while towable RVs are more complicated, especially for the lesser experienced. However, a bus-sized motorized RV will not fit the narrow roads in some campgrounds, while some places will only be easily accessible for truck campers.
In general, if you plan on doing a bit of adventuring into the wilderness, staying in state and national parks, or taking winding routes, you’ll do well with a small to medium-sized RV. With a modestly sized unit, you’ll be able to drive and park in most places with ease and even park and stay the night by the roadside if need be. And with a camper van, mini motorhome, or truckbed camper, you’ll be able to go virtually anywhere where there’s a serviceable road.
On the other hand, if you plan to shelter in RV campgrounds and resorts with big parking areas, well-paved roads, and complete amenities, then a bigger RV may be more to your taste. You’ll want to look into class A motorhomes, Fifth Wheel trailers, and large-sized travel trailers.
Brand new RVs can cost from as low as $5K USD, to as high as $500K USD. Some ultra-luxe class A motorhomes cost upwards of a million.
The bus-like RVs are called class A motorhomes and are the most expensive RVs available in the market. They are often luxury recreational vehicles that offer huge living spaces and complete amenities. Their price for this type of RV starts at 60K to 500K. Million-dollar RVs are usually even bigger class A motorhomes that offer luxuries that can rival a high-priced apartment.
Much smaller than class A motorhomes are the class B and class C. they are definitely not as expensive but still fetch a hefty price starting at around 40K but can go up to around to 200K, depending on floor plans, etc.
Conventional travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers are usually in the 50 to 150K range. Conventional travel trailers, however, range in size from small compact ones that can cost just 20K, to larger-sized rigs comparable to fifth-wheels.
Teardrop trailers and pop-up campers are some of the smallest RVs. They are also the most affordable at the 5K to 20K price range. Truck campers are around the same price but can go up to 50k.
Used or new
For small trips and holiday use, buying used is not bad. A more affordable, broken-in rig has its charms. And if you can find a used RV that 1) fits your requirements, 2) still in very good condition, 3) for an affordable price, 4) and you are handy with cars and machines, go for it!
However, if you can’t tick 4 boxes out of 4, and especially if you plan to shelter in place in your RV for the duration of the pandemic, we would recommend buying a brand new RV. There are too many unknown factors in buying a used RV. With the many uncertainties of these times, you won’t want to find yourself in the middle of the road with a broken-down RV in the middle of a pandemic. Plus the warranty that comes with a new RV can give you peace of mind.
How about the cost of maintenance and upkeep? Generator, battery, tires, insulation, upgrades, repairs—as a loose estimate, RV maintenance costs and upkeep can cost upwards of $100 per month.
If you’re planning to wait out the pandemic in your RV, then you should definitely think long-term. A small RV usually means cheaper price, and easier parking and driving, but tighter living quarters. While bigger rigs spell the opposite. Are you willing to compromise space for ease-of-use, maneuverability and a cheaper price? Can you look at an RV and see yourself living in it for months, even years?
The Pros and Cons of Each RV in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Class B, Camper Van
This is the smallest type of motorized RV. They are built on a standard full sized van chassis and look like typical family/cargo vans. They also drive as easily as one and are the most maneuverable motorhome among the three. Class B, Camper Vans are only around 15 to 25 feet long. They are extremely versatile and can easily be taken on secluded camping locations that can only be accessed through narrow roads.
There are no cozy master’s bedrooms in the streamlined camper van, instead, you will likely sleep in a foldable bed that is convertible to a working table or dining nook during the day. Because of their size, amenities and essential hardware must be installed cleverly so there are fewer floor plan options for these RV compared to the previous two.
For weekend or short-term getaways, camper vans can comfortably sleep up to 4 people. But for long-term living during the pandemic, we would suggest that it is more suitable for just two.
Nimble and easy to drive
Suitable for narrow roads
Affordable and not expensive to maintain
Basic amenities and appliances
Small storage and living space
Class C, Mini Motorhome
Despite the name, Class C Motorhomes are actually bigger than Class B Motorhomes, in terms of size, and are second to Class A Motorhomes.
Class C, mini motorhomes often look like moving trucks and are indeed built on truck chassis. These mid-sized RVs are typically 20-some feet long and can house around 5 people comfortably. They have an extra space above the driver’s cab that can be used as a sleeping nook or storage compartment. If the bus-type motorhome is too big for you but a converted van like the class B motorhome is too small, then these class C’s are your best bet. They offer a happy medium with just the moderate amount of space, enough to have all the basics in appliances, furniture and kitchen equipment. It’s just as customizable as a class A, with various floor plan possibilities, albeit on a smaller scale.
One advantage of the class C over the class A, though, is it’s maneuverability. Naturally, it will be less difficult to drive a truck-type RV compared to a bus-type.
We recommend the Class C Motorhome if you’re looking for a perfect medium—not too big but not too small. It’s ideal for a small family to live comfortably and more than enough for two or three people.
Easier to maneuver and drive
Has all the basic amenities and appliances
Perfect for small families
Not as expensive as Class A RVs but still fetch a hefty price
Class A, Bus-type
The biggest in size and price, Class A Motorhomes are considered the roomiest and most expensive RVs. Depending on the size, they can even house up to 10-12 people comfortably.
Often converted buses, these motorhomes may be as large as a standard apartment, and can give you all the space you want in a home on wheels. Naturally, because of the amount of room they offer and the big budget, class A motorhomes are also often well-equipped with many gadgets and comforts of home. They come in a variety of floor plan possibilities, depending on your particular needs and preferences.
Class A motorhomes come equipped with the kitchen and home features you’ll typically find in a normal home. They are fully equipped with their own full-sized fridges, conventional ovens, microwaves, clothes washers, dryers, sofas, home entertainment systems, and other electronics, furniture and hardware. You’ll also often find numerous slide outs and compartments for maximizing space. Some come with multiple rooms and even a master’s bedroom.
These huge homes on wheels can be classified into two types based on their power source: diesel or gas. Diesel pushers tend to be quieter and more durable in the long run compared to their gas-powered counterpart. They are both huge but diesel powered class A motorhomes can be massive. Of course, it comes with the price tag.
Before the pandemic, Class A motorhomes have always been our first choice for permanent RV living, especially if you don’t plan to go to hard-to reach places and take small, rough roads often. This opinion hasn’t changed in today’s situation. If there are many of you in the RV crew, and you have the budget, we recommend getting a Class A motorhome. Sheltering in place in a huge vehicle with all that space will definitely make the transition easier and add a lot to a comfortable home experience.
Big and roomy with lots of storage space
Luxurious and offers many comforts
Highly customizable with many floor plan possibilities
Perfect for living in long term during the COVID-19 outbreak
Expensive, not only to purchase but also to maintain
May pose difficulties in rough and narrow roads
Won’t fit in small campsites
Demountable and Towable Campers
Truck Bed Camper
Truck bed Campers / Slide-in Campers / Pickup Campers are the odd ones of the bunch, as they are neither motorized nor towable. These campers are simply loaded into a truck bed and off you go. Many will tell you (including us) that they are the most flexible and versatile RVs as they allow you to take your mobile home wherever a truck can go. And if the truck is big enough, one can even hitch another vehicle/trailer behind. You can tow a boat, ATV, motorcycle etc. with you.
There are two types: the pop-up and hard side truck campers. As the names suggest, the pop-up truck campers have soft sides that pop up and down like a tent, while hard side truck campers have walls similar to motorhomes and towables.
The biggest downside of the truck bed camper is, of course, its size. They come in a range of sizes depending on the truck capacity but ultimately; they are ideal for just one or two people if its intended purpose is for sheltering in place for the duration of the covid lockdown.
Freedom to go almost anywhere
More affordable than conventional campers
No trailers tires that need maintenance
Small living space
Named after their unique shape, Teardrop Campers will definitely be easy to pick out in a crowd–not that you’ll encounter many crowds, given the situation the world is in right now. But these bite-sized campers are popular, chic and usually come in different colors and customized designs that make them unique.
They have definitely gained a fan following especially among solo adventurers as these camper’s small capacity is perfect for one person. The camper’s light weight and compactness make them easy to tow, even by small vehicles. Only the barest of necessities can be outfitted on a teardrop camper/trailer. While some may have a kitchen nook, convertible beds and a swivel toilet, many are kept simply as a bedroom.
Before the pandemic, they were also a great choice among day or weekend vacationers like couples or small families, as they are easy to hitch to a small car or store during the weekdays.
If you are a solo ‘shelterer’ or a couple who don’t mind getting up close to each other’s space all day at all hours, the teardrop camper is just the right amount of cozy if equipped with the necessities. Plus you’ll be able to save a lot as they are usually very affordable. However, any more than one person, we’d advise you to move on to other choices.
Customizable appearance and unique design
Compact and lightweight, it can be towed by small vehicles
Extremely affordable and low maintenance costs
Very limited space
Barebones amenities and small storage capacity
Will not be comfortable for tall people
Pop-up, Folding Camper
Pop-Up campers, folding campers or folding travel trailers, they are called by a number of names. These RV are similar to teardrop trailers in that they are small, affordable, lightweight and compact. Because they’re super light, folding travel trailers can be towed by just about all car types and are just as easy to drive. They can effortlessly be towed through narrow roads and are also easy to store and park.
The major selling point of pop-up campers, however, is the fact that they can offer a much larger living space than one might expect upon first glance, due to their foldable nature. The walls are made of collapsible fabric that’s built on a hard base. These campers are like a tent-trailer hybrid, if you will. Pre-pandemic, they were massively popular among weekend and daytrip adventurers.
Just like a tent, this camper needs to be set-up once you’ve arrived at camp and folded back down for travelling. In the same vein, the fabric walls mean cooking is done outside, usually through an extension compartment–not exactly cozy on a day with bad weather.
We don’t recommend pop-up campers for long-term living, especially during these uncertain times. They’re just not made for a permanent or even semi-permanent setup. Only consider them if you are on a really tight budget and plan to stay somewhere with a warm climate. Even then, note that floor plans usually can only offer the very basic of amenities. If you live where it gets cold, definitely invest in a better insulated RV.
Offers quite a bit of space considering its size and price
Compact, lightweight, and can be towed by most vehicles
Extremely affordable and low maintenance costs
Fabric walls equals outdoor kitchen and poor insulation from the cold
Needs to be set-up and dismantled everytime one arrives at and leaves camp
Barebones amenities and small storage capacity
Conventional Travel Trailer
Conventional travel trailers are undoubtedly the most common type of RV trailers and are most frequently used by couples, families, and groups of friends. They’re great whether your aim is to just go camping on weekends, vacationing for weeks and months on end, or for full-time RV-ing.
The hitch point of conventional travel trailers is located down low, with either bumper or frame hitches. These trailers are often so light that they can be towed by most medium-size cars, SUV or truck. They can also easily fit in most roads, even narrow ones, and are the most common RVs in campsites.
The best thing about travel trailers or conventional trailers shopping, in our opinion, is that they come in a wide range of floor plans, weights, and sizes, and ranging from affordable to luxurious amenities. They usually range from 12 to even 40 feet in length. Most come with full or mini kitchens, decent-sized (for a trailer) bathrooms, and gray and black water tanks. Some even come with outdoor kitchens (in addition to the indoor one, usually). These trailers can also sleep up to 8 people. The consensus is that there’s always a travel trailer out there that can suit your needs.
We highly recommend a conventional travel trailer customized to your needs and liking if you plan to stay in place during this pandemic and minimize travelling. They are very flexible, reasonably priced, and offer plenty of space. They also come in a range of options so you will definitely be able to find one that will suit your needs. After the pandemic, you’ll also be quite ready to resume travelling.
Highly customizable, with plenty of floor plan options
There are various weights and lengths available depending on your preference
They’re more affordable than motorized RVs but offers just as much or even more space
Easy to tow and are welcome in most campsites
We can’t find many cons, except the disadvantages of trailers in general, compared to motorized RV:
Having to tow a trailer, of course
Having to be aware and careful of tail swing
They’re a bit difficult to maneuver in narrow roads
No driving in reverse, almost
Think conventional trailers but bigger and with an ‘extra forehead’ in front. They are extremely similar to conventional travel trailers in many ways, But the biggest difference is that fifth-wheel travel trailers have a gooseneck connector which allows them to have a raised front section (this ‘forehead’ thing). This provides an extra living or storage space. In addition, fifth-wheels are also usually larger than conventional travel trailers. Some even have two-level floor plans that are extended through a hydraulic system.
Fifth-wheel trailers are hitched on a flatbed or pick-up truck with a gooseneck connector. Compared to the regular hitch point of conventional travel trailers, the gooseneck rig is actually more stable. Fifth-wheel are still easy to tow despite the size because there is more leverage from the center of the vehicle. This same setup also has a stronger connection and is more maneuverable. This makes towing big, big fifth-wheel trailers possible, even for the inexperienced in towing trailers of their size.
The fifth-wheel travel trailer gets a huge thumbs-up from us. With it’s massive space, it can even rival Class A, bus-type RVs. You’ll have comfy furniture and complete amenities that will feel just like a home. What’s more, a decent truck + fifth-wheel are actually cheaper to maintain than a Class A.
Living in one feels just like home
Lots and lots of space
Very secure hitch connection
The ‘forehead’ or overhang is cool
Less maneuverable in tight spaces – in fact, if the driver is not very experienced and not under the guidance of a more experienced driver, we advise to avoid tight corners and spaces as much as possible.
Having a truck is necessary
Not fit for smaller campsites
Toy haulers earn points for the most kickass name. They are the trailers for the ultra sporty outdoor enthusiast who’s fond of their big toys. Sometimes also called sport utility RV trailers, toy haulers are often towable RVs that combine travel trailers with sports equipment utility vehicles. Converted fifth-wheel travel trailers are more common and arguably much more convenient but they can also be motorized RVs (not common) or converted travel trailers.
So in essence, toy haulers are not actually a completely separate category with a specific look, rather, they are grouped together because of a common use and purpose. In addition to being residence vehicles, they double up as transport trailers. They usually have spacious extra compartments for hauling various gears, tools and sports equipment.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, toy haulers were the perfect RV for outdoor enthusiasts who also needed a way to transport their toys like surfboards and bicycles. Some even have a built-in garage for a boat, ATV, jet ski, motorcycle, snowmobile, golf cart, etc. These toy haulers are often equipped with custom-built, heavy-duty doors that are then used as a ramp for loading and unloading the vehicles.
The hauler part of toy haulers aren’t really much use right now if you plan to shelter in place during the pandemic. Although bikes and motorcycles are still useful for a little cycling in nature or going on errands. Of course, if you have a snowmobile, golf cart or pontoon boat, it would be a better idea to leave them at a garage or dock somewhere if these recreational activities are not allowed in the area where you plan to stay.
Ideal for people who want a way to transport or store their big toys with them
Depending on the size of the toy hauler and your sport gears, equipment and garage, it can get cramped
You’ll need a powerful tow vehicle to transport heavy equipment
There you have it, everything you need to know when making such a tough decision. What type of RV do you think is the best one for you? Did your opinion change after reading this guide? Have we helped you make up your mind? Share your thoughts in the comments!