Many people dream about the opportunity to pack their bags and travel around the country full-time, and for some, this is a reality. We interviewed four full-time RVers about how they got into this lifestyle and what helps keep them going. Home with the Hoopers, Dirty Boots and Dark Coffee, The Gravel Travels and Teds RV Travels share their favorite features of their fifth wheel RVs that help make full-time RVing easier.
How Did You Get into Full-Time RVing?
Everyone can be inspired to pursue full-time travel differently. For example, the family from The Gravel Travels, Ashley, Todd and their two kids, first discovered other full-time RVing families online in 2015 but got cold feet. After watching Less Junk More Journey in late 2017/early 2018 they decided to jump on their opportunity. Christina and Justin, from Teds RV Travels, also became intrigued by the lifestyle after watching TV. They watched Tiny House Hunters and were inspired to transition to smaller living, but they still wanted to travel. They decided an RV was more practical and sold their house a few months later and hit the road.
Janelle and Andrew from Home with the Hoopers and Hanna from Dirty Boots and Dark Coffee both became full-time RVers by accident. The Hoopers were living in their RV while searching for land to buy and fell in love with tiny living. Once Andrew got a job where he could work remotely, they decided to hit the road and “currently have no end in sight!” Hanna and her family moved into their RV while searching for a new home and became enthralled with the idea of living on the road.
Is a Fifth Wheel a Good RV to Live and Travel In?
These RVers decided on a fifth wheel RV for their full-time life because of size, convenience, safety and comfort. The taller ceilings and overall size of a fifth wheel allow the unit to feel comfortable and more like home while on the road. Even though they are large tow-behind units, it is towed in the bed of a truck which allows for less swaying while driving and is easy to tow behind a vehicle.
What is the Transition to Full-Time RVing Like?
Transitioning to such a different type of lifestyle from what you have been living for so long can be exciting as well as a challenge. It can be hard to part with some sentimental items after having a house full of things. Trying to cut out a lot of your belongings to just what is needed and what can fit into your RV can be tough, but it is necessary. It can also get expensive when switching to full-time travel because of the cost of gas and maintenance. Christina and Justin were already telecommuting, so their work-life transition was easy. As for their personal life, they said it “became so much more fulfilling with new adventures and extended family visits.”
What’s the Best Part About Living and Traveling in an RV Full-Time?
There are many reasons why people who travel full-time love the lifestyle. Whether it’s the community you become a part of, the friends you make along the way, all the adventures or spectacular views you get when boondocking in unusual locations, everybody has a reason to keep traveling. Hanna and her family, from Dirty Boots and Dark Coffee, agree that the memories they have made, and the time spent together has been the best part. “Our daughter is only a year old, and we have already taken her to so many places…and seen her love for the outdoors take a real hold at a young age,” Hanna said. They love that their daughter gets excited about exploring the outdoors and they will always have these memories together.
Most Useful Accessories While RVing
Certain accessories can make your camping trips go much more smoothly, but what accessories are best for full-time living? The Hoopers say the best investment they have made for their RV is their tow vehicle. They purchased a 2019 Ford F-350 Dually because it could safely tow their vehicle and has a comfortable interior for long travel days. Other great accessories to have when RVing is a Wi-Fi signal booster and an onboard generator, especially for people who are working remotely or prefer to boondock. A portable air compressor is a handy tool to always have when traveling so the tires are always at the proper tire pressure. Ashley and Todd, ofThe Gravel Travels most useful accessory is their goose box hitch, “With air ride, it is so smooth and offers a lot of versatility when not towing.”
Best Kitchen Features in a Fifth Wheel
Cooking in an RV might be the biggest challenge you can face while camping. It is a much smaller kitchen and it doesn’t include all the features or appliances you are used to having while cooking at home. The Hoopers’ love being able to have a full-size oven in their kitchen. “Our current oven can fit a large casserole dish,” said Janelle”And it has been a game-changer.”
Having a larger sink and a full-sized refrigerator are other great features that make cooking in an RV just like at home. Some larger fifth wheels offer a large amount of counter space, which makes prepping meals or hosting friends easier. Ashely and Todd bring along their French press and it is their favorite accessory all the time.
Features in a Fifth Wheel Bedroom
The bedroom of an RV can sometimes be a tight fit, but certain features can help make it feel larger, more comfortable and offer more storage space. Adding a washer and dryer to your RV can make living there full-time much easier, so you don’t have to stop at laundromats, and spend more time exploring with family. Fifth wheels can also have nightstands, extra drawers and reading lights. The extra storage space is convenient for storing all your little things and offers easy access for the times you need them most. Having the ability to have a walk-around bed is something that many people might take for granted. In an RV, having that extra space makes the bedroom feel less crowded and more like home. Ashely and Todd own a toy hauler fifth wheel and decided to change that space to fit what works best for them. They were able to modify the lift system to accommodate a king bed which gives them extra space during the day to use that space for whatever is needed.
Larger Common Areas in a Fifth Wheel
Owning a fifth wheel means having a little bit more space to relax in the common area. They include comfortable recliner seats, TVs and more space. Some fifth wheels even feature a fireplace that adds just that extra touch to make it feel like home. If you have a toy hauler, the common area is even larger and can be used as a multi-use area such as extended entertaining space, workspace or even a workout studio. The Hoopers choose their floorplan because they wanted to, “truly be able to all be together and not on top of each other.”
Storage Space in a Fifth Wheel
The ability to have a lot of storage space is a plus for full-time RVers. Living in an RV means traveling with almost everything you own, so you can always have everything you need when you need it. Having more cabinet space is great for campers who love to cook and own many types of kitchen tools. Most people agree that large, pass-through storage underneath the RV is some of the best storage space. It can fit larger items that wouldn’t fit in the interior of your RV such as, kayaks, fishing gear or extra chairs. Christina and Justin even mention that there is too much storage in their fifth wheel, so they have saved time and money on investing in space-saving tools and features.
Best Fifth Wheel Exterior Features
Sturdy entry steps, auto level and large storage bays are some great features on an RV. Toy hauler RVs have the option to have an outdoor deck or patio providing a great exterior entertaining spot for campers. Hanna and her family own a toy hauler and love having their deck. “We also love our exterior speakers and our power awning,” she says. “It only takes a few minutes to set up our deck, turn on some music and put out the awnings and we have a great outdoor living space.”
What Do You Plan to Upgrade in Your RV in the Future?
Upgrading your RV comes along with the full-time RVing lifestyle. Some things need to be replaced or you discover you would like to have certain features. The Hoopers are interested in adding a bunk bed and extra storage under the bunk for the kid’s clothes. Hanna and her family are looking to upgrade a few things in their unit such as the couch in the living room. They would like a more comfortable and durable couch. They also want to add handrails to the exterior door and tread on the entry steps. Ashley and Todd want to add more lithium batteries and solar as well as upgrade the suspension system. Christina and Justin plan to purchase a generator so they have the option to boondock more.
Transitioning to full-time RVing can be a big change and might feel overwhelming trying to discover what you will or won't need and what can make your travels run more smoothly. The families from The Gravel Travels, Teds RV Travels, Home with the Hoopers and Dirty Boots and Dark Coffee have a bit of experience on the road and now know what works best for their family and want to share their experiences to inspire other families to hit the road.
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Are you interested in traveling full-time with your kids? Learn more about what it’s like to full-time RV with toddlers.
If you still have more questions about RVs, we answered the 10 most asked questions about RVs.