Another Round of RV Research

We visited Lakeshore RV in Muskegon today for a couple of reasons:

  • To just tour more RV’s to get a better idea of the options available
  • To bring the kids this time so that they might better imagine life on the road
  • To get some sample prices to give the bank, in order to get input on whether we can afford it

At this point based on what we imagine our requirements to be we are still looking at travel trailers (assuming a full size van as tow vehicle) or Class C motorhome (assuming some sort of 4WD toad).  We were a bit disappointed this dealer had very little in the way of motorized RV’s.  Their salesperson said he’d love to be able to sell them but the reality is he can stock 4-5 trailers for what a decent Class A or Class C rig costs.

In spite of only being able to look at trailers we still spent over 3 hours looking through them.  It’s amazing how much variety there is out there.  Overall we determined that we’re looking in the 28-30 foot range to get a trailer that we could realistically picture ourselves living in.  Add the front hitch “A” frame in and the overall lengths are in the 32-33’ range. 

We’re most interested in the bunkhouse versions, but still struggle to find an option where there are just two bunks with enough storage for everyone but also allow for a desk for me. It seems either there are only two bunks that share the rear of the trailer with the bathroom, or there are 4-bunk models where the entire end of the trailer is dedicated to bunks.  We did find a couple where one of the lower bunks had been swapped out in favor of a small dinette - which also looked re-workable into desk space. 

Here are a couple of floorplans that look workable:

The Keystone Outback 300BH:

The bunks are in a slide which adds a nice amount of room to the rear of the trailer.  We’d probably swap out the couch/airbed for a permanent bed, but once the slide is out there is a decent amount of room for a small workstation in the corner of the bedroom. Not sure about storage for kids clothes and stuff though.  I also note the slide has no windows - so would have to verify that the rear window is an escape route.

The Keystone Outback 301BQ:

This one has a small countertop in the rear bedroom that might work for a computer, otherwise possibly one side of bunks could be removed and that spot refitted with a decent size desk (but looks like at the cost of some outdoor storage).

Both of these models look to have a bit more kitchen counterspace than the average - which is none.  Not sure if the rest of the storage is enough - it’s hard to tell from the photos.

We also came across this one in our searches - a 2005 Ameri-Camp 31QBS.  It has two rear bunks that face a desk and drawers.  I’ve not been able to determine if the floorplan is still made.
Edit to add - Ameri-Camp is out of business.  $16K for a trailer made by a bankrupt company seems high.

There were other models and floorplans that looked attractive to us as well - but I don’t think we’ve been in one yet that wouldn’t take some re-working either for desk or storage space. 

If we go with buying new - there is also the option of having something custom made.  It’s been hard to find those kind of places on the web, so I will look into picking up a RV magazine where they might advertise.  Otherwise the prices we’re seeing on 2-3 year old models of these trailers aren’t significantly cheaper.  The book I’m reading about fulltiming suggests that travel trailers might hold their value better than a motorized RV and the prices seem to reflect that.  It’s not an easy decision - if we only save a couple thousand dollars but lose a factory warranty it might be worth just buying new.

It was a long day of climbing in and out of RV’s—Data remains excited about the idea of the trip, Miranda still not so much (although she did enjoy finding places in each RV where Burger might fit…). 

Cost-wise the price of a travel trailer and tow rig together still adds up to the prices I’m seeing on used Class C motorhomes though - so we still want to investigate those.  There is a dealer in Grand Rapids that has motorhome inventory so we’ll probably head over there this week.

After RV shopping we went to the mall in Muskegon where we were successful in finding winter coats, hats and gloves for Crissa and the kids. The day ended on a sour note however as we discovered I had left my glasses in one of the RV’s that we looked through.  Crissa has a haircut in Spring Lake Monday so will head back up to the dealer to see if they are in the first one or two that we looked at, but the odds aren’t good.  Past the first couple of trailers there is no way to remember which ones we were in - so I’m probably out a pair of glasses.


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