We have full-time RV’d since 2010 in two different fifth-wheel trailers. The first was a 2005 Rockwood 30’ bunkhouse model. It was a ‘one-year’ solution that lasted for 2.5 years. It needed a few repairs and the kids had outgrown their bunks, so we decided instead to look for a new home.
Second RV Goals
We had a short list of goals for the RV this time around:
- It had to be towable by our current truck.
We didn’t want go further in debt by having to purchase a new truck.
- It had to have more room for the kids
They needed a space where they could hang out, play instruments, stand to get dressed, etc.
- It should have an all-in-one bathroom
Our first RV had a split bathroom with the sink outside and right next to our bed. The kids would wake us up getting ready for bed after we had fallen asleep.
- It should be ~35’ long.
We wanted to stay nimble and able to fit in as many campsites as possible.
New or Used?
We bought our first RV used. The seller was a bit…weasily. We screwed up in not getting it inspected. The upshot was we had to replace the roof partway through our first year of travel.
We were a bit gun-shy about repeating that experience.
After putting together our list of needs and taking a look at the used market we decided to just buy new. The cost wasn’t that much more than a 1-2 year old model, we could option it the way we wanted, and didn’t have to worry about how the previous owners treated it. We also get the full factory warranties that don’t always extend to the 2nd owner.
What We Bought
- 2014 Wildcat 312BHX.
- Length: 34’
- Weight: 8200 - 9000 lbs (differences between marketing literature and stickers on trailer)
- Upgraded A/C
A no-brainer after trying to keep our rig cool in 100+ temps in California.
- 50 Amp service and 2nd AC prep
We’ve learned to do the “30 Amp Dance” between the toaster oven, heater and coffee maker so getting around that will be nice but this option was mainly about the second A/C prep. With the wardrobe slide in our bedroom we lose a window on the driver’s side, this will allow a powered fan in the vent and then a second A/C unit down the road if we wish.
- Ceiling Fan
Our current trailer has one and it’s so handy we couldn’t live without it.
- Freestanding table
Rather than the dinettes that don’t fit us (and that offer additional sleeping space we don’t need) we choose a freestanding table and chairs instead. A table will be easier to remove than a dinette if we decide we don’t like it.
- No rear bumper-mounted bike rack
Our truck has a roof mounted bike rack.
- No power rear stabilizer jacks
We like having a chore the kids can do while setting up and the power jacks are just one more thing to break.
- No tank heaters
We had them in our first trailer. They stopped working and we haven’t missed them.
- No outdoor fridge
This would take the place of some really nice kitchen drawers inside.
- No outdoor kitchen.
These look great for camping but for fulltiming just cost too much space for redundant equipment. We already have cooking tools for using outside, and our unit will still come with a small flip-out cooktop and sink.
Dealer Installed Upgrades
- Mor/ryde Rubber Pin Box
We’ve tired of the amount of feedback from the trailer to the truck on rough roads so are upgrading this trailer with the Rubber Pin Box to help smooth that out.
- JT Strongarm stabilizers
We’ve called the trailer jiggles the “youthquake” and want the next one to be more stable while setup so are ordering the JT Strongarms from and rear.
- Dual battery kit
We aren’t huge boondockers but I’d like us to be able to do two nights without power hookups so we’ll start with a dual battery system and see where we go from there.
- Powered vent fan & vent cover
Knowing how we like having fresh air in the bedroom we’re just having the dealer install a powered vent and vent cover up front right away.
- The 40’ TV
We don’t watch TV - getting our media online instead. I’m hoping to re-purpose the mount for an additional work monitor but regardless we don’t need the TV. We’re working with the dealer to trade this as credit on some of the additions above.
- Factory graphics
You can describe the entire RV industry’s graphic packages in one word: “Swooshes”. The colors and placement all change but they are all swooshes. They fade and peel over time. We opted for the clean no-swoosh look.