Our Second RV

 •  Updated 03/17/16

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)

Factory Options

  • 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.

Deletions

  • 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.

 

Our Second RV : The JT Strongarms

The JT Strongarms

Our Second RV : Mor/Ryd Hitch

Mor/Ryd Hitch

Our Second RV : First setup

First setup

Our Second RV : Both slides out

Both slides out

Our Second RV : JT Strongarms in Rear

JT Strongarms in Rear

Our Second RV : Interior

Interior

Our Second RV : Interior

Interior

Our Second RV : Interior

Interior

Our Second RV : Interior

Interior

Our Second RV : Kids bunkhouse table

Kids bunkhouse table

Our Second RV : Kids bunks

Kids bunks

Our Second RV : Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Our Second RV : Bathroom

Bathroom

Our Second RV : Future outdoor office

Future outdoor office

Our Second RV : Added shelves in pantry

Added shelves in pantry

Our Second RV : Added shelf in cabinet above counter

Added shelf in cabinet above counter

Our Second RV : Added shelves for dishes

Added shelves for dishes

Our Second RV : Paper towel storage

Paper towel storage

Our Second RV : Added shelf above fridge

Added shelf above fridge

Our Second RV : Hooks for coats

Hooks for coats

Our Second RV : Hooks for towels

Hooks for towels

Our Second RV : Floorplan

Floorplan

Our Second RV : Shelf in Nightstand

Shelf in Nightstand

Our Second RV : Shelf in wardrobe slide-out

Shelf in wardrobe slide-out

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2 Comments Our Second RV

  1. Picture of JenJen December 27, 2013

    This looks great.  We aren’t full time yet but are about to make that leap.  We had a 42’ bunkhouse that was huge and heavy that we loved but wanted to go shorter and lighter for much of the reasons you talk about.  We just bought our 2014 293REX this spring and are now having the full time discussions.  We’ve been debating about the need for a bunkhouse vs. modifying our living room to play the dual role.  We want to stay light and short which means the bunkhouse you just bought is one of the few that would meet our requirements. We also think we’d lose a lot of storage space and living space moving from the rear living to one of the 312 models.  How often do your kids hang out in the bunkhouse? Or do they really just sleep and change in there?  If we modify the living room, the plan is to put something like storage daybeds and curtains on the slides so they have some privacy.  The great debate of full timing with teens and space :)

  2. Picture of BoyinkBoyink December 28, 2013

    Hi Jen -

    They hang out in there a fair amount. They sit at the table with their laptop to watch movies, or they put the keyboard there to play.

    We are planning a few changes to make it more usable (basically taking the upper passenger side flip up bunk and cutting it back to a shelf for storage and some drawer units, but keeping the headspace above the table open).

    Looking at the 293 my gut feeling is that the total storage space is about the same just in different shapes. The 293 Pantry does look bigger, but then again we have some additional storage in the bunkhouse. Actually it’d be nice if there was a way the manufacturers could measure the total storage space to allow easier comparisons..;)

    Anyway, so far the 312 (with some mods like switching the couch for freestanding chairs) has been a good floorplan for us.

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