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Around the Campfire: RVers share their “RV envy.” Is bigger more desirable?

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What a discussion around the campfire a few nights ago! A gal with a small RV admitted she sometimes experiences “RV envy.” From there, the discussion exploded.

Adequate digs

Dean began, “We named our rig ‘Adequate’ when we bought her. She’s all we really need.”

Dean’s wife continued, “We’ve since shortened her name to ‘Addie’ and she’s been good to us. Twenty-five feet of travel trailer gets us into any State or National Park we want to see. She’s short and sweet!”

“And paid off!” Dean added.

RV envy: Bigger is better

“We’ve had small, and we’ve owned big. Big is better!” Ron smiled proudly. “I’d bet my last dollar that if other RVers could afford it, they’d buy a big rig too!”

Well…

After a quick beat of silence, some folks questioned Ron’s rationalization:

“A big rig can be hard to maneuver, especially in smaller and older RV parks.”

“A big RV also means paying a bigger tab at fuel stops, too. And what about insurance costs as compared to a smaller RV?”

“You’re overgeneralizing. A big RV may not be for everyone.”

Ron didn’t back down. “I still maintain that if you or anybody around the fire had the cash, you’d go big or go home, as they say.”

RV unease

Claire admitted, “I sometimes feel like a hillbilly when pulling into our assigned site right next to a big, new motorhome. It’s embarrassing.”

“I agree,” Sherie chimed in. “There’s a rig next to us with five slides. Five! While I’m envying all the space that must be inside, my husband is coveting the rig’s full-body paint job.”

Chas countered, “The view out your windows is the same that the big guys see. Isn’t that what RVing is all about? Seeing the country and seeing it your own way?”

Keeping up with the Jones’ RV?

Can it be that “house envy” has finally left for vacation? Has “keeping up with the Joneses” taken its show on the road? The green-eyed monster (envy) is always ready to pounce, no matter where you travel. Ron even admitted so. “I love my rig, but if I could afford it, there’s an even nicer rig I’ve got my eye on. Trouble is, it’s got a really big price tag, too.”

How about you? Have you ever experienced “RV envy”? Are there contentment strategies that work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Related:

Why go big? The case for owning a king-sized RV

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46 Comments
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William
21 days ago

We have owned the full spectrum of sizes. We started out in a 32′ 5th wheel. We then traded for a 40′ 5th wheel – too big. Down sized to a 36′ 5th wheel which was about the right size for us. We then went to a 40′ class A. It worked for us as we traveled the country. We now have a 32′ class C and it is the current “right size” for us. All of the RV’s we owned have worked for us. The key is to figure out what your life style is (which change with age) and settle down to just enjoy camping.

Willa R
22 days ago

I’ve full timed for three months at a time in my 20’ RV and I love it. It has a bed that becomes a couch, a kitchen and a bathroom with shower. I spend most of my time outdoors. I can park it anywhere you could park a pickup. It gets 16 mpg. If I traveled with one other person I’d probably consider 22’, but I’m not so sure about that.

Joe
22 days ago

In the end it’s about comfort. When I was younger I was comfortable in a tent sleeping on the ground, then I bought a cot and no more ground dwelling for me. As I got older a pop-up was more comfortable than a cot, then the trailer was warmer and cooler and accommodate my growing family. Now I like my washer and dryer, large shower and 50” TV in a 42′ motorhome with room for the occasional guest. At each stage I was happy to be out exploring what this country has to offer and that is the most important thing.

Debbie
22 days ago

Travel nurse, 61 yrs old traveling with her very first brand new 23 ft TT. Maiden voyage from home in Pgh, PA to Louisiana. I tend to lean towards laying my head on a clean, comfy bed that I own instead of renting a room in a strangers house or paying exorbitant hotel prices. Yes, it’s small but quaint. Easy to tow & maneuver with my Grand Cherokee. Being single, I am not sure a larger RV is in my future as it may be more than I am able to safely handle.
Most important to me is traveling in my TT has opened a whole new world of a variety of places I get to visit, NOLA, Gulf Shores & other places I have yet to see. I have made many friends along the way in the short time I have been doing this. Plus….every night here in LA I see the most beautiful sunsets…priceless.

Sandi Pearson
23 days ago

When we began planning to make our dream come true, we started by visiting RV shows. First thought was a bumper pull under 28 ft…then a Class C..then a Class A..then a Super C….then functionality, budget, and depreciation took over. What were we willing to spend and lose vs what did we really need to make our life on the road comfortable. We rented 3 different RVs to evaluate and learn what we liked, and ended up with a 2017 36ft Class A DP . It checked all our boxes, and depreciation is manageable. 18 months in, 17,000 miles and no regrets. Sure, I have RVNV for some of the shiny new coaches…like the roof rails, new colors, designs, lights, and fancy gizmos, (seemed to be around a lot of new Newell’s this summer…there’s lot to NV there) but our coach suits us fine…and its paid for 🙂
Now…if I win that big power ball…I might have a different story!

Bill
23 days ago

I’m ready to downsize the 39′ motorhome, my wife wants more space and more stuff. We have opposite opinions for the sticks and bricks. Inertia creates a happy medium.

Robin
23 days ago

I really love our camper trailer–Riverside White Water Retro 2017. It’s just 22 feet long, but for me it’s perfect! My husband wants something a little bigger, especially when he’s working from inside. I’m a little jealous he gets to be in there by himself so much. I don’t have to put away the bed to sit at the table and we can both get in and out of bed without climbing over the other. It’s not big enough to be gone very long, but we’re not full-time rv-ers anyway. So for our needs it’s perfect, and I’m not seeing us becoming snowbirds any time soon.

P Larson
23 days ago

We can afford a big rig but certainly don’t want one. Our 1999 Safari Trek 2430 is a Class A RV under 26 feet and is ideal for us. It lives like a 36 foot model with a big galley, living room a big bathroom because the queen bed stays up at the living room area during the day and motors down at night for sleeping.

Cee
23 days ago

It would be nice to make my bed from both sides of the mattress; reality is I have to be in the bed to make the bed. And I do a darn good job of it. But changing the sheets is a royal pain! I love my 25′ with 1 slide Class C, it’s like a studio apartment on wheels. I would consider upgrading to “bigger” or at least a bedroom slide for the convenience of changing my sheets but with the garbage RV’s the manufactures are producing and unreliable RV centers to fix them… I will keep my “little” RV

Wayne J
23 days ago

When we first started camping 25 years ago, we had a 19′ travel trailer pulled by a Ford Expedition and frankly went everywhere and discovered so much. We went fly fishing through the Rockies; fall leaf trips across the northeast and Canada, archeology digs in SD, WY and Canada; followed the Lewis and Clark re-enactment from St Charles, MO to the Salt Works and back; not to mention countless other camping trips. We never worried about full hookups, if the awning and slides would open nor did we get wrapped up in making reservations.
About 6 years ago, we upgraded to a 26′ travel trailer with 2 slides and a 3/4 pickup to pull it. It seems we now get wrapped up in reservations, type of hookups, will the slides and awnings open, etc. We miss our 19 foot, no slide out camper as it seems we no longer camp, but instead spend time living inside while missing out on the spontaneity of camping, exploring and growing. Less is more from our vantage point.

KellyR
23 days ago

We are travelers in our class B. We don’t envy others, but have had others envy our little B. Many have asked us about our B and what it has inside. On two distinct occasions we gave full tours of our B. The couples were interested in down sizing and wondered if our type of rig included the things they needed. Both were impressed with how much was packed into a small package.

MattD
23 days ago

If we were full timing, we’d def go bigger, but we’ll never give up our beautiful home on the river and our boat on the lake. So our 26′ OutdoorsRV is perfect for a month or so a few times a year. Easy to tow, back up and maintain, we’re dialed in.

DW/ND
23 days ago

Our first Rv was a 25′ Eldorado Class A, GM 454 gas.. We had it for about 6 years and after extensive modifications from the bath to a new custom instrument panel and numerous in-between upgrades I couldn’t find anything else to work on!! At that time we only had one grand daughter and our Dalmatian. The Eldorado served us well and taught me a lot about Rv’s!

I was looking for something larger like a 32′ class A gas. I found a 34′ class A w/GM 454 with the perfect floor plan; our Dalmatian had passed away (16) and our granddaughter now has blessed us with four great grands! So the 34′ was and is a perfect choice. It has also undergone considerable upgrades and “neat stuff” over the last 10 years or so. Both Rv’s were bought for cash and yes they were used – but returned to near new by extensive maint. and upgrades; and probably less hassles than buying new! Neither had or have any slides!

Neal Davis
23 days ago

Bigger not better for us. We just downsized from a 43′ DP with 1.5 bathrooms to a 36′ DP with 1 bathroom. Both had/have sleeper sofas, but traveling is a totally different story with 4 adults and 2 dogs in 36′ than 43′. Thankfully it usually is only 2 adults and 1 dog. The 36′ was much more expensive than the 43′, which was paid off fully. As you can guess, we really wanted to expand the number of spots our RV fits, and we did.

David Neal Cook
23 days ago

The size of a rig entails a huge formula. Are you going to live in it at an RV park for years and years, go big. Are you going to trailer it into tight boon docking spots. Do you want to unhitch go into town? Do you want to simple travel, pull over, start camping and get going in the morning. Weekend camper, full time, move daily, etc, all part of the formula. No RV can meet the needs of what RV’s are used for. So, when one is “mine is best”, it could be the worst hardware for another. For some, a van is perfect, others a truck and trailer, etc. And these huge rigs, I swear, the insulation R-factor in them must be R-2. A neighbor stayed in a fifth wheel after Harvey and both air conditioners were producing cold air, ran all day, never kicked off, and it was still hot as hell in the RV in daylight sunny hours. They probably have 3 AC units on them now.

Tom E
23 days ago

I’ve tent camped, pop-up, hybrid, small and medium TT’s, and now a 40 ft 5th wheel, never a Class A-B-C. We live 7-8 months each year in our 5th wheel. We tried it (for 1 month) in our 30 ft TT and that wasn’t enough room to live in let alone carry our “stuff” with us. I now have to plan our fuel stops and make sure the campsite is long enough for us and yes, wide enough for our 4 slides. We’ve discussed that once we get up in age and the 5th wheel & truck are too much to manage we’ll get a Class B+ or C. But until then, we’re very happy in our RV.

Spike
23 days ago

As we travel nowadays in our older 43′ Mountain Aire I sometimes have envy…of the folks with much smaller, maneuverable, simple, and less costly rigs! We love our rig, but nothing is perfect in every way.

One thing we’ve learned over more than four decades of adult RVing in many types of rigs and tents is that every type and style has advantages and disadvantages.

We’re currently starting the search for our next RV, which will be shorter, but everything we’ve been looking at is built like junk with massively excessive price tags, even brands that were previously known for high quality. Most are loaded with gadgetry and electronics we don’t need or want. The minimal warranties tell me that even the manufacturers aren’t confident in what they build. It will be a long search!

Jane
23 days ago

We have a 33′ Class A gasser. We spend about 5-6 months/year in it. It’s big enough and small enough. Best of all it’s paid for and we can store it on our own property. Peace of mind is the BEST. Having a 10-20 year loan just so you can have bigger is not peace of mind. Learn to be happy and appreciate what you have, it’s still a LOT more than what many people have. The view is the same whether you spent 500K or 20K.

Kevin C
23 days ago

I have owned everything from little travel trailers, 40′ toy haulers, my last 3 rigs, two of which were 40′ D.P.’s with 4 slides, to now owning a 33′ Gasser Southwind with just two slides. All have had their pro’s and con’s. I think the most important aspect of RV ownership is that you just have fun. No matter the rig, you’re out and about, relaxing and enjoying yourself. There is no envy here, I just love seeing everyone out living!!!!

Bill Brown
23 days ago

Envy, not at all. I’m in a little class B. It’s just me. I’ve had a camp manager refer to her ( Emmylou) as that little guy. Yea, but it has everything I need. Microwave, gas stove, shower, toilet, solar, generator, and a TV if needed.
I don’t have to worry about a parking space in the local grocery. It’s easy to drive, good gas mileage, 12 mpg, and I can go most any place to boondock.
I asked a guy with a big 5th wheel how long it took to set up, he said 1- 1/12 hours. Me 10-15 minutes max. Some guys can back their 5th wheel in anywhere, others not so much.
I don’t base my opinion of something by cost , but my guess is mine is up there with some of the biggest. In fact I don’t judge any RVer. I go by Kacey Musgraves “mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”
Enjoy!

Viv
23 days ago
Reply to  Bill Brown

These are my thoughts totally!

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