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Downsizing RV pros and cons. Is it now or never?

By Gail Marsh
I never thought we’d have this conversation. At least not for a few more years. My hubby and I are talking about downsizing our RV. I agree that our needs have changed and our reasons for RVing have shifted. But downsizing? Now? Really? How can you know the right time to downsize?

Here are some of our “positives to downsizing” now:

  • Resale values for used RVs are really high right now. That’s because lots of people have entered the RV lifestyle. This past year’s pandemic proved that it is possible to work from home, attend school virtually, and purchase a “home” that has all the amenities you need at an affordable price. Finding a private buyer for our RV would no doubt be easier than ever. In addition, many RV dealerships are so low on new RV inventory that they are paying top dollar for pre-owned units that are in good condition.
  • Owning a smaller RV would enable us to park and work on it on our own property. No more monthly storage fees! The ease of packing for our next trip would be wonderfully convenient, too.
  • Our kids have grown and gone. Sure, we take the grandkids camping, but only once or twice a year. We no longer require the sleeping space we have in our current rig.
  • Our lifestyle is changing, too. We no longer need the huge storage space in our current RV basement. In the past, hubby stored his construction tools in big boxes under our rig. Because we are easing out of construction-type work camping, we no longer need to haul around all those tools. A smaller unit with less underbelly storage would work just fine.
  • The cost of gasoline keeps going up and up. It takes more fuel to pull a big fifth wheel RV than a smaller one that weighs much less. Maybe we could travel more for less expense if we had a smaller RV.

Some of our “negatives to downsizing” include:

  • RVs are in high demand. That means a new RV may cost more, even if it’s smaller in size.
  • Dealership inventory is down. Would we find a quality-made, smaller RV that we really like? Or would we need to settle for a lesser-quality rig?
  • Would we be satisfied living in a smaller space for extended periods of time? Think smaller shower, smaller bed, less inside storage, smaller fridge, and more.

How about you?

Have you thought about downsizing this year or within the next couple of years? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

RELATED:

Moving from a “house RV” to an “apartment RV.” How do we downsize? 

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Full-timers: Husband wants to downsize RV; wife says no

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Herb & Kathy Baldwin
4 months ago

Gail, … first off let me say that I enjoy reading your posts. I admire that you can always seem to come up with pertinent topics and I like that your posts are an easy short read. I’ve found that if a post or article in a newspaper or online is more than a few paragraphs, or a video is more than about 10 minutes, I just move on.

Yes, we are in the very same situation as you. That is to say that we are starting to “think” about downsizing. For the last five years we have been workamping or volunteering in exchange for our site and utilities. The last couple of years, we have actually taken a “vacation” from that and stayed 3-4 months in an Escapees RV park in Arizona. But now we’re starting to look at a “no work” lifestyle and we’re toying with the idea of selling the diesel 36′ Airstream motorhome we have, buying a smaller towable, and the towing it back and forth from summers in Ohio and winter in AZ. Same concerns as you.

Gail
4 months ago

Let me know what and how you decide. It’s a challenge knowing what’s best.

Gideon Carl Turner
4 months ago

Already sold our 30 foot Class A, much more space than we needed. Could not
fine a replacement that that we liked. So we purchased a high roof extended van and it is currently being converted into a small motor home that fills all of our needs. All for under $100k. We will be hitting the road next month for a needed summer vacation.

ratetaco
3 months ago

Are you converting the high top or did you find someone else to do it? And what van did you buy?

rvgrandma
4 months ago

I would love to sell/trade my 2000 34ft motorhome for something a little smaller like 28 ft but I can’t afford it. So I will make due with the one I have. I live fulltime in it and now that my husband has passed hope to go back to traveling and possibly workamp.

Ellen
4 months ago

We’re in our thirteenth year of full-timing and on our second RV. We ended up parking our 38-foot fifth wheel and purchasing a 30-foot Class C for travel. We spend 8-10 months out of the year in the smaller rig and though it can feel a little tight when we catch several days of rainy, indoor weather, we generally love that we can get it in and out of places pretty easily, fuel up in more gas stations, and still have all the luxuries of home 🙂 I believe it’s all a matter of how you like to travel: do you you mind checking the heights of overpasses? Making sure you can get out of a parking lot? Limiting your choice of overnight campgrounds or RV sites? If so, going big (or keeping the larger RV) is no issue.

Dave
4 months ago

We take long, extended trips. A 5th wheel is great now, but in 8 years or so our age will dictate shorter trips and more simple RV lifestyle. Probably look at Class Cs.

Carson Axtell
4 months ago

The size of the rig chosen seems to be inversely proportional to the number of years of experience camping in a tent, or camping at all for that matter. Folks who get into RVing with years of camping experience realize that the size and capacity of the vehicle is not really determinative of the quality of the experience, whereas people who approach RVing with less experience seem to think everything including not only a kitchen sink but a bathroom sink are mandatory so they bring their entire house or condo with them…

Glenda Alexander
4 months ago

I’ve downsized twice: From a 1600 sq. ft. house to a 31-foot Bounder in 1992 and in 2006 from a 36-foot HitchHiker to a 26-foot Lazy Daze (which I still live in). Downsizing seemed only a little painful at the time but I don’t regret it. Of course, times were a lot different then. I think that making such a change now would be more difficult because of the higher prices and the quality issues.

Gary Gruber
4 months ago

We downsized a couple of times, upsized a couple and like Goldilocks, we think we’ve got it just right and hit on the ideal size for the two of us and our dog. We had the biggest, with 4 slide-outs, all electric and a 47′, yes forty-seven, the two extra feet added on by the original owner when it was built. It was a Newell with a 550 HP diesel. and we towed a truck. We had two other Class A’s a Class B, a Class C and a Lance travel trailer. We are now on RV #8, a 2019 Leisure Travel Van MB24. Downsizing is a good move. Be sure you have or can add whatever you want or need such as solar panels and with a travel trailer, probably a generator. Comfort, convenience, ease of towing, economy, and other variables need to go into the equation. Happy Camping!

Edd
4 months ago

Be sure to check all the regulations, deed restrictions, and HOA restrictions before planning on using a lot for an RV. It is getting harder and harder to find property where anything that is classified as mobile or temporary can be lived in for more than a week or two. It is getting more restrictive every year. I’ve never heard of a community changing the regulation to allow RVs in but plenty of counties are starting to restrict them.

Last edited 4 months ago by Edd
Martha Goudey
4 months ago

We started out small. Been living in a 17ft casita for 4-1/2 years. I love it…great little trailer with all we need. But I must admit, I’m chafing a bit. I want a more room. And then I ask why. Other than to store more stuff, we love towing it. We get into all the small spaces. Does great in the wind. Lots of light. It’s easy to maintain although we have had some bad luck. Water pump broke first year, then heating element in fridge, then converter. All outside vendors for Casita that should have lasted.
But Ben, being a very handy man, replaced them all. It’s a hard choice going either direction — smaller or bigger.

Vickie McClellan-Benson
4 months ago

Already downsized. It’s just me and the dog. I have no need to tow around a monster toy hauler any longer. Nor do I need more clothes than a second hand store. Same goes for shoes. Basic cooking necessities, plus a Wonder Pot since my little camper does not have an oven. Refrigerator? If it isn’t big enough, I have plenty of coolers to supplement that. I’m okay with a small bathroom as I’m small. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, air freshener and toilet paper is all I need there. I spend most of my time outside, so with an awning and a Clam shell for shade, I’m good. I don’t really miss the toy hauler. My little Skyline Boomer M2010 suits me fine and my truck doesn’t mind it either. Less cost for gasoline/diesel (I have one each) plus smaller campsites that I can get into/out of without taking out the trees.

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