Monday, December 4, 2023


So this is what it’s like to downsize, huh?

With some sadness and a slight relief, I watched my beautiful 40’ Foretravel diesel pusher motorcoach roll off over the horizon toward its new home. I wasn’t expecting the mixture of melancholy and unbalance that I was feeling after owning that coach for many years. But there was no getting around the fact that selling the coach was the right thing for me to do at this juncture. It was time to downsize.

From this…

A few hours later, the blues gave way to a sense of hopeful excitement as I forged ahead with downsizing research, choices, and decisions. I had been inching toward this moment for months, as I wrote in a previous article on downsizing. Today was the start of a new adventure.

Finding the right RV to downsize to

After a couple of weeks, I had chosen and then rejected many smaller RV options and compiled a short list. Then I winnowed down further once I confronted some realities of today’s RV industry that I had only considered in the abstract earlier, namely that there is a shortage of RVs!

There is a shortage of RVs because RV manufacturers cannot build them fast enough to satisfy the current demand. The tight RV seller’s market and concomitantly high prices, and dealer price rigidity resulted in my crossing several highly desirable RVs off my list.

A towable it is!

I had decided on a new towable and spent days calling and messaging dealers, only to realize that I was setting myself up for either (1) a long wait for delivery, or (2) buyer’s remorse for paying too much for the RV in an inflationary market. As a diversion from what was becoming a frustrating search process, I hit the “reset” button on my search to include some designs and brands that I had previously dismissed as either too small, not readily available, or otherwise unsuitable. I included some “fiberglass shell” trailers in my survey. I was drawn down this avenue of inquiry by happening upon an ad for the Oliver Travel Trailers. Due to demand, plus very high build quality, the Oliver is expensive and scarce—buyers are waiting eight months to a year for a new one. That’s how I discovered Casita Travel Trailers. Like the Oliver, the Casita, too, has a cult-like following, and there is high demand, resulting in long waits for delivery.

Consider a used RV to downsize

As I pondered all this, it occurred to me that I had not adequately considered the used market. Upon doing so, I found that most of the small number of Casita Spirit or Freedom models available on the market were hundreds if not thousands of miles away, predominantly in the south and along the East Coast. I found a suitable preowned Casita a few hundred miles away and arranged to travel to it. On the morning of the trip, I checked my Casita Facebook pages and websites, and during the night, a Casita, ten years newer than the one I was going to see, was listed for sale less than two miles away! I canceled my trip, contacted the seller, arranged to inspect the travel trailer, and bought it.

To this!

Well, for better or worse, I was downsizing.

My new home is radically different than my old one. It is maybe 200 sq. feet inside. Its design made it feel a little bigger than that, but it is certainly nothing like my cavernous Foretravel—that motor coach was so big, it had two (yes, two) icemakers. This tiny house has no ice maker and, to my surprise, is also short a gas oven in the range. Yikes! There is a microwave, but no convection oven! The massive oak cabinets, cupboards, overhead storage bins, and basement cargo bays were gone. Basement deep freeze, gone! Dual furnaces and air conditioners—gone! Gone, too, were the auxiliary air compressor and the 7.5kw diesel generator. I now have four storage cabinets about the size of a standard Kleenex box. It was a shock at first. And yes, I did, briefly, question my sanity. But I put that aside with the realization that this is downsizing.

The adventure begins…

Since acquiring the mini-RV, I have stayed busy organizing the camper, making it my home, and preparing it for the road. I am excited about what this downsize represents, e.g., far fewer systems, engines, appliances, and gear to maintain. I’ve replaced both main tires plus the spare for a hundred dollars less than each one of the six Foretravel motorcoach tires cost. I can now plan to stay in the hundreds of parks here in the West maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and Army Corps of Engineers. Most of these terrific campgrounds in the remote areas of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon are limited to RVs of 35 feet. The boondocking possibilities, strictly limited to asphalt-covered spots easily accessible by main highways, are now virtually unlimited.

Next week we embark on this next great adventure into the wild, and I will report from the road. 



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Drew (@guest_243489)
5 months ago

I hope you got a great price for that beautiful classic!

Bob P (@guest_243481)
5 months ago

We too downsized from a 38’ Mountain Aire set up like we wanted, to a 23’ Mesa Ridge TT. What a mistake, the MH was on a Workhorse chassis with the 8.1L engine and got 8.3 mpg(10 in FL). The Nissan Frontier we pulled the TT got 9.2 mpg pulling the TT. Not much savings moving from 38’ to 23’. The MH had 2 large slides the TT had one for the dinette. The MH had washer and dryer, the TT use the laundromat. Now the truck and trailer are gone due to gas prices, good riddance. Now we’ll motel it for awhile, but we still talk about our MH. Maybe some day in the future if that’s not to far away, we are in our 80’s now but still active. Lol

Jim Johnson (@guest_243457)
5 months ago

We have two RV TT’s. The pretty much stationary, 3-slide unit in which we winter, and a 21′ (including tongue and rear bumper) that we can (and do) tow with a SUV (80% of rated tow capacity). We love the small TT for up to a couple weeks at a time but the togetherness can get tiring, especially in poor weather.
I consider the small TT as marginal for much boondocking. Weight restrictions means a compromise on how much water, propane and battery you can have on-board. For us, that’s a single largish AGM battery, a single 20 lb propane tank and 15-20 gallons of water. A generator (carbon fuel or solar) will likely put you over the top, especially if you want more outdoor gear than a couple umbrella chairs. You will have to frequently tow back to civilization to replenish your infrastructure.

Fox (@guest_243450)
5 months ago

I truly believe you will grow to love it!

Sally Summerfield (@guest_241850)
5 months ago

We just did a similar thing. We sold our 44ft Newmar Ventana. Diesel with all the bells and whistles. I mourned it. Then we bought a 27ft Coach House. Tiny everything … especially storage, water tanks and bathroom. We prefer boondocking so we hope to find them more accessible.

Gregg G. (@guest_177161)
1 year ago

Sounds like a great adventure. We bought a 19′ inTech but Casita, Bigfoot, and Oliver were next on our list. Having a small RV has lots of upsides… Storage is a solvable challenge. Many safe and fun travels ahead!

Sharon Branson (@guest_177051)
1 year ago

Oops! Accidently flagged a comment

Sharon Branson (@guest_177056)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Branson

Fat fingers! My apologies!

I’m following your experience… very interested in your thoughts and comments from towing, campground activities, storage etc. My husband and I are both shorter in statue and I know as we age traveling will be more of a challenge. Love the idea of a Casita but hubby not so much!
Please comment after every trip…thank you!

Randall Brink (@guest_177130)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Branson

Thank you for following. I will do my best to report regularly.

cbpitt (@guest_177006)
1 year ago

“My new home is radically different than my old one. It is maybe 200 sq. feet inside.”

No, sorry, not even close. If the overall length is 17’, including the tongue, that leaves you with about 14’ of actual camper length. The Casita website shows overall width of 6’8”. This gives you a camper body footprint of just over 93 square feet. Deducting for the thickness of the walls, and the fact that the Casita campers are fatter around their horizontal center, the actual floor square footage will be less than 93 square feet.

Randall Brink (@guest_177131)
1 year ago
Reply to  cbpitt

I knew it was small! Thanks.

Leslie Pederson (@guest_176942)
1 year ago

We downsized to a truck camper from our 40’ fifth wheel. It is quite a shock but we have adjusted quickly to our 100 square feet. We travel so many more places, relaxed and without reservations. Best thing we ever did. We’ve been full time traveling for 6 years.

bill (@guest_243498)
5 months ago

A 12′ camper will max at about 45 sq/ft of floor, less if no slide
But you should be able to go to many more interesting places.

Neal Davis (@guest_176777)
1 year ago

Well, you downsized, but certainly did not downgrade with your move from Foretravel to Casita. We are undertaking a move in the same direction, but far less extreme. We are going from a 43′ DP (2016 American Revolution) to a 36′ DP (2022 Newmar New Aire).

Your move certainly will add hundreds, if not thousands, of additional campsites that your new rig will fit into. We don’t yet know how many additional ones we’ll fit, but are hopeful that the number is in the tens if not hundreds. At the very least we can now get into one of the campgrounds at Denali (if we can get a reservation).

I hope that you will write about your transition further. I suspect we will be able to learn much from whatever you share. Our new rig will not come off the assembly line for about 4 months, so your experiences will give us time to form more realistic expectations for life in 7 fewer feet (and one less commode 🙂). Thank you for writing and sharing!

Randall Brink (@guest_176861)
1 year ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Thank you! I do plan to tell the story of the downsizing experience in detail in the weeks and months ahead.

Neal Davis (@guest_243918)
4 months ago
Reply to  Randall Brink

Thank you, Randall! 🙂

Sally Summerfield (@guest_241851)
5 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

We had 2 Newmars. You will not regret it. Wonderful company

Neal Davis (@guest_243917)
4 months ago

Thank you, Sally! Yes, almost 1 year into owning our Newmar, we agree. It is very well made and the techs at Nappanee have been exceptional. 🙂

Ellie (@guest_176747)
1 year ago

It bothers me that you say you now have four storage cabinets the size of Kleenex boxes. I realize you are trying to be funny, but your joke gives Casitas a bad name. I count 12 cabinets and a closet in my Casita Spirit and every one is larger than a Kleenex box by far! 14 years of traveling in it and we seem to get by without an ice make just fine! I am sure you will too! Enjoy all the small hidden away places you can now camp!

Rey L. (@guest_176862)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ellie

Prevailing woke-ism perhaps? 🙄

bill (@guest_243499)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rey L.

Weird reply😐Rey. Most of us wake up and smell the roses when talking about RVs.

Randall Brink (@guest_176863)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ellie

Ellie, I certainly meant no disparagement of Casita. You’re right, I was attempting to be funny. I love my Casita, and I have never met a current or former Casita owner who did not love theirs. Like most new “Egg” dwellers, I did a lot of research on various designs before reaching a decision, and you are absolutely right–Casitas are very well designed and built, and no other small towable makes better use of the space.

Robin Newcomer (@guest_176701)
1 year ago

We too are members of the Downsize Club. We moved from a diesel four-slide 41-foot Phaeton (which over 10 years had been filled with enough “stuff” to fill a 1-bedroom apartment) to a gas two-slide 32-foot Jayco Class C that demands I carefully consider what I “must have” when traveling. Turns out the Greyhawk is spacious enough for all of us (two adults, three dogs) to live comfortably when traveling–and, best of all, I usually drive (something I never did in the Phaeton (hubby put 93,000 miles on it, all by his lonesome!). In our smaller cabin-on-wheels, we are still happy campers.

Don (@guest_176698)
1 year ago

Since you say “home” rather than RV or Camper, I assume you’re full-timing? In which case this is a HUGE downsize. Will be interested to see how it goes. But you’re consistent in your color schemes, anyway… 🙂

Randall Brink (@guest_176865)
1 year ago
Reply to  Don

Yes, the Casita would have looked right at home being towed behind the Foretravel!

I am looking forward to this transition in the months ahead and will report from the road. I am very hopeful that this downsizing plan works out!

Jesse Crouse (@guest_176696)
1 year ago

We presently have a 2006 Tiffin 40QSH DP. We trial/show our dogs and have cut the #’s in half. We carry all the trial “stuff” as we often help/run a dog trial. Also have a Wrangler in tow. Previously had a 34V Bounder gasser for 14 years. If we down size are looking for a 30 ish size motor home with a diesel capable of towing the Wrangler. Also used/ broken in so not looking to buy new as they are generally crap and over priced. Yes, we are picky. Has anyone seen such an animal?

Randall Brink (@guest_176867)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Jesse, I know how difficult it is, prospecting in the “30+” DP arena. There are some drawbacks to a coach of that length, but some major advantages as well. Best of luck in your search!

Andrew (@guest_241773)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Isata 5 from Dynamax 6.7 Cummins diesel. 10,000 lbs tow 30’

BILLY Bob Thronton (@guest_176692)
1 year ago

Sign of the Times… Putula Clark

Susan Banks (@guest_176690)
1 year ago

I have a 2017 AS Fc. Systems are pretty simple. The fanciest is the tank monitor which really does not work, so I keep a mental total of in and out. :). I think comfort and simple just make for a nice experience. We do not even fill the available storage.

Mike Hancock (@guest_176687)
1 year ago

We started with a Casita and loved it. When we decided to go full-time we upgraded to a 21 foot Escape fiberglass trailer made in Canada. We love it even more.

Randall Brink (@guest_176868)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Hancock

I, too, looked at the Escape. My particular situation was such that I could not wait out the extended time to delivery currently prevailing. The same was true of the Bigfoot 17′ another very fine coach.

Sharon Branson (@guest_177058)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Hancock

Mike, does the Escape have a covered underbelly?

Jerryc (@guest_176685)
1 year ago

Welcome to the cult of molded fiberglass trailers. You will never go back. We’re on our second Casita, selling the first for what we paid eleven years earlier. They are wonderful little rolling homes.

Randall Brink (@guest_176870)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerryc

So I have heard Jerry, from everyone I was able to talk with during the search.

Cheryl V Clark (@guest_176661)
1 year ago

We downsized to a new (back before the waitlist era) Casita Liberty Deluxe in 2018 and never looked back. We love it. Sure, I had to adjust my cooking, and we certainly pack lighter now. We made a couple of modifications, like a full-size shower curtain. We’ve re-discovered the fun in camping and traveling. It’s less stressful pulling our little Casita. Bonus: we rarely have a problem getting a site because our small rig fits in almost any size campsite.

Laurie (@guest_176658)
1 year ago

We downsized as well, from a 42ft 5th wheel to a slide on top of our pick up camper. Talk about a change. It is much easier to travel and he can camp just about anywhere now. We have learned to respect each other’s space and we have a place for everything. It’s really not too bad. It feels more like camping.

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