What RV is Right for Me?

We were tent camping at a family reunion near Lake Willard in Utah. The weather was beautiful and the kids were having a great time playing in the Lake. After tucking them into their sleeping bags, we settled down too after a long day in the sun and all the family reunioning we were exhausted. Several hours later a huge storm rolled in and tore our tent to shreds. We scrambled the kids into the van and tried to salvage what we could from the tatters of the tent. It was too long after that, we started seriously considering a different way to camp.

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing an RV. My family and I have owned tents for car camping, then we’ve had a pop-up tent trailer, a pop-up truck camper, a hard-sided truck camper, a Class C motorhome, and a travel trailer. Today, we own a twenty-seven foot travel trailer and a pop-up truck camper. I occasionally tent camp with girlfriends.

Below are some questions to ask to help clarify which features are important for you and your travel buddies.

Will this be used for weekends or longer periods of time?

The longer the trip, the more amenities you may want. I like the pop-up truck camper for one or two night trips close to home (we live near the foothills of Denver). We typically use it to get closer to trailheads, spend the night then hike the next day and head home. We take the trailer when we go fishing or take longer trips. Since my husband is self-employed, he sometimes needs to work. We set up an awesome work space in our trailer. See my other article about setting up an office space in a trailer.

How much money are you willing to spend?

I’m not a fan of buying new for several reasons. First, I couldn’t always afford it and I believe there are really good deals to be had in the used market. I can always change the color of the curtains or replace flooring for a lot cheaper than going new. We got a great deal on our Lance trailer (4-season). It was only two years old when we got it. We were able to pull out the jack knife couch and replace it with some foldable tables from Ikea and make a great workspace for longer trips.

Will your RV require a vehicle to pull it or carry it?

Trailers are great because you don’t necessarily need another vehicle than the one you already have, depending of course on what you want to pull. Pop-up tent trailers are lightweight and have their advantages. I could probably pull a small one with my Subaru. The disadvantage would be if you’re wanting to move camp frequently or want to sleep in it on a long road trip. The tent fabric does make it lightweight but it does not act as a good sound barrier. Whatever your neighbor is doing or however late they are doing it, you will know about it unless you opt for earplugs!

Motorhomes are great when you’re on the road. You can make lunch and snack easily, use the bathroom, and sleep overnight at rest stops with relative sound protection. Ours had a built in generator and was convenient to use in these situations. We drove from the Denver area to Seattle to buy a sailboat, trailered it down to San Diego and did some racing all while staying in the motorhome. The disadvantage was the maintenance and insurance. It’s one more engine that needs oil changes and the tire replacement can get expensive.

Camper vans (class B) are a bit out of my experience. My dad had a Chevy van in the 70s that he built in a bed and it had the quintessential shag carpet on the walls as well as the floors. I always slept out in a tent. For me, I want something I can stand up in and use an indoor toilet unless I’m in a tent. They are becoming very popular and did consider getting one before I got my pop-up truck camper but I didn’t want another engine to maintain and I already own my 2016 Chevy truck and can use it for other things.

How long do you want your rig to be?

Depending on where you want to go, the total length of your vehicle may prohibit you from certain campsites or roads. Going-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park has a total length limit of 21 feet, width of 8 feet and a height of 10 feet. We camped on the east side and had to leave our trailer at camp and come back over. To camp on the west side, we had to drive around the south of the park. Even if we had been less than 21 feet, many places would have been difficult to pull off and enjoy the scenery. There’s always a trade-off.

Final Thoughts

Although it seems expensive, renting the type of unit you think you want is advisable. You will be able to determine which features you really like/need and which you don’t. You may think that teardrop trailer is perfect and then find out you’re terrible at backing up short trailers or that you’d really like to stand up.

At this point, we have two RVs which I realize is an extra luxury! I view camping equipment like some people view shoes – one does not fit all purposes and therefore, having the ability to choose is has increased our ability to have adventures.

Blissful Adventures Was Specifically Designed for YOU (and here’s why)

As a nature lover and adventurer, it’s been disheartening to see what I feel are unrealistic images of the outdoor experience. The idea that the destination and the perfect selfie with the most picturesque background is the goal disappoints me and while I understand social media is a visual medium, I want a deeper connection to what I consume. As experienced as I am, it sometimes makes me forget that it’s the journey that matters. I’d like to create a resource for people who may not take (or want to take) the perfect picture of themselves to tout on social media. Some seek the conquest, I seek the peace that only being out in nature provides. I want a place where ideas, curiosity, and the anticipation of communing with outdoor experiences provides peace in a crazy world.

So I decided to build it. Let me explain the what’s, why’s, and how’s right now.

Blissful Adventures Was Designed for People Who Want to Explore Nature and Be Comfortable Doing So

For me, nothing is as satisfying as a challenging hike or a good day fishing on the lake. But it is the return to camp that offers comfort and rest. Finding the right gear to explore, spending a night or two or ten, and being prepared is my goal.

5 Things I Want To Help My Audience With

My blog exists to help adventurers have a positive outdoor experience with blissful comfort.

  1. Help make decisions about equipment that is right for their needs.

When it comes to traveling and camping, one size does fit all.  I have backpacked and tent camped as well as owned a pop-up tent trailer, a pop-up truck camper, a hard-sided truck camper, a travel trailer (both small and large-ish), and a Class C motorhome. There are things I wished I had known and would like to share this knowledge with others. I have resources to help you decide which option is best for your budget and your needs. Another consideration is knowing your personal skill level and creating experiences that are safe but also build your knowledge and skills. I also believe that “roughing” it doesn’t have to be rough and know ways to add comfort to your experience.

  1. Provide camping tips including checklists for different types of camping.

Each camping experience is unique and understanding the limitations of where you’re traveling to and what amenities, if any, are provided will help ensure and happy and successful experience. Since we have a travel trailer, a pop-up truck camper, and I still tent camp with friends, it important to be organized and know which equipment is needed for each type of trip. I have resource lists and checklists to help ensure you have the equipment you need for each type of trip. The way you pack for a week where you’ll be driving a lot is completely different from boondocking with no internet or electricity. These decisions are important.

  1. Place to Go including types of sites, benefits and drawbacks of each and resources.

While many people want to travel to the Mighty 5 in Utah or make the grand circle in the west, there are other magnificent places off the beaten path that are amazing and offer fewer restrictions and people. There are resources available to help plan either type of trip.

  1. Ideas for Organization and Food Preparation

Living in a small space has its challenges especially if the weather turns bad or you’ve forgotten some critical piece of gear. I have many ideas to share about organizing your space. In addition, food preparation can be made easy and fun if you know what to do. I have menus, recipes, and checklists to share. A little at home preparation will free you up to enjoy your food and camping experience with little at-site work and minimal clean-up.

  1. Cool gadgets that help make the outdoor experience awesome and comfortable.

Camping, hiking, and fishing require equipment. Having too many things can make it hard to stay organized, takes up a lot of space, and can be unnecessarily expensive. I’ll share ideas and products I’ve used over the years that have been impactful.