The first decision all Full Time RVing people need to make is to decide if they are going to live in a 5th Wheel or Motorhome. My wife and I have actually have lived in both over the years and this is what we discovered about living and traveling in each one.
Motorhomes: (Photo is of my current Motorhome)
Motorhomes are for us the most convenient way to travel. If I don’t like a place and want, to move on, it’s just a push of a few buttons and drive off. However, there are some things that you need to consider.
First motorhomes come in both Diesel and Gas. They vary greatly by price and size along with carrying capacity. They also will require you to either have a vehicle that can be towed with all 4 wheels on the ground or you will need to get a dolly to put it on and tow behind you motorhome. The good thing about this though is no matter what you currently own, one of these two methods can be used and you will not have to purchase a new car or truck.
Motorhomes will most likely have much more storage space than a 5th wheel. It also is much more convenient for stopping at rest stops or parking lots for the night during long travels. You will also find what a lot of people like about them most is that the spouse can get up and make you a sandwich or drink while you are driving and not have to pull over somewhere first. The restroom and everything is accessible while driving to your spouse which in turn usually makes for a more enjoyable drive.
You will also find that with a motorhome you have more issues getting propane if needed. There tanks are mounted to the rig and thus cannot be removed to get filled. It is usually one large 100 gallon one where a 5th wheel will have 2 30 gallon ones that can be removed and filled about anywhere. In a motorhome you either have to take your rig somewhere to be filled or you can pay extra for delivery and have them fill it by coming to your campground. Our motorhome though is actually all electric and has no propane tank so there are options that you can get that will allow you to avoid this problem.
5th wheels now have a floor plan that is a lot homier looking. They still come with all the same features of a motorhome other than a engine. However, they take a few more minutes to set up and level and if it’s raining outside it may not be as much fun.
They also do not have as much outside storage. If it has a generator you usually will only have one big compartment as the generator takes up the other one. Also when slides are in, most things are blocked off for little to no access. They are less convenient for overnight stops at rest stops or parking lots because of this.
5th wheels also will require you to have a truck to support the weight of the one you choose. This can cause you to have to go out and purchase a new one. This is not always a big deal as 5th wheels are much cheaper than a motorhome so you hopefully still have a budget that allows this purchase. You also though will not need a tow vehicle with you to use when local driving around town as you have your truck.
5th wheels also are usually smaller in size from a Motorhome. This allows you many more campgrounds to choose from due to their space limits. Also very few state parks have room for the bigger motorhomes but can easily fit almost all 5th wheels.
This still comes down to a personal decision you and your spouse must make as everyone will have their own priorities or how they plan to travel and live while Full Timing. I actually think that if you plan to travel a lot from place to place a Motorhome is best, but if you plan to stay at each location for long periods of time then a 5th wheel is best.
Whatever you decide just go out there and enjoy the retirement life s you have earned it after the years of working.
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I was asked a few days ago by one of my blog readers, which is better, Gas or Diesel on a motorhome. Since I have only owned diesels I had to go talk with some of my friends that own Gas models and discuss with them what they like and don’t like. As I have only owned Diesel’s I am a little bias towards those.
From my many discussions the first and most obvious was the power for climbing mountain and hills. I have driven the Colorado and Montana mountains and my diesel takes them like they are not even there. The gas models struggle a little but they are able to make the climbs without too much issue.
Diesel’s, you will find have the following concerns and advantages: they are usually larger motorhome so you have more room in them and due to the engine sizes do not have as strict carrying capacities as most gas models. They also will last much longer than 150,000 miles with little issues but if you have a gas model you may start with issues around the 60,000 to 70,000 miles range. This also effects your trade in value in the future if you ever plan to upgrade or downsize.
Photo is of my current diesel pusher which my wife and I drive. Its carrying capacity is well over whatever I could put in its storage bays. I even carry with me 4 steal scuba tanks, which anyone will tell you are not light in themselves.
Gas models are much cheaper in general than the diesels. So your budget will play a large part in any decision making you have. The diesels you also will have the added cost of adding DEF to your exhaust system every couple thousand mile or so where the gas doesn’t require this additive.
As I had never been in a gas model before, one of my friends took me for a drive and I did the same for him for comparison. We discovered that the Diesels are much more quitter in the front when driving due to our engines being in the rear and the gas is in the front under the driver. Also the gas model seemed to get warmer in the front due to the engine heat.
However, the gas model is much easier to have the engine worked on as it is in the front with easier access. The diesel are in the rear under the bedroom on most models so for most repairs the closet has to be taken apart a little to work on the top of the engine.
You also will find in floor plans that on most gas the door entry is mid vehicle and on the diesel it in at the passenger seat. Entry in and out is much easier on a gas as you don’t have to maneuver around the seat to get things in and out the door.
I found the consensus with all my friends that everyone but one that owned a gas model would change it for a diesel if they could have afforded the difference in price. The size and carrying capacity as a full timer is well worth the added costs.
I look forward to hearing from others as to what they think on this matter.
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