We spent many months researching the perfect rig for us and really struggled with what "perfect" really meant. It's funny that everyone you talk to knows exactly what you need, and they all have a completely different suggestion. Ultimately there were many factors that influenced our decision in choosing not the perfect RV but perhaps the perfect one for us right now.
Which Class to Buy?
I was torn because I had a Jeep Wrangler, which I loved, and that caused me to lean toward class A or class C motor homes. However with 2 little girls, and planning to travel full-time we fell in love more with the layouts found in travel trailers and 5th wheels. Being our first rig after downsizing from a 4 bedroom 3 bath home, a more roomy 5th wheel would also offer the easiest transition. Our lifestyle over the first couple years on the road will keep us in one area for a few months followed by a month or so of travel, then rinse and repeat. Due to this, we knew we would love a 5th wheel when staying in a campground for 2-3 months, but would much rather have a motor home during the month or so of traveling in between. With more sitting than staying, the 5th wheel won that contest.
What Could We Spend?
Another decision we made was to begin our travels while still trying to sell our home. Due to this additional financial burden and responsibility, we also wanted to keep the cost of our new rig as low as possible. Shopping for rigs that were in the 3 to 10 year old range allowed for us to get much more for our money. RV depreciation is so high in the early years that buying used was only logical at this stage. Had we sold our home before purchasing we would have likely been in the $50-75k budget range, but with the home and everything that came with it; utilities, insurances, taxes, HOA fees, etc., we set our budget at no more than $25k. Still, we were able to find many options within that price range which made shopping a challenge.
What Size RV Did We Really Need?
There are so many considerations when looking at RV sizes; campground restrictions, tow vehicle required, difficulty hauling, fuel consumption, and on and on. We aren't huge fans of the traditional bunk room floor plans but many great plans have come out in the past few years that include mid bedrooms or dens, some with loft bunks. These plans however are no more than 3 years old and virtually all of them are in the over 40 foot range. We really would like to migrate to a rig that is under 30 feet at our 2 year mark because after that we plan to be staying no more than a week at any given destination. However for right now we felt that under 35 feet would still give us a lot of comfort while still being a good fit for all of the considerations listed above.
Our Ultimate Find
We stumbled on a Wildcat 323QB which is a Forest River brand. This model was an accidental find that reversed the traditional bunkhouse layout by placing the master in the rear and the bunkhouse up the stairs in the front of the RV. This provides a couple of benefits, first there is less movement on the lower level, and second the rear of the RV is generally quieter than the front in back-in slips at campgrounds. We also loved the window and glass in the door separating the master from the living area, allowing the space to bring in much more light and view if wanted. The design offers a very flexible space and we instantly saw opportunities for ways to personalize it to make it feel like our own. Check back in soon as we upload additional photos and share the progress as we begin to remodel the interior.