GoLife's Top Tips for Choosing an RV

Our contributors' best advice for deciding on a rig.

Brooke & Buddy Baum Brooke & Buddy Baum  |  11.29.2017

Deciding to buy an RV can be a very exciting moment, but trying to choose between all the many options can be extremely overwhelming. Luckily, you aren’t the first person to be in this dilemma. Throughout the years, our helpful WinnebagoLife contributors have shared many insights into how they chose their rig. In this article, we’ve compiled their best suggestions to help you decide which RV will work best for your lifestyle.

For more tips on choosing the right RV and a tour of some of Winnebago’s options, check out these videos from Winnebago’s Facebook Live event that took place Nov. 27 – 29.

Drivable or Towable?

Deciding whether or not you want to tow your RV is often one of the first decisions to make. Travel trailers and fifth-wheels can be more affordable, ideal for short-term travel, and often more spacious than Class B and C motorhomes. However, it is important to make sure you pick the RV that will work best for you, your family, and your travel plans.

Top considerations:

1. Cost. which includes upfront price, maintenance, and depreciation. It is also important to add in the cost of a vehicle that is capable of towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel, if yours will not.
2. Maneuverability. While most motorhome owners feel like there wasn’t too much of a learning curve for driving – especially in Class B and C rigs, getting used to towing a trailer or fifth wheel can be a challenge. However, learning to tow just takes some practice and patience – which may be a small task compared to the savings.
3. Space. This varies greatly depending on which models you are looking at. A Class A motorhome will likely have the most space. However, a travel trailer is probably roomier than a Class B van. Deciding how much living and storage space you need is key.

Helpful Comparisons:

Travel Trailer vs. Class C Motorhome: After having both a travel trailer as well as a Class C motorhome for full-time travel, Brittany & Jordan Griggs say that their top considerations were cost, frequency of use, accessibility and space. Read their article for more insights and reasoning for choosing a Winnebago View.

Class B Van vs. Compact Towable: Damon and Ashley Bungard spent time in both a Travato and Micro Minnie trailer and found pros and cons of each. Read their thorough review for help assessing these two options.

What size motorhome?

If you’ve decided on a motorhome, the next step is to narrow down which class of motorhome is right for you. While many people may think that the Class Bs and Cs are reserved for single people or couples, many families make them work as well – it just depends on personal preference.

Top considerations:

1. How will you use it? Some motorhomes are easier to go adventuring with than others. If you want to take your RV to epic places, the Class B vans are known to be the most mobile when it comes to driving in cities and off-road. (Watch Russ Garfin test out the Travato’s mobility here and see the amazing places the 4×4 Revel can go in this video.)
2. Who will you take with you? If you are bringing kids and pets or occasional guests, you may want more space for everyone to sleep, hang out and store their things. If you don’t need much room, maybe a smaller space can help you keep life simple.
3. How often will you use it? Having a small space to live in on a weekend adventure may be completely different than deciding to live full-time in a smaller motorhome. However, some people thrive on that challenge!

Helpful Comparisons

Class B vs. Class C: The Holcombe family thought their View was the only RV for them, until they tried out the new Revel 4×4 van. Read about their first experience in the Revel and why they love it.

Class C vs. Class A: The Royals – an adventurous family of 6 – decided to downsize from a Class A to a 23-foot View because it made it easier to find campgrounds at national parks, drive, get gas, and stay organized (because they couldn’t bring as much stuff). Read more about why they chose a Class C for full-time travel.

The Herzogs have had multiple different RVs. And while the 25-ft Via made for a great couples adventure mobile, the added space and features of the Adventurer made them feel like “road royalty” once they were a foursome. They share their experiences in this article.

Longer vs. Shorter: Heath and Alyssa Padgett love Class A RVs and felt that upgrading to a 33-ft Brave gave them the additional room they needed to live, work and travel in their RV – they even have friends and family come visit without any issues! Read why they love their Brave.

Other Important Considerations

Once you’ve narrowed down which type of RV is best for you, it is time to get to the really fun part. Choosing which floorplan suits your needs best and which features are most valuable to you.

Layout: Depending on how many people and pets you are traveling with, certain floorplans might automatically be out. If you have kids, a bunkhouse floorplan might work best for your family, like it did for the Toste foursome in their Vista. However, the loft setup in some of the Class C models seems to be well-loved by kids as well.

Yet, many single travelers, couples and small families rave about the perfect size of Class B vans. Read why the Heymann threesome loves their van  and why Damon Bungard thinks the Travato is the perfect adventure-mobile for him and his wife.

Features: When it comes to features, they can range from seemingly small upgrades that make a noticeable difference (like a Truma water heater) to aesthetically pleasing upgrades that just make you feel a bit more fancy (like in Winnebago’s new Horizon).

Quality: As our GoLife Editor, Don Cohen, will happily tell you, making sure you are buying a quality RV is one of the most important assessments you will make – from the chassis to the finishes Read his complete assessment of his Navion.

Have more questions on choosing the best RV for you? Check out these videos from Winnebago’s Facebook Live event that took place Nov. 27 – 29.


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1 Comment

  1. Kenny & Sabrina Posted on 12.01.2017

    This is fantastic!! So much great info all in one place. We are often asked how to decide what style RV is the best and just like you say in the article, we tell them it really depends on what they are looking to be able to do with it. We will recommend this article to anyone who is shopping around for their next RV.