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Old 07-30-2015, 08:36 PM   #1
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Default Drivability: Long B+ vs Shorter C

Which RV would be easier to drive:

A 27’ 10” long, 7’ 9” (93”) wide "B+" or a shorter C at 24′ 11″, but one foot taller (11’ 3”) and 8 inches wider (101”)?

My wife and I are planning to spend at least a month or two at a time on the road with our three kids and large dog. Sometimes longer since Washington State is so far away from pretty much everything. We’re planning to travel like this for several years and without a toad. I think I'd get a Transit passenger van + a cheap travel trailer before I'd pull a toad.

I used a Phoenix Cruiser’s and Nexus C’s dimensions for this comparison.

Phoenix Cruiser 2552
Length: 27’ 10”
Ext Height with A/C: 10’ 1”
Exterior Width: 7’ 9” (93”)
Wheelbase: 206”

Nexus Phantom 23 P
Length: 24′ 11″
Ext Height with A/C: 11′ 3”
Exterior Width: 8’ 5” (101”)
Wheelbase: 158”
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:03 PM   #2
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Aren't your two under consideration both cab chassis designs that are Class Cs? I don't know much about either, but it is clear to most no Class C has the drivability of a Class B van camper based vehicle. The B+ moniker is a deception marketing gimmick. Citation calls one of their 32 foot long Class Cs a B+. Neither can be substituted as an every day driver you would hope to go anywhere with them compared to vans. I think you should take your whole family and look at them. That will tell you more than any advice you could get here I would think.

If I had three kids I would be looking at trailers and a big 3 rows of seats SUV to pull it if talking about lots of time on the road. I actually had three kids. At the time they were home we could never afford any RV. We tent camped mostly on weekends battling the rest of the family hoards for campground sites. It is a lot worse today I think. Internet booking reservations fill campgrounds earlier now and usually before you think about or knowing when you can be getting away. My son is experiencing that problem now with his family.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for weighing in Davydd. They are both class C designs despite Phoenix Cruiser’s B+ designation. Their longest motorhomes are truly odd creations. Pulling a trailer probably is the sensible solution for most people. It’s certainly the economical solution. I’m just not sure it would work best for the way we intend to travel.

We haven’t driven a C yet and will definitely be spending some time in a rental before buying.

Last fall we spent a month traveling to the east coast and back with 3 kids (but no dog), living out of hotel rooms with the occasional camping using our 13’ Scamp. Even if we’d had a trailer long enough for everyone to sleep in, I think I would have still preferred a motorhome to a trailer. I imagine a 24-25’ C would be easier to maneuver than a long SUV + trailer. Pulling a trailer would also leave us needing to find places to safely leave it which would interfere with traveling (lumbering? waddling?) along wherever and whenever we want to.

I would also be less comfortable making quick overnight stops at places like Walmarts, etc if driving away meant exiting the trailer with kids in tow before we could drive away. With our 130 lb mastiff mutt exiting first, we probably wouldn’t have any problems but I still imagine traveling via motorhome would be easier.

We already live in the woods on acreage, so we’ll spend more of our time traveling towards civilization rather than trying to get away from it all like most RVers do. I also have to avoid the sun for medical reasons, so our traveling will be more like traveling with a portable office/hotel room rather than making camping more comfortable.

So I guess the heart of my question is: Given that Class C’s are unwieldy going down the road, in parking lots, etc. Is it worth picking a C that is 8” narrower when the tradeoff is 3’ of extra length and greatly reduced storage space?
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:57 PM   #4
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You are going to need all the space you can get. Wider might be better. You don't want an RV with constricted space with 5 people that might have to shuffle to get by each other. A true Class B van would definitely be out of the question. Can you sleep 5 in those Cs? Ignore those dimensions. Go by actually looking at them with the whole family. With all of you together things can become more apparent. Look at storage. Your water and waste tanks are not going to be big enough for 5 people so you will most likely be tethered to campground more often than you think. Are there safe seats for 5 people underway on the road?

Campgrounds close to metro areas are always more expensive. That is one consideration that led me to SUV and trailer. Hub and spoke travel makes more sense. You can camp strategically rural and do day trips in an SUV you can park anywhere. That would be more similar to staying in hotels or resorts. Trailers also seem to be designed to sleep more people. Also, at a hub (campground) not everyone has to pile into the SUV to run to a store or do other errands or trips.

Walmart gets all kinds of RVs from long trailer to 45 foot diesel class A pushers that usually pull a toad to people sleeping in subcompact cars. You could also look at Class As. They say Class Cs are safer but that is really only for the two people seated in the crash tested cab space.

You have a lot of things to think about.
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:16 AM   #5
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We definitely have a lot of tradeoffs to consider. Fortunately we have some time yet since we still need to build a garage. Living in the forest, we’re surrounded by rodents who love nothing more than tearing up cars and breaking into homes. I shudder to think what they’d do to a RV stored in a carport. We’re also planning to take at least a couple of trips in rented RVs so we can figure out what does and doesn’t work for us.

My wife and I have spent some time in a few of the shorter Cs. They definitely have enough sleeping for the five of us since the kids are only 9, 7, and 1. Storage would definitely be at a premium. I’ve never seen a Phoenix Cruiser in person but I suspect two sets of bunkbeds would be required for us to fit given their narrower body. Squeezing the dog in will be the trickiest part.

Tank capacities vary wildly and would likely have us spending a couple of nights a week in parks which would be useful for power and unlimited water for showers anyways. I’ve seen black tanks range from 20-35 gallons. I’m surprised manufacturers would put in a 20 gallon tank. Our tiny Scamp has a 9 gallon black tank which is just big enough to be useful but small enough that we try to avoid using it unless we’re planning to empty the tanks soon. I imagine traveling with a 20 gallon black tank would have us feeling the same way.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:59 AM   #6
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I'd go class C with the biggest tanks available. You will probably be adding bikes on the back as well so the 24' will grow by a couple feet before you're through. You will adjust to the width. Renting is a really great idea.
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:46 PM   #7
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I'll echo all the advice above.
Rent for sure, there is nothing like first hand experience. As Davydd said, bring the whole clan and some obvious issues will probably turn up.
I understand the skepticism over trailers, trailer camping is a whole different animal than Motorhome "camping". As Class C camping is a whole different animal than Class B.
We enjoy making sandwiches driving down the road, someone being able to take a nap in the back, use of the restroom while on the road etc etc, none of this can be done with a trailer. Roaming away from the campground and realizing you'd rather just carry on in a different direction is much harder to deal with when a trailer is involved... "Oh, lets just go check out this road" won't happen near as much if your towing a big trailer and worried about turning around. "were having so much fun here, lets just stay" (but the trailer is at the campground with all our food and sleeping gear) .. The list goes on and on.
I was pretty sure I wanted a C till I rented one for a couple weeks, and decided I need to stay with a van style camper. Though it was really great as far as comforts when in the RV, it just didn't go where I wanted to go. It was harder to park, and in my case I envisioned getting a whole lot less use out of it than I do with my Van (we do a lot of overnight and short weekend trips)
I don't believe Storage is really an issue in traditional Class C's; on our one two week journey, we brought everything we thought we could use (including 4 bikes and a mix of winter and summer clothing) and still used only half the available storage space! We weren't wanting for anything. (different story in a "B" ).
As far as the the handling, Davydd said it best; go drive whatever you are considering. Anything over 20-22' is going to take special parking considerations... Yeah, you may be able to get it in a parking spot, but its gonna take some effort and forethought, it usually does even with a van. Don't let anyone make you think losing 8" in width, or a foot or two in length (once you pass 21') is gonna make your "daily driving" life very much easier. They are big vehicles any way you measure...
One really nice thing about the newer Class C's is they drive great! I drove a Trend (which is akin to driving a long van) and rented that 23' Class C (Big oversized Box) on a chevy Van and even that was surprisingly stable, powerful, maneuverable, and peppy. "Just too big" for me was really the only complaint, and if your needing big... well... it's gonna be big.
That's the trade off.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:14 AM   #8
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We’ve been refining our thinking on how we’ll be using a MH. The majority of our use will be short day trips. Long trips will be the exception.

If we go with a large C, long trips and camping trips would be comfortable but it would be close to useless around town.

If we go with a small C, long trips will be less comfortable and we could probably use it occasionally around town, but not very easily.

If we go with a B, it would be insufficient for long trips necessitating pulling a small trailer and we would still need to take some care using it around town, but it would be extremely convenient as a home away from home. That’s something that matters a lot to us.

Since we primarily want a tiny home on wheels for short trips into town, day trips into the city, local camping, and short road trips to see friends and family, smaller is better even though we’ll end up needing to tow a trailer for the long trips. Fortunately we already have the trailer and long trips will be the minority of our use.

Sure we could just rent a C or buy a cheap one for the long trips, but that’d still leave us needing a second vehicle big enough to duplicate most of the functionality of a MH.

Re: “daily driving”
Fortunately we are self employed and work from home on acreage in the woods, so we don’t do daily driving. When we do make the trip into town, we try to combine lots of errands and events, so we won’t mind dealing with a little size related inconvenience if it comes with the conveniences of home.

We’re still waiting to hear back about a possible business trip to Denver next Spring. If that trip happens, we’re planning to rent a 24-27’ C for a couple of weeks. That should be a good test of how rough life on the road is with the dog.

Some test drives are definitely in our future. But first we need to build a garage early next year or the damned rodents will destroy whatever we end up buying.
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Old 09-29-2015, 01:27 PM   #9
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You have a similar dilemma to mine (I have a 10 and 15 year old, no dog). Our 15 year old is slowly weaning herself from the nest and doesn't enjoy our camping and cycling trips as much as the rest of us.
I thought I was really pushing the limits of a B with 2, sometimes 3 camping, and sometimes 4 on short trips, we bring a tent for the kids on longer trips.
....Rereading your post, I see you have THREE kids, and a dog. That seems near impossible with a B. You might be able to manage the travel OK, but for the overnighting, I think the only way you could swing it would be to plan on setting up a tent or trailer every night. Storage, would be undoable without the trailer.
I think your answer is right here:
"Since we primarily want a tiny home on wheels for short trips into town, day trips into the city, local camping, and short road trips to see friends and family, smaller is better even though we’ll end up needing to tow a trailer for the long trips. Fortunately we already have the trailer and long trips will be the minority of our use."
If you already have the trailer, it seems like a no brainer. And I'll bet you will get a LOT of use out of that B for these smaller trips (and whatever).
Example: Tomorrow, I go on a 150 mile run delivering 40 LARGE framed pictures with glass in my Van.. (800 lbs) I wouldn't be doing that with my Subaru, OR with a Class C!
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:38 PM   #10
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Yeah, two kids are doable with a B. My wife and I were seriously considering one a couple of years ago. Then #3 happened and we hit pause for a year. Sleeping 5 now would still be possible for a couple of years if it wasn’t for the mastiff mutt. He weighs as much as many of the forum members. The kids are still small yet (9, 7, 1) and so they–for the moment–fit in smaller places than teenagers.

We’ve done the suv and trailer for short trips (most recently 1,000 miles to Salt Lake City for a conference). Setting up a tent was a real pain and also very limiting because you need to stop in an actual camp ground, ideally before nightfall. If we’d had a B, we would have had more overnight options, plus a second bed negating the need for a tent. Huge improvement.

For some shorter destination camping trips around the state, we’ll probably stick to a B plus a tent. The majority of our summer camping is also at a small family lakeside lot, so continuing to use a tent will work well there too.

This week is an example where a B or ideally a C would be really useful. My wife’s spending the week in Las Vegas for another conference which we could turn into a family road trip with a MH, but instead she’s taking a flight since we’ve already done the living out of the suv and tiny trailer for a cross country trip before (without the dog though!). We’re not doing that again until we’re better equipped.

Great example of the versatility of a B Scott. You’ll be more comfortable on that short trip as well.

This thread has helped me stop kidding myself that the any of the smaller Cs (aka B+) would be close enough to being a B to be worth considering.
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