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Old 06-10-2019, 01:22 PM   #1
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Default Is a class B right for us

I am a new member here researching the idea of purchasing a Class B for on and off travel 6 months of the year. My parents and brother have owned class As for over 20 years and I have made several trips with them but I feel a Class B is the best choice for my wife and I. We are in our 50s and retired. We live in Florida and our home on the coast is the best place in the country to be during the winter (November thru April). However, we would like to spend the summers (July thru September) traveling the US sightseeing the National Parks, etc. Additionally, we want to spend the shoulder seasons (May-June & October) doing short trips in Florida, sometimes pulling our small fishing boat to places like the Florida Keys, etc. When traveling the summer we see ourselves spending 50% sleeping in the Van and the other 50% in hotels, rentals, etc. For example, we might spend three nights in Rocky Mountain NP and then spend several nights in a hotel, rental in Fort Collins. Wash, rinse and repeat in other locations.

We are debating between a 20 with 4 X 4 capability or a 24 with more creature comforts. We know this is a personal decision, but I was hoping to get some thoughts and opinions for the cohort here in this forum .

Thanks
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:43 PM   #2
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I am a new member here researching the idea of purchasing a Class B for on and off travel 6 months of the year. My parents and brother have owned class As for over 20 years and I have made several trips with them but I feel a Class B is the best choice for my wife and I. We are in our 50s and retired. We live in Florida and our home on the coast is the best place in the country to be during the winter (November thru April). However, we would like to spend the summers (July thru September) traveling the US sightseeing the National Parks, etc. Additionally, we want to spend the shoulder seasons (May-June & October) doing short trips in Florida, sometimes pulling our small fishing boat to places like the Florida Keys, etc. When traveling the summer we see ourselves spending 50% sleeping in the Van and the other 50% in hotels, rentals, etc. For example, we might spend three nights in Rocky Mountain NP and then spend several nights in a hotel, rental in Fort Collins. Wash, rinse and repeat in other locations.

We are debating between a 20 with 4 X 4 capability or a 24 with more creature comforts. We know this is a personal decision, but I was hoping to get some thoughts and opinions for the cohort here in this forum .

Thanks
you are talking about touring during the busiest and HOTTEST time of of the year at the national parks. the inside of a van is hot. thats the part i hated most. second most no space. You can;t run an Onan generator just anyplace including national parks. You could get a lithium package that can run your ac.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:43 PM   #3
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Default Gerry is right, but, really depends on your budget....

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I am a new member here researching the idea of purchasing a Class B for on and off travel 6 months of the year. My parents and brother have owned class As for over 20 years and I have made several trips with them but I feel a Class B is the best choice for my wife and I. We are in our 50s and retired. We live in Florida and our home on the coast is the best place in the country to be during the winter (November thru April). However, we would like to spend the summers (July thru September) traveling the US sightseeing the National Parks, etc. Additionally, we want to spend the shoulder seasons (May-June & October) doing short trips in Florida, sometimes pulling our small fishing boat to places like the Florida Keys, etc. When traveling the summer we see ourselves spending 50% sleeping in the Van and the other 50% in hotels, rentals, etc. For example, we might spend three nights in Rocky Mountain NP and then spend several nights in a hotel, rental in Fort Collins. Wash, rinse and repeat in other locations.

We are debating between a 20 with 4 X 4 capability or a 24 with more creature comforts. We know this is a personal decision, but I was hoping to get some thoughts and opinions for the cohort here in this forum .

Thanks
Summer heat, crowds, and limited time to use a conventional generator.... makes a good argument for the lithium batteries and "volt start"....

Don't know too much about volt start.. but, I seem to recall that it's a proprietary Roadtrek product ... make sure it's supported by the new company. Also have heard that battery replacement is prohibitively expensive.

Unfortunately, it's all VERY EXPENSIVE...we looked at a 2017 Roadtrek RS ETREK....at an RV show about a year ago...6 months before Roadtrek went out of business....

Lowest price... and it was probably a decent deal was $143,0000 plus tax... list was $166,000.... I thought about it and it was certainly beautiful.... BUT, my financial head said trading in my 2012 for that was crazy. I'm glad I skipped it....

My advice is to think about how much you want to spend on this....

The cost can get out of hand rapidly... hugely depreciating asset.

I purchased my RV when it was 5 years old and had 26,000 miles... for 50 percent of the price.

No matter what you do.... it's extremely expensive. There's going to be upgrades.... tires, batteries, etc...

Unless you really need the 4 by 4... I would skip it.... think how much you would use this? There's a lot of stuff that is underneath the chassis and could easily be damaged and jostled by vibration... it's hard on you, your vehicle chassis and the cabinets..... It's a lot of noise... unless it's such a custom build with dampers everywhere....

Don't worry about the Mercedes Benz Sprinter pulling anything especially your boat...the engine is so strong it won't even know it's there.... will pull the thing around like a "shopping cart"... robust power.

One final piece of advice... don't let someone tell you that low hours on a generator is a good idea.....it isn't. I'm replacing my old generator that only had 46 hours total time .... lack of use by original owners.

I'm told that these things can run thousands of hours if they are maintained, serviced and exercised regularly.

If you are in hotels 50 percent of the time... maybe, you should consider renting one... at least to try it out....

Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:16 PM   #4
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When traveling the summer we see ourselves spending 50% sleeping in the Van and the other 50% in hotels, rentals, etc.

We are debating between a 20’ with 4 X 4 capability or a 24’ with more creature comforts...
Your travel goals do seem well suited to a Class B RV. With regards to selecting a shorter Class B with better backroads (and urban parking) capability versus a longer and perhaps more luxurious unit that is really personal preference.

I would also suggest renting a couple units before you buy. You could fly out to rental locations in Las Vegas, Colorado, or Montana, do a week-long rental, and really get a personal sense of each type.

We rented a van out of Las Vegas for the Grand Circle tour (Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, Zion) before purchasing our current unit. That's a great shoulder season trip but a bit hot for mid summer. Mountain loops originating out of Denver or Bozeman would be perfect for summer excursions.


Some rental outfits in the area (no doubt incomplete):
  • Best Time RV Rentals
  • Mercedessprinterrvrentals.com
  • Campervan North America (the outfit we used)
  • Durango RV Rentals
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:19 PM   #5
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1. Roadtreks comment about renting is a good one. You might even be able to scope out which brand/model and perhaps rent twice; once with the 21' and once with a 24' to see how they compare.
2. I've been in some pretty remote areas driving on washboard "roads" and even been in more remote areas where there was no real road. I don't have 4x4. That said, if I did plan on spending most my time on rough roads, it might be a consideration. Most NPs and State ones are pretty decent roadwise.
3. gerrym is right about the summer crowds and the heat. Some of that can be circumvented by planning. Booking sites in advance is a must, actually most of the year. Try getting a reservation for Yosemite! Anytime. We were down at Organ Pipe in AZ in March and the campsite was full. Still a great time. Most people aren't there to party. It's usually couples during the school year. More kids in the summer.
4. The heat. Well we live in Phoenix and travel somewhere every month in the summer. 4 hours to the AZ high country where right now it's in the high 70s/40s. Phx = 110/82. Last summer we drove to Glacier in August. Camped on the way up in N/S parks choosing ones at higher elevations. Always comfortable sleeping at night w/o AC. Glacier was perfect. Again, planning. You can find higher elevation parks. You can always travel the west coast, esp. Oregon/Washington.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:30 PM   #6
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20 4x4 vs 24 is likely as small part of the decision process. We started our RV life in late seventies with 15 Westfalia vans, as kids grew so our RVs, and a few years ago went back to the future with 20 RV. Se here are my suggestions:

1. 4x4 is good but in my perspective good road clearance is more important. Our Sprinter has MB factory clearance retained, no skirts, no low hanging tanks or discharge valves. If you plan to stay in hotels parking could be critical so 20 could be better.

2. Showers, if important than get large tanks. We camp mostly in State or National parks with showers but for some RV showers are important.

3. Energy sources like solar harvesting or vehicle fuel or LPG. LPG is by far the most dominant fuel source in RVs. B-class is a little different, diesel fuel is used for water and space heating by some. We have 300W of solar panels with 230Ah AGM battery bank and use diesel for water and space heating. On open sky campsites our batteries are usually full by midday.

4. Refrigerator, I agree with the recent trend for compressor type cooling. Very efficient, no levelling required.

5. Toilet, cassettes can be dumped in more places but more often, black tanks have to be dumped in dumping station but less often. The least unpleasant dumping would likely be via small hose fed by a macerator pump. Certainly, with black tanks bigger are better.

6. Stove, LPG is the most popular, the new trend is induction stove but it requires larger battery bank. I pick an unusual fuel in the RV world from my boating experience an Origo alcohol stove.

Good luck in your decision process.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:38 PM   #7
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Renting is a good option, as is visiting a lot of RV dealerships and walk around a few Promaster, Transit, and Mercedes models. They can vary a lot in how open they feel, sleeping arrangements, bathrooms, galley, storage, etc. Gas -vs- diesel chassis, driving postion, legroom. You'll know what you want when you see it. Or, you'll know what features are mandatory and find a model that fits you best.

I cannot emphasize enough what others have pointed out. Traveling in the cooler Spring & Fall weather is much more pleasant. Parks are only getting more crowded and unfortunately State and Federal ones have not kept up with the growth. Some are nearly full all year round (some close in the Winter). Traveling in the off season makes it tolerable in several ways.

As long as you have enough room to pack along what you need and sleep in a comfortable bed, you'll love driving a smaller class b. You can go anywhere, park anywhere, and get 2-3 times the gas mileage of an "A". And the best saying I've heard is: "You don't live in a class b, you live out of a class b."

We love ours. Parks right on our driveway, no need for a storage lot.

Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:14 PM   #8
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Guys, these folks live in Flor-i-da. They NEED to travel in the summer! We live in Oklahoma, and we need to travel in the summer, too. Lots of great empty places out west high enough to be cool in an un-airconditioned Class B. Just make sure there are windows to let the breeze through. We live in and out of our van in all four seasons.

I also recommend renting to learn what is the best fit.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:10 PM   #9
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We live in humid deep South Texas and my advice stands that they'll find better weather and less crowds in Spring and Fall. But you have a point. You can comfortably travel year round if you make reservations well in advance, find elevations from sea level and go far enough North.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:04 PM   #10
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Something to consider about staying in motels part of the time.
BED BUGS, not only are the bites annoying, you risk taking them back to your RV and then to your home.
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