A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It’s RV Buying Season

No surprise, with pleasant temperatures, warm sunshine, and longer days, thoughts naturally turn to the great outdoors and one of my favorite topics – camping / RVing. Whether you are new to the game or like almost every RVer I know…always in the market for a new camper – this spring RVers will find plenty of terrific buying opportunities in today’s economy. And there’s a lot to consider before making that final decision. In this post we’ll talk about a few things you should consider when looking to buy an RV.

Begin by identifying the type of RV you’d like: Class A or C motorhome, Class B van-type, pull-behind travel trailer, 5th wheel or toy-hauler. If you are unsure, visit RV dealers and your local RV show to get a feel for each type. Regardless of what style of RV you choose it’s vitally important to make sure either the vehicle used to tow the trailer can adequately handle the weight of the RV or the ‘toad’ (tow behind car) is suitable as a towed vehicle. Consider talking to other RVers about their campers…they are a wealth of knowledge and almost always willing to share.

As you think about your adventures and look around at a variety of RVs here are some points to keep in mind:

How will you use the camper?

Will this be a weekender, a part-time or full-time home or a trusty steed to take you on a cross-country summer sojourn? Based on your answer you’ll want to consider the RV’s storage capacity. Are the outside bins adequate for the gear you’ll want to carry? Are the inside pantries, cupboards, drawers, and closets spacious enough for your belongings and food stuffs? Be realistic.

If you are going to be in the camper for an extended period of time will you travel with crafting, workshop or other materials that will need space?

Do you have pets that want to roll? Are you a camping family or independent couple? Might you have kids, grandkids, friends or other family come along on occasion? Make sure there’s plenty of room for all travelers.

Where would you like to camp?

Campsites run the gambit from ultra-fancy big wide sites to cozy wooded just big enough sites. Many state and federal parks have length and slide-out restrictions so if that’s your dream, plan accordingly.

If the mountain west is on the agenda you’ll need a camper with hard walls in order to camp in many ‘bear country’ parks.

Make sure the engine or tow vehicle is capable of handling mountain driving (prevalent all across the US)…both up and down.

Are you planning on doing some snow camping? Make sure the RV you choose has proper insulation.

If you intend to do a lot of boondocking or dry camping does the RV have or will you install solar panels? Also consider fresh water, waste water, and propane tank capacities.

Slide-out Considerations

Slide-outs are great when they’re open but if they fail to operate or you’re having lunch at a rest stop will you still be able to get to the kitchen and/or bathroom with them closed?

Be Safe…

If there are two adults both should be comfortable driving the unit…just in case.

If you think you’ll stay at Wal-Mart or other such locations on occasion will you feel safer if you have a motorhome as opposed to a pull-behind that would require you to move from the trailer to the truck in case of an emergency?

Remember the PDI

Once you’ve made a decision – whether it be a private or dealer transaction – you absolutely must do a pre-delivery inspection. I’ve made it easy by providing another post on this topic as well as a link to a handy dandy pre-delivery inspection checklist. Take it from an experienced RVer…not only is this important, it's smart.

In our next RV Cooking Show blog post I’ll teach you how to decipher RV weight ratings. Stay tuned…the virtual campfire is stoked and crackling!


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