Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Douglas
The modern world has brought with it many different conveniences. However, it has also lead to a rather unsustainable way of life. People are caught in a rat race most of the time. We always have some place to be and something to do. At some point this constant struggle can get old. For many out there, this is just not acceptable. Hence, the concept of living life on the road can be exhilarating. A lot of RV campers are out there that can help make this dream a reality.
You need to be cautious, though. A life of constant travel won’t be easy. You would have to sacrifice many of the conveniences you have gotten used to. However, choosing the right RV can make this a bit easier. A comfortable RV can provide a decent way of life. It can also allow you to travel to more destinations. The whole point of traveling is to expose yourself to the unfamiliar. Excellent RVs are great at getting you to wild and exotic places that you might have never seen before.
Now, chances are you have never bought an RV before. If you are a beginner to the wanderer’s lifestyle, you will need some help buying the right RV. This is why we have compiled a list of top RVs that you can look into. Apart from a top 5 list, we have also provided a buying guide below. This buying guide should help you remember what’s important when buying an RV. There are three main aspects of an RV that you should pay attention to. These are its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, its Unloaded Vehicle Weight, or UVW, and its Cargo Carrying Capacity or CCC. Before we explain these terms, let’s start with the best RVs on the market.
Top 5 Best 5th Wheel For Full-Time Living
1. Grand Design Solitude
GVWR: 15,000 pounds
UVW: 12,100 pounds
CCC: 2,900 pounds
Length: 34’ 11”
This is the perfect 5th wheel RV for newbies. It has plenty of space that you can use. You don’t have to use all of this space for living either. A lot of it would go towards storage instead. That way you can keep your personal belongings close at hand. You can also spare a little room for luxuries. With 14 different floor plans to choose from, you also get a fair amount of customization options as well. This is great since it can help you get the RV you truly need.
The space isn’t limited to just the inside of the RV. You also get a walk on roof. This can be useful for getting some fresh air. The space is so vast that you can have an excellent kitchen installed too. Premium kitchens are a real luxury in RVs. Another luxury you would get is Weather Tech Insulation. This can help moderate your RV’s internal temperatures, maintaining them at a comfortable level. Seeing all of these premium benefits might make you think that this RV would be out of your budget. However, this is not exactly true.
This is actually a surprisingly affordable RV. It comes with a 12 year warranty for the roof. You get 1 year limited warranties for the base and 3 year warranties for the structure as well. Hence, you can rest assured that your money is being well spent. This RV is perfect for people that want luxury at a reasonable price. While this RV isn’t exactly cheap, it’s worth the price when you consider the features you’re getting. The luxurious Congoleum flooring is also a nice touch. The flooring also comes with a 3 year warranty.
2. Coachmen Chaparral Fifth Wheel
GVWR: 12,000 pounds
UVW: 9800 pounds
CCC: 1500 pounds
Length: 33’ 6”
Sometimes you want to rely on a well known brand. Coachmen is a very trustworthy brand in the RV industry. This fifth wheel is a good example of why this company is so popular. You get 11 floor plans to choose from. Each floor plan maximizes space quite a bit. This RV is also a lot more luxurious than most models. You would see the premium feel in pretty much every aspect of this vehicle. We will start by discussing the amazing kitchen.
Most RV’s have space for a kitchen. However, you would have to get it installed yourself. This fifth wheel comes with a built in luxury kitchen. Though it’s a little small, it has more than enough space to cook a delicious meal in. This is also quite a practical car. It has a lot of USB ports that are built in. You can use these ports for various charging needs. That way you never have to go far to be able to charge a device. Not many RVs provide a feature like this. It’s part of what makes this a great fifth wheel to live in.
Coachmen has taken its customers’ entertainment quite seriously as well. You can see that with the well equipped entertainment center you would be getting. As far as temperature is concerned, the dual paned windows should have you covered. They offer excellent insulation. You also get a ducted furnace. This is the best heater an RV can offer. It will make cold winter months easy to get through. The thermostat would allow you to control the temperature quite a bit. However, some people have complained about issues with the warranty. You might want to keep this in mind before buying this RV.
3. Northwood Arctic Fox
GVWR: 15,500 pounds
UVW: 10,900 pounds
CCC: 3,200 pounds
Length: 37’ 7”
This RV is the perfect example of less is more. It is a very compact vehicle. Hence, it might not be suitable for large families. It would do quite nicely for single people and young couples, though. It’s also admirable how efficiently Northwood has utilized its space. Even though space was limited, Northwood made sure that every feature was put in the right place. The small design also gives this RV a classic look and feel. That’s part of the reason why we think it’s such a good buy. It’s not all about the looks, though. This is a highly functional fifth wheel.
One fantastic feature is the solar panel setup on the roof. This helps you generate unlimited power. Hence, if you want true off the grid living then this is the RV for you. The roof rack comes with a ladder. You can use this to check up on your solar panels. They generally work quite well though. Durability was clearly a priority for this company. Many people have lived in this RV for years without needing to go to a city except to buy supplies. Energy is not an issue here.
The thermal pane windows are also a nice touch. They take insulation one step further. Also, the interior design is quite classy in its design. It has muted wood tones. Paler wood is used to offset the darker tones. Overall, the contrast is phenomenal. It almost looks like a luxury studio apartment. The space might be a serious issue, though. Also, this is a relatively pricey RV considering the size and lack of extra features. You have plenty of add-on options though. These options can help you spruce up the RV. The cost would inevitably rise if you go for this, though. The basic model is good enough.
4. Forest River Wildcat
GVWR: 8,500 pounds
UVW: 9400 pounds
CCC: 2000 pounds
Length: 31’ 3”
Some people want to travel with their families. This fifth wheel is perfect for this sort of thing. It can house up to 10 people if you’re up for a bit of a squeeze. Around 6-8 people can live in it comfortably. You also get an incredible 23 different floor plan options. Hence, you don’t have to compromise when it comes to your comfort.
One admirable quality that this RV possesses is cross ventilation. The windows have been specially made for this. The windows have slideout rooms on the other side. This helps maximize the cross breeze. Summer months will be wonderful and pleasant in this RV. This will be a relief for most people. Hot areas can be difficult to deal with in most RVs. This is because they have been designed for warmth rather than cooling. This is a rare RV that manages to do both.
Another nifty feature is the carpeting. It adds to the premium feel of the fifth wheel. What’s more is that the carpet is stain guarded. It’s pretty easy to clean. Occasional vacuuming will suffice. Don’t just spill liquids on it randomly, though. While it can guard against stains, it’s not immune to them. Eventually something or the other would stick and be tough to remove. Still, the carpet adds a lot of comfort. It makes this RV something you can invite guests over to. This makes it a great fifth wheel for highly social people.
5. Jayco Pinnacle
GVWR: 16,500 pounds
UVW: 13,500 pounds
CCC: 3,400 pounds
Length: 40’ 9”
Jayco is another trusted name in the RV industry. The Pinnacle has 6 different floor plans you can choose from. You might think that’s not a lot. However, each floor plan is quite massive. In fact, you can use the bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen even after closing all of the slideouts. This RV is more “home like” than most other fifth wheels. Separate rooms offer a lot of privacy. Usually privacy is a luxury that can’t be afforded with a traveler’s lifestyle. This RV proves that concept wrong.
You also get a 190 watt solar panel on the roof. A solar controller is also available so you will always have plenty of energy. As for the kitchen, this RV offers an outdoor setup. Which makes it perfect for barbeques and the like. This is one of many space saving features. The RV comes with a TV which comes with a lift system for easy storage. Lighting is made convenient with toe switches. These toe kick lights are available in all the rooms of the RV. We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
This RV has an excellent air conditioning system. It comes with fully adjustable vents. This means that you can control how cold you want your RV to be. You can also direct the air conditioning according to your preference. Don’t think that this RV is only for hot weather, though. It has been tested in freezing conditions. So you can rely on it for warmth during the winter months. This is one of the few RVs that can withstand both cold and hot areas. Hence, it’s perfect if you truly want to travel as much as possible. You won’t be limited by this RV in any case.
Buying Guide For Full Time Living 5th Wheels
A lot of factors influence your choice of RV. For example, are you planning to live in it full time or are you transitioning? Each situation would require a different RV. The first step to finding the right 5th wheel is setting a budget. This can narrow down your options quite a bit. After deciding a budget, you can proceed with other elements of this purchase. Some of the most important factors to consider will be discussed in this buying guide. Without further ado, here are the things you should take into consideration:
Also See: The 5 Best Truck For Towing 5th Wheel
Most RVs offer you a lot of floor plan options. Deciding which floor plan would work best for you has a lot to do with your personal preferences. Some might want to prioritize their bathroom so that they can go about their morning routine with ease. Others might prefer a larger kitchen so that they can cook delicious and healthy meals. Others still would want a large enough living area, one where they can relax and enjoy some of their free time in peace. All of these are factors that should be kept in mind while making your decision.
That said, space apportionment isn’t everything. You should also think about layout. Think about how easy it would be to access the bathroom from the bedroom. Little things like this can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Not being able to access the bathroom easily might seem like a minor annoyance. But it can become a source of great frustration over time. The layout of your floor plan should be very intuitive. It shouldn’t take too much effort to get from one place to another. Be smart about the layout. After all, you don’t need the bathroom to be easily accessible for the kitchen. In fact, this might even be a health hazard.
The floor plan of your RV also impacts ventilation. If you prefer to stay in colder areas, the less ventilation you have the better to a certain extent. It can reduce the cold drafts that might otherwise blow in. On the other hand, hotter areas require more ventilation. Otherwise your RV would remain stuffy and uncomfortable. RVs are rather small living spaces. Which is why should have at least some ventilation that would occasionally bring you fresh air.
Construction Materials Used
This is an aspect of RV buying that can be difficult for newcomers to wrap their heads around. One thing that we would tell you is that you should trust your instincts. If a material doesn’t have a premium feel to it, chances are it won’t last very long. Durability matters quite a bit here. After all, you will be spending all of your time in your RV. It’s not just a vehicle, it’s a home. The material should be optimized accordingly to be as durable as possible. Bear in mind that durability isn’t everything. Materials also impact the look of your RV.
Your RV should ideally have a gelcoat. This would help you keep it shiny and clean. The roof should be made out of fiberglass since this is a strong material that looks quite nice as well. It can also let plenty of natural light into your living space while also being sturdy enough to sit or stand on. You should also look at how the windows have been made. Opt for dual paned windows, as these are well insulated and can keep your RV warm. This can help you use heaters a little less often.
Three other areas need to be checked for materials used. These are your cabinets, the floor and optionally the kitchen appliances. Cabinets that are made of hard wood are always preferable. They can withstand high moisture levels that are often prevalent in cooking spaces. Your floors don’t need to be durable, but the material should be easy to clean. Don’t worry if the floor isn’t smooth enough to clean, though. You can always get a carpet put in if that’s your preference. This can give your RV a homelier feel to it as well. As for your kitchen appliances, stainless steel is a high end material that should be used here. This is a bonus, though, so don’t think about it too much.
Amount of Storage Space
Remember that you are going to be living in this RV full time, or at least working your way up to this. This means that you need enough room to store your belongings. There is a limit to how large an RV can be. However, even really small RVs can have plenty of storage space if they are smartly constructed. There should be absolutely no wasted space. Every seat should have a cabinet, and every cabinet should have optimal capacity.
Some RVs offer so called basements as well. These are storage spaces that are under the floor. They can be useful for belongings that you don’t need to use on a day to day basis. Also try to realize that this storage space isn’t just for your belongings. You also need it for necessities such as water. Water can be quite heavy, so keep this in mind when you are analyzing the weight of your RV. You need a tank that’s large enough to carry a few days water supply. Any less than this would be too inconvenient.
While construction materials are important, the quality of the construction matters too. Top quality materials are worthless if they have not been brought together the right way. Check every inch of your RV before you buy it. One thing to be on the lookout for are gaps between individual pieces. Your RV should have a uniform structure. Gaps mean that the manufacturer hurried through the construction process. This would lead to a low aesthetic quality to your RV. It would also lead to dangerous problems such as your RV falling apart while you are driving it. Construction quality is an important aspect of durability. It’s not something that can be compromised on.
You might think that the paintjob is a purely visual element of your RV. However, it also helps protect your mobile home from the weather. Good quality paint can reflect a lot of sunlight. This would keep your RV cool during hot summer months. The paint should also be waterproof. Some manufacturers try to cut corners by using cheap paint. This would was off quite quickly if it rains. Hence, your RV would be left without its coat of paint. Another thing to note is that the paint should be full bodied and uniform. This makes it more durable and consistent.
You need to feel comfortable in your living space, whether that space is a house or an RV. Sit down on all of the seats and sofas before making a purchase. Try out the bed as well. It should give you a good level of lumbar support. Don’t worry if the mattress is low quality, though. You can always replace it later at a relatively low cost. It’s the bed itself that needs to be sturdy. Otherwise even the best mattress would leave you feeling sore in the morning.
Safety Features And Brakes
While your RV is definitely your home, you can’t ignore that it’s also a vehicle. Hence, the quality of the brakes matter here. Try to look for disc brakes. They are great for emergency stopping and can prevent accidents. You never know who you might run into on the open road, after all. Some people are irresponsible, and you should be able to stop yourself in case they are hurtling down your path. Such incidents are common when you are living a life of constant travel.
Get High Quality Solar Panels
Electricity is a necessity for human life. Without it, we would still be living in the dark ages. Most RV owners use solar panels to handle their power needs. You should ideally get a 200 watt solar panel. This would suffice for most regular appliances. It would also be great for air conditioning and electric heating, both of which are essential if you want to live comfortably. Opt for high quality panels. Size is not as important here as quality. A larger solar panel might not have an adequate number of solar cells. Some sellers might try to use a large solar panel in their sales pitch. Don’t fall for such tactics.
Temperature Control Options
Your RV needs to be ready for all kinds of weather conditions. Its temperature control systems play a role in this. If it comes down to choosing between heating and cooling, the former should always take precedence. You can always create a cross breeze if it’s too hot. The solution isn’t so simple if it’s too cold. In fact, not having adequate heating can be a health hazard in colder temperatures.
Insulation plays an important role here. If you have good insulation, you would be less reliant on your heating systems. One aspect of checking your RV’s heating or cooling system would be checking the noise levels. RVs don’t have the luxury of extra space. Hence, the noise your temperature control system would generate would be louder than normal. Still, some RVs are better at handling noise reduction than others. These are the ones that you should ideally go for. You should also opt for something with a thermostat since this gives you more control over internal RV temperatures.
Getting the basics is all well and good. However, a few add-ons can’t hurt either. It can be useful to have USB ports in easily accessible areas. These will be great for keeping your various devices charged. A high quality RV might also come with a built in sound system. This is great for keeping yourself entertained on your journey. A waterproof sound system works best. Small spaces lead to higher rates of accidents such as water spillage. You don’t want an inevitable accident ruining your speakers after all.
Another useful special feature is an outdoor kitchen. Plenty of RVs have features like this. They can allow for a much more relaxed dining situation. You would need an awning if you want to cook outdoors, though. Look for RVs that have extendable awnings that you can use. These can help you enjoy some fresh air without the heat of the sun on your back. They can also be used to reduce the amount of heat entering your mobile home. Most of these features require extra payment, though. Ask the RV manufacturer what add-ons they have available and how much they cost. Generally, they should play a role in the decision you eventually make.
Type And Duration of Warranty
Switching to a nomadic lifestyle won’t be easy. Your RV would have a lot of growing pains as well. This is why warranties are important. Different parts of your RV would be covered by different warranties. However, at least a year long warranty should be offered by the manufacturer. This way, the initial problems that inevitably occur in RVs can be dealt with without you having to spend a dime. Be wary of accepted flaws, though. These are clauses in your contract that justify factory defects and prevent you from claiming your warranty. Reading the paperwork is important when buying a mobile home.
This is why many people prefer used RVs. They prefer to use the term “broken in”. This means that the initial problems have already occurred, so it doesn’t matter that the warranty has expired. The purpose of the warranty is to smooth out the bumpy initial ride after all. If you would rather buy a new mobile home, make sure that you buy from a dealership you can trust. Many renege on warranties to try and save money, and there’s not much you can do about it. Overall, treat your purchase of an RV the same way you would treat the purchase of a regular home.
Factor in Personal Preferences
While we stand buy the list of RVs we have provided, everyone has different preferences. We tend to like compact and solid models, but you might want a little more space. This is perfectly fine, and you should be able to cater to your preferences while buying an RV. It’s going to be where you live, after all. You don’t want to have to compromise on your lifestyle.
One thing that we would recommend is that you take notes while surveying RVs. Also, take your time while finding one. It might be frustrating to wait so long to start your journey, but it’s worth it. Patience pays off in this case since it prevents you from making a bad purchase. Eventually you would have enough notes to make an educated decision. At this point you can start weighing your personal preferences into it. Most RV manufacturers are really professional and they make quality products. In order to choose the one that’s right for you, you need to prioritize your own needs and desires. Though the process is long, once it’s done you would have a fantastic mobile home that you can live in off the grid for the rest of your life. This is what makes the long vetting process worth it.
RV living is the way to go if you want some more freedom in your life. It’s just a matter of deciding which RV works best for you. Did you find any of the RVs we listed to your liking? If so, be sure to buy it right away! If not, use our buying guide to find one that is more in line with your preferences. The fifth wheel market is quite vast. It has so many options that you would never have to compromise on what you truly want, which is how it should be. After all, you’re not just buying a vehicle. You’re buying a mobile home. It needs to be the way you like it, otherwise your traveling lifestyle won’t give you the freedom you desire!