Posted by: Mark Polk | 10:32 am

Is Downsizing RVs in your Future?

 I have done about every type of camping imaginable. I camped under the stars with nothing but a sleeping bag, I camped in pup tents with the boy scouts, I camped in less than desirable conditions throughout my military career in the Army, and I camped in every type of RV manufactured. As I got older the latter type, with more creature comforts, is by far the best type of camping.

When I sold RVs I remember telling customers once they own an RV with a slide-out it is hard to go back to one with no slide-outs. I should heed my own advice when it comes to downsizing RVs, especially when the RV you downsize to can fit in the living room of your other RV!

Let me start from the beginning.  A few  years ago I was looking for a camper we could use to film some upcoming video projects. I needed an RV with a metal roof and nobody I knew owned one.  I decided to look around on Craigslist and I ran across an ad for a used Lance truck camper. It was priced right, and it was equipped with many of the features I needed for the upcoming video projects.  The camper’s size, dry weight & estimated loaded weight worked for my truck at the time so I made the 3-hour trip and brought it home.

It just so happened Dawn’s niece was getting married at the time and I thought it would be fun to take the truck camper from North Carolina to Colorado for the wedding. Tip for a good marriage test: Take 2-adults and 3-dogs on a 3,500 mile cross-country RV trip in an 8 ½ foot truck camper.

I checked all the systems on the camper, fabricated some tie downs to secure it to the truck, carefully loaded it as not to exceed any weight limitations and we headed out on our next great RV adventure.

RV Downsizing Considerations:

One thought I had about taking the truck camper, rather than the motorhome, was saving some money on the cost of fuel. Our motorhome averages 7 ½ miles to a gallon.  I thought it would be possible to nearly double that with the truck, but when all was said and done we averaged about 11 miles to a gallon. We did use the truck’s air conditioner for most of the trip which had an impact on the over all miles-per-gallon.

It was definitely more difficult adjusting to a smaller RV after spending so much time in a larger RV. I always liked small RVs, but you need to seriously consider if a smaller RV will suit your specific needs. We usually travel with 2-adults and 3-dogs, so we need a larger RV with enough space to accommodate all the travelers.

In addition to limited interior space like the bathroom, sleeping arrangements, sitting areas and the galley area you also need to consider things like interior and exterior storage, the size of the holding tanks, fresh water storage, and LP gas capacity. When you are accustomed to traveling in an RV with a large shower, a big sofa and a walk-around queen size bed and you switch to a truck camper you can barely take four steps in without bumping into something, it calls for some major adjustments. And although some truck campers are equipped with on-board generators ours was not, so even spending a night in a Walmart parking lot can be more challenging.

That Colorado trip in the Lance truck camper was a fun adventure, and I wouldn’t change a thing, but the moral to the story is to select an RV that is best suited for you, your family and how you travel. Trust me when I say the right RV will make all your RV experiences the best they can be.

During the trip one of our friends saw a Facebook post about the truck camper and replied, “Nice, a traveling man cave!” When Dawn read the response she said, that’s exactly what the Lance truck camper is; it is your traveling man cave when you go to RV shows and business events by yourself.

Sometimes downsizing RVs makes all the sense in the world. I can envision us downsizing at some point in time, but it needs to be practical. For us it would probably mean going from a 36-foot motorhome to say a 26-foot motorhome, but most likely not an 8 ½-foot truck camper.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

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