Advice Needed on an RV

My wife and I are considering RV-ing. I do not consider us campers, but we love to travel and are recent empty nesters. We are considering Class B or C. I am leaning towards C but she thinks it will be too big. I feel like B will get too small after a while. I do worry that some places out west are difficult to navigate in larger vehicles. There are some very small tunnels in the mountains that a class C might not fit through. That is a concern.

I am looking for advice between B and C. I want something that is self-sustaining and will not have to rely on a campground for water, electric, etc. Ideally, I want a solar panel, generator and shower/toilet that is as easy to maintain as possible. Questions-

What size should we go with?

What makes and models do you recommend for reliability? I have heard horror stories about leaking roofs. I certainly do not want to be broken down in the middle of nowhere either.

We would be looking at used. Less than 5 years. I assume diesel is best for the engine.

Any other advice would be appreciated.

The best size is very subjective. With almost 30 years of RVing under our belts in five different types of RVs, we’ve never had or ever wanted a big RV. Our current RV is a 17’ A-frame which suits us just fine. On the other hand, we have friends who would feel cramped in anything smaller than a 40’ Class A.

My suggestion is to look at a lot of different styles and sizes. Picture how you’d fit your stuff in it, how you’d do tasks in it (cooking, showering, using the toilet, sleeping, driving, etc.) and how you’d spend time trapped in it on the inevitable rainy days. Different people have different views of what they need to be comfortable. You need the figure that out for yourselves.

Once you get that done, you’ll be able to ask better questions as they relate to what you are interested in.

@Bob_W3 I agree with the first commenter. We retired in 2017 and are now on our second van with accumulated 170,000 miles with no plans to stop soon! Our first van was a pop top (similar to the VW we had when our kids were young). Only 17 feet long, it fit in any garage and was drivable in any city. After 130,000 miles, it got a little small for us, so we upgraded to a Winnebago Solis Pocket. 18 feet long but 9.5 feet tall. No pop top and we set up in less than five minutes. Can’t park in a garage but still fits in a regular parking space. Advantages are keeping the murphy bed down all the time and a two-seat dinette to give us flexibility. We also have 20-gallon fresh water and gray water tanks but don’t want to deal with a wet bath/black water tank. Campgrounds, Love Travel Stops, rest areas all work for us for this! This has worked great for us but again, wouldn’t for everyone. If you can, try and rent different options to try them out. Let me know if you have any other questions and enjoy being empty nesters!

@Bob_W3 Forgot to say that our first van used premium gas and our currrent one uses regular gas. Out west, you may not always be able to find diesel and in the Midwest, we sometimes could not get premium, so we are very happy to use regular gas now. We do have solar panels on our van but do not have a generator. We haven’t had problems as long as we can harness sunshine in between electric hookups at campgrounds. Love travel stops have great showers!

Out west, where I live, there is an abundance of diesel because there is an abundance of trucks, ranches, farms and produce. You are correct in your concern regarding accommodating a 30-40’ rig. State parks and resorts have sites, but the most lovely places are off the grid a bit and navigation can be challenging. Also, there’s lots of competition among the big rigs to find a suitable spot.

We’ve talked to several people who started small, went big, and came back to the 18-25 ft size, saying it was easier, less work to maintain, cheaper, and they really didn’t notice the difference. Especially with the bump outs so many now have.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have a nice awning because that creates more living space no matter the weather.

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I wouldn’t jump into this RV lifestyle by buying a rig first. You may find this isn’t the Nirvana some say it is. RENT! This way you can try out different sizes, styles and especially lengths to see if it’s right for you. Then actually live in it with your camping partner for a weekend in the rain and see who’s still alive afterward. Just kidding, but my wife and I knew we needed a bigger space than our pop-up. We went with a fifth-wheel so we can detach and drive to neat places without size restrictions.


Thank you everyone for all of the advice So much to consider. We went to a local RV store and checked out several options. The van seems small long term but was really disappointed that RV’s all leak. I think Dennis nailed it. We will rent before we buy. Our salesperson recommended that as well. I love the idea about the canopy as well. That extra space will be necessary.

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After 15 years in a Roadtrek van conversion (22 feet), we just upgraded to a 2023 Winnebago EKKO that’s 23 feet long. Also has a pop top (grandkid space) and huge storage. We also travel with a Labrador & Border Collie, so yes, it is cozy. Surprisingly, this is the same width as the Roadtrek, a foot longer, and 10’6" high. Has all wheel drive, and is very easy to get around in. They are expensive…

Any leaking issues? That was a big turnoff for me.

I have been told that applying a rubberized roof paint on the roof really is effective against seam leaks. It was a “thing” years ago but seems like newer owners don’t have it done anymore. My folks had it on their 38’ RV and never had leakage.

Between a Class B and Class C can be a tough decision, but it ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and travel style. Class B RVs are more compact and easier to maneuver, making them ideal for travelers who prefer agility and flexibility. On the other hand, Class C RVs offer more space and amenities, providing a comfortable living space for longer trips.