I’d come up with a process for choosing an RV. After first establishing a budget we decided a fifth wheel is best for our style of travel. Now we are looking for the right floor plan. Figure floor plan will determine the RV size and eliminate those manufacturers that don’t build a similar plan. The earliest I could see us buying a rig is 2017. If we wait to make the purchase when we retire, hopefully in 2019, then the 2017 models could also become the ones we look at in a used unit. So there is a chance floor plans could change by then.
Here is the process I’ve been using to select a rig for those interested:
- Decide on budget.
- Fifth wheel vs Motor Home?
- Then decide on floor plan.
- Then decide what manufacturers build the floor plan or close to it.
- Then decide which of several manufacturers appear to have best quality for price and the best after purchase service.
- Finally reduce selection to one manufacturer and buy new or used based on our budget.
- Select a truck capable of pulling the rig with a safety margin.
Early in the week I stopped at an Open Range dealership in Clinton Missouri. I wanted to check out the 3X fifth wheel. The trailer is called a 3X because of its 3″ sidewalls.
I began walking around the rig looking at the frame, slide mechanisms, tires, suspensions and pin types. Suddenly I was struck with the idea that I was over-complicating things by considering the construction methods at the same time when I should have been looking at floor plans. I dropped back to the original plan which is to select a rig based on the above listed process.
I trust what veteran fulltimers have been saying which is “you will know the perfect floor plan when you walk into it.” During this visit to a dealership, having decided to ignore construction methods and pay attention to floor plans only, I quickly moved through rigs.
While walking through a rear kitchen design my shoe caught on the floor of the kitchen slide – twice. As you are aware, the carpet or whatever on the floor of a slide is raised to allow the slide to travel.
Then I sat in a rear living room floor plan. This is the one with the television directly across from chairs or a sofa rather than having the television along the rear cap. In this example, the chairs were in a slide and the sofa was along the rear cap. It would be hard to visit with someone sitting on the sofa because one would have to look around the corner of the slide to see them as the chair is recessed in the slide.
Yet another example where I learned what to watch for in a floor plan was in a front living room model. The sofa has a narrow seating area compared to if the sofa was in a rear living room floor plan. This may or may not be unique to the rig I was touring. A narrow sitting area might also be better for a shorter person.
(9/5/16 update) Here is an interesting front living room plan in an earlier model of the 3X. There is an open railing that separates the kitchen from the living room which gives it a more open feeling. I like the extra long bedroom slide for the washer/driver. Also this model has the extra steps up to the bedroom which adds outside storage compartments under the bedroom. Lee and Trace of Camper Chronicles travels in this front living room. They took out one of the living room sofas and used the space for a desk. I noticed the floor plan also has a coat closet which is a must according to my wife.
We would appreciate any feedback regarding why you selected a particular floor plan.