I should begin by saying that the ideal RV will be different for us than it might be for you. Ideal is a highly individualized concept.
When we made the decision to RV full time we didn’t even own an RV. We had begun camping as husband and wife in a pup tent. Later as kids came along we got a larger tent. Eventually we tired of packing huge amounts of gear every time we went camping and decided to get a pop up travel trailer. We owned a series of three pop ups over a period of several years. Our final pop up was a Star Craft with a slide out. We had found pop up luxury at its best! Finally, we sold our last pop up with the idea that we would buy a “real” travel trailer.
In early 2013 we bought a 2012 RAM 1500 Crew Cab with the intent of using it as a tow vehicle for our eventual tow behind travel trailer. By September 2015 When we made the decision to go full time we still had not bought a travel trailer. But now we knew it was time to get serious about figuring out just what we would need to travel the country full time.
At first nothing was off the table. We considered all types of RVs. We thought about class A motor homes. We could see a number of advantages a Class A could offer. We had rented a Class C and done a ten-day trip out west several years before so they were certainly on our radar. They offered most of the same advantages as the Class A RVs. We briefly considered Class B+. I am a big man and these were just two small or my taste. Finally, we decided against any of these mainly because we felt we would want to tow another vehicle to use while we were set up and maintaining two engines just didn’t make sense to me. Besides we had a nice truck we had bought to tow a trailer. So the search for a trailer began in earnest.
Our search utilized a number of sources. We looked at RV dealerships, RV shows, EBay, Craig’s List, RV Trader, and a few private sellers. Our search took months. We were not in any hurry, well we were but, we took our time because we wanted to get it right. We noticed a trend among RVers. It seems as though many of them will own two or more RVS in the first few years because the ones they started with weren’t what they needed. We wanted to do our best to avoid this. While we think we have found the right one, honestly we don’t know for sure because we aren’t full time yet. But we think we have the right RV for us.
Finally, at the Detroit RV Show we found the perfect RV for us. We were certain of it. We were sure it had everything we needed and more. We decided the 2016 SportTrek Touring Edition STT343VIK Travel Trailer was just the one. When we went through this RV at the show we fell in love. It was absolutely perfect for us. It was within the towing capacity of our truck. There were three slide outs, dining table and chairs instead of a booth, lots of storage, an outdoor kitchen, it even had two fireplaces! The search was over. We had found our dream home!
One of our goals is to visit as many of the National Parks as we possibly can. One of the things we had learned on our journey of discovery, which was paralleling our RV search, was that if you want to park your RV in most National Parks it would need to be thirty feet of less. Our dream home, the perfect RV for us was thirty-eight feet long. It wasn’t going to work for us. I for one was heartbroken. I am still in love with the SportTrek. But, the search was on again.
Somewhere along the way we had begun thinking about fifth wheel trailers. Even though we had a short bed truck I had learned that there were hitches which would work with them. I also learned that there were some fifth wheels that really could be towed with a half-ton pickup. So we began to look at fifth wheels as well as tow behinds. Finally, we found a fifth wheel we thought would work for us. It was a brand new 2017 Palomino Puma 253FBS. It wasn’t as fancy as the SportTrek but we were certain it was what we needed.
We had decided that we would try to buy a used RV. Depreciation is a major factor to consider when buying new. We also believe that many of the kinks would be worked out with a used one. So I began searching for used models of the Puma. Turns out there had not been a great deal of change in this model over the years. RV Trader became my primary search tool. At last I found a 2010 model of the Puma in Lacrosse, Wisconsin but, it was 10 hours away. The good news was, it was only 30 minutes away from my daughter and son-in-law. I sent them a list of things to look for and questions to ask. When they went to look at the RV they faced timed with me and showed me around the RV inside and out. They also took pictures for me. My son-in-law is very handy and I felt confident in his and my daughter’s assessment. After going over all the information, talking and praying about it we decided we would make an offer.
Two days later we bought our first RV without ever seeing it in person. Do I recommend such a thing? Not unless you have a good scouting party like we did. We have not been disappointed. He is 27 feet long, has a nice amount of storage and tows like a dream. Pete is the home in which we will pursue our dreams in the very near future.
2 thoughts on “WANTED: THE IDEAL RV”
I loved reading your story. I pray you two have a great time traveling with Penelope.
When Ed decided to buy a trailer he informed our four kids first. I really thought they were to expensive so I didn’t go to the Campershow with him. When he came home he said “ You get to choose the Color; do you want pink or blue;? I chose blue. Of course the Kids and grandkids went with us when they could. I thank the Lord for the camper. We had it for over 25 Years. When Ed started loosing his sight we could not sell it so we donated it to the Salvation Army! What a trip! I am so happy for you. I know you will have many good stories to share!