By the time I purchased my camper I’d been researching for about two years: Browsing the internet, talking to RV owners, reading books, blogs, and magazines. From reconnaissance missions to RV dealerships (where I pretended to be wealthy and toured different models) I made some important discoveries:
- Dealerships annoy me and I personally would rather buy from a private seller.
- Campers under 15 feet long are often only 71 inches high inside. I am closer to 73 inches tall. This was a game changer. I had to expand my search to larger campers.
- Where are you supposed to put your laundry basket?
The more research I did, the clearer the picture became of what would not suit me. I also knew I didn’t want a few other things:
- Pop up campers, “hybrids”, or slide outs: more to set up, more things to go wrong
- 5th wheel or truck bed camper: Not suitable for my truck.
- Van or motorhome: Not suitable for my life. My vehicle should be autonomous.
- Convertible sleeping area: I wanted the bed to just be a bed and not have to fold it away to use the dining/living space.
- Loans or financing: I wanted to pay cash and this limited me to used campers.
If you’ve got money to rent a few different types of campers, do it. It will give you a better feel for what is right for you. Check out RVshare, which is an Airbnb business model.
Are you ready to purchase?
- How will you pay? If you are buying from a private seller, ask what type of payment options they are comfortable with. Check? Account transfers? Paypal? Piles of $100 bills? During the purchase of my truck and camper, I was literally a thousand miles away from my nearest bank branch.
- Find out how to transfer the title in your state.
- Do you need a bill of sale? Many state’s DMV websites have a template to print off. Even if the state doesn’t require it, it’s not a bad idea to have a bill of sale for your records, especially when you need evidence and your new title is lost in the mail.
- Estimate what the sales tax, registration and other fees, and insurance will be. Does it still fit your budget after considering those extra costs?
In September of 2017 the timing was right and I bought my trailer. The seller was super helpful by showing me how to operate everything (awning, hot water heater, etc.). For a first-time owner, these things can be overwhelming. We took it down the road for a little test drive with my truck but I was already smitten.
My camper is a 2000 R-Vision Trail Lite. What I liked immediately is that she was built for colder temps with a sealed undercarriage and a compartment in front that protects the LP tanks. At 21 feet, she was a smidge longer than what I’d envisioned myself in, but weight-wise was still on target for my truck. If you are anything like me, you love floorplans! So here is mine:
As you can see, there is a lot of sleeping area potential; technically enough for 6 people as the “lounge” can be converted into a queen bed and the cabinet above folds down. The previous owner had several kids. I have 0. But, since I wanted to be able to live in this thing, I liked all the extra space. Dedicating space for my “office” was something I looked forward to doing with this space. Being older and well-used meant that I wouldn’t feel too bad if I attempted a renovation project and it failed.
Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about my make-over process in future posts!