A bigger RV is not necessarily better

A bigger RV is not necessarily better

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I am trying to talk my husband into trading our big diesel pusher motorhome in for something shorter. When we bought we were thinking bigger was better, but now we are reevaluating. He has hit just about everything in Kansas.

The dealer gave us driving lessons and little dots to put on the mirrors. My husband was convinced that if the dots missed the gas pump the motorhome would too. The problem is, while he’s watching the dots he knocks the mirrors off on something else.

I feel like we do not visit a lot of places because we are afraid we might get stuck in a tight place where we can’t turn the motorhome around. He says he will eventually get used to driving it. That may be true, but I’m not sure we will have much motorhome left by the time he gets his driving skills mastered. Please advise. —Bump and Grind in Grand Rapids

Dear Bump and Grind:
It sounds like you are stripping it down pretty quickly. Is it getting shorter or just narrower?

Everyone seems to find their own comfort level when driving a big rig. I don’t think there is any argument that the longer the rig, the fewer choices you have getting into tight campgrounds and other destinations. Height is another consideration. It is not just motorhomes. I know a guy that drove 40 ft. tour buses in New York City and Boston for years. He bought a fifth wheel and couldn’t park it. He said, “The darn thing bends in the middle.”

The two of you will have to decide where your comfort level resides. With the popularity of slide outs in most of today’s coaches, you should be able to find a suitable floor plan that offers all the room you need in a shorter rig. It also depends on the type of traveling you plan to do. You are not going to get a 40 ft. coach into many small National Forest campgrounds with small sites and tight roads.

Campground trends are growing. Because there are so many larger units on the road, campgrounds are being designed to accommodate them. I also see a trend in manufacturers downsizing the diesel pusher. You can now find nice units under 30 ft. Most dealers will let you test drive the units they sell. You should try a few shorter coaches and see if you feel more comfortable with a unit that does not require a driving plan that entails connecting the dots. 

Also, you might want to check for driving courses offered through the RV Safety & Education Foundation (RVSEF), or look online for RV driving courses. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

##RVT840 

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11 thoughts on “A bigger RV is not necessarily better

  1. John Tully

    After going through 2 travel trailer rigs, we are now truck campers. Have a Lance WITH a slide-out. We both love it after 3 years and going cross country twice.

  2. Jillie

    Coming from a school bus driver? You need to know how to drive one of those things before getting it on the road. You folks scare me without CDL training. I have seen people drive those things and let me tell you. Learn to drive a school bus before learning to drive a motor home. I have a 20 x 8. Would like a 22 or 25 but I am happy with what I have now. Good luck and good nite.

    1. Phil McCraken

      Julie,

      Way to much regulations already. Just drive it.

  3. Darrel

    Time for RV driver training for both husband and wife. Cheaper then repairs from hitting things.

    Google “RV driver training”. or “RV driving lessons”.

  4. Jerry X Shea

    Started with a 40′ and toured all 49 states. After 8 years we downsized to a 33′ DP. Could re-do that 8 year trip with no problem in the 33′ and even get into places we could not go to with the 40′. Now we are downsizing again. Getting a 25′ Class B+. When you really come down to it if you have a bed, bathroom/shower and stove/refer the rest is just “floor space”.

    1. Jann

      I think you did the right thing. Now you know what is available for a 40 Ft rig. Generally down sizing after trying is very smart. Just leave enough floor space for your fur baby if you have one.

    2. rick louderbough

      Agree 100% our old Chinook is perfect for tight forests or ??

      1. Phil McCraken

        Rick,

        Would an old Chinook fit well in grassland camping to?

  5. Marvin Thomasson

    I see wife can’t be bothered to learn to drive the RV. It’s much easier to just complain. Come on lady, why don’t you just assist the driver with maneuvering instead of just bitching when the driver has a mishap. You’re not a ride-along guest on your travels, you’re part of a partnership. Do your part. My wife shares driving and does most of the parking, including backing the rig. If I fall over and don’t get up, I know she won’t be stranded and dependent on strangers to take care of the RV and drive and park it. We’re both happier for it.

    1. Jann

      Hmmm I missed seeing the part where the wife does not drive the RV. My husband and I figured out a way to help each other without the threat of a divorce. We have seen many fights because one or the other did not like the way the other one handled it. Your remark was rather rude but oh well.

    2. Phil McCraken

      Marvin,

      Spot on dude. Get em ready for the big one, if it untimely occurs. To many leave their princess wives unprepared in the eventual event of the man crooning.

      At least the next guy will thank you!

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