“Smoke smell never goes away,” I say after being
asked about how to pick an RV. Of all the things I focus on when asked that question, that is the most important if you are a non-smoker. Followed by, “Rent first.” The option to that is what I did, I bought one very cheap ($300) so if it failed to excite us or it broke, no big deal.
I have only had one used trailer, that first one, the rest we bought new.
It smelled slightly musty from the day we
bought it until we sold it five years later, but we loved it and fell in love with glamping and trailer camping. It did not have a background smoke smell which is very good. Ever since the Cedar Fire (really big fire in San Diego in 2003) my bride has been sensitive to smoke and smoke smell.
Her sensitivity has gotten better over the years, but living in a slightly smoke smelling rig for any length of time wouldn’t be good. Once a trailer or RV has been smoked in the smell never goes completely away.
It is most noticeable when the interior is warm. Cigarette smoke gets into the wood finishes and exudes into the air as the wood pores open when the wood is warm. Cold and ozone sprays will hide it, but it never goes away and reappears when the AC is off or you are in Florida.
Renting different RV’s before you buy is important. We all have different
tolerances, likes and dislikes. My friends bought a Class C motor coach after we bought a trailer. They loved it, traveled all around the country from event to event and even lived in it for a while after selling their home. My other friend went to buy a fifth wheel (also called a ‘fiver’) just like I had, he really liked mine, but ended up coming home with a completely different design much better suited to his lifestyle.
Along with renting is ‘looking’. Go to an RV sales events (in San Diego at the old stadium) and walk through every RV (might try to get a good cross section of types as you may not be able to finish ‘all’ in reality, it’s exhausting ;-). Still rent a couple or three different styles of rig. If you are a trailer person, try both fivers and tag-along trailers. If you have no idea, rent a trailer and an RV on different weekends. You can have fivers and even smaller trailers can be delivered (most require delivery and it is
included) or you can rent a pickup if you don’t already have something suitable to pull a trailer.
That last sentence brings up another subject. Trailers and fifth wheels require a tow vehicle. It is not any more expensive than motor coach, just a different arrangement of the expenses. A drive-able RV or motor coach, has the advantage of only one payment or cost center, since it has its own engine. Of course, you may want a vehicle to drive when you are stopped, but that can be a car you drive the rest of the time too. I like having a truck in all of my life’s pursuits so it is not a particular extra expense for me.
There are dozens of things that are part of the decision. Obviously, cost is a driver for most of us and there are some very low-cost methods of getting into RV life. At the other end of the spectrum is the idea that one wants to have the absolute best of everything which can get into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Simpler things like the fact that dollar for dollar and foot for foot trailers have a lot more living space than motor coaches and conversely you can’t use a trailer much while you are driving whereas somebody else can be napping or making lunch it an RV (not necessarily safely, but most folks do it). My children and grand-children have always lobbied for a motor coach for that reason.
Future articles will include my take on some of the other costs, trials and tribulations and who knows, maybe some of the pure joys. Right now, if you haven’t read my article about my water system, you should. It will give you a glimpse into some of the complications of RV life-just don’t let it scare you away, or maybe if it does scare you away it a sign.
Please comment, ask questions or just tell me what you think.
Some links, I am not recommending anything except my own blog, just getting you started.
My Water System article I am promoting this since it is mine…
Article about different RV rental companies, not a perfect article, but pretty detailed
RV Share site , I am not promoting them, just providing the link
Cruise America, same thing, I am not promoting them, just providing the link
San Diego RV Rental Google Search, literally just that with the hyperlink embedded
SDCCU RV Show happens seasonally so easy to access, just don’t get caught up and buy one before doing your ‘due diligence’ by studying and trying out the options… ’nuff said