We’ve been on the road for a couple months in our RV. I found it valuable to read about people’s opinions and experiences about their vandwelling lifestyle. I thought I would cover some of the good and bad experiences we’ve had.
This is covered in three parts:
I’m covering the good stuff last because even though we have some tiny gripes, I absolutely love the tiny adjustment to our life. The RV has brought tremendous convenience.
I have no buyer’s remorse buying an RV. It has been two months and I am finding that I like more about this RV than originally anticipated. Here’s a tiny list of things I’ve really appreciated thus far compared to my 40 foot diesel pusher:
- The ease of driving
- The quick setup at camp sites
- Lithium Ion Batteries
- Our Solar System
- Parking in regular spots
- Making U-Turns
- Unlimited Hot Water
- Instant Hot Water
- The Entire Automated Power System
- Day Bed/Murphy Bed Option
- No Rattling
- Always-On USB Plugs
- TONS of Power Outlets
- LED Lighting
- The Freezer
- The Furnace
- Having an Exhaust Fan
RV Size is such a personal thing. I had a huge motorhome and it was very comfortable. Bigger water tanks and elbow room. The larger units undoubtedly provide comfort if you want to spend a lot of time in your coach. However, there were aspects of having a big motorhome I didn’t care for and being indoors is the opposite reason you’d choose this lifestyle. The negatives of having a large RV outweigh the benefits. When you have complex system and slides you have more things that can go wrong; and, I DID!. My slides broke. One of my slides, the 3 foot slide in the back, came out in the middle of the highway. I didn’t even know for a while. It was SO DANGEROUS! The big RV took a lot more effort to relocate each time. There are more things you have to check. Finding parking for 40’+tow isn’t bad. However, I really love not having to worry about size. Our current RV comfortably fits in most parking spaces. If we stick out of a spot I can look around and find big trucks doing the same thing.
The size of this RV is perfect. It’s comfortable to drive and doesn’t feel like more than driving a large truck. The turning radius allows for fairly tight U-Turns. We can stay at ANY RV park. We can drive on pretty much any road.
I’m not saying I won’t purchase a large RV again. Maybe some day it will make sense when we travel less and plan on sitting in single locations for long periods of time. It is hard to articulate how stress free it is to hop in your house and drive without following long check lists. It’s wonderful to pull into any gas station. Making a wrong turn doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to drive ten extra miles because you can’t safely turn around. It’s been wonderful!
We are power hungry users. We use a ton of computing power and have four million gadgets. There are power outlets everywhere! USB power everywhere! It’s fantastic.
We have quite a few things plugged in all the time. For instance, we have a dedicated phone for Waze, a mobile phone with every carrier for internet, a vacuum cleaner, chargers for laptops, Apple TV, PS4, Two Ipads, Batteries for the drones, and PS4 controllers. These items are always plugged in and we never have power issues. Under heavy load we get about three days boondocking without a charge. This is without making any considerations for power usage.
The batteries have gotten low enough to shut off the inverter twice - once, we left the fan and furnace on at the same time by accident. The furnace fan stayed on all night long. This blew through our propane and battery quickly. The other time we had been boondocking for a few days with light microwave and coffee maker use, laptops full blast, and we killed the battery with the PS4 after several hours. The Microwave, Coffee Maker, and PS4 are fairly heavy energy consumers.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the power capacity in this unit. We were intially concerned about only having 3x100 watt solar panels. Pleasure-Way offers five. I wish we could add the extra panels. However, we have enough to push all our gadgets and laptops during the day without draining the battery. There are also plenty of ways to charge the house batteries. You don’t have to think about it; it’s all automatic. Driving, the generator, the sun, and plugging in all contribute to keeping the house batteries topped off. Like the power system in large coaches - the 2017 XLMB is automatic and handles everything for you. It’s wonderful!
The Murphy Bed
Overall, I absolutely LOVE the murphy bed concept. Without slides or any compromise we get TONS of space in this tiny little guy. Bed setup is incredibly simple. I was concerned about having to crawl over each other to get to the bathroom since I’m a fat fella and someone needs to sleep against the wall. There is plenty of room to sleep at angles where you can scootch to the end without too much hassle.
We slept on the memory foam mattress for a couple weeks. The bed is much larger than we are used to. The mattress is firm and we slept pretty well. However, I’m 6’2” and 300+ lbs. I’m tall and fat and at my weight I go right through the foam to the wood.
We decided to get a queen size, 13” height, air mattress. It’s a tiny bit of a climb from the kitchen. Now I sleep like a polar bear in the winter. I’m able to plug the air mattress into an outlet in the kitchen. The mattress will also power deflates. When the mattress is all flat and sucks all the air out we fold it up into the wall so we don’t have to store it. This has been a wonderful life-hack.