Physical effort required - Physical limitations?
Can I handle the physical effort required to crank up and fold out a folding trailer? Can I handle the hitching and unhitching of a travel trailer? Does anyone aboard require modifications to accommodate the physically challenged?
How much storage space will I need?
What special gear, equipment will I want to take with me? Will I have sufficient storage space for clothing, gear, groceries, hobby, and sports gear? Remember: all units will have a weight limit; it is unsafe to overload any unit.
What are the major types of RVs ... and what do they cost?
Maybe you've seen an RV on the highway or in a campground, or maybe a friend has one that interests you, but you're not quite sure how to describe it. The pictures, codes and descriptions below will help you identify the RV that you want to buy.
Recreational vehicles are divided into three basic categories:
Sometimes referred to as a conventional travel trailer, a unit designed to be towed by a car, van or pickup by means of a bumper or frame hitch. Towable units, 13 to 37 feet in length, with full living accommodations: galley, beds, bath or shower and toilet facilities, living area. Towed by means of frame hitch on towing vehicle.
Popular models: $15,000 to $50,000.
Park Model Trailer
A unit built on a single chassis mounted on wheels designed to facilitate relocation from time to time but not intended to be towed on a regular basis. It may be connected to those utilities necessary for operation of installed fixtures and appliances. It has a gross floor area, including lofts, not exceeding 50m, when in the setup mode, and having a width greater than 2.6m in the transit mode.
Note: Park Model units require a special tow vehicle and a special permit to move on the road as the unit is greater than 2.60 metres in width.
5th Wheel Trailer
A two-level unit designed to be affixed and towed by a pickup truck equipped with a special hitch in the truck bed. Roomier than conventional travel trailers, the bi-level front section mounts over a pick-up truck equipped with a fifth wheel hitch. Easier to tow than conventional trailer. Many units have "slide out" compartments for more roominess when camping and a complete leveling system.
Popular models: $15,000 to $75,000.
A lightweight unit with sides that collapse for towing and storage. Also known as "pop-up" or "fold down" units. When set up, they provide kitchen, dining, and sleeping facilities for up to 8 people.
Popular models: $5,000 to $12,000.
A Camping unit loaded or mounted onto, or affixed to, the bed or chassis of a pickup truck. Popular with hunters and fishermen who travel and camp in wilderness areas.
Popular models: $8,500 to $25,000.
3. PARK MODEL RECREATIONAL UNIT
Park Model Recreational Unit
A park model meets the following criteria:
It is built on a single chassis mounted on wheels
It is designed to facilitate occasional relocation
It is designed as a living quarters for seasonal camping and may be connected to those utilities necessary for the operation of installed fixtures and appliances
It has a gross floor area, including lofts, not exceeding 50 square meters (approximately 540 square feet) in the set-up mode and having a width greater than 2.6 meters (8' 6") in the transit mode
Note: This definition has been developed by a joint industry task force of manufacturers, dealers, campground owners and the Canadian Standards Association and is the basis for the CSA Z-241 standard for Park Model Units.
What RV systems and accessories do I need to learn?
The systems you need to learn include:
Electrical systems: 12-volt battery system; on-board generator, if applicable; external hook-up for microwave, air conditioner, TV, appliances. Which appliances work on more than one system; how to switch from one to another? How to check for blown fuses. LP gas system: for cooking, refrigerator, hot water, heating. How to shut the system off and how to refuel. "Sniffers" for detecting leaks. The water system: including filling fresh water tank, protecting in cold weather. Deodorizing the system. Waste holding tanks: how to empty properly at dump stations. Special systems: on-board electric generator, leveling systems, TV antenna & power booster, rear view TV, etc. Maintenance checks for the engine and chassis: Routine maintenance intervals for oil changes, lube, brakes, tires, trailer hitch, lugs, etc.
Your RV dealer will provide a check-out briefing.
Do a complete "run through" of a day's routines in your RV before departing on your first trip. Read the owner's manual and instructional literature which comes with your unit and its major components.
What plans should I make for parking my RV between trips, and in the off season?
If you are planning on parking your RV at you residence, check zoning ordinances, and building covenant. If you are planning on parking your RV somewhere else, how convenient and how secure is the location?