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Any Experience With Class B RV's?
Old 12-26-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
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Any Experience With Class B RV's?

Hi, I'm shopping for a used Class B (van-sized) RV such as the Roadtrek (www.roadtrek.com), and have a few questions for anybody who might have owned/lived in one of these:
  • How are they for a couple to live in for an extended period, of say a few weeks or a month? We'd need to use it a lot to justify the cost, but is that realistic in such a small space? (We've done a lot of camping in the past, even owned a VW camper van at one point, but I really wouldn't want to spend a few weeks in one of those right now.)
  • How hard is it to find comfortable, safe, and cheap urban campsites? I know that WalMart parking lots are always a possibility, but there is something ironic about spending big bucks on a nice RV, and then sleeping in parking lots. Not sure DW would find that very appealing either.
  • It's great that you can go self-contained for a few nights, but aren't holding tanks a big hassle? Is there an easy and legal way to dump them without finding a campground?
  • How easy are these Class B's to drive around town? Can they really double as a second vehicle?
Thanks for any experience or tips!
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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Until last year we owned a Great West Sprinter-based class B. We liked it quite a lot but the dimensions finally got to us. I'm about 6' and sleeping was a problem. It was a big bed but with the walls right at your side, a narrow exit from bed to the BR, etc. we had some restless nights. Couple of rainy days really reinforced the togetherness. Lots of turning sideways when passing each other by in the galley, that kind of thing.

OTOH, it was completely and nicely decked out with all the fancy stuff. Tanks were small but adequate. Vehicle served as a nice in-town car (an honest 20 mpg Diesel) but remember that the price for not having a towed vehicle is that you have to disconnect everything to run to the store, then reconnect and level upon our return.

As to boondocking, these are not great for that. One or maybe two nights, tops. The gray tank fills up quickly. You really do need to find a park and pay a dumping fee (e.g. $10) if you boondock after departing for home. Boondocking is better in the larger rigs.

Campsites can be found near the cities as long as you don't always need something scenic. We have stayed within a half hour of Charleston, St. Augustine, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Gainesville, etc. with ease. You don't want to use Walmart if you don't need to.

We upgraded to a TrailManor. You should look at them (or PM me since I know of some used ones). It was a huge upgrade and we can store it in the driveway of our city house and tow it with an SUV.

Do some searches on rv.net and elsewhere for more info. There are a number of RVers on this board but I can't think of any Class B owners at the moment.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:24 PM   #3
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Welcome to Casita - America's Favorite Lightweight Travel Trailer

For the size and price I'd recommend you look into a Casita and a SUV or pick up truck. I think it will cost you less in the long run and give you more options.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:59 PM   #4
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We downsized from a 29' Class A to a Roadtrek Versatile. It is 23 ft long and comes with a power coach that folds into a queen bed. Both DW and I are taller (5-10 and 6.0) and found the closeness manageable. We did add a foam mattress topper to make the coach a bit more comfortable. Rich is correct that is close and may not be comfortable for everyone. We are personally travellers and not campers so we really appreciate the flexibility for going anywhere. We took ours on a 4600 mile, 3 weeks road trip this last fall and enjoyed it a great deal. We felt more relaxed than when we had our A as we were not dealing with the challenges of the larger unit. Our unit is a gasser which actually cost less to operate with the current diesel/gas prices. We got around 15-18 mpg depending on terrain and my ability to keep in under 65 ;-)

DW will drive the Roadtrek with no hesitation where I had to really push her to take the wheel in the A and it was a small A. I hook up in 5 minutes and less to disconnect unless I am dumping. The Roadtrek uses a masserator for processing waste and it takes a few minutes to grind and pump the tank contents.
However, if you are looking for a unit to essentially live in for an extended basis in one place, I would encourage you to consider either a fifth wheel or the Trail Manor that Rich mentions. This link will take you directly to the Class B section of RV.netRV.Net Open Roads Forum: Class B - Camping Van Conversions
Feel free to pm me if you have any specific quesitions on the Roadtrek. You may want to also look at what they call B+ which are really small C classes. Any dealer will welcome you given the market conditions so be sure you get what you really really want and not what they want to sell you
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dex View Post
Welcome to Casita - America's Favorite Lightweight Travel Trailer

For the size and price I'd recommend you look into a Casita and a SUV or pick up truck. I think it will cost you less in the long run and give you more options.
A friend of mine has a Casita and he & his wife absolutely love it! They said it was one of the best purchases that they had ever made! They were already on vacation throughout Texas and the southwest, and he said they drove past the place in Texas and saw the little gems. They went in to look at them, and when they left, there was one hooked up behind their vehicle!
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:51 AM   #6
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Most people find a B a bit on the tight side for any extended camping forays.There are larger versions called B+,one of my favorites would be the Provan Tiger http://www.tigermotorhomes.com/images/1st.jpg
there are many models and mfrs to choose from.
Maybe try renting one for a week before you decide to buy.
RV.net is a good resource for anything to do with rving.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:41 AM   #7
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You will get some advise on this board, probably even good advise, but branch out to a forum with a higher concentration of owners. I read the RV.Net board most everyday (like I do this one) and they have a whole board on class B and other related boards to fill in details on boondocking and other topics that will be of interest. RV.Net Open Roads Forum

Lots of good people over there, and a few grouches, just like here.

Jeb
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:09 AM   #8
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We have a small travel trailer rather than a Class B (which we considered but decided against). The inside of our trailer isn't much bigger than a roadtrek andwe travel with 2 adults, 2 small children and 2 small dogs. It is tight, but manageable if you are expecting tight quarters and act/pack accordingly. We have gone on trips as long as a week without issues, but our typical trip is mre like 2 to 4 days. But you can do just fine if make some compromises, namely:

- Expect to have to travel with minimalist gear and clothes. With two people you will ave a little more wiggle room, but it isn't that hard to go over the vehicle's weight limit if you are packing for a very long trip.
- Plan to mostly camp in campgrounds. The holding tanks aren't that big and you will really appreciate a full sized campground shower after a while. Besides, you probably don't want to park/live/camp at walmart for more than a single night, and state campgrounds are cheap and generally beautiful.
- You will probably want some auxiliary form of transport. This can be as simple as a couple of folding bicycles.

I would suggest that you go to an RV show and look around. For models that interest you, sit on the toilet, pretend to shower, lay on the bed, sit together at whatever passes for a table, etc. And see what you can rent, althoughclass B's tend to be tough to find in rental fleets. One week in a class C made it clear that we really like RVing, but a class C would not do for our needs.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:47 AM   #9
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We purchased a 2008 Roadtrek 210 Versatile in July. We now have a little over 20,000 miles on it. We (the two of us) are travelers rather than campers so the RV serves mainly as our hotel/restaurant. During this period we have not stayed at the same campground more than one night -- with one exception, the KOA in Salina Kansas; one night in July and another night in December. Anyway, I am unsure how applicable our use is to your situation. We spend most of the day out exploring and only retire to the vehicle after dark... although admittedly, this time of year is quite early. Our trips have been in the area of 10 days to 2 1/2 weeks and we are still speaking to each other so it must not be too bad.

We have not done any Boondocking so I cannot speak to that. Beside most of out travels have been in Northern areas with tempeartures (of late) in the lower 30's. Therefore, we have exclusively used campgrounds. We never make reservations (for several reason) and have never been turned down, meaning we have never had to "look around." We have paid as high as $62 a night (Jackson, Wyoming) and as low as $6 (numerous) but I suspect that the $20-$25 range provides the most "bang for the buck."

There are "Dump Sites" everywhere... from Flying J's to Rest Areas. And if push comes to shove, you can always go to any campground and simply pay a couple bucks to offload -- they normally have a separate area for non-guest dumping.

Our RT is 23' long (from the front bumper to the back of the spare tire carrier) and 7 1/2' wide. I can honestly say that I can go anywhere a car can go... with one exception; it is 8'6'' tall and there are many parking lots with 7'6" maximum. (This hasn't been a problem but it is worth mentioning.) The only time I find it a little uncomfortable is in those really short parking spaces that are marked for "compact" cars. <chuckle>

I agree with Jeb-NY, you will get more detailed information at a forum dedicated to the RV crowd. (But, certainly, don't discount anything you pick up here. These people have been very helpful to me in this area.)In any event, I also visit RVNet daily but there are a number of others equally useful.

Brewer's last paragraph, BTW, is exceptionally worthwhile paying attention to.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:46 AM   #10
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We had a Class B, a 1985 VW Westpalia camper. We loved it and have passed it on to our older son. We replaced it with a small travel trailer www.tada-rv.com - T@DA - Microlite RV Teardrop Travel Trailer - TADA TAB Daddy something like a Casita, only better (friends have a Casita and we are always teasing each other.) No perfect answer as to an RV. DW & I spend a lot of time together, we drove 8,500 miles to arctic Canada & Alaska over 7 weeks and plan more trips.
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:05 AM   #11
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It's great that you can go self-contained for a few nights, but aren't holding tanks a big hassle? Is there an easy and legal way to dump them without finding a campground?


I said Dump Stations are everywhere. In fact, there is a web site listing all the dump stations in the U.S. and Canada.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:34 PM   #12
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I said Dump Stations are everywhere. In fact, there is a web site listing all the dump stations in the U.S. and Canada.
Another place to check about dumping is at a town's wastewater treatment facility (a.k.a. sewage plant). Oft times they have an area where an RV can take a dump. When I was stilling working at the one here in town, we let 'locals' dump free of charge, and set a nominal fee for 'non-locals'....usually just a tad higher than the RV parks or other privately owned operations, to try to keep it from getting out of hand with campers & RV's waiting in line to get in to dump for free or below-normal fees, and causing delays for our higher paying commercial septic haulers.
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Old 12-28-2008, 03:10 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the excellent information everybody. This tells me most of what I wanted to know, and gives me pointers to the rest. Thanks again!
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:04 PM   #14
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Well, having never owned an RV nor even used one, I always wondered if a small class B would work for us to wander around. But something keeps nagging in my mind. Now, I may never use one after reading another thread, starting with the following post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
And speaking of RVs...

... who gets to clean out the "sanitary system" in yours? That would be me in our case. Now that's true boundary setting. By the DW.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:10 PM   #15
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Well, having never owned an RV nor even used one, I always wondered if a small class B would work for us to wander around. But something keeps nagging in my mind. Now, I may never use one after reading another thread, starting with the following post.
You're welcome .

It reminds me of learning to change my kids' loaded diapers: unpleasant but you get used to it. Theoretically, with an RV, you never come in direct contact with the honey. Theoretically.

OTOH, we hear a lot of RVers complain about occasionally having to sleep in a hotel bed, the bed bugs, mystery stains on the sheets, partially clean bathrooms, smoke residue, carpets of many delights.

Joys of travel.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:12 PM   #16
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NW, cleaning out the "sanitary system" is a required maintenance item on virtually all types of RV's. The exception being the disposable type...but that can get very expensive.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:39 PM   #17
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NW, cleaning out the "sanitary system" is a required maintenance item
But, it is an easy one. Our RT has a 1 1/2" hose that you pull out (uncoil actually), stick the end in a hole, pull a lever, and push a button. You then store hose back where you got it -- all told about 3 minutes. You really don't have opportunity to get personal with what is in the hose if you keep in mind what someone told me a long time ago.

There are only three things you need to know about being a plumber:

1. "Stuff" always flows downhill.
2. Paydays are Friday
3. Never, ever lick your fingers.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:50 PM   #18
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There are only three things you need to know about being a plumber:

1. "Stuff" always flows downhill.
2. Paydays are Friday
3. Never, ever lick your fingers.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:55 PM   #19
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NW, cleaning out the "sanitary system" is a required maintenance item on virtually all types of RV's.
Of course I know it comes with the ownership, but try not to imagine all the glorious details.

I always wonder about whether being able to do it with my eyes closed, or not wearing protection suits.

One thing I am sure of is it must be done on an empty stomach. Oh well, one can get used to anything. In college, a medical friend told me he could not eat meat for a week or two after his first session with cadavers.

PS. With my youngest son being 19-yr old, it's been a while since I dealt with diapers.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:52 PM   #20
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I always wonder about whether being able to do it with my eyes closed, or not wearing protection suits.

One thing I am sure of is it must be done on an empty stomach.
Kidding aside, when done properly none of the above is really necessary. As long as all the hoses, valves and fittings are in good working order and correct procedures are followed (dump black water first, then grey) leaks or whiffs of sewer gasses aren't a problem.

To see how NOT to do it, check out Robin Williams in the movie "RV".
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