Buying a travel trailer still seems like a big surprise to me…even three months and about fifteen hundred miles later. When we started camping, I had zero intention of ever buying a trailer. I assumed they were expensive and took the novelty out of camping. Their size alone also intimidated me and we had no truck with which to tow it. But here we are, proud travel trailer owners and in love with RVing.
Why we bought a travel trailer.
I wanted our first “big” camping expense to be two tandem kayaks. I love kayaking, I was hooked about three minutes into my very first time. But the price tag on just one tandem kayak was painful, so we tucked the idea away for when we had a little bit of extra cash. Then Tim was promoted and reassigned to a new unit and we moved to Iowa. Once he got settled at his new unit, they dropped the bad news bomb “the unit is mobilizing in 2018”. Great. To make a long story short, it’s a stateside mission and he and his fellow soldiers need to find their own accommodations. The kids and I are staying behind in our home.
Tim was the first to suggest he live in a trailer for a year. I was the first to suggest this was a bad idea. Again, I worried about the cost and whether it would be comfortable enough for him to live in for a year. Can you reasonably live in a trailer for an extended amount of time? Is this even a real thing? Turns out yes, yes it is. So, we started looking online to get an idea of what we would want out of a trailer.
How we bought a travel trailer.
You don’t just walk into an RV dealership and drive out with a trailer. It needs to be a well researched purchase. We searched for a trailer for about two months, which is actually a pretty short search. We started by going to dealers and telling them what our budget was and what our wants were. The dealer we ultimately bought from told it to us straight: our wants were not going to match our cash budget. But he did explain how financing works and lo and behold financing an RV is nowhere near as expensive as we thought it was. He gave us a lot to think on and we went home to reconsider our budget and our needs.
While looking for the trailer of our dreams (a sentence I never thought I’d write), we had to find a vehicle to tow it with. Tim’s crossover was getting up in years and would start needing some costly maintenance. We decided to replace it with a pickup. We originally were eyeing up 2015 Chevy Silverados but fate stepped in and put a 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 V8 5.7L Hemi in our path. For the same price and miles it had a lot of creature comforts and upgrades the Chevy didn’t. We drove home with the Ram the same night we went to “take a look”. The Ram can tow up to 10,100lbs so we weren’t limited in our choice of trailer by weight.
Back we went to the dealership (several times) and continued to look online for a trailer. We knew we wanted a trailer with a bunkhouse, a full kitchen, air conditioning, and a shower big enough to accommodate Tim (he’s a tall guy). We looked and looked and looked. It started to feel like an impossible mission. We wanted to secure a trailer so we could learn the ropes before sending Tim off to live in it by himself for a year.
In late May, it was looking like we had two options. One option was a private sale. That trailer was nice. It had a large bunkhouse, lots of living space, an outside kitchen, and power everything. The downside was it was an enormous trailer; somewhere around thirty-four feet! The second option was a trade-in that just came into the dealership we were working with. On paper it was everything we wanted. After a tour through the trailer, we knew it was the one. We applied for financing, put down a deposit, and scheduled a pickup date for the following weekend.
The day of our pickup was a long one and there’s a lot of details that I don’t want to skip over so I’ll be back with another post on that later on.
Do you own an RV? How did you decide to buy one?