RV or not RV

Slide out on a fifth wheel.

Saturday afternoon we packed the kids in the car and drove through the rain to the Utah RV Show in Sandy, Utah.

My daughter was excited.

“Mommy, I’ve never, ever been to an RV Show before. Have you ever been to an RV Show before?” she asked.

“No, I never have, either,” I replied.

“So this is your first time, too! Are they going to have food there?”

At the show, it was crowded. There really were a lot of RVs there.

I went with two goals: 1) find out the difference between a trailer and a fifth wheel, and 2) find out the difference between a factory motor home and a bus conversion.

I did find out the difference between a trailer and a fifth wheel. Trailers are all one level and seem to come in a wide variety of sizes, from little egg-shaped sleeping quarters to big old 20-some-foot trailers. Many trailers can be hauled by smaller pickup trucks or even SUVs. Fifth wheels are larger and on two levels, with the front part fitting into the bed of a full-sized pickup truck. Fifth wheels also seem more likely to have the slide-out portions (these make extra room inside when the trailer is, you know, anchored. There’s another word for this, but I can’t think of it. Stuck to the ground with the little hydraulic jack thing).

I did not, however, learn why they’re called “fifth wheels.”

There weren’t any bus conversions there, so I didn’t get to learn about the practical differences between them and motor homes.

When thinking about our own potential use of an RV, my husband and I agree that we’d probably go fifth wheel if we decided to sell our home and move into an RV full-time. We’d want something bigger and a little plusher than a trailer, but less expensive and easier to drive than a motor home. Fifth wheels are also taller than trailers, which would be a big deal for my six-foot-two husband. Buying a nice fifth wheel and the full-sized pickup truck to haul it would be cheaper (and more fuel efficient) than buying a similarly plush motor home. We looked at one motor home that was regularly priced at $280,000. That’s more than our house costs. But then, we can’t drive our house.

These fifth wheels are awesome. Some have a bath and a half, a king-sized bed in the master, washer/dryer hookups, and a porch. Many have three TVs inside. Some have TVs and kitchens outside the trailer. One I looked at had an island in the kitchen and bar seating. My daughter likes any RV with bunk beds in it. There were plenty of those, too.

I think if we’re just going camping or even taking a long-ish trip during the summer, we’d just rent a motor home. It just doesn’t make sense to invest a whole wad of money and try to store an enormous extra vehicle and trailer if we’re only going to use it a month or so out of the year.

We had a fun time, and we didn’t buy an RV (not that there was much danger of that).

We didn’t get out without spending any money, though. The baby didn’t have the patience to wait around for the cooking demonstrations to get samples, so we bought him and his sister a big old soft pretzel to share. It’s nice to be able to please the kids with $2.50 of dough and salt.

Some photos of our adventure:

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6 Replies to “RV or not RV”

  1. the fifth wheel is the thing in the bed of the truck the trailer hooks to. It rotates to allow the trailer to make turns etc. So, 4 tires + thing in back = 5 wheels lol


    1. Aha! I definitely need to bring you along on our imaginary cross-country RV tour of National Parks, and not just for your knowledge of geology.


  2. They really look amazingly comfy & luxurious these days. So, are you planning to become one of the traveling people for realz or was this purely edumacational?


    1. I could move into one. My husband is not so enthusiastic. Really, though, I wouldn’t want to buy a big one unless that was going to be my residence. It appeals to my uncluttered desires, but I’m not sure it’s practical for us at this point in our lives.


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