What Is the Best RV For Full-Time Living?

Contributor

Josh Schukman

Favorite Trip

Anything on, near, or around Flathead Lake.

Home Base

Bigfork, Montana

Favorite RV

Our 1988 Airstream (lovingly restored)

About Contributor

Josh has lived and breathed RVing since 2016. Launching out in a vintage Airstream, he spent 4 years trekking ’round the country in search of the greatest spaces and places in the U.S. He’s since settled a bit and has spent the past few years running a glampground in NW Montana (right by Glacier National Park). His Montana property features 5 vintage Airstreams, cabins, a tiny home, and more for guests to experience upscale outdoor accommodations. In his spare time, you might find him on Flathead Lake, troubleshooting an Airstream upgrade, or basking in other beauties of Montana.

The best RV for full-time living is the one that matches what you want from life on the road. With more people ditching their sticks and bricks for the freedom of a home on wheels, the question of how to find a suitable full-time RV is more important than ever. 

RV manufacturers offer models in every category for the full-time RV lifestyle. Whether you want to live in a spacious fifth wheel, travel trailer, or motorhome or benefit from the nimbleness of a smaller camper van or Class C camper, there are many models fit for long-term living. 

In this section, we’ll feature the best campers for full-time living in every category for towable and motorized RVs. 

Best Travel Trailers for Full-Time Living

Airstream International – This is one of the best travel trailers for full-time living because of Airstream’s innovative use of space and iconic design. With floorplans featuring spacious bedrooms, ample working spaces, and panoramic windows, this model is best for couples and solo full-timers.

Grand Design Imagine 3210BH – This four-season travel trailer features a bunkhouse at the back and a master bedroom at the front, making it perfect for full-timing families.

Keystone Outback Ultra-Lite 296URK – Dedicated office space, panoramic windows, and large living quarters make this a top pick for full-time digital nomads.

Best Fifth Wheels for Full-Time Living

Keystone Montana High Country 381TB – This fifth wheel is perfect for full-time living families because it features two full bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The 381TB also offers spacious kitchens and living areas.

Forest River Arctic Wolf 27SGS – The Arctic Wolf lineup is well known for its ability to withstand cold temperatures. This fifth wheel is nimble enough to be towed by a properly equipped light-duty truck and features the perfect floorplan for RVing couples.

Jayco Eagle 29.5BHOK – This rig is perfect for large families because it features a dedicated bunk space at the rear with four bunk beds. The outdoor kitchen and ample indoor living spaces offer maximum flexibility for everyone to enjoy their space.

Best Toy Haulers for Full-Time Living

Grand Design Momentum 410TH – This king of the road has it all for full-time RVing families. The garage area is large enough to fit a half bath, overhead and fold-down beds, and plenty of extra room for the family and your toys. Check out other toy hauler floorplans from Grand Design.

Heartland Road Warrior 375RW – This floorplan is designed for couples or smaller families. It features a large garage area that doubles as a patio, a spacious bedroom, and open living areas.

Best Class C RVs for Full-Time Living

Winnebago Minnie Winnie – This classic Class C has been around for ages and features a diverse range of floor plans to accommodate many full-timing styles.

Coachmen Leprechaun – Much like the Minnie Winnie, this model has stood the test of time and offers a floorplan for just about any RVing style.

Thor Quantum LC22Perfect for couples or solo full-time RV living, this 24-footer can fit just about anywhere while still providing a separate bed area and a dinette that doubles as an office.

Best Class B RVs for Full-Time Living

Winnebago Solis 59PX – This is the rig for you if you’re set on full-time RV living with a family. This campervan features a wet bath, a convertible sleeping area at the rear, and a pop up tent on top with a bedroom perfect for kids.

Jayco Terrain 19Y –  Camper vans like this one are made to tear up the trail in style. Featuring 4×4 systems, off-road tires, and off-grid living tech, this rig is best for couples or solo travelers who want to go deep into the wilderness.

Check out our votes for the best Class B RV for full time time living.

Best Class A RVs for Full-Time Living

Tiffin Phaeton – Tiffin has set the luxury Class A standard since 1972. The Phaeton features 1.5 baths, a rarity for Class A RVs. It also offers finishings that rival luxury homes and extra sleeping spaces, making it suitable even for full-time RV families.

Entegra Coach Vision – Entegra’s Vision lineup offers the perfect balance of features and floor plans at a relatively reasonable price for a Class A RV. It is best suited for solos and couples.  

What Is the Best RV Type for Full-Time Living?

Keeping those top picks for the best RV for full-time living in mind, let’s dig into the pros and cons of each camper type:

Travel Trailers

East to West Longitude travel trailer in Utah campground
Photo by Camping World

Travel trailers are one of the most versatile campers on the market, ranging from tiny teardrops to multi-slide-out behemoths

Pros:

  • Many models can be towed by properly equipped light-duty trucks and SUVs.
  • You’ll find a wide variety of available floorplans, lengths, and price points.
  • Four-season configurations are readily available.
  • There is a large market of gently used units at great prices.
  • It is one of the most innovative segments of the market, featuring mobile office spaces, second bedrooms and bathrooms, innovative technology, off-grid equipment, and more.

Cons:

  • Long travel trailers won’t always fit in national parks and national forest campgrounds.
  • Turning and driving in cities can be challenging.
  • Some travel trailers are two-season and/or too small for full-time living.
  • They require a tow vehicle you may not already have, necessitating another purchase.

Fifth Wheels

Family camping outside Keystone Cougar Midnight Edition fifth wheel
Photo by Camping World

Fifth wheel RVs are popular for full-time living due to the diversity of floorplans, extra space over the bed of a truck, and generally easier turning compared to travel trailers. Let’s dig into all the details:

Pros:

  • The space over the bed of your truck provides extra interior square footage.
  • You’ll find more two-bedroom, two-bathroom floorplans readily available.
  • They generally offer an improved turning radius compared to travel trailers.
  • Toy hauler fifth-wheels have more spacious living areas than toy hauler travel trailers.
  • You’ll find an extensive range of available floorplans and options.
  • Most feature cavernous storage bays.

Cons:

  • They often require a heavy-duty tow vehicle.
  • Not all campgrounds can accommodate large fifth-wheels.
  • It can be challenging to access remote camping areas, such as BLM lands.
  • Prices tend to be higher than for travel trailers.

Toy Haulers

Couple pulling bikes out of Forest River Nightfall toy hauler
Photo by Camping World

Toy haulers are travel trailers, fifth wheel, or motorhome RVs with a garage area. (Check out our list of the best toy hauler in each class). Let’s see how they fare for full-time living:

Pros:

  • The garage can tote ATVs, motorcycles, and other recreation equipment.
  • They have large storage bays.
  • You’ll find diverse floorplans with multiple slide-out options
  • They tend to be at the cutting edge of technology, comfort, and convenience features.
  • The garage area doubles as an office, bed, patio, or other space.
  • They boast more durable construction to support higher cargo carrying capacities.

Cons:

  • They generally require a heavy-duty tow vehicle.
  • The garage area can take up space needed for the kid’s bedroom.
  • The length of the trailer can be challenging for city driving or tight campgrounds.
  • Not all RV parks can accommodate large toy haulers.

Class C Motorhomes

Family smiling and laughing outside of an Eddie Bauer Class C RV
Photo by Camping World

Class C RVs are popular picks for full-time living because they can pack a bunch of options in a nimble package. Here’s our take on Class Cs for full-time RVing: 

Pros:

  • They can fit in small campgrounds and off-the-beaten-path locations.
  • It is a tried-and-true RV design built on proven truck chassis by Ford, Chevy, and others.
  • They are generally self-contained with large wastewater tanks and onboard generators.
  • Many can dinghy tow an extra vehicle for added mobility once you reach your destination.
  • It is a large segment offering a variety of floorplans and price points.
  • The cabover bed space is a common, versatile space used for sleeping or extra storage.

Cons:

  • If you need engine work, your whole home goes in for repair.
  • Some Class C campers may not have enough space for full-time families.
  • They usually feature fewer slide-outs than travel trailers, fifth wheels, or Class A RVs

Class B Camper Vans

Thor Eddie Bauer Class B RV driving down dirt road
Photo by Camping World

Class B RVs, or camper vans, are generally best for couples. That said, many families have braved Class B space constraints for the easy maneuverability these campers provide. Let’s check it out:

Pros:

  • They are the easiest RVs to drive.
  • They usually fit in standard parking spaces.
  • Many models feature cutting-edge boondocking technology.
  • Some floorplans offer configurable spaces that adapt to meet your needs.
  • AWD and 4×4 models are readily available.

Cons:

  • They may not feature a full bathroom (and many that do boast a wet bath).
  • The sleeping and living spaces are tight.
  • Slideouts are generally not available.
  • The kitchen, fridge, and sink sizes can all be limited.

Class A RVs

Tiffin Class A motorhome
Photo by Camping World

Class A RVs are some of the most luxurious motorhomes on the road. Their large storage bays, hefty holding tanks, and cutting-edge tech make them a worthy option for full-time living. 

Pros:

  • They offer a wide range of floorplan and slide-out options available for maximum space.
  • Many boast large holding tanks and generators for extended boondocking.
  • You’ll get spacious storage bays for all your camping gear.
  • Most have the ability to dinghy tow a secondary vehicle or trailer.

Cons:

  • They can be too large for some RV parks.
  • Learning how to drive them requires the largest learning curve among motorhomes.
  • They generally have a higher purchase price than other RV types.

Now, let’s see how to find your best camper options for full-time RV living.

Tips for Choosing The Best RV for Full-Time Living

People asking RV salesperson what is the best rv for full time living
Photo by Camping World

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting the best RV for full-time living. Instead, the best pick for you depends on what you value most on the journey. Ask yourself these questions to start narrowing down your options

Do we want to be able to camp in smaller spots, or are interior living spaces and luxury amenities more important?

Does each family member need their own room, or will this be a journey in shared spaces?

Do we want to tow a trailer or drive a motorhome?  

These questions will begin your RV buying process, but let’s dive into six important factors you must consider when selecting an RV for full-time living. 

Towing Capacity

Camping trailers come in a range of shapes and sizes. Some RVs fit for full-time living can even be towed by light-duty trucks and mid-size SUVs. Use this towing capacity calculator to check your vehicle’s towing limitations if you already own a tow vehicle.

Alternatively, if you plan to purchase a tow vehicle for full-time RVing, you could choose the camper first and then buy the right vehicle to pull it. 

If you’re shopping for a tow vehicle, our guide to the best vehicle for towing a camper provides tow capacity specs for popular 2023 vehicles. You’ll also need to learn about RV weight ratings to ensure you don’t exceed 75-80% of your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

Additionally, the best Class A and Class C motorhomes for full-time living can tow a personal car. This is known as dinghy towing, and it’s equally important to ensure the weight of the vehicle you want to tow fits the towing capacity of your motorhome. 

Length

The longer the camper, the more space it provides for full-time living. Initially, this might steer you towards the longest RV possible for full-time living, but it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of shorter versus longer campers.

Fifth wheels can exceed 40 feet and offer two bedrooms and two bathrooms. That can seem like the best fit for full-time living until you consider the campground constraints you may face. For example, most national park campgrounds don’t allow RVs much longer than 30 feet. 

Smaller campers have less space but allow for boondocking and camping in spectacular, hard-to-reach spots. Shorter towable RVs are also generally easier to tow than their longer counterparts. If your best RV for full-time living is one that allows you to camp almost anywhere, a shorter camper like the Jayco Terrain 19Y or the Airstream International 23FB may be right for you.

Ultimately, your ideal RV length depends on your vision of life on the road. If you have a large family, you may need a longer camper, even if you’d prefer to be more nimble. Couples tend to value the agility of camper vans, small Class C RVs, and shorter travel trailers or fifth-wheels. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, however. Carefully weigh the things you value most to pick the best setup for you and yours. 

Sleeping Capacity, Layout, and Bed Types

How many beds will you need? Do you prefer permanent beds, or would convertible sleeping areas work? Murphy beds and folding bunks are found in many full-time living RVs, creating extra sleeping areas that seamlessly convert to living space during the day. 

If it’s important for the kids to have a separate sleeping area, you’ll likely seek a travel trailer or fifth wheel that’s long enough to feature bedrooms at the front and back. Examples include the Grand Design Imagine 3210BH and the Keystone Montana High Country 381TB.

Camper vans and small Class C campers can sometimes be less private than their larger cousins because their walls aren’t as thick. Examples of motorhomes listed above with separate sleeping areas include the Winnebago Minnie Winnie 31H and the Entegra Coach Vision 29F.

While all campers create a level of privacy, consider the privacy level you need in the camper you choose for full-time living. 

Four-Season Construction

Unless you plan to chase 70℉ everywhere you go, you’ll need an RV for full-time living that features four-season construction. Here are important four-season features: 

  • Insulation types — R-value is a measure of your RV’s insulation. The higher the number, the better the insulation. Campers with R-values of 5 or greater are generally considered four-season ready. 
  • Heated holding tanks — Full-time RVing can come to a standstill if your water and sewer tanks freeze up. That’s why many four-season RVs feature specially designed heating that targets these tanks.
     
  • Enclosed underbelly — If the tanks and pipes underneath your camper are exposed to cold weather, they’ll be more prone to freezing. Four-season campers cover and insulate these areas. 

From our list above, the Grand Design Momentum 410TH, Entegra Coach Vision, and Winnebago Minnie Winnie all include these features for extended camping.

Work and School Considerations

Many camper floorplans feature space for a mobile office to help you separate work and play. For example, the best toy hauler RVs for full-time living allow you to convert the garage into an office or schoolroom when not otherwise occupied. Here are a few toy hauler garage ideas for inspiration.

If you plan to roadschool your kids, your RV needs a space you can convert into a dedicated classroom. Bunkroom fifth wheels, such as the Jayco Eagle 29.5BHOK, are excellent floorplans for roadschooling because you can keep the learning center separate from the rest of the living space. 

How Much Does Full-Time RV Living Cost?

Your full-time RV living budget will depend on your lifestyle, whether you buy new or used,  where you camp, and other factors.

For example, let’s say you pay cash for a well-used but reliable RV, camp mainly on public lands, live minimally, and boondock often. Then, it’s possible to full-time RV for less than $1,000 per month. 

Alternatively, let’s imagine you plan on living full-time in an RV with the whole family, purchasing a new and spacious rig, and staying at established RV campgrounds. In this scenario, your monthly full-time RV living costs can easily exceed $2,500-$3,000.

The key to figuring out the cost of full-time RV living is to choose the RV and lifestyle that best suits you and then add up each individual cost to reach your total cost of living. This article includes a full-time RV budget breakdown and tips from one of our trusted camping partners.

Is It Financially Smart to Live in an RV?

It can be financially smart to live in an RV, but your “bottom line” will always depend on your lifestyle. You could sell your house, pay cash for an RV, and live minimally on the road, which could be considered financially savvy. 

Other full-time RVers purchase a modest RV and keep their house, allowing them to rent out the RV or the house to generate income when they aren’t using either. This could also be viewed as financially smart.

Analyze your unique financial situation to determine the most sensible RVing lifestyle for you and your family. Assuming you do that, living in an RV can be a financially smart option. 

What Is the Downside of Living in an RV Full-Time?

Common downsides of living in an RV full-time are:

  • Lack of a fixed community
  • Distance from friends and family
  • Tighter spaces than in a sticks and bricks home
  • Limited electric and water capacity when boondocking
  • Challenges with campground availability
  • Few floorplan options for more than two bedrooms and two bathrooms
  • Internet connectivity can sometimes be a challenge, but it’s getting better

Choosing the best RV for full-time living is a highly individualized choice that’s thankfully matched with a diverse range of camper choices. This article offers an overview of all the pieces that go into that decision. We also have specific resources like Choosing Between Part-Time or Full-Time RV Living, Things to Know Before Going Full-Time, and cost-saving tips that’ll help even more. 

Tell us what you think — what’s your best RV for full-time living?

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