When you first start RV shopping, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless amount of RV floor plan options.
Don’t worry—there is a floor plan out there for every need, every taste, and every budget.
If you take your time, you’ll find it will all start making sense. You’ll begin to note certain similarities when it comes to floor plans and the labels often applied to RV models. Models with “RL”, which often stands for “Rear Living” will have the living room in the rear of the unit. Because you’ll know “BH” means “Bunk House”, you’ll know to expect a Bunk House in the unit before even walking into it.
It’s a challenge to know exactly what RV floor plan will work best before spending time in your RV on the road. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when selecting your floor plan.
Some RVs are more spacious than you ever dreamed an RV could be! Most often it’s slide-outs that create extra living space in an RV. Slide-outs, especially opposing slide-outs, can be an amazing RV floor plan feature.
However, when you’re on the showroom floor, pay close attention to what is on the slide. Is the main bed on the slide? If it is, is it possible to use the bed when the slide is not pushed out?
In addition to what is on the slide, does the slide bump up against anything when it’s closed, preventing you from climbing into bed?
RV travel often includes one-night stops along your travel route. These stops may be at a Walmart, rest stops, or even the driveways of friends and family. While you may be able to push your slides out at campgrounds, you may not be able to do so at some of these one-night stops. For that reason, you may want to select a floor plan that gives you access to your bed whether the slide is in or out.
If you absolutely fall in love with a floor plan where a slide blocks the bedroom area, make sure there is an alternative sleeping area, like a loft or couch. If you don’t mind using that alternative sleeping area on travel days, you might be okay.
Bathroom, Refrigerator, and Closet Access
A major benefit of RV travel is having your “home” with you. Having your home means having your own bathroom, your own food, and your closet—even if you are downsizing.
With access to your bathroom, you don’t need to worry if there’s no rest stop for the next 50 miles. Having your refrigerator with you means you have snacks (maybe even healthy ones!) easily accessible. It doesn’t matter if the gas station you just stopped at didn’t have anything you could eat. And, having your closet means you can’t forget to pack rain boots, a raincoat, or a heavier coat. This comes in very handy when exploring places that can experience 3-4 seasons all in one day.
However, all of these conveniences can be unknowingly given up with certain floor plans. As with the bed, the culprit tends to be those oh-so-awesome slides. Be sure that furniture on the slideouts in a floorplan do not block access to the bathroom door. It’s not uncommon to find floor plans with slides that block drawers, closet doors, and even fridge doors.
Ask to see any RV you’re seriously considering with slides in—be sure you have access to all of the things that make RV travel so convenient at all times.
Chances are you will be eating inside of your RV at some point. You may also wish to have a “work” surface even if you’re retired. For both of these activities it’s a table that will make all the difference. Be sure that when touring different RV floor plans, you imagine yourself sitting down to eat.
You will find that with RV floor plans everything is a give and take. To have a walk-around queen bed, you may find yourself giving up some space in the living area. The same goes for large kitchens and counters. Some floor plans will create space for a large bed in the rear of the RV unit by changing up the traditional dinette area. Instead of a dinette you might find a sofa and table set-up. In that instance, if you will be traveling with a partner, make sure you think about how comfortable you will be eating side by side in a loveseat.
The work/dining space area in a floor plan is most often a compromise in smaller RVs like Class Cs, Class Bs, and small towables. If you plan on dining al fresco—certainly a wonderful plan when camping—just remember there might be times when rain, snow, or mosquitoes unexpectedly arrive.
Choosing an RV floor plan is both a daunting and exciting process. Take your time. Step into various floor plans and get a feel for how RVs are laid out. As you’re shopping, keep some of these floor plan must-haves in mind. These must-haves are small details that can make all the difference on your RV travels.