what did we start the RV life with?

When you decide to take the leap and start the RV Lifestyle, one of the most important decisions you’ll make, will be what you’re going to be traveling in, or better yet, what you’re going to be living in.

Budget, length, style, storage space, beds, workspace, living space and perhaps # of slides where certainly big factors for us.

Before you can decide on what you’re going to be pulling, unless you go with a motorhome, you have to know what the capacity is of the vehicle you’re going to be pulling with.

Read on if you’re thinking of trying out the RV life. Our hope is that sharing our experiences will be helpful for you!

The right truck?

Before taking the leap, we were avid weekend campers. After doing the cabins and tents, we lucked out and scored a great deal on a camper from a family member. Our first, was a very clean 1994 Sports Master 22-foot bunkhouse travel trailer. At the time, I was driving a 2020 Ford F-150 w/ a 5.0L Coyote V8 engine, 10spd Auto transmission. The truck was the perfect size for the trailer.

After a couple of years of weekend camping, we decided to upgrade to a newer bunkhouse travel trailer. At the time, living out of it wasn’t even on the horizon. We went with the same style of trailer and purchased a 2022 Jayco Jay Flight 22-foot bunkhouse from Camping World in Spokane, WA. Nothing really different about this rig. Identical size and features, just newer.

When we discussed the possibility of traveling and it became more realistic, we knew we were going to need a bigger camper. After taking a long trip in our 22-foot Jayco, we knew we had to start with a bigger truck as well. We averaged 6-8 mpg pulling the 4500lb Jayco and that made me cringe.

Bigger truck?

After searching and searching, I finally found the truck with all the bells and whistles. I traded in the F-150 for a 2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty w/ a 6.7L Powerstroke Diesel engine, 10spd Auto transmission.

Pulling the 22-foot Jayco was a piece of cake. I got double the gas mileage as the F-150, at about 15-16 mpg.

Now we knew we had more choices.

The hunt for the bigger rig!

We looked at different options and really had to consider a budget. The trade-in values we were getting from various dealers in the WA area were going to leave us with significant negative equity, limiting us on what we could spend on the bigger rig.

It wasn’t until after the first of the new year(’23), that I really started to reach out to my contacts in the RV space. One led me to another and soon enough, we had gotten the deal that would fit our budget. Because of the new year clearances, the dealer was willing to work with me on a new ’22 model.

The ’22 Heartland Mallard features 12 more feet of livable space, a “kid area” and 2 slide outs that made the idea of living in it more appealing. Before you knew it, I was on my way to Camping World in Hillsboro, OR to swap out the trailers.

What did you start your RV living in?

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