Take a stroll through the lot at your local RV dealership, and you’ll no doubt be amazed at the number of different floor plans available today. Bunk rooms, outdoor kitchens, rear living areas, and multiple entry doors are just some of the choices that you will encounter. The decision you make here is critical as it can have a significant effect on the enjoyment of your camping trips.
Most beginning RV’ers with little RV experience have no idea what floor plans will suit them best, and many are not even sure what considerations to take into account. There are some things that you need to think about before deciding on a floor plan. Here are the five biggest things you need to consider before you decide.
How Many People are Traveling?
The number of people who will be traveling in the RV has a huge impact on which floor plans will be viable options. If you are traveling alone or as a couple, then you don’t need a travel trailer that can sleep ten people. You can opt for a plan that provides a bigger living room or a larger kitchen.
However, if you are traveling with children or others, then models with bunk beds can make a great choice. Even after you determine how many people you need to be able to accommodate, there are still dozens of floor plans from which to choose. Keep moving through our list to help narrow down your choices even further.
Who is Traveling Along?
Not only is it important to think about how many people are traveling, but you should also consider who will be tagging along. This can help you determine whether you should go with an open concept design or one that includes separate spaces.
An open concept design will look and feel more spacious; however, it does tend to limit privacy. If you’re traveling with older kids or other adults, they will likely want their own space to relax and spend time. You can find some models that include a bunk room with a door and even its own entry point from the outside. This can be a great option for teenagers or those entertaining friends for the weekend.
Slides or No Slides
This is a question that comes up often, and people on both sides of the debate can get very passionate about their stance. Without going into too much technical detail, a slide-out (or slide) is a mechanism for increasing the usable space inside the RV. As the name implies, when you set up your RV, a portion of the rig slides out of the unit thus expanding the space inside.
Some prefer not to own an RV with slides. Their position is the slides have too many mechanical issues and are often the source of leaks. Others, however, see them as a great way to expand the living space inside the RV. You can find trailers with two, three, and even four slides. Multiple slides can increase the usable space inside by as much as 50% or more in some cases.
If you opt for a unit with slides, you need to pay close attention to inside access while the slides are closed. This is especially important in a motor home. While you are on the road, the slides must be closed. So, you need to check for access to things like the fridge, bed, and bathroom. If there is no way to access the refrigerator or bathroom until you stop and set up camp, then that might not be the best choice.
How Much Cooking and Where?
Cooking is part of the overall camping experience, but just how often you’ll cook inside your RV has a big impact on which floor plan is best. If you plan to live full time in your unit, then you will likely want to opt for a larger RV kitchen with plenty of counter space. However, if you only plan to use your camper for vacations and weekend getaways, then a large kitchen is probably not a necessity. Most people find themselves using the kitchen less than they think.
Grilling and cooking outside usually go hand in hand with camping. This is where the outdoor kitchen comes into play. If you like to cook outside, then you should consider a camper with an outdoor kitchen. Having a sink, small refrigerator, and cooktop outside and easily accessible is a great feature for those RV’ers who consider themselves the camp chef!
Purpose of Your Trips
Believe it or not, the purpose of your trips can affect which floor plan you should ultimately select when picking out an RV. Some folks are looking to get away and relax while spending as much time in nature as possible. They likely don’t need a massive rig with a big screen TV and theater seating. A smaller trailer with a dinette that converts into a bed may work great.
Others like to use their RV as both a way to transport their ATVs and other toys and a place to sleep after a day of fun. If that sounds like you, then you should consider the toy hauler models. In the toy haulers, you will find the living area up front, usually complete with a bathroom and kitchen, and a space to carry your toys in the bank. There is typically a strong floor and plenty of tie-down points in the back to bring even your heavy toys!
Now that you know what all you should be thinking about, it’s time to start searching! The internet is a good place to start as it will give you a good idea of the different RV floor plans available. You will begin to see common themes and start to get a feel for what you think you may like.
Looking at pictures is great, but nothing beats the real thing! Go and visit some local RV dealers and walk through as many units as possible. You will quickly start to learn your preferences. Just keep in mind that if you are shopping in the summer, it can get very hot inside an RV and you may not be able to spend much time in there.
If possible, try to attend an RV show. There will be many units on display, and they are typically all plugged up so that you can see what they would be like when in use. Once you’ve decided on the best floor plan for your needs, take out your new camper and have fun!