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8 Tips for Buying the Perfect Large Camper

Over 11 million households in the U.S. now own an RV, so if you’re in the market for one, you’re in great company. However, buying a large camper like this is a huge investment; it isn’t a decision you should take lightly. 

There are many factors to consider when you begin your hunt for the perfect RV or camper trailer for your lifestyle. Keep reading to find our eight tips for choosing the perfect one for your needs. 

1. Know Your Towing Capacity

The last thing you want to do is buy an RV only to later find your vehicle can’t handle towing it. Most trucks or SUVs should be okay hauling an RV, but if you drive a car or crossover, you’ll need to consult your vehicle manual. 

2. Do Your Research

Give yourself time to research before visiting a dealership to look at an RV or 5th wheel. The more you know in advance, the less likely it will be that a sleazy salesperson will be able to take advantage of you. 

Learn about manufacturers and read reviews only. Reading reviews will provide insight into what real consumers like you think of their new camper. Then, narrow your list to two or three prospective manufacturers to make the shopping process more manageable.

3. Ensure It’s Serviced and Inspected

RVs can be lemons, just like cars. So before you drive your new camper trailer off the lot, make sure it’s had an inspection and been serviced. This is true even if you’re buying an RV from the factory. The worst place to find out about a leak or broken slide-out is when you’re trying to enjoy a vacation with your family. 

4. Do a Walkthrough

After ensuring your RV has been serviced and inspected, insist on doing a walkthrough with your salesperson. Have them show you the ropes of how your new toy works. Ask them to show you how the slides work and how to hook up the power and water. 

You should also get a primer on dumping the tanks. 

While doing your walkthrough, you can keep your eyes open for any issues your inspector could have missed. 

4. Concentrate on Floor Plans

While doing your preliminary research, focus on each model’s floor plan. Imagine yourself in the RV and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a spot for everyone to sleep? 
  • Is there room for everyone at the dinner table?
  • Is there enough privacy for you and your partner?
  • Is there room inside to do activities on rainy days?
  • Where will you store your necessities?

Asking yourself these questions will help you quickly navigate all available RVs to find the one perfect for your needs.

5. Consider Where You’ll Store a Large Camper

It can be tempting to buy the most expensive and biggest camper out there but don’t do so without thinking it through first. Do you have a place lined up where you can store your new toy? Your city might have a bylaw restricting where and how long you can park an RV on the street or in your alley. 

RV storage can be pricy, so do your research to see what’s available in your city. We recommend finding a heated building if you can, as it will prevent your RVs water system from freezing in the winter.

6. Comb Through Your Warranty

Don’t buy a warranty from your dealer without looking at other options first. RV dealers will take a cut, meaning you might not get the best deal. It’s in the salesperson’s best interest to sell you that warranty whether it’s the right product for you or not.

You don’t need to decide on an extended warranty the same day you purchase your RV. If you’re buying a new camper, it will come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. After that first year, you can decide if you want that extra warranty.

However, if you wait to buy the extended warranty, it won’t be as good of a price for a one-year-old RV as a brand-new one.  

Before you sign any papers, read your warranty from start to finish. Then, ask the salesperson to walk you through what is and isn’t covered until you fully understand your coverage.

7. Be Realistic About the RV Lifestyle

Many people buy an RV thinking they’ll take to the road every weekend in the summer to get the most out of their investment. While this is certainly possible for you, is it realistic with your current lifestyle?

Can you take that much time off of work? Do you want to drag the kids and pets around all summer, putting them out of their much-loved routine? Would you feel comfortable being away from home for that long?

If you’re buying an RV thinking you’ll spontaneously go camping, think again. You can’t just leave spur of the moment and expect to get a campsite in the middle of summer. RVing is a very popular pastime, and most campgrounds only have limited space for accommodating RVs, meaning they get booked up fast in advance.

After thinking it through, you might decide on a different RV size or style. This could ultimately save you money in the long run, so don’t be afraid to really do some soul-searching here.

8. Rent Before You Buy

You shouldn’t buy an RV if you’ve never been RVing before. It’s hard to know what you want in an RV if you’ve never used one. For that reason, we recommend taking a summer to go RVing in a rental before choosing one to buy. 

Renting will help you determine the best size and style for your needs.

Hit the Open Road

We hope our guide to buying a large camper or RV has helped you in your decision-making process. Buying an RV is a considerable expense, and it’s not a decision one should take lightly. Please give yourself plenty of time to weigh your options before jumping into it. 

Keep browsing our site for great travel tips to help you plan your first RV vacation.

*See our Disclaimer for release information.

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