4 mistakes we made and 5 things we’d do differently when buying an RV

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends,

Yes. This is your chance to peek inside my life and witness the boo-boo’s made when purchasing that first RV.

It’s ok to laugh at me.

One of the points of writing this blog is to help you become wise…at my expense.

He camped, she did not

First I’ll give you some background on our inexperience as RV purchasers. John was a weekend tent camper his entire life but never owned an RV.

And then, John met me.

The city girl with a closet full of cute sandals.

I had never been camping.

The closest I came was in high school during a summer job as a lifeguard for a girl scout camp. I slept in a well-equipped cabin for 3 weeks.

My uber-awesome-outdoorsy-super-husband introduced me to the untamed, earthy world of tent camping just before we got married.

Friends….guess what?

I loved it.

The quiet solitude.

The feel of soft crunching pine needles under my feet.

The sound of John chopping wood for our campfire.

The aroma of sizzling bacon rising from our wood fire griddle.

I was smitten with John…and camping.

Unlikely RV intro

On November 28th, 2014, my brother Paul invited us to tag along on his RV shopping trip at Camping World in DeForest, Wisconsin.

That day changed our lives.

We thought we’d look at a pop-up camper in order to sleep in luxury as we camped.


In November of 2014 we were tent campers and by June of 2015, we were owners of a Class A RV embarking on a fulltime lifestyle.

Mistake #1

We didn’t know anyone who owned an RV. I should have purposely contacted people who owned the particular model that we had our hearts set on.

Big boo-boo.

True, we were devouring articles and blogs, gaining much-needed information about this lifestyle.  We started new folders on our laptops and loaded them full of articles, photos, charts, wish lists, gear lists, and links to anything RV related. But an important learning experience was missed when we neglected to talk to actual owners of RV’s.

Mistake #2

We started following several bloggers who were full-time, gathering their sage advice on how to buy an RV.  Some of our favorites were RVLove, Gone with the Wynns, and Wheelin’ It.

That was good and bad for us newbies.

The good part was that we followed actual people living the lifestyle.

The bad part was that we idolized them.

We ended up purchasing items and adding upgrades to our new coach that weren’t necessary.

We did it backward…

For example, we installed an oversized inverter for future boondocking. (Not knowing if we would even like boondocking.)

We upgraded our (brand new perfectly fine) batteries to expensive AGM’s. Again, for “future” boon-docking purposes.

We installed a Splendide washer and dryer even before utilizing campground laundromats.

Mistake #3

One area that several bloggers mentioned was to buy a used RV the first time, not a new one. We read articles about the “less than stellar”, a.k.a. miserable, quality control that reigns in the RV manufacturing community.

So what do we end up doing?

We got TALKED INTO purchasing a new RV. Our salesman knew that we were looking at a 2-year-old Thor Challenger KT. He explained that for only a couple thousand more, we could choose our colors and have the upgraded wood trim the higher end models had.

We fell for it.

We ordered a 2016 Thor Challenger KT, and moved into her June 29, 2015. Yes, she was pretty on the outside, but we were soon to find out that her insides were messed up.

Mistake #4

Our 4th mistake was hanging onto this coach for 7 months and not getting rid of it immediately.

Here is a short list of at least 50 items that failed during that first 7 months…

  • The first time we started her up, the windshield wiper fell off, and the jacks would not retract necessitating a motherboard replacement.
  • The overhead bunk motor failed and had to be replaced – twice.
  • The propane heater never did work.
  • The water pump needed to be replaced three times in 5 months.
  • The long slide motor ripped off the wall (it was being held by three instead of 6 bolts) and took 6 weeks to replace.
  • The washing machine hoses failed and leaked water into the bays.

Word to the wise…don’t be like us…rather…

 1. Purchase this:

I highly recommend that you purchase this ALL INCLUSIVE course called RV Success School recently created by RVLove.com.RV Success School

I WISH we would have had this tool two years ago when we were researching the RV lifestyle. It would have saved us money, time, and heartache.

Instead of jumping all over the web and scrounging through dozens of blogs, articles, and websites, we could have had it ALL IN ONE LOCATION! John and I bought this course (even though we are 2 years into full-timing) and have been blown away by its MASSIVE amount of information. The course costs $100, a small investment when you consider the $10,000-$??? you are willing to spend to enjoy the RV lifestyle.

Here is a quote from their website: …..”we’ve condensed our knowledge, experience and the tools we used on our own journey and developed to show you how YOU can live the RV life successfully too. Whether it’s learning all the important things you need to consider – like the costs, staying connected, choosing the right RV for your specific needs, negotiating the best price, reducing your depreciation hit, managing mail, downsizing, the emotional transition, planning your travels and more – we’ll provide you with the education, guidance, and resources that will save you a LOT of time and money – and help you hit the road with confidence.” – Marc and Julie Bennett Here is a testimonial from RV Success School:

2. Talk to people who own RV’s.   Ask them what they would do differently. RV Success School has video segments of actual RV’ers and their experience, mistakes, etc. Take advantage of this education before you purchase.

3. Don’t add extras onto your RV until you have lived in it for a while. If you are like us, you may not even need the items.

4. Buy a used RV first. If you purchase a new RV and end up not liking it, or having a lemon like ours you take a huge hit. (Ouch).

5. If you do buy the “wrong” RV, get rid of it as fast as you can. Keep in mind how quickly the RV depreciates.

What are some of the boo-boo’s you’ve made as you step into the RV world?

Let me know in my comment section.  I always love to hear from you!

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