So in our last post, we discussed all the different kinds of RVs we were looking at.
After visiting the RV show in Hershey, lots of dealerships in PA and NJ we created a list of must-haves:
- Not a mini-fridge
- Counter space
- Lots of windows – particularly one in the back
- Not a wet bath
- Queen/Full Bed – that didn’t fold up and down
- $10,000 or below
Our weight restriction at the time was 6500 pounds (we thought). Our tow vehicle was a Jeep Grand Cherokee so we decided to keep our length to 23′ exterior and below.
Once we had this list, we narrowed it down to either a Class C or a Travel Trailer.
The Argument For the Class C
Molly has a ’99 Toyota Corolla that would serve as a the toad in this case. To keep our budget at $10,000 we would have to go used with the Class C. At that price point, we were probably looking at a rig that would need some TLC. With an old car and an old RV, we were worried about maintenance costs getting out of hand. The way we saw it, this option required us to care for two old motors.
And that’s how we ended up ruling that option out.
Why We Got A Travel Trailer
Travel trailers are cheap. Like real cheap. Used ones, really cheap. The thing is, a used travel trailer needs a lot of interior updating – like full gut and rebuilding from the bottom up. Honestly, we would love to have done that.. but we are currently doing that with our sticks and bricks (house). The idea of two renovations with our very little time and budget seemed pretty much out of the question.
With $10,000 we knew we could get a brand new travel trailer. So now the actual search for The One began.
Boy, did our dreams get crushed fast. We would fall in love and the price would break our hearts. The Minnie Winnies and Micro Minnies were adorable, but double our budget. The Airstreams didn’t even come close. We started to notice the more innovative the floor plan, the higher the price. In terms of slide-outs, if our weight restriction didn’t rule it out, our budget did.
But we are big fans of “if there’s a will – there’s a way.” We knew if we could compromise on the look, we could still make it our own.
Jonathan found this website, highlighting every RV manufacturer by brand. He clicked on every one and read through the specs. He made a list of all trailers that fit our criteria and about our price point. Days later, we had a list of affordable favorites.
We started hunting for these travel trailers in our area. We emailed with different dealers about price options, upcoming sales, and older models, unused, still on the lot. A nearby Camping World had two of our picks on the lot to look at – the Coleman 192RDS and Prowler Lynx 18 LX. Both were priced a few thousand above, but the salesman seemed willing to work with us since it was the off-season (not a lot of RV sales in January!).
And now, after two and a half years of research and planning, it came down to those two travel trailers.
The Lynx had a walk around bed, storage in the bathroom, rear bathroom, electric jack, and slightly higher quality upgrades. But it didn’t have enough windows and there was no “living room.” And, the price was stuck just barely out of budget.
The Coleman was pretty basic with it’s manual jack, manual stabilizers, and manual flush. But the bed was turned, not great for making the bed, but great for additional space in the rig. Because of this, there was room for a little sofa near the dining table. Also, it had a ton of windows and the price was exactly where it needed to be.
The obvious choice for us was The Coleman. This was it. With this purchase, our dream was becoming a reality. For three years, we talked about it and now we were being about it. Two kids with no RV experience whatsoever decided to create a life plan of having no plan – starting with buying an RV and ending with living on the road full time.
This decision was big and the moment was surreal. So we took the risk and bought a travel trailer in the middle of winter.
In truth, the look of The Coleman is not our kind of cool. It’s no Airstream. Not by a lot. And though there is little we can do about that, we managed to renovate our travel trailer inside to really feel like a cozy space that is totally us. Check out the before and after here!
As novice RV buyers, we did okay. But after six weeks on the road, we definitely have formed some new opinions about what we would have done differently. Hell, we didn’t even get the weight limit right and had to buy a new tow vehicle immediately! A post about our blunders and insights, up next.