Living in a Class C RV: What you need to know first

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The term RV, or recreational vehicle, can be used to describe a wide variety of vehicles ranging from tiny towable trailers to massive tour buses. One of the most classic and iconic styles of RV is the Class C motorhome. 

They are what many think of when they hear the phrase RV— and for good reason. Class C motorhomes can be a great option for not just weekend getaways or road trips, but are also great for full-time living. They can range from short trucks that look like extra tall vans to small school bus-sized homes. They may not be the largest RV class to live in, but their design has been honed over the decades to make the most out of space to fit the needs of modern life. 

If you plan on living in your motorhome alone or with a significant other, a small, maneuverable Class C RV can be a great choice. On the other hand, some floor plans and models can comfortably fit a whole family. There’s truly a Class C for everyone!

Before diving into Class C RV life, here are two important things that you should know.


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1. You’ll have to live a minimalist lifestyle.

If you’re moving from a conventional house or apartment, you’ve probably gotten pretty used to larger rooms, bigger closets, and more kitchen cabinets than you’ll find in a Class C motorhome. 

It can be easy to look at your Instagram feed and see how gorgeous and clean your friends’ van life photos look, but what you don’t get to see from the photoshoot is all the meals they had to cook without the proper equipment, the challenge of working from home in such a small space, and the frequent trips to laundromats to wash what little clothing you can fit on board. 

The truth is, it can take a lot of work to figure out what it is that you actually need and what you can leave behind. You might be tempted to bring that rice cooker with you because it gets so much use at home, but in that same space, you could store a few pots, some bags of rice, some beans, and maybe more. Or you could instead take a multi-purpose pressure cooker like an InstantPot that can serve many cooking functions for you. 

You want the items that you bring with you to be small and versatile. The more purposes an item can fulfill, the less clutter you will have. And while it can be nice to have a full knife set, it might have been even better to just bring one good chef’s knife and use the rest of the room for other utensils like non-stick spatulas and ladles that make cooking and serving food easier. 


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You will also have to learn to make do with less. Even spacious Class C motorhomes don’t come with a walk-in closet, so you will have to decide how much storage space you want to use for your clothing and how many outfits you really need. The same goes for shoes.

While you can learn to live with less in an RV, there are some essentials that you can’t skimp out on. You will need to carry emergency supplies like nonperishable food, medicine, batteries, flashlights, blankets, jackets, tarps, and some tools. You don’t have to live as a full-on doomsday prepper, but it is always good to be prepared for inclement weather and mechanical problems that can stop you from getting where you need to go.

2. It’s always good to test the waters first.

While you may be tempted to go off the grid right off the bat, it might not be a great idea to go all the way into the wilderness— at least at first. 

A great way to get into full-time RV life is to see how you enjoy campsite or RV park living. You can try it out with a short-term rental to see if it's for you before committing to the lifestyle completely. This can also help you figure out what you really need before making an RV purchase or entering a long-term rental agreement. 


LEARN THE RV RENTAL BASICS

Is it your first time renting an RV? Learn the basics of what you should do before, during, and after your rental in our first-time renter’s guide.


Things to consider when testing out the RVing lifestyle include: 

  • What amenities and hookups you need onboard your RV

  • What kind of power sources you’ll be using most such as shore, generator, solar, etc. 

  • How much power you consume daily

  • How much water you consume daily

Living amongst fellow RVers can be a very rewarding experience, as many full-timers speak fondly of how tight-knit communities can form amongst people from very different backgrounds. And while it might be hard when you’ve made close bonds and connections with the people around you, living in an RV gives you the freedom to live wherever you want to. There may be challenges that come with downsizing and a few adjustments you’ll have to get used to, but if you learn to make the most of it, living in an RV can be a very rewarding experience.

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Additionally, Roamly doesn’t stop covering your RV if you decide you want to rent it out on peer-to-peer networks like Outdoorsy. That means you can make extra money when you’re not using your RV.

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