First 30 Days Living in our RV Full Time
Travel Trailer vs Fifth Wheel
We have officially been living in our Fifth Wheel RV for one month, 30 days, 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds. However, this hasn’t been our first encounter with RV Living Full Time. We previously owned a 2010 Keystone Passport Ultra Lite 285RL Travel Trailer. How have we liked it so far? It’s been awesome, but not without its fair share of full time problems. Here is what we have learned our first 30 days and what differences has occurred between the two RVs.
**Note: Our differences we list between our travel trailer vs our fifth wheel are based on our own experiences. This may not be true for everyone and we do not claim that this article is relevant for others journey. We just wanted to share our experiences in the past and how we have improved upon them.
Our living space has been a blessing in our fifth wheel. We have two opposing slides that give our living room more of a small apartment feel than an RV. In our previous travel trailer, our living space consisted of two chairs in front of one of the entry doors, a small side table, and small couch area. There wasn’t much space and I felt claustrophobic! In our fifth wheel, we plan to either put in a desk or gaming center since my husband and I are major gaming nerds. We did remove the dinette area to incorporate a dog area for my babies. We have more space than we need in our RV with many of our cabinets empty and attempting to keep them that way.
- Consisted of two non-reclining chairs, small loveseat, and booth dinette
- One small slide that came out approximately one foot where our loveseat and kitchen were located (didn’t add much space to our living area)
- No entertainment center or designated space. Television hung on the wall above the dinette and the entertainment station was next to the television within one of the cabinets. We had to climb onto our dinette to access the entertainment station.
- Consists of two medium reclining chairs, large loveseat, dining table with four chairs, entertainment station with fireplace, shelves, and large television
- Two large slides that add four feet to the living space. One slide holds part of our kitchen and loveseat. The second slide holds the new dog space, and two large reclining chairs.
- Large entertainment space to store our gaming consoles and larger television. Fireplace to keep us warm in colder temperatures without consistent use of our furnace.
My husband cooks everyday while we are in the RV. It not only saves money but is healthier for us. The kitchen is larger than our previous kitchen in the travel trailer; however, there is still limited counter space. We purchased an island we found at IKEA that fits perfectly in our kitchen space and provides more serving/cooking space when needed (not to mention storage). We are looking for innovative ways to organize our kitchen cabinets to access plates and food easier. There are some solutions that could work but we are still working on what’s best for the space and our family. We are primarily stationary due to my career for three months at a time so finding solutions to prevent shifting during travel has not been a priority for us yet.
Current Plans for Renovation
Our current plans for the end of the year is to either obtain a larger refrigerator and remove the pantry space or keep the area the same. Our refrigerator now is more than capable of storing food with enough space left over for any prepared meals we make. We plan to remove the gas stove top with oven and replace it with an electric/induction stovetop. The sink may also be replaced with a farmer’s style sink, so we can bath our dogs there in the future.
- Smallest refrigerator and freezer with very little space for prepared meals
- Minimal counter space to prepare meals or serve food
- Lack of storage space for food storage and dishes. We used to store our food items in the cabinets above our chairs in the living space making it difficult to store any other items we needed.
- Very small space making it difficult to get around my husband if he is cooking to reach the bedroom space or bathroom
- Large size RV refrigerator and freezer with more space to store prepared meals
- More counter space than previously; however, still needed to purchase an island for prepping/serving space
- Medium sized pantry space for food storage. Multiple cabinets for dishes, silverware, and other kitchen accessories.
- Built in multiple spice racks for our everyday spices
- Specific hallway space to get to the bedroom and bathroom spaces without having to maneuver around the kitchen and my husband if he is cooking
Since this Is our full-time residence when I am travel nursing, we use our bathroom like we would use our sticks and bricks (house) bathroom. We use the toilet for both #1 and #2 (sorry if this is TMI). Our campsite offers bathrooms and showers; however, we mainly use our RV facilities and make sure we properly take care of our tanks to keep the life of our RV. Not to mention, I am not big on sharing my bathroom with others. I guess you can say it’s just the nurse in me when it comes to germs.
- Consisted of toilet, bathtub/shower combination, small counter space with sink and shelves, and one medicine cabinet/mirror
- Bathroom was undeniably very small and compact
- When using the toilet, our feet would touch the bathtub/shower combination
- When facing the mirror to use the sink, we would touch both the toilet and the bathtub
- No storage except for the medicine cabinet and two shelves. Toilet paper was stored in the living space with other needed toiletries
- One regular door that decreased space in our hallway if left open. Door had opening both above and below door decreasing privacy.
- Consisted of toilet, corner shower, smaller counter space than travel trailer with sink, one medicine cabinet, and one overhead storage above the toilet
- Bathroom is still small, but easier to maneuver in than our previous RV
- When using the toilet, we are able to stretch our feet out in front of us without touching anything in the bathroom
- More elbow space when brushing our teeth or brushing my hair
- Two pocket doors for privacy and added space
This is one of the most asked questions we receive regarding Full Time RV Living. We have noticed a difference between the showers we take in our fifth wheel vs our previous travel trailer. In our fifth wheel, the water becomes hotter quicker and lasts much longer. My showers only last about 5 to 7 minutes; however, the water is still hot even after my shower. I am assuming this is due to the bigger tanks. As a travel nurse, it’s important I have access to showers after my shifts and our fifth wheel has not been a disappointment. We did have to install a new shower head (Oxygenics) that allowed our showers to have better pressure and could pause the shower when I needed to wash my body or shave without wasting hot water.
- Both bathtub and shower combination with shower curtain
- The shower combination was smaller than most; however, the curtain made it easier to wash your hair and shave
- Hot water lasted less than 5 minutes
- Bathtub makes giving small children and puppies baths easier
- Corner shower setup with doors
- The shower is larger; however, is still smaller and is harder to shave in
- Hot water lasts up to 10 to 15 minutes depending on the use
- No bathtub available; however, it is still easy to wash small children and puppies in
Can we just talk about the bedroom space for a minute?! It is absolutely AMAZING!! After coming from such a smaller space to now our fifth wheel bedroom, I could cry I am so happy. We have a residential size queen mattress compared to the RV size queen mattress in our travel trailer. No more feet hanging off the edge of the bed! We replaced our mattress with cool gel memory foam mattress for more comfort. Our closet space is much larger, and I could store my entire wardrobe, shoes, and other personal items with more space to spare. We have a dresser in front of our bed that our television sits on along with a DVD player and my Nintendo Switch gaming console. Our bed faces the window with its own slide giving the bedroom more space and comfort.
Current Plans for Renovations
We plan to replace the sliding shades with black out shade options for days we choose to sleep in and want a darker, cooler space. We plan on adding a second air conditioning and heating unit in the bedroom for added comfort. Our current air conditioning unit cools our living space and kitchen perfectly, but has a hard time reaching the back of our RV.
- Consisted of RV size queen bed, two small cabinets next to each side of the bed for clothing, three cabinets above the bed for extra storage space, and small storage space underneath the bed
- Bed faced hallway and living space
- Small clothing space fitting only 7 clothing items in each space
- Storage above bed was not useful for us as we needed to crawl across our bed at all times to access it
- No space for a decent size television. Needed to purchase a projector to watch television.
- Consists of residential size queen bed within a slide for added space, large closet next to bed with two large mirrors as sliding doors, four drawer dressers in front of bed, built in shelves for bedside/nightstand space, and storage space underneath the bed with hinges
- Bed faces window and television
- Large closet space fits 20-30 articles of clothing along with storage unit, shoe rack, and upper shelves for additional space
- Space large enough for large television, DVD player, and game console
RESOURCES – WATER, POWER, AND PROPANE
Within our first 30 days, we have mainly camped at an RV resort with full hook ups. Our current plans do not consist of dry camping since I need hookups for my career and business. We maintain our tanks by filling them and emptying them once a week. We have a 53 gallon fresh water tank, 80 gallon gray water tank, and 40 gallon black water tank. We have two propane tanks with a max capacity of 14 gallons for each tank. We have used less propane than in our past RV as we have an electric fireplace and electric water heater. We purchased a free-standing water cooler/heater for our drinking water and turn on the heater option when we need hot water. We love it! It’s lightweight or easily accessible. We are mostly connected to shore power and do not have any current plans for dry camping in the future.
There are no major changes from our travel trailer vs our fifth wheel except for tank sizes and types of heating.
Our families were not so receptive about us returning to Full Time RV Living and Travel Nursing. Only due to us not having such a great experience the first time around. However, they slowly learned to accept our lifestyle and would consider joining us on a few of our adventures. It was difficult saying goodbye; however, since I had made previous commitments with my family to watch their puppies while they were on vacation we have returned twice in these 30 days to keep an eye on them.
WHAT WENT WRONG OUR FIRST 30 DAYS
- When we first arrived at our campground, we realized our sewer hose we purchased was not long enough. Luckily, we were able to find our same sewer hose but longer at a neighboring Walmart store. That could have been tragic.
- We lost power in our bathroom and part of our kitchen as soon as we plugged into our campground. We researched for days on possible complications and fixes. We replaced fuses and connected power extenders just so we could use our kitchen. We eventually learned that we needed to push the reset button on the plug in the bathroom to reset the power to those areas effected. It’s amazing the things you will learn.