One of the best experts out there, Brad Campkin has been working in the RV industry for over 40 years. Currently retired, Brad is very well versed in the RV industry and has a wealth of knowledge from his experience at his disposal.
While on the open road, traveling as far as Florida, talk show hosts Reno and Sandy from Destination Adventure caught up with Mr. Campkin to ask him a few questions about the basics of what you should look for when buying a fifth wheel travel trailer.
Brad starts off the discussion by explaining what it's like to be out on the road in a trailer, on vacation, with no stress. He talks about his 'routine' and his morning coffee, as well as his two dogs because traveling with pets in an RV is definitely an option, RV's act as great pet friendly accommodations. After his commentary, Reno chimes in with. "You lucky dog, that's all I can say."
He's right, it really sounds fantastic.
Waking up in the morning and realizing that there isn't a desk and chair, or a physically draining activity in your immediate future after decades of being used to it, really is something that anyone can enjoy. Having the ability to make a new decision revolving around leisure each morning sounds incredible too.
From taking long walks with your dogs, playing tennis or golf, lounging on the beach, or just exploring, it all just sounds glorious. Not only does the idea of doing whatever you'd like every morning sound appealing, but being able to quickly pack up and hit the road is a whole other marvelous aspect of RVing.
What should I look for when purchasing an RV?
The discussion continues with Sandy asking Brad about the aspects of buying an RV, specifically a fifth wheel, although his experience and educated advice can be applied elsewhere for other types of RV's too. His advice is bang on.
First and foremost, pick a floor plan.
"Number one is floor plan."
This is an excellent first decision to make. You probably already have a dream in mind for what type of RV lifestyle you want to live. Certain floor plans will suit this lifestyle well, while others will not.
Choosing a floor plan layout that you like will be the reason why you find your holy grail faster, and one that suits your lifestyle more accurately. There are thousands of them out there, so it's best to start small.
Pick up a pamphlet, scratch the ones you don't like off the list, and present the couple you've chosen to a sales rep to help you out.
Choose a Brand that has stood the test of time.
"How long have they been around? How long will they be around, because the value of a coach goes down dramatically if a brand disappears and is no longer being built."
Just like floor plans, there are so many out there, choosing one can be very confusing. Brad gives a few great tips on which brand you should choose and why. He explains that when brands fail, the vehicles lose value, and quickly too.
This is because that moving forward, it'll be harder to find parts and service that will help increase the longevity of your vehicle.
Choosing a well respected brand that has been around for a long time is the way to go, and this will narrow your search down even further.
Where will you buy your RV?
"Are you going to buy it where you live, your home city? Are you going to buy it far, far away from where you live? The reason that this is important is that the dealership, they're going to look after you."
Brad explains that the location you buy your fifth wheel is a very valid item to consider. The reason for this is because RV's come with a warranty, but they aren't similar to a car warranty, you can't just pull into any dealership and get warranty work (something even I didn't know).
You're supposed to go back to the place where you bought your RV to get it serviced. Maintenance isn't talked about enough, and it should be. You should be taking your vehicle in for maintenance on an annual basis, this is why if buying close to home is an option, it's the best one. It will give you the opportunity to create a strong relationship with your dealer, making scheduled maintenance easier to achieve.
Create a budget and stay within it.
"You're going to be happy if you stay within your budget."
The formula really is simple when you think about it. It's also very effective. Go with the right floor plan based on your lifestyle, one that is built by a well respected manufacturer of the brand you've choosen. Choose a dealer you want to buy from that is ideally close to home and create a strong relationship with them, all while keeping within your budget.
"If you can have those four things, I think you're well on your way to full time RVing."
Some great advice on buying a fifth wheel travel trailer. Thanks Brad!