Choices, Choices, and More Choices
Everyone has their specific reasons for choosing a particular RV and specific floor plan, and we were no different. We’ve been asked multiple times and have seen it on various forums, individuals asking for recommendations on which RV brand and, more specifically, which floorplan to go with. When it comes down to it, there is no one correct answer, though I am heavily biased toward Leisure Travel Vans, and for a good reason! But everyone has different needs and requirements, which will ultimately determine which RV and floor plan are best for you.
When Teresa and I started looking at RVs, we had no idea what to expect. We went to our first RV show at the Expo Center in Dallas, Texas, and WOW, we never realized there were so many choices of manufacturers, sizes, and types of units, not to mention the assortment of floorplans! We looked at class A, not that we were serious about getting one, but we wanted to see what they offered besides size compared to the smaller units. We also looked at small teardrop trailers and pop-ups. At this point, we were trying to educate ourselves about all the various sizes and options and what was standard within those ranges. One thing we learned very quickly was that the RV business has the concept of efficiently using space down to a science!
Like many individuals, we poked around on the internet looking at various models and floor plans, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t even think we were that close or serious about getting an RV initially… it was just a fun experience to look at them, kind of like window shopping. As time passed, we started to think of buying an RV more seriously. The real pressure started when our best friends bought a travel trailer, and we spent a weekend with them glamping. Then, Teresa’s mom and dad sold their home and dove into being full-time RVers with a 44-foot class A. Quickly the prospect of owning our own RV became more attractive.
A List of Importance
After about two years of attending our first RV show, we got introduced to Leisure Travel Vans. We really liked the quality we saw with the Leisure Travel Vans and could tell the attention to detail was much nicer than the competing manufacturers. Being the over-analyzer I am, I began researching the reviews and continued to look at various options and floorplans offered on the market. We were able to eliminate what we did not want quickly. One of the key factors in narrowing our selection was that we had a mental list of important to less important. Our “list” helped us eliminate many manufacturers and narrowed our search to the motorhome type of RV.
A mental or written list can help you to eliminate any types or styles of RV that don’t meet your requirements. I would suggest creating this list in order of importance while also realizing though that there is give and take in any RV. As an example, more interior living space typically means that you may have less storage space. Also, be prepared to compromise and re-order your list as you go.
Our list looked similar to this, and we elaborated more on each point below.
- Coach quality
- Ease of mobility & use
- Storage space
- Dry camping
- Tank capacities
- Interior space & layout
- People capacity
I think anyone that has looked at or owns an LTV can tell you the quality of the build is exceptional. We wanted good quality, durability, and an RV that would hold its value. Attention to detail and craftsmanship was apparent in the LTVs. Simple things such as clean and tidy wiring bundles can tell you a lot about the manufacturers’ commitment to detail and building a quality product. When we compared the LTV to a similar style and size RV, the LTV far exceeded what we saw in the other manufactured builds. Everything from quality materials for the cabinets and shades to better fixtures for lighting and faucet accessories, and all components overall. The ducted air conditioning was a differentiator, as many units of similar size provide airflow directly underneath the air conditioner. The seating and lounge coverings alone provide a sense of higher luxury and quality compared to many units of similar build and size.
Ease of Mobility & Everyday Use
When I talk about mobility and everyday use, I’m referring to the ease of driving, parking, backing up, and routine tasks such as getting fuel, maintenance, and preparing for a trip. We wanted something we could easily park on the street or a smaller lot if necessary and use to get around since we wouldn’t be towing.
The Mercedes chassis was also very appealing to us because of the ease of driving compared to a larger RV, and it has a tight turning radius for a vehicle of its size. This makes for easier access in and out of regular gas stations versus pulling into specific truck stop-type fueling areas. In addition, with the size of the Unity, we have access to many more park options than larger RVs, especially state parks, which often have a size limit geared to smaller units.
Of course, because it’s a motorhome, I don’t have to worry about the complexities of towing or backing up a trailer. As for maintenance, it’s small enough to take to some local car washes, access the roof, and change the filters if I want to.
Good Storage Space
Storage space is crucial in any RV. You want something that allows you to carry your ‘stuff’ and carry it where it’s easily accessible. We found the 2016 Unity Corner Bed had a good amount of storage capacity for our needs. Even though on the spec sheet it had the lowest capacity, the size, and shape of the exterior storage areas fit our needs well. The large rear side storage area, which we call the “garage,” holds our grill, table, lawn chairs, blocks, and many other necessary RVing items. It’s also very convenient in proximity to where we typically set up our propane grill. We’ve tried to maximize the use of all the storage areas by using containers to help organize, stack, and arrange the spaces for the most efficient use. While storage is great, I think too much storage could be detrimental because too much stuff means more weight, and you should always be cautious of your overall vehicle weight.
Dry camping or boondocking is the ability to RV camp without the convenience of hookups, mainly water, and electricity, but also possibly sewer. We are not huge dry campers but knew that occasionally we would be in a situation requiring the need to do so. So, with that in mind, we wanted a unit that would give us the ability to be self-contained for a short period of time. LTV filled that need perfectly. The main components that allow this are the solar panels, generator, and decent tank size for fresh water and waste. Our longest excursion without hookups has been about five days, with water being the biggest limiting factor. I also feel like solar plays a big role in the dry-camping experience. Occasionally, we had to fire up the generator to boost the charge of the house batteries in situations where we didn’t get enough sunlight. Knowing that we always have the generator if needed is a big plus for us. Last year, we ran the generator for approximately 9 hours to air-condition the unit on a 100-degree Fahrenheit temperature day when we were boondocking.
Room Inside to Relax and Work
Both Teresa and I still hold full-time jobs, and on many of our trips, we end up working while traveling in our Unity. We wanted an interior space that allows some separation for work and relaxation, and the Unity Corner Bed perfectly fits this need. We both don’t always get up or start work at the same time, and having two separate areas for sleep and activity was a main point for us. Even though the separation is just a curtain, it has worked to allow the other to continue to sleep when one of us is up. This way, we still have most of the main living area accessible for working and cooking. We also upgraded to the U-lounge because we felt this gave us more space for more people. Our thought was that if the weather was bad outside, we could still host friends on the inside with plenty of room. We’ve hosted as many as six for dinner in our Unity Corner Bed.
As I said in the beginning, everyone has their own criteria for selecting the RV model that appeals to them and will work for them. Think about what’s important to you and how you plan to use your RV. Consider your interior and exterior needs, sleeping style, what you can get by with, and what you must have. The LTV layouts are amazing, but there may always be a little give and take involved in your selection.