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Best RV For Full-Time Living: Our Top Tips for Picking the Right Rig

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Living in an RV full-time has many benefits. If you’re retired, it’s a great way to explore places you’ve always wanted to visit. If you’re young, it’s a great way to see the country while having a safe roof over your head.

In either case, you’ll want the best RV for full-time living that suits your unique needs. 

To be honest, not all RVs are cut out for full-time use. But if you use the research we’ve compiled for you here, you’ll have better odds of finding something you, your partner, and your family will be comfortable in.

How To Choose The Best RV For Full-Time Living

When you begin your search for the best RV to live in year-round, I know you might feel overwhelmed. There are many features and specifications to sort through.

Fortunately, this guide will help you prioritize the most important factors for choosing an RV for full-time living. 

Floor Plan

Floor plan in an RV
PC Winnebago

Many guides will tell you to consider the length of an RV first. But my take is that the floor plan has the biggest impact on the livability of an RV. You probably won’t feel a major difference between 30 and 32 feet once you get used to that space.  

But you will certainly feel the difference in floor plans. For example, some RVs feature a straight walkway leading from the kitchen back into the bedroom. With this floor plan design, any guests entering your rig will have a clear view of your bedroom.  

Others include an angled walkway that provides more privacy for your sleeping quarters. This is just one example of floor plan differences, but it illustrates how impactful these differences can be.

So I recommend prioritizing the layout of the floor plan over the RV’s total length. This will help you analyze whether you’ll truly be comfortable with the function of the space for full-time living.

Number (And Location) of Pop-Outs

Pop outs extended in some of the best RVs for full time living
PC Paul Brennan via Pixabay

In my opinion, pop-outs are a must for full-time RV living. They go a long way towards increasing the livable space inside what can be an otherwise minimal living space. Do the math. Most RVs are about eight feet wide. So even a large RV with a 40-foot length only offers about 320 square feet of interior living space. 

That’s honestly smaller than most people’s living rooms. So having at least one pop-out is a must for the best RV for full-time living. In fact, more pop-outs are even better.

But the location of the pop-outs is also important. 

For example, an RV with a bedroom pop-out might look great when you’re initially shopping for RVs. But consider how much time you really spend in your bedroom at home. For many folks, you only go into your bedroom to change clothes, sleep, or watch television while you’re falling asleep. 

So do you really need extra living space in your bedroom? Or would you be better served to have an additional pop-out in the living or dining area of your RV?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. I would urge you to prioritize pop-outs in the most frequented areas of your RV.  

Storage Capacity

Storage space inside a Winnebago, one of the best RVs to live in year round
PC Winnebago

If you’re moving from a home or apartment into a full-time RV, you’ll have to downsize. But you don’t have to give up all of your belongings if you pick an RV with enough storage capacity. This includes the storage inside and underneath the RV. 

Honestly, it can be hard to estimate whether all of your belongings will fit in your new RV. But not all RVs offer enough underneath storage capacity. In my opinion, you should look for an RV with as many underneath storage compartments possible for year-round living.  

But the layout of an RV’s storage is also important. If you have more household items that you like to keep inside, interior storage is more important than underneath storage.

On the other hand, if you have outdoor recreation equipment that you’d typically store in a shed or garage, you’ll need a full-time RV with extra underneath storage capacity. 

Automatic Leveling Controls

Leveling control in the front of an RV for full time living
PC Winnebago

Most new RVers wouldn’t think about it, but it’s important to know that some RV appliances only work when your rig is level. That can be a challenge when you’re changing RVs spots frequently. 

Even the best RV camping destinations probably don’t have sites that are perfectly level. As an RV owner, you’ll be expected to level your rig every time you park at a new site. And certain rigs are outfit with features that make it easier to level them than others. 

In my opinion, hydraulic leveling is a must-have feature for the best RV for full-time living. This gives you the ability to level your RV with the touch of a button. Otherwise, you’ll need RV chocks and set them in place by hand every time you pull into a new campground. 

If you’re new to full-time RV living, it’s a good idea to put a chock or wooden block underneath your hydraulic leveling jacks. This reduces the likelihood of fully extending your hydraulics and wearing them out. It also keeps your leveling legs out of the dirt or soft mud.

Fuel Type 

Gas pumps with different fuel types - an important factor in picking the best RV for full time living
PC IADE-Michoko via Pixabay

The type of fuel that your full-time RV requires is also an important consideration. The two main options are gasoline or diesel engines. This is, of course, unless embark on an adventure to convert your RV to run on vegetable oil

In many places, diesel fuel is actually more affordable than gasoline. So if you plan to move around frequently in your full-time RV, you might want a rig that relies on diesel fuel. RVs with diesel engines also tend to be more powerful if you need to tow an additional vehicle. 

So the only real drawback of diesel fuel is that it’s not readily available everywhere. If you travel a lot in your RV, not all fuel stations will offer diesel fuel. This might cause you to opt for an RV with a gas-powered engine. 

But if you want a large class A RV for full-time living and you plan to tow a vehicle behind your rig, I’d advise looking for a diesel-powered RV.

And if you know the areas where you travel always advertise diesel fuel at lower prices than gasoline, then a diesel-powered RV is certainly going to be best for you. 

Best Class A RV For Full-Time Living

Class A RVs tend to provide the most living space for full-time living. That’s why it’s the first type of RVs on our list. Here is our choice for the best class A RV for full-time living. 

Newmar Dutch Star

Newman Dutch Star is one of the best RVs for fulltime living
PC Newmar Corp
  • Price: Starts at $349,095
  • Lengths: 37’11”, 40’9”, and 43’9”
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Height: 13’1”

The Newmar Dutch Star is our choice for the best class A RV for full-time living because this RV is the epitome of luxury on wheels.

Standard interior equipment on this class A RV includes two recliners with reading lamps, a front passenger seat workstation, and pull-out pantry shelves for easy access to all your cooking supplies. 

You can choose from a total of 13 unique floor plans and this motor coach is available in three lengths. The shortest length is available with four different floor plans. The medium length offers two distinct floor plans and the longest model provides seven floor plans to choose from. 

Standard exterior features on this best RV for full-time living include a rear hitch for towing, hydraulic leveling jacks, an assist handle at the entrance door, and much more.

This RV can also be equipped with a wheelchair lift, a patio hammock package, and several other optional exterior features. 

This best RV to live in year round is also meant to help you ride in style. The chairs in the cockpit offer six-way adjustment with power lumbar and support. They also include a power recliner and footrest for relaxing while you’re not driving.

But when you are, this rig is also compatible with the optional Rand McNally navigation system to help you find your destinations with ease. 

Interior of the best class A RV for full time living
Dutch Star Kitchen PC Newmar Corp

Pros

  • Hydraulic Leveling Jacks: Makes it easy to level your rig with the touch of a button. 
  • Multiple Pop-Outs: Expands the interior space for more comfortable year-round RV living. 
  • Floor Plan Options: You’ll be able to choose your favorite of the Dutch Star’s 13 unique floor plans. 
  • Optional Add-Ons: There are plenty of optional features to choose from when building your Dutch Star, such as electric radiant heat below the main floor tiles, four flexible 100-watt solar panels on the roof, and much more. 

Cons

  • Price: This RV comes with a price tag comparable to that of a small home in some areas. 
  • Size: The large size of this class A RV may be a bit much for just a couple.  
Luxurious interior of this Class A RV, one of the best RVS for full time living
Dutch Star Living Area PC Newmar Corp

Best Class B RV For Full-Time Living

Class B RVs might look like what so many folks these days are calling ‘camper vans’. And that’s exactly because that’s what they are. So if you’re interested in van life, this is the best class RV for full-time living. 

Winnebago Revel 44E

The Best Class B for Full Time RVing parked in the desert
PC Winnebago
  • Price: Starts at $174,906
  • Length: 19’7”
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Height: 10’

The Winnebago Revel is our choice for the best class B RV for full-time living because it’s the perfect compact solution for a couple jumping into full-time RV living.

The Revel sleeps two and has a drop-down rear bed with a power lift. This allows you to lift the bed up to the ceiling during the day and enjoy more interior living space until it’s time to rest your head. 

This best RV for fulltime living features a diesel engine for better fuel economy than most gas-powered camper vans.

With a length under 20 feet, this RV is also easy to navigate if you’ve never driven one before. That shorter length also means that you’ll fit in pretty much any RV park or campground that you come across on your travels. 

The Revel comes with a rooftop solar panel and battery charger. This allows you to keep your essentials charged while exploring off-the-grid camping spots. Two 125-amp-hour Lithium-ion batteries are also standard with the Revel.

When you do pull into a campground or RV park, however, the Revel can plug into most power stands in RV parks with its 30-amp power cord. 

Because of its smaller size, the Revel comes with several standard features that help you create a cozy indoor-outdoor living space. The powered patio campervan awning extends with the touch of a button and includes LED lighting so you don’t run into it at night.

It also includes a rear screen door with a blackout panel for added privacy. That screen is also great for keeping light out on mornings that you really want to sleep in. 

You may also like: The best Class B RVs to live in

Solar panels on top of the Winnebago Revel, the best Class B RV for full time living
Revel Rooftop PC Winnebago

Pros

  • Power Lift Bed: Allows you to lift the bed up to the ceiling during the day for added livability.  
  • Length: Because it’s less than 20 feet, you’ll have an easier time negotiating crowded parking lots and finding places to camp with this RV. 
  • Powered Patio Awning: Gives you the freedom to create a protected indoor-outdoor living space. 
  • Rear Blackout Screen: Maintains cabin privacy even when the back doors are open. 

Cons

  • Price: While it’s available at less than half the price of the Dutch Star, the Revel is still no small investment. 
  • Size: This class B RV for full-time living is really only suited for 1-2 passengers. It will get really cramped with anything more than that, which also means minimal space to host guests. 
Back shot of the Winnebago Revel, the best class B RV for full time living
Revel with Exterior Doors Open and Bed Down PC Winnebago

Best Class C RV For Full-Time Living

Class C RVs are the best choice for small families or a group of friends heading out for an extended RV adventure. This is our choice for the best class C RV for full-time living. 

Thor Motor Coach Chateau 31E

Best Class C RV for fulltime living
PC Thor Motor Coach
  • Price: Starts at $124,950
  • Length(s): 32’7”
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Height: 11’2”

The Thor Motor Coach Chateau is our choice for the best class C RV for full-time living because it offers a great sleeping capacity and one of the best towing capacities of any full-time class C RV. It sleeps a total of seven people and has an 8,000-pound towing capacity. 

When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll be able to use the Chateau’s backup camera to keep an eye on whatever you’re towing. But that dash camera also converts to the display for your radio once you’re underway.

You’ll also be able to adjust the exterior side mirrors with remote operation and these mirrors are heated so that they don’t ice up on really cold nights. 

The Chateau offers a total of 55.7 cubic feet of exterior storage space. Automatic leveling jacks and a powered patio awning with integrated LED lighting make it easy to set up this RV for indoor-outdoor living in minutes.

These features are standard on the Chateau 31E, but it also gives you the option to add several features that make it much safer for families with young children. 

Some of those optional features for enhanced safety include a cab-over child safety net and a single child safety tether in the dinette.

If you prefer to use your exterior living space under the patio awning for entertainment purposes, you also have the option of adding an exterior 32-inch TV on a swivel bracket with Bluetooth Sound Bar and Radio. 

The cozy interior and kitchen area of this best RV for full time living
Chateau 31E Kitchen PC Thor Motor Coach

Pros

  • Sleeping Capacity: The Chateau includes one queen-sized bed, two bunk beds with a ladder, the cab-over bed in front, a fold-down couch, and a convertible dinette. That gives you the capacity to sleep up to seven people.  
  • Towing Capacity: You’ll be able to tow another small vehicle or trailer behind the Chateau with its 8,000-pound towing capacity. 
  • Heated Side Mirrors: Prevents mirrors from icing over in cold temperatures. 
  • Powered Patio Awning: Extends and retracts at the push of a button to create a shaded lounge space outside your RV. 

Cons

  • Privacy: The Chateau 31E doesn’t include the window privacy shades that come standard on other Chateau models. 
  • Cooktop: The 31E includes the standard two-burner cooktop that doesn’t include a protective cover with task lighting. Some other Chateau models include the protective cover and come with an upgraded three-burner cooktop. 
Interior of the Chateau - one of the best RVs for full time living
Chateau 31E Living Area PC Thor Motor Coach

Pro Tips For Full-Time RV Living

From experience, I know that full-time RV living can be tough. But with these pro tips for full-time RV living, I’d hope to make your experience more enjoyable! 

Decorate Your Space

Interior of one of the best RVs for fulltime living
PC Jens Behrmann via Unsplash

My first pro tip for full-time RV living is to take the time to decorate your space. This can look however you like it to look, but adding a tapestry here or a dreamcatcher there can go a long way towards making your RV feel like home. 

Lighting is a great way to change the feel of your RV’s interior space. Even the best RV for full-time living might not come with lights that are particularly friendly on the eyes.

That’s why installing plug-in string lights can be a great way to change the mood and vibe inside your RV while you’re decorating. 

Maximize Your Storage

Storage space above the sink in an RV for fulltime living
PC Winnebago

Perhaps the biggest challenge of full-time RV living is finding enough space for all of your personal belongings, tools, and outdoor recreation equipment. So you’ll need to maximize your storage space if you want to bring everything that makes you feel comfortable with living in an RV year-round. 

My best pro tip for maximizing the storage in your RV is to nest smaller gear inside larger gear. Maybe that looks like storing socks inside shoes. Maybe it looks like storing smaller bowls inside larger ones.

Your solutions will be unique to your belongings, but try your best to remember that empty, unused space is your enemy when it comes to full-time RV living. 

Whether it’s nesting small gear inside larger gear or remembering to pack softer items in your RV’s upper cabinets so that they don’t cause damage if they fall, there are many tips for organizing an RV.

For more, check out these 17 RV Organization Tips For A Small Space!

Create Indoor-Outdoor Living Space

People sitting in front of the best RV for full time living
PC Koun G via Pixabay

In my opinion, the best part about living in an RV full-time is the ability to see new places and explore nature. But if you don’t make an effort to create a comfortable and functional indoor-outdoor living space every time you park at a new destination, it can be easy to feel confined to the small interior dimensions of your RV. 

There are a number of solutions for creating your ideal indoor-outdoor living space. You might look into a complete awning enclosure if you want to keep the area under your awning completely protected from bugs, for example. 

You’ll also need the right patio furniture for relaxing, cooking, or eating in your outdoor space. In our book, chairs and a folding camping table are the bare minimum.

But you might also look into one of the best portable grills for an RV if you want to enjoy the ability to barbeque outside your RV on a warm summer evening! 

Final Thoughts

Living in an RV year-round sometimes requires moving around and finding new places to park. But it will also allow you to see parts of the country that others would only dream of visiting. 

At the end of the day, the best RV for full-time living will depend on your unique preferences. We hope you’ve found the insights and tips here useful. But we still urge you to trust your intuition if you feel like a certain RV is calling your name for full-time living!

Other RVing articles to check out:

1 thought on “Best RV For Full-Time Living: Our Top Tips for Picking the Right Rig”

  1. The best RV is one which is always ready to hit the road when you want to. A lot goes into making an RV road-worthy and comfortable for the camping season. While it takes all kinds of different parts, it should go without saying that the roof is the most essential part. Even the tiniest of leaks could become a big problem if you don’t quickly repair it with RV Roof Magic.

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