Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

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chenzi
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Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm

With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!

BanquetBeer
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by BanquetBeer » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm

Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.

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MP123
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by MP123 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:30 pm

Maybe rent one for a week or two and take the kids to some National Parks? Just to check it out.

I know some people that really enjoy the RV lifestyle and some others that are glad to be done with it. You wouldn't want to to sink $150k into a high end class B and find out it was too small for example.

Or maybe you've already tested out the reality and are ready to jump in?

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm

Small ones are mainly Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit or a Ram Promaster chasis.
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:45 pm

Agree. The ones available to rent nearby are cheaper ones. Still searching for ones equivalent to what we like...
MP123 wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:30 pm
Maybe rent one for a week or two and take the kids to some National Parks? Just to check it out.

I know some people that really enjoy the RV lifestyle and some others that are glad to be done with it. You wouldn't want to to sink $150k into a high end class B and find out it was too small for example.

Or maybe you've already tested out the reality and are ready to jump in?

BanquetBeer
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by BanquetBeer » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:55 pm

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm
Small ones are mainly Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit or a Ram Promaster chasis.
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
But why though? Sleeping 4 in a small van doesn’t sound that comfortable and without a tow car anytime you want to drive somewhere you have to pack up. Some spots have length limitations but from what I can tell you can get a nicer large one and storage cheaper than $150k

quantAndHold
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:29 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.
A small B costs the same as a class A because it has the same equipment in it as a class A. It's basically a small apartment built on top of a truck. Kitchen, bathroom, bed, dining area, air conditioning and heating. A class B has all that stuff too, usually with better quality finishes than a class A has, since class B's tend to cater to the luxury market. Also, with class B's, they take an enclosed van and build stuff inside of it, which is a more labor intensive process than building a house on top of an open truck chassis.

The advantage to a smaller rig is that it's easier to drive, and easier to camp. For actual camping, for example in national parks, it is much easier to find a campsite that a smaller rig will fit in. Also, when you're driving it, you can park a van on a city street, or in the parking lot at Whole Foods. Parking is more hit and miss with a bigger rig.

Also, some sprinter van conversions come in 4x4 versions.

Personally, a van is too small for us, but a big class A is also much too large.

EddyB
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by EddyB » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:34 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:29 pm
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.
A small B costs the same as a class A because it has the same equipment in it as a class A. It's basically a small apartment built on top of a truck. Kitchen, bathroom, bed, dining area, air conditioning and heating. A class B has all that stuff too, usually with better quality finishes than a class A has, since class B's tend to cater to the luxury market. Also, with class B's, they take an enclosed van and build stuff inside of it, which is a more labor intensive process than building a house on top of an open truck chassis.

The advantage to a smaller rig is that it's easier to drive, and easier to camp. For actual camping, for example in national parks, it is much easier to find a campsite that a smaller rig will fit in. Also, when you're driving it, you can park a van on a city street, or in the parking lot at Whole Foods. Parking is more hit and miss with a bigger rig.

Also, some sprinter van conversions come in 4x4 versions.

Personally, a van is too small for us, but a big class A is also much too large.
So you need something built on a Mitsu Fuso, and the price/size of those vs. a typical class A will really blow BanquetBeer’s mind!

quantAndHold
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:47 pm

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!
As far as your main question, motorhomes depreciate worse than cars. Pay cash.

As far as what you should get, I think you're asking for something that doesn't exist. <20 feet is a Sprinter 2500, which is not a very big van. A fully functional class B with 6 seats and 4 beds (even for small people) in a 19 foot van is Harry Potter territory. The only vans I've seen that have 6 seats are fitted out more for tailgating than for sleeping.

My recommendation, after going through this all myself, is to rent before you buy. We thought we were going to get a class B, and realized after renting once that a van is way too small for anything longer than a weekend. They have almost no insulation, very little storage, little tank capacity, etc. We ended up with a small C. Not really that much harder to drive or park, but so much more practical to camp in.

Starfish
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Starfish » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:05 am

I am also very attracted by the idea of an RV and I like the most the ones built on Sprinter but I came to the conclusion that it does not bring enough value for full time employed people.
Vacation time is very limited, so limited that even flying is a burden. I don't want to spend a lot of time crawling at slow speeds. Besides, if I cannot get very far is not different enough from where I live to make it interesting enough for me.
Maybe that explains why there are so many used RVs with low miles.
RVs are also so expensive that you can drive much faster with a small car and sleep in a lot of tents and motels, even luxury hotels for the price. Even if you rent RVs you can get 100 days of RVing with a (small) fraction of the price. However you can fly 3000 miles away and rent it there. That's a big plus in my mind.
The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it?
I would finance everything if I get a good interest rate. The purpose of financing is just mental accounting, there is no difference between an RV, a mortgage or a Ferrari. I finance even my groceries because I get 0% interest, unfortunately for only a month or so.

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Nate79
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Nate79 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:06 am

At your income I would save and pay cash. Should only take a few months if you can live frugally.

BanquetBeer
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by BanquetBeer » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:11 am

A tentative hope is to retire(youngest goes to college), sell the house, get a nice class A, travel for 2 years until the oldest gets out of school. Depreciation on a slightly used class A bought for $100-150k sounds reasonable.

I thought the smaller ones would be cool but the price was silly and a big argument being anytime you want to drive, you have to break camp. A pull behind sounds good but I’ve heard issues with towing and then you’re stuck buying a $$$ truck so it seems like buying a bus style RV (small 4wd SUV towed in back) meets that knowing you might have to stay outside of the parks and drive in for the day. But I’m interested in more than just parks - small towns near the woods, etc.

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:16 am

I'd recommend searching through Steve Lehto's videos for anything on RVs. He's a lemon law attorney in Michigan. Where buyers are well protected with cars, for RV's, there's virtually none.

You don't want to buy used because of safety equipment? What safety equipment does a new RV have that a 10 year old one doesn't?

As mentioned, these things depreciate like crazy. Buy a $120k unit and want to sell in a year? Don't expect more than $60k back.
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michaelingp
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by michaelingp » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:06 am

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!
It sounds like you can afford to buy or finance whatever you want. But like others, I doubt what you are looking for exists. Sleep 4 and seat 6 under 20 feet? There is no market for that, so you're going to have to have it custom built (if it's even possible) and resale will be doubtful. The reason there is no market is that you can get a lot more storage and room for a lot less money simply by adding just a few feet. Sorry to be so blunt, but you're going to have to go up to 24 feet long.

livesoft
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:13 am

I spent a few days camping in national park campgrounds last month in between backcountry wilderness camping. I saw quite a number of small RVs (many rented) in those campgrounds. Vehicles longer than 22-feet were restricted from using the roads to at least one of the campgrounds.

I can understand the appeal of just driving in, parking & leveling the vehicle then doing day hikes. Be sure to get reservations for a campsite ahead of time.

But I don't see why you don't rent something first. With two drivers in the family you could even take an extra car as a spare bedroom and additional sleeping space.

And then there is my friend who reserves a campsite, sets up a tent, cooks dinner and breakfast, but also sleeps in a nearby hotel where she also gets a reservation.
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:28 am

I am a fan of the Leisure Travel Vans and Pleasure-Way vans.

Someone drove their Pleasureway to work today. I am looking out at the parking lot and see one parked out there.

I have my eyes on a LTV Wonder model (Ford chassis). But not for a few years. RVtrader.com (search by make/model) has some great Private Seller deals.

Buy one. Just pay cash for toys. You could likely save $30k to $50k by buying used, but if you can afford to pay cash for new, then go for it.

Pleasure-Way has a 19ft option.

After more information and under 20 ft, I change my mind for the OP to rent or motel. It won't turn out the way you think. Good luck!
Last edited by bloom2708 on Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:21 am

I just thought of something. You don't want to tent camp, you want to bed camp. At $120k for an RV, I have an alternative. At $100 a night in a cheap hotel/motel room that'll be way nicer than any RV, you can stay 1200 nights! On top of that, no extra insurance, maintenance, taxes that you'd pay on an RV. No 6 mpg gas bills. If your car isn't big or comfortable enough, upgrade. As much as I think spending $80k for a Suburban LT is stupid, it's less stupid than spending $120k on an RV.
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smitcat
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:38 am

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!
It does not make sense to purchase an RV or boat or vacation home for 30-40 days a year.
Certainly the money if one factor but the hassle of ownership for that amount of time just never makes sense.
Pick the trip(s) you like and find the easiest alternative to make that happen without buying an RV - it will be cheaper, just as fun, and much less time making it happen.

quantAndHold
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:27 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:21 am
I just thought of something. You don't want to tent camp, you want to bed camp. At $120k for an RV, I have an alternative. At $100 a night in a cheap hotel/motel room that'll be way nicer than any RV, you can stay 1200 nights! On top of that, no extra insurance, maintenance, taxes that you'd pay on an RV. No 6 mpg gas bills. If your car isn't big or comfortable enough, upgrade. As much as I think spending $80k for a Suburban LT is stupid, it's less stupid than spending $120k on an RV.
Well, if it’s only about the cost, the Rv is always going to be more expensive until you’re traveling 8-10 weeks per year or more. OP isn’t that cost sensitive, however.

RV’s in this price range are much nicer than any $100/night cheap hotel/motel room. You sleep in your own bed, shower in your own shower, cook your own food (or go out, if you want to). And when you wake up in the morning, you’re already in nature, instead of in a cheap motel somewhere.

The RV’s OP is talking about get 15-20 MPG, depending on how they’re equipped and driven, the same or better than that Suburban LT.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:42 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:27 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:21 am
I just thought of something. You don't want to tent camp, you want to bed camp. At $120k for an RV, I have an alternative. At $100 a night in a cheap hotel/motel room that'll be way nicer than any RV, you can stay 1200 nights! On top of that, no extra insurance, maintenance, taxes that you'd pay on an RV. No 6 mpg gas bills. If your car isn't big or comfortable enough, upgrade. As much as I think spending $80k for a Suburban LT is stupid, it's less stupid than spending $120k on an RV.
Well, if it’s only about the cost, the Rv is always going to be more expensive until you’re traveling 8-10 weeks per year or more. OP isn’t that cost sensitive, however.

RV’s in this price range are much nicer than any $100/night cheap hotel/motel room. You sleep in your own bed, shower in your own shower, cook your own food (or go out, if you want to). And when you wake up in the morning, you’re already in nature, instead of in a cheap motel somewhere.

The RV’s OP is talking about get 15-20 MPG, depending on how they’re equipped and driven, the same or better than that Suburban LT.
I am quite "wary" of sleeping in many motel beds - probably comes from my compulsion to check every inch of the bed and keep calling the room service to bring something really cleqan! Atleast sleeping in my own bed would feel much better :)

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:44 pm

smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:38 am
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!
It does not make sense to purchase an RV or boat or vacation home for 30-40 days a year.
Certainly the money if one factor but the hassle of ownership for that amount of time just never makes sense.
Pick the trip(s) you like and find the easiest alternative to make that happen without buying an RV - it will be cheaper, just as fun, and much less time making it happen.
Yes - the numbers arent working out if we use it just for 30-40 days a year. The "advantage" of a 20FT Sportsmobile is that it can be used as a six / seven seater too for regular weekend drives, albeit an expensive 6 seater still better than just 30-40 days.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:48 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:21 am
I just thought of something. You don't want to tent camp, you want to bed camp. At $120k for an RV, I have an alternative. At $100 a night in a cheap hotel/motel room that'll be way nicer than any RV, you can stay 1200 nights! On top of that, no extra insurance, maintenance, taxes that you'd pay on an RV. No 6 mpg gas bills. If your car isn't big or comfortable enough, upgrade. As much as I think spending $80k for a Suburban LT is stupid, it's less stupid than spending $120k on an RV.
There are a lot of places where hotel/motel isn't available. I live in Pacific North West and within a couple of hours of drive, I can hit multiple beaches, mountains/woods to camp...well hypothetically.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:49 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:28 am
I am a fan of the Leisure Travel Vans and Pleasureway vans.

Someone drove their Pleasureway to work today. I am looking out at the parking lot and see one parked out there.

I have my eyes on a LTV Wonder model (Ford chassis). But not for a few years. RVtrader.com (search by make/model) has some great Private Seller deals.

Buy one. Just pay cash for toys. You could likely save $30k to $50k by buying used, but if you can afford to pay cash for new, then go for it.

Send photos. :wink:
My home has a steep driveway and parking space is quite limited. 24 Feet RV would be quite big to maneuver into my driveway!

Topic Author
chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:50 pm

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:13 am
I spent a few days camping in national park campgrounds last month in between backcountry wilderness camping. I saw quite a number of small RVs (many rented) in those campgrounds. Vehicles longer than 22-feet were restricted from using the roads to at least one of the campgrounds.

I can understand the appeal of just driving in, parking & leveling the vehicle then doing day hikes. Be sure to get reservations for a campsite ahead of time.

But I don't see why you don't rent something first. With two drivers in the family you could even take an extra car as a spare bedroom and additional sleeping space.

And then there is my friend who reserves a campsite, sets up a tent, cooks dinner and breakfast, but also sleeps in a nearby hotel where she also gets a reservation.
Agree - I am searching for a 20ft sportsmobile or a 144 wheel base sprinter based RV (less than 20 feet) I can rent!

Topic Author
chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:52 pm

michaelingp wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:06 am
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!
It sounds like you can afford to buy or finance whatever you want. But like others, I doubt what you are looking for exists. Sleep 4 and seat 6 under 20 feet? There is no market for that, so you're going to have to have it custom built (if it's even possible) and resale will be doubtful. The reason there is no market is that you can get a lot more storage and room for a lot less money simply by adding just a few feet. Sorry to be so blunt, but you're going to have to go up to 24 feet long.
24 feet would be too big for my driveway and would also reduce regular usage on weekends, Costco trips, etc. We don't have a seven seater and the plan is to use this 20ft one as a six/seven seater.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:54 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:47 pm
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!
As far as your main question, motorhomes depreciate worse than cars. Pay cash.

As far as what you should get, I think you're asking for something that doesn't exist. <20 feet is a Sprinter 2500, which is not a very big van. A fully functional class B with 6 seats and 4 beds (even for small people) in a 19 foot van is Harry Potter territory. The only vans I've seen that have 6 seats are fitted out more for tailgating than for sleeping.

My recommendation, after going through this all myself, is to rent before you buy. We thought we were going to get a class B, and realized after renting once that a van is way too small for anything longer than a weekend. They have almost no insulation, very little storage, little tank capacity, etc. We ended up with a small C. Not really that much harder to drive or park, but so much more practical to camp in.
The only option is a Sportsmobile that comes up with a custom built Pop Top. It can sleep two down and two on the top. They have been building these for many decades and are expensive.

smitcat
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:54 pm

chenzi wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:44 pm
smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:38 am
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm
With my kids turning 2.5 and 6.5 years, I am interested in taking them out into camping into the beautiful Pacific North West and across the west of US. We don’t want to camp in the “wild” and hence after a lot of research, I am interested in buying a good SportsMobile or a Class B Van that is less than 20ft length. The cost of the ones we like is in the range of $120-150K.
I do not prefer a second-hand one as I would like to have all the latest safety features/driver features etc. I do plan / hope to keep it for the next 10 years at least!

Our net worth is around $1.8M, and annual income has increased around $1M - we are in the mid and early 30s. We have $150K in emergency savings, rest across Taxable, 401k and 429 plans. We will also have another $300K in stocks (after tax) vesting over the next three months.

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
I ran all calculations and looks like RV is a “lifestyle” purchase since none of the numbers would ever work out in our favor. Our per day cost of camping will be approximately $400+ if we camp for 30-40 days a year!
It does not make sense to purchase an RV or boat or vacation home for 30-40 days a year.
Certainly the money if one factor but the hassle of ownership for that amount of time just never makes sense.
Pick the trip(s) you like and find the easiest alternative to make that happen without buying an RV - it will be cheaper, just as fun, and much less time making it happen.
Yes - the numbers arent working out if we use it just for 30-40 days a year. The "advantage" of a 20FT Sportsmobile is that it can be used as a six / seven seater too for regular weekend drives, albeit an expensive 6 seater still better than just 30-40 days.
Often folks do not get a good feel for the drivability maintenance and depreciation on larger and higher load vehicles. Simple things like brakes, wheels , tires , lube , oil changes etc most often occur at lower intervals and cost much more than standard items seen in a car or even a 1/2 ton pickup. If you are handy and can do these yourself the costs are somewhat less but still much higher than an outsider looking in might imagine.
That combined with much larger turning radius and higher clearances have most RV folks spending most of their 'drive but not camping' miles in another vehicles.

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Cycle » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:56 pm

You won't be keeping it for 10 years unless it can be retrofitted with autopilot. Last week I was driving through Yosemite and would have done anything to be able to look around or read a book when we got stuck in 1.5 hrs of traffic.

A friend of mine just bought a sprinter van and is having a local contractor convert it to a camper van. That is another option, albeit probably a little small for your wants. If it were me, the smaller the better for parking.

+1000 on renting to get a feel for your needs
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:02 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:29 pm
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.
A small B costs the same as a class A because it has the same equipment in it as a class A. It's basically a small apartment built on top of a truck. Kitchen, bathroom, bed, dining area, air conditioning and heating. A class B has all that stuff too, usually with better quality finishes than a class A has, since class B's tend to cater to the luxury market. Also, with class B's, they take an enclosed van and build stuff inside of it, which is a more labor intensive process than building a house on top of an open truck chassis.

The advantage to a smaller rig is that it's easier to drive, and easier to camp. For actual camping, for example in national parks, it is much easier to find a campsite that a smaller rig will fit in. Also, when you're driving it, you can park a van on a city street, or in the parking lot at Whole Foods. Parking is more hit and miss with a bigger rig.

Also, some sprinter van conversions come in 4x4 versions.

Personally, a van is too small for us, but a big class A is also much too large.
In the same boat - Class A & C are too large for us and would not fit in our driveways. Smaller Class B - 20 feet would fit in our driveway and can also be used as a 6 seater when our parents visit. We do not have a six seater and drive our two sedans, our parents stay for atleast a month every year * 2 considering both sides. Atleast thats the data from last 5 years - parents are around for 2 months in a year.

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:18 pm

OP, how about a pop up camper or A liner? Something with a much lower budget and much less depreciation at this point.

We bought a $3,500 pop up camper that slept 8. Used it for 4 years when the kids were smaller and sold it for $3,800.

Sitting outside is really hard on things. Harder when they cost $125k+.
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:30 pm

Another option is a smaller vehicle that also carries a tent that you pitch outside your parked vehicle. Some of the fam sleeps in the tent, the others sleep in the vehicle. I think this might be a version of glamping.
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quantAndHold
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:29 pm

chenzi wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:02 pm

In the same boat - Class A & C are too large for us and would not fit in our driveways. Smaller Class B - 20 feet would fit in our driveway and can also be used as a 6 seater when our parents visit. We do not have a six seater and drive our two sedans, our parents stay for atleast a month every year * 2 considering both sides. Atleast thats the data from last 5 years - parents are around for 2 months in a year.
A few comments...

A lot of people without parking rent a space to park in a storage facility.

The six seater van and something to camp in are either going to be two different vehicles, or they’re going to do both things really badly, no matter what size your driveway is.

Especially in the PNW where it’s drippy a lot, part of the joy of having an RV instead of a tent is being able to get out of the wet. Something this small is going to be too claustrophobic to give you a useful out of the weather option. It also won’t have enough storage or insulation, and the grey and black water tanks are going to be inadequate for a family. And the extra seats will take up a lot of space that you will want for moving around.

For family camping, a smaller class C is probably the sweet spot. For driving family around, a normal passenger van is the sweet spot.

Definitely rent first. If you can’t find exactly what you think you want to buy, rent whatever is closest. Then look at what you’re considering, in person, and compare.

michaelingp
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by michaelingp » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:31 pm

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
Have you actually seen a Sportsmobile design that "sleeps 4, seats 6" in under 20 feet? I'm wondering if some of the seats face sideways with just lap belts? My old Roadtrek had similar seats and I was never comfortable with the safety of the side-facing seats. We looked at Sportsmobile quite a lot before buying something else, and the big problem was it's such a small outfit you don't really have a chance to see and feel what you're getting before you buy. That's a big leap of faith for $150,000. We visited them in Huntington, IN, twice and all we could see were a couple of used vans, a couple of new vans not picked up, and a few vans being built. None of these were anything like what we were looking for. My experience from seeing them in campgrounds is they are mostly the favorites of the off-road crowd, although with Ford discontinuing the E-Series van that may be changing.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by WoodSpinner » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:45 pm

Chenzi,

You might find this thread of some interest, viewtopic.php?t=240126

Have you found an RV that will work for your requirements?

Under 20’ for 2 adults, 2 kids is a challenge.

It can be a wonderful experience, but note the RV purchase is just the beginning of expenses so be forewarned.

I am in the camp of Pay Cash for your toys.

Sent a PM if you want to chat about our experiences.

Thanks

WoodSpinner

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by WoodSpinner » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:47 pm

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm
Small ones are mainly Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit or a Ram Promaster chasis.
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.
Have you checked the wait time for Sportsmobile?

When we shopped last year it was 18 months....

123
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by 123 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:00 pm

You'll have a lot more options if you choose to rent. Renting an RV allows you a much broader range of destinations. You fly to your RV pickup point and then pickup the Rental RV. Rental RVs open up the country (and likely overseas as well) to exploration options. Why restrict your camping explorations to your local (in a figurative sense) neighborhood?
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:10 pm

michaelingp wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:31 pm
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
Have you actually seen a Sportsmobile design that "sleeps 4, seats 6" in under 20 feet? I'm wondering if some of the seats face sideways with just lap belts? My old Roadtrek had similar seats and I was never comfortable with the safety of the side-facing seats. We looked at Sportsmobile quite a lot before buying something else, and the big problem was it's such a small outfit you don't really have a chance to see and feel what you're getting before you buy. That's a big leap of faith for $150,000. We visited them in Huntington, IN, twice and all we could see were a couple of used vans, a couple of new vans not picked up, and a few vans being built. None of these were anything like what we were looking for. My experience from seeing them in campgrounds is they are mostly the favorites of the off-road crowd, although with Ford discontinuing the E-Series van that may be changing.
I haven’t seen any in person - that’s the challenge. Yes - seats are sideways. Wait time is 18-21 months for sprinter based and 12 months for Ford based ones.

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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:10 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:47 pm
chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:36 pm
Small ones are mainly Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit or a Ram Promaster chasis.
Cheaper ones can be bought for 80K. I am looking for something fully customized and built for our needs. It needs to sleep 4, seat 6 and fit in a standard parking spot. Sportsmobile has been building camper vans for 50 years and have a custom pop top that can meet our conditions
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
Maybe someone can clarify for me but the large RV (class A) can be had for the same price. I know there is some maneuverability and length restriction issues but I can’t understand why the small ones cost same price as the big ones. Am I missing something?

If you make a mill/yr, cash flow it over a couple months.
Have you checked the wait time for Sportsmobile?

When we shopped last year it was 18 months....
21 months for the sprinter.
9-12 months for the rest.

Topic Author
chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:11 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:45 pm
Chenzi,

You might find this thread of some interest, viewtopic.php?t=240126

Have you found an RV that will work for your requirements?

Under 20’ for 2 adults, 2 kids is a challenge.

It can be a wonderful experience, but note the RV purchase is just the beginning of expenses so be forewarned.

I am in the camp of Pay Cash for your toys.

Sent a PM if you want to chat about our experiences.

Thanks

WoodSpinner
Thank you for the thread. Went through it. Lot of stuff to consider!
Midwest Automotive is another shortlist in our option!

quantAndHold
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:42 pm

It kind of doesn’t make sense if you want the latest model to get the latest safety features, but are considering a van with sideways facing seats. Are you sure about that?

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:13 pm

Seriously, rent one for a week or two before you buy. There are a lot of downsides to an RV that just aren't apparent until you've tried to use one.

Without a tow vehicle you're stuck wherever you make camp. In some destinations that's fine. In most, it's not. If you're sticking to developed campgrounds with hook-ups, you'll find yourself unable to make grocery runs or drive a few miles to a trailhead. Without hookups, a class B simply can't support a family of 4 for very long. Those tanks are only so big.

My family had a Tiffin Allegro when I was growing up (Class A, ~$100k). There's a lot of overhead in prepping and then cleaning an RV before and after a trip. If you're looking at lots of long weekends, that overhead eats in to your time by a significant degree.

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by IMO » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:16 am

Nate79 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:06 am
At your income I would save and pay cash. Should only take a few months if you can live frugally.
Agreed.

I find it interesting that OP was only asking about cash vs. financing the RV.

Then it's like all the anti-RV police come out in full force.

Kids are young only so long, it seems to work for what you want, you only live once, you seem to being to doing extremely well on finances, and thus then whatever you choose to do with your disposable income is your call . . .

BanquetBeer
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by BanquetBeer » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:26 am

IMO wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:16 am
Then it's like all the anti-RV police come out in full force.
I haven’t seen any comments that were against RV?

michaelingp
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by michaelingp » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:15 am

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:13 pm
Without a tow vehicle you're stuck wherever you make camp. In some destinations that's fine. In most, it's not. If you're sticking to developed campgrounds with hook-ups, you'll find yourself unable to make grocery runs or drive a few miles to a trailhead. Without hookups, a class B simply can't support a family of 4 for very long. Those tanks are only so big.
We've been camping in a class B for almost 20 years and I've talked to hundreds of other Class B campers and have never heard of this as a problem. In my experience, it's exactly the opposite. If you are boondocking (un-developed campgrounds), you may lose your spot if you move your vehicle without leaving evidence that you "own" the spot, that evidence subject to theft anyway. Otherwise, we make grocery and trailhead runs all the time.

That said, there is a camping style issue. As a huge generality, Class B owners tend to move around a lot. Folks with towables tend to tow to one spot and stay a week or two. I can't remember ever staying more than a few days in one spot in our camper.

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Toons
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Toons » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:32 am

Pay cash,
forget financing
Been there done that
Class B-21ft
Lithium batteries
Solar
No need to plugin
Wandered around Florida for 2 months in the winter.
No campgrounds
Image
:mrgreen:
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chenzi
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by chenzi » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:42 am

Toons wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:32 am
Pay cash,
forget financing
Been there done that
Class B-21ft
Lithium batteries
Solar
No need to plugin
Wandered around Florida for 2 months in the winter.
No campgrounds
Image
:mrgreen:
Please let me know your model.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:44 am

chenzi wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:02 pm

The question is, should I pay it out of my savings or finance it? Please let me know your rationale.
It depends, the specialty market that you are looking at has fewer very low cost finance options that mass marketed RVs but since you are willing to pay the premium for a new one then I would look around for cheap loan money. Some people with high equity in their home will use a HELOC or similar. As others noted, you would be hard pressed to find a more expensive solution to your camping needs.

There are people who rent sportmobiles, google will lead you to some, there is one in Seattle. If there is not one near you, I would travel to one and rent one for a long weekend before you go any further. They are great rigs but when I think of their ideal uses it does not seem to line up with your uses. I like the 4x4 versions that would allow me to camp in crazy places. Many people get their "right" RV on the second or third try, it would be an expensive learning curve with a $120k rig.

For your use, I would continue to rent if there is a lessor nearby or buy a Class C and store it off-site. YMMV
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cruzbay
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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by cruzbay » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:25 pm

CanaDream rents Pleasureway campers. Make sure that they guarantee you the model you want to rent not a rental based on what is available in their inventory on the date you arrive. (Also, negotiate for extra km if possible.) They have locations in the major cities. A great way to try it out before buying all the while enjoying the great exchange rate! We have rented from them out of Calgary and Vancouver. Wonderful trips including Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. Next on the list is Halifax!

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by tibbitts » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:40 pm

It's very annoying that the usual suspect manufactures (Thor, etc.) all make 20ft, single-rear-wheel, 7.5ft wide class Cs, and refuse to sell them to the public. You have to convince the manufacturer you're a rental agency to buy them - sort of like trying to buy a car with a police package in some cases. They now have a cult-like following and used rental units with over 150k miles sell for huge amounts. They can be more practical than Bs and should be much, much cheaper than the equivalent-sized Bs.

But to clarify I don't think more than 2 adults and 2 kids in 20ft is practical, except maybe for pop-ups with slide-out beds.

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Re: Financing / Affording a Sportsmobile / luxurious small Class B RV…?

Post by Sandi_k » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:35 am

We didn't want an RV, but wanted to camp. And after one weekend in the midst of a tarantula migration at one lake, i wanted something other than a tent. :D

We bought a Ford E-350, and customized it ourselves. The van was $17k (2 years old, still within warranty), and we added some custom aspects: insulation; pop-out windows; tinted windows; electric lock/unlock switches at the back; Fiberine hi-Top; interior panels; curtain between cargo area and front seats; window shades at all windows; shelf over the driver's seat; rubber floor mat. We also bought a fridge/freezer and a fan that worked off the battery.

We had plans for a second "house" battery addition, and a frame to use a rigid Hexcel platform for our bed (which would allow us to slide the camping bins under the frame, and not have to download the van when we arrived at a campsite). Then we moved to a house on the water, and suddenly stopped camping as much. :D

Total cost as $17k (van) and $6k for the Fiberine top/insulation/switches/shelves/shades/windows. The beauty is that it's still a cargo van, and can be easily used as such.

My BIL took our concepts even further: he bought a high-top Transit Van 2500, and completely custom rigged it. He used piano hinges and a Hexcel flip up frame for a bed frame; he has two additional bench seat rows he can use when playing tour guide for his international friends; he insulated, added lights; matting; shades; tie downs so he can bring the motorcycle inside, window tint, etc. Last I heard, he'd spent $40k on a new van, and another $15k customizing it.

So - if you're at all handy, it's VERY reasonable to do some of it yourself, and then get a pro shop to add a high top and some insulation. We just couldn't justify 6 figures for a toilet and shower and 4WD, considering that most campgrounds have showers and toilets, and we don't really need 4WD.

Finally, in case you didn't know, there is a Sportsmobile forum; check out the Home Built sub-forum!
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/

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