Is it really worth it? - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-30-2014, 10:27 AM   #85
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Nate R, good luck with your refurb. Sounds like you have a handle on it. Never heard of the Propex furnace sounds interesting. On the same note are you familiar with the Alde heating systems for RV? Effective its hot water heat, a boiler if you will and also very quiet as I understand it. The new T@b's made by Little Guy Trailers have these installed. Thought it might interest you.

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Old 07-30-2014, 10:33 AM   #86
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Norm as always thanks for your considered and thoughtful comments. I have to say though given your relatively low investment in TV + Camper your annual cost on the road is considerably higher than I would have guessed. Thats not meant as a judgmental comment, just surprised is all.

Thanks for sharing.

Rob

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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Donna,

We have kept detailed records of our costs to live for the last 14 years and with all costs including gifts to others, taxes, medical insurance, RV travel, RV and tow vehicle purchase, ....just everything, our yearly costs is about $50,000 a year. That includes about 240 days of travel a year, the owner ship of an RV, a tow vehicle and a small home in NH.

Financially our NH home, for people who travels as much as we do, was a mistake to keep and maintain though it has no mortgage.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:53 AM   #87
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Rob,

Maybe I wasn't clear enough, that's all our costs for a year of living.

Medical Insurance alone costs over $7,000 a year for Medicare A & B plus prescription coverage, that's about 1 dollar in 7. In addition to medical insurance we have tow vehicle, trailer, a little life insurance, home fire insurance and a general liability policy. I'm sure that amounts to another $3,000.

Just the insurances alone amount to 1 in 5 dollars spent.

The reality is that the overhead expenses, whether we travel or not, consume a fair percentage of the $50,000. Eliminating our house would probably drop our yearly costs to about $40,000, though we'd still have most of the insurance costs.

Our original tow vehicle, purchase 10 years ago cost $18,500. As a result on average it cost us about $1,500 per year of RVing. Our new tow vehicle will be even more expensive per year, probably averaging $2,500 per year.

We certainly could camp for less than we do but I would probably begin by reducing some of the overhead expenses we have. When we initially started out we had planned for only 3 years of travel, no consideration was given to eliminating some of the home overhead.

We actually write down every expense, in the beginning in a spread sheet, now in a smartphone app. It's not a budget but it makes us conscious of what we spend.

Last week we met a woman who had $17,000 in 3 sewing machines. I told her that I could not afford to marry her.

We are a frugal couple, and could be even more frugal if we choose.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:25 AM   #88
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This has been such an interesting thread to read and I finally have a moment to weigh in with a few of my own thoughts. I want to address some of the assumptions in Rob's original post.

Rob, I agree with you that it's not an unreasonable assumption that a lot of folks have $60,000 invested in their rigs. I know one couple who recently bought a new Escape and a new SUV to tow it with and I'm pretty sure they're in it for about that amount. That said, they are financially secure, fully realized the costs,and decided it was worth it to them to go that route.

But you don't have to spend that amount to still have fun! We have about $18,000 invested in our set-up. That's for trailer and TV. Both are used but in good shape. That figure includes all the things we've done to both to make them road worthy. For the trailer that means new tires, rims, repacking bearings, new graphics on the outside, a new hot water heater, solar panels, new cushions and upholstery, and some other stuff. For our TV that means new tires, a new front end, new fuel pump, new shocks, and a few other mechanical things.

Yes, in some ways car road trips can be more relaxing. Much less preparation. We too have enjoyed some road trips in whiich we have stayed in hotels, motels, B&Bs or vacation rentals. They can be a lot of fun, but are different kinds of trips. Unless you have a really fuel efficient vehicle, your daily costs will probably work out about the same. Lodging and meal costs usually cancel out the fuel savings. More importantly there are a lot of places that we just would never have experienced if we hadn't gone in our trailer. You just can't beat waking up in the campground at Bryce NP and being able to walk to the rim of the grand amphitheater to see the sunrise. We'd still tent camp if we could, but our aging bodies just can't take it anymore.

If you like hiking, camping, cycling, and kayaking it seems to me that having some sort of RV is the way to go. Otherwise you end up staying in a motel in some town and then having to drive, sometimes a considerable distance, to get to where you want to start your day's activities. That assumes of course that the tenting option is out.

It seems to me that if you are going to use your RV for just a week or two or even three a year, the way to make it work is to keep it simple and keep it small. We're retired and usually take several short trips, and one or two longer trips of a month or more each year, so we wanted something a little more spacious that a 13 footer, but if we were only going to camp once in awhile I would sure consider going that route. Maybe even a pop-up trailer would do for that.

I think it's definitely worth asking the question "Is it worth it?". While the memories are precious and priceless, there are lots of other things in life that demand money too! Most of us can't have it all and so we have to make decisions about where to put our hard earned cash. In the end it's only you who can ever decide if something is worth it or not. Thanks for starting this thread.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:32 AM   #89
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Flexibility, comfort, security, privacy, home cooked meals, pets, pride of ownership, are reasons for owning a camper.

It is a familiar home. Surely you have seen the fantastic mods , the elegant fabrics and floorings, the high tech solutions, and the innovative options. A beautiful, clean and comfortable camper is a home away from home.

With my 15 year old Silverado, I camped in a Leer shell perhaps six weeks in the 14 years before I bought my Bigfoot camper. Not much time camping. Mostly I was working out of it. I built a platform to store tools under a bed and kept a long twin mattress on top. My electrical system was a fuse panel and cigarette plug for a thermo-electric cooler which killed my batteries if parked for a day. While I could drive 90 mph from Iowa to California , it was not very roomy.

Most of my trips are rural or else I stay with friends. I have the ability to stealth camp and have not paid for a campsite since 1990. I don't ever stay in expensive hotels. So my payback numbers would be different from someone else's.

As for cost:

Using your numbers: Excluding the 15 year old truck my cost is less than $8000. At $200 per night that works out to 40 nights to break even. If I included my truck, which I bought new in 2001 for $41,000, it would be 245 nights to break even or 8.17 years. But I would never waste that much money on a hotel.

A few notes on TV's. My Silverado was expensive but has been almost trouble free. The ten way power seats sold me on it. Over 15 years, it's cost works out to $250/month not counting fuel and oil. Every year the cost of ownership drops. My previous truck , a K5 Blazer I bought used for $9000, needed extensive mods to the suspension and after 15 years had reoccurring problems I could not seem to fix. It cost $100 a month plus fuel and oil. I expect my Silverado will last the rest of my life. I chose a one-ton chassis and diesel for durability. A 3/4 ton might have been a better choice.

My most recent trip with my new camper was to breed my dog a week ago. Last year when I bred her, I stayed at a Motel Six, which allow dogs, but I was allergic to the room they put me in! Cost: about $600. My recent trip cost only $70--a savings of $500 for a week.

I put my payback for the camper at 16 weeks. It will pay for itself in the first year. I searched long and hard for a good deal on it.

If camping includes bringing your dogs, then a camper is a must. I prefer to cook my own meals too.

Your discussion fails to account for resale value. A camper is a tangible asset that can be sold. Hotels are like paying rent-- the money cannot be recovered.

I estimate my camper is worth $20,000 now.

Many people are unwilling, unskilled or uncomfortable making the kinds of mods needed to transform a bone stock camper into something truly livable.

What do you do while camping? Some people who buy campers are highly skilled, self reliant, handy people. There are lots of these admirable people in this forum, which is why I enjoy it so much. I like learning new things and then trying them. I bet many of these same people use some of their time while camping to make a small improvements to their campers, like wiring in a cabinet light.

If you can sell your camper for a profit, to someone who can't or won't do these sorts of mods, it has already paid for itself. Your swear equity is rewarded.

Additionally, there is the bug out factor. It is very comforting to know I have a comfortable place to live no matter what set backs I might encounter. I know that if I kick off tomorrow my brother will get plenty of use out of it and take care of my sea dogs.

Further, there is pride of ownership. Being able to customize a camper is, as much fun as using it. Every time I use my custom trash drawer or my subdued lighting I feel good. I'd rather sleep in my own bed than risk bed bugs or an uncomfortable mattress in a hotel.

My philosophy has been to live as cheaply as possible and put my savings and spare time into rental properties. Other people have paid for my houses while I do the repairs and improvements. I tighten my belt to pay for materials but the payback periods are short and provides increased income.

I have long term tenants because my places are unique and better than typical properties. Car camping helped me save money. Now, a real camper is a welcome addition to service those properties, and it may be used to work the boat shows when I start chartering in the future.

A camper can pay for itself in travel expenses, provides resale value, comfort, security, and peace of mind.








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Old 07-30-2014, 11:36 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank_a View Post
My wife and I met back in the early 70's with a love of hiking and climbing. We honeymooned in the Rocky Mountain National Park back in the late summer of '74, and never looked back. <snip>

Frank

You are lucky to find a gal who liked that.

If my camper was not clean and comfortable I doubt my lady would have even gone in it. As we get older, we do appreciate comfort more, don't we ?


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Old 07-30-2014, 11:48 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Night Sailor View Post
You are lucky to find a gal who liked that.

If my camper was not clean and comfortable I doubt my lady would have even gone in it. As we get older, we do appreciate comfort more, don't we ?
Lucky is certainly part of it, but we've worked at it over the years too. 40 years of marriage this past June, and still in love. We have a great time. One grandson and another grandchild on the way. Life is good!

And we still like to climb mountains, just in a vehicle...

Frank
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:22 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Outlaw View Post
Nate R, good luck with your refurb. Sounds like you have a handle on it. Never heard of the Propex furnace sounds interesting. On the same note are you familiar with the Alde heating systems for RV? Effective its hot water heat, a boiler if you will and also very quiet as I understand it. The new T@b's made by Little Guy Trailers have these installed. Thought it might interest you.

Rob

The Propex is from a UK company, but sold in the US here: Westy Ventures / Propex heaters

I like that it's quiet, low current consumption, and more flexible on mounting options. (Doesn't have to go in 1 of 2 or 3 places like an Atwood would in a FGRV.) I'd rather have it go through the floor intsead of out the side and require 20" of depth in a cabinet. The ducted heat/return vents make it simple as well to put in out of the way places.

That Alde is interesting, but more than what I need. Thanks for the tip on it! But, at $1700 USD, It's pretty steep for our little camper w/ no bathroom/need for a water heater. Probably produces REALLY nice even hydronic heat, though! Seems perfect for a larger rig!


Also should throw in that the Propex was discussed here: Propex HS2000 Heater Installation Complete!


For those worried about BTU: The Propex is 6500 BTU OUTPUT. An Atwood that's listed at 12,000 BTU (input) is 9150 BTU heat output. So the Propex puts out about 70% the BTU of the Atwood. We find that the 12K BTU unit we have is MORE than enough, and then some for our camping. So I think the smaller Propex will do just fine for us. The other small bonus is that the Propex is 90% efficient vs an Atwood's 76% efficiency.

(See Atwood's specs: http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...0SP%201.08.pdf )
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:33 PM   #93
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RVIA Has done a study on this very thing !

RVIA cost study of RV versus other means of travel.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association article is posted here:
Travelers Save When They Go RVing, Study Reveals ยป Oliver Travel Trailers
This goes into details quite deep. I think most of us on here already have this thing nailed down, but, here is a professional study that seems to verify the conclusions of this forum !
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:47 PM   #94
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A nice attribute of a thread like this is that it encourages you to think about yourself and RVing.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:48 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
A nice attribute of a thread like this is that it encourages you to think about yourself and RVing.
I agree. I never much think about it!

Frank
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:11 PM   #96
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Conrad,
Thanks for you input into this thread!!! You must have the fastest thumbs in the world! WHY? Because to post everything you said with an iPhone, is unbelievable! That would taken me 2 weeks to type that much in with an iPhone!
But, you said it well and plain, where everyone can understand!
Thanks,
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:23 PM   #97
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This thread has been very enjoyable to read and the input of all who have posted is greatly appreciated.

Craig and I are not quite halfway through our many month madventure across this country and have enjoyed every bit of it. We saved for 5 years for this trip and it's been worth each dime even through the 3 weeks of desert travel and trying to make sure we had electrical for the A/C in the afternoons and nights.

We started out together having a wonderful time doing the hotel/motel bit, but found we wanted something that brought us closer to the earth...without sleeping on the ground...and connecting with people on the road, which we did not find otherwise, especially once we started kayaking.

One of the things we have noticed on this trip is the increase in rented RV's on the road. We see multiples of them every day. Most of them are large families or groups of folks/friends/what ever travelling together. Given the cost of motel rooms and restaurants vs campgrounds and cooking your own, it must be worth it to them to rent the rig and then turn it in at the end of the trip.


I believe what it boils down to in the end, more than cost savings, is the feeling of being closer to the natural world...or what ever it is that fills our souls on these trips, long or short.

Josie
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:40 PM   #98
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So many good thoughts from so many perspectives!

One truth about money. You only get to spend it once. Good idea to spend it on what you consider of real value. Key word there is consider. One has to thoughtfully consider the trade offs, real cost, and best they can the value they expect to get.

Donna put a lot of camping experience, consideration of what would provide her with the best value to meet her usage and needs based on that experience, and how best to pay for it. In short a lot of thought went into the final decision. Thus "worth it" is achieved. Even at $2,700 a night.

We have different usage and needs so we go a different route to achieve the value that makes the camping equipment worth it to us. Each of us has to consider our own situation and figure out what we need at what price to be worth it in our circumstances. I can recall when having a nice air mattress for a bed was a big step up in our tent camping.

Sometimes people purchase things for the satisfaction or pride of owning it, others they purchase for what it allows them to do. Campers and camping equipment more often falls in the latter category. Solar so I can boondock, AC so I can sleep comfortable in hot and humid conditions, fridge and stove so I can enjoy a better variety of food. All expenses that allow one to do something they enjoy and can assess as having value that they can put a price on.

My welder is suitable for industrial use because I had uses for the more expensive features it provided. My air powered stapler for putting up insulation is suitable for a single remodeling job I did. Might use it again, might not so I went with inexpensive.

I have camped with Poncho, sleeping bag, food and fire in winter and these are all I really "needed". Did without the fire one time. It was cold. I do think what I spend to have stove, chairs, table, and solid shelter make it much nicer. And less lonely since DW is not going to have anything to do with that sort of mountain man revival trip.

As for those fancy swanky flint tipped spears Steve spoke of for getting dinner, I'm more inclined to get my dinner with a fire hardened stick rubbed against a rock until it has a point. Then I stab my prey with it and roast it over the fire whole. Who needs a flint tip for cooking hot dogs?
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