New member curious about 5th wheel living - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2016, 02:49 PM   #1
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Name: Darshan
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New member curious about 5th wheel living

Hi folks.

I am Darshan!

I like to rock climb, ski and garden.

I currently live and work (software engineer) in Petaluma, CA.

I am interested in purchasing a home in this area, one that has enough space where I can have a orchard/garden and support my mom (she has horses). Due to the high cost of living near the Bay Area, buying a home with acreage is out of reach for me (acreage plus home is $600+K here; land alone is $100-300k).

So I was thinking of buying land alone and living in a very small home for a while. An RV or small fifth wheel seems like it may work as a temporary (1-3 years) living arrangement while developing the property.

I am used to living in small spaces but I know the fifth wheel living will present new challenges.

I am hoping that the forum will help me research if this is feasible.

I am interested only in the smallest fifth wheels as I want to tow it with a Toyota Tacoma Sport.

Questions I have so far are:
1) What small fiberglass 5th wheels are out there? I only know of Scamp and the Escape.
2) Have people used 5th wheels as a full time living situation? I am interested in hearing about your experiences.
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Old 08-03-2016, 03:09 PM   #2
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Best to first determine if Petaluma, CA will allow you to live in an RV on your property.
I suspect not.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:17 PM   #3
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Good point.

I would purchase out side the city limits. There is plenty of unincorporated land out here within a commuteable distance. But your point still applies.

something I will look into.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
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Welcome to the site.

Is there a particular reason you are looking at a fifth wheel, instead of a standard?

Other than the two manufacturers you mentioned, Escape and Scamp, Bigfoot at one time made fifth wheels, but haven't for quite some time now.

You would not be able to tow an Escape 5.0 TA with the Tacoma, as they don't tend to have enough payload capacity. Maybe the Scamp though, but I am not certain. If you could find an older Escape 5.0 Single Axle it might work for you.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:10 PM   #5
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5th Wheel - The bed is up above. You can get up and go to the dining table, set and eat and if you have a pardner, they can continue to sleep.

Non 5th Wheel - If it is a small one the dinning table turns into a bed and vice vers. Want to sleep i, you are sleeping where the table converts from bed to table.

US, We have a 5r (5th Wheel).
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Non 5th Wheel - If it is a small one the dinning table turns into a bed and vice vers. Want to sleep i, you are sleeping where the table converts from bed to table.
Escape, Scamp, Casita and Bigfoot and probable a few other Non 5th wheels all have layouts with a bed separate from the dinner table.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:24 PM   #7
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Name: Darshan
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Why fifth?

Why fifth? I understand they are safer, easier to tow. And I could tow a small (eg scamp 19 5er) with a small truck. That is the primary reason.

I think the layout of the 19 deluxe scamp more easily allows for a long term living situation than say a 16' scamp trailer.

I suppose--now that you made me think about it--I could consider trailers. But for long term living, I feel like I need the space a small fifth wheel provides. And I don't want a large trailer and a large truck.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:28 PM   #8
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Name: Darshan
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Anyone living in 5th wheel?

Returning to the questions originally posed:
1. Anyone living in a fifth wheel? What are your experiences? Have you done so on your own land?
2. Any other small fifth wheels to look at? I got scamp, escape and Bigfoot.

Interesting reading regarding rv'ing on ones land: https://axleaddict.com/rvs/Can-I-Live-In-An-RV-On-My-Property

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:51 PM   #9
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Some more interesting reading about living in an rv on a plot of land:
http://ask.metafilter.com/177191/How-to-live-offgrid-in-an-RV-camper-long-term
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:02 PM   #10
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This answers the question about if it is legal to live in an rv:
FAQs - Planning and Zoning - Permit & Resource Management Department - County of Sonoma, California

Can I live in a travel trailer on my property?
Answer
Sonoma County ordinances generally do not allow occupancy of a travel trailer on private property unless it is located in a mobile home park or, for limited time periods, in a recreational vehicle park. However, a travel trailer can be used while a home is under construction on the property, provided that a permit is obtained (see next question). In addition, under certain circumstances a travel trailer can be used to house an ill or convalescent relative or friend, or a caretaker for that person. See Section 26-88-010(p) of the Zoning Ordinance.
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:25 PM   #11
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Name: Darshan
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Where is it possible to live in an rv?

http://sonomashanty.com/sonoma-shanty/building-without-a-permit/

The places closest to California in which someone can (pretty much) freely live in an RV full-time are Humboldt and Elko Counties in Nevada. Even there the properties need to be 5+ acres and a permit is required
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:18 AM   #12
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First thing to do put in a garage with a tall door for an RV and an efficiency apartment in the second bay. That will keep you legal. It might even be all you will ever need.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:11 AM   #13
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Purchase something like a Class C and drive it to work each day and to your property after work.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:39 AM   #14
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Darshan,

Echoing Karin's suggestion, I once helped someone build a garage together with a small (~400 sq ft?) adjoining single-story portion of his house. He and his wife then lived in this combination until the rest of the two-story house was completed several years later. It was very slow construction because he did most all of the work himself while holding down a full-time job.

This portion of the house was already going to have a laundry room with a utility sink. He added a 3/4 bath to this area to facilitate living there temporarily. This arrangement involved much less temporary work and later demolition than placing piping within the limits of the garage's thickened-edge slab floor.

I'm unclear regarding why the ability to tow a trailer is of concern if it's primarily intended for use as temporary housing. If you really need something that can be moved periodically, I agree that an older motorhome might serve too.

It sounds like an interesting project. Good luck!
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