You are currently viewing Considering buying an RV for the first time – Complete Guide.

Considering buying an RV for the first time – Complete Guide.

For every kind of travel enthusiast, buying an RV is not less than a dream. One basic concept you need to keep in mind while considering buying an RV for the first time or buy used converted van is there are different types of RVs available for all different kinds of people. It represents your lifestyle in so many ways. If you like off-road camping, then a truck camper or 4×4 Goliath is your thing. And if you are more of a beach person, VW California 6 or a self-converted caddy camper might perfectly suit your style. 

Selection of RV is very important, it should match your travel personality.

Before you start looking for RVs, you must decide your budget to spend on building or to buy used converted van and for how much time you are planning to spend time in it. For example, if you want it just for 20 days or a month and you have a flexible budget, you can probably rent your RV with all the facilities covered. And if you love to go on camping more often, it is recommended to buy used converted van or self-convert an amazing mobile home as per your need and pocket.

Further in this article, we will walk you through all the necessary points which you need to take into consideration when buying a camper van or RV. Also, we will throw some light on how to identify scams in part 2 of this article. 

A how-to book for a build-your-own-adventure lifestyle.

Imagine being able to live wherever you want, travelling the world whilst having everything you need with you in your own cozy home on wheels. Living a mobile lifestyle is now more possible than ever before. It’s the new option. Forget hostel costs or rent. With a van you have transport and you have your home. You’re free to travel wherever you like and you can do it on a budget. If you’re interested in living and/or travelling in a converted van or vehicle you probably have a ton of questions. Whether you want to plan a short road trip, or start a whole new life on the road, this book will show you how. And whether you have your van ready to go or you’re thinking of hitting the road at some point in the future, read this book.

Things to consider before making a buying decision.

Purpose of buying an RV for the first time.

The first critical step while considering buying an RV for the first time is to figure out why you’re buying it in the first place. It is nice to see someone resting on the beach or someone looking at the waterfall on the far side of the mountain. The point is, what is that thing which you want to do and for what you need a camper?

If you are reading this article, it is for sure that you are pretty much interested in knowing the van life and probably want to buy used converted van or a new one for a DIY conversion.

To understand it better, let’s break it into some points.

-What does your RV need to have?

Now, once you know the reason why you need to buy an RV, let’s focus on things that you need. (not what you want, that comes later). What is the maximum number of persons your RV needs to accommodate? What type of features will it require for the lifestyle you imagine or the destinations you intend to visit? Some people travel with their family, a couple or 4, even with pets, If you are planning something like this, you need to have some good knowledge about different types of vans or trailers available in the market.

It’s also a good idea to start thinking about size at this point. RVs exist in a variety of sizes, ranging from modest towable “campers” to 30-foot “Class A” motorhomes with an internal capacity of up to 400 square feet.

A list of all facilities that you need to have in your RV as per your lifestyle and budget, is the ultimate challenge for people who are buying an RV for the first time. Some out there are ok if they don’t have a designed bathroom or toilet but then they have all the tools for it. Try to focus on things that you required during your decision to buy used converted van or for DIY van conversion.

-Where you are planning to take your RV, how often, and for how long?

If you are thinking that you want to get out into nature, want to explore some woods, and set some cozy camp on the ground. Then you are considering off-road or off-grid adventure. For this, you need an off-road vehicle with good engine power and wheels.

To think about this early is very important. You also need to take into account is that how often you want to operate your van? Is it just for weekend trips or do you want to live in it for a year or two? This may assist in determining whether to buy used converted van or a new one, but it also has significant budgetary impacts.

- Do you want to install towing feature?

Is your camper or pop-up trailer going to be towed? Do you prefer a camper that can tow a vehicle behind it? Do you want an RV that you can drive without having to tow? With a hitch behind them, some RVs (such as larger motorhomes) may be driven and even pull smaller vehicles. This is particularly crucial if you intend to travel with other vehicles in your RV. You’ll need to keep in mind that small campers and pop-up trailers will need to be hauled by another vehicle capable of towing a lot of weight. You need to consider all these.

-Your budget and finance.

Although in general, living in a van is pretty cheap but to get started, it can be costly at the time of buying an RV for the first time. Now, this is depending on you, how do you want to spend time in your van or camper? Don’t forget to account for all of the various costs associated with buying a new RV or to buy used converted van while planning your budget: storage, gasoline, camping fees, maintenance, licensing, insurance, and more. Deciding what to keep in mind while making the best budget plan is very important.

Recreational vehicles can be financed. However, when planning your budget, you need to consider a variety of financial issues. Are you able to make a substantial down payment? What is the maximum monthly payment you can make? Is it worthwhile to take out a loan and pay interest on it? Will your credit score allow you to get a low-interest rate? A lot of options are available in the market to make all these easy.

Different types of RVs available in the market.

Now that you have gone through some of the important aspects and thinking of buying an RV for the first time, let’s see what are the different types of RVs are there in the market.

There are two types of recreational vehicles – 1. Camper / Motorhomes. 2. Towable Trailers.


(a) A Class

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When most people think of RVs, they think of Class A motorhomes. These are huge, drivable vehicles in the shape of a bus that is fully equipped with a variety of amenities. Class A motorhomes may have a toilet and bathroom, as well as full-sized kitchen facilities and sleeping accommodations for more people. Because they come with everything you need to get started, Class A motorhomes are practically plug-and-play. However, they can be highly expensive and may be larger than what some individuals require. For this, you can plan to buy used converted van if you are buying an RV for the first time. Again, it completely depends on your budget.

(b) B Class

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These are vans that have been adapted to include living and sleeping quarters as well as other conveniences. They’re great for single travelers or couples who don’t need a lot of space. Given the recent wide acceptance of #VanLife lifestyle trends, this type of RV: sleeper vans are probably recognized. There can be varieties of amenities, but RV companies are taking the craze towards luxury campers in their trend and encouraging people to buy converted van instead.

(c) C Class

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Class C motorhomes are similar to Class A in that they are drivable, may have slide-out sides, and can usually facilitate a group of people and a lot of amenities. But they’re a bit smaller and a little cheaper. So, this motorhome is best for people who are thinking of buying an RV for the first time because class C comes up with a good amount of facilities, more space with a low price tag compare to class A. Class C types are characterized by classic room space to sleep or store, built above the cockpit.

(d) Truck Camper

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A camper is a demountable, loading, or unloading recreational vehicle from a large or medium-size pickup camper’s bed. Truck campers are the most adaptable RV on the earth for three reasons: they can go everywhere a pickup truck can go, they can dry camp (boondock) off-road and/or off-grid for a significant time, and they can tow a variety of toys, motors, and trailers. This incredible capacity expands the range of places you may drive, camp, and explore substantially. You’ll like the freedom to go wherever you choose.

(e) School Bus

Skoolie Tour: This Gorgeous Crown School Bus is a Multi-Generational Relic.
Credit – Mobile Dwellings / Gilligan Phantom, crownedinstyle

This is kind of best match to all your want and need when it comes to van life. School buses are well designed for travel and have amazing preinstalled security systems. They are safer and more durable than all others and can provide more space to live. Hence, this motorhome becomes the first choice for people who are thinking of buying an RV for the first time.  To find the perfect bus for living is not as difficult as it looks and also it is the most cost-efficient option. A school bus is already an old vehicle so you can take chance to buy used converted van so-called skoolie.

Towable Trailers.

A trailer could be more optional if you are looking for buying an RV that you may keep in storage or park at your campsite and stationary when you drive away. Below are the different types of trailers.

(a) Pop-out tent trailers

This is the most affordable RV trailer for sleeping and living while traveling. They are designed to be extremely light while yet providing the majority of the facilities and comforts that you would expect when on vacation. It is also called Folding Camping Trailers. Buying an RV for the first time as a pop-out trailer is a good option if you are thinking of short time vacations like weekends.

(b) Airstream

Credit – AutoCamp

Maybe the most emblematic trailer. This silver bullet camper has unbelievable characteristics and is incredibly large inside. Airstream is an advanced type of RV trailer for journeys. It’s very popular, but costly. More room, more facilities, you can park at one place for a long duration and much more.

(c) Teardrop Trailer

A cross between a tent and a conventional trailer is the teardrop trailer. They’re compact, lightweight. Because pickup trucks are expensive, the requirement for one is a major impediment to purchasing a larger trailer. The teardrop trailer makes this possible, but as you can see in the photo, it doesn’t have nearly as much space as a full-size trailer. It’s just a bedroom area with a cooking hatch. Towed. But if you considering buying an RV for the first time and that too just for weekends purpose then this is one of the good options available.

(d) Fifth-Wheelers

While these RV trailers may appear to be identical to travel trailers at first glance, there is one significant feature that distinguishes them. They have a gooseneck connector that connects the trailer to the towing vehicle. The gooseneck connector makes hauling your trailer a breeze and eliminates any issues you could have connected the trailer to your towing vehicle. These trailers are enormous and designed for folks who enjoy having a lot of room while camping. They normally have extensible cut-outs in the sleeping portions as well as a fully equipped kitchen with everything you need.

(e) Sports utility RV Trailers

You will invest in an RV trailer for a sports utility if you want to go and make sure you have all equipment together, to spend time on your dirt bike, ATV, or snowmobile. These trailers, commonly known as “toy haulers,” are not designed to help people to live comfortably while on the road, but they are ideal for hauling any equipment you have.

What do you need for boondocking?

Boondocking is the practice of parking in locations with no camping rules or facilities. This is also known as stealth camping. These locations are typically found in National Forests, wide swaths of land, beach park ups, and other similar areas.

You’ll need a camper with a good solar and battery setup because there are no utilities like a battery hookup or a water point. That way, you may stay charged on the move without having to plug into an outlet. A robust inverter will help with any digital nomad tasks you have to do on the fly, and 12V charging connections are always a plus. Water is the same way. When living off the grid, a camper with a larger water supply is ideal. Some even come with filtering systems, allowing you to draw water from streams and lakes!

Places to store gas and a good heating/air conditioning unit are also useful when boondocking. Of course, if you are planning of buying an RV for the first time for boondocking, you need to keep in mind all of these features in your design.

Things to consider when ground camping.

Camping in a campground is more about comfort and leisure. Although this may be an exaggeration, campers at campgrounds tend to eat out far more than they do in their vans. They’ll go for long walks and relax and chill in their area while enjoying a good movie on an outdoor projector with a family.

If we accept those assumptions, a large living area, such as the one found in the luxury trailer, would be a welcome addition. A big bedroom with a split and a built-in TV with a satellite TV connection is desirable. Also, it would be more appropriate to have a good shower room and an outdoor clothes unit with a garage compartment for all gears. (you can buy used converted van for all these facilities rather than DIY conversion, so you can start camping soon).

Because campgrounds include bathrooms and washing amenities, a modest, self-built camper like a Mitsubishi Delicia could potentially be a good fit. In this way, your van provides a place to sleep at night and a place to store your stuff, while the campground provides the rest of the amenities.

But if you want unrestricted fun during ground camping, you should have most of the facilities handy. As we have mentioned some of the kinds in the boondocking section.

Recommended Camping Gears

Before we move further to the next part of buying an RV and things to put into consideration, remember there are a lot of things that one needs to take into account. Here, I am just putting the most important information that people more often forget to consider while planning. I want you to make the best decision while buying an RV for the first time or build one.

All other remaining information you will find in (Finalizing decision for best used RV to buy – Identify Scams – Extended Guide)


I am a travel enthusiast, blogger, entrepreneur, Brand Designer, and much more. Van life fascinates me to know that people love to explore the world with their tiny mobile homes. I want to build one soon. In my journey to build a motorhome for me & my wife, I want to share all the related knowledge and the best resources to grab for smooth van life. Happy to have you onboard.!

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