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We just bought another RV, so now we have two! We hinted at downsizing a while back. And as most of you know, we’ve been trying different RVs on for size – toying with the idea of getting a second, smaller RV. Then 2020 threw us a curveball.
In our latest video, we take you on a 2,000 mile road trip from Colorado to Texas and back again, to pick up our new RV. And on the way, we share the story, along with our insights and thoughts that led up to this decision.
So jump over to watch the video (under ten minutes) or get the quick overview by reading on. We’d love to read your comments and questions when you’re done!
Let's Start with the Back Story
Our 40′ motorhome “CC” is super comfortable to live, travel and work in full time. But we’ve really been wanting to mix up our travels. We like the ease of maneuverability and nimbleness of smaller RVs. And earlier this year, we seriously considered buying a second, smaller motorhome so we could explore some smaller back roads.
You might have seen our videos and blog posts experimenting with smaller RVs in these related blog posts and videos
- Are We Downsizing?
- Borrowing our friends’ Airstream van
- Renting a Class B RV in Florida
- We also rented another smaller, Class C RV in Texas, but that video and post haven’t been published yet.
We also checked out some smaller Class B RVs at the Florida RV Supershow in 2019 and another small Class B luxury motorhome in 2020. We thought we had narrowed down the field. Then COVID-19 hit and changed both our thinking and our needs.
How Has the Pandemic Changed Our Travels?
It’s fair to say that 2020 has been an unexpected year for just about all of us. Almost all of our plans were thrown up in the air and we’ve had to find ways to adjust our sails. The pandemic and its impact have caused many to step back and look more deeply at their lives and how they live them. That has meant changes for many of you – and for us, too.
One of the gifts of this pandemic year has been giving ourselves permission to hit the reset button, and start over with fresh thinking. Asking ourselves if we were on the right track for what we really wanted, and what made us happy. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Since March, we have slowed our travels way down. We’ve been exploring ways to have new travel experiences. And asking ourselves what we want more of. And as much as we love the homey-ness of our 40’ renovated diesel motorhome – and towing our Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk – there are definitely limitations of traveling with a larger coach. But when it comes to RVs, everything is a trade off. You just need to weigh up your priorities (and budget) at any given time. And really, we were just itching for a bit of a change.
Keep in mind that we have been traveling full time in our Class A RVs for over six years and have visited all 50 states. Many of them several times. So right now, traveling far and wide just isn’t that exciting to us.
Now, with the pandemic, more people (including us) are choosing to travel in a smaller radius – say within 300 miles – of their home base. By staying in one region /state much of this year – Colorado – it has allowed us to be closer to family if there is a need. It has reduced the time and effort involved in travel planning, and meant we’ve been able to avoid taking COVID tests or quarantine – as required by some states. So the idea of laying low – while traveling and living slow so we can really immerse in a place – has actually been very appealing. And there is SO much to see and do in Colorado – places we had never explored before.
Plus, we love our Jeep. We’ve really loved taking it off road, more than ever before. It is a very capable vehicle, and very comfortable. So it is great to finally be using all aspects of the Jeep’s capabilities – off road, towing, cargo, etc. Colorado has amazing Jeep trails!
Why Buy a Smaller RV?
Our interest in having a smaller RV was linked to the idea of leaving our big rig more stationary then using the smaller rig for shorter trips and events.
Of course, there are challenges with adding an extra RV to our family. Another motorized RV would be more expensive – both in the purchase price and additional maintenance of a third drivetrain. If you read our recent in-depth article about the real cost of RV ownership over the past 6 years, having owned both a gas and diesel pusher Class A motorhome, you’ll understand what we mean!
When the pandemic hit and all of the RV rallies, RV shows and book signing events we had planned on attending were cancelled, we reset our thinking and started considering different options. We have loved boondocking off the grid in our motorhome(s). It is the ideal way to social distance! But at 40′ long with low clearance, we’re also limited on where we can take it.
We Hatched a New Plan
So we began thinking… instead of going to the expense of buying another, smaller motorhome, why not find a small, towable RV that we could pull behind our Jeep? It would be a lower investment, easier to store when not in use, and provide even more flexibility in where we could travel and camp, with the off road capability of our Jeep.
After all, we had specifically bought our Jeep equipped with the towing package. Having a 4,500 lb towing capacity meant there were a number of small RVs it could safely tow. We had been looking at our options casually for over a year, but now we were clear on the new experiences we wanted to add to our travel lifestyle.
It’s funny. Once we were clear on our vision, the exact model, year and options we were looking for showed up shortly after on RVTrader. This unit was less than one year old, and barely used by the first owners. As you probably know, RVs are in high demand in 2020, selling like hot cakes, many of them at full asking price!
So, while we would not normally recommend doing this, we committed to making our purchase over the phone, sight unseen. We promptly mailed a $2,000 non-refundable holding deposit to the private seller in Texas. We had ‘vetted’ the seller and felt very comfortable with her, with no concerns about the deal going bad.
Of course, we still inspected the trailer in person ourselves before finalizing the deal. But we would typically recommend getting a professional RV inspection before buying. Especially if you want to avoid buying an RV money pit! But this particular RV is a very simple one, with not much to go wrong. It was almost new and only used 3 times. Plus, we were experienced RVers / buyers, so we felt comfortable with the risk level, especially relative to our outlay. And since then, we’ve already purchased an RV extended warranty so we don’t have to worry about RV repair expenses for the next 6 years! (More on that coming up).
2,000 Mile Round Road Trip – Colorado to Texas
It was a full two days of driving each way to pick up the trailer, so that took up the best part of a week. We jumped in our Jeep with our Dometic 12V electric cooler packed full of food and drinks. Not only did we want to make fast tracks, we also wanted to avoid eating out on a cross country trip during a pandemic! It saved us time, money, and was super convenient. Plus, most of our 2,000 mile round trip was on pretty desolate highways with few options for decent food. Being able to stop on a side road for a quick lunch or snack was priceless! We hadn’t really used our Dometic cooler a lot the first couple of years, but we’ve used it a TON with the Jeep and our new camper already.
When we arrived, the camper was in just as good a condition as expected. The sellers were a lovely, retired couple waiting on their new RV to be delivered.
After finalizing the transaction and hooking up the trailer, we gifted them a signed copy of our book, then began our 1,000 mile return trip back to Colorado. We took a short diversion to visit our friend Cowboy at his new RV dealership in Gatesville, TX.
So What RV Did We Buy?
Our new little camper is a 2019 Casita Freedom Deluxe Travel Trailer 17′. It’s fully optioned with just about everything you can get. In fact, it has more options than we would have ordered, if we had bought the camper new. But that was going to be a 6 month wait, hence we jumped on this used one right away! We were the first people to contact her about it, and the seller told us she had a waiting list of 25 people who wanted it if our deal fell through!
In our next post and video, we’ll take you on a complete RV tour of our Casita trailer. And because we still have a lot of footage from our Class A motorhome, you will likely see a mix of footage between our new small Casita travel trailer, and our bigger Class A Country Coach – in the coming months.
We know this kind of RV won’t be for everyone! There’s no one size fits all when it comes to RVs. And our needs, travel style and desires all change over time. That’s why we like creating content and tools like our book and online school. To help people like you determine how to find the right RV for you at any given time in your life stage and budget, so you are well educated and empowered to make your own right choices.
We’re excited to share a different type of RV travel with you in the coming months and years. We expect this news will be a huge surprise to many of you! No doubt you’ll have a lot of questions, so please leave them in the comments below. We always love to hear from you and plan on answering those questions for you in our future posts and videos.
Until then, happy travels!
GOT COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS?
We would love to hear from you. Drop us a note in the comments section below.
Over the years, we’ve found many great resources that help save us money and/or enhance our RVs and RV life. Here are some of our faves that we recommend.
- Wholesale Warranties – for free quote and great price on RV extended warranty
- Premier RV Inspections – we used them before buying our RV
- Thousand Trails Camping Memberships – saves us money on camping
- RV Trip Wizard / RVLIFE app – excellent tool for safe RV trip planning
- Amazon – shop our fave RV gear that we use and recommend
- Mobile Must Have – for mobile internet connectivity and RV safety gear
- TSD RVer fuel program – save money on diesel fuel
- Mudflap fuel app – get $10 bonus fuel with this link and save up to 50c/gallon
- TechnoRV – RV and tech gear for your RV life
- Battle Born Batteries – the best lithium batteries to get out there, stay out there
- Tough Top Awnings – save 5% with discount code RVLove
- Mattress Insider custom mattresses – save 10% with code RVLOVE
- Find more on our Recommended Resources Page
If you have any questions at all about these resources and providers, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to help.
20 thoughts on “We Bought Another RV. What Did We Get and Why?”
I stumbled upon your video in my study of lightweight trailers to pull with my Trailhawk. (although mine is a 4cylinder turbo with a tow package and a 3500lb max tow capacity I think it should still be ok). I liked the Casita the best but it is definitely proving to be a pain to buy a used one. They are few and far between and often sell in hours. Will involve me traveling pretty far to pick one up.
I have a few questions: 1. Do all of the Casitas have electric breaks? I cannot find that info anywhere on their site. And what is your break controller setup on your Trailhawk? 2. The Casita manual recommends having a sway bar added to the hitch but I have not noted one on any setup I have seen in the for sale Trailers. Do you have one? 3. How necessary do you think the friction anti sway control or the no sway weight distribution hiches are since they are optional?
Yes, Pre-owned Casita trailers have always held their value and sold quickly, but especially in this current RV market. We had to act very quickly for ours and drive from Colorado to Texas to get it. But once you have one, I am sure you will love it. Agreed that your 3500 pound rated vehicle should be fine, especially if you get the 16 foot version instead of the 17 foot version. The Casita website states that electric brakes are standard on all models now days, but not sure how many years that has been the case. I expect that most (if not all) have had brakes standard for most years, but not certain. We installed a CURT 51170 brake controller. It was super easy to install by plugging right in, and has a dash mount control. Very happy with that.
We have the friction sway bar from Curt as well. We definitely like it and notice it, especially at 60mph. But… it is not required. We have towed multiple times without it and it has been fine. It stays in the slipstream of our Jeep well. But on a windy day or rougher roads, it is still beneficial, and we prefer to use it.
Julie & Marc,
I also have a Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk that is rated for 4500 lbs towing. I am planning to purchase a travel trailer and two candidates are the Gulfstream Vista Cruiser 19 CSK or the Forest River SURVEYOR LEGEND 19RBLE. The GVW is 3300 lbs and 3750 lbs reactively. After adding water and supplies they both come in approximately at the 4500 lb max rating of the Jeep. I have studied GVW, GVWR, GCWR and think that the Jeep may be able to tow either of these safely. What would you advise.
Our Jeep does amazingly well with our lighter Casita. It would probably be ok with your heavier trailer, assuming you are not carrying anything inside or on top of the Jeep. We towed a heavier trailer once with ours that was around 4500 lbs. The difference was definitely noticeable, but still did pretty well. An additional advantage of the Casita is the smaller wind resistance of the small curved shape. Some larger or more boxed designs will add a lot of wind resistance which would in turn effect towing. Another huge factor would be where you are towing/traveling. We have been doing a lot of mountainous travel and it is performing well. If you live at lower elevation and are not towing steep grades, that will of course make your Jeep much happier. -M
Thank you for your response…I will look into smaller trailers like the Casita!
Congrats on your tiny trailer! We love our 5th wheel for longer trips, but last summer we bought a 1995 camper van to restore and use on short trips and day trips close to home. Vanessa is super easy to park (a bit smaller than our pickup), but the downside is that the bed (pullout-couch) is very small.
Thank you! It is amazing how many people we are hearing from who have 2nd smaller RVs too, for short trips! Enjoy your campervan! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sounds like a blast! Would you actually tow the smaller RV as the picture indicates when you change geographic zone and then have the small one like a launch from a yacht?
Good question Elliot! I don’t think so, we mainly plan to tow it with the Jeep. But we have been staying regional in Colorado most of 2020, so have not been traveling too far. The Casita is super easy to just take out on short trips! We are definitely having a blast with it – such a different experience to the motorhome, which we also love. But the Casita is so simple (not for full timing though – at least not for us!) Hope you and Isabelle are doing great! Happy Thanksgiving to you both!
We have 04 38’ coachman Santara and 72 VW bus! blob:null/510972bb-2871-4ba4-b274-d06ca39b62a7
Ha – I love it! You have the best of both worlds!
Our first RV was a Scamp 19 foot fifth wheel (super rare). It was great — small, lightweight and easy to tow. When we decided to fulltime a couple of years ago, it was time to upgrade to a 35 foot fifth wheel. Sold the Scamp for 50% more than we purchased it for!!
The thing we loved the most with the Scamp fiver was that it had a permanent (and super roomy) sleeping area — something that is very hard to find in a fiberglass camper. No converting a dinette every day. But, of course, you need a truck to tow it with, so obviously, that wouldn’t have been an option for you guys with your Jeep.
If we ever do decide to downsize, our choice will likely be a small fiberglass camper. I’ve always been particularly fond of the Escape fifth wheel.
Enjoy your Casita!!
Hi Peter, Funny you should say that as the people who sold us the Casita were switching to an Escape 5th wheel! Sounds like a great choice, but as you said, not an option with our Jeep for any kind of fifth wheel, and we really do love that car and weren’t ready to sell it or change it up. You did super well with your Scamp! Selling it for 50% more than what you paid for it! A 35′ fifth wheel is an ideal size for full timing – comfortable without being TOO big. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Happy trails to you!
I was wondering what became of you two. I haven’t seen you guys post anything in quite a while. So glad to know that you are well and continuing on with your jouneys. I was afraid something bad had happened and that we would not be able to enjoy your videos again. I am relieved that everything is fine. God Bless and I look forward to the next installment of RV LOVE! Safe Travels and Happy Trails!
Hi Wesley, yes we have been posting on the blog but took an unintended hiatus from YouTube for a little while, just had to take care of some personal things – nice to know we were missed! We have quite a few more videos on the way now so playing catch up. Always lovely to hear from you…we are fine – nothing to worry about, and nothing bad happened. Safe and happy travels to you too! And wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! – Julie & Marc
Excited for you guys! Even journeys already completed will be anew with this new mobility! Enjoy and thank you for letting us tag along on your trips (virtually). You are prayed for! Thanks!
Thank you Emily! Yes we really do feel like we have a new lease on our RV life as the Casita will provide us with a whole different kind of access and RVing experience. Thanks for your kind words, prayers and well wishes! Happy Holidays to you!
Congratulations on the purchase of your Casita. Richard and I were looking for one of those last year, but couldn’t find one in our price range. We are permanent here at the Hondo SKP Lone Star Corral due to Richard having to have chemo one week out of every month. So, we thought about getting a small travel trailer, preferably a Casita, to do some short trips. In the mean time we decided not to do that. Anyway, it’s good to see you two and I hope we can cross paths again some day. Enjoy your new toy! Your friends, Karen and Richard Headley
Hi Karen and Richard! Nice to hear from you! Glad you have a home base to hunker down and stay safe during Richard’s treatment. The Casita is a fun little toy! Funny you were considering one too! Wishing you both all the best for the holidays and good health and happiness! Get well soon Richard! Take care of yourselves and each other.