Recreational Vehicle or School Bus Conversion…
When we started looking into getting a home on wheels I was pretty set on a Class A motorhome (those are your stereotypical RVs) over anything else. I thought it would be the easiest to transition in to from our 2 bedroom apartment. But, as we started really looking into the nitty gritty details of what we wanted we started running into more and more converted school buses or Skoolies. Of course, there are pros and cons with each option so I’m going to cover the ones that we’ve discovered so far and these pros and cons are unique to us and our desire to live full-time in whatever we purchase-other people might one of our cons as a pro or a pro as a con.
+ Move-In Ready. This is huge. Most of the RVs we were looking at would be more or less livable at the time of purchase. There might be some renovations or updates that we would want to do (goodbye hideous upholstery from the 90s!) or some mechanical systems that would need some maintenance but overall, any RV we would purchase would be mostly ready to go right off the bat.
+ Standard Parts. RVs are built with generally standard parts, especially within each brand, which makes it a whole lot simpler to find and replace parts as needed.
+ Serviceability. We could take our RV to pretty much any RV dealership around the country (and there are a lot) to get work done on it. It would probably cost a small fortune but we would have the option to have professionals do the work we either don’t want to or can’t do ourselves due to lack of equipment or knowledge.
– Overall Price. RVs are way expensive, like outrageously expensive. Even used RVs are pricey. The ones in our modest budget have a lot of issues and buying a new RV is out of question. We can’t afford a RV that costs as much as a house. That defeats the purpose of downsizing and being more independent.
– The lack of knowing what’s in it, where, and how everything is hooked up. Without knowing all of that it makes doing any major renovations time consuming and potentially problematic. We wouldn’t want to disrupt existing systems or wiring so we would have to work around everything that’s already there in a very small and cramped space.
– Looks. I think the interior of most RVs are pretty ugly. It’s a lot of brown and while I like brown I don’t want to live in brown. They don’t have finishes or colors that I like in my living spaces-I like things to be bright and light and airy feeling. Going along with that is how dark some RVs are. They are so shoved full of built ins and amenities that they have few windows and I love a lot of natural light. So the lack of windows and the abundance of brown makes for a very dark living space. And I think that RVs have some of the worst exterior paint jobs. Again, so much brown and weird swirls. No thank you.
– Durability. Or lack thereof. This applies for both the exterior and interior. Exteriors have issues with delaminating since a RV is basically just covered in laminate and it is really expensive to replace the exterior laminate. And the interiors feel so cheap and flimsy that I have serious doubts about anything being able to withstand the abuse that daily life brings to a space. All of the RVs we looked at felt like they were going to fall apart at any moment. Additionally, looking at reviews yields so many people who are dealing with things falling apart almost as soon as they drive it off the lot.
– Safety. This is biggest con for us. RVs are like death mobiles on wheels. The big Class As don’t even have airbags. They are built out of a thin fiberglass shell (at least the ones that we looked at) and they crumple in an accident. Now, Class A RVs are built on a commercial truck or bus chassis which should make them more stable but most of the time they are so overloaded with RV stuff (full size fridges, giant slide outs, etc) that the stability gain is negated. And again, they feel so flimsy that they just feel unsafe.
Ok, that’s enough about RVs. Keep an eye out for our next post…Skoolie Pros and Cons!