Listing the most important RV features you're looking for is one of the best things any RVer can do when shopping for an RV. Here's the list of our “must-haves!”
But understand, this list is ours.
Meaning, the RV features you choose for your needs will be different than ours.
The most important RV features you identify will depend on what kind of RV you get, how you like to camp, what you do when you are out there, and how you use your RVs.
This article comes in response to a specific request from a listener to our RV Podcast and we answered it on Episode 323.
Click the Player below to hear the caller's question and an audio recording of our response. It's about 19:25 in on the player.
For details, photos, and videos of the features, keep scrolling down.
Question: What are Mike and Jen's Most Important RV Features?
Here's a transcript of the question, left on our RV Podcast Voicemail number of 586-372-6990:
“Hi Mike and Jennifer:
Thank you for the valuable information you provide to the RV Community. My husband (six foot two)and I are nearing retirement and planned to purchase our RV in the near future. We've narrowed the search to a 20 to 25ft class B or B+ RV, which we believe allows us to fit in the most national park smaller camp sites do boondocking. I plan to continue to work part-time remotely.
We purchased your RV buying secrets and it has been very informative and answered a lot of questions.
We are a bit overwhelmed with the features. We should be looking for in our RV. I would like to ask the experience two RV experts – you and Jennfer – to select the top ten features you can't live without in your class B B+ RV,
If you could, please focus on features that you must make in the initial purchase that can't be added later. For example, dedicated bed, ducted air conditioning, safety features on the coach like blind spot and lane-keeping assist, on-demand water heater, six-cubic-foot 3-way fridge freezer, convection oven, deep sink, counter space, tank sizes, propane versus induction, diesel vs gas ,storage capacity.
Thank you again for all that. You do to provide quality and educational content to the RV Community wage. I look forward to hearing the top ten features you guys can't live without. Thank you!”
Answer: Some RV Features are Preferences rather than Essentials
The caller asked about a lot of things that deal more with preferences rather than must-haves.
For example, she asked about:
Gas vs Diesel – We are happy with both. Right now we have a gasoline-powered RV. Our previous RVs are diesel. We can and have been happy with both. Gasoline is a bit easier to find. And, right now, it's cheaper.
Induction vs Gas cooktop – We've had and have been happy with both.
Countertop – Most countertops in Class Bs are about the same. The bigger the better, but counter space is not a deal-breaker for us.
Sink faucet – A lot of RVs have very cheap plastic faucets. Stay away from them is you can. But, again, this is not a deal-breaker for us. We can easily replace and upgrade if we want.
Ducted air conditioning – We had this on our last RV and it was awesome. Our current RV does not have it and we do miss it. This is important, almost a deal-breaker. But not quite.
Lane-keeping assist – These come standard on all new coaches
Blindspot detection – This is standard on Class B RVs but is not available as a factory option on B+ r Class C RVs
So let us share our most important RV features list – and some accompanying photos and videos – in the hopes that it will give you an idea of what kinds of things should be on your list.
Our 10 Most Important RV Features List
- Dedicated beds – And always-made real bed. In our case. We like the twin beds on our Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB. They have a nightstand between them that can be converted into a foundation that will allow the mattresses to be fitted next to each other side by side in a near-Queen-sized bed. These are real beds, with mattresses, instead of sofa cushions that are found on many small RVs.
2) Separate living and sleeping areas – We have a sleeping area for the beds and a living area near the galley that doubles as a workspace/office. And the design of our current RV allows the door of the shower to be able to open across the hallway, physically dividing those two areas into separate rooms. The previous model we had, a Unity FX from LTV, has a front lounge and a rear lounge which also gave us two distinct areas to spread out in.
3) A Dry Shower – By this, we mean a standalone shower stall, Many of the smaller RVs we’ve previously owned have wet showers or showers that are part of the bathroom and toilet area. Even with a shower curtain, those areas get wet all over – that’s why they call them a wet shower. A dry shower area is a non-negotiable must-have for us.
4) Instant Hot Water – For us, that means the Truma Aqua Go water heater system. Turn it on and the water is instantly hot. For the shower, there’s no wasting water as you wait for it to get warm. For washing and rinsing dishes and washing your hands it’s a wonderful convenience, a luxury. The hot water is instant, constant and endless if you are hooked up to city water. When boondocking and using our fresh water tanks, it allows much more efficient showers, stretching your freshwater supply much longer than when we had to wait for the water to warm up.
NOTE: Here is a Video Review of our Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB showing many of these most important RV features:
5) Heated, lithium batteries – Once you rely on lithium batteries for your RV, you will never go back to regular lead acid or AGM batteries. The more the better, especially if you like boondocking. On our current RV and our previous one, we had two 100 amp lithium batteries. Those have provided all the boondocking power we want. Our current Battleborn lithium batteries were installed at the factory with heaters, keeping them warm and operating very efficiently even in freezing weather,
6) Solar Panels – These work in conjunction with the lithium power system. Solar is often oversold by RV dealers but we feel it is a must-have. For us, 400 watts of solar do the job, effectively topping off our lithium batteries each day from whatever power we drained from them over the previous night.
7) A powerful inverter – We would prefer 3,000 watts but our current RV has a 2000 watt inverter and it powers everything in our RV except the air conditioner when camping off the grid. There’s an add-on gadget called the SoftStart that will allow the AC to work off the 2,000-watt inverter but that’s a separate topic. You do want a powerful inverter. So many RVs come with stingy 1,000 or 1,500-watt inverters. With the technology and power needs posed by boondocking – our preferred style of camping –, that’s just not enough. A 2KW inverter is an absolute minimum you should get.
9) A generator – We would not travel without a generator. Ours is a 2.5 KW Cummins generator that we had installed at the factory. It is wired into the RV’s power system and runs on LP and allows us to run the AC while boondocking for extended periods of time if needed. It will also charge the coach batteries if needed, giving us still another power source while we are off the grid.
9) Apple Car Play in the entertainment system – Because we have iPhones, we use Apple Car Play. But Android Auto offers the same capabilities for those who don’t use Apple systems. Our Wonder, on the Ford Transit cutaway chassis, has a great entertainment system that has Apple Car Play and Android Auto capabilities. We use it to run our favorites raveling apps right through the dashboard display and entertainment system. It plays our music, our favorite podcasts and we use Google Maps and the Waze real-time traffic app for our GPS navigation. This is also a must for us on any RV we will buy in the future.
10) Maximum Exterior Storage Space – The biggest problem with small RVs is finding room for taking along all the things you want to use in your RV adventures. Chairs, bikes, in our case lots of photos and video gear, maybe an inflatable kayak someday. The RV we have has a pass-through are in the rear that will hold two bikes and all the toys and gear we want to take with us. It’s so big we call it “the garage.” We see other small RV manufacturers making similar storage space in their designs. But for us, we’re spoiled now and that extra storage space is another must-have for whatever RV we next get.
That’s our list of the 10 most important RV features we used in selecting our RV
Every RVer is different, of course. What we think is important may not be to you. We all have different things that are must-haves to get the most out of the RV Lifestyle.
We urge everyone to make a similar list when shopping for their next RV. It helps with your shopping and gives you a checklist and a guide to sorting through all the different RVs out there.
Listen to all of this Episode #323 of RV Podcast for more
The information above comes from Episode 323 of our RV Podcast, which also features RV News of the week, travel reports, and a schedule of upcoming RV Shows. You can listen to the podcast through the player below or by Subscribing to the RV Podcast on your favorite Podcast App.
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