From beach-side camping just down the coast to traveling cross-country for a yard sale, Santa Clarita Valley RV owners love a little escape from the mundane. But with so many options available, choosing your first or next RV can cause some dilemma.
“RVing is an expanding lifestyle,” said R.J. Craft, a sales associate at All Valley RV Center in Acton and RV owner of 30 years. “The national average is that buyers will change their mind in two years (from purchasing their first RV) and will want different features.”
Deciding on your second or third purchase may not be as difficult as the first, as buyers have several factors to consider. To help ease the process, Craft said he asks customers three primary questions: What do you hope to do with the RV? How many people will be expected to sleep inside? And, what kind of truck or vehicle do you own?
Craft said most of All Valley’s market, of which 20 percent is made up of SCV residents, purchases a 26-foot RV. “This is a good family start and perfect weekend getaway because you get a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen,” he said. “Anything smaller than that, you give up storage.”
Depending on what you envision, size and style can really make a difference, said Craft. These are some RV types:
These towable models are among the most popular RV types seen on the highway and in campgrounds these days. Travel trailers are known for being cost-efficient and for their flexibility to remain simple or complex as they can come with their own water supply, kitchen, refrigerators and bathrooms. These RVs can connect with a standard ball hitch receiver, which can widen towing vehicle options. Excessive tail swing is one factor drivers should consider.
When it comes to towable RVs, fifth wheels are the largest options out there. They are usually pulled by large pickup trucks with a fifth wheel hitch. They are known for featuring a better connection with a gooseneck rig that attaches to the tow vehicle. They can offer large, comfortable living spaces that are not available in standard travel trailers. One thing to consider, however, is that because passengers are not allowed to ride in a towed vehicle, there is less passenger space on long trips.
For those with an adventurous agenda, these RVs can haul all your toys. From snowmobiles, to motorcycles and ATVs, toy haulers were built to carry large cargo.
Whether gas or diesel, Class A motorhomes are a popular choice for long-term trips as they offer a “home-away-from-home” feel. These models, which resemble a charter bus, include amenities, such as full-sized furniture, washer and dryer, full bath, generous counter space and slide-outs. While comfort is ever-present, its large size, some as long as 45 feet, can make it difficult to maneuver through twisty mountain roads.
Class C motorhomes are built atop an existing truck and van chassis. These often range between 20 to 33 feet and are designed for larger groups and budget-friendly trips. Their features resemble those of Class A models but at an overall lower cost.
RVs in the SCV
Doris Carlson and her husband have relied on travel trailers for their cross-country trips. From a 16-foot Econ trailer to their most recent purchase, a 19-foot Forest River Wildwood, Carlson said this RV type has served well for their cross-country trips.
The pair has traveled from the Santa Clarita Valley to Tennessee for a yard sale, Kentucky for museums and South Dakota for a biker event. To accommodate varying weather conditions, Carlson said they have customized their travel trailer by adding insulation and buying a bigger air conditioner unit “for when we travel to the southern or Midwest states during the hot humid summer months.”
Saugus residents Renee and Tom Page own a Class A Fleetwood Southwind, their third RV.
“We love it,” said Renee. “We tented as children, and as a married couple we got tired of tenting and got a trailer. We’ve been to Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Rocky Mountains.”
Depending on their destination, the Pages tow their Jeep for places where RVs cannot pass through. They said their RV “is like having your own bed everywhere you go, and still get to see the best parts of California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico and Colorado.”
When it comes to traveling shorter distances, often due to busy work schedules, Valencia couple Robin Hirsch-Simons and Joel Simons said they find comfort in camping in their fifth-wheeler.
“Our fifth wheel is very roomy, much easier to tow than a regular travel trailer and doesn’t wag like a travel trailer,” said Robin. The couple often camps by the beach or as close as the Valencia Travel Village — just 15 minutes away from their home.
While the three families drive different RVs and toward different destinations, they each have something in common: they’re part of a Facebook group called the “SCV Empty Nesters RV Club.”
The community group, started by the Simons, aims to connect local residents who are “empty nesters,” or don’t have any children living with them, and coordinate camping and traveling events.
“We have met many friends and have done a couple trips together,” said Robin. “We went to Lytle Creek (in San Bernardino County) and Travel Village. We have an upcoming event on St. Patrick’s Day weekend to Lake Casitas (in Ventura County), and would like for more Santa Clarita Valley empty nesters to join.”