Small RVs are hugely popular in 2023 and for good reason. Before we ventured out full-time onto the wide open highway for the first time, we dreamed of our RV life. We spent hours planning out every step of the journey down to the last detail. Of course, the size of our RV factored into what we planned to bring along when we left it all behind! Here are 5 of the Best Small RVs For Full-Time Living, and so much more.
For first-timers, a small RV can make the most sense for many reasons. They’re much easier to get around in and, for the most part, more affordable than their luxury cousins.
When planning to leap to full-time RV living, you can think of the smaller RVs as an easier point of entry. Once you’re hooked on the lifestyle, you’ll likely go all in on the RV of your dreams!
Check out our exploration of that small RV life and the top 5 small rigs on our list.
Here we go!
What qualifies as a small RV?
RV manufacturers categorize RVs using a classification system. Class A rigs are the biggest of the family and range between 25’ to 50’ in length. Constructed on a single chassis, the heaviest come with three axles to handle the weight.
Class C rigs are common on the road and feature a cutaway or cab chassis. These smaller vehicles are popular because they are closer to large trucks than the bus-like Class A. Less luxurious, they range between 21’ to 41’ in length.
Class B RVs are the smallest rigs you’ll find and are also called camper vans. These little guys are much smaller than their larger siblings. Sleeping anywhere from two to six, they usually measure 16’ to 21’ in length.
Weight is also a factor, with little rigs weighing between 6 and 11 thousand pounds. That seems like a lot until you realize that big Class A RVs break the scales at 30 thousand pounds!
There are plenty of other things to consider here, but after everything, if your life can fit into a Class B, give it a try!
How much does it cost to live in a small RV?
We can’t give you an exact number here because everyone lives life on their own terms. However, living in an RV has some significant advantages over traditional homes.
You’ll like trade a higher house mortgage for a vehicle loan payment on your RV, especially if you sold your house before heading out. Just like any vehicle, you’ll have to pay insurance and maintenance costs associated with life on the road.
Smaller spaces also encourage a more minimal Marie Kondo style of living. If it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it!
Costs can add up if you pay to stay in a campground, anywhere from $25 to $50 per day. Staying in the same place for a while will save you money; monthly rates are usually heavily discounted.
Boondocking is an option for those rigs equipped for it, and dispersed camping on public lands is usually free.
Check out our article on Boondocking!
We’ve seen budgets range from $1,000 per month all the way up to $5,000 per month! Depending on your goals, you can live just as expensively in an RV as in your traditional home.
How do you handle utilities in a small RV?
Of course, one of the most important things about living in an RV is how to deal with the necessities. You need power, water, toileting and showering facilities, and internet.
Plenty of RVs have generators or solar arrays for boondocking, and internet hotspots are readily available.
When you purchase your small RV, please carefully consider your bathroom and bathing preferences. While we’ve used many outdoor toilets on our remote camping trips, it’s not for everyone.
Make sure your blackwater tank is large enough to accommodate your off-grid habits. You can’t empty holding tanks just anywhere; fines are steep if you try.
Cooking is another consideration, and most of the RVs on our list have propane or natural gas ranges or ovens.
What are the best small RV models for full-time living?
We’re going to go ahead and say that most of these RVs work best for couples or individuals. You’ll probably want a bigger rig for living full-time on the road with your family.
You’ll also want to remember that most of the time, you’re using outdoor space as an extension of your living area.
Floor plans that look tiny don’t include all the mountain meadows and streams in the package.
List Price: $207,707
Winnebago is one of the most trusted names in the RV market, and they’ve come out swinging in the small RV category. The Ekko, a Class C rig, has the classic look we’ve come to expect.
Boxy but with a streamlined cab, it has space for up to four with the optional pop-top.
All Wheel Drive is available on specific models, and the heated pass-through gear garage is an excellent feature.
A powerful V6 engine ensures you can get out to the boonies, and a four-panel solar array powers all your necessities.
A full galley and convertible wet/dry bath round out the interior features. Don’t worry about cold weather in this rig; they’ve insulated all pipes and wires against freezing.
The Unity Small RV by Leisure Travel Vans
List Price: $186,370
A luxury Class C, Unity is perfect for those who want options. With six possible floor plans, you’ll have almost as much fun choosing as you will driving!
An aerodynamic design built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis gives this RV a distinctly European flair. And with the spacious and well-lit interior, you’ll feel like you’re moving up in the world every time you climb inside.
Gorgeous interiors and well-appointed amenities make this the perfect retirement vehicle. You’ll appreciate the tech-heavy features in the infotainment center.
It includes a 10.25” cockpit touchscreen, voice control, navigation, and wireless charging.
Manufactured in Canada, this rig comes with an eco-friendly air conditioner by Truma. And if you’re enjoying a night out but don’t want to miss the game, a 40” screen on the exterior has you covered.
In the Unity, you’re not even close to roughing it.
List Price: $182,681
A traditional Class C, Winnebago’s Porto provides comfort and security on the road. Also built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, you can stay out longer with its best-in-class water capacity.
An available queen bed gives you plenty of room to stretch out after a long day.
You’ll love the extra space you get when you use the slideout at the campground! There’s room for a small crew with the overhead sleeping quarters, too.
A more traditional experience, the Porto is ideal for extended stays and easy days.
Storyteller Overland Model LT
Storyteller Overland grabs the hipster crowd with their Model LT. With retro styling and modern amenities, this Class B is what every 80s kid dreams of.
Built on the Ford Transit chassis, this beefy rig can go stealth in the right setting.
Young couples love this rig for full-time living. It doesn’t give you as much space as the Class C options, but it can’t be beaten for ease and versatility.
A portable toilet is as much as you’ll get. No wet bath here, but you can opt for an outdoor shower.
Your indoor stovetop is an induction cooker stored in the top drawer of the dinette.
As we said, the outdoors is part of your home when living in a rig full-time, so expect to use it with the Model LT.
We love the styling and versatility. For long days at the climbing crag, we can see its appeal.
Airstream Interstate Grand Tour Luxury Small RV EXT
List Price: $233,700
Known best for their iconic aluminum travel trailers, Airstream’s Interstate Grand Tour Luxury is a Class B for the ages.
Engineers focused on comfort first when they designed this top-selling diesel motorhome. A large galley and sleeping quarters make it perfect for two.
A full wet bath and closets mean you’ll always be at your best.
You’ll have a great time picking out the amenities you want with your rig. They’ve given you plenty of options, from a built-in workstation to two HDTVs.
We love eco-friendly features, and they’ve packed them in here. A two-battery solar panel system is enough to power the electronics on board and then some.
You won’t have to compromise with these small RVs
Moving out of the city and onto the road has never been easier. And if you don’t want to take on the massive commitment of a Class A behemoth, these small RVs are perfect for any situation.
Current list prices may seem scary, but remember, most dealers significantly discount list prices and will work with you on financing.
There are plenty of places to pull in, level up, and check out, and these will fit in most of them!
Making the move onto the road is a big choice, so make sure you do your research first. Check out our other resources here!
For more articles on RV travel and remote work check out these valuable resources.