For our RV rig, we’ve decided on a used 2018 Forest River Forester 3171DS. It’s 32 feet long, has two slides, and can sleep 11 (we’re only sleeping 4 plus a dog). We originally thought we’d never buy a used rental RV, but that’s exactly what we settled on!


RV floorplan

What we wanted

  • Class C.¬†We didn’t want to have to buy a truck to tow anything, and the Class As we saw just weren’t right for us.
  • Decent kitchen space, a couch, and a dinette. We need a little room to spread out as a family.
  • Used. See below.

That’s about it! After that, it was all about what floor space felt best. We’d also heard better things about some brands than others, so were a little partial to certain brands.

What the girls wanted

  • Bunk beds. Even though we warned them that they’re not going to get to sleep in the bunk beds very often, they’re still super excited about them. Granted, the extra couch will be helpful for school work and rainy days when we’re all on top of each other.
  • Nice colors. They both really dug the color scheme of this Forester. Whodathunkit?

Why used?

We did a fair amount of research before buying our rig, and learned two important things about new RVs:

  1. They depreciate a ton the minute you drive them off the lot (much like a car). (As much as 50% in the first 4-6 years, according to Don Bobbit’s analysis in The Ultimate RV Owner’s Reference.)
  2. Manufacturers are making new RVs so quickly that most end up needing a lot of work during the first few years. Owners tend to get everything fixed while the rigs are still covered by the manufacturer warranty.

Since we’re planning to live in our RV for a year, we want it to be in good shape as much as possible. We’d really like to avoid significant downtime waiting for repairs. We’re also currently thinking we’ll sell the RV after our trip, and by sticking to a used RV hopefully we avoid being underwater on our loan.

But why a used rental rig?

Good question! We rented a Cruise America RV for our test run in fall 2017. It was fine for a rental, but we decided to steer clear of used rental rigs when we went shopping — clearly rentals are often mistreated and poorly maintained!

Then we went to visit our locally owned dealership, D&H RV Center. They buy pretty nice dealer stock RVs, rent them for a year, and then sell them. They take excellent care of their rental vehicles and keep good records of all the repairs. We ended up feeling more confident in the used rentals available at D&H than we did looking at private sellers’ used RVs. After all, they have full-time maintenance staff on-site, and they care about their customers’ safety, so they were great about maintaining and repairing the vehicles.

We felt like we were getting an RV that was used, but not too used, and well-maintained. And that’s about the best we could hope for!

Our RV Carl the Tortoise

But what is its name?

The most important question of all. We don’t take a responsibility like naming an RV lightly, so it took us a while, but you can read all about it here.