May 2, 2014

Shopping for Next Winter

We’ve been in Minnesota for exactly one month and . . . we’ve decided we’re not cut out to be home owners. I’m about 20% of the way through a room remodel, not yet started on resanding the kitchen floor, battling a leaky basement, already tired of gardening and haven’t even planted anything yet, and missing New Mexico and life in an RV like no home I’ve ever left.

165RBSo, we took an afternoon off and went camper shopping. No, we haven’t even started getting the Rialta ready for sale, but we know we want to go back on the road and we want to start looking at options for rolling homes early. The camper that has our eye for the moment is the Jay Feather Swift SLX 165RB, an “ultra-lite” model with all of the basic features in a weight class light enough to be towed with a small 6-cylinder pickup. It’s more roomy than our Rialta, has about the same (but more accessible) storage space, has a slightly better kitchen, and about the same sleeping comfort (along with a tent extension for those rare warm winter nights when bear, bozos, and bums are of no concern).

AR ONE 15RB EXTERIORAn alternative with almost exactly the same floor plan and features is the Starcraft AR-One 15RB. They are so much alike price will probably have more to do with our decision than features. Weight, interior, bathroom, kitchen, and all other features are similar enough to be called the same.

No big surprise here, but their list price is about $14k, the most common “sale price” is around $11k, and the best price I’ve found, so far, for a new version of either camper is about $9.5k. Used, they typically sell for $4-6.5k.

We’re in no hurry and there are a few other options to look at, plus we don’t have a pickup to haul it with, yet. It was nice to spend a day away from crawling around the office floor, vacuuming up water from the basement floor, and worrying about how we’re going to sell all of our shit before September.


  1. Well, it seems you learned the most important thing from that trip. That you really did enjoy it over home ownership.

    I too, more often than not lately, think home ownership is over rated. sigh.

  2. A few years ago a friend lost his job, didn't find new work until he was heading toward broke, had to sell most of his stuff to stay afloat, and ended up living in a tiny apartment for a few years. He felt it was, mostly, an improvement over his "well off life." "The stuff owns you, you don't own it." We have a lot of stuff to get rid of.

  3. I lived in a Jay Feather -- I've got no idea which model -- for a few months maybe 10 years ago. I was trying to buy a condo, and didn't feel like signing a year lease on an apartment while I looked.

    It was borrowed from a relative, and it was pretty nice. I found the shower to be almost unusable because it was too small for me, but I'm a fairly big guy. I've also been told there's a big advantage to towing a trailer rather than driving something self-propelled, because there's less to go wrong with it, although there can still be problems.

    My folks sold their house about 7 years ago and moved into a class-A motorhome. They didn't travel much, though, they mostly just drove it north in the spring and south in the fall, and then parked for the season.

    Whatever way you end up going, good luck with the search!


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