If you love trails, whether it be hiking, trail running, or pursuing a fastest known time across the Appalachian Trail. Nothing beats having an RV or campervan as a mobile basecamp.

I speak from experience. I spent four years living in an RV full-time. During that time I ran numerous ultra marathons, and spent lots of time training in the mountains. And there was nothing better than coming off the trail to the comforts of home.

Advantages of an RV or Campervan

Prior to living in our RV full-time we lived in South Austin, near downtown. We had been growing tired of the apartment living situation we were in, but had a hard time finding another place in our price range that was in our ideal location. So my wife came up with the crazy idea of selling everything we owned and moving into an RV.

I have to admit I was very hesitant at first. We had just had our second child. I wasn’t crazy about living in an RV with two kids. But then my gears started churning about living in the mountains and training for ultra marathon races.

We owned our own company so theoretically could work from anywhere, So we made the leap, and it was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had.

Prior to RV ownership, we were your typical tent campers. It was never very pleasant either. I never slept well when I camped. Which meant the night before my ultra marathons I didn’t get great sleep. Which is not ideal when you are about to run 100 miles.

Having all the comforts of home in an RV was amazing.

I could finish a long run or race, and come home to sleep in my own bed

Oh, and you can’t forget the hot shower, and home cooked meals.

Having an RV or campervan as your “mobile aid station” gives you pretty much ALL the comforts of home, especially a comfortable place to sleep and shower.

Go Anywhere Do Anything

A lot of people see an RV as a burden. Something that is difficult to deal with, but it actually brings you a LOT more freedom.

Take Scott Jurek for example. He used a custom built campervan to help him complete his FKT across the Appalachian Trail.

Having a comfortable bed, and ample creature comforts helped him set the FKT record in 2015 (which has since been broken)

Campervan’s seem like a very hipster thing if you are just browsing Instagram, but they provide a super easy way to hit the road for adventure in comfort and ease.

Rather than spending a lot of time setting up a campsite, you simply park your vehicle, open your doors, and enjoy nature!

When you own an RV or camper van it’s easy to store all your camping essentials inside, so that all you have to do to hit the road for adventure is to pack the cooler and a bag of clothes.

Boondocking or Dispersed Camping

You may be thinking to yourself, but I don’t want to stay in a stuffy RV park and pay a huge fee to camp. 

Well, you don’t have to. In fact you can often pay little to nothing to camp with an RV or Campervan. You just have to be willing to explore dispersed camping and off-gird camping sites. Often times these sites are MORE secluded than your typical campsites and offer more opportunities to access trails and enjoy nature.

Additionally it makes breaking up long trips much easier. when you can easily pull your RV into a Wal-Mart parking lot, or free overnight RV park. Something that is much harder to do when you are tent camping. When your home is always with you, it makes finding a place to stay much easier.

RV Ownership vs Renting

If you are unsure if RV ownership is right for you. You might consider a rental, and take a vehicle for a test run. This method also allows you to explore various options and figure out which setup is right for you. Outdoorsy is the most popular site to use for RV rentals. Consider it the Air B&B of mobile vehicles.

There are certainly advantages to RV ownership, such as being able to hit the road at a moments notice, but renting is usually far less expensive. Unless you are on the road nearly every weekend or full time.

RV’s and camper vans can be expensive to maintain. So renting is a great option if you don’t want to deal with the responsibility of maintaining an extra vehicle. Plus, when you rent there person you rent from takes on the responsibility of insuring the vehicle, as well as the maintenance. 

Ownership on the other hand. Allows you to get the exact vehicle you want, and make customizations down the road.

Making the Leap

While you might still have doubts, it’s best to just take the leap and do it. I promise you will more than likely bee hooked. I remember when my wife first presented the idea of living an an RV full-time, I was resistant. It ended up being one of the best things we ever did for our family. Even though we are no longer in the RV, we often miss the freedom it brings. We are however enjoying our new overland camping trailer, which really helps bring all the comforts of home on the road with ease.