When most people think about travelling in an RV they think about heading out on vacation.
However, an increasing number of people are considering living in an RV full-time, as an alternative to buying a traditional home or renting an apartment. But can a larger group of people – say a family of four – live in a trailer successfully? And if so, which is the best RV for a family of 4 to live in?
The best RV for a family of 4 is one that is large enough to fit everyone comfortably and offers the amenities that each unique group is looking for. There is no ideal, one size fits all solution, as the choice will also take into consideration budget, travel preferences and much more.
Here we are going to take a look at some of the best options for a family of four when it comes to RV living, as well as the pros and cons of doing so. We’re also going to take a look at five examples of full time RV’ers with a family of 4 and their choice of RV.
Can a Family of 4 Really Live in an RV?
In most states in the US it is not illegal for a family of four to live in an RV rather than a traditional house or apartment, and, if the vehicle is large enough, and the family themselves are willing to make some compromises, it’s not unpleasant to do so.
To get started, let’s take a look at some basic pros and cons of living in an RV as a family.
RV Living for Families Pros
The United States is a huge place and one that is made up of states that boast wildly different landscapes, customs, cultures and even cost of living considerations. Lots of families who choose RV living say they do so to give their kids an experience that encompasses lots of different locations and life experiences. A living geography lesson if you like.
Property prices also vary greatly across the United States, but the one thing that is true across the country is that getting a mortgage to buy a house is often more complicated than potential first time buyers assume. Having the money on paper is one thing, but meeting the credit requirements is quite another. RV living allows some families to live in the areas they want, or need, to, even if the banks don’t want to lend them the money to buy a traditional home yet
RV life often comes with fewer bills in general, although it is far from ‘free’ living.
No Nosy Neighbors
Not everyone enjoys living in a crowded neighborhood where it can seem like there is no escape from the people next door, or across the street. For those who prefer a more solitary existence centered around their family a few years of RV living can be ideal.
RV Living for Families Cons
Work and School Logistics
No matter where they live, kids have to go to school. And parents have to work. It’s not easy to do either of these things in the traditional way without a full time, permanent address. The rise of remote work, and of online schooling, has, however, made such things a possibility for far more families in the last decade or so.
In order to get a loan, insurance of any kind, to maintain credit, pay taxes or even vote a permanent address is also required. Some families get around this requirement while living in an RV by making use of a friend or relatives address or purchasing a ‘street address’ post office box from the USPS.
Living in an RV, even a large one, can get very cramped, and often does not leave much room for the personal space that most of us need from time to time. Families planning to live in an RV have to be aware of the challenges this will present and understand that overcoming them will be an ongoing process that will require a lot of patience!
Which RVs are Rated for Full Time Living?
The fact is, as we mentioned, there is no perfect RV for a family of four. There may be some considered better than others (we’ll be getting to those in a moment) but the perfect RV for family living is a unicorn, as in it does not exist.
There are some basic considerations to keep in mind, however, as you search for the right RV for family living for you.
Here’s a look at some of the most important.
How Often Will You Move Around?
If you plan to stay at a location for an extended period of time, a larger living space, such as a fifth wheel, may be beneficial. Towing it is a pain, but you won’t be doing it very often. You will be able to enjoy a larger space to spend your family time in, a big plus for many.
This is extremely important to get right. However, you should never choose an RV solely on the basis of its floorplan.
Size of Family
How many people will be living there?
Do you require bunk beds for your children?
Perhaps you require office space. Perhaps you’d like a separate room to retreat to when you need a break.
RV Build and Quality
RVs are put to the test when they are used full-time. The majority of manufacturers do not design for long-term use. They build as cheaply as possible in order to maximize profits.
However, the better the brand, the longer it should last. You will, of course, need to shop within your personal budget, so determining what that is – is a must too.
What kind of harsh weather will you have to deal with if you’re going to be stationary?
Do you and your family members have the physical ability to perform physical tasks such as motorhome maintenance, hitching up, cleaning and washing the rig, and dealing with any other maintenance issues that may arise?
Do any of you have physical ailments that mean having access to regular medical care is a must?
10 Best RVs for a Family of 4 To Live In
So which RVs are best for a family of 4 to live in?
While there really is no perfect choice – it really does depend on your personal preferences, finances, and the answers to the questions we have just covered, here is a look at some popular choices to consider when searching for the right RV for a family of 4 to live in for you.
1. Keystone Hideout Travel Trailer 272LHS
This is a great choice for families who value entertainment, and want to make working and going to school on the road as easy as possible. A built-in roof antenna should improve TV signals and built in cable hookups will allow you to choose standard broadband connectivity over spotty Wi-Fi. There is also a large living room and a great surround speaker system that’s perfect for family entertainment nights.
2. Keystone Passport 292BH Grand Touring
This is a great RV for families who know ahead of time that to make a go of RV living they will need plenty of private space. For a family of 4 it offers a master bedroom up front for parents and two assets of bunk beds in the back. There is also a pull-out sleeper sofa in the living area that offers another place to get away from everyone else when needed.
3. Keystone Outback Ultra Lite 210URS
This large, but lightweight choice is easier to tow – which may be a biggie in some areas where towing weight is restricted – but still offers lots of space. It’s also great for full-time living because its appliances are a step-up from those offered in some other RVs, including a full size fridge and a large kitchen work surface to make meal prep easier.
4. Forest River Salem 31KQBTS
This large trailer is another great choice for families who value their private time, however much they like each other’s company. Three separate sleeping areas offer everyone in a family of four a spot to call their own and lots of hidden storage accommodates plenty of ‘stuff’ without cluttering up the place.
5. Airstream Flying Cloud 23CB Bunk
Airstream is the OG of travel trailers, and while this model does have a retro vibe it is also very modern and nicely compact. And although it is a smaller RV in terms of weight and length it can still sleep up to seven people comfortably and a total of 16 windows lets in lots of light and helps make the trailer look and feel much bigger than it is.
6. Dutchmen Aspen Trail 26BH
This RV is an excellent choice for families who really want to be able to get away from each other (families with teens perhaps?) This longer than many RV trailer boasts three completely separate living quarters, including a rear bunkhouse that offers a second dining area, meaning that the only thing that really needs to be shared by all is the bathroom.
7. Shasta Oasis 18BH Travel Trailer
This trailer gets major points for space and style, boasting an interior that is far more ‘home’ like than many other options. This is especially true of the kitchen, which boasts both a full size microwave and fridge and a three burner stove.
8. Grand Design Reflection Fifth Wheel
If you have a larger budget, and want an RV for family living that looks and feels like a luxury tiny home then this one is a great choice. It boasts high-end finishes throughout, tons of space, lots of electric sockets and USB ports and, just as importantly if you are not headed to climates that have year round sun, is one of the best winterized RVs available.
9. Casita Spirit
If you will making use of someone else’s property to live on – and many families do, this well-designed Class C motorhome offers lots of amenities in a relatively small space. It is also easy to drive and very affordable, a big plus if your budget is limited.
10. Jayco Jay Sport 12UD
If you are not sure about RV living yet but know you want to RV a lot, or will be living in year round warmer climates then a pop-up camper like this one may be ideal. It is very lightweight to transport and offers more living space than you might imagine, with a kitchen, dinette and two beds on either side of the main living area.
Family of 4 Full-Time RV’ers
To get you inspired to get outdoors and follow your dreams, here is a group RVers who are truly living out their dreams in their RV.
Who are they: Danika & Paul Diediker
What RV they own: Keystone Bullet Premier 34 BIPR Travel Trailer
About them: The Diediker’s are a family of 4 who love to travel full-time. They are currently stationary in the mid lofty mountains and magnificent lakes in North Idaho. Quality family time is their main priority. You can find them on Instagram.
Who are they: Richard Kerr
What RV they own: Keystone Passport 292BH Travel Trailer
About them: Richard and his family of 4 love ticking off states visited! You can learn more about them on Instagram.
Who are they: Kris, Andy, Kieghan, and Kinsler Murphy
What RV they own: Keystone FUZION 424
About them: Trading in their home in North Texas for a decked-out 150-square-foot RV in 2008, the Murphys have been full-time RVing and roadschooling their two boys along the way since. Share their journey on their blog, Where Wild Ones Roam.
Who are they: Sammy Seles
What RV they own: Montana High Country 335 BH
About them: A family of four who decided they’re better together. They sold it all and have been on the road full-time. You can find anything from places they visit to RV tips and more. Blog https://bigheartstinyspaces.com/
Who are they: Andrea & Jerry Updyke
What RV they own: Hideout 272 LHS
About them: Andrew at @andreaupdyke is an RV family of 4 that regularly hit the road in their travel trailer with their two boys. They share helpful RV tips and tricks, and give you a look into what RV camping is like for them.
If you’re not ready or able to make the decision of buying an RV (understandably, it’s a large capital investment) but are itching to get away and try out the RV life, we recommend renting an RV for a week, a month or even a couple of months.
For more information on RV rental costs check out our post: How Much Does It Cost To Rent an RV for a Month.