My R Pod 180: Choosing a Travel Trailer

It all started with my fascination for tiny homes and tiny homes on wheels, and with the minimalization and simplification that such a a lifestyle brings.   Most of my solo travel is embarked on with only a loose framework in place.  I have my flight and the first night or two booked in order to get my bearings, but after that I rely on maps, word of mouth and  Some of my best destinations have been obtained via a quick conversation in a coffee shop, chatting with a stranger on a train, or from a friendly tuk tuk driver (they’re around).  I do not travel haphazardly when it comes to what I bring, how I pack it, and with regard to safety mechanisms.  Much research and effort has been invested there and I’ll share some of my tops must-haves with you in another article specifically for female solo RV travel.

The biggest piece of equipment I brought with me on this epic adventure was, of course, my trailer.  Purchasing a travel trailer is an adventure in and of itself.  I researched for weeks, but knowing that I wanted a retro tear drop look helped narrow down  my choices immensely.  If aesthetics aren’t important to you and you’re looking only at functionality there are so many choices out there it will make your head spin.  I fell in love with the look of the 50’s but wanted the modern amenities, and if one is not in the market for buying and/or restoring a true classic there are a few models on the market that are still pretty cool.  I chose Forest River’s RPod 180 for its excellent floor plan (which includes a full bathroom, or a “dry bath” as the industry calls it) and for its cute shape (thoroughly girly in my opinion).  Here’s a pic of Bubble in Yellowstone Nat’l Park.


There are some things to take into consideration, like how much you want to rough it (boon docking) and the natural restraints of terrain (quality of roads).   But generally, if you don’t like where you are or it’s just time for a new experience, with a little practice in under 15 minutes you can be packed up, tied down, hitched and on your way.  This is very cool.  On Bubble’s maiden voyage I traveled southwest from Vermont to Texas and from there explored and hiked in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana before turning east and heading home.  All in all I covered over 9,000 plus miles of road, hiked in eight epic parks, saw all kinds of wildlife including bison, elk, and yes, a grizz –  albeit from a distance,  I met dozens of interesting people along the way who gave me helpful hints and suggestions on how to do things better or more efficiently.  You see, a trailer is basically a boat on wheels.  It’s got plumbing, electric and propane working parts to take care of.  It’s easy once you get the hang of things but there is a little learning curve.  I eliminated a huge amount of that learning curve by watching You Tube videos on every topic relating to travel trailers/RV’s that I could think of.  You Tube is a powerful resource.  I watched a lot of videos on how to back a trailer up, how to empty gray and black water tanks, sway bars, hitches, locks, generators, batteries, propane usage – when I thought of a question, I’d find the answer.

Travel trailers are kind of like doll houses.  It is so much fun to figure out how you want to arrange your shelf and cupboard space, what to stock your pantry with, and of course how you are going to decorate your cozy little tiny space.  Minimalism guides one, and well thought out choices decrease hassle down the road (quite literally).  Things can and will jostle around a good deal depending on the quality of road and how fast you’re going!  I stole bedding and pillows from my house and came up with this cozy nook:


A 20 foot travel trailer turned out to be the perfect size for me to road trip with a large dog.  Truth be told it would be, for me, overcrowded with another human however I witnessed many people during my trip who were rolling with significant other and a dog.  Personally, that would drive me crazy.  I think I’m just a solo travel girl 🙂

So in closing I will reiterate again that anyone out there who is psyched about the idea of solo travel but feeling intimidated, don’t hold back, you’ll do fine.  And as far as shopping for the right RV, do your research on line after asking yourself some basic questions about what you are willing to live with and live without.  Lastly, keep in mind that the RV community is extremely kind, and whenever I needed a question answered during my travels people were always more than happy to help out.  Do it!



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