Downsizing From A Large RV To A Smaller RV – In Our Case: A Dutchmen Travel Trailer

by Curtis

Beds And Sleeping, Fulltime RVing, Kitchen Issues, Leaks, Space And Storage Issues, Travel Trailers

After owning numerous “large” RVs while we were full timing, now that we only take shorter trips a smaller rig seemed appropriate.

We still enjoy RVing, but we no longer need a 37-foot vehicle and multiple slideouts.

Our 2007 Dutchmen 18B travel trailer is half the RV we had before.


So how has it worked out for us?


Space Issues In The RV

The most obvious change is space.

With no slideouts, and being about 13 feet shorter than what we had become accustomed to, this was major downsizing for us.  Overall, this has not proven to be an issue though.

There is much less storage space, however it’s still very adequate for weekends or even a reasonably long vacation trip.  Since I have a topper on my pickup, overflow can be absorbed by the truck.

Plenty Of Room For Necessities

The comforts of home still abound in our smaller residence.

In our Dutchman, we have a TV, DVD, microwave, and a stove (with oven).  That’s pretty much the same stuff we had in our larger RVs.

Of course, there is no clothes washer or dryer.  But we’re gone for shorter periods of time, so we don’t really need to do laundry on board.

Our Sleeping Arrangements

Seating and sleeping arrangements are designed for up to 6.

There are only 2 of us, so we have plenty of room to move around.

But the bed is not all that good.  It did take some bad nights sleep to come up with a workable system.

rv-bed-for-one.jpg  rv-sleeper-sofa.jpg

Both my wife and I are good-sized people.  If the full-sized bed was in open space, it would have been workable for the both of us.

With walls on both sides of the bed, we found ourselves trying to sleep with our noses against the walls.  I don’t sleep comfortably unless my feet hang over the end of the bed, which meant my wife would have to crawl over me to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night (a regular occurrence).

Worse yet, the mattress is of really poor quality, and lacks any support.  The corner is lopped off to allow entrance into the bathroom.  This whole package adds up to only being workable for a couple of 98-pound weaklings that are only 5 feet tall!

I surrendered and took up residence on the folding sofa in the living room.  Surprisingly, it’s fairly firm and provides a comfortable place for me to sleep.  My wife claimed the bed — which works well for one person.


Maintenance Issues

The rest of the RV has worked well for us.

leaky-rv-shower.jpg The shower could be a bit larger, but we get by.  One shortcoming of the shower is the fact that the base (or tray) has a very shallow lip to retain water as your showering.  We have managed to create a pool of water on the floor with every use.

At first I thought it was a water line leak, but after carefully inspecting all joints, I discovered the shower curtain couldn’t keep the water in the shower.  The cure was a piece of plexiglass screwed across the front of the shower.  This provides a much higher lip.  I sealed the inside with silicone, ending any further water spillage.

Our only component failure was the kitchen sink faucet.  It was a cheap plastic faucet from the factory.  I replaced it with a chrome Moen kitchen faucet. Made of metal, this should last forever.


Downsizing Your RV Lifestyle

Overall, we’ve been quite satisfied with our smaller RV trailer.

With the equalizer hitch properly adjusted, the trailer tows very smoothly behind our 1500 GMC with the flex-fuel engine.  We manage about 11 to 12 mpg towing using E-85 fuel.

Even RV trailers smaller than our Dutchmen RV are being outfitted with all the amenities these days.  Amenities are important, because we got used to having all the goodies!

In the end, I’d say that downsizing your RV is only a very minor inconvenience.