10 Reasons for Switching from a Towable RV to a Motorhome

10 Reasons for Switching from a Towable RV to a Motorhome
Top benefits to keep in mind when considering a drivable RV.
By: Lindsay & Dan McKenzie

Lindsay and Dan having drinks at picnic table outside of Winnebago Navion

Drivable versus towable might just be one of the biggest debates in the RV world. Some RVers have strong preferences for one over the other. It’s definitely a hot topic and depends greatly on personal preference and lifestyle. 

Knowing which type of RV is right for you isn’t always easy. Then sometimes you’ll find that the type of RV you want or need might change, just as life changes. In this article, we hope our experience with switching from a towable to a motorhome will help you determine if it’s the right move for you, too. 

As newbies, when we hit the road full-time over three years ago, we were drawn to fifth wheels. We loved the spacious feel with the high ceiling, and the separate floors made it feel a bit more like a home, instead of feeling like you live in your vehicle.

Over time, though, our opinions have changed and after only nine months of full-time travel, we knew we wanted to switch to a Class C motorhome. Not only was it love at first sight with our Navion 24D, but we knew without a doubt that it was time for us to switch from a towable to a drivable. 

Below are the reasons why we made the switch and will likely never go back, as long as we’re RVing a considerable amount of time out of the year. These reasons are our personal experience, though, and may not apply to everyone’s situation or every type of RV.  

1. Maneuverability 

Driving as opposed to towing is the most obvious reason we chose to switch to a motorhome. Towing felt quite a bit more challenging and exhausting for us. Whereas motorhomes drive and reverse like a car and take much less practice and experience to feel confident behind the wheel. Towing felt more stressful, especially in windy weather conditions and traffic. Our motorhome has a much better turning radius, making it easy to take corners and pull into pretty much any parking lot and space.

Navion driving down dirt road in Colorado. Green trees and mountains are in distance

2. Less Length 

When we switched from our 30-foot fifth wheel to our 25-foot motorhome, we hardly felt the difference in space. Yet, five feet is a huge difference when it comes to maneuverability and driving/parking. Even with the added length of towing our Jeep Wrangler behind us, we still came out way shorter than our truck and fifth wheel. When it comes to towables, by the time you factor in the truck you’re pulling it with, plus a hitch, towables tend to be much longer for similar to less living space. 

We discovered there are lots of benefits to a shorter length. Our favorite benefit was that it became much easier to pull over at viewpoints and attractions along the way, something we weren’t usually able to do safely with our truck and fifth wheel. 

3. Serves as a camper AND a vehicle

With our Class C motorhome, we even have the option on short trips to not even tow our jeep, and, at 25 feet, we can pretty much take our RV anywhere. Grocery stores, downtown city streets, parks, lakes, you name it. This means we can take our home anywhere! We can leave our campsite for a day trip and bring our RV along to have the conveniences of home with us, including our dogs. 

Another reason we love that our motorhome is a home and a vehicle is because, if need be, we can detach the Jeep and park that elsewhere. But, it's never really acceptable to detach your towable RV and leave it anywhere. For example, when we dry camp, or “boondock”, we can take the jeep and scout out the area beforehand while leaving the RV parked somewhere safe. However, when we had the fifth wheel, it was nearly impossible to find a spot other than a campground that would be acceptable for us to leave the fifth wheel. 

Navion parked in front of Stagecoach Reservoir. People are paddle boarding and kayaking on water

4. The ability to tow a fuel-efficient vehicle

Once we arrive at our destination, we love that we can then hop in our Jeep and go explore. Not only is it the perfect adventure mobile, but it’s also easy and affordable to maintain. It’s probably no surprise that we don’t miss using our truck as our main vehicle for getting around. The gas costs weren’t budget-friendly, and we went to many cities where parking a big truck was difficult. With a motorhome, you have more options for your tow vehicle!

5. More comfortable travel days 

We travel often and usually to destinations that require long days on the road. Having access to our bathroom and kitchen at any time was a game changer for us. We no longer had to pack up snacks to bring in the truck or have to face those questionable gas station restrooms. 

Additionally, our motorhome has much more comfortable seats for long drives than our truck did. Motorhome cabs are made for comfort during road trips, which isn’t necessarily the priority for most trucks. Even our dogs are more comfortable in the motorhome!

6. Self-contained

Having a self-contained RV wasn’t even a benefit we realized we’d have when we made the switch from a towable. We love that we don't ever HAVE to get out of the RV when we travel. We feel much safer, especially when pulled off at rest stops, knowing we can just quickly drive away if needed. 

If there was ever a safety concern or inclement weather that would require us to leave without much notice, we just have to hop in the cab and leave. Our onboard generator helps too, so we can have power without leaving the RV as well. 

Interior of Winnebago Navion. Brown and white dog is sitting on sofa

7. You can use the cab of a motorhome as extra living space

We needed a better, more comfortable office space than the dinette that came in our fifth wheel. Those dinette chairs were not meant for sitting in for several hours. But as we mentioned, the driver and passenger seats of motorhomes are designed for just that! 

Many motorhome seats swivel around so you can use them as extra living space - or in our case, office space! Our motorhome even came with a removable table between the two chairs, making it even more perfect for working. The point here is that we never comfortably used the cab of our truck once we were parked when we had our towable. 

8. Easier to set up and leave camp

By the time we would get the fifth wheel parked just right in our spot, we were already exhausted. Plain and simple, backing up a trailer is just more complicated than reversing a motorhome, especially when you have a rear camera to help. 

We’re much happier after a long travel day, that we can now quickly pull into our spot, level up, and we’re good to go! Same goes when it's time to leave - no backing up the truck and hitching up. We found that moving to a new destination every week was just not practical with a fifth wheel because of the added effort. A motorhome is much more friendly to our faster pace travel style.

Lindsay sitting in chair throwing ball to large black dog. Dan is sitting in a red hammock next to a large brown and white dog. Navion is parked behind them

9. Durability 

In our opinion, it feels that motorhomes are designed to withstand life on the road. In general, the materials used seem to be higher quality and more durable, especially so for Class A motorhomes. Many trailers, although less expensive, are often designed for occasional use and shorter camping trips. We had more peace of mind traveling all over the country without worrying about things falling apart. 

10. More options for RV sites

We were shocked when we first found out that some RV parks are motorcoach-only resorts, yet we’ve never seen a towable-only resort! We mentioned there are benefits to having a shorter RV and your options of RV sites is one of them. We have never had a campground or RV park turn us away because they didn't have a site to accommodate our length. 

Even quick overnight stays at rest stops, Walmarts, etc. are never a problem because we don’t take up much space. In fact, we've even parked on city streets overnight (where legally allowed, of course). Many state and national parks have smaller campgrounds that can’t accommodate much more than 30-40 feet in length, so be sure to factor this into your decision on whether to switch to a motorhome or not.

Our Winnebago Navion Class C motorhome has been great for us, both for full-timing and part-timing. It's now easily parked next to our house and we can hop in and go at any time! We love the convenience of a motorhome and have to warn you, once you make the switch, you may never want to go back.