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When we decided buy an RV travel full time we did a massive amount of research. We wanted the best RV that we could afford and it had to fit our purposes. So what is the best RV for full time living?

Our conclusion is that the mid-bunk floor plan Jayco Pinnacle 37MDQS is the best RV for full time living.

Our Criteria

It has to be beautiful. The purpose of our trip is to seek rejuvenation, partly through beauty, so an RV that felt industrial, old, or too utilitarian was just not going to work.

It must have a residential refrigerator. They just work better. They have more room. Yes they require a lot of power so an accompanying solar power system, generator and large battery bank will be on our upgrade list.

It must have a separate room with a door (other than the bedroom) so that Lynn could continue to see clients from the road.

It must have a loft for Sebastian to play.

It must be 4 seasons capable. Cheaper RV’s with thin walls and slides that are not insulated were not going to cut it for us since we would be planning to spend a portion of the winter in Washington or Wisconsin.

It must be on the larger, more spacious end of Rv’s. There are a lot of good reasons to get smaller RV’s. You can camp in all the National Parks if it is Under 26 feet. You can access more boondocking locations with shorter RV’s. It is cheaper to move smaller RV’s. However, we are traveling with our son (during shopping we thought we would be traveling with 2 sons), needed a seperate office, and wanted room to just stay inside all day and veg out. This is our home replacement, so a smaller RV was not worth the tradeoffs.

It had to be able to pay cash for it. Going into debt would hinder our ability to increase the margin in our lives.

The Candidates

Toy Haulers: We considered Toy Haulers ….. not homey enough. The Keystone Fuzion 429 was very close. In fact, if we had sold our house a month earlier we would have probably gotten one. There is a respectable living room in the 429 that does not extend into the kitchen. The deciding factor really came down to not feeling as warm and comfortable.

5th Wheel Rear Bunkhouse: We considered 5th Wheel with a rear bunkhouse….too much room in the bunkhouse and the living room has a kitchen island in the middle…..not great for full time life. It is very hard to have a good living space in a 5th wheel unless it is at the front or back. If we had more that one young child and they could share a room, this would have been a consideration.

MotorCoaches: We considered Class A, B & C Coaches and Diesel Pushers, none had a separate office.

Mid Den 5th Wheels: This ended up being our ideal choice.

Cheap Options: We considered lower cost options, but a drop frame that is 102 inches wide was most comfortable and had the most storage.

Custom Options: We also looked at higher end in 5th wheels. Pinnacle is top of the line unless you go to more custom builds like DRV Suites  or Spacecrft RV but none of these offered any more living space, just more weight with some of the higher quality finishes. Plus, they were outside the budget.

Older Options: The mid-den floor plan is pretty new, so older RV’s were very hard to find. We tried for a couple but missed out because they sold quickly. 

Our top 2 choices ended up being the Grand Design Solitude 377MBS and the Jayco Pinnacle 37mdqs. There were other mid-bunk designs that were 102 inces wide, but we eliminated them if the did not have a loft above the office and if they were configured with bunks rather than a desk.

Jayco Pinnacle VS Grand Design Solitude

There is a lot of debate out there as to which of these top-of-the line 5th wheels is better. With us, Jennie Preferred the Solitude because it had a coffee bar next to the office. Lynn preferred the Pinnacle because it had a larger desk in the office. In reality most of these RV’s are made with the exact same components from Lippert and Furrion. I do think the Pinnacle slightly edges out the Solitude for the following reasons.

  1. Pinnacle has a ceiling fan (its a small thing but it is nice to have)
  2. Pinnacle has a molded end cap on the rear. It just looks better. More like a high end class A and not a cheap trailer.
  3. Pinnacle has Dexter axles. Its a nice upgrade.

Here is an interesting note: The Solitudes are way more common in RV resorts than the Pinnacle. In 6 months we have only seen 3-4 other Pinnacles. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the Pinnacle is slightly more expensive.

The Pinnacle was available at the time we were ready to buy, and had slightly nicer features, so our conclusion is that the Jayco Pinnacle 377 MDQS is the best 5th wheel for full time living – for us.

Lynn Owens
lynn@jenniea

Lynn Owens

Lynn is the co-founder of Forever Homes, and Owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling Center, a Mental Health Clinic, where he specializes in treating adopted and foster children. He has over 20 years experience in Residential Care, Foster Care and adoption. Combined he and his wife have parented about 100 kids.
Lynn Owens
lynn@jenniea
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