Our RV Progression

From Pop Up to Fifth Wheel
STEVE & KAYLEE TECHAU boondocking in their fifth wheel rv in a sandy landscape

With so many different models and floor plans, it really is possible to find your “goldie-locks” of RVs that meet all of your needs. But as with anything in life, those needs will change over time and you might find yourself looking for something better suited to new adventures. Hi, I’m Kaylee with @ExploringOutsideThe303, and I am going to share how we transitioned into five different RVs over our eight years of RV travel as a family, and why. 

RV #1: The Coleman Pop-Up Camper 

After my husband and I had kids, we wanted to get back into camping as a family. The first RV we bought was a Dutchmen Coleman pop-up camper that we got off of Craig’s List for around $1,800. 

We loved that it allowed us to get back to camping and we were even able to tow it with our SUV. We camped all over—boondocking in the Colorado mountains and in traditional campgrounds. However, we only ended up using it for one season. At the time, our kids were four and two, and we really needed an RV that had an available bathroom for our small children. 

RV #2: The Jayco Jay Feather Hybrid Pop-Up Travel Trailer

Our second RV was a 23-foot Jayco Jay Feather hybrid. It had hybrid pop-up sides, one slide, a bathroom and a kitchen. It really fit our small family’s needs at the time. We spent two seasons in this trailer and loved RVing so much that we decided we wanted to try our hand at extended traveling. So we went on a search for a larger travel trailer with hard sides on all four walls.

RV#3: The Coachman Catalina Travel Trailer 

We purchased our third RV, a Coachman Catalina Travel Trailer, in December of 2018. It was 36 feet long, had a primary bedroom in the front, a main living area and kitchen in the middle and a designated space for our kids with bunks in the back. This RV was perfect because it allowed us more space but we were still able to tow it with our 2500 truck. With our new travel trailer, we officially hit the road for extended RV travel in June of 2019. 

RV #4: The Keystone Cougar Fifth Wheel 

After a couple of years of extended travel, our kids were growing and we knew we needed a bit more space. The kids wanted separate bedrooms to have more privacy, so we found our fourth RV, a 2021 Keystone Cougar 368MBI. It had huge back bay windows (which were my favorite feature), enough seating for the whole family in the living area, a designated space for work and homeschool, space for my husband’s office in the front bedroom, and separate rooms for the kids. We could even still tow it with our 2500 truck! I truly loved this space, and we had plenty of storage.

The Techau family in front of their Keystone Cougar Fifth Wheel

RV#5: Keystone Montana Fifth Wheel 

This brings us to our current RV, a Keystone Montana 381TB. After falling in love with Keystone fifth-wheel models, we decided to upgrade to the Montana and it has everything we could wish for. It is a two-bedroom suite with a loft on top and has two bathrooms. I didn’t realize how life-changing a second bathroom could be, especially with a teenage boy and a pre-teen girl. Our RV has a large living space that is perfect for entertaining, cooking, homeschooling and working. Our Montana truly feels like home and we are so happy with where we settled.

With so many types of RVs out there, you really can find one that works with anybody, any family and any situation. The goal is just to get out there and experience nature, but your first step is starting! You could find a Craig’s List RV like us, or rent a few different RV types to find the one you like. Our biggest piece of advice is to just get started. Start with what you have, create those memories, create intentional time together, and you’ll never look back. Happy exploring! 

Fifth Wheels

This camping trailer affectionately nicknamed a “Fiver” is a favorite of many, especially those taking extended trips or traveling full time in their RV. The prominent overhang resting above the tow truck bed is frequently employed as a bedroom suite, or, more recently, a living room or even a kitchen.  

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An travel trailer RV parked in a green field.