Living In a Camper With No Tow Vehicle

You may be able to live in a camper or fifth wheel and not own a tow vehicle.

You may be able to live in a camper or fifth wheel and not own a tow vehicle.

It sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? Live in a camper but don’t own a tow vehicle. What if I told you that a lot of people do exactly that? They have someone deliver their camper, usually a park model, and even level it and do the hookups! Then, at the end of the season, they’ll have someone come and pick it up and move their camper up north for the summer. It is possible to live a camper and not own your own tow vehicle.

Any cooking you can do outdoors keeps your camper cleaner and free of odors. This outdoor oven and range combination is awesome.

Any cooking you can do outdoors keeps your camper cleaner and free of odors. This outdoor oven and range combination is awesome.

There are companies that do nothing but haul vehicles and campers all over the country. Finding those companies can be a little tricky because, most of the time, you’re dealing a broker and don’t know it. That’s not all bad as sometimes a good broker can shop around and get you a better deal. But, once you’ve been on the road for a while, you’ll run across companies delivering campers and cars and get an idea of the names.

Getting a Quote

Getting a quote can be tricky because it depends on the length and weight of your camper or trailer. A reasonable ballpark figure is expect to pay anywhere from $1.75 to $2.00 a mile, which again depends on the weight and whether any special permits are needed. You can find a hauling service for less, but you want to use a reputable company with a well-known name and get insurance. That may sound like a lot until you compare it to the maintenance costs of diesel pickup truck. We took ours in for an oil change and a check engine light that ended up costing $1,200. I would gladly spend $2,000 a season paying someone to move my camper than pay for a diesel pickup truck and insurance. At least with the moving service my costs are fixed.

How Does The Money Math Work?

When you own a tow vehicle it’s an expense. When someone does trailer delivery for a living, then a tow vehicle is an asset with a depreciation schedule. Fuel and mileage are deductible expenses. When you’re towing trailers for a living, the the costs associated with that business are deductible. When you’re maintaining a tow vehicle it’s just an endless source of aggravation and expense.

What About Moving It In Between?

Hiring someone for a local move is even easier but, most of the time, offering a neighbor a few bucks is all you’ll need to do. Every RV service center and RV park will know someone in town who can deliver campers and RVs, this is not a common practice but it’s not unheard of, either. You can also store your camper at most RV parks for a nominal fee. Some people leave their camper in storage during the away season and have it moved back before their seasonal time in that location.

Places You Can’t Stay

Not having a tow vehicle works for RV parks that you know and plan to stay several months. If you have a summer and winter park that you travel to regularly, hiring out your camper delivery makes perfect sense. If you need to move frequently, then obviously it might not be cost effective. It’s also tough to explore new parks by staying for a few days. If you ended up moving a lot, then not having a tow vehicle would be really expensive.




Something To Think About

What prompted revisiting this topic was the friend of a friend buying a new HD pickup truck. He was glowing that he only paid $60,000 for it. I almost fell over. Sixty large for a truck?! Apparently many that he looked at were even more. I would carry a fifth wheel camper on my back like a turtle before I’d pay that much for a tow vehicle but that’s how they’re priced these days.

The bottom line is there are many, many ways to arrange your RV life and not all of them require you to have a big, expensive tow vehicle. Between maintenance and insurance on a large truck you can pay for a lot of miles to let someone else do the hauling. That won’t for every situation but it’s an option you should explore in case you ever need it.

Get the book, it's only $2.99. It helps me keep the lights on here at MHHW.

Get the book, it’s only $2.99. It helps me keep the lights on here at MHHW.

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