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The Best Places To Go Off-grid Camping In A Bowlus

THE BEST PLACES TO GO OFF-GRID CAMPING IN A BOWLUS
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, off-grid camping is the perfect way to unplug from the world and connect with nature. Often called boondocking, dispersed camping, dry camping, or wild camping if you’re north of the border, off-grid camping has none of the amenities you’d typically find in a RV park. There are no hookups (electric, water, sewer), no bathrooms, and typically no other people.

There’s also no shortage of scenic places to park your RV, especially when you’re in a Bowlus. Off-grid camping is most often done on public lands managed by the government. In the US, the two organizations you need to know about are the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Some private landowners may also be willing to let you stay on their land.

With millions of acres of public land just waiting for you, deciding where to go may be the hardest thing about your trip! Read on to learn more about how to find the perfect off-grid campsite.

Off-Grid Camping on Public Lands
National Forests or National Grasslands can be found in nearly all of the 50 states and all have areas for dispersed or off-grid camping. There are stunning places to camp from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the shores of the Great Lakes. In the middle of the country, you can park your RV on the sweeping prairies of the National Grasslands found in Oklahoma. Out west our National Forests put the rugged beauty of the US on display as the landscape transitions from the lush green forests of Washington and Oregon to the arid mesas of New Mexico. No matter your destination, if you’re off-grid camping in National Forests and Grasslands you’ll have no problem finding an amazing campsite to call your home away from home.

Off-grid camping is typically free when you’re on land managed by the Forest Service. There are areas where dispersed camping is not allowed, but they’ll be marked. Generally, you’re allowed to set up your off-grid camp anywhere except for established recreation areas or developed campgrounds. It’s best to set up on a site that’s been used before, keeping undisturbed land in its natural state. Most sites will be found along forest service roads and in pullouts. National Forests typically allow a 14-day stay, though this can vary based on the location; some areas permit longer stays. More popular areas, such as around Moab in Utah, mandate shorter stays. You’ll want to check out the specifics on the Forest Service website before you go.

It’s important to note that each National Forest sets its own rules not only about the duration of your camping trip but also around things like campfires and how far your camper must be from a stream or water source (usually 100-200 feet). If you have any questions, be sure to check at the nearest Ranger Station. Even if you don’t have any questions, it’s a great idea to chat with a Ranger. These folks work on the land and know it intimately. Looking for the perfect sunset, wildlife, or a stunning vista? Let them recommend the best camping spots.

The National Forest Service also has an app (Apple or Google) with an interactive map to help you find potential campsites on their lands. Use the filter to make sure there’s no fire activity in the area where you want to camp for an extra level of safety. You can also use the US Forest Service website, which provides downloadable motor vehicle maps that show where there are dispersed camping restrictions.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are typically found in the western part of the US. Like National Forests, they’re almost always free for off-grid campers; camping is allowed in most pullovers and along secondary roads. The sites may not be marked, but BLM also wants you to find one that’s been used before. Camping is limited to 14 days to prevent damage to the natural habitat that would come from continuous use.

BLM has 245 million acres under their management, but not all of it is available to campers. Land is often leased for cattle grazing or mining operations, so be sure to keep an eye out for signs prohibiting camping. But even with some restrictions, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect place to camp. In Colorado, there are 8.3 million acres alone under BLM care and they are in some of the most scenic parts of the state. From alpine tundra to stunning canyons and rolling grasslands, BLM has something for everyone in Colorado.

Finding suitable campsites on BLM land can be a challenge. BLM boundaries aren’t shown on Google Maps, so you’ll need to prepare ahead. BLM does provide a handy interactive map that shows grazing areas, recreation sites, and more.

Off-Grid RV Camping on Private Lands
Apps like Harvest Hosts provide another interesting off-grid camping option. For a low annual fee, Harvest Hosts members can camp for free at nearly 2,000 wineries, breweries, distilleries, or farms. While you may be setting up camp in someone’s vineyard, you’ll still be off-grid as hookups are very rarely available. Note that you can only stay for one night and it’s expected that you’ll purchase something from the host. But if you’re staying in a vineyard because you love wine, then that shouldn’t be a problem!

Why Bowlus is The Best RV for Off-Grid Camping
Now that you know more about the amazing off-grid camping options available, you’re no doubt ready to hit the road. But before you go, make sure your RV can keep you comfortable. Camping off-grid is an amazing experience, but being in nature without sacrificing the creature comforts of home are what make Bowlus an exceptional luxury RV for all your off-grid adventures.

First of all, every Bowlus is lightweight and easy to tow. It’s also maneuverable, which means getting in and out of off-grid campsites will be a breeze. At 26-feet long, the Bowlus is small enough to get into the scenic spots, but spacious enough that you won’t feel cramped. Flexibility is one of the great benefits of off-grid camping. If you don’t like your site, simply hook up and move on to the next one. When you’re in a Bowlus, you’re not tied to one place because of a reservation or because your camper is hard to move.

It’s the mechanics of a Bowlus that make it the best off-grid RV on the market. Designed for a lifetime of adventures, Bowlus luxury RVs have an intelligent power management system that you can monitor with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Our best-in-class lithium ion phosphate battery can power your unit off-grid for up to two weeks. The battery will even run the air conditioner for up to two overnights. Our power inverter partners with our long-lasting battery to create reliable power and the ability to use multiple outlets at once. The Endless Highways Edition has a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter and the Performance Edition a 3,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. Bowlus also has a built-in propane tank to power the heater, the Euro style cooktop, the instant hot water system, and the luxurious heated floors. Plus, every Bowlus is solar panel ready so you can generate your own solar power.

Water management is critical when you’re off-grid, and your Bowlus has that covered with its instant hot water and low-flow flush toilets. The Bowlus comes with a 19-gallon fresh water tank and a 21 gallon grey water tank. Each Bowlus is also outfitted with a cassette toilet, eliminating the need for a blackwater tank. Rule number one for off-grid camping is to leave no trace, so you’ll never want to dump your grey or black water on your off-grid campsite (it’s illegal in most places).

Handy Apps for Off-Grid Camping
So now you’re ready to be one with nature and soak of the peace and quiet offered by off grid camping. Before you go, here are a few other handy apps you should put on your phone.

· Campendium is a free app that allows you to search for free campsites by state.
· iOverlander is a free app that’s crowdsourced, which is both good (know what to expect before you go!) and bad (but beware because the data may not be 100% accurate).
· FreeRoam is another free app can connect with other off-grid campers.

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Bowlus Is Ready For An Ev Nation

The writing is on the wall for gas powered vehicles. Europe has set a goal of phasing out the sale of gas cars by 2035. So has the state of California. New Jersey has called for 90% of all new vehicles sold to be electric by 2040. New York, Washington state, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and several other states are working on similar legislation. At this pace, it won’t be long before the internal combustion engine is put on the endangered species list.

Without question, the transition from fossil fuel to electric vehicles (EVs) is a great step for the environment. We got a taste of this during the pandemic when we saw air pollution levels decline as people ditched their daily commutes and worked from home.

If you love the outdoors like we do, then you’re excited about camping in cleaner air. Are you ready to pull your RV with your EV and experience zero-emissions camping? Well you will be if you’re camping in a Bowlus.

Towing With An Electric Vehicle
Towing capacity is a big concern for most electric vehicle owners. If you were to show up at your local RV dealer with your Tesla Model X, most likely the first question they’d ask is “what are you going to tow your trailer with?” Most of the campers on the market today are simply too heavy to be towed by an electric car, and RV dealers know it.

Many small electric and plug-in hybrid luxury SUVs have a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. If you overload your EV and exceed the rating, your range will immediately suffer, handling becomes harder, you risk a tire blowout, and you could damage the structural integrity of your tow vehicle.

A Tesla Model X is an example of an EV with a 5,000 pound towing capacity. That’s not nearly enough to pull a 7,000 pound Airstream. Sure, you could go for one of the lighter weight RV models, but be prepared for some big tradeoffs. One of the primary ways manufacturers cut weight is to shrink the length of the unit. To find a conventional camper that’s less than 5,000 pounds, you’re likely looking for something in the 20-foot or less range. That can make for some very cozy camping if the rain drives you inside.

But a vehicle rated with a 5,000 pound towing capacity can safely pull a Bowlus. At just 3,200 pounds dry weight, you can fill the water tanks and pack all of your necessities in either the Endless Highways Edition or the Terra Firma, and have capacity to spare for souvenirs. Hook up your Tesla Model X, Porsche Macan, Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery, or an EV model from any number of other high end manufactures, and you’re ready to roll. Plus, with a well-designed, spacious twenty-six feet of length, you won’t feel cramped in your luxurious towable home away from home.

Towing With An Electric Pickup
There are a number of manufacturers bringing electric pickups to the market. Rivian and Bollinger are two companies disrupting the space with big promises, while Tesla’s looking to make their mark with their Cybertruck. Detroit’s Big 3 automakers are also in the EV pickup game. Ford’s electric F-150 is expected to hit the market in late 2022. GMC is reimagining the Hummer as an EV, Chevy’s launching an EV version of the Silverado, and Dodge is transforming its Ram pickup into an EV.

Details on these new larger, more powerful electric trucks are limited, as many are still in the testing and development stages. Most experts expect their towing capacity will be between 7,500 and 11,000 pounds, so while you could pull a larger RV with an electric pickup, going bigger will likely negatively impact your range.

Towing Range With Your Electric Vehicle
Many electric car owners have range anxiety, but the charging infrastructure in the US is improving quickly. Tesla has over 4,500 superchargers across North America. Rivan is planning on having 3,500 fast chargers in place by 2023. They’re also preparing another 10,000 Rivian Waypoints (accessible to all vehicles) in places like campsites, parks, and other locations frequented by RVers. Joining the party are a number of other companies quickly working to install more universal charging stations. So while being range aware is a good thing, taking a road trip in an EV won’t be that different than it was in a gas vehicle. Just like you’d plan your route for fuel stops, you’ll need to plan for charging stops.

There are a number of factors that impact the range of your EV’s battery pack, especially when you’re towing an RV. Weight is one of the biggest issues. The heavier the camper, the more power required from the electric motor. The more power consumed, the shorter the range.

We’ve already talked a bit about how the RV’s length impacts its weight. But that’s not the only way manufacturers lighten the load. Featherweight campers also tend to be light on the amenities and the finishing touches. Cheap laminates abound in most of the “lite” campers on the market. Bowlus is unique in the RV industry because we don’t have to skimp on the finer things – our aluminum RVs are purposely designed to be lightweight without sacrificing any luxury or style.

Many of the same design features that make the Bowlus so lightweight yet strong are inspired by Hawley Bowlus’ history in the aviation industry. You can see our design DNA in the unique shape of our high end travel trailers! We select high quality construction materials that are lightweight, luxurious, and designed to last. That means real wood for our walls and ceiling and aerospace grade aluminum throughout. With a Bowlus, your camping experience won’t be lacking any of the luxuries you desire.

A Tesla Model X pulling a Bowlus gets up to 200 miles per charge. Hook up to a Tesla supercharger and you’re back on the road in around 15 minutes – about as long as it would take you to get a tank of gas. With a Bowlus, a zero-emissions camping adventure can be a reality. And if you find yourself running low on range, we’ve got you covered. Plug your EV into the Bowlus’ external 110V outlet for an emergency microcharge.

In a world that’s quickly going electric, Bowlus is here to make sure you can still enjoy camping in the great outdoors – emissions free!

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Boondocking Is Best In A Bowlus

2020 changed all of our lives, including the way we vacation. With cruise ships docked, amusement parks shuttered, and the general concern of getting too close to people outside of our bubble, many families decided to hit the road in a brand-new RV. Sales of travel trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes and campervans soared last year.

You don’t have to look far to find all those newly sold RVs. Their owners are filling America’s campgrounds, and that means that a reservation is as hard to come by as hand sanitizer was in the early days of the pandemic. Frustrated with the crowds and the stress of finding a place to camp, many RVers are turning to boondocking, or off-grid camping.

You may be asking, “what is boondocking?” Read on and see if boondocking is going to be your new favorite way to go RVing.

What is Boondocking?
There are a number of ways to boondock. The common theme is that when you’re boondocking, you’re off the grid with no water, sewer, or electric connections. You also won’t have any of the amenities you’d find in a modern RV park like bathrooms, picnic tables, or dump stations.

Purists will tell you that boondocking, also known as dispersed camping or wild camping, happens only on public land. The National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Department of Fish and Wildlife allow dispersed camping on the lands they manage. Some state organizations also permit boondocking. It’s important to know that the managing agency may only allow dispersed camping in designated boondocking locations, so you’ll need to check with the agency before you set up camp. Also, while most boondocking sites offer free camping, some require a permit, so you’ll need to make sure your paperwork is in order before you set up camp.

Others in the RV world use an expanded definition of boondocking that includes dry camping on a site without water or electric hookups in a developed campground. Take it a step further and you could count overnight parking at rest areas, parking lots, or your buddy’s driveway as a boondock camping site. We prefer the purist definition at Bowlus and have designed our high-end aluminum travel trailers accordingly.

Before you hit the road for your first off-grid camping adventure, here are a few boondocking tips.

Boondocking Safety
The first rule of boondocking safety is to select your campsite wisely. Forest access roads often have spots where you can set up camp. Make sure you’re not in the road, and that your location is big enough to fit both your camper and your tow vehicle. You also want to make sure that you can get out of the site at the end of your stay. A Bowlus is the best boondocking RV because it’s lightweight and maneuverable. With a dry weight of 3,200 pounds, you can easily get in and out of most off-the beaten-path campsites. But it’s still best to inspect before you commit – so walk the site before you drive in.

The second rule of boondocking safety is to keep an eye on mother nature and her animals. A sudden rainstorm could turn your site into a mud pit, so it’s best to find a durable or hard packed surface to set up camp. One of the best things about boondocking is that you’re camping in the backyard of a variety of animals, so there will be a lot of opportunities to see wildlife. But remember they are wild, so giving them space will keep you and your pets safe.

Boondocking spots most likely won’t have a ring for your evening campfire. Before you break out the smores, check for any restrictions put in place by the land managers, especially if you’re in an area that’s suffering from a drought. Assuming there are no restrictions, careful fire management, and ensuring you completely extinguish your fire when you’re through, are the best ways to avoid forest fires. This is the third rule of boondocking safety.

Preparing to Go Off-Grid
When you’re boondocking you need to bring everything with you – including water. If you run out, you’re going to have to tow your camper to someplace with a water spigot in order to refill your fresh water tank. But Bowlus makes it easy to efficiently manage your water usage when you’re off the grid. Our campers come with instant hot water heaters and low-flow flush toilets, so you won’t waste a drop.

You’re likely going to be alone when you’re boondocking, with no other campers around. There probably won’t be any stores nearby either, so make sure you pack the food and personal items you’ll need. With a Bowlus, our unique storage solutions provide plenty of room for the necessities and the luxuries. There are ample cupboards and drawers throughout the camper, including yours and mine closets.

Boondocking Etiquette
If you do have neighbors, remember that they’re there for the peace and quiet just like you. Don’t park too close and keep your noise levels down. Many travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes will have to rely on a generator for their power, and that means managing noise will be a struggle, even with the quietest generator. But not when you’re camping in a Bowlus.

The Bowlus Endless Highways Performance Edition offers an electrical system designed for effortless off-grid adventures. You won’t need a noisy generator because our units come with a best-in-class lithium ion phosphate battery that can power your unit for up to two weeks, completely off-grid. The battery will even run the air conditioner for up to two overnights. Connected via internet and Bluetooth, you can keep an eye on your charge and battery performance levels with your smartphone. Plus, every Bowlus is solar panel ready so you can generate power for your camper.

Bowlus travel trailers also come with a built-in propane tank that fuels some of the RV’s essential systems. The heater, cooktop, and the instant hot water system all run on propane. So do the luxurious heated floors. The mix of energy sources allows you to better manage your energy consumption so you can rough it in luxury, off-grid. for longer periods of time.

Boondocking campsites don’t offer the amenities of a campground. That means, among other things, there’s no one there to pick up your trash but you. Boondockers live by the “leave no trace” philosophy and pack out everything they bring in – including the contents of their grey and black tanks.

No matter how you define it, boondocking is easy and fun when you’re in our Terra Firma or Endless Highways Edition luxury RV. From efficient water and electric management systems, to our unique storage solutions, we’ve designed our aluminum luxury travel trailers with features that truly make it the best RV for boondocking.

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What Does Luxury Mean To You?

When any of us renovate or decorate our homes, we generally have a predetermined list of materials that point to luxury and speak to performance/durability. Indeed, the use of granite and marbles have redefined kitchens and bathrooms. In the last few years, organic fabrics have become more highly regarded and sought after for bedding and soft goods. So when we went to define luxury in land travel when we began our R & D of the Bowlus almost a decade ago, we had to set a new level of expectations because the RV industry took their cues from home decorators.

However, heavy materials like granite or marble make no sense in an RV, nor do soft goods that don’t breathe or make you feel out of touch in nature. So it’s no surprise Bowlus is considered the definitive standard in luxury design in RV because we understand what luxury land travel really means. We occasionally see others attempting to copy the Bowlus. Such as in our first use of teak in bathrooms (however, in our case, it is responsibly farmed) or duplicating our use of stainless steel countertops for their lightness, cleanliness, and durability.

But don’t be fooled. Great design isn’t about taking an idea here or attempting to use someone else’s idea there. It is about an entire holistic concept that is properly executed so that you have no idea where it starts and where it ends. As someone called this weekend to place an order for an Endless Highways Terra Firma, said, “When I look at the Bowlus, it not only excites me because it is so clever and beautiful, but I just got to tell when I look at it, it just makes me so happy.” It’s true; great design touches our emotions in ways nothing else can. It is why when done “just” right, and what makes a house becomes a home.

So rest assured knowing the new Terra Firma and the incredibly popular Endless Highways Performance Edition is a completely holistic approach to design and how you land travel. We have made every decision with your best interests at heart. It is our honor to provide an environment that ignites your imagination.

 

 
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Quality – What Does Quality Mean To You?

We’ve received a flood of calls lately from people who have purchased an RV in the last few months and are very disappointed in their purchase quality. They’ve found us because now they are keenly aware that quality and performance really matters.

Sadly it seems other RV companies are now delivering an even lower quality – who had thought this was possible? All of this, under the guise of dealers and manufacturers saying, “We’re doing you a favor – so you have to accept the RV as-is, and we’ll get back to you when we can address the outstanding issues.” The “back to you” last week was running for 6 to 9 months. The first question that callers ask is how we are different.

First, we know what quality looks like – we design for it. We believe quality is entirely different from an industry that is one giant cost-cutting exercise supported by China’s low-cost supply chain. That’s why we are not an “assembler” of cheap RV parts that are now experiencing a severe backlog. Instead, we fabricate in-house over 70% of every Bowlus made. As a result, we have an incredible quality control process, so you get the product you expect.

In 2021 (and every year prior), all of our customers have received their Bowlus exactly within their original delivery window, and all are delighted with the quality of the product. How are we able to do this? From our inception, we have managed waitlists and are extremely good at it. Waitlist management isn’t something you can attempt to wrangle when things go out of control, which is why now the RV industry is delivering incomplete units. Instead, it is as natural to us as building your Bowlus, and we do it to the same quality.

At Bowlus, we are always grateful for your business. We work to ensure your experience is top quality – pandemic or not – because you are important. We also appreciate your understanding that quality is worth the wait.

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The Advantages of a Travel Trailer Over a 5th Wheel

Luxury RVs come in many shapes and sizes, but if you’re looking for something to tow, your two main choices are travel trailers and fifth wheels. While both RV types have a lot to offer their owners, travel trailers are more flexible than their heftier counterparts when it comes to tow vehicles, campsite locations, and creature comforts. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of a travel trailer over a fifth wheel camper.

On The Road: Tow Vehicles For Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels
One of the primary advantages travel trailers have over fifth wheels is their weight. The typical travel trailer weighs in at around 5,600 pounds, and Airstreams can weigh 7,000 pounds; a Bowlus has a dry weight of a mere 3,200 pounds. On the flip side, a fifth wheel averages 15,000 pounds and can run up to 20,000 pounds with multiple slideouts. And that’s the dry weight – whether you’re pulling a trailer or a 5th wheel, when you fill your water tanks, stock it with food, clothes, kitchenware, and all the other necessities, you’re adding at least another 1,500 pounds.

Why does weight matter? It’s simple math – the heavier the towable RV, the bigger the tow vehicle needs to be. Most fully loaded travel trailers can be towed by a crossover or SUV. The Bowlus Terra Firma and Endless Highways Editions can be pulled by any vehicle rated to 5,000 pounds, including the Audi Q5, Porsche Magan, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and the Tesla Model X. But with a 5th wheel, your only real choice is deciding how big your pickup is going to be.

By the very nature of its hitch receiver, a fifth wheel trailer must be towed by a pickup truck – and not a small one. Because of its weight, you’re going to want a half-ton or three-quarter ton truck. For many people, that means buying an additional vehicle that may only be used when camping. But the cost of a new truck isn’t the only downside to using a pickup as your tow vehicle. Consider the decreased fuel efficiency of a pickup as compared to an SUV. The fuel economy of your SUV will go down when towing, but it won’t be as significant as the drop you’ll see in a pickup with a 15,000 pound RV behind you.

A lighter weight aerodynamic travel trailer, like those offered by Bowlus, can also be towed with a hybrid or electric vehicle. The Bowlus’ low hitch weight and center of gravity make it easy to move and handle. Bowlus also offers a best in class integrated Bluetooth brake controller that provides highly responsive and smooth braking for any tow vehicle. It even has vehicle specific memory profiles so you can tow with your Tesla X or your Porsche Macan.

Whether you’re traveling full time or headed out for a weekend, one of the other advantages of towing with an SUV is that it’s often a more convenient vehicle for seeing the sights once you’ve parked the camper. It can be much harder to find a place to park a pickup, especially in a city setting. On-street parking for a vehicle of that length is virtually non-existent, and because of the truck’s height, most parking garages are out of the question. There are seating differences as well – even with a crew cab you may not be able to comfortably fit your entire family into a pickup.

Surprisingly, storage is another consideration. You might think that towing with a pickup would give you more places to put things like bikes and coolers. But the fifth wheel hitch receiver is permanently installed into the pickup’s truck bed and it takes up most of the usable storage space, even when you’re not towing. With an SUV, you still have the trunk area to stash things you might need along the way, and the much smaller trailer hitch can be removed once you’ve parked your trailer.

A Place to Call Home: Parking a Travel Trailer vs a 5th Wheel
When choosing between a fifth wheel and a travel trailer, the combined length of your tow vehicle and camper has to be considered. Most 5th wheel trailers are between 28 and 36-feet long. Travel trailers can range from 10 feet to around 35 feet. Bowlus models are 26 luxurious feet, which is the perfect length for people who want to stay in national parks, or go boondocking. With length restrictions, RVers with large units like fifth wheels or Class A motorhomes often find themselves shut out of the most scenic campgrounds, simply because the sites aren’t long enough to accommodate both the trailer and the tow vehicle.

RVers with long units are also restricted with where they can make pit stops. Stopping for food can be harder, simply because the parking lots of most restaurants can’t handle something close to the size of a semi. Fifth wheelers have similar issues when it comes to fuel stops. The roof of the fifth wheel is typically eight to ten feet off the ground, which may make the rig taller than the canopy at the corner gas station. Fifth wheelers have to make their plans according to where the truck stops are. Those pulling a shorter travel trailer don’t have as many of these limitations because their rig is more maneuverable.

There’s also the issue of where you’re going to park your rig when you’re not camping. Just like motorhomes, most fifth wheels require bigger, and more expensive, off-season storage facilities, especially if the pickup also needs to be stored in the same location.

Creature Comforts
You might think that a 5th wheel has the edge over a travel trailer when it comes to amenities. While it’s true that the largest rigs offer a lot of living space, many travel trailers provide an even more luxurious camping experience. Take Bowlus, for example. The well-appointed interior and gleaming aluminum exterior cut a striking figure in any campground, but it’s the amenities that make it the best RV on the market.
First, we’ve eliminated the need for the noisy generator that comes standard on many of today’s 5th wheels. Instead, a Bowlus travel trailer features powerful lithium batteries that allow you to camp for up to two weeks, off-grid, while still powering all the outlets and appliances. When you add in our solar system, you can extend your trip indefinitely. Rather than listening to the drone of an engine running, when you’re in a Bowlus you can enjoy both the sights and the sounds of nature.
We’ve also designed the Bowlus’ floorplan to be efficient and flexible, without the need for slideouts. The main living area offers dining for four. In the zen-like bedroom, you can easily convert the bed from an expansive king into two twins to perfectly accommodate your travel companions. Each unit has yours and mine closets and spacious cupboards and drawers. The hotel style bathroom even has a vanity with a medicine cabinet.

It’s clear that a luxury travel trailer like a Bowlus offers far more advantages to RVers than a 5th wheel can.

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The Disadvantages of RV Slide Outs

The recreational vehicle market offers something for everyone. RVs come in just about every size and shape, and one of the biggest trends you’ll see in the RV world are slide outs. Whether you’re talking about a motorhome, fifth wheel, or a travel trailer, RV slide outs are most commonly found in the bedroom and living spaces. With the push of button RV owners can quickly and easily expand their interior footprint. Or at least that’s the idea; the reality is often very different.

Dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of slide outs and you’ll see that the disadvantages quite possibly outweigh the benefits of any added space. All that extra space on the inside can be a problem outside. Slide outs require additional maintenance and upkeep to keep their moving parts moving. Slide outs can leak.

Keep on reading and then decide if a RV slide out is really worth it to you, or if the best RV for you is one without a slide.

RV Slide Outs and the Campsite
There’s no denying that a slide out can provide you additional interior square footage. But to get that extra room, you need to actually have a campsite wide enough to extend your camper’s walls. That means your nice wooded campsite could be a nightmare if there’s a tree where you need your slide out to be. Same goes for poles or your electric and water hookups. You’ll need to consider your neighbors as well – your slides can’t encroach on their campsite. And what about your awning? Can you extend both your slides and your awning at the same time? All of these things can be especially problematic if you’re in a narrower campsite, like those often found in older campgrounds and national and state parks, or if you have more than one slide to extend.

For all of the reasons above, RVs with slide outs require additional setup and tear down time. It’s not just a case of backing it in and finding the most level part of the site. With slide outs, you need to be prepared to jockey your RV around on your site so you can fully extend your slides. And then you have to hope that you can get things level because if your rig isn’t level, you may have issues moving the slides in and out.

Once you’ve got your camper parked and your slides extended, it might seem like the slide out issues are behind you. But the next time you’re camping, watch your neighbors do a fun little dance as they access their exterior basement storage lockers. How many hit their heads on the slide above because they stand up too soon? Certainly the way you pack your basement can minimize some of these challenges, but many of today’s larger motor homes, fifth wheels and travel trailers come with as many as five slides outs. Some rigs come with super slides, or slide outs that take up nearly the entire side of the RV. Inevitably the one thing you need is going to be in the locker under the slide.

At Bowlus, we’ve chosen a different path. Rather than throw in a slide out, our aluminum campers are impeccably designed to make the most of the interior space. Our unique storage solutions, yours and mine closets, ample cupboards and drawers, and a flexible master suite were created with functionality in mind. And without a slide, you can park your Bowlus just about anywhere.

RV Slide Outs When You’re On The Road
Units without slide outs, like the Bowlus Terra Firma or Endless Highways Edition, have a leg up over units with slides when you’re on the road too. Slides are simply not designed to be used when the slides are in. That often renders the interior of your unit useless. Not so with a Bowlus. Our well-designed floor plans create a luxurious, and easily accessible space, no matter where you’re parked.

One of the biggest benefits to RVing is that you can stop in a rest stop or parking lot, pop into your camper, and have a quick homemade lunch. But in a rig with slides, that can be a lot harder. When not extended, slide outs often block cupboards and walkways. Even at a remote mountain rest stop there’s often not enough room to extend your slides.

There are similar issues if you want to boondock for the night at an off-grid site before hitting the road bright and early the next day. In a rig with slide outs, if you can’t get into the bed or necessary closets with the slides in, your easy overnight stop becomes a lot more involved. And if you’re near a road, remember that etiquette (and likely the local constable) says that your slide outs can’t block the flow of traffic.

RV slide outs are heavy too – some add upwards of a thousand pounds of extra weight to the camper. That adds to the dry weight of your rig and means you’ll need a larger tow vehicle. One of the advantages to a unit like those made by Bowlus is that without a slide, they’re light enough to tow with a small SUV or crossover.

Mechanical Slide Out Problems
Most of the issues we’ve talked about so far are inconveniences (some minor, some major). But there are a number of problems with slide outs that can render your camper useless. The primary culprit is that slide outs are heavy, mechanical objects that can break. Think of the number of times you’ll move a slide in and out over the lifetime of your RV. Consider that every time you move it down the road at 60 miles per hour, it’s in for a bumpy ride. Mechanical issues are inevitable, whether it’s an electric slide, hydraulic slide, rack and pinion, or cable slide. Even if the slide is well-built and well maintained, gears wear down, electric motors lose power, hydraulic systems fail, and the slide can go out of alignment.

When a slide out mechanism breaks, you’ve got real problems. If the mechanics fail while the slides are in, it’s easy enough to get to the shop (though it’s bound to ruin your trip, and you’ll need to find a hotel). But if the slides won’t retract, you’re stuck. If you’re lucky, your rig came with a hand crank and you can manually pull your slides in. If not, you’ll have to find a RV repair shop or a mechanic that can either come to you, or that can transport your camper to their shop, where they hopefully have the necessary slide out parts for the repair. You can’t pull a RV with its slides extended as you’ll be too wide for the road, so be prepared to spend both time and money on a fix.

Water leaks are also one of the biggest issues cited by people with slide out systems. They can be notoriously hard to trace. RV slide out seals wear out over time, and they degrade even faster if the unit is stored outside in the elements.

Some water leaks can be traced to an improperly installed slide, which means the whole thing may need to be removed and reset. It also means you might solve one leak only to create two more and a draft if the slide out seals aren’t reinstalled properly.

Unlike RVs that have to resort to adding a slide out to make the space functional, Bowlus’ luxury recreational vehicles are built with functionality, beauty and longevity in mind. Our high end travel trailers are handcrafted by artisans to meet the most exacting standards and to last for a lifetime of adventure. We think it’s clear that you don’t need a slide out, and all the accompanying challenges, when you can travel in style in a Bowlus.

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What Does Performance Mean to Us? (Exterior)

What does Performance mean in the RV world? If you think generally not much you’re right…

In the automotive category, high-performance vehicles offer greater speed and power. However, high performance is something rarely witnessed in the RV industry. Based on calls we receive daily, consumers often (without much thought) transfer the Mercedes Benz badge quality of a van purchase to the RV experience and then later feel duped that the RV construction doesn’t match that of the Mercedes-Benz badge.

Even more so than the automotive world, it is essential to remember that every part and system of your RV has the power to work with or against its ability to perform. That all systems must all function in concert for an ultimate experience is an understatement.

That’s why aerodynamics in the RV world isn’t just buzzwords. A true aerodynamic RV build minimizes the friction points to enable you to slip through the air faster and easier than a bulky or toaster shaped RV with endless friction points and flat sides to hamper drag. When towing with a Bowlus, it is effortless. That means you not only have access to a wider selection of aerodynamic vehicles, but you also can tow in any weather/conditions and, of critical importance, experience dramatically less driver stress.

Smart Suspension with a properly designed and weighted RV means the ability to hug corners and keep a smooth, safe ride. Add a high-quality fortified braking system, high-quality tires (that are never overloaded), and now you know why the Bowlus delivers the high performance when braking too.

Please reach out if you’re interested in learning more about the superior performance of a Bowlus. There is nothing comparable to Bowlus.

 
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Full Time RVing: 5 Key Considerations

More than 1 million people are full time RVers, according to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), and at least twice as many are “almost full timers,” living in their RVs about half of the year. The dream of a carefree, nomadic life can be appealing for couples and families of all ages. But if you’re hearing the siren song of living a life on the road, there are a few things you should consider before jumping in.

Is Full Time RVing the Right Lifestyle For You?
Daydreaming about hooking up the RV, loading the family into the car, and hitting the road for destinations unknown can be great fun. But full time RVing is a major lifestyle change for a suburban family used to the creature comforts of home. So, the first bit of advice is to take it slow and make sure the reality lives up to your dreams.

Full timing is very different from a weekend trip or a week-long vacation, and not everyone is suited for the nomadic life. Certain members of your family may adapt to the changes more readily than others. A month or three in your RV with your crew will give you a much better understanding of what full time RV living is really like. Not only will it help you understand how you can (or can’t) all live together in a smaller space, it’ll teach you what the essentials really are – and aren’t. Do you need five different sized pots and 4 sweatshirts per person? It might seem like it at first, but after a few months on the road, your perspective may shift, even if you’re in a spacious RV like a Bowlus.

A great way to learn about the full time RV lifestyle is to talk to other full timers. Ask them about the pros and cons. By and large, RVers are a friendly lot, and they’re typically quick to lend a hand and share their experiences (and if they see you pull in towing your high end Bowlus travel trailer, you can bet they’re going to want to talk to you). Follow other full timers on Instagram and do the same kind of research you’d do when making any other major life changing decision!

The bottom line is, it’s far better to discover your family is more suited for part time RV living before you sell the house and downsize all of your possessions.

Home is Where You Park It: Choosing the Right RV
A big part of any successful full time RV experience is making sure that you have the right rig for where you want to go and what you want to do. When you think of full timers, you may think of a Class A with multiple slide outs. But according to RVIA data, only 9% of full timers have a Class A. Forty-five percent live in a fifth-wheel and 31% are in a conventional travel trailer. So which is the right one for you?

Certainly large motorhomes and fifth-wheels offer many of the amenities of home, but they have their downsides. First, if you’re choosing a life on the road, neither of these options are as easy or as convenient to drive or tow as a conventional travel trailer. And while you may think the bigger the better, consider that many RV parks, national parks, and most boondocking sites have size limitations and the bigger your rig, the fewer places you can camp.

A Bowlus is the best RV for full time living because it offers the best of both worlds. Not only will you have more site choices because it’s smaller than a motorhome or 5th wheel, but with Bowlus’ hand-crafted, best in class features and unique storage solutions, you won’t have to leave any of the essentials behind.

Your Office on Wheels: Working While Full Time RVing
Full time RV living isn’t just for snowbirds and retirees. In fact, a recent RVIA report shows that only 43% of full timers are retired, 35% are over the age of 55, and just 11% have no children in the home. This would indicate that a large number of full timers are actually families and working-aged adults.

With the growth of online and remote work opportunities, there are a lot of ways to make money while RVing full time. You can achieve your dreams of working and living on the road when you’re living in a Bowlus luxury RV because it’s the ideal home office. Our aluminum camper takes its aerodynamic design cues from the 1930s original, but it’s actually the world’s most advanced travel trailer.

Designed for today’s technologically advanced work environment, all Bowlus models have charging stations for your cell phone, tablet and laptop. To make sure you can reach the outside world, the units are equipped with a cellular booster. The Endless Highways Edition includes a robust router and an antenna pre-wired on the roof. Just hook up to an external Wi-Fi, or up to two cellular networks, and you’re ready to do business. To make sure you can work from literally anywhere, Bowlus offers an incredible lithium battery and a highly efficient solar system. When you’re in a Bowlus, you can work without electric hookups indefinitely!

To Plan or Not to Plan: Destinations (Un)Known
One of the best parts about full time RVing is that the pace of life is considerably slower. Or at least it should be. When you’re towing your home behind you, you don’t have to rush from place to place. You have time to linger, get to know the area, its food and its people. Plan to stay in places for more than a couple of days. But it’s also important to learn to balance “the plan” with impulsiveness. Sometimes the most memorable experiences will be a suggestion from a local. Revel in the nomadic life by staying open to new ideas and opportunities, even if it’s off your planned route.

The Business of Full Time RVing
So you’ve tried out a couple of longer trips, you’ve learned a lot along the way, and it’s decided. Full timing is the life you want. Congratulations! There are still some major decisions to be made before you’re free to hit the road. First, what are you going to do about your house? Are you selling or renting? What about all the things in that house? Are you selling or storing what you’re not bringing with you?

If you’re selling your home, you’re going to need to establish a new place of residency. Many travelers set themselves up in a state that’s friendly to full timers like South Dakota, Texas, and Florida. Even when you’re on the road, there will be mail to deal with (many full time RVers use a mail forwarding service), along with driver’s licenses, RV insurance, health insurance and other medical needs, and all the things that need some kind of permanent address. And don’t forget Uncle Sam – you’ll still need to file federal and state taxes each year.

And now, the only thing left is to decide in which direction you should point the car.

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Vermin Free

Probably one of the most frequent emails we receive is like this one: “I live in an area with lots of pack rats/woodrats. My neighbor has them in his RV, so I’m having a hard time convincing my loved one to buy an RV. Have there been instances of this to your knowledge in a Bowlus?” It is an excellent question to ask. In fact, it is an essential question to ask, because as we all know, once you have vermin, they are incredibly difficult to rid them from your life. If you are considering sending us an email defending vermin, know it will go unread since we don’t believe they have any place in an RV.

So, just in case you think we are making this up (and not picking on any one RV manufacturer), but you’ll find countless threads about vermin in Airstream Airforums. The issue comes down to how traditional RVs (including motorhomes and vans) are built on a conventional frame. These manufacturing techniques allow for numerous entry points for vermin (after all, they are just looking for a quiet, warm place to rest with their family) and, as you may know, can enter a hole the size of a nickel.

We’re pleased to let you know, the Bowlus with a completely wrapped shell in 2024T3 doesn’t allow any entry (of anything). Of course, wrapping the entire Bowlus costs more, so you really have to decide if you are ok living with a small family of smelly unwanted guests or want the ultimate privacy. Another advantage of being completely wrapped means less dust and dirt entering as well. For Bowlus owners, these are just a few reasons why their investments are so well protected, and they can sleep safe and sound each night.

 

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