Cost of Full Time RVing: Before you leave the driveway

Full Time RV Cost

The freedom of hitting the road in an RV and living the nomadic life. Just the sound of that seems so romantic and aluring. As more and more people consider downsizing and going full time in a RV, there is something to think about. It might be a little expensive.

Let’s assume you have chosen the type of RV that will take you to beautiful Instagram views. (That’s a whole other blog post). Now, let’s think about your lifestyle. Do you want to be a boondocker and stay on free BLM land where the sun offers energy for your solar set up? Maybe you want a composting toilet so you can be ecco friendly. OR, do you want to stay at RV parks with full hookups? Water, electric, sewer, and garbage. Having amenities sure are nice. Maybe you want a little of both.

Here is what we did. You can use this as a benchmark and look at your own lifestyle needs.

We renovated a vintage Airstream Argosy. Our renovation was the idea to be as free as possible and not be slave to RV Parks. We are on a tight budget and monthly cost’s are important to us. We wanted to be as ecco friendly as we could. As we found out, being ecco friendly can be kind of pricey.

We bought a Composting Toilet and took out or black water tank. The trick to composting is to seperate #1 and #2. So most composting toilets have to be vented with constant air flow from a little 12 volt fan that pulls air through the #2 bucket. Simple right?

To keep the little computer fan running 24 hours a day, you need a 12 volt battery. 12 volt batteries need to be recharged. Since we won’t be in RV Parks with power, we invested in Solar. 800 watts of solar. Solar recharges the battery to keep our little fan running (and other appliances). Along with Solar, you need a Inverter, battery monitor, charge controller, and heavy gauge wire. Oh, one other thing. Your time to put it all together. Almost forgot, you will need to stock up on Compost material. 🙂

But what about those day’s you have no sun, or you are boondocking in the Winter months when you don’t have full days of Sun. Or you want be surrounded by beautiful trees in a National Forest? Then, you will need a Inverter/Generator to charge your batteries, to make sure your little 12 volt composting fan can keep running.

Those batteries won’t charge themselves with zero Sun. Your gonna need a Battery Charger, that is charging your batteries, powered by your Generator so you can run that little damn 12 volt composting fan.

Of course we also wanted to make sure we had plenty of water. Most RV fresh water tanks only hold 35-45 gallons of water. Your gonna want a warm shower right? Gonna need a Hot Water Tank or a On Demand Hot Water System. We went with the On Demand Hot Water System.

For those times we are in a RV Park with full power the fear of plugging into a 30 amp power pole that looks like tit’s been there for 30 years (probably has) you need a Surge Protector. This way you don’t fry your electrical system, which ultimately run’s your little 12 volt composting fan. In FULL DISCLOSURE, it’s well worth getting one of these. It’s already saved out butts (that sit on our composting toilet) a few times.

Cost of Full Time RVing

Depending on your sleeping habits, you are gonna need a bed you find comfortable. We went with Zinus Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress because of how it keeps us cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter.

It’s all the little things that add up also. For example:


RV Sewer Hose Support

Leveling blocks

Wheel Chocks

Water Filter

WiFi Booster or Cell Booster

Air Compressor (flats are no fun on the road)

If you are towing your home on wheels, then a Sway Bar maybe what you need.

All this added up into the thousands. (We’re sure we missed some items on this post). NOT including our Airstream Argosy renovation cost’s. The decision to buy NEW/USED and have all these items included. OR renovated and buy your exact lifestyle needs. But know before you go, full time RVing is a little pricey before you ever leave your driveway.

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