By Russ and Tiña De Maris
There are two kinds of fulltimers. Those who already owned their RV when they started fulltiming and those that didn’t. Well, we did — it was a large truck camper, but it didn’t take long to figure out that fulltiming in a slide-in camper just wasn’t going to cut it. So we started shopping for a “new” home. Maybe you’re in the same position. There are many areas of concern when evaluating an RV for full-time-ability, and we’ll touch on them now and then. To get started, let’s talk about the galley:
Weekend RV users don’t need to worry much about their galley — after all, it is just a weekend, or an occasional week or two. But when fulltiming, you can’t always rely on hitting Burger Doodle, when the cook has had enough of cramped cooking spaces. One of the first things to examine is counter space. If there isn’t enough of it, your cook will soon go batty. Where will you put those little appliances? Toaster, coffee maker, (for us, bread maker), et al.? And once they’re in place, will there be enough space left over to work in the kitchen? Since most full-timers go without a dishwasher, where will you put the dishes to dry?
Sure, RV builders are clever: “See this neat sink cover? Need more room, just toss the cover on!” Fine, as long as you don’t need the other half of the sink. We don’t find the need of a residential-size kitchen sink in our galley — we’d rather have those extra inches of space in countertops. And speaking of that, what material is best for an RV countertop? Granite and Corian look great! But my, oh my, consider the weight — it all adds up, and you’ve got to drag that weight around. Consider those two little big words: fuel economy. We eventually added a “dog leg” countertop extension that folds down beside a kitchen cabinet when not in use. It helped a lot.
When evaluating rigs, end kitchens usually have more counter space by virtue of the design. Some rigs with slideout kitchens have tacked on “islands” in the kitchen. Whenever you evaluate, make sure she (or he) who does the cooking spends a few minutes really looking the place over. Is there sufficient (and handy) cabinet space for what you keep in your kitchen? Getting down on your “prayer bones” to get supplies out gets old in a hurry.
While you’re on those bones, consider the galley floor covering. Our “new” old rig came with carpet throughout, living room, bathroom, and kitchen. It didn’t take long for us to give most of that carpet the heave-ho, and replace it with something we could really live with: Laminate flooring, lightweight, durable, and good looking. Ever broken an egg on a carpet?
Finally, consider the galley appliances: Some cooks really want four-burner stoves — and they’re hard to find. Some motorhome builders apparently figure you don’t need an oven — they give you a microwave oven and a 3-burner stove top (if you’re fortunate). Again, is that really going to satisfy the real roving cook? And carefully consider the RV refrigerator — make sure it’s big enough and configured to meet your needs.