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When we decided to live out of a RV full time we looked at nearly every option. From new and used RVs, to a 45ft diesel pushers and back down to a small travel trailer that can be towed with a Jeep. In the end, we decided to look for a small motorhome under 30 feet that we could live in comfortably and RV with our dogs.
After many weekend trips to RV dealers, meeting with private sellers, and attending one of the largest RV shows in the U.S. we ended up getting a Newmar Bay Star 2903. This post highlights our journey of finding a motorhome under 30 feet and why we purchased a Newmar Bay Star. If you’re interested in a full review, head over to our Newmar Bay Star review.
Our Motorhome Under 30 Feet
Why We Purchased a Newmar Bay Star 2903
1. Newmar Bay Star 2903 Layout
From the moment we walked into the Newmar, we felt at home. The full wall slide out and rear bedroom window made the space feel larger than a motorhome under 30 feet. We also liked that the kitchen was away from the couch and dinette.
2. Newmar Quality
When we walked into most new RV’s, we noticed trim falling down, broken fixtures and various other things that didn’t work. Apparently many RV manufactures ship their product with these defects expecting the dealer to fix them. Newmar is different in that they deal with these items BEFORE the coach leaves the factory.
When we stepped inside the Newmar, we immediately noticed that everything was not only buttoned up, but the overall fit and finish of the interior was superior to that of the other RVs we looked at. Going through the Newmar Bay Star, we can attest that other than some very minor items, the motorhome was in tip top shape from the factory.
Newmar’s warranty is the standard one year. However, customers can go to any mechanic to have the issue fixed or opt to have a mobile RV tech sent to the customer’s location. They also process and ship all stocked ordered parts within 24 hours followed by a phone call to ensure customer satisfaction. Read about our experience with Newmar warranty and customer service.
3. RV Length Under 30 Feet
One of our main criteria was to find a motorhome under 30 feet. At one inch under 30 feet, this coach will give us many more options on where we can camp. Our favorite national park campgrounds is Mather Campground in Grand Canyon, which has a 30 feet limit on RVs.
4. Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
The 22,000 pound chassis gives us over 4,000 pounds to work with including all the tanks, ourselves, the dogs and all our supplies. Most other coaches in this size are on 16,000 or 18,000 pound chassis limits carry capacity.
5. Interior and Exterior RV Storage
Because of the heavier duty chassis and the way Newmar has built the rails on the chassis, most of our bays have pass through storage. This can be hard to find in a gas coach at this size. The bays plus the cabinets in the coach gives us a good amount of storage space.
6. RV Holding Tank Capacity
80 gallon gas tank, 75 gallon fresh water, 60 gallon gray and 40 gallon black tank.
7. Gas vs. Diesel RV
This was a tough decision for us. Initially we were completely sold on getting a diesel RV. Then we quickly realized that for a similar sized RV, we’d pay about $50k more. That extra money was going towards something that is built to last a million miles when the house portion of the RV would never live to see that. Although the ride isn’t as nice with the gas RV, we were happy to put the money we save on diesel towards the purchase of gas and other RV living costs. This post details our first year of full time RVing costs.
Why We Bought a Used Newmar
When we first started shopping for an RV we decided to buy used since the depreciation is so high on a new RV. After checking out countless used RVs at dealerships and with private sellers, we found two issues that we couldn’t compromise on:
1. Used RV Smell
Every RV we looked at had a “used” smell and these ranged from lightly used (less than 5,000 miles) to ones that were almost ten years old. We quickly realized that there was a big difference between buying used houses versus used RVs. Our single story home built in 1953 was completely empty when we moved in. The opposite is true with used RVs. Of course, there is the option to rip everything out and put in new couch, chairs, etc… but that was not a route we wanted to go. Plus, we had to deal with the second issue that we kept running into.
2. Water Damage in Used RVs
Joe spent several weeks researching how to shop for used RVs and one of the main items to pay attention to is water damage. Once we knew what to look for, it seemed liked every RV we looked at had noticeable water damage. One of those RVs is highlighted in Joe’s first book along with our entire RV shopping and decision making process.
We were working with a timeline of when we wanted to get on the road. With more time, I believe we could have found the right used RV. However, with the Newmar Bay Star it felt like everything came together. The 2903 was the model and layout we wanted within our budget, which was the hardest part of the shopping process.
Since, we were running out of time and the right RV for us was within reach, we made the decision to buy a new RV. If you’re in the market for an RV, check out our post on Shopping for and Buying an RV.
Other RVs We Seriously Considered
Fleetwood Southwind 34A
Fleetwood Excursion 35B
Jayco Seneca 36 FK
Interested in Class B RVs? Build Your Dream Class B RV with Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans.
Thinking of getting a Small Class C RV? Check out our list of the Best Class C RV Manufacturers.
77 thoughts on “Awesome Motorhome Under 30 Feet – Newmar Bay Star 2903”
Hello Kait, how can a guy get out of a 30k loan for a Lexus RX-350? after a bad break up with the lady I’m stuck with this vehicle when all I want is a sub 30′ RV to have instead of my current disaster car 🙁 can you please guide a lost soul…..
Hey Teddy, have you check out our video series “Live Life On Your Own Terms“?
Kait or Joe
Which class B did you buy and how to choose?!
We have had
-40 Diesel A
-35 ft Super C
-33 ft gas A
Thank you for reply when you get a chance
Hi Debbie. You can read all about our camper van here https://weretherussos.com/camper-van-hymer-aktiv-class-b-rv/ All the best with your downsizing journey!
Hey Joe and Kait,
We considered the smaller Newmars, but folks we know said to make sure you get 2 AC units or when on the beach or in warmer climates you will be sorry. What can you tell me about 2 vs 1 AC unit?
Hi Ken. We had 1 AC unit on the Bay Star 2903 and it worked well for us. There were a handful of times when we wished we had two AC units. It was when the weather reached over 90 degrees and we were camped somewhere without any shade. The number of AC units will depend on where and how you plan to camp in the RV. Hope that helps and good luck with your search.
Do you still have/like the BSS 2903? We are thinking bout getting one but haven’t pulled trigger yet……..We keep looking at a Winnebago Brave 31 retro which is a neat coach, but thinking for about the same $, the Newmar is a better coach…………Any advice is appreciated!
No we sold the Newmar and are waiting for our new RV which will be a class B van. Really liked the Newmar, but more than anything their customer service was great. They really seem to stand behind their product. We took a look at the Brave, but it wasn’t for us. Look at both in person if you haven’t done so and I think you’ll see they are two very different RV’s. Either way, good luck with the choice!
We bought your RV!
We are trying to work up the nerve to pull the trigger and become full timers…. we have our house up for sale, so our window to make a decision could close with a phone call from our realtor. That being said, one of the options we are seriously considering is the Bay Star. I came across your post and I would love to know why you are selling…… i.e. Have you had problems with the unit? Did it turn out not to meet your needs, etc. I hope this question isn’t to personal….. I’m just trying to gather as much information as I can to make an informed decision.
Hey Pam – we love the Bay Star but it’s too big for our lifestyle. Check out this post where we talk about why we want to downsize https://weretherussos.com/class-b-camper-van-for-full-time-rving/
I was wondering about the sprinter van chassis made by Mercedes. Since it is mercedes I am fearful of the expensive maintenance issue. The Rv we are considering is the Winnebago View. But we may just convert a Cargo Van into a Camper for stealth camping.
Hey Norman – we’ve heard that one of the complaints about the Sprinter is the cost of repairs. You may want to consider something on the Promaster or Transit chassis. Let us know what you end up doing!
I’m conflicted about whether to get a diesel or gas. My husband is a truck driver and he says we should get a diesel but I say if we can get a powerful gas powered rv that would be good enough. What do y’all think, y’all have a gas powered. My main concern is the power need in the mountains. I was thinking about the one y’all have or a tiffin open road.
Hi Kimberly! Have you watched the factory tour we did at ShowHauler? If we could afford one, we’d get a custom Super C https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yhKVPxr3kk
Thank you so much for getting back to me so soon. I love your you tube channel. I will check out the video. ?
Thank you for your video and review of the Baystar Sport. I went and looked at one this weekend. I loved the interior but I was surprised of the location and how flimsy the grey and black tank release pulls were. One of them was even broken with the handle fallen off. Are there other quality issues I should be worried about?
Hi Rhonda! To clarify, we have the Bay Star, not the Bay Star Sport. Sorry to hear about the flimsy tank releases you found on the sport, ours work fine and we wouldn’t consider them to be flimsy. A good resource is our warranty post which lists issues we’ve had with our Bay Star.
Hey guys, can you comment a little more about length and how it might restrict where you can camp? What’s the biggest you think can still get to camp in most places?
Hi Alex – One example is when we camped at Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon. The size restriction for that campground is 30 feet and there were a few tight spots driving through the campground. As for your second question, it’s really all about personal preference. What type of camping do you want to do? National Parks have size restrictions on their website and you can look them up to get a better idea. We’ve met RVers with 45′ coaches and are happy going from RV park to RV park without any problems.
Hello and what a great site you both have put together. My sister and I are planning on purchasing a Class A Motorhome and tow a jeep as well in the next ohhh 3 years and get on the road for good and say GOODBYE to living in a bubble city. I have been studying all kinds of American made RV’s on the market and my biggest issue with many of them are the lack of finished quality that seems to be a huge issue with practically every American RV manufacturer out there and it is a big turnoff for me. Why do they seem to make them so cheap as you described in one of these posts as plastic falling off, etc? I recently went to an RV show and that was all I witnessed and that being shoddy craftsmanship. One RV I went into the microwave oven door rubbed up against the wall when you tried to close it. It seems that RV’s manufactured in Europe seem to be of far superior quality then it’s American made counterparts. Glad to find your site and look forward to reading about all your tips and see your adventures. Stay safe!
Jason – we couldn’t agree more with the issues found in RVs today. Even as you look at higher end coaches, there are still issues that need to be resolved (we’ve even heard of new Prevosts having to go in for serious work). We’ve never gone to Europe and toured new RVs, so we can’t compare the two but if you look at RVs made here that are similar to what’s produced in Europe (Class B’s vans, etc) the level of initial quality seems to go up. My theory on this is that the large class A RVs start as wheels, an engine, frame and steering wheel – everything else is built from the ground up – hence leading to a lot of possible issues (very similar to what you might find in a new home). The class B’s are empty shells of a van that are then made into RV’s – so less to go wrong and much smaller than class A’s. It’s frustrating but if you’re buying new you have to accept the fact that there will be bugs to work out along the way.
Use Velcro to prevent cushions from sliding out
Velcro on each corner of the dinette cushions keep them in place for us.
Thanks for the tip! We need to try the Velcro.
We are looking at the Newmarket Bay Star. Seems to have all bells & whistles for a 30 ft MH. Where did you buy yours? We live in south Fla
Judi – We bought ours in California and roaming around FL right now. We hear Independence RV in FL is a good Newmar dealership. If you have any questions about the Bay Star don’t hesitate to shoot us an email.
Looking forward to checking out your new dig!
Hi, we think the 2015 2903 may be the right RV for us as well because we like the 30ft length that allows trips to most state park and national park campgrounds.
Do you tow a vehicle or just go from place to place with the 2903?
Hi Greg – We will be towing our Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. We’ve been living full time in the RV for over a month with our two big dogs and love it. When are you planning on getting your RV?
Good for you! May you have many happy miles ahead. Tom and I are in Bloomington Ill. At the Kamp Komfort park, really nice people here, truly the heart land of America! Susan & Tom
Thank you Susan and Tom. We hope to get out to Kamp Komfort someday as we take some trips in the Newmar. Joe has some friends in IL as well as IN so I’m sure we’ll be through there at some point. Enjoy your time there!