When we decided to live out of a RV full time we looked at nearly every option, from new to used to a 45ft diesel pushers and back down to a 16ft travel trailer to tow behind the Jeep Wrangler. In the end, we wanted a small motorhome that we could live in comfortably with our big rescue dogs and be able to visit various state/national parks as we traveled. There were a lot of choices and after many weekend trips to RV dealers, RV shows and meeting private sellers, we ended up with a new 2015 Newmar Bay Star 2903, our gas motorhome under 30 feet. Find out why we choose this as our home on wheels, why we didn’t buy a used coach and other models we considered.
Our Motorhome Under 30 Feet
Why We Purchased the Newmar Bay Star 2903
From the moment we walked into the Newmar, we felt comfortable and at home. The full wall slide out and rear bedroom window made the space feel much larger than an RV an inch under 30′. We liked that the kitchen was away from the couch and dinette.
When we walked into most new RV’s, we noticed trim that was falling down, broken fixtures and various other things that didn’t work. Apparently most RV manufactures ship their product with these defects and expect 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 overall the fit and finish of the interior was superior to that of the other coaches we were looking at. Going through our coach, we can attest that other than some very minor items, the coach 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 tech sent to the customer’s location. They also process and ship all stocked ordered parts within 24 hours and have someone follow up over the phone to ensure customer satisfaction. Read our post on our experience so far with Newmar warranty and customer service.
At one inch under 30 feet, this coach will give us many more options on where we can camp including many state and national parks.
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.
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, which is 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. Tank Capacity
80 gallon gas tank, 75 gallon fresh water, 60 gallon gray and 40 gallon black tank.
7. Gas vs. Diesel
This was a tough one for us. Initially we were completely sold on getting a diesel coach, but quickly realized that for a similar sized coach, we’d pay about $50k more and that money was going towards something that is built to last a million miles when the house portion of the coach would never live to see that. The ride isn’t as nice with the gas coach, but we were happy to put the money we save on diesel towards the purchase of gas and other costs.
Why We Didn’t Buy a Used RV
The number one question we get from friends after they’ve check out our coach is “is this new?” From the get go, we decided to buy a used RV since the depreciation is so high on a new model. After checking out countless used RVs, we found two issues that we couldn’t compromise on:
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 an used house and an used RV. Our single story home built in 1953 was completely empty when we moved in. The opposite is true with an used RV. 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
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.
With more time, I believe we could have found the right used RV. However, with the Newmar it felt like everything came together. It 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 pulled the trigger on the new model. If you’re in the market for an RV, check out our post on Shopping for and Buying an RV.
Other RV Models We Seriously Considered
Fleetwood Southwind 34A
Fleetwood Excursion 35B
Jayco Seneca 36 FK