Should You Buy a Park Model?
Fifth wheels, travel trailers, and other RVs are perfect for people who love to take their home on the road. However, if you find a trailer park that you love and want to set up a more permanent living space, a park model RV might be the best choice for you!
These are better suited for long-term use, and come in a variety of designs and styles. There are a few factors to juggle when you’re considering a park model though, so let’s explore the pros and cons.
What is a park model RV?
Everyone is familiar with the standard motorhome and trailer RVs, but park models are a bit more unusual. Essentially, a park model RV is a temporary home that’s created specifically for a trailer park setting. They’re designed for longer periods of sustained use, but most of them are still best for just a few months at a time.
Park models resemble mobile homes or tiny houses. They can’t have more than 400 square feet in their floor plan. But they are spacious, cozy, and easy to fit on a standard trailer park lot. The designers don’t have to worry about car safety equipment or built-in wheel wells. They can use this space to the fullest. Many of these pre-made homes work well for seasonal uses. Think hunting lodges, camping cabins, or just small vacation houses.
Park models don’t have built-in engines like motorhomes. They can’t handle off-road terrain as well as travel trailers and fifth wheels. Park model RVs need to be towed behind a sturdy tow vehicle. They have a set of wheels and a trailer bed attached to the base. They might be a bit bulky on the road, but it’s perfectly legal to tow a park model from place to place. If you spotted a pre-made home on the highway that was labeled with a “wide-load” tag, there’s a good chance it was a park model!
The RV Industry Association (RVIA) creates guidelines and regulations for park models. These park model guidelines vary from state to state. Visit this page here for more information about park models in your area. The information updates annually. Make sure you’re looking at the most current information!
Benefits of a park model RV
Park model RVs are the perfect choice for travelers who like to pick a beautiful RV park and set up a long-term vacation spot for the summer. I know I have a few campgrounds that I could enjoy for months!
It can get tiring to live out of a van or travel trailer for such a long time, so a nice home away from home can help. Park model RVs have all the style of tiny homes, and they can usually fit all the same amenities (if not more) compared to a luxury RV.
Park models also have more floor space and they have to make fewer compromises about how to use it. They can afford to have luxuries like full-size bathrooms, lofts, extra bedrooms, and large kitchens. Some of them also have slide-outs and extendable sections that can increase the square footage.
Although these RVs are designed for short-term seasonal use, they can be winterized and used during cold months as well. You can buy pre-made park models that are designed for winter, or retrofit an existing RV to suit your needs. It’s also easy to add exterior porches, awnings, storage sheds, and garage spaces. You can add and subtract features to make a unique and comfortable mobile home.
At the end of the day, a park model RV is much more like a home than a vehicle. They have attractive exteriors and cozy interiors. They can offer a greater amount of space as well as larger appliances. So if you plan on staying in one spot for a few months, you might want to choose a park model as your living space.
Drawbacks of a park model RV
Of course, it’s not all good news for park model owners. These are certainly great options for month-long visits to RV parks, but they also have their own set of drawbacks.
First of all, although they offer more space than traditional RVs, they still have a limited floor plan. 400 square feet might seem like a lot, but it can quickly get cramped if you’re hosting lots of friends and family. Storage space can also get filled up and you might still end up living in a cramped home after a while.
Park model RVs are also closely regulated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). They must comply with the A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard. So even if you feel like making your own park model from a shed or other base, there are a lot of standards you have to meet.
Storing a park model also might be difficult. They’re large and bulky and need a good amount of space in a yard or garage. You might even need to pay extra to store it in a facility. Some insurance mortgage plans don’t cover park model RVs either, so make sure you have the protection you need before you buy one.
Park models are also not suitable for year-round use. You can use them for a few months at a time, but they aren’t a permanent housing solution. The materials are designed to be lightweight and easy to transport, but they won’t hold up under serious wear and tear. You’ll need to properly store and maintain your park model when it’s not being used so it can last a long time.
Floor plan examples
Like all RV types, park models have their own pros and cons. Many people enjoy them because they are comfortable and easy to spend a camping season in. If you’re interested in getting a park model of your own, check out the videos below! They showcase some of the amenities and designs you can expect to see.
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