How Large Families RV, Too! 4 Examples of Thriving RVing Families

How Large Families RV, Too! 4 Examples of Thriving RVing Families 1
Have you wondered how large families RV? The tight spaces of RVs can make it challenging to fit everyone with all of their stuff, but these families show you how they make it work for them! From small rigs to big ones, these four families share their family-friendly renovations, tips for creating school spaces, and their favorite adventures along the way.

The Traveling Slacks- How a Family of Five Reconfigured their Class C RV

The Slack family, one of our large families RVing

Five people in approximately 260ft² of a 31-foot Class C with no slides. Could you do it?

The Slack family, parents Harry and Maarqui and children Isabela-13, Sophia-11, Haige-9, do just that. Now add their furry family members, two dogs, and one cat. That’s five people and three pets in a space that is no bigger than six king-size beds.

The Slack family has been traveling in their Minnie Winnie full-time for about three years. They started traveling because they found they really enjoyed it. They set out in this RV because they already owned it but if they could upgrade, they would only step up to a Super C. They would also like a bathtub, a sentiment shared by many RVers who often do not have one.

To make their space more habitable, they gave up some space in the living room and built-in bunk beds, so everyone had their own bed. They found that it was rather inconvenient to have to convert the couch and dining area table every night. Plus, not having those open made it a lot easier to navigate around in their RV.

The Slack family has traveled to 41 states, and while many RVers are doing everything they can to escape the snow, their family heads toward it and embraces it because they love to ski. They have had many opportunities to have many different adventures and experiences. Their daughter, Isabella, was able to get certified as a scuba diver.

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One of the things the Slacks do to chronicle their adventures is to get patches and place them on two pairs of “traveling slacks”, pants that they cover with the patches.

When asked what piece of advice they could pass on to other large families considering this lifestyle, Harry responded with, “The importance of everyone having their own space and allowing them to decorate it and make it their own.”

The Good Dawg Life- Downsizing RVs with a Family of Six

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Faced with an unexpected job loss, the Goodrow family, parents Joel and Julie, children Elena -17, Ethan -13, Emily-11, and Everett-9, plus Milford, their Cavachon dog, decided to take a year off to go on an adventure leaving behind the suburban life.

The Goodrows have been on the road full-time for about 13 months and have been to 22 states and 17 National Parks. They travel in a 36-foot Keystone Cougar travel trailer, but they didn’t start off in this RV. They had started out in a 41-foot Keystone Raptor fifth-wheel. Seven months into their journey, their RV was hit by a large Class A RV and was totaled.

The Goodrows had to find a new home on wheels, but due to RV shortages and a need to get into an RV quickly, they had to settle for the travel trailer. However, what seemed like settling ended up being a blessing in disguise. They shifted their perspective and decided that downsizing was perhaps a better option so they could fit more places. It also gave Julie a bit more peace of mind because it wasn’t as tall, so she didn’t have to hold her breath as they went under overpasses and bridges. And while they do miss having a second toilet, they realized that although the larger fifth wheel had more room for more things, that also meant that they had more unnecessary things they really didn’t need. They gained a fireplace and an outdoor kitchen in the new travel trailer. In the end, what was an incredibly stressful event, became a good thing.

One of the challenges of having a large family in approximately 360ft², which is about eight and a half king-sized beds, is coordinating bathroom schedules. With limited water, when not on full hookups, the Goodrow family created a much-needed bathroom routine so everyone has privacy AND hot water. They also have found having a smaller kitchen with a large family is a challenge, but they quickly found ways to make it work, like using a Blackstone grill outside or an InstantPot. 

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Even though they have embraced the challenges of their RV changing, they often dream of a larger, double axel fifth wheel or a Super C.

The Goodrow family is not a stranger to challenges though. One of their children has Cystic Fibrosis, which is something that they have to constantly monitor and have regular doctor visits for. They have encountered quite the logistical nightmare when it comes to getting their child’s specialty medicine, especially the ones that require refrigeration.  They have also navigated the sometimes-difficult process of adoption, adopting two of their four children.

When asked what piece of advice they could pass on to other large families considering this lifestyle, Julie responded with, “The most important thing is to START! Don’t feel pressure to find the “perfect” setup, just get started with whatever equipment makes sense for you TODAY. You’ll grow and learn while on the road. Give yourself the space to reevaluate and change courses! Write down your top three objections or concerns about traveling. Now take a deep breath and know that there are thousands of others that have dealt with those things and found awesome solutions. There is no right way to solve your problems, but it is UP TO YOU to figure it out.”

The McLauchlan Family- Starting Out As An RVing Family of Six

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What began as a joke, Kaycee telling her husband Charlie that if he sold all his things, she would move into an RV with him and travel, became reality when Charlie followed through and called her bluff. Charlie wanted the tiny home life, but Kaycee wasn’t so sure. After visiting a tiny home/school bus conversion event, Kaycee saw the idea in a whole new light. They began researching and downsizing. Eventually, the family moved into a Keystone Premier 35ft travel trailer and began their one-year adventure. That was two and a half years ago.

The McLauchlan family includes parents Kaycee and Charlie, children Ty-12, Kaylie-8, Brynlee-6, Kinsley-3, and a cute little Boston Terrier/King Charles Spaniel mix named Lily.

They had originally picked the travel trailer because they weren’t sure they were going to like this lifestyle and didn’t want to invest a lot of money. They found the best floor plan they could get to avoid having to upgrade their tow vehicle. Six months into their adventure, they realized their tow vehicle wasn’t cutting it and they ended upgraded it. But Charlie really wanted to get a Class A. Kaycee was not convinced. How the heck do you fit 4 kids, 2 adults, and a dog into a Class A? The solution was, find the perfect Class A and make it work, so that is just what they did.

It took Charlie two years, but he finally convinced Kaycee and they bought a 2004 Alfa See Ya 40’ Motorhome, which is equivalent to living in a two-car garage. They have been working on remodeling the RV to fit their needs, as so many families do. The challenge they experience is one many families also experience, where to store things. They decided to turn the back “master bedroom” into the kids’ room, building in bunks. It also allows the kids to have a play area.

Travel is something the McLauchlan family really enjoys. Charlie is a pilot and they both really love traveling. Buying an RV and living the full-time life ended up being a great way for their family to share their love.  They have been to 11 states so far but hope to double that this summer.

When asked what piece of advice they could pass on to other large families, Kaycee replied, “Do it!! It is possible. Not only possible but amazing! I love how close it makes our family. We have so much more time together and so many amazing memories. This world is beautiful. Explore it! Enjoy it! I haven’t regretted it for a second. For now, I can’t imagine stopping. It is just such a simple amazing way to live.”

The Thomas Family- Renovating a Fifth Wheel RV to Work for Their Family of Eight

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Six years on the road full-time has taught the Thomas family a lot. Parents Johnnie and Erica, plus six children, Rachel-18, Elizabeth-16, Niles-13, Evan-11, Olivia-10, Madelyn-8, and cat King Arthur, have quite a bit of experience and knowledge in maintaining this way of living with a large family. Yes, that would be eight humans and one furry creature in 400ft² of space equivalent to a double car garage. When they first started out, they had 7 kids with them.

No strangers to challenges, the Thomas family recently had their RV totaled due to a bent frame. They moved from a 39-foot Keystone Raptor toy hauler to a 41-foot Keystone Montana High Country fifth wheel with bunkhouse. Johnnie had to travel to Wisconsin from Texas just to find the perfect RV for their family. They wanted an RV with a bunkhouse big enough for six beds as well as a large enough roof for solar panels.

They do miss some things about their old rig though. The tankless hot water heater for one. When you have multiple people needing showers, the small RV hot water heaters just can’t keep up. They had many customizations in it as well. Right now, they are working on quite a few projects in the new RV to make the space work for them. The desire to be able to give their children their own spaces, while also making the community spaces more flexible, has driven many of their projects.

What began as a way for their family to stay together while Johnnie took work contracts around the country, became an adventure for the Thomas family as they realized they really enjoyed exploring new places. Evident by the number of stickers on their previous rig, they definitely have been to a LOT of places.

But having a large family presents additional challenges for travelers. Some parks have limits to the number of persons that can be in one site. Finding time to be alone when in 400ft² of space is another challenge. And then there is storage space, or the lack thereof. Finding ways to store items for 8 people is quite the exercise in Tetris.

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Right now the Thomas family is in Texas experiencing subzero temperatures, even in full sun, which RV’s are ill-equipped to deal with. Water lines and toilets are freezing and inoperable. Batteries and inverters are not working due to the extreme temps. The campground sinks and toilets are frozen. Heaters are struggling to keep up. There is also a propane and gas shortage, as many places have frozen lines and cannot dispense fuel. Add to that rolling blackouts and generators that are refusing to labor in this weather. Many people would quit. Instead of quitting, the Thomas’ have banned together with other RV families in the park, and they are helping each other out.

One of the many things this lifestyle can bring is the connections to others. Not only are you seeing new places, but you are also meeting new people. Having visited 46 states and traveled to Mexico, the Thomas’ know quite well how important these connections are.

When asked what piece of advice they would give to other families considering this way of living, Erica said, “Don’t let the thought of many people living in a tiny space scare you. While your RV will be your home, the world will be an extension of your home. You will love the places you go and find yourself spending more time exploring than sitting in your RV. And the time you do spend in your RV will bring your family closer together.”

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Author

Holly Blake

Holly Blake is a single mom who travels full-time through the US with her two youngest sons and two labradors while homeschooling and running a small Etsy shop.

As a former military child and military spouse, being a nomad is deeply ingrained in her.  She and her children set out in September of 2019 from Jacksonville, Florida. She chronicles their adventures on their Facebook page, There and Back Again with the Blake Clan. 

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