So Many Choices!
While we shared the same goal, we had different opinions on what type of camper would work best for us. I always imagined myself in a renovated Airstream, airy, shiny and adorned in macrame, plants and crystals. Hannes wanted space, an open feel with lots of bells and whistles, something that after a long hike or day of photography, had the comforts of home. We both believed that the right one would present itself, at the right time, and we would both "know" when we stepped into it. So we stepped into, and out of, A LOT of campers.
We found an old Airstream for sale on Craigslist, it was perfect for what I had in mind, but it was smaller than we wanted and would be a huge project to get it to fit our needs. After a long discussion, we knew a project camper was NOT an option for us, we would be okay with some updating, fixes and modifications, but we already have "our never ending nightmare" (don't worry, we'll be making many posts that will explain in painful detail our never ending nightmare). So we were one step closer, overhauls and rehab campers were off the list!
One day we were taking my brother to look at a vehicle at a repo/auction lot, and happened to find a Sandpiper going up for auction in less than a week. It was a layout that we liked and only 2 years old! Hannes was convinced it was serendipitous and we needed to bid on it! It was an as is auction and we weren't able to go through it before the bidding started, but the auction site had fantastic pictures and a thorough description. We did a ton of research and agreed on our absolute top amount we would be comfortable with and started bidding. It was exciting and nerve-wracking, watching the bidding going up in TINY increments. After almost 24 hours we were finally getting close to our max bid, and then someone outbid us, by just a few dollars. We agreed to go a little higher, and again watched ourselves get out bid. We ended up accepting defeat and watched the auction end at only a few thousand dollars above our maximum bid. While we have no idea if there were any major issues with this particular camper, the person that got it, got it for a steal, approximately $25,000 less than what that specific model was going for on RVTrader.com. If you're looking to buy a camper, and you're handy and okay with some updates or fixes, we definitely think repo/auction lots are a great option! Ultimately though, that wasn't the one for us.
The more we looked, the more we realized buying new was the best option for us. We toured so many campers at so many RV dealerships, it made my head spin (which could also have been from the chemical fumes from new campers, 🤢). We narrowed down pretty quickly that we wanted a fifth wheel. I was dead set it would NOT be a monstrosity, with multiple fireplaces and ceiling fans. Hannes convinced me to just go through one, a 43' Salem Hemisphere, just to "get it out of our systems" and BOOM, I was in love! It was comfortable, gorgeous and only had ONE fireplace!
While that particular camper wasn't the one, we both finally knew what we were looking for. Over the next few months we both made lists of our wants and needs and talked endlessly about what we each imagined our life would be like living in a fifth wheel. We watched countless youtube videos and read every blog post we could find. Equipped with our lists and new knowledge we started again. We were able to walk into a camper and instantly know, yes this could work, or nope, onto the next! We narrowed it down to two options, a Raptor Toy-hauler 351 or a Montana High Country 362RD. The overall weight, living space, outdoor kitchen and full time living warranty made our choice for the Montana pretty easy. We put down a deposit and would be able to pick it up in a few weeks. We both agreed it would work for us, and we liked it, but going through it again, it didn't feel like "the one". At this point I was exhausted, and I just wanted the search to end, but Hannes, as the eternal second guesser, wanted to look at just one more, something we hadn't seen yet Our wonderful sales rep mentioned she had one more camper that would fit our needs, but this specific one was already sold. We could go through it and if we liked it, we could order exactly what we wanted. The moment we stepped into it, we both knew, THIS WAS THE ONE!
We ordered our 2021 Montana High Country 385BR that same day, with the exact colors, dining and bedroom options that we perfect for both of us. All we had left to do, was wait.