Military family considering full time RVing.
So we are a military (Navy) family about 1/2 through a tour in Japan. When we return stateside it is highly unlikely we'd be sent overseas again, and since my husband's job is very specialized (only a handful in the entire Navy) we will likely be sent to only a handful of bases.
Those would be near Bethesda MD, Portsmouth VA, Jacksonville NC or FL, Pensacola FL, San Diego CA, 29 Palms CA, San Antonio TX, and Bremerton WA. Basically, only attached to the large Navy medical complexes.
We've previously lived in Jacksonville NC, Bremerton WA and near Pensacola FL. So we at least know those areas some, though not from an RVing perspective. We have (well, will in Sept!) have 3 boys, ages will be 6, 4, and 1 when we come back stateside and would be doing this. We do not own a house and are rather tired of throwing money away renting.
He will also only have 6 years left in the Navy until retirement. Our eventual goal is to save up enough money to afford the 20% down payment on a construction loan/land loan to build our dream house, but with the current costs of living and his only being an E6 that will not happen living as we are. Not even in base housing (since they take all your housing allowance).
We've ended up selling so much furniture, having things broken and not replaced, having old furniture not fit new homes, just etc etc that we not particularly attached to "stuff" Of course we have a few things we'd like to keep, but storage is an option. Not having deposit costs/ worrying about rental terms/or having to pay for hotels out the ying yang every time we PCS will be very helpful as well.
I know there's a ton of research and etc we need to do, and we'd need to learn how to manage the water lines/tanks and the propane, heaters and etc. Overall I think we're looking for a nicer travel trailer, preferably a bunkhouse one where the boys can have their own space and bathroom and so can we. While I think we COULD manage with far less space and stuff I'm not sure how realistic it is with children. Obviously with 3 boys outside time is our friend anyway, but I don't want to go stir crazy. I think we'd need a 35 ft + trailer, and I've seen the prices vary widely. We don't want anything super old though, and sliders/space would be ideal. I'm good at organizing and hubby and I have lived in tiny dorm rooms, trailers, and even FOBs before, so I think that would be ok. We're also happy with the idea of less "stuff" accumulating.
We'd obviously look for campsites with some amenities. Some bases do offer this. But are there many other options in the areas I've mentioned? I'm also worried about how realistic it would be to start out driving a larger trailer without previously having much experience doing so. Hubby has licenses for some construction equipment, but that's not exactly the same, and I'd need to be able to drive too. We have a 2014 Ford F150 crew cab truck that will be paid for upon our return stateside, and were already planning on getting a second car....but preferably not one with a huge payment. So, would we HAVE to get a 250 or larger type of truck? I know it varies by trailer, but are the lightweight ones usable for what we have in mind?!?
I'm also worried about the wear and tear on the trailer that 3 boys and 2 adults could inflict living full time. Are there any particular brands we should be looking at over others that do this better? There seem to so very many brands out there. We'd preferably be living in the same campground/lot the entire duration of our stay at a duty station (3 years or so).
Does anyone have kids that have learned to manage well in the small space they would have to call their "own"?