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Tampa Supershow: The Hunt for the Right RV

Last summer you might remember that we went to check out the RVs at the Tampa Summer RV Show. That was nothing compared to what greeted us last Saturday at the Tampa Supershow. There were hundreds and hundreds of rigs. Each company brought a dozen or more, and there were so many brands there. Then there were the local RV dealerships with even more there. It was amazing. We walked and walked and walked, and we didn't see but a small fraction of what was there.


Kate on the Vigor 44v14 couch.

Vigor 44v14 Floorplan.

We started out over at the Alliance booth. They had two rigs that might work for our family, but the one that was the best fit was their Valor 44V14 model. It has a incredibly nice set up, especially in the living area, with an L shaped couch that could easily seat all of us in a slide out, while still have a four seater table. It is the typical toy hauler, with two queen beds in the back and a single bunk style loft. The kitchen is small, but makes a good use of space with a trash bin that opens to the outside so that you don't have to take garbage out through the RV. Equipped with a residential style fridge and a nice stove, there is also one long wall with counter space for prepping meals. The kids really loved it, and the show price was far more affordable than I would have expected. However, toy haulers are still fairly expensive. So we kept walking.



Avalanche 378 BHS floorplan

We explored a few more manufacturer booths but didn't find anything for a family our size until we ended up back at the Keystone section of the show. Where we off course walked through our two favorite Avalanche rigs. They really know how to make a beautiful rig, and for the most part I don't hear too many problems with them. I thought the kids would prefer the 378BH so that they each had their own designated bunk, except for the twins who would share. However, I was surprised when they all insisted that they preferred the 390DS with two separate bedrooms. Britt is just shy of 5'8" now and even he can sit straight up in the loft area above the second bedroom and not have to hunch over. For that reason along it beats all the other two bedroom models out there, because not one has that much head room. I still felt like those two were our best options, despite the high price tag.


Avalanche 390 DS floorplan

Living room/Kitchen and looking up at the loft of an Avalanche 390 DS floorplan

At that point we headed back to the car for a lunch break of sandwiches, chips, and cookies. After that we started combing the grounds again. This was when we checked out the Brinkley's which if we had money to burn would be the rig to get. They are made with impeccable attention to detail along with the highest quality materials, and they have so many space saving devices. What's not to love other than the show price tag of more than $150,000. They were so cram packed exploring their rigs that I didn't take any pictures. I didn't even know that you could fit 27 people plus some kids running around in an RV but apparently you can in a Brinkley. What's crazy is the thing still felt spacious. If you are curious like me, you can get more information on it here.


Brinkley G 3950 Floorplan.

Next we continued looking at options until we found ourselves back over at the Heartland booth, so we decided to look at the Open Range 338BH model again. To our surprise, Britt was now too tall to comfortably lay on any of the bunk beds. Once we got everyone in there, I was glad that we hadn't gotten into one last summer, because they were pretty crowded in there, and we realized that while it would have been a short term solution, it would have been a shorter term solution than we had imagined.

Open Range 338 BHS Floorplan

You might recall from an earlier post that we were having trouble narrowing down the right RV for us. We had some options that might work, and then we had some options that we liked but that were crazy expensive. Several times since deciding that the best option was Open Range's 338BHS model we have gone looking at RVs. We've looked at various dealerships when they are running a special event. We've looked at used models that are no longer being made, we've looked at new models that are top of the line. But all that time, we haven't found anything that seems just right for us, at the right price.



We aren't going to have to look any further, because Heartland has released a new Open Range this year the 390BHS 3x model. This model really has everything that we have been looking for. Starting in the master bedroom, it is enormous AND the kind size bed is on an adjustable base. Gary and I swapped to an adjustable base and not only do we sleep better but adjusting the height of the head has drastically cut back on Gary's snoring so I can actually get to sleep. It's great that we won't have to give that up in a rig. Next is the Master bath, and it is the biggest I've seen other than those models where the entire end is a bathroom. It is set up so that two people could easily be in there at once getting ready. It's also got a very nice shower, with really nice shower heads, a bench, and since it's square instead of radial there is so much more space to it. Then you come to the living room/kitchen area. There are so many things that they did right in this space. First of all is the supersofa, there is no problem with everyone being able to see the tv on movie night, or work on school work during the day in comfort. When you look in the kitchen it's hard to know where to start. The sink is on the wall, which I personally perfer, because it leaves the entire island open for meal prep, eating, school work, you name it. With four stools there we have lots of options for that space. There is also an residential fridge and oven (most RV ovens are tiny, but not this one), and a really nice four burner stove that Gary fell in love with. To top it all off, behind the tv it swings open to reveal a pantry, one large enough that Britt could climb inside and close the door behind him, and since the thing locks, we'll be able to hopefully keep the twins out of the food storage for a change. Continuing down the rig, the next room you step down into is the second bedroom, with a queen size bed, Britt has claimed the space for him and the twins. There is also clothing storage in here in both a dresser and a closet. It also opens up into a bathroom, that can be entered from the living room or the bedroom, The shower in it is also a small tub, so it would be easy to wash the twins, without having to give them a shower. It also feels much larger than it would appear given the good layout of space. Finally there is a loft above the second bedroom with three twin mattresses. There are also cubbies up there for clothing and toy storage. The girls have all claimed that space as theirs, even going so far as to try to fake out that they had gone to sleep up there. There are several new features on the exterior of the rig as well as a outdoor kitchen, with a griddle large enough to fry an entire pound of bacon at once. Gary could tell you all about those from the thicker insulation to the redesigned slide systems, that use to be Open Range's biggest problem area. The only two knocks I could find were with the loft area. It's not as spacious as the Avalanche's 390BHS, Britt can't sit up all the way in it, and for some reason they made the decision to mount the right side of the ladder to the wall, which makes climbing it difficult. Even the extras like the tile and the color scheme are spot on, with a clean, crisp, but not stark look.


Open Range 390 BHS 3X Floorplan

While we were looking at the Open Range options for this year, we received a phone call about a gentleman interested in buying the house. He just gave a verbal offer, that was too low and not the best options for us, but it was a starting point. He has since come by to see the house and is looking into other possible financing options and willing to offer more. So we are hoping perhaps soon, we'll be able to see and when we do the new Open Range 3x is what we are planning to purchase.

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