if you like camping, 1 night justifies it. Not everything in life needs to have a cost/benefit ratio done. Life is way too short. If you like the outdoors and seeing a variety of places, buy and go. If you are not sure, rent a unit for a trip or two and decide then.
We have been recreational campers for 20+ years. We've never tried to justify our purchases by looking at the number of days we camp. RV'ing is something we're passionate about and will continue with for many more years.
We've spent so much money on various types of rv's and tow vehicles. More than we would have ever spent on hotel vacations. We have no regrets.
We camp year round and every other weekend. Plus 2-3 whole weeks vacationing to visit family. We started with a tent and worked are way up to a truck camper to a 5th wheel. I think whatever you do is justifable (sp?) only by you. I know some who spend only one week a year in their RV. I love camping and traveling too much good luck to you and your decision.
My truck and 5th wheel were considerably more then what the OP has posted - but quite frankly, we have never considered that cost for the enjoyment that both my wife and I (and even the dog)get from the 20 to 50 days we use it for our 'down time'
Now, if that $47K is going to bother you, then camping might not be something you will enjoy. It does take considerably more yearly dollar outlay for incidentals like insurance, license plates. supplies, maintenance, upgrades, tow vehicle fuel mileage decrease hits, campground fees, extra toll road costs, cost of money (interest and fees) and so on.
If you have never done trailer camping, I encourage the OP to either rent for at least a week and if it's what you want for a hobby, consider starting a bit smaller and possibly even considering a used unit and work up to something bigger and fancier. Drive around your area - take a look at the trailers that haven't moved in years. In my neighborhood of 150 homes, we have 6 trailers/MH's that I can recall. Of that 6, only two of us are using ours. The others - who knows why they sit. And sit. Next, drive by some campgrounds - how many are units seasonals - RV's that were brought in by the dealer, never ever to move except to go to that 'trailer heaven' once it has gotten in such poor shape as to be unroadworthy (and this is NOT an indictment against all seasonals, just those that have buried their rotted tires in place).
Some years we use our MH 45 nights ... other years only 5 or 10. Once you make the investment the only way to "get your moneys worth" it to keep is long term and use it when you can. It comes down to how much you like the RV experience. For some (like me) I will use it every chance I can get and go to places that I might not visit if I was using motels. I have family experiences that could not be duplicated if we did not travel in a RV. Most people either love it or hate it. I love being able to take my second home with me.
Asking such a generic question is destined to get a lot of "it depends" answer.
Looking to buy first camper and our preferences are leaning towards a large 5th wheel. We think that we may spend 25-30 nights per year camping, the 5th wheel we like is around 47k. (I know we can go less expensive, but we like the size and floorplan) If we assume a 10 year lifespan of this 5th wheel, then we are estimating $157-$188 per night of camping, not including EVERYTHING else, such as food, fuel, maintenance, fees etc.. One could see where camping could truly cost around $250 per night.
You guys are experts. Is camping worth it? For people who aren't full time campers, how many nights do you spend camping and have you ever calculated your true cost per night?
It's probably like eating at McDonalds. Don't look at the calories!
Thanks so much!
if you buy a nice home for 200,000, figure the interest, insurance and maintenance with a 30 year loan, what does that cost per day?
What value can I place on the fresh scents of the outdoors, like pine and cedar and wildflowers? What value the sound of the surf? The sunsets over the water? The view of snowy peaks out the RV window? The cool breezes, when it's baking back home? Walking out the door and stepping onto the beach or the woodland trail?
If those things don't matter to you, you might not like camping. If you love those things, the trailer is an investment in your health and happiness.
Mike & Sherry
2000 Mercury Mountaineer
2008 Toyota Highlander
2011 KZ Spree Escape E14RB