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Old 11-13-2017, 02:03 PM   #1
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Brand new and overwhelmed. Just some general questions--thanks!

Hello experienced people!

My husband and I have 4 kids, ages 15 (twins) to 22 (married), which makes us a family of 7 currently. Several years ago we rented a Class A 32ft. brand new bunkhouse RV with no experience or prior knowledge and took off across country for a month and had the best time ever. We had no problems driving, parking, finding camping spots, staying in Walmart parking lots, backing up, nothing. It had a few mechanical issues but we were able to fix those on the road.

We live in Oregon which is fun to explore, but a hotel isn't always close by so for my 50th birthday this year I thought, let's buy a Class A. There was an RV show this weekend in Portland so we spent Saturday there. Holy smokes. I had NO IDEA the can of worms I was opening.

Our 2 oldest are in college and come and go, but we like to vacation together so I thought it would be nice if the RV slept 7 adults. Almost everything, 5th wheels or RV's that we saw slept 6, and I've adapted to that. Someone's going to have to sleep on the camping mat on the floor I guess. I had never considered a 5th wheel until I walked into one at the show. The layouts with loft beds (extra sleeping area) or the raised livingroom where we could all watch movies or play games seemed like a MUCH better fit for our family's need at this stage of our lives.

Of course this means a 40 ft. 5th wheel or something around that size, and of course that means we need to buy some kind of huge truck to tow it (which would only seat 6, so where do we put that 7th person anyway?)

Over the weekend we've called friends with trailers, rv's, toy haulers, trying to get a handle on things and I've also been reading this forum. Things that I've heard in the last 2 days:

-Class A is fine to drive but that long of a trailer is going to be really difficult
-No way you will find someplace to stay in a state park with that big of an outfit
-Impossible to back into camping spot
-When storing, we would need to find a place with electrical hook ups so the battery doesn't drain (we live in a neighborhood and dont' have room on our property)
-When storing in the NW, you have to run a dehumidifier at all times so it doesn't mold, drain this to the outside
-stored RV's and trailers get mice easily and they chew through everything
-Everything is cheaply made and will break constantly making life miserable

You get the idea. My fun idea is turning into quite a daunting problem.

So, we could buy a bunkhouse Class A. We know how they work, can drive and back them up. It will sleep 6 with a pullout couch.

But the living space on several of the 5th wheels we looked at were so much bigger, and the layout so much nicer for a large family of adults.

We would be using it for long weekends at the coast, or around Oregon, and a few weeks in the summer.

I've been making a list of brands from other threads which is also confusing but I'm working my way through that. I wouldn't say cost isn't an issue, but we would rather have good quality and nice layout and nice amenities and enjoy ourselves than save money.

Ok, thanks for listening! If anyone has any advice for a brand new hopeful RV'er, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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You can legally carry a people in a fifth wheel but not a tow trailer. Grand Design Solitude is a good brand. The way to keep mice out is iillumanate you undercarriage at night if yo u have access to power
Just put a Dawn to dusk timer on on it works great.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:09 PM   #3
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You can legally carry a people in a fifth wheel but not a tow trailer. Grand Design Solitude is a good brand. The way to keep mice out is iillumanate you undercarriage at night if yo u have access to power
Just put a Dawn to dusk timer on on it works great.
Just don't do this in the 30 or so states where it is illegal!
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:20 PM   #4
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Seems to me that with at least one married child it might be time to spread out into multiple vehicles.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:27 PM   #5
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If you mean multiple vehicles to get to our destination, yes, we could do that. If you mean multiple RV's, the marrieds are young and just headed into med school, so no funds to do that.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:09 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that once you pass about 30 feet, camping in some Fedeeral and some State campgrounds becomes an impossibility due to smaller sites.
Just my observation over the years.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:41 PM   #7
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If you mean multiple vehicles to get to our destination, yes, we could do that. If you mean multiple RV's, the marrieds are young and just headed into med school, so no funds to do that.
For what the HUGE truck and 5th bunkhouse it is going to cost you and the quality you get with bunkhouses buy a converted van or 4x4SUV and a pod that the marrieds can use and you can buy a 30'-35'(used) 5th or a Coach that sleeps 4.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:08 PM   #8
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There's a Class A toy hauler... it looks like it could sleep 7... Two adults in the Queen Master Bedroom...Four adults in the double King Sized drop down bunk/sofas in the garage...one adult in the Jacknife sofa... I think the dinette can convert to a bed as well...

Just an idea.

Yes...length can be a problem in older Federal and Some State parks... We actually find backing our 40 ft Class A is much easier than our 30 ft Fifth Wheel...it backs just like a car...except for two extras...larger wheel cut, and a backup camera. I can actually see where I'm going!!!

Seven people in any RV can be a juggling act...

I would check again for how many seat belts this coach has...it may make beds for seven, but just check the seatbelt situation too...

I don't know how gloomy it stays...but many people add solar to thier roof to maintain the batteries. You would have to size your battery bank run a small dehumidifier --- we sized ours to keep a residential fridge going. Since you want the dehumidifier appliance to run in electric...perhaps going propane for the fridge, stove, water heater...would mean less electrical loads as well.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:20 PM   #9
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Seven people in an RV is going to get very crowded when it rains. As for a second camping vehicle for one of the newly married....I gave my 2003 30ft gasser to my son, who is not financially able to purchase his own. The family fun and memories are far more important to me than the loss of cash from not selling it. If you are able, that my be a way for you all to camp together. There are many smaller pull behind camp trailers that can be had for little money. I always recommend high end used over a new purchase. What a hundred K buys used will be better than 100K new anything.
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Old 11-14-2017, 03:40 AM   #10
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If you mean multiple vehicles to get to our destination, yes, we could do that. If you mean multiple RV's, the marrieds are young and just headed into med school, so no funds to do that.
Just something to consider.

It seems most of the vans that can carry 7 can also sleep 2 but are heavy to tow. Driving two instead of towing one opens up possibilities for traveling together at your destination as well as getting there with ample seat belts and some driver/passenger rotation on the way. It would serve as a short term fix as the med school life will interfere with big family vacations fairly soon. I'd be looking at how to keep flexible for when I could get them together rather than assuming everyone will be there as you are hitting a point in life where a lot of outside pressure changes what happens.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:34 AM   #11
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They make toy hauler Class 'A' RV's. Might look at those. But to muddy the water more. Travel Trailers and even 5th wheels have bunk house models.Means you need to take two vehicles.

What you are trying to do is not easy. It is a logistical nightmare.

I know many people bring a tent to sleep a few kids. Seems the tent works out well. Everyone sits around the campfire until bed time, then some go into the hard shell RV and others go into a tent.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:50 AM   #12
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Forgot to mention, I do not think I would buy a big truck unless you needed a truck for other things.

So no matter what you buy it will be on a storage lot most of the time...humm That screams 5th wheel.

Again, logistical nightmare.

Good luck
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:03 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone who responded! So, I didn't see any replies that said, "Driving a 40 ft. 5th wheel isn't going to be any harder than the Class A you rented". So, maybe we go back to looking at the Class A. My husband does not need a large truck for work, he'd be trading in a Lexus to use it for a 5 mile suburban commute. Ha. But, he was also looking for a vehicle that does well in snow to take the kids skiing, so he may not mind.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:16 AM   #14
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I wanted to get to the show but had another commitment so didn't make it.
I've never had to try and fit so large a family in an RV and I'm in the "seats 6 for happy hour, 4 for dinner and two for sleeping" category. Even my 45' MH only sleeps 3.
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