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Old 05-05-2014, 08:45 AM   #1
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Forest River for Full Timing?

We have found several Forest River Bunkhouse model floor plans that we really like, Sandpiper, Wildcat and Hemisphere. Will they stand up to full time living on the road?
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:26 AM   #2
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I would look hard at chassis, axle ratings, etc. You will be heavy as full time living we carry more. These are mass produced units so quality construction is a crap shot. Wood cabinets hold up well and can be sanded and refinished easily. Plastic not. People full time in just about all the units. We, personally, would not be satisfied with any mass produced unit. But that is us. Where do you plan to travel to? Do you like skiing? Need good insulation, enclosed belly, heated tanks, etc. Not into that, not as important. I state as important cause good insulation helps cooling and noise also. We are in a rather noisy Rv park now, not our preferred place but job dictates our location. It is relatively quite inside.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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I see you have a Teton, if only I had $150K,
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:43 PM   #4
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I'm not familiar with these models, but be prepared to budget for upgraded running gear; your livelihood rides on it and most manufacturers try to get away with the bare minimum which is not safe at all.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:58 PM   #5
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All three of those are considered weekend trailers. If you want Forest River full time trailers start with Cedar Creek or Cardinal
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:30 PM   #6
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All three of those are considered weekend trailers. If you want Forest River full time trailers start with Cedar Creek or Cardinal
I would love to start with those models but we need a bunkhouse and those models do not offer a bunkhouse floor plan. Now where do I look?
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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Had a cardinal, did not stand up to FULLTIMING
Not aware of a fulltime fiver with bunks,!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:04 PM   #8
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I agree with those that basically say these are 'run of the mill' 5th wheels. Typically these 5th wheels are built for weekend use. They will not have 7,000 or 8,000lb axles with a heavy substantial frame.

As long as you know these are not full time units you can plan and not take as much stuff and keep the unit lite.

I am now a snowbird but plan to full-time soon. I will travel to Florida for the winter. Even so the weakness in my rig shows. It is not insulated very well with just single pane windows. There were about 7 cold nights, even in Florida. We were cold unless we kept a lot of heating sources running continually.

I now know to look for the following:
1. 7,000 to 8,000lb axles
2. At least a thick 12" I beam frame. Box frames are better by Excel, DRV, Lifestyle but 12" I-beam as a min.
3. 17.5" tires with a 'G' or 'H' rating
4. Dual Pane flush mount windows
5. Fiberglass Roof.

Look at the Columbus 385BH. It has 7,000 axles for sure. It seems to advertise good insulation ratings but not sure about the frame and tires. It is the best unit that I know with a bunk configuration.

Good luck
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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Depends on what you're planning on doing while full timing. Are you going to be towing a lot or staying in one place for 1-2 months at a time? How long are planning on full timing for? If you are looking at a bunk model, are you taking kids along or is the bunk for visiting grand children?
You can get away with a non full time unit if you are staying longer in one spot as opposed to hitting the road all the time. If you're parked for two months at one site, well that's no different than storing it for two months before you use it again.
Under those conditions you don't need a 12" frame or 7-8000lbs axles. However I would look at 5'ers with high CCC's. You will be taking way more than you think while full timing.
None of the models you listed are really very good for FT. You will want high insulation R-values, larger tanks. All but one (Wildcat) don't have large enough CCC's.
I would look elsewhere. I have a couple FR products on my short list so I feel they make decent 5'ers. But the ones you listed just aren't conducive to FT.

If you're set on FR products then maybe look at Palomino. Not really FR but in the same mold. Palomino RV - Manufacturer of Quaility RVs since 1968
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:42 PM   #10
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only paid 30,000 for mine. Looks new inside. Looks good outside.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:11 AM   #11
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Most people fulltime in what they can afford. And can tow in comfort.

I have met the nicest people in smaller units. And they are the ones enjoying the outdoors that I can stop and have a nice conversation with. Sometimes I regret having such a large unit just to enjoy nature and the camping experience.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:25 AM   #12
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I wouldn't recommend a Cardinal or any FR camper for full time use but I know of others that have them and are content with them. Yes they burn more propane than we do. They skirt theirs and put heaters in storage/underneath to prevent freezing lines. We don't and have no problems. ?They tow with a 2500 truck. I can't. Only you can make this decision.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:10 PM   #13
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The Forest River bunk house models you're talking about are 43' long, and they're very heavy trailers--Sandpiper and Sierra brands are the same exact trailers. They're the most popular 5th wheel bunk house trailers on the market right now and are getting pretty much positive customer reviews.

That said, I would be hesitant to put one of these trailers behind a 3/4 ton diesel pickup truck. A dual wheel 1 ton or heavier would be better. I would not want to pull one of these monsters all over the country like many full timers travel. Many RV parks cannot even handle such long trailers--and customers have difficulties navigating them through small spaces.

And they really don't have the quality of a DRV Suite or equivalent high line 5th wheel trailer. I wouldn't put one of them behind anything less than a top quality dual wheel diesel truck either--preferably a medium duty truck.

But if you're going to put one in a membership camp ground or a permanent spot and not move it all over the country, you could live in one for a few years.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:29 PM   #14
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this is what we full time in
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