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Old 04-27-2016, 03:16 PM   #1
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Looking to Purchase 1st 5th Wheel

Hello Everyone,

DW and I are looking to purchase our 1st 5th wheel and we are overwhelmed with the choices. We have a budget of approx. $80K and a length limit of 37/38 ft. I would prefer a 33-35 ft rig, just for ease of access to tight areas and general handling, but I am open to the larger units if they meet more of our requirements. 2013 to 2016 are our year limits. Weight is not a problem as TV is 2015 Dodge 3500 DRW.

We primarily will use the rig for dry camping and KOA camping, with 3-4 trips a year, usually within 1000 miles of our location (Arizona). The DW is looking for up scale interiors and floor plans, while I am focused on quality - trailer frame, suspension, side wall, floor, and roof construction, insulation, maintainability, electrical, etc.

Since we intend to dry camp half of the time, we have additional requirements of large water capacity, large and usable storage capacity, roof space and strength for solar panels, easily adaptable electrical system and storage space/strength/safety for 2-4 GC batteries and 3 phase inverter/charger. Battery storage should also allow for easy access to all the batteries for maintenance.

With respect to floor plans, we do not like a floor plan that has the heating vents placed in high/moderate traffic areas. Another objection is a floor plan that has the living room area on the left side of the rig (drivers' side).

We started out looking at Artic Fox and DRV. Didn't like the living room location and the interior amenities were just OK on the Foxes. They are still in the running, but at the bottom of the list for now. We did like the quality construction and components on the DRV, but not so much the floor vents and I'm not sure the DRV is up to dry camping. The 5th wheel we like the best is the Augusta RV Ambition, but like the DRV, it is primarily designed for full timing. Are there any other 5th wheels that would meet our requirements or do you think the DRV or Ambition would be fine for dry camping, after the solar, battery and inverter upgrade?

Ken & Louise
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:09 PM   #2
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You have quite a list and know what you do/don't want so IF possible go to a an RV SHOW and browse

Otherwise ....Custom Build
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:51 AM   #3
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Well Old Biscuit,

It looks like you might be correct. We are looking for a used 5'er, mostly because of our budget limit and other rig requirements. I was hoping that maybe someone had 'been there and done that'. We will probably have to lower our (the DW's) desire for luxury and focus on units with proven dry camping capability. Our previous RV was a 2005 30' motorhome, and I swear I spent more time and money keeping everything running than we did using it. Don't want to go down that road again.

Thanks for the reply,

Ken & Louise
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:04 AM   #4
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We have had several fifth wheels and now on our fourth. The one we liked the best but did not buy was the Glacier Peak. Mostly due to cost since we do not travel much. Did you look at the Forest River Cardinal? We liked ours but it was a 2000 so moved on to newer.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:22 AM   #5
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Everybody is going to tell you that theirs is best. Northwood, Outdoors would be the two top choices. In house frames instead of Lippert.
DRV used to be good, but were bought out by Thor a couple years ago. Have not seen many reports since.
Like others, my 11 year old Cedar Creek has been great with very few issues in that time. I dont think you will find better customer service in the industry.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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While ORV Glacier Peaks are nice, they're way to small to be comfortable in with the kind of travel the OP will be doing. GP bedrooms are cramped.
$80,000 would get you into an MSRP listed price of around $120,000. If you looking used and are willing to spend $80,000 then I would be looking at any of the full time type 5ers. Not saying to buy a specific one, but names like DRV, Redwood, Landmark Big Horn, Jayco Designer or Pinnacle and Montana Legacy would be some of the ones I'd take a look at. My pet peeve is CCC. Even some of the big full time units have relatively low CCC ratings. Just something to keep an eye on especially if you're going to be adding solar panels, batteries and an invertor.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:50 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the input. I'll check out your recommendations.

Cumminsfan, roger that on the CCC. In addition to the total capacity is the usable physical size and individual load capacities of each bay.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:25 PM   #8
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We dry camp a lot in Colorado in out Mobile Suites--there isn't any downside to this with a Suites any more than the others. 4 batteries, built-in gen, LED bulbs, 100gal fresh water.
DRVs have a lot to offer and a substantial roof for solar when you go that route. 2 of us and 3 dogs can usually make it 10 days easy before having to haul water. For $80k, you can get a 15 Suites, I would think.
Joe
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
Everybody is going to tell you that theirs is best. Northwood, Outdoors would be the two top choices. In house frames instead of Lippert.
I do like the fact that Northwood and Outdoors makes their own frames. They also tend to be more robust than many But, heavy and expensive. IMO Arctic Fox is behind some others when it comes to the latest in features and design. If that matters.

Regarding everyone saying their rig is the best, not me. For us it is compromise when it comes to weight, cost, features, and overall appearance (DW has strong ideas about the latter). What that means is we do the best we can and then count on making the few changes we need/want.

The jury is still out on our new Rockwood. I am still finding things that could have been done or done better. For instance, the bath towel rod was not installed, found it in a cabinet. I am not wild about the C rated tires so will need to ramp up to D soon. Nits but annoying.

On the other hand it is full LED, the furnace is very quiet, wardrobe storage meets our needs and the overall layout we like. So my plan is to live with for a while and see how it goes.

My advice is to make a checklist of what is a deal killer and what is good to have but can be a compromise if all else meets the criteria.

GT
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Old 04-29-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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I would say look at some used Excels. They just stopped making them last year so there should be some nice young ones on the market. Mine is older, but holding up well. One of the things I like about it is very good CCC. With full tanks it is in the mid 3k range.

I can't speak to the newer ones but might be worth a look.
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Old 04-29-2016, 01:46 PM   #11
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Many thanks to all who have replied. Good advice and some new ideas.

K & L
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:17 PM   #12
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What I found better than a list is to go play house in them. Spend a half hour without a salesman. Pretend your making a meal, watching TV, taking a shower, heck try taking a dump. Write down likes, dislikes. When you get home, compare your lists. You will quickly find the right one for your life style.
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Old 04-29-2016, 03:39 PM   #13
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Good advise.

Since you appear to know what you want, make three lists:

The camper MUST HAVE, and it is not easily added. Shower with seat, walk around bed, big kitchen, LR layout.

The camper MUST NOT HAVE, and not easily changed. Bunks, separate LR & Kitchen rooms

The camper, when ready for travel MUST HAVE, bit you can add them. Fireplace, if cabinet space is readily available, central vac, black tank flush.

Do not deviate from the first two lists and make sure things on list 3 are possible.

When shopping or internet browsing, this makes it much easier to eliminate ones that look good, but....

Your camper is out there. With your budget, you can certainly find it. Just take your time.
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:39 PM   #14
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Used I'd look at a carriage, mobile suites, redwood or what I have - a lifestyle. You may even be able to get a new Lifestyle in your budget.
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