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Old 04-09-2011, 05:25 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Muskegon, MI
Posts: 13
Red face First Time Travel Trailer Owners

My husband and I bought a 1995 Coleman Sun Valley 12ft box pop-up camper a few years ago and loved it! I guess we're the type of people who once we've gotten into something we decide it's time to upgrade. We're also two people who never buy a BRAND NEW car and always buy used so we decided a month or so ago to look for a small trailer, and to sell our pop-up. The pop-up sold faster that we'd ever imagined on Craigstlist and with camping reservations already made for the year we decided we needed to get serious. We were going to find a used, small trailer, preferably a hybrid due to the fact it's just us and two large dogs (one newly adopted VERY skittish rescued Black and Tan Coonhound who I'm not sure how will handle camping), but with the thought of family in the future. Our towing vehicle is also a 1995 Ford Bronco and we don't want to push it with towing weight. So we started looking at used and realized for just a few grand more you can get brand new. So, for the first time ever, two weeks ago today... my husband and I bought our first BRAND NEW trailer. We got a 2011 Keystone Passport Ultra Light 190EXP and LOVE it! We have not taken it camping yet but cannot wait! We're a bit nervous though because we've never had a "trailer" with black water, gray water, water heater, etc etc etc! I mean.. we only know camping where we don't have our own bathroom! Now we've got A/C and water pumps, TV, stereo system, DVD player, Antennas with boosters, etc etc. Any helpful hints would be appreciated! We plan on making a checklist of things to do at set-up and shut-down (like putting the tv antenna down, etc). Any helpful tips, tricks, toilet chemical reviews... ANYTHING you can give us would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 04-09-2011, 05:38 AM   #2
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Winnebago Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Hampstead, NC
Posts: 1,388
Welcome to iRV2. Congrats on the new Keystone. This is a great forum for all the info you may seek. Do a search for what ever you may be interested in & it should come up with a few solutions. Ask away with any questions, the combined years of experience here is amazing.
About the upgrade from the popup to the full blown TT. My wife & I went from a 2 man backpacking tent to a 35' class A. Although we still use the tent on occasion, there is something to be said about a trip when the weather turns unexpectedly & you are still dry and warm or you turn on the ac & can sleep confortably at night.

Dan Sees, Full Timing in the MH & Part timing in a S&B In Hampstead, NC
2013 Winnebago Journey 42e, 2014 Featherlite Car Hauler 3110 17.5', 2008 Mazda MX5,
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:24 AM   #3
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Location: Naples, Fl.
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The best advice we can offer is complete the first "trip" in your driveway. Go into the house if you really need something. Keep a pad and paper and write down "things to get".

After a weekend in your driveway, you will have a pretty good idea of tings to buy/pack.
Camping Rig: 2006 Outback 27 RSDS--
2005 Dodge 3500 - Dually- Cummins
Full time since June 2006
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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Location: Armonk NY
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I found a checklist online, darned if I can find it this minute to give you the author but I printed and made copies to take on every trip. I know that there are several great books on the subject as well. The RVers bible is one good one and you can get many other through Amazon either in print or for your Kindle.
Leave the step down once, clip a fire hydrant and you won't do that again. Same for the broken TV you forgot to stow correctly. The one thing I love about campers is that they are always willing to help a newby. You'll learn as you go. Just enjoy your new Travel Trailer as much as you can.
Fulltime workamper traveling with Toy Poodles Cricket and Liza and Standard Poodle Gable
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:56 PM   #5
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RV Basics .com - RV Information for RVers about RVing
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Location: NE. Ohio USA
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We have camped about 320+ nights in our 05' hybrid. Here is our set-up;

~ We never travel with water, so we will stop at a place to fill the fresh water tank. Most of the state parks in Ohio and PA. have a fresh water fill outlet near the dump station or about every 10 or 15 sites along the campground roads. If you choose to fill along the road, make sure you are not blocking the road... While filling I'll take the anti-sway bar off and place it in it's place

~ Approach site, wife jumps out, I'll scan the site for trees that come into play, I'll also look across ( other side of the street) from the site to see that when I'm backing in that a car or a site post might clip my front tow vehicle corner. I'll back in about half way into the site or until my tow vehicle is off the road. I will then get my bubble level, rest it on the frame to see if I need to get any leveling blocks out. I use Lynx Levelers (10 pack) Those are the orange colored ones that stack like lego's. So if it is low on one side or the other I'll put down a 4-5 down. I'll back up till the wifey yells STOP....

I'm going to put this warning in here now. The wife will say "Go the that way" If I can't see ya I don't know what that other way is. Or "keep it straight" Again if I don't have a sightline down the side of the trailer, I can't tell if I'm backing it up straight. After 12 years...I still get yelled at. And you wonder why we ignore ya after awhile....For once I what to see her back it up. I will film it and post it on Youtube.

~ Make sure where you finally park the trailer, that when you put down the 4 trailer stablizers, that the back two don't come to rest on the curb stop found at many state parks. Some sites might have a big drop off behind the curb stop. In those sites I might park the trailer a little further up in the site, so the two rear stabilizers are not over-extended. Also while backing up, your wife watches that the curb stop clears your sewer outlets from your trailer. There are some trailers where they hang low to the ground behind the trailer wheels.

~ Once parked, and level, I will get out and get two wheel chokes, I'll hand my wife one for her side and I'll take care of my side. Next I use one of these between (locking choke) trailer wheels.

~ Next, my wife will do the cranking, I'll place a little block of wood down where it will touch the ground. While she is cranking, I unhook the power cord (tow - trailer) unhook the break-a-way cable and safely chains. She will pull the pin...Once high enough, I'll pull the Vehicle up about 5 - 10 feet.

~ I will then get my surge protector out and plug in to the power cord. In the mean time my wife will give me the thumbs up that we have good power. There have been a few times where there has been no power at the box. At many state parks, camp hosts will trip the breaker off after people leave. So double check that you have power at the box. As she is giving me the thumbs up on the power, I'll also tell her it is OK to move the slide out.

~ I will then unlock the bunk ends, I will lower the bunks as she will do the shepherd pole thing inside. Then she will start her inside stuff, put the antenna up, connect the TV, make the beds and hand out the lawn chairs, patio mat, and any boxes of firewood and so on. While she is preping the inside, I'll have my son crank down the stabilizers. I will go to the one outside storage door and bring out the small table, small grill, patio lights, water nose for the outside shower. By then my son is done with his job, next we will do the awning together. From backing in the site, it's about 20 minutes to set up.

Jim, Diane & Robert ~ NE. OH.
2013 Aerolite Hybrid #232 ES
2014 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7L
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