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Old 10-05-2016, 11:52 AM   #1
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Hi all,

Just registered here.

Currently shopping for an expandable. I started looking at Passport 217 EXP, but now I'm drawn toward Rockwood Roo 233s. Any comments on the two, recommended options, or alternate suggestions would be appreciated. My wife and I have two boys, ages 3 and 5, and we'd like to stick with something with 3 tip-outs so we don't have to convert a bed or try to make them coexist in a single bed.

I'll be towing with a 4th gen 4Runner V8, so the 233 is as big/heavy as I feel I can go. Please feel free to offer any comments on this as well. The GVRW of the 233s is about 1000 lb shy of the vehicle's towing capacity. A half ton pickup is likely in my future, when it's time to retire the T4R.

Thanks!
gmhokie
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Old 10-05-2016, 02:38 PM   #2
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It's awesome that you're getting a TT while the kids are still young.

We loved our pop-up once we were set up. If you could find a bumper pull that has bunks I think you would like not having to setup the pullouts. If you haven't camped at all you might want to buy used in case you want to upgrade or simply sell without losing as much money.

You didn't ask but; We eventually found a great deal on an older Class C. Even with the solar we only have about 13k invested and couldn't be happier. We have used the MH even as a tour bus taking visitors downtown to sight see. It is probably more upkeep than you're wanting to take on right now though.

Back to the Rockwood Roo...... I looked them up and they look awesome. Our popup was made by rockwood and we were very happy with it.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:32 PM   #3
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OKC - Thanks for the response and the welcome!

For a little background, we've been "tent purists" our whole lives, and we started our kids off tent camping when they were a few months old and sleeping in pack&plays. Since kids, however, we've only ventured out for bigger, long weekend trips when we've had the "safety net" of my parents or friends - both of whom have ~25 ft Sprinters - in the neighboring campsite. We'd like to break that reliance and make certain aspects of camping a little easier by having our own TT for shelter, cooking, noon-time naps, etc.

I really like the idea of the hybrid models because I feel like the kids will still maintain some feeling of tent camping, even though the tents are attached to rolling houses.

Thanks for the tips on looking @ used, and possibly even MH's. We're keeping an open mind, but also trying to focus on what we currently think is best for us so we don't get lost in the sea of options out there.

From folks with current and past expandable experience, I'm wondering about any particular features they've found to be valuable, as well as tips on catching common MFR defects when taking delivery.

We'll do most of our camping in the mid-atlantic region (PA, NY, VA) in the spring, summer and fall. As the name might suggest to some, we'll also head to Blacksburg from time to time in the fall!

Thanks,
gmhokie
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:42 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard hokie!!!

I too used to tent camp with a passion. However, I'm now 59 and had a microdisectomy 3 years ago. Getting out of a tent in the middle of the night for "old man purposes" and having to sleep on the ground with air mattress wasn't as comfy anymore.

Got a used hybrid and love it!!! Best part is having a refrigerator and not relying on an ice chest. Also, the hybrid DOES give that "feeling" of tent camping. If at all possible, try to find one that you can safely tow and has a slide. Big difference in room (but, of course, with the weight trade-off).

Good luck with your choice!!!
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
I'll be towing with a 4th gen 4Runner V8, so the 233 is as big/heavy as I feel I can go. Please feel free to offer any comments on this as well. The GVRW of the 233s is about 1000 lb shy of the vehicle's towing capacity. A half ton pickup is likely in my future, when it's time to retire the T4R.
Our first Aerolite (25') hybrid was 3900 dry and about 4900 wet (loaded). Towed with the 05' Toyota 4Runner (V-8). Even with the 7200 lb. towing capacity on the T4R would not want to tow much over 5500 lbs. Our present RV is a 26' Aerolite hybrid coming in at 5500 wet (loaded) For the first year on this one, it was towed with the 4Runner with a WD hitch. It did OK, but not wanting to leave the Toyota line, I looked into the Tundra. Because of the soft suspension on the 4Runner I would never want to go over 6k. Knowing we were going to Alaska this summer we bought a Tundra (2014) (5.7 V-8) (9990 towing cap.) for the added towing capacity.

Two things to be said about a triple bunked hybrid. #1 You will have to be careful at some campsites that the one bunk on the side has room to be lowered. #2 because the 3rd bunk takes up wall space, there will be less storage than a same length hybrid with just the normal front and back side bunks.

Just got back from 110 days to Alaska in the 2013 hybrid towed with the Tundra.
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ranster View Post
Best part is having a refrigerator and not relying on an ice chest.
This, in a nutshell, is why my wife is backing me on this purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranster View Post
If at all possible, try to find one that you can safely tow and has a slide.
That's what we're thinking. Without a slide, I think we'd be second guessing things on the first rainy day in the TT with our two little tasmanian devils. I really like some of the units with the slide that takes up the full left side, but it eliminates the third bunk.

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Because of the soft suspension on the 4Runner I would never want to go over 6k. Knowing we were going to Alaska this summer we bought a Tundra (2014) (5.7 V-8) (9990 towing cap.) for the added towing capacity.
I was stalking your pictures yesterday because I'm thinking we'll end up following your same Toyota/TT progression. I am currently looking at the T4R forums for coil spring upgrade ideas that preferably would not require a full susp. replacement. I've got 130k miles and no signs stopping, but I don't want to go too $$ crazy on the T4R when I could put that money into my Tundra fund.

I've been warned that the Tunda 5.7L gets a cool 8 mpg when towing. Is that about what you saw on your trip?

I appreciate the insight from all. I'm hoping that with moderate suspension upgrades, WDH and DC sway control, I can make do with the T4R/233s combo until it's time for a Tundra. We would certainly try to take all measures to eliminate unnecessary cargo weight from the bulk of our trips.

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Old 10-06-2016, 03:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
I was stalking your pictures yesterday because I'm thinking we'll end up following your same Toyota/TT progression. I am currently looking at the T4R forums for coil spring upgrade ideas that preferably would not require a full susp. replacement. I've got 130k miles and no signs stopping, but I don't want to go too $$ crazy on the T4R when I could put that money into my Tundra fund.
When we bought our T4R 2005 Sport Edition, the load leveling rear suspension was only available on the Limited trim package. There was such a price difference between the SR5 Sport Edition & the Limited we didn't want to move that far up the trim level. The following model year (06') it was available on the Sport. I do have to say the 05' 4Runner was the best daily driver I ever owned. Even after 9 years, it drove like new.

Quote:
I've been warned that the Tunda 5.7L gets a cool 8 mpg when towing. Is that about what you saw on your trip?
With the T4R and my 2005 / 25' hybrid trailer I got 12.25 MPG. The year we towed the newer 2013 / 26' hybrid the T4R got 11 MPG. Now I did drive more on the conservative side, meaning I didn't try to racing up the hill at 65mph. It had a sweet spot on the freeway to stay in overdrive at a slower 58mph.

With the 2014 (5.7) Tundra I get 11.0 to 11.5 MPG towing with the 26' tt. 5500 wet and 10'7" tall. That is going an average of 62 MPH on the freeway. And usually it will stay in overdrive (1750 RPM's). Just a tiny tailwind I can stay atb 65mph and stay in overdrive. Now if I get a nasty head wind that will fall closer to 10 MPG. Remember your pushing a big box down the road.

Just got back from a total of 13.5k miles to Alaska. Best gas mileage was 12.75 with a nice tailwind in Alberta. On the flip side we hit some nasty head and side winds ( I will say real nasty ) back in June on our way to AK. in SD, WY and Alberta Canada where we did stay in the 8-9.5 MPG range.

When I stopped to refuel a F-350 diesel RVer ( 5th wheel) said he couldn't get past 50 mph with the gas peddle to the floor. But the wind was so bad at one point I had to pull off the road. I knew when buying the Tundra because it was not a diesel, the mileage would not be there. I have no issues with what I'm getting. We were "extra" loaded for our AK. trip. Weighed at a Cat scale and was close to 6000lbs for the trailer. Normally we don't travel with water in our tanks. Except the AK. trip where the 52 gallon tank was full most of the time. That in itself was 400lbs. Non-towing, the Tundra gets 20.5 on the freeway, 15-16 city.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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I knew when buying the Tundra because it was not a diesel, the mileage would not be there. I have no issues with what I'm getting.
Yup, I with you here. I have a friend with a 3/4 ton diesel pulling a TT, and he's always telling me to go diesel... for towing a hybrid?? Personal preference, I suppose. I'd consider diesel if I thought I'd be towing 100 days/year. Most likely, with our kids, it'll be about 10 days/year.

Thanks for all of the info. Looking forward to my local dealer(s) getting some Roo/Passport/etc. in stock so I can start kicking tires and flopping bunks.
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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Before I retired this past May, we camped 50-60 nights a year, so the 4Runner set-up worked well. Every other weekend to a state park in NE. OH. during the spring and fall. Usually two or three 7 to 20 day trips in the summer to southern OH. state parks, every 3rd year to VT. and at least one trip to Northern PA. state parks.

If your only planning weekend trips under a 100 miles, then the T4R set-up will be fine if you find a unit under T4R's limit.
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