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Old 09-03-2015, 10:05 AM   #1
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First RV- recommendations for small bunkhouse TT that's boondockable?

We're looking to move up from tent camping. We have 2 boys, aged 3 and 5. We're interested in a smaller bunkhouse trailer with a queen up front. It will be used for short weekend trips, hopefully to boondocking areas in national parks, or even visiting friends/relatives that don't have the room to sleep us for a couple of nights. I don't envision using the living area that much, but mostly sitting outside around a campfire ring or off hiking or biking.

We went to an RV show, which is why we think the right layout will be front bedroom, rear bunks. Tow vehicle is a F250, so weight isn't too much of a concern, we want smaller just for the sake of parking space and upfront cost.

I found a website that recommended a composting toilet for boondocking, that might be an upgrade I would do, and a solar system too. I also have a Honda EU2000 that can charge up the batteries if needed.

Looking at Forest River, Keystone, etc websites, it's mind boggling how many lines of trailers there are and no mention of really what the quality differences are. I don't care for "foo-foo" features (TV's, stereos, etc), expensive gimmicks, or even an outdoor kitchen. What I don't want to do is skimp on build quality, or materials that will rot or fall apart in a few years.

What should I really be looking for? Insulated floors? heated holding tanks? fiberglass vs aluminum sides? What other "great to have" features should I be looking for?

Finally, what are some quality models to look at both new and on the used market?

EDIT: After readying all morning, I'm really liking the Nash 23B. Small, simple, 4 season insulated, and no frills (TV, outdoor kitchen, etc).

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Old 09-03-2015, 05:59 PM   #2
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How long will you boondock at a time? What temperatures? That makes a big difference. Lots of trailers can boondock a couple of days, just as they come off the lot. Add some solar or a generator, learn to be frugal with water, and you can go 4 -5 days. Since you have a generator, your limiting feature will be water, and there are ways to deal with that. A composting toilet is the kind of thing someone who stays out for a month uses, not someone out for a week. A big thing is the temperatures you expect to camp in. Running the trailer heater is a big draw on the electrical power, and it can suck the stock batteries down overnight. Change the stock batteries for something else, and you can handle down to 30 degrees or so. Lower than that requires some real trade off considerations.

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Old 09-03-2015, 06:32 PM   #3
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3 days, 2 nights for most trips. Anything longer will be traveling with campgrounds. I plan to use it all year though, so below freezing needs to be doable, but nothing crazy- figure 25-30 at the lowest.

The heat is electric? I thought they were propane. I have a lot to learn.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:12 PM   #4
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They are propane heaters but the fan to blow the air is 12 volt DC from your TT batteries. Most newer furnaces draw about 2.5 amps so running all day (20 hrs) uses 50 amp hours of electricity that you will have to replace. One (1) 12 volt deep cycle battery will not do you well. I went to 2, 6 volt golf cart batts which gives me over 240 amp hours of draw. Cut that in half for good battery life at 120 amp hrs draw till recharge from your Honda unit. So you might go 2 days before you recharge.
Forget the composter. Just learn how to manage your fresh water capacity and how to dump your tanks properly. Gray water capacity will be your limiting factor. 3 days and 2 nights won't cause any issues unless someone takes long showers. Navy showers only! You probably will never fill up the black tank before your gray tank is overflowing. Nothing beats lots and lots of water to flush the black tank. Flush until it all runs clean. I go down through the toilet hole with a wand. Never had a stinker. I use one packet of Bio-pac (from Wally World) at refill with 4 gallons of water to start after dumping. Comes in handy while traveling and we have a dump at our RV storage site that I use to clean out again before we park it till the next trip.
Nash looks to me to be where I will go with my next TT.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:19 PM   #5
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We boondocked with a 14ft Dutchmen with tiny tanks for 4 years. We took Navy showers to an art form, wiped down all cookware, dishes etc. with paper towels to use the minimum amount of water during washups (and burned the paper towels as fire starters).

Just moved up to an 18 ft Shasta Oasis with rear bunks, bigger tanks and a queen bed up front. It will be like boondocking at the Ritz.

Look at the construction of the different models with floor plans that you like. I ended up making a document that compared features and specification across brands in my target size.

Our Oasis had the better R- 7 insulation in sidewall, roof and floor when compared to some other brands, for instance, and that was a big selling point for me.
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2016 Shasta Oasis 18BH, 2015 Ram1/2 ton Hemi
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for pointing out the 18BH! We're going to the Hershey PA RV show and will add it to the list of trailers to check out.

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