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Old 06-24-2017, 11:05 AM   #1
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Question First-Time Purchaser/Full-Time Use

Hello all! I'm in the process of purchasing my first travel trailer (or 5th wheel) for full-time use. I live in New England (keeping winter in mind) and will be based at my close friends' homestead. I'm a single guy without children. My situation is not that dissimilar to MysticalMama's (so I've been following). I have two months to make my purchase. I will also be purchasing a tow vehicle since my Jeep Rubicon won't cut it. I can always purchase the tow vehicle after the RV so capacity isn't an immediate issue (I am open to a diesel dually if necessary). My budget for the RV is about $25k. Originally it was $15k for a pre-owned unit but since I may be living in it full-time for a few years, I am reconsidering that budget cap.

I've seen many times here where it is said there is no such thing as a 4-season trailer. If that is the case and there are modifications and steps to take regardless, then it opens up my choices. If I really should limit myself to a 4-season, then I need to widen my search radius. I've gotten mixed messages from different dealership salesmen/women who really didn't convince me that they knew much about anything. They were all less than confident in their answers to many of my questions. They all had differing opinions about 5th wheels as well. (If they really are easier to tow, I am quite interested in this option as I am going solo.)

I looked yesterday at a 2016 Keystone Passport TT 2670 BH Grand Touring Extended Season listed at $21.9k but they would do $19.5k delivered about 60 miles. There were other nice units as well but this is one I am considering style/layout wise. I like the bunks for storage because I have guitars, backpacking and archery gear, firearm cases, etc. Decor is somewhat of a factor as well. I want to be practical, but I'm a young guy and I don't want to live in grandma's living space if you know what I mean! No disrespect to my elders intended! There is also a sale on new 34ft. KZ Sportsmen and Gulf Stream Friendship units. Beautiful inside but perhaps not practical for winter living. I don't know what I don't know! Any feedback and advise would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:27 AM   #2
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What's your total budget for truck and trailer? How far are you willing to travel? You mentioned full time living for a couple years. Is it two years and then you have plans do/go somewhere else or it could be two years or four or ........?
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
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Most "four season" RVs are closer to 3 season rigs. However, you can survive winter even in New England. I survived three years in a 1963 Airstream in Spokane, WA and Salt Lake.

1st. Heat Tape/Wrap your water hose from the trailer all the way to the ground to prevent freezing.

2nd. Get a large propane tank installed next to the trailer and put it on a routine service contract. Keep your small tanks filled for the times when the big tank goes empty. ☹️
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:44 AM   #4
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3rd. If the park will allow, put a skirt around the bottom of the rig. Helps hold heat under and keeps you a little warmer, also helps prevent the pipes from freezing in the worst conditions.

4th and final. Get one or 2 elect space heaters to diplomacy your furnace.

Worked for me back in '79.
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:46 AM   #5
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"What's your total budget for truck and trailer? How far are you willing to travel? You mentioned full time living for a couple years. Is it two years and then you have plans do/go somewhere else or it could be two years or four or ........?"

As far as the tow vehicle, I'm planning on around $15k which is what I will clear with my Jeep. I will add a bit more if necessary but looking to not finance anything whatsoever if possible. For the trailer, I would like to cap at $25k. I will be staying on my friends' farm for a year, or as long as I need, until I figure out a more mobile career path. My long-term goal is to purchase 20+ acres and build. Once I purchase the property, I will be living in the trailer off-grid until I build a home (preferably also off-grid). The property might end up being in the northwest, the Ozarks, or elsewhere...I would like to do some traveling and discover my preferences through experience. I have family and friends scattered around the U.S.
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:25 PM   #6
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I have a Nash 23D from Northwood, probably not as big as you are looking for but I full time with myself, 2 dogs and my SO travels with me when I travel outside of my home area. I have lived in Wildhorse Nevada for weeks, Central Oregon for weeks and northern Idaho for weeks during the winter. The coldest it has been is 12* F but have had many extended 20-25* F days and nights in my trailer. I stay toasty and warm using my little buddy heater and onboard heater (to keep water lines and tanks warm, mainly). Our bed time is always warm with both of us a golden retriever and lab. 95% of my camping locations are off the grid with no utilities. It is doable, fun and at night really cozy. I bought this particular unit for price and utilitarianism of its design. It tows really well and it is just big enough to fit us but small enough to fit in some of the wonderful places we travel too.
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:52 PM   #7
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I have a Nash 23D from Northwood, probably not as big as you are looking for but I full time with myself, 2 dogs and my SO travels with me when I travel outside of my home area.
I have seen the Nash recommended in other threads for being a decent 4-season but haven't found one in my 100-mile radius search.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:46 PM   #8
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The two companies are Northwood Manufacturing and Outdoors RV. They are both made in Oregon and owned by the same company. Lance is good also, I hear, but way out of my price range. You may have to cast your net a little farther for the 4 season capabilities but definitely worth it. I used to have an older Forest river Wildwood, tried camping in cold icy rainy weather a couple of times and did not enjoy it very much. Ran through a lot of propane during Elk season in the Pacific Northwest without ever feeling comfortable.

Another piece of advice, do not buy one that does not have the double pane thermal Windows, enclosed and heat ducted storage tanks (enclosed and heated are two different standards in four season, it seems), and a bed big enough for all. The only complaint about my Nash is bed size. It has an RV queen, I am over 6 foot, and with the SO and dogs it can get a little to small.
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Old 06-24-2017, 06:03 PM   #9
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If you are living alone in that trailer, why a bunk house? Seems a waste of space. Also, want to consider the size of the refrigerator and how much storage in the pantry and for clothes. You might want to check out a floor plan with lots of storage and no bunks and would want to see how comfortable the dinette is; I think they are a waste of space as well.
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Old 06-24-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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If you are living alone in that trailer, why a bunk house? Seems a waste of space. Also, want to consider the size of the refrigerator and how much storage in the pantry and for clothes. You might want to check out a floor plan with lots of storage and no bunks and would want to see how comfortable the dinette is; I think they are a waste of space as well.
I was just thinking it was a place to store my guitars and gear which required some sort of relative temp control and access without going to an outside storage space.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:23 PM   #11
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Here is my take on the BH. Take the beds out and use it as a Walk In Closet. Im debating doing the same thing. A Bunk House would solve a lot of my problems. But keep the beds somewhere so when you go to sell it. They will be back. Also keep the Bunks Mattress in the closet in case someone comes around and then you will extra beds if you need them.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:25 PM   #12
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Well, you knew it was just a matter of time before one of us read your post and said "consider finding a Sunnybrook Harmony..." So I just did.

How far are your from Turner, Maine? This one is certainly worth a look in my opinion. Appears to have been stored under cover with the exception of the front cap having some sun exposure. Looks pretty sweet, and in my opinion the build quality and design features exceed most of what is built today.
http://www.scottsrecreation.com/defa...OwnedInventory

It's a 25CKS, all aluminum superstructure, high quality fixtures, trail air (equaflex) suspension, pocket jig screwed cabinets with hardwood faces, porcelain fixtures, all metal plumbing fixtures, hidden hinges, hd roller glides on the plywood drawers, what's not to like?

As far as winter camping goes, it won't match Northwood or Outdoors RV, but it should be much better insulated than anything built in the industry today.

Now it does have a little "grandma" inside, but it is so well built, who cares?

Check out the factory specs:
http://www.jerrystrailers.com/fckima...%20Harmony.pdf

Today's Winnebago Minnie line is based on this model and most are made in the old Sunnybrook plant, but I've seen the new Minnie's and I noticed they dropped some of the best quality features.

You'll have to go across country to get a Northwood or Outdoors RV for real four seasons, and many do, but I doubt you'll do any better than this Sunnybrook in your area for the price.

Good Luck
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:31 PM   #13
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With a $40K budget you should be able to get a fairly nice setup. Seems as though you have read Mystical Mama's thread. Seems like it is very similar to your situation. There were lots of great ideas in her thread that may apply to you.

My opinion remains the same. You really need to find a trailer that you have enough comfortable seating for longer periods in the trailer in the winter. Can't imagine a single booth dinette being adequate for this. I don't think a bunk model is necessarily a bad idea as it can offer a lot of storage for your gear since you are living in it. Also, you may want to find a good truck and trailer combo for sale like what was posted on MM thread.
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Old 06-25-2017, 12:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Normal_Dave View Post
Well, you knew it was just a matter of time before one of us read your post and said "consider finding a Sunnybrook Harmony..." So I just did.

How far are your from Turner, Maine? This one is certainly worth a look in my opinion. Appears to have been stored under cover with the exception of the front cap having some sun exposure. Looks pretty sweet, and in my opinion the build quality and design features exceed most of what is built today.
http://www.scottsrecreation.com/defa...OwnedInventory

It's a 25CKS, all aluminum superstructure, high quality fixtures, trail air (equaflex) suspension, pocket jig screwed cabinets with hardwood faces, porcelain fixtures, all metal plumbing fixtures, hidden hinges, hd roller glides on the plywood drawers, what's not to like?

As far as winter camping goes, it won't match Northwood or Outdoors RV, but it should be much better insulated than anything built in the industry today.

Now it does have a little "grandma" inside, but it is so well built, who cares?

Check out the factory specs:
http://www.jerrystrailers.com/fckima...%20Harmony.pdf

Today's Winnebago Minnie line is based on this model and most are made in the old Sunnybrook plant, but I've seen the new Minnie's and I noticed they dropped some of the best quality features.

You'll have to go across country to get a Northwood or Outdoors RV for real four seasons, and many do, but I doubt you'll do any better than this Sunnybrook in your area for the price.

Good Luck
That's not bad, especially for the price! I'm about 3.5 hours away in RI so it's a day trip. I didn't see anything mentioned regarding insulation properties but looks well made from the descriptions. One I was looking at in my area (for twice the price) said it was "Extended Season" which the dealer said, "That means 4-season, I'm pretty sure." She couldn't tell me anything else. Here is a link if interested:

Used 2016 Keystone RV KEYSTONE PASSPORT Travel Trailer at Campers Inn | Raynham, MA | #24179A

It says "forced air heated and enclosed underbelly". Is the underbelly forced air heated, or just enclosed, and something else forced air heated?! I am so skeptical of wording especially when salespersons can't give me a straight answer!
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