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Old 03-08-2018, 06:49 PM   #1
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First time travel trailer buyer few basic ?

I have tried to read as much as possible about campers and learn as much as possible however i feel more confused than before. If anyone can give me a half assed idea on some thingsid be very grateful.

I have a chevy silverado 2015 crew cab ive talked to chevy they say i can tow 9000lbs max 800lb hitch weight and 1200 lbs hitch weight with a weight distributing hitch. I would like to stay well under that.

I have searched high and low and found many campers that fit this weight class however I get many conflicting ideas on whats a well built camper. I plan on going long distances 1000s of miles I would prefer to purchase well built over cheap. Not saying i want to spend 40000 but just something that will last. I realise that there can always be a lemon but what are a few of that top manufacturers in everyones opinions that i should look for. Thinking more like most durable well built good axles etc.

I have a family of four and would prefer 1 to 2 slide outs and power awning. No cold weather camping just spring summer and fall.

While i am very excited to get a travel trailer and join the rv and camper community being new is quite a daunting task so any info and help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Tom
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:15 PM   #2
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Forget what some one tells you that you can tow with a 1500: the important number is how much you can carry. With a family of four, that's going to eat into your available payload quickly. There's about 40 threads a week detailing how to calculate that so I won't rehash it here . You need to figure you max allowable tongue weight based on the weight of your truck and stick to that absolutely: please do not try to justify operating over your GVWR or RAWR under any circumstances with your family on board.

With your payload (I'm guessing), you're going to be looking at an ultralight type model to get bunks and a slide and I'd actually advise finding a gently used unit with no water damage or funky smells that has survived the infant mortality period .

The best built camper with bunks and a slide that is likely to be towable by your truck is the Lance 2185 (that's my opinion, worth at least twice what I'm charging). It's spendy though...
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:44 PM   #3
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maybe i do not understand those i have been readi g an i guess im missing something my gcwr according to vehicle manual is 15000 lbs and vehicle weight in the truck is like 1750 inside the vehicle which for me would be about 600lbs or so what number should i be looking for im still not sure and i want to be safe as possible appreciate any more info i feel like im missing something here all information ive used is direct from chevy
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:01 PM   #4
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also as i posted above Chevy told me 800 lbs on a regular hitch and on a weight distributing hitch i could carry 1200lbs this isnt something came up with but i deffi etely want to be safe and would much rather stay under those weights and keep my family safe

I appreciate any more info anyone can provide and a few more suggestions on different models or manufactureres to if anyone has any ideas.

I have found the best info i get has always come from forums and people that arent trying to sell me something. So ibreally appreciate everyones opinion and that your trying to keep me and my family safe thats why i wanted to ask here the salesman ive talked to are like you can tow a fith wheel and i just say no thanks
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:09 PM   #5
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First time travel trailer buyer few basic ?

Ok...so payload is 1750 lbs. 600 pounds is the weight of your family of 4? Add another 100 pounds for a WD hitch.

This leaves you with 1050 lbs. This is well under your 1200 pound tongue weight limit so that's good. Multiply that by 8 (for a 12.5% TW) and you're at 8400 lbs. Or you can use 7 (14.3%) to be more conservative: 7350.

That's the total weight your trailer can weigh...it's not the dry weight but the trailer's GVWR (or dry plus CCC, depending on the brochure you're reading). Why? Because you take stuff camping with you and the dealer is going to add annoyingly heavy things like a battery and propane. There is nothing in the bed of your truck in this scenario: no chairs, firewood, generators, bikes, etc.

That's a capacity that will comfortably handle the 6000-6500 pounds class of trailer and might start to get a bit squirrelly with the 7000-7700 pound trailers. The 7700 pound class will be your 28-30' ultralight bunkhouse with a single slide.

Most of these will have pretty light frames and two 3500 pound axles. Laminated walls over aluminum is common. Laminated over wood less so. Some quality trailers are still built with hung siding: those will be the base model, however. Mind the slide walls and floor: some are very thin. The differences will be in the floor (two sheets of luaan is common, 3/8" plywood is less common), the roof decking (skip any non walkable roof), the roof trusses, and hidden plywood materials may be OSB. Insulation can range from almost none to enough to keep you comfy to down near freezing. Cabinet and drawer construction is pretty obvious and should be checked: if the trailer feels cheap it is.

Hope that helps!
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:26 PM   #6
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Freqz is laying it down very well. I'll only add my two favorite videos to help explain the weights and matching to a tow vehicle...

Matching Trucks to Trailers

https://youtu.be/qwFLOBrADBs
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:04 PM   #7
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thank you very much im about to watch the videos to see if that makes any more sense to me i understand some of the math but not sure what all the letters mean but i want to make an informed desicion thank you very much.


still looking for ideas of wel made campers or on the other end of the spectrum which brands would you stay away from. thanks again for the help
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:21 PM   #8
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We bought a 2017 Heartland North Trail, Calibur Edition. We've been pretty happy with it. We also went to Elkhart, Indiana and toured the plant where they are made. Was even more impressed.


Go to different manufacturers websites, read how they are built, how thick the walls are, insulation factors, walkable roofs?, etc. Then once you narrow manufacturers down, look at their floor plans. Once you pick out a couple of floor plans start calling around to local dealers to see if they have those models in stock. Or go online, most will list what they have in stock. Go check them out in person, preferably for your first time checking them out don't buy. Take notes when you are checking them out. Do things in them like you are living in them. Check out storage areas, especially bathrooms....can you comfortably sit on the pot, stand in the shower,,etc... Go home and go back online and look at reviews of the ones you really like. Once you've done that then go back and start to deal. Just like buying a car....NEVER pay full sticker price!!!! Once we settled on a price we asked for them to throw in an extra battery and ladder and they did. Hey it never hurts to ask!!! LOL
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:22 PM   #9
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I should add, we didn't go to Elkhart just to tour the plant. I'm from that area originally and we were in town visiting family so we toured the plant.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:33 PM   #10
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I just recently went trough this and was writing up a response, only to check back before posting and found that Freqz had already answered.

Good thing is I, as a newbie myself, came up with numbers very close to Freqz's.

I will add one thing though. The best thing I did was take the truck to a CAT scale to get the real available payload. My truck actually weighed 100lbs more than the sticker on the door said it should. So make sure that 1750lbs is accurate.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freqz View Post
Forget what some one tells you that you can tow with a 1500: the important number is how much you can carry. With a family of four, that's going to eat into your available payload quickly. There's about 40 threads a week detailing how to calculate that so I won't rehash it here . You need to figure you max allowable tongue weight based on the weight of your truck and stick to that absolutely: please do not try to justify operating over your GVWR or RAWR under any circumstances with your family on board.

With your payload (I'm guessing), you're going to be looking at an ultralight type model to get bunks and a slide and I'd actually advise finding a gently used unit with no water damage or funky smells that has survived the infant mortality period .

The best built camper with bunks and a slide that is likely to be towable by your truck is the Lance 2185 (that's my opinion, worth at least twice what I'm charging). It's spendy though...
I'll second this, it isn't the biggest bunkhouse but one that can last more than the usual few years before they start falling apart. Lance has a nice Murphy bed model in the 2185 as well.

There are a few other good brands like Outdoor RV and its sister company Northwood. These are very well built but mostly to heavy for your tow vehicle. Airstream makes great light trailers if you want to spend 80 to a hundred grand.

I have a similar truck and Lance would be my choice. Now go read all the threads on your truck over the last few months, then you'll have a better idea what you can really tow
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:51 AM   #12
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Here's what some of the abbreviations mean.

GVWR the most your vehicle can weigh.

GVW: The actual weight of your tow vehicle, loaded with everything for camping, must be under GVWR above.

TWR Trailer weight rating, what is the most weight your vehicle is rated to tow.

TW: Tongue weight of trailer. To be safe use 15% of trailer weight. The national average for TW is 12%.

GCVWR or GCWR: The total your tow vehicle and the trailer can weigh together. Yours is 15000lbs.

So let's run a little hypothetical scenario. You load your truck with family 600lbs, hitch 100lbs, plus a 100lbs of camping gear. Assuming the 1750 payload you listed you have 950lbs left for TW tongue weight.

Let's say your trailer gross weight that means bikes , propane, cloths, dishes, food etc is 7000lbs. I'll use 13% for TW which is 910lbs. As you can see throw in a 40 lb kid and your over your trucks rating

Let's assume you don't add anything extra like a tool box you are 40lbs under rating. Now let's subtract your 7160lbs from 15000lbs combined rating which leaves 7840lbs. Your trailer is only 7000lbs so you're 840lbs under your absolute max! This might be OK for the occasional camping trips and the once every few years longer trip. You say you will travel thousands of miles, this will not be fun for frequent 1000 mile trips.

As you can see your truck and mine cannot in reality tow that 9200lbs the dealer told you it could.

A more realistic scenario would be a Lance, great quality if maintained properly. Your loaded trailer weight on.most Lances will be under 6000lbs leaving pay load and gross combined weight to spare.

Gooduck and have fun shopping.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:12 AM   #13
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Take a look at the Winnebago Minnie and Micro Minnie bunkhouse models. They are in the 7000lb GVWR range and Winnebago makes a solid trailer that is at a lower cost point than Lance.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:48 AM   #14
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appreciate everyones thought and helping explain everything to me. Are there any other lighter weight trailers anyone would recommend they tried to sell me on a grey wolf at a local dealership and i just havent seen anything good about those anywhere.

I get the Lance being good is there any other option thats as good or close to the quality you guys are saying that brand has thats light enough.

Im still not 100 percent sure i understand the math on how to find my actual weight rating but im almost there like 95 percent lol. After this weekend i think I will have it nailed down. Im trying to locate a scale near me theres a few truck stops so shoukdnt be too difficult.

Thank you all for your help.
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