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Old 07-31-2016, 07:37 PM   #1
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Hindsight Advice

My wife and I are shopping for our first travel trailer. I am aware of the towing capicity of our F150. We see ourselves spending 5 weekends a year at campgrounds with our two children who are currently 2 years old. We have some preferences to limit our choices (new, bunks, exterior bathroom door, approximate 28' length.) Our biggest issue is trying to figure out how much $ to spend. Quality does appear to be related to cost.

What advice do you have for a first time buyer? What have you learned is important or is a waste?
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:45 PM   #2
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We had that exact same list when we were looking for our previous camper. Unfortunately nothing we found had us in our weight limit (2009 Ram 1500). We ended up getting a Jayco Jay Flight Swift 267bhs. It hit everything on our list except the exterior door bathroom. We really like the bunk configuration for our 2 girls. We recently traded it for a Heartland Pioneer DS310. We wanted more room now that the girls are older and have a truck capable of handling a bigger camper. Good luck on your hunt!
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bruitis View Post
My wife and I are shopping for our first travel trailer. I am aware of the towing capicity of our F150. We see ourselves spending 5 weekends a year at campgrounds with our two children who are currently 2 years old. We have some preferences to limit our choices (new, bunks, exterior bathroom door, approximate 28' length.) Our biggest issue is trying to figure out how much $ to spend. Quality does appear to be related to cost.

What advice do you have for a first time buyer? What have you learned is important or is a waste?
5 weekends a year - have you considered adding up the total cost of owning a TT per year and putting that money into a vacation account and staying in really nice hotels or KOA Kamping Kabins?

Capital costs
28,000 purchase price
1,500 modification misc
500 basics

30,000
13,000 value after 5 years
17,000 Ownership cost
3,400 ownership cost per year


500 insurance
1500 storage
600 mtc
2600 Annual costs

3400
2600
6000 for vacation fund per year
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:33 PM   #4
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Take your time and find the right one for you and your family, You are the only ones that can select your camper as everyone has different things they want and everyone uses the TT in their own way. Ya'll will know when you find it that this is the one for us. Good luck in the search and happy camping
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:08 PM   #5
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we thought the second door to the bathroom would have been nice also but don't have on the trailer we ended up with and its not missed at all. we have a rug outside at the bottom of the stairs and we all kick our shoes or flip flops off before we come in, keeps it a lot cleaner. it was amazing how much stuff was getting tracked in before then.
also thought that an outside kitchen was important and find that we don't use it. fortunately ours is the smallest i've seen so we didn't have to sacrifice storage for something we don't use like we would have on some i've seen with the big outside kitchen set ups. Your kids will enjoy their own space. Ours do. Have fun
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:29 PM   #6
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Where you live has a lot to do with what is available to you. Since you haven't told us where you are located, we can't help with particular recommendations for quality.

If you live where they are sold, you'd have a tough time doing better than a Northwoods Mfg/Outdoors RV product, but they might be too heavy to pull with your 1/2 truck.

Never go by the advertised dry weights. The trailer you pick out will have a sticker on it that states it's dry weight. If you figure the max tongue weight at around 13% of the GVWR, you have a very conservative figure to use to see if you can pull it safely with your current pickup. Never believe the sales force that your truck can pull it safely. Their business is to sell the most expensive RVs to willing buyers, not to narrow down your choices based on safety.

You will find there are many trailers that your pickup can tow, but expect it to be work to travel with them if they have your cargo capacity maxed out on the pickup (think tail wagging and pushing the dog). This way, if it ends up being easier than you figured, that's a mark in the "Win" column for you and your family.

If you have P tires on your pickup, think about getting them replaced with LT tires.

As to the features you want, as long as you aren't going to die if you can't get the exterior bathroom door, you will find what you want. It's out there, somewhere, and maybe even close to where you are.
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:20 PM   #7
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JMHO but buying a $20-30,000 TT for only 5 weekends a year is a waste. I'd rent a Yurt or cabin if that's all I'd go camping. That's only 10 nights.
If that is in fact what you're planning on doing then definitely look at used units.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dexters View Post
5 weekends a year - have you considered adding up the total cost of owning a TT per year and putting that money into a vacation account and staying in really nice hotels or KOA Kamping Kabins?

Capital costs
28,000 purchase price
1,500 modification misc
500 basics

30,000
13,000 value after 5 years
17,000 Ownership cost
3,400 ownership cost per year


500 insurance
1500 storage
600 mtc
2600 Annual costs

3400
2600
6000 for vacation fund per year
I think about that at times but for us, it's all about having our own bed to sleep in. I'm not good with bedbugs and the other stuff you sometimes find where other people sleep and/or do whatever. It definitely costs more but it's worth it for us.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:45 PM   #9
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It is really tough justifying RV ownership. We only go out about 7 weekends per year (21 nights) and try to go on a week long trip every year. If you try to justify it will never make sense. I would rather waste a few dollars and enjoy rving than to stay in hotels and fly everywhere.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:59 PM   #10
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I think about that at times but for us, it's all about having our own bed to sleep in. I'm not good with bedbugs and the other stuff you sometimes find where other people sleep and/or do whatever. It definitely costs more but it's worth it for us.
I was an airline pilot for 30 yrs and never found any bedbugs. For that many weekends, you could just rent an RV.
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 2500HD View Post
It is really tough justifying RV ownership. We only go out about 7 weekends per year (21 nights) and try to go on a week long trip every year. If you try to justify it will never make sense. I would rather waste a few dollars and enjoy rving than to stay in hotels and fly everywhere.
I think that is called 'rationalizing' not justifying.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:05 PM   #12
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Sounds like you have a good plan. The best thing we did is went to a lot with a lot of campers and do a walk through and see the things you like and don't like. I would stay under 28 ft if you could and keep the tongue weight under 600 lbs. Our second one is 32 ft and 650 tongue weight and can tell the difference. Get a good hitch with sway control built in. I found the nicer campers cost more in terms of leather,stainless appliances,and fiberglass. I was more concerned with floor plan first and then picked the one we liked best. Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:53 PM   #13
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... it's a lifestyle and not just about solid numbers. You will find you may have years when you camp more and others when you camp less. If you only went by the numbers, then most "adult toys" like boats and motorcycles wouldn't make sense either. We love having our own unit including the restroom, bed, stove, fridge, and so on...when it's your's you can treat it the way you want to. For example, we maintain our's well, clean our bathroom fixtures, etc. to meet our standards. Good luck with your search. Have fun going and looking at all your different choices. We have a Jayco with just one door, a full slide, and bunks in the rear and fully enjoyed it prior to buying our fifth wheel. Having bunks allows you not to have to break down/set up the table or couch every morning/night so that was a must for us when our children were small.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:07 PM   #14
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I think in your class the only 2 brands worth looking at are Lance and Artic Fox. Both very nice quality.
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