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Old 08-02-2012, 09:54 PM   #1
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New to Camping and need some advice please.

Hi everyone, I am trying to get my family into camping. We recently rented a camper for a beach trip and loved it now we are looking into buying a used starter one for ourselves. I need some advice on what models are better than others, 5th wheel vs a TT, slides, etc. Our TV is a 2001 F-250 CCSD 7.3L, set up with a hide away goose neck hitch, DP Tuner for my heavier towing, electronic brake controller, and HD towing package. So I know going with a 5th wheel I need to stay under 1200 lbs of tongue weigth and 11,000 of GVW. We have two young children so of course we are looking into the bunkhouse models, preferably 4 bunks just so we have room for the cousins and friends. When is the best time to buy, how accurate are the NADA values, should we purchase from an individual or dealership, what questions should I ask when looking at a camper? Sorry for all of the questions but like I said I am new to this and need all of the help I can get. Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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I think you are confusing tongue weight and pin weight.
Tongue weight is for bumper pull travel trailers and pin weight is for fifth wheels.
The gooseneck won't help with the fifth wheel as most fifth wheels aren't set up for gooseneck hitch.
Take your time and find a interior design you like. We found a 2008sunnybrook 298fwbh last fall that we really liked. 4bunks, 2 slides.

Preference between a TT or 5wheel is just that. I find the TT's are cheaper in cost, if that's a factor. We had a TT before and I like pulling a 5ver as its easier on me, the driver.

We bought used from an original owner and saved probably $7k from a dealer for a similar used rig.

Take your time and bring an outside rv specialist when you find one you like. Have them do a full inspection. The $150 or so they charge could save you $1000 or more in repairs or just haggling in price.

Good luck!
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice and correction about pin weight, like I said I'm new to this. I have seen adapters advertised to go from my goose neck back to a 5th wheel and since my truck is a short bed they make them with an offset, I'm not sure if this would do the same job as a sliding 5th wheel hitch. Like I said I am kind of considering this to be our starter trailer to just see how much we get to use it and how much we truley like the experiance of the whole trip. When we rented one it wasn't exactly like being in a hotel but pretty close, had to pack everything up in suitcases, and the camper was already set up for us. We have tons of camp grounds around us withing a short drive, but I want to just see how much we will be able to use it before we invest a great deal in the trailer.
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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Our first was a hybrid rockwood roo. No slide outs. It was ok but we upgraded tow vehicle and went to a fifth wheel. Our TT was damaged in a storm and we decided to upgrade.

The slide outs are so worth it as the added space is really nice.

We had the TT for a couple of years and the 5th 1 year. It is a learning curve and this forum is excellent for advice. I have learned a lot.
Many of your rv dealerships offer free educational seminars. Take advantage of them as they are helpful.
Also, don't feel like you have to buy every gadget up front. Buy as you need.

Fall is a good time to get a reduced price as the season closes and people may not want to winterize and store their rig or dealers will reduce pricing to clear out inventory.
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm sure our trailer experts will fill you up with great advice.

Rick
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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When you get all the technical stuff figured out - have fun. Some of us are a wandering band of gypsies that really don't miss the normal life. If you are out here on the road for some time, you are going to meet some really neat people. My advise to you is "don't judge people by the size of their RV."

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:13 AM   #7
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Most of your questions will be answered once decide what kind of camping you are planning to do. Here in Ontario we have great provincial parks that offer good rates and awesome nature trails etc. However with this being said some of the best sites have many mature tress in spots where is it difficult for some people to extend slides. I have also been to some parks where folks with 5vers get hung up in lower branches of the trees growing over the roads. Sit down with the family and make a list of where you would like to camp then chances are you will find it easier to decide!
Happy Camping!!!!
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:04 PM   #8
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You've been given good advice, the only thing I can add is do not buy a RV
that does not have at least one slide out, buying one without a slide maybe
cheaper now, but when you want to upgrade later down the road you will
not be able to unload the rig with no slides.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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Thanks, we wern't considering one without a slide. The only thing we have noticed is that it seems to us like TT bunk slides don't have much room on the top bunk.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:59 PM   #10
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When we were camping with our 3 kids, and often their 3 friends, we slept in a 3 horse gooseneck slant load trailer with a 10' (long wall) living quarters I outfitted myself, and tents. Now that it's just the two of us, we get by in a 35' 5th wheel with 2 slideouts, go figure.
We had a 25' TT toyhauler before the 5th wheel, and on many occasions we slept 7 adults and 2 dogs. We loved the 'litttle' 25 footer, but it didn't pull well. You have a gooseneck so you understand what I'm saying. It sounds to me like you're looking for a bunkhouse type trailer, maximum sleeping capacity with minimum creature comforts. And if you're planning on short trips to campgrounds with facilities, a TT would do fine. There are a lot of them on the market, as families either upgrade or learn camping really wasn't for them. Be patient, be careful. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't. But there are a lot of motivated sellers out there too!
If you do go with a 5W, I don't recommend the gooseneck adapters, for about the same money you can get a B&W Companion hitch (if your turnover ball is a B&W). It's not a slider, so count on punching out your back window if you're not careful, just be ver-r-r-y cautious and you'll be OK.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
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As the owner of a short bed truck I would have no problems looking at a 'newer' style 5ver. Reason being, the newer 5w's have rounded front corners for short bed trucks, although you still need to be cautious. Also, as some one above mentioned, if you have a B&W hide away hitch, they make a great add on 5vr hitch that connects directly to your goose neck ball.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:03 AM   #12
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Morning everyone my wife and I think we found our TT, its an 06 Forest river Sandpiper 301BHD. Does anyone have any experience with this model, pros and cons? Thanks.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:41 PM   #13
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BigDaddy,
As one who just bought a used TT I know what you are going through. I am lucky in that I am very handy mechanically (50 yrs aircraft mechanic) so problems don't phase me too much but I would suggest you check EVERYTHING out before you commit. That means fill all the tanks (and I mean to put water to the top in the black and grey tanks also not just the water tank, they all can leak at the top when full so check them out). Pressurize the water system and look for leaks everywhere. Run all the appliances for some time not just turn them on. Look behind all cabinet doors and drawers for evidence of leaks, try all access doors and such. Flush to toilet several times. Etc, etc, etc. Leave nothing to the imagination. Make sure you have a ladder to look the roof over very well. If you don't think you are able to do this amount of work, have it done by a pro, it will save you $$$$ in the long run. Things will always break, people may or may not know it's broken, trust no one selling a unit (just cautions from years in the aviation world) check it out or have it checked out by a pro and you'll do fine. I've known folks with $400K MHs new that had broken items so the price or the maker means little to me. If you like the floor plan and everything works WITH NO LEAKS IN THE ROOF OR PLUMBING it'll probably do good for you. GOOD LUCK and enjoy your travels.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice. I already have an inspection scheduled. We just finally got down to the nuts and bolts decision and went with a TT instead of a fiver. The trailer has a GVW of 10900 and with all of the research and advice I've gotten from here I think my old truck will do just fine handling it.
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