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Old 07-06-2015, 04:40 PM   #1
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New to travel trailers, need advise please

I am so excited to be part of this site! Hoping to learn about this new camping world

Our family has decided to look at travel trailers. We have never bought a camper before. We have used tents and LOVED the camping experience. We have two children and are ready to make the purchase. We need something light as our current truck is only a small toyota. The Hybrids seem pretty cool.

We were ready to purchase a Freedom express 22DSX travel trailer, but I just read some horrible reviews with the coachmen brand. But I like that the walls are built with a "plastic" instead of wood so they don't rot, and grow mold/mildew.

I have heard good reviews about the spree escape and the sportsmen classic. Not to mention the price seemed much lower.

We have also been working with the same large dealership in New Hampshire. Should I shop around with dealerships? I have heard some bad dealer reviews also (not about the one we are working with).

So scary, cause you can't test drive. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 07-06-2015, 05:25 PM   #2
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From the experiences I have had with other trailers I would talk with many dealers. Make some phone calls with larger dealers in the near by states where you would be willing to drive.

While I have no knowledge on those makes you are looking at. I would make sure you do your research on your trailer dry/loaded weight and your tow ability of your truck. Never take the word of a salesman as they will never see you again. It is your trailer and your family's safety at stake. So your research before you buy

TT: Dutchmen 2014 261BHS
TV: Ram 3500 6.4 HEMI, 3.73 6ft bed 2014.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:50 PM   #3
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Do not rely on the salesman to tell you what your tow vehicle will handle.
Their job is to "sell" you something.
Research, research and then research some more.
This is a great place to be.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 07-06-2015, 07:38 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Telford, TN
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New to travel trailers, need advise please

I've never had a hybrid TT but I wouldn't necessarily discount Coachmen. Our first TT was a Coachmen Catalina and it was a great "entry level" trailer for us. It wasn't always the flashiest thing in the campground but the only issues I had were with the stuff IN it -- the Coleman AC unit or the slide motor for example.

For my family it was our first camping experience and allowed us to have a very good TT while we figured out if we enjoyed it. Then we upgraded to something higher end.

2015 Ram 3500 DRW
2015 Cedar Creek 38FL
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Old 07-06-2015, 07:45 PM   #5
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Humm...a small Taco. I would recommend a nice pop-up.

As far as dealers go I do not trust any of them. Been camping with various TT'S and a 5th wheel for the last 10 years when I packed away the tent. Example...a dealer 25 miles from me has told me the brand X that they are selling is the best...the following year they are selling a different best brand.

I have had work done and was just so so happy with the work. Noticed very young kids doing most of the work.

To me RV dealers are worse than car dealers by far.

Now camping is fun. Just learn to fix things that break on your camper.

Look at the T@B, and A-Liner type trailers. And maybe even the Trailmor or HiLo as these trailers will be easier to tow.

I towed with a Honda Ridgeline and realized my trailer was way to big at 4,400lbs. dry. Thus a bogus tow rating of 5,000lbs.

Good luck
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:18 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2015
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See if the campers you are looking at have a FORUM like this one and check out what people say about their campers.... Keystone has one and I was gung ho on a keystone until I started reading the reviews.... but it's like buying a car... some are good and some are bad and some models just make one that becomes the lemon. But check out the forums it helped us out a lot.
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:02 AM   #7
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I do not have experience with Coachman but here is my experience upgrading from a standard pop-up (PU). We decided to upgrade because the PU did not have space for a Pack N Play when our son was born. We were set on a hybrid for the purpose of the beds on the end and the light weight. We went looking and after all was said and done (lots and lot and lots and...well you get the point...of looking) we ended up with a Primetime Avenger ATI 27BBS Travel Trailer (TT). The ATI stands for Anything Tows It. It was only slightly heavier than the hybrids we were looking at and as an entry level TT we got a great deal on this one BRAND NEW. There are many other brands offering light weight TTs. Our TT is a bunk house, has two bunks in the back, dinette converts to a bed, has a sleeper sofa and our queen bed. It sleeps just as many as the hybrids we were looking at, and more than some of them.

What I do suggest is that you look at dealers outside your state as many times the Wholesale RV Dealers have much better prices and would be worth the travel. I am actually working with someone from the Forest River Forums right now who lives in Texas but bought from a dealer in Ohio where I live. I will be doing his Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) for him. A little comradery between fellow campers.

There are three here in Ohio that I know of that have rock bottom prices. RV Wholesalers, Colerain RV, and Jeff Couch RV Nation.

I am a big fan of my Primetime (a Forest River Brand) and most other Forest River (FR) owners seem to love their's as well. The people in the FR forums (forestriverforums.com) are also very nice and helpful. Don't get me wrong, there are great people in this one as well but the FR forum is my favorite.

I hope this info is helpful to you. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have. Best of luck on your search for the best option for you and your family.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:21 PM   #8
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I love the This community and all the advise I am getting! Thank you all so much for taking the time to write me back! There are so many different models and brands!

I did stop at a small "Jayco" dealer today, and I must say I loved the smaller dealer as compared to the big one! I have to say that Jayco seems pretty nice. The feather ultra light X23B would be the largest that we could tow. And our family can fit comfortably

We also Like the Spree Escape. the E20RBT has the three fold out "tent beds" (Which we don't really need). However, I think I like the E250S that has a double bunk and the queen size bed is inside the camper - therefore it can be more quiet.

I was also able to look at the Salem cruise lite by Forest Rivers and that was nice too! and again more quiet! I liked the 261BHXL

The Jayco is out of stock until they get their 2016 in August. At that point we may need to think if it is smart to buy this year or wait until next year. Hockey season takes up all our weekends beginning Labor day :(

Any advise you can think of or any other travel trailers would be helpful!

Thanks again!
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:48 PM   #9
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I say find the model you want and then look online to find the best price on that unit. This saved me $4500 on my unit when I bought it. You may also find it in stock at another dealer. DO NOT allow a dealer to sell you on saying you should buy local for better service. Service takes forever no matter what, it is not worth (in my case) $4500 for that.
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Old 07-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum, and the insanity of RVing. The memories of camping with our children are great... and now we're making new ones with them and our grand children. Please be careful with trying to pull anything with a Tacoma. My daughter and son-in-law bought our first camper from us. They pulled about 300 miles home with a Tacoma... and went immediately out and bought an F-150. Their experience towing it home was very bad. A Tacoma is just not big enough for a travel trailer.

Also... the average markup on new trailers is about 35%. A decent deal is about 30% off MSRP. Good luck and again... welcome...!
Jack and Dee Dee Weatherford, Texas
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab 4X4 w/CTD 6.7
2016 Jayco White Hawk 28DSBH Travel Trailer
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:50 AM   #11
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Just to give you an idea of shopping around, to make it short, when we bought our 2015 Grey Wolf 26RL last year,we first shopped it at a camping World in Jacksonville Fl. and worked out a price. Came home and shopped online and found the same unit at another Camping World in S.C. at $4000 less, and Jacksonville would not match the price , so much for our sales person statement "we never loose a deal over price ", so a 4 hr. drive saved us over $4000 !!!
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:37 AM   #12
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I started out in a popup, then a Hybrid, now a 29 foot TT. Our new TT is a Coachmen Freedom Express (292BHDS) and we have put 6 or 8 weekend trips into it so far. The build quality has been good. The only major issue we had was a bad converter right off the lot. They warrantied it for us and put in a new one. No system problems since then.

I did notice a small tear at the top of the slide out that I could take for warranty repair, or more likely just hit it with Eternobond tape myself on our next trip. I just didn't have a 6 foot ladder with me when I noticed it.

Be aware that not all dealerships will perform warranty work on an RV that they did not sell. It doesn't work like car dealerships where you can take it to any dealer that sells your brand. I lucked out and the Coachmen dealer nearest to me was willing to do our 1 warranty repair so far. If you buy from a dealer many miles from home, be sure the savings justify having to either pay for warranty repairs yourself, or drive that long distance (twice) every time you need a warranty repair.

The only "fit and finish" issue I've seen is that the piece of "wood" (particle board) on the back of the TV island had apparently broken off or cracked at one corner screw point, so they used wood colored tape to cover it up. I will ask Forrest River to send me a new backboard so I can replace it myself. It does not effect the use of the trailer, but it could look nicer. We did have to tighten up all the turn latches for outside compartments. Only took a screw driver and 15 min.

The drawers and cabinets all close well and stay closed during travel. The fridge stays shut during travel. I added a mattress topper to the queen bed and now it's comfy.

The Freedom Express isn't their entry level line, but I have been pleased with it so far.

You will find bad reviews on just about any brand, especially at the entry level. What will work to your advantage is taking ALL THE TIME YOU NEED to do a walk-through on the new unit before you drive off the lot with it.

Bring a flashlight. Crawl under the trailer. Check every nook and cranny. Make them show you that all appliances work in all modes. Don't let them rush you. For a hybrid, open and close the bunk ends multiple times until you feel comfortable doing it.

I towed a 19 foot hybrid with no slide (dry weight 2700) with a V6 F150. It was fine. Needed a sway bar, but did not need a WDH (although it might have been a more comfortable tow if we had). Your Tacoma will have a shorter wheel base, ad be narrower than our F150. Check the Cargo Capacity on the Tacoma and be sure it can hold you, your family, your stuff, the hitch itself, and 12% of the loaded trailer weight (not dry weight). If you find that the hybrids are too heavy to accommodate the tongue weight on your Tacoma, take a look at Popups, Casitas, or TrailManors.

If you really plan to keep whatever RV you get for several years, then really take a look at what you REALLY want in an RV, and decide if you should just bite the bullet and get the truck that supports the RV you want.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:45 PM   #13
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If possible, rent a trailer like you are interested in before buying one.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:24 PM   #14
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Do NOT be in a hurry to buy. Look, Look, Look. At everything, there are some nice tent trailers with hard sides and AC. Your toyota will like something light with less wind resistance. Rent a trailer, rent a camping cabin, when you know how things work in a tt and how far you want to go, and when, and you have an Idea how much stuff you'll be taking with you then look at the weight and figure what you can tow. You and your family + everything you put in the truck + everything you put in the trailer + the weight of the trailer, it all adds up quick. There is a difference between a "camping trailer" and a "travel trailer". With a Toyota you are looking for a camping trailer. Have fun, enjoy the search and don't buy something too big.

2014 Wind River 250RDSW
2014 Ram 2500 Diesel Laramie 4x4, Snugtop shell,
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