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Old 07-10-2015, 06:48 PM   #1
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RV Size Question

Considering the purchase of a modest TT or 5th wheel for annual 3 month+/- southern journey to get out of Michigan winter. We are 2 senior adults an no pets. First years' trips may be more as movers than sitters as we really have friends all over the south and want to taste as much as possible before deciding if we wish to stay in one area for the full time.

I realize either RV may well necessitate purchase of a larger truck (mine is only a half ton).

What is the minimum size you would consider for this length of full-time living? Also, are any of these able to towed by a half ton truck. I like the additional space the 5w can provide, but also see other additional expenses.

I think I would opt to remove any dinette in a smaller unit and utilize that space for more comfortable seating options. As a bed they are usually poor, we'all not have guests and two TV tables will work.

Appreciative of any advice offered.

Jeff
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:33 PM   #2
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I expect you'll be shopping for a bigger truck, 30>32 feet, minimum, in a 5er for extended stay. Any 5ers I've seen that are listed as 1/2 ton towable are very flimsy.
Find your trailer first , then, according to the trailer weight, buy the truck you need to handle it properly.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frjeff View Post
Considering the purchase of a modest TT or 5th wheel for annual 3 month+/- southern journey to get out of Michigan winter. We are 2 senior adults an no pets. First years' trips may be more as movers than sitters as we really have friends all over the south and want to taste as much as possible before deciding if we wish to stay in one area for the full time.

I realize either RV may well necessitate purchase of a larger truck (mine is only a half ton).

What is the minimum size you would consider for this length of full-time living? Also, are any of these able to towed by a half ton truck. I like the additional space the 5w can provide, but also see other additional expenses.

I think I would opt to remove any dinette in a smaller unit and utilize that space for more comfortable seating options. As a bed they are usually poor, we'all not have guests and two TV tables will work.

Appreciative of any advice offered.

Jeff
First you have to decide on your tow vehicle, if you do not want to or can not upgrade to a 3/4 ton then your options are limited as to what your truck can legally & safely tow. Which fits your wants and needs the best, a TT or a 5th wheel, which works best for your situation, pros & cons for both. We sold our 28' TT which we really liked because we wanted a few more creature comforts, specifically the tub/shower was a 2' step up to get into the tub, stepping out required some caution in the small bathroom and the jack knife couch was getting uncomfortable (we are seniors too). We are out & about several times a year, our trips vary from a week to 3 months. A TT fits our (well mine) needs the best. I have a camper shell on our F250, we use the truck on trips when we are not pulling a TT, the camper shell allows me to carry stuff, lots of stuff no matter what the weather is. In Ca. the camper shell saves me $200.00 in weight fees (registration) yearly so an open (read 5th wheel) bed pick up is more costly, and having the camper shell has rarely prevented me from using it as a "truck". If the wife would agree to more time out then being home I would have gone to a 5th wheel, but I would have had to move up to a 1 ton to safely tow the 5th wheels we were looking at. I suggest you post on the "towing & tow vehicles" forum as to what your 1/2 ton will legally & safely tow, lots of experience on that forum and they will be able to help you make an informed decision on your tow vehicle and what you can really tow with it. Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:34 AM   #4
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frjeff, It sounds as if you are new to the RV world. Get out your owners manual and look at the door post on the drivers side of your truck. That should give you enough info to determine your tow rating. tonnage ratings have little to do with a trucks ability to tow. I would suggest looking for an RV that is no more that 80% of your recommended towing capacity. I'd recommend you spend the rest of the summer looking for a good used TT that you can get into for little outlay. That will give you an inexpensive way to find out if you like the RV life and also what you want in an RV. We use our TT 60 to 150 nights a year. We have settled on an 20 footer with no slides. It is set up to dry camp for extended periods. That's what we like to do but it took us 40 years and 15 other RVs to decide that. We have had every type of RV available and they were all great at the time. Size is determined by how you live, where you want to park and what you are willing to tow. You can be comfortable in anything from a 8' pickup camper to a 40 5er with multiple slides. Going with a gently used RV to start will save you thousands in the long run. Good luck and above all enjoy.
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:06 PM   #5
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This is our experience, we started out with a no slide 24ft & 1/2 ton PU. Camper was cramped, so upgraded to a 29ft with slide for a couple of years, but as the above stated the bathtub was not suited for seniors to climb in & out of safely. The 1/2 ton PU gasser was not up to the job of towing efficiently, especially on any type of grade, it pulled but struggled. We upgraded to a 3/4 ton diesel & the difference was amazing. So after an incident with the bath, we upgraded to what we now consider comfortable for our travels. We have another 29ft (32ft overall TT) with standup shower, real sofa bed (not inflatable), modded the bed to full queen, then we kept the camper shell on the new truck & upgraded the hitch to a Propride 3P to give us a TT with fifth wheel towing stability. This allows us to use the truck for other tasks. Hope this helps, trying to keep reply short.
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:47 AM   #6
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Tow Capacity

Quote:
Originally Posted by MtCamper View Post
frjeff, It sounds as if you are new to the RV world. Get out your owners manual and look at the door post on the drivers side of your truck. That should give you enough info to determine your tow rating. tonnage ratings have little to do with a trucks ability to tow. I would suggest looking for an RV that is no more that 80% of your recommended towing capacity. I'd recommend you spend the rest of the summer looking for a good used TT that you can get into for little outlay. That will give you an inexpensive way to find out if you like the RV life and also what you want in an RV. We use our TT 60 to 150 nights a year. We have settled on an 20 footer with no slides. It is set up to dry camp for extended periods. That's what we like to do but it took us 40 years and 15 other RVs to decide that. We have had every type of RV available and they were all great at the time. Size is determined by how you live, where you want to park and what you are willing to tow. You can be comfortable in anything from a 8' pickup camper to a 40 5er with multiple slides. Going with a gently used RV to start will save you thousands in the long run. Good luck and above all enjoy.
If your truck can tow 6,000lbs, it means you'll barely make it up the steep grades if that is how much your trailer weighs. It'll work and you're legal but not exactly an enjoyable drive. I had that setup for a while, I'm a nice guy and pool over when I can and let cars go by but still got the bird on occasion. If you have an opportunity to configure, get an upgraded half ton, 3/4 ton, or if you don't mind spending quite a bit more, even a diesel. I've borrowed my dad's and when it comes to towing, it's a night and day difference.

- Tony
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:48 AM   #7
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I find to shop around and get one bigger than the one you think will work.
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Old 07-12-2015, 05:20 AM   #8
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Get one that you can "grow into and not grow out-of".
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Old 07-12-2015, 06:10 AM   #9
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I bought a truck first and then my wife wanted a bigger bath room than the TTs offered. We are 64 and 59 respectively, so we need comfort since we are both with bad backs. I bought a 31' Class A, and a Master Tow dolly to pull my Honda.
We plan to full-time in the south-east USA since the kids are grown and gone and we can't keep up a house anyway. I choose an apartment on wheels. She's on board with this plan. We go through the house and get what we need, then the kids go through and get what they want, then the auction takes care of the rest. If I were to kick the bucket, that's the way it would go, so why wait? Live while you can!
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #10
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Look specifically at the door sticker on your 1/2 ton for the cargo capacity. For 1/2 tons this is generally the number that will be exceeded first. The higher the trim level on your truck, the lower the CC due to the extra options like leather, heated seats, etc.

Your Cargo capacity needs to be able to hold all people and stuff, including hitch, plus the tongue weight of the trailer. Tongue weight should be around 12% of the loaded trailer weight for stability.

So, for example, my 2015 1/2 ton RAM 1500 has a CC of 1590. The advertised tow limit is 10,500. However 12% of 10,500 is 1260. That would leave me less than 300 pounds for driver, passenger, dog, hitch, and any items inside the truck. As you can see, we would overload the truck if we actually towed a 10,500 trailer. It tows a 33' (overall) 6100 pounds (dry) trailer fine once we upgraded the hitch to a Blue Ox, but I'm positive a diesel 3/4 ton would be more enjoyable. Our next truck, when we are closer to retirement, will be a diesel, and either a 3/4 ton or a 1 ton.

I did a lot of math and made some adjustments to be sure we were not overloading the truck. We move all food, clothes, and our bikes inside the TT (most items closer to the axles than the tongue) before we take off with it. With the weight of these items sitting primarily over the axles, the truck only has to carry 12% of the total weight of these items rather than 100%. By doing that I feel safer leaving the truck with some buffer on the max CC. We always tow with all tanks empty, except for a couple of gallons of fresh water for flushing the toilet.

As for size, we are two adults and one 20 pound dog doing mostly weekend or week long trips. We bought a 29' bunk house. Not for the sleeping capacity (although it is nice to be able to accommodate guests), but for the storage and room. Yes, our 30 pound dog has a whole bunk room to herself when we don't bring guests! Bunks are great for storing duffel bags and dog crates. We can put a baby gate across the bunk room and put items like the trash can back there so the dog can't get into anything she shouldn't. Also bunk houses typically come with tubs rather than corner showers, which is something I wanted, as well as more gray/black tank storage.

If we wanted to, we could convert the bottom bunk into storage shelves or a desk area. We have options based on that additional space that we don't need for sleeping.

I recommend you get a little more trailer than you think you need, but still can tow without overloading the truck. A year down the road you'll be thankful for the additional space.
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Old 07-13-2015, 04:06 PM   #11
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You are not going to like pulling much of a TT or 5er around with a half ton. Truthfully most should not be pulled with a 1/2 ton. I have run the numbers on a couple of these "Half Ton Towable" 5er's and they would put me out of spec on my 3/4 ton Diesel (on payload).
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