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Old 08-16-2011, 09:19 AM   #1
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Travel Trailer Quality

We are looking to buy our first TT and have absolutely no clue which are good brands and which are the brands to stay away from.

We have been looking at some of the disaster relief trailers as an inexpensive way to get into a TT. We have also looked at some used trailers as well and there seems to be differences in the quality.

Now, I completely understand that this could be opening can of worms like the age old debate of "Ford v. Chevy" but I am sure there are some legitimate issues with various brands that will aid in our decision making process. Previous experience with a specific MFG or model is welcomed feedback. As well, if anyone has a link to a comparison chart that would be greatly appreciated.

Our use of the travel will be different for fall/winter than spring/fall. I plan on leaving the trailer at the deer lease during the fall/winter and then we will use the trailer for family travel during the spring/summer.

Our tow vehicles are both 3/4 T Dodge Diesel trucks so there should not be any problems with towing.

Anyway, we greatly appreciate any feedback/suggestions you may be able to provide.


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Old 08-16-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
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We have owned 4 towables. I believe you have to look beyond the fluff and style that most builders put in to impress buyers. You can develop a sense of what is good or bad if you look deeper.
Open all the drawers and closets and look at the finish work under and behind. Is it neat and clean or rough? Does the construction behind the scenes appear to be solid or poor? How about plumbing and electrical lines and attachments? You want a sense of quality and built for endurance as well as using good components. Look at fit and details.
Look under the trailer at the frame and suspension. Does it seem neat and well constructed? Are wires and gas lines properly routed? Is the underside well sealed or closed off? I personally would want shock absorbers on the axles. The wheels should be balanced and the tires should have ample excess capacity and preferably not be made in China. Look at the holding tank configuration and drain runs. Some use widely separated tanks, or have long exposed drain pipe runs that can freeze or get hit and broken.
For us, starting with a floor plan that best fit our needs was the starting point. Then dig into the construction and quality to zero in on a brand. Assuming you have several dealers or sources, most brands have common floor plans. When we looked, we were less impressed with the quality of Keystone brands although they sell plenty of them.

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Old 08-22-2011, 04:34 PM   #3
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Currently it is a said state of affairs out there, just about every brand out there has Horror stories about workmanship, service, etc.......after much research Northwoods seems to be the best newly built units.....Evergreen has had some good feedback but they are a new company and time will tell......G
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:55 PM   #4
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First off, just because you have a 3/4 ton truck does NOT mean you can tow any thing. You need to weigh the truck and run some numbers first to see what your real tow limits are...Check this site RV and Tow Vehicle Weights

Also...first rule of RV shopping is never believe the RV salesman.
Number 2 rule...RV salesmen seldom tell the truth.

The quality of so many RVs now are pretty bad. Look at some of the 1980 models of Avion, Silver Streak, streamline and Air Streams. Spend a few dollars getting it fixed up and you will be money and quality ahead.

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Old 08-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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I canít say anything (for or against) other brands but we have a 97 Nash (built by Northwood in Oregon) that we bought in 98. We had a few issues at first but they were covered by warranty and the factory was very nice to deal with. We have used it for 13 years now and it is still going fine. We spent up to 3mos in the SW for several winters. Since, the Artic Fox has been an upgrade to the Nash.

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Old 10-19-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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You did not state your price range. I think Sunnybrooks top of the line models with gel coat built between 1994-2005 are high quality trailers. We just sold our 2001 26FK that we bought new it was still a great trailer when sold and should give the new owners many years of service. We just bought a used 2005 33FKS in great condition. Before buying our first trailer we joined the RV Consumers Group and read their books on buying an rv and learned what to look for in new and used.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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Fishtek you came to the right place to ask your questions. I would not buy a FEMA trailer because of the health problems and bare bones construction. You will find many more amenities and comfort in regular non FEMA trailers. Take your time shopping. We took a couple years actually and changed our minds a few times--saved a lot of money by not buying our first choices and being sorry. You could try camping at campgrounds in the cabins, walk around and talk to campers about their rigs. Campers love to talk camping and you will learn a lot. Buy camping directories like Trailer Life and you can find campgrounds with camping cabins. Even state parks have them and they are reasonable. The usually have beds and a table and a heater some have air. Outside they have a fire pit and grill and picnic table. You bring linens, cooking supplies, food, folding chairs, bug spray, etc. Take your time, observe, ask and Good Luck
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:38 AM   #8
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You will get conflicting opinions about the same brand of trailer. 'Adventure' responded with a favorable opinion about Sunnybrooks. With my Sunnybrook experience I wouldn't recommend one to my worst enemy.

Seems to be all in the 'luck of the draw', sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:17 PM   #9
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We had a Rockwood, really no problems and well built. However, due to size, we recently traded it in and ordered an Evergreen Everlite. Great warranty, solid yet lite wt but still new to the rv scene. Airstreams are great too, but you will pay for it.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:47 PM   #10
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We bought a Puma 25 RKSS 2 years ago. we've had virtually no problems with it. The construction quality is very good for the price level, the trailer comes with less standard features which lets you customize it to your needs AND budget.

One thing that sold me on construction quality was the fact that the bed platform and dinette seat bases were made of real plywood, as opposed to cheaper (and weaker) partical board.

Happy Hunting,
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:39 AM   #11
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I appreciate all of the feedback. We ended up finding a disaster relief trailer that was in perfect shape, great floor plan, and the place we bought it from replaced all the mattresses, put new faucets in it, and threw in a full propane tank as well. It is a Forest River and will work great at the deer hunting property.

I was hoping to get something a little smaller for tow-ability but for the price and given the shape and layout of the trailer I think we got our money's worth.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fishtex View Post
We ended up finding a disaster relief trailer that....will work great at the deer hunting property.
If that's all you're buying it for (i.e., use at a fixed location), perhaps it will meet your needs. I'm assuming that, like most of these FEMA trailers, it has no holding tanks, 12VDC systems, etc., so I'm not quite sure how you'll handle the water and sewer requirements. Electrical power could be provided by a generator, but I'm not sure how many deer will be left around if the genset is noisy.

Good luck.

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Old 10-31-2011, 11:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RustyJC View Post
Electrical power could be provided by a generator, but I'm not sure how many deer will be left around if the genset is noisy.

Good luck.


That's an interesting thought, but my experience is that deer would run away only if you were just starting the generator. If it's running continuously, they won't pay any attention to it. If noise would keep them away, my neighbors and I would use that technique to protect our vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

The noise may even help a hunter remain undetected.

Good hunting,
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:50 AM   #14
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We have full hookups at the deer lease for everything. The trailer will stay at the lease during deer season and early spring for wild hog hunting. I'll bring it home in the summer months for maintenance and so we can take a family trip somewhere.

I wish I had a solution for the garden issue with the deer other than an 8' fence. Maybe some white trash bags flapping in the wind?

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