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Old 11-08-2006, 08:51 PM   #1
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Hey guys. My wife and I gave birth to twin boys 8 months ago, and I'm in the very early stages of looking for a family RV. More than anything, I'm curious what size/type of RV you think will suit our needs best. Our budget is probably best described as "up to $20K" with gently used not out of the question. Without getting into too many details, I'll let you know what I see us using the RV for primarily.

* I'm a college football season ticket holder and would really enjoy tailgating 5-6 times/year.

* We love to camp, and given the young age of our boys we will probably vacation around home (the Pacific NW) for the first several years of their lives. Nothing too extreme though, mainly weekend warrior stuff (up to 1 week).

* We haven't "upsized" our vehicle yet, but we'll certainly end up with a large SUV in the Ford Expedition / Chevy Tahoe / Toyota Sequoia range. I'm fairly certain that any of these rigs will tow a light weight TT in the 24-29' range.

* Ideally, I'd like to find a model with 2 good sized beds at opposide ends of the trailer and probably an additional sleeping arrangement at the dinette. It will primarily be used by just the 4 of us, but I can see a set of Grandparents coming along once and a while.

* The biggest concern I have is that we live in Seattle and I don't have an enclosed "port" for the RV. It will have to sit out in the rainy elements. One of the RV salesmen I spoke with locally said that the sun and wind affect (not a problem in Seattle) affect things a lot worse than our mild 45-75 degree climate. I'll cross that bridge later I guess.

Anyway guys, this is a very helpful site and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:51 PM   #2
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Hey guys. My wife and I gave birth to twin boys 8 months ago, and I'm in the very early stages of looking for a family RV. More than anything, I'm curious what size/type of RV you think will suit our needs best. Our budget is probably best described as "up to $20K" with gently used not out of the question. Without getting into too many details, I'll let you know what I see us using the RV for primarily.

* I'm a college football season ticket holder and would really enjoy tailgating 5-6 times/year.

* We love to camp, and given the young age of our boys we will probably vacation around home (the Pacific NW) for the first several years of their lives. Nothing too extreme though, mainly weekend warrior stuff (up to 1 week).

* We haven't "upsized" our vehicle yet, but we'll certainly end up with a large SUV in the Ford Expedition / Chevy Tahoe / Toyota Sequoia range. I'm fairly certain that any of these rigs will tow a light weight TT in the 24-29' range.

* Ideally, I'd like to find a model with 2 good sized beds at opposide ends of the trailer and probably an additional sleeping arrangement at the dinette. It will primarily be used by just the 4 of us, but I can see a set of Grandparents coming along once and a while.

* The biggest concern I have is that we live in Seattle and I don't have an enclosed "port" for the RV. It will have to sit out in the rainy elements. One of the RV salesmen I spoke with locally said that the sun and wind affect (not a problem in Seattle) affect things a lot worse than our mild 45-75 degree climate. I'll cross that bridge later I guess.

Anyway guys, this is a very helpful site and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:43 AM   #3
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First of all, welcome to iRV2! You will be sure to get lots of friendly advice.

We had 2 travel trailers as our kids were growing up and pulled them with a full size van. The van gave the kids alot of room to spread out while we were on the road. I even had a custom table made that went in the van so the could color and play games while still strapped in their seats.

Our first trailer was a 22 ft. KIT bunkhouse and the second was a 32 ft. Wilderness bunkhouse. Between the two of them we traveled to all 48 lower continental states. The kids loved traveling and had a new best friend in every campground every night.

You have a good start on your desires. Make a list of your "must have" items and a list of "negotiable" items. For instance, we required a completely separate bathroom rather than a walk-thru. You should also consider how many of the trailer's facilities you want to have usable when on the road with the slide-outs closed. Also set your top dollar amount and stick to it. We just bought a new 5er last spring and I started the shopping process on the internet. By the time we got to the dealer we knew exactly what we wanted and what the MSRP of the unit was. You can typically take 25 to 30% off the MSRP and use that as your target price when negotiating.

With the SUVs you have mentioned you will want to stay with a relatively lightweight TT. I'm not sure what brands are available in your area but I suggest you look at Jayco. Also check out Crossroads RV (Crossroads Website), which is owned by Thor Industries. We are very pleased with the quality of our Cruiser and Crossroads' commitment to customer service. Their website shows all of their different lines and also allows you to "build" your own online.

Good luck! And again, welcome to iRV2!
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:27 AM   #4
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I'm not trying to push any one brand over another but a Jayco Jay Feather comes to mind for the size that might fit your needs. It is a hard side bumper pull RV, but has beds that fold out at each end. The beds are like those on popups and can be queen size or larger. Some friends of ours have one and it is lightweight and pulls easy with their Durango SUV. Go to some RV shows and look at what is available in different styles of RV's.

If you get a new tow vehicle, anything that is 3/4 ton rated will tow a trailer much better than the 1/2 ton trucks, vans, or SUV's. Give some thought to a 3/4 ton vehicle as a possibility.
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:35 AM   #5
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I'd second the recommendations to check out the Jaycos. We've owned three and have been very satisfied with each of them. In addition, Jayco has an excellent reputation for customer support.

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Old 11-09-2006, 06:10 PM   #6
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Well, it sounds like you might find a tailer that handles wind and all towing conditions well. I would suggest an Airstream and or our HI-LO, as your towing experience on the road will be indeed easier. We have towerd ours overall in very tough situations, both in heavy cross winds and steep rocky mountain conditions. Good luck
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:49 PM   #7
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I love everything about airstream's. My only concern is the cost. It's not so much that I think they're overpriced, but it's a big investment for a first time RV'er who isn't even 100% sure he'll love it.

Still, you can't argue with the construction and towability of airstream RV's.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:48 AM   #8
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While I did not have twins, I do have two grown children who enjoyed the camping lifestyle while growing up. Yes there was always a new friend in every campground and the quality family time around the campfire was priceless. I owned only one TT during this time period - a 20' Komfort Lite Bunkhouse and we towed it first with an S-10 PU and then an Astro Minivan. It probably weighed in at 3,000 lbs including water - I never weighed it so I really don't know however the GVWR was 3600 lbs.
The bunks were great as the kids had beds ready at any time - naps etc. It also gave them their own little space. The front of the TT was a large dinette that made into a large bed for us at nite. We would spent both long weekends and week long vacations in it. Most of the time we were in state parks with power and water - the tanks in it were quite small - but it really forced us to learn how to conserve water. When we did dry camp we could just make it through a weekend on the 22gal of fresh water and 13 gal grey and 12gal black tanks. Which probably explains how we can last a week on our current tanks with no problems.

All of my TTs have sat out in PDX weather with no problems. You might have more problems with rust due to more salt in your air. A friend of mine parked his TT on the coast for a summer and left the slide out. When he went to bring it back in the fall the slide was rusted solid in the out position. Took lots of oil and elbow grease to get in back in. I am not a big fan of slides for this and other reasons.

Hybreds were not around back in 86 however they would not be a bad choice today - esp for the amount of sleeping room they offer. I have found that the newer lightweight TTs use construction methods that seem to not hold up very well, there is something about a one piece foam sandwich sidewall with no studs that makes me quiver. Which is why after owning one, I went back to good old wood framed Arctic Fox.

Also after dealing with an Indiana Mfg on warranty issues, I decided to limit my TT search to those with plants in the PNW. Komfort, Northwood (AF,Nash), Salem, Extreme RV (aka Kit), Alpenlite, Fleetwood, and Okanagan.

I like Komfort's welded alum frame and they might have a floor plan that will work for you. Northwood has had several bunk models over the years and it is possible to find used ones here in the PNW that are in great condition as they are very well built rigs.

As for a TV, I would go with at least a 3/4T rig, either a Burb/Excursion (used), a crew cab pu. or a van. Make sure that it has a factory tow package as it will usually have the necessary oil coolers, HD alternator,rear axle ratios etc. While some of this can be added aftermarket, it is usually cheaper to get it right from the factory. Another item to get is camper mirrors, Ford and GM now have the best ones. They extend out to make it easier to see around you TT. Otherwise you will need to get some kind of clamp on mirror extensions. Right now, GM is making great deals on new 06 and 07 classic pickups. I have heard they are dealing at 6-10K off MSRP. There is a new truck line coming out next spring so they want to move out the old stock. You can read more about them at www.gmc.com . There are some changes in the new rigs that might peak your interest, so you might want to wait - like I am doing. Ford is also coming out with a new 08 model next summer. I have not heard anything about new full sized vans for either of them.

Good luck
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:35 AM   #9
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I would have to say that the first thing to do is go to RV dealerships and just look at different models. Check the tow ratings for your vehicle and then look at what fits within your tow ratings. My wife and I looked for two years and did alot of reasearch on the internet. We started looking at bumper towed travel trailers and then decided that fifth wheels suited us better. Cost was a concern and that slowed us down some. After I got into a bad car accident at work, that made me re-evaluate what was important to me. We bought our fiver and after our first trip, got bitten by the RV bug. We love it. My kids are now 13 and 7, and our trips are the best. I am glad that we did it and do not regret a moment of it. Life is short and the kids wont stay young forever. I learned (the hard way)to make the most out of what you have and cherish every moment of it. Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:32 PM   #10
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What I did when I got a buddy into it, when he was ready to start looking, was tourist to local RV dealers, all of them. This was when I lived on Southern Vancouver Island BC, so climate is the same. His kids at start were 2 and a half, and 9 months. So, find a friend and go start asking questions, do it all winter, because come February the salesguys will be desperate for a sale. But take someone with you who is knowledgeable in order to make sure to ask the right questions and wave the BS flag when the salesguy starts pulling the answers from various body orifices.

He ended up going with a Starcraft Antigua. Its a hybrid, (so this makes the second hybrid recommendation of the thread), so it has a queen popout at each end.

In 2005 they camped over 50 nights with us, including a road trip to Disney/San Diego. In 2006 we were a little less due to a cross continent move at 35-40 nights.

They pull it with a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, max weight for the trailer has never exceeded 4100 lbs (I made him weigh it during the 2 week Disney trip).
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