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Old 08-18-2007, 02:31 PM   #1
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I'm considering switching from my slide-in to an Airstream or other trailer, and would value some advice from anyone with experience with both types of camper.

My setup: 2004 Alpenlite 11.5 w/slide, 2004 F350 dually diesel (extra leaf springs, Firestone airbags).

My concerns about the slide-in:

1) I'm over 1500 lbs over the gvwr for my vehicle when loaded.
2) I have twice sheared the bolts and bent the brackets for my Firestone airbags (admittedly after some very long hauls on rough gravel roads -- Alaska, etc), making me additionally concerned about the weight issue
3) Loading/unloading the camper on the truck seems dangerous at times (electric jacks)

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with a heavy slidein camper like mine, and also with a travel trailer. I've never driven the latter type, and would value any insights about these issues:

1) hitching/unhitching a TT versus loading/unloading a slidein (time involved, but especially safety)

2) driving safety comparison between the two kinds of rig (assume proper weight-dist hitches, etc for TT, and perhaps a better suspension for the TT -- I understand Airstreams, for example, put more money into suspension elements)

3) limitations on where one can fit the rig? My 11.5 won't safely make it to remote forest road sites anyway, so I guess I'm wondering more about FS and state campgrounds.

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:31 PM   #2
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I'm considering switching from my slide-in to an Airstream or other trailer, and would value some advice from anyone with experience with both types of camper.

My setup: 2004 Alpenlite 11.5 w/slide, 2004 F350 dually diesel (extra leaf springs, Firestone airbags).

My concerns about the slide-in:

1) I'm over 1500 lbs over the gvwr for my vehicle when loaded.
2) I have twice sheared the bolts and bent the brackets for my Firestone airbags (admittedly after some very long hauls on rough gravel roads -- Alaska, etc), making me additionally concerned about the weight issue
3) Loading/unloading the camper on the truck seems dangerous at times (electric jacks)

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with a heavy slidein camper like mine, and also with a travel trailer. I've never driven the latter type, and would value any insights about these issues:

1) hitching/unhitching a TT versus loading/unloading a slidein (time involved, but especially safety)

2) driving safety comparison between the two kinds of rig (assume proper weight-dist hitches, etc for TT, and perhaps a better suspension for the TT -- I understand Airstreams, for example, put more money into suspension elements)

3) limitations on where one can fit the rig? My 11.5 won't safely make it to remote forest road sites anyway, so I guess I'm wondering more about FS and state campgrounds.

Thanks!
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:35 AM   #3
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There are only a couple of areas that we are alike (we have a slidein and a Dually). Now my thoughts. As you can see in my sig., we have a slidein (8 1/2") and a 28' TT. We use the slidein when we will be traveling and not staying anywhere much. We spent 2mos. in Ar. & Ca. 3 1/2 yrs. ago. 1/2 yrs. ago we took the TT. We did fine both times.
Some pros. for slidein:
1) Less total load.
2) Easier to park, especially in parking lots or road side stops.
3) With ours, we can get in most places the PU will go as long as there is vertical & width clearance including FS roads.
Some cons:
1) The slidein is easy to overload. We were 1K. over once.
2) More difficult to load & unload (need fairly level ground among other things).
3) Definitely less room.
4) IMHO you need duals for better stability.
5) Unless you unlooad camper @ camp ground, you have to break camp to drive anywhere.
Some pros for TT:
1) With practice they are fairly easy to hook up and unhook (also don't need level ground but do need level to use).
2) Lots more room.
Some cons:
1) Some TTs. don't have much CC so are easy to overload.
2) Some TTs' are prone to being pushed around by trucks and wind. In IMO RVs tend to have too light tires and/or suspension.
3) Some TTs don't have much clearance for getting in & out of gas stations etc. or over rough roads.
4) You need to learn how to tow & back up any kind of trailer.
5) More total load unless you have a very small TT.
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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Thanks Cliff.

I definitely feel like there are safety issues with the slidein as far as on-the-road safety, but I see that you mention some issues with driving a trailer too. Would you say that you feel that you're safer overall driving your TT or the camper?
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:01 PM   #5
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That's a hard call. I would feel safer with my camper than with yours. There are times I take both the camper & the TT. It's a load but I don't feel unsafe with it. It is within my GCVWR. I guess I'm just not a big fan of a big slidein. To answer your question, I feel safer with my slidein than the TT but don't feel unsafe with either or both. This probably hasn't helped you much but it is about all I can say since I have never hauled a big camper. I have hauled what I have on a 3/4ton and like the dually much better.
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:32 PM   #6
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have owend Pop-up, slide in , TT and Fith wheel, liked all at the time but have found the fith to be roomier and easier to tow and set/hook up
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:30 AM   #7
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I think in the end cost isnt a factor , many TT are cheaper then a big slide in. Safety wise a 3/4 or 1 ton truck towing a 6~7000 lb travel trailer isnt a issue so thats a plus. Space and conveinance of droping a trailer and going some place is much easier . Spare room , not in a slide in thats for sure ! I would look at a Nash , artic fox silver , a real holiday rambler not there cheaper units and see what suits your needs.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:00 PM   #8
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A small well built TT will cost less and have more room than a slide in. Units such as the Nash and Arctic Fox are built for the riggors of the northwoods and therefore sit higher off the ground - I know several owners who use them it remote forest camps while doing wild life projects. Towing a 26 ft TT is probably safer than a large slide-in. Someone earlier mentioned low carrying capacity in some TTs - this is true and it is simply something you need to keep in mind when purchasing one.
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:05 PM   #9
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I made the switch last year from a Lance 1030 to a Keystone 304BHS 34' TT. I like everything about the TT much better. More room, easier to tow(drive), I definetly feel safer driving it. I have run into the only downside and that is sometimes a TT is just too big to get into where a slide in would go. It is way way easier to hitch and unhitch from a TT then it is to load and unload a slide in. Unless you tow a boat with you too then I would make the switch to a TT. I take 2 ATV's with me so I had to buy a bed mounted rack to carry them instead of towing them on a trailer behind the slide in. All in all I like the TT much better, I only wonder if I "overbought" a bit and should have stayed in the 27' range?
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:21 PM   #10
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I went with a slide in camper because of the versitility of it. With my hobbies of 4x4 and white water rafting and when I bought the camper a motor boat, I would be towing something most of the time. Some times with out the slide in camper, a lot of times with the slide in camper. We thought about different types of rvs and the slide in made the most sence for us. You have to figure out what works for you. As for safety I have no problem with either. My parents towed TT for years never had a problem. I have the slide in on a dualy and tow a Jeep/trailer combo that is about 6000 pounds and have no sway on the road, semi's don't blow me around and the cross winds I have been in have not been a problem either. Living in the southwest the winds do blow. If the rig is set up correctly for what you have, slide in or TT, safety to me would be equal. It's the folks that don't match the whole rig, get the right hitch set up, the correct balance, not enough truck, etc, to make it all work correctly that have the safety issues.
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Old 08-29-2007, 07:37 AM   #11
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I agree totally with "Don and Sarah". I only had a SRW F350. A dually would have been tons better, but still I had airsprings and the right hitch and I towed my jeep on a flatbed all over the place and never felt "unsafe". I owned that setup for about 7 years. I just wanted more room and I gave up the Jeeping hobby so a TT made sense to me. I think it comes down to look at your toys that you need to take with you. If you can put them in the bed of the truck get a TT, if you have to them go for a slide in. Of course there is always the toyhauler side of things, but I personally am not a fan of them. Each to their own I suppose.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:09 PM   #12
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Well I have had a 5er, MH, now in my 3rd TC, I guess I like TC's. We would like a little more room, but I have low vision, so the DW does all the driving and she is more comfrotable driving with the TC than towing anything. We have a 1ton dually, with air bags and haul a large TC,I feel very safe with out setup. I always keep in mind how much we are loading into the TC. Try to keep as light as possible. It works for us.
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Old 11-01-2007, 08:01 AM   #13
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In the past we had a 32' TT and we now have a 8.5 TC. Both my wife and I agree that the TC is a lot more versatile for traveling and we are able to get into sites that the TT could never occupy.

We bought a Stable-Lift to eliminate the stability when loading issue and love it. For the trucks suspension I went with the Hard Rubber Springs rather than airbags, but the next time I would get different leaf springs made for a higher capacity.


I've thought about getting a toy-hauler but it still won't allow us to take our boat so we keep comming back to a TC because it fits our needs.

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Old 11-01-2007, 06:17 PM   #14
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I had a 10' Amerigo with the expandable rear bed. Quite heavy, but I needed to pull the hunting buggy down to our hunting site in the glades. With the 2500, even with air bags, it was very unstable. I bought a dually and it was much better. Not a lot of room inside but adequate for what we used it for. Then bought a motorhome to do the same - - much safer and more room. Now have the fiver and love it much better than the motorhomes (5 of them). Easy to hook up/unhook, tows fantastic and all kinds of room (400 sf) with 3 slides.
Bob
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