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Old 11-04-2013, 10:50 AM   #15
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To me the most important aspect is how and what materials went into the build. All RV's looks really nice. So visually they are attractive. Fancy interior colors, wild exterior graphics all are there to grab your attention. Nothing wrong with any of that as no one wants to tow an eye sore and sit for hrs on end in and ugly RV.

It's what's behind that eye candy that separates the good from the potential bad ones.
How the exterior walls are made and how well the caulking is done is very important. There's only 4 ways walls are made, laminated, vacuum bonded, wood with corrugated aluminum and hung type.
All are fairly equal with hung types being on more expensive units. The wood wall types are really on the lower end units. Doesn't make them all that much inferior if at all. It's just that they aren't nearly as attractive as the fiberglass sided RV's.
Another very important factor in durability is the tires, axles, springs and frame. How thick is the frame? How much load capacity can the springs, axles and tires carry? Looking at payload ratings for the trailer you need to have enough payload in reserve to handle the camping gear you'll be carrying. You don't want a trailer with a dry weight of 5000lbs and only be able to carry 900lbs. All too soon after packing up your gear you'll be overloading the trailer. Look for a trailer with at least 2000lbs+ of payload capability. The average camper puts anywhere from 1000-1500lbs of stuff in their trailer. Seems like a lot but you'd be amazed at how fast it adds up. You also want to check the axle ratings as well as the tire rating. Make sure the axles have the correct rating to go with the trailers GVW and that the tires are rated at max psi for the axles.
Next thing to do is look at the interior build. All trailers have the same appliances for the most part. Most furniture is made at a couple places. But the cabinetry and overall build is only inherent to the manufacture you're looking at. Open all the drawers and doors. do the feel solid? Or do the larger ones wiggle when opened. Look inside the cabinets and look at the plumbing and wiring. Is it neatly ran or just a spaghetti mess. Is there sawdust or punch out parts laying around. A tidy built unit shows more pride in workmanship than a cobbled up mess.
Next is the floor plan. Will you need access to the pantry or toilet while traveling or loading for a trip. On some units when the slide is in you can't access certain drawers or cupboards. Will that be a problem for you? Next check out the bathroom. Does it have good access. How much room is inside? Stand in the shower/tub, do you have enough room? Now step out, do you have enough room to dry off? Or are you confined by the counter and toilet? Next try sitting on the toilet, do you need to contort yourself to sit?
Next to check is the living area. do you like to watch tv? Can you see the tv w/o turning your head 90deg? Or is the tv so far away you can barely see it?

Next thing to do is after finding some floor plans that interest you is to spend lots of time inside it. Sit on the dinette or chairs at the table for awhile. Are they comfortable? Too many nice looking chairs or booth dinettes feel like a hard board after just 20 mins sitting on them. Sit in the recliners or sofa for a while. Same scenario, most look great but can be totally uncomfortable. Now step up to the kitchen area and hang out for awhile as if cooking. Are the drawers located in a convenient place? Is there enough counter to cook food. Think about what you do at home and see if you will be as comfortable in you trailer doing the same things.
RV shows are a great place to see lots of different units. Only problem is some are very popular and lots of people are trying to go into the units so being able to spend time in one can be difficult. But you at least get to see lots of different ones and if some appeal to you, you can then go to the dealer where you will be able to be by yourself inside for a while and give it a good look over.

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Old 11-04-2013, 10:57 AM   #16
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Such great points. My parents got burned buying a second home for all of us kids to use on the weekend when we grew up. Then, we all moved away and today no one uses it, including them.

So, when we got our TT, we got it for us two, not our kids and grandkids. I figure they can always pitch a tent if they want to come with us.

So, we looked for small, but where DH with mobility/health issues can turn around, stand up, and use comfortably. We went with the smallest new one I could afford.

Small size works for us - the TT is for sleeping in, getting dressed in, cooking/eating if bad weather, and using the facilities. We are generally out and about during the day and stay outside until time to turn in.

We also made the choice of no slides. Just level it, drop the stabilizer jacks, light the hot water tank, switch the fridge to electric if available, put out the outside chairs, and we are done. The 14ft fits anywhere.

For us as new campers, going new was an easy decision and it works for us. No issues from former owners not maintaining to our satisfaction.

Some choices made it easy for us -We don't camp in the winter because cold weather is hard for DH with COPD to breathe in, so no need for covered tanks, for instance. We just winterize it and park it in the side yard and I use it as an office in the winter.

Look at what you will carry - The 14ft floorplan we went with had more open space than most 16ft floorplans. That is important when carrying an oxygen concentrator. There is a shelf headboard which holds a bpap machine.

While we would have liked a step in bathtub type shower, ours which has a shower floorpan is easier for DH to step into, although he only uses it when we disperse camp and uses the regular bathhouses when available as they are easier on him. So, the shower can become a storage area on those trips and I pack accordingly. I carry less stuff or use a tent as a storage unit when we are going to use the shower.

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