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Old 08-27-2013, 07:08 AM   #1
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Rv vs 5th wheel or something else? Fam of 8

Yes! I know! The $1,000,000 question! But if I had that much money, this question wouldn't exist.

In our case, I grew up 5th wheeling with my grandparents. I liked it fine, as well as a teen likes hanging out in a 5th wheel with her grandparents. I do love my grandparents! I am lucky to have those memories. But there came a point where I was more interested in boys than having camping in places where I usually could not find anyone to visit with, as in..boys-my age. (we had no sliders and I was never involved with setting up, growing up, with my own dad, we always tent camped)

Move forward to now. We have 6 children of our own. My oldest is headed to college in a couple days. Next year, my 2nd child heads off to college. The other children, most of whom have Sept birthdays, by the end of the month (Sept) will be 2, 4, 9, and 12. My husband, who is a software engineer, was transferred at work a few months ago, but not moved. This means, his boss is on the other side of the country, and he has no office here. He is free to go as he pleases, as long as he works. Yay! So this summer, we packed the 8 of us up in the minivan and headed north (we live in Texas). We stayed with my grandma (grandpa passed away a few years ago). Grandma is 87 yrs old so this was a little difficult with the children. They loved being there and seeing uncles and aunts and cousins and such. But, it was clear that our little ones were making grandma nervous with their activity and touching everything. When we were not staying with her, we stayed in hotels...to the tune of $200-300 a night (needed 2 rooms due to family size). The older kids hated the tight quarters. My now 3 yr old (about to turn 4) was stressed from the hotels and such (he begged to just stay with Grandma, he has autism spectrum disorder and is very sweet and loves his grandma, but Grandma was exhausted from his frequent activity, even though he actually did very well).

Over the course of the summer, I have been visiting dealerships and pricing 5th wheels. I have seen some wonderful 5th wheels in our price range. I was figuring it would be just the 6 of us with the older 2 off to college. So, a truck that seats 6 would be an issue, but I am sure we could find out, and a good 5th wheel.

That is when the older kids both came to me and said they would like to join us. At least one of us is talking taking a gap year to join us. I couldn't be more thrilled!!! I thought our lives as a family doing things like this was over and it just be the younger kids.

So now we have gone from looking at something for a family of 6, with an occassional visitor, to something with a family of 8. Actually, I am betting our 2 older children will not continue with us fulltime, they will probably join us for the summer and then head back to college when the time comes. And I don't know for sure how far we will go or how long we will be gone. But the kids all, and so do I, want to go to Alaska. My husband thinks that would be an impossibly long drive and too difficult.

I am now thinking that perhaps, because we will never find a truck that seats 8, we should go over to a motorhome. But when I price out motorhomes, they seem smaller and to have less sleeping and space and such, and cost a lot more! When I took my husband out to see the motorhomes at the dealer, he became less than thrilled. He says he liked the 5th wheels and those seemed very affordable, but the motorhomes seem so expensive.

After some discussion, he realizes the truck idea, (we would need to buy a truck too) might not be a valid idea if we have 8 people to seat. SO, a MH pulling something that can seat 8 might be better.

SO I am running it by everyone here. Not wealthy people, need to keep the cost under $100K for the 5th wheel and truck together, or for the MH. Would like to go to Alaska, and will have 4 kids and 2 -4 adults. Oh, another thing, I do not want to settle down in one place for months and then move on. We will likely move on from each place within days, even if we do return to it later.

Would a 5th wheel even be a viable option? I guess we could possibly drive the minivan also if we did a 5th wheel for when the other 2 join us (they could help with the driving) but that would still be a hardship for when we make the big drive to Alaska. Also, I am guessing that after the initial trip, the oldest at least will grow tired of the travels and head back to college come fall, so his time with us will be limited (except that Alaska is pretty far away and the main place he wants to go, he also wants to go to Vancouver).

What do you think? Which would work best? I am thinking MH. But of course, a 5th wheel will give us more space, just not likely the needed sitting room for the drive. And I already know about seat belt limitations. We will take care of that by adding more in, even if it has to go back to the dealership for an extra cost.

And as far a car to tow, we will likely end up buying something with a third row pop out seat in the back rather than attempting to bring the minivan.

Personally, I think I would love to do the MH. The question really is, which is most practical, and cost effective, in our case?
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
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I would look seriously at a toy hauler. The Damon Outlaw would seem to fit most of your needs. You could add either bunks or a queen bed in back and sleep 8 adequately. The two couches would give you the necessary seating and may already have seat belts. The toy hauler would also give you much more needed storage. You can keep the cost under $100K. Tow a van behind it.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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Also, I am not sure if I made it clear in the first post, but the older kids usually will not be with us. But right now, they say they want to. I am guessing though, being 18 and 19 yr olds, they will bore of it quickly and want to get back to their adult lives. The younger kids, however, home school, giving us the flexibility to go where ever we want, whenever we want.

My family members, who still RV in a variety of ways, actually take tents with them for when there are extra guests along. I am not sure how practical that is for us, especially if it is done on a regular basis. For the Alaska trip, I am guessing not practical.

I am going to go look at the toy hauler. I think I remember seeing that before, years ago, just not lately.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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A couple of things... you said the kids were cramped and unhappy in hotel rooms. Well, an RV is also going to be small and cramped with so many passengers.

You will need to carefully consider weight and carrying capacity of a motorhome, particularly gasoline powered models. Also consider the tank sizes for black, gray and fresh water for that many people. I don't mean to sound negative, but "practical and cost-effective" are not terms typically associated with RVing.

You might consider renting a motorhome for a week to see how it works out. Good luck to you.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaTX View Post
They loved being there and seeing uncles and aunts and cousins and such. But, it was clear that our little ones were making grandma nervous with their activity and touching everything. When we were not staying with her, we stayed in hotels...to the tune of $200-300 a night (needed 2 rooms due to family size). The older kids hated the tight quarters.


I need to clarify...no one had trouble with tight quarters at the hotels at all. What the issue was is the 14-16 hr car drive, in the minivan, with all 8 of us, and our stuff. We are light packers, so we have never needed anything like an over the minivan container or anything. Everything we take fits in the back of the van..the "trunk" area. This last trip, we did re-situate the car seats, putting them in the back seat instead of putting older kids back there and all was fine. But as you can imagine....4 adults and 4 kids (calling our older 2 adults because, well, they pretty much are at 18 and 17 yrs old), having 8 in an 8 seater minivan for 14-16 hrs can get a little cramped. We made 2 of these trips this past summer where we spent half the time at relatives and the other half in hotels. And honestly, the RV would open us up to be gone all summer and part of the school year.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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I need to clarify...no one had trouble with tight quarters at the hotels at all. What the issue was is the 14-16 hr car drive, in the minivan, with all 8 of us, and our stuff. We are light packers, so we have never needed anything like an over the minivan container or anything. Everything we take fits in the back of the van..the "trunk" area. This last trip, we did re-situate the car seats, putting them in the back seat instead of putting older kids back there and all was fine. But as you can imagine....4 adults and 4 kids (calling our older 2 adults because, well, they pretty much are at 18 and 17 yrs old), having 8 in an 8 seater minivan for 14-16 hrs can get a little cramped. We made 2 of these trips this past summer where we spent half the time at relatives and the other half in hotels. And honestly, the RV would open us up to be gone all summer and part of the school year.
This is basically why I'm not even considering anything but a motorhome. While I have one less passenger than you and my children are younger, I don't want to be crammed into a smaller vehicle for hours on end when traveling. I know some others will travel with 2 vehicles, but that would not be my choice...and I know for sure my wife would not like that. She doesn't even like to drive separately to visit family 2 hours away!

Yes, the 'off the rack' options are a bit limited for families our size, but that's really just pertaining to sleeping arrangements IMO. Driving-wise there's plenty of room (or easily customized as you mentioned earlier).

While not the most ideal method of towing, you could look into an enclosed trailer for a dingy and make a small bunk room in there for your older children. Having a separate area for their sleeping quarters might be better for everyone anyway (assuming they go to bed and get up at different hours than the other younger ones).

Another idea is something like this:

Little above the price range, but interesting concept. Crew cab allows for 2 youngest kids to be right behind driver and passenger. Garage can be converted to bunk room (see youtube link attached).

2007 Thor Motor Coach Fun Mover, Page AZ - 108935169 - RVTrader.com

2008 Four Winds Funmover 42d , Class C RV For Sale By Owner in Galt, California | RVT.com - 123401

Living in an RV with 6 Kids Part 2: Sleeping and Bedrooms - YouTube
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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Lots of room

The reason we when from a class C to a class A was because the wife did not like having to craw into bed (Or make up, it was a pain, even when we both did it). We just bought a 2013 Tiffin 35 QBA (gasoline) with four slides and bunks, so with a queen, the bunks, a queen sofa and the dinette it will sleep 8, but with the slides across from each other, you could easily have at least two people sleep on cots. Tiffin and other also make larger bunk models. The Tiffin 38QBA and 40QKH or both diesels and all can be found used. They all have lots of storage and can pull a toad.

If your husband is going to be working on the road, I would think he would need a good nice quiet place to sleep and work.

Look luck and keep us posted.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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There's lots of info about Class A Toy Haulers here:
Class "A" Toyhaulers

The Thor Outlaw and Newmar Canyon Star lines both have 2 floor plans...
Plus there are many older (discontinued) models out there.

Everyone can come along on the drive and there are models that sleep 8 without any mods. Add bunks to the garage or replace a couch with bunk beds and you are into sleeping even more.

Good quality used models are selling in the price range you mentioned.

We LOVE our Outlaw - there is nothing like having everything you want in 1 RV...and we tow a SUV for destination exploration!
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f120/i-lo...aw-102560.html

Please add anything you discover too.

Best of luck!
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:07 AM   #9
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A 32 to 36 foot 5th wheel with bunk beds and a good diesel truck would be a hard combination to beat for your family!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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