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Old 12-09-2019, 05:20 AM   #1
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Seeking Advice RV Shopping and going Full-time

Hello friends,


I am new to the forum. Im seeking advice regarding purchasing a small travel trailer and going full-time this Spring (solo). I have been reading posts on the forum and there is a lot of wisdom and experience here. I would be grateful for any advice/suggestions you care to offer.


Im 55 yrs old & have been dreaming of both camp hosting and full-time RVing for several years. I hope to make it a reality this Spring. My SUV can tow 5,000 lbs. I would like to purchase a small light travel trailer that would weigh under 5,000 lbs when loaded, perhaps along the lines of a Winnebago Micro Minnie or something similar. Not sure if I should buy new or used.


Do you have any suggestions as to brands to consider or avoid? If you were going to buy an RV to fit the above requirements, what would you buy? How old of a used RV should I consider buying? Do I need to insure the RV? How many years can one typically expect to use an RV full time before major repairs are required?


Also, what is the minimum emergency fund you would recommend I have when starting out?


Once again, I appreciate any advice/suggestions you care to offer. Sorry for asking so many questions, but this is just the tip of the iceberg - lol!
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:56 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and the RV lifestyle! We are not full-timers, but I'll offer the following suggestions:

Visit one or more large RV shows and explore all the TTs in your size and weight range to get a feel for build quality, floor plans and interior design to determine which best suits your own needs and preferences. Even if you end up buying used, I believe the time invested in the search is well worth the effort.

Don't take a salesperson's word for it that your tow vehicle will safely pull the TT he or she is trying to sell you. Get the specs for the rig and your TV and run the numbers yourself.

In reference to insurance, personally speaking, I would not go without. One downed tree in a storm and you'll need to ante up for another rig. Insurance for TTs isn't terribly expensive. Progressive has been good to us regarding pricing for both our boat and TT. I can't speak to how they handle claims as we (fortunately) have not had to make any.

The best of luck with your search, your rig and your new adventure!

Mary
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:20 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:31 AM   #4
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I would get the largest TT your vehicle can tow.
You do not want to find out soon that it is too small.the ones with slideouts make more room.
With new you get a warranty and you could save by buying a 2019 model.

If buying used make sure everything works and there are no leaks.

Insurance is very affordable.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:07 AM   #5
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You will probably find that your SUV is not capable of pulling a 5000 lb travel trailer. TTs have high tongue weights compared to, say, boats or flat trailers, and enormous wind resistance.

What tow vehicle? Does it have the factory trailering package?
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:00 AM   #6
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Be prepared for opinions from both ends of the spectrum, and an education into a whole new world. It can be a blast but the bumps in the road can also get big.

First off, going from nothing to full time is a huge transition and the likelyhood your first pick of equipment will last long. I don't know how this will affect your cash flow but it will. And this equipment depreciates rapidly.

A 5000 pound tow capacity means little. Tongue weight of the trailer and max load of the SUV usually become the gating factor. And it is better to plan on going with about 70% as the max of any number.

In the size you are considering renting for a few weekend trips is money well spent.

Good luck and remember to roll with the punches. Hope this RV thing is as good to you as it has been for us.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:01 AM   #7
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5000 tow raring? So your driving something like a Toyota Highlander or similar size cross over. Simply put, its not enough vehicle to do what you want.
Sell it, buy a decent used 2500 series pickup, put a nicw canopy over the bed and start shopping for a used 25-30 foot trailer. As a full timer even solo remember your taking EVERYTHING you own with you. That adds up in weight in a hurry.
A 5000 pound loaded trailer is going to become really cramped after a couple of days of rain. You will not always simply be able to pick up and move, so you need to have a plan to hunker down for up to a week comfortably. That means room to spread out. DW and I had a 35 foot fifth wheel, and even solo there is no way I would want smaller.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:34 AM   #8
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Perhaps you are a minimalist, but I suspect you will find that any RV weighing under 5000# loaded is going to be cramped, even for one. Fine for a weekend, but fulltime living needs a bit more personal space & storage. And as others have said, your SUV probably won't handle the full 5000 plus you and whatever gear you have in the SUV. Best to figure more like 4000 lb (80% of max) for the trailer weight. That's going to be smaller than any Micro-Minnie or Rockwood Roo, probably under 16 ft in size. A full sized SUV (Suburban/Yukon, Ford Expedition, etc) or pick-up truck would be more suitable.


Start visiting RV sales lots and try on a lot of smaller TT's for size and layout (floor plan). Make sure you fit in the shower and on the commode, can get in/out of the bed easily, have room to relax in the evening, etc. THEN decide how much trailer is right for you and what vehicle you need to pull it as well as travel comfortably.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MoTiger View Post
.Once again, I appreciate any advice/suggestions you care to offer. Sorry for asking so many questions, but this is just the tip of the iceberg - lol!
Other than age we really don't know much about your plans, area, etc.
Buy an inexpensive TT (bumper pull) and give it a try. Your investment will be relatively low.
As far as the emergency fund goes. Save everything you can for as long as you can.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:42 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum.

You are joining a good group of folks here with good info to share. Read the various threads and ask questions as they come up.

Not to pile on, and i am no trailer expert as we roll in a Class A MH, your tow vehicle is going to be way under powered for what you want. Time to rethink the project.

Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:36 PM   #11
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Welcome... and don't be discouraged by replies you may receive.

There are many full-timers traveling in a small trailer - singles and couples. We've known a few traveling in a small Scamp trailer. So your idea is certainly doable.

You need to run your weight figures carefully depending what your vehicle is. Also, a small trailer will have virtually no outside storage space so everything needs to be stored in your car or inside the trailer. Think about tools, BBQ, chair, etc. Again, it can be done but think it out. The trailer weight is one thing but then you need to add in all your belongings and a full tank of liquid (fresh water, grey water, black water or a combination of all to equal a full tank). You would rarely, if ever, be driving with all 3 tanks empty. Some manufacturers consider the basic RV in their weight figure. They may consider the air conditioner, awning as an extra even though it may be sold as one with the RV.

Yes to buying used as, hopefully, all the kinks will have been worked out already. You really shouldn't have any major repairs on a small trailer. However, the one thing you really want to look out for are leaks. Some can never be corrected and water can do a lot of damage. Look for stains on the ceiling, corners and buckling of the floor material. Also look down the outside of the trailer for any sidewall delamination. Things like these should just be passed by. Don't even consider buying.

As to what manufacturers, most small trailers will have about the same quality of finishing. Check how the drawers are put together. Many will just be stapled. I doubt you'll find real hardwood in the woodwork. Check how the doors close and the fit. The workmanship can tell you a lot about a good RV.

Most small trailers will also have minimum insulation and the outside plumbing may not be concealed meaning it would be difficult to keep them from freezing in cold weather... although as a full-timer you shouldn't be caught in cold weather.

As to your question of what minimum emergency fund you should have. I can't give you a figure but you should have a fairly good reserve in case of vehicle damage/replacement/repairs or in case it doesn't work out and you want to go back to a house/apartment.

You'll have many of the same bills you had when living in a house - food, utilities, vehicle fuel, medical insurance (check this out carefully), vehicle insurance (yes, the RV needs to be insured).

What you CAN control is how often you move around (fuel, camp fees). If you volunteer you won't have to worry about camp fees and most likely you would stay in one place for 3m. or so. Camp fees can be controlled easily by public campgrounds or boondocking on public lands occasionally or by purchasing something like Passport America camping for 1/2 price camping - with restrictions but very doable. Also plan on staying out of 'resorts' where the cost will be much higher.

Also consider the holding tank sizes in a small RV. Will you be doing any dry camping (no water, electric or sewer hookups)? These types of campgrounds are found in public parks - national parks, national forest campgrounds, etc.

If you plan to volunteer as a camp host you would most likely have hookups even though the rest of the campground does not. That's a plus! We've volunteered a lot and loved it. Good idea for you.

Read posts in the full-timing section of this forum and you can get lots of good information. A full-timer's yearly budget can be anywhere from $30-35,000 which is average and many do it for less and many for much more. You're in control. $35,000 was our budget.

Best of luck to you. It's an awesome lifestyle.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve52 View Post
You will probably find that your SUV is not capable of pulling a 5000 lb travel trailer. TTs have high tongue weights compared to, say, boats or flat trailers, and enormous wind resistance.

What tow vehicle? Does it have the factory trailering package?

2008 Kia Sorento
3.8 L V6
has factory tow pkg in rear

75xxx miles


I have limited experience towing things. Twice I drove a U-haul truck 2,000 miles towing a honda civic on a trailer.


I will not be traveling tons as a full-timer. I expect to be working apx 10 months of the year, split into seasons. Will travel between gigs in Western half of the US.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:53 PM   #13
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I really appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions. I am grateful for the help.


Thank you,


Greg
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Welcome... and don't be discouraged by replies you may receive.

There are many full-timers traveling in a small trailer - singles and couples. We've known a few traveling in a small Scamp trailer. So your idea is certainly doable.

You need to run your weight figures carefully depending what your vehicle is. Also, a small trailer will have virtually no outside storage space so everything needs to be stored in your car or inside the trailer. Think about tools, BBQ, chair, etc. Again, it can be done but think it out. The trailer weight is one thing but then you need to add in all your belongings and a full tank of liquid (fresh water, grey water, black water or a combination of all to equal a full tank). You would rarely, if ever, be driving with all 3 tanks empty. Some manufacturers consider the basic RV in their weight figure. They may consider the air conditioner, awning as an extra even though it may be sold as one with the RV.

Yes to buying used as, hopefully, all the kinks will have been worked out already. You really shouldn't have any major repairs on a small trailer. However, the one thing you really want to look out for are leaks. Some can never be corrected and water can do a lot of damage. Look for stains on the ceiling, corners and buckling of the floor material. Also look down the outside of the trailer for any sidewall delamination. Things like these should just be passed by. Don't even consider buying.

As to what manufacturers, most small trailers will have about the same quality of finishing. Check how the drawers are put together. Many will just be stapled. I doubt you'll find real hardwood in the woodwork. Check how the doors close and the fit. The workmanship can tell you a lot about a good RV.

Most small trailers will also have minimum insulation and the outside plumbing may not be concealed meaning it would be difficult to keep them from freezing in cold weather... although as a full-timer you shouldn't be caught in cold weather.

As to your question of what minimum emergency fund you should have. I can't give you a figure but you should have a fairly good reserve in case of vehicle damage/replacement/repairs or in case it doesn't work out and you want to go back to a house/apartment.

You'll have many of the same bills you had when living in a house - food, utilities, vehicle fuel, medical insurance (check this out carefully), vehicle insurance (yes, the RV needs to be insured).

What you CAN control is how often you move around (fuel, camp fees). If you volunteer you won't have to worry about camp fees and most likely you would stay in one place for 3m. or so. Camp fees can be controlled easily by public campgrounds or boondocking on public lands occasionally or by purchasing something like Passport America camping for 1/2 price camping - with restrictions but very doable. Also plan on staying out of 'resorts' where the cost will be much higher.

Also consider the holding tank sizes in a small RV. Will you be doing any dry camping (no water, electric or sewer hookups)? These types of campgrounds are found in public parks - national parks, national forest campgrounds, etc.

If you plan to volunteer as a camp host you would most likely have hookups even though the rest of the campground does not. That's a plus! We've volunteered a lot and loved it. Good idea for you.

Read posts in the full-timing section of this forum and you can get lots of good information. A full-timer's yearly budget can be anywhere from $30-35,000 which is average and many do it for less and many for much more. You're in control. $35,000 was our budget.

Best of luck to you. It's an awesome lifestyle.
MoTiger,
Welcome to the forum. You have found a forum with a wealth of information and lots of folks willing to share their thoughts. There have been several very relevant reply's to your questions. This one by Two Gypsies sums up my thoughts exactly.

There are lots of different paths to achieve your end goal. If this is really what you want to do, stay focused and don't be swayed from your dream.
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