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Old 08-22-2016, 11:58 PM   #1
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Question Help Me Decide - Opinions Please!

Hello everyone!

My name is Chris and I am about to make the switch to living full time on the road. I have been headed down this path for about a year or so, lightly researching, paying attention out on the road and in campsites to what people are pulling, and mentally preparing for what I would need, and I finally started looking at TTs at the dealerships about two months ago and really diving in a little deeper into my research in the process. Talk about information and options overload... What I have determined is that if you plan on spending more than just a few weekends out camping a few times a year, then you have to put some serious time into this to make the right decision. I have found the forums to be incredibly helpful, more than at the dealerships. I think the sales reps I have talked to are great, but they are trying to sell me what they have, and I'm sure that I have not found what I am looking for, yet.

I am 36, single, active, and will have my dog. I will be putting a lot of miles in. I have a 2016 Chevy 2500 4x4 diesel that I got in November, and I already have over 53k miles on it. It would be a lot more if I was already full time. I travel all over TX, OK, and LA almost every weekend for the first half of the year running my business events (fishing tournaments), and I take trips to various places (KS, NM, CO, UT, WY, CA, etc), usually on holiday weeks for my photography (I'll go as far as I can and still be able to get back for the events). After about the end of June, I can hit the road full time, meaning lots of destinations all across the country with no need to be any one place (I can work from the road, pursue photography trips, or stay somewhere a while). I will also be filming a show for the fishing business, and also documenting my travels for photography. I will have both photography and video equipment, lighting equipment, multiple computers, hard drives, music equipment/instruments, and a small office of stuff (I may also pick up some new "toys" along the way. It will pretty much be a traveling office/studio, but with a bed and shower (a wash/dryer would be nice, but not a deal breaker), and built like a tank. I need enough room to sit and work in a decent sized area, but I don't need a separate living area. I rarely watch TV (and it's on my computer when I do), and spend most of my time driving, working, shooting, or editing.

For my photography trips, I want to be able to boondock as much as possible. My trips can change based on the weather, and can change mid trip, and I don't always know where I'm going to end up. I already drive to many back road locations (one lane rocky mountain roads, dirt/rock back roads, sandy back roads, etc). I know there will be some places that I just won't feel comfortable taking a TT, but I want to be able to get into as many of them as I can with it, and be completely self contained for at least two weeks when I get there.

For the fishing tournaments, I will need to stay close to the lakes that we fish, which will either be in campgrounds or RV parks, or maybe even the parking lot the night of the event. I'll sometimes be there for a few days to film for the show and do other work.

I will be putting a fiberglass cap on my truck, having it weather/dust proofed, and having a storage system put in. Sometimes my photo trips having me chasing storms all night, or taking some crazy 4x4 off roads, and I wind up hundreds of miles from where I started. I want the option to continue chasing and possibly leave my trailer for a few days, and still have everything I need. What kind of security issues should I be worried about with leaving my trailer somewhere (park or boondocking)?

I feel like I only have two viable options for what I am trying to do: a toy hauler travel trailer, or an Outdoors RV (they are the only TT I have found with a built in generator, large tanks, and a rugged enough frame for the off roading). If I get an Outdoors RV, then I'll have to do some serious modification to the inside for my office/studio (there goes the resale), and the nearest dealer is in Denver (I'm in Dallas). If they were closer and I could get a custom build, then they would be perfect. I am talking to them now to get an idea of my options. With a toy hauler travel trailer, I can have the office/studio built in the garage (One of our sponsors does this kind of stuff and said he will do it), and get the generator and big tanks. Plus, I can build whatever I need to store the equipment that I need. It seems like the best option so far.

I plan on running the generator for all of my power, but the idea of solar or other sources and extra batteries sounds good. I'm not sure if I should invest in those things up front, or wait and see if I want to add them later. Plus, when running all of my computers, hard drives, charging camera batteries, and recording the music, I need a steady and reliable source of power, so I'm thinking the generator will almost always be on when I'm in the trailer. It is also hot, a lot, in the South. It can also get really cold in the winter, so I'll probably have to run a space heater in the garage area to keep it from getting too cold, especially with my babies back there (my guitars/basses).

I'm trying to find the right toy hauler travel trailer now, and I would love to hear if anyone has any advice on which ones might fit the bill. I want to stay in the 25'-30' range, with a preference towards 25 feet. Any other advice, experiences, ideas, or anything else you think might help is greatly appreciated, even if it's just one little thing that might make a difference.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Chris
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Chris. It sounds like you will have a lot of valuable equipment on board and I would think that a tt would be a little light weight, construction wise, thinner doors, less insulation and just overall easier to break into. If you leave a tt out in the woods all alone, it may not be there when you get back. At the least, it would likely be broken into and ransacked. I'm a retired 25+ yr LEO and I would not do it.


Many people full time in light weight tts but they chase 70* weather. Unless the generator is at least 4,000 wats, you will find it struggling to run air con and elect heaters. With propane heater, you will go through 15-20 gal tanks quite often. I think you should do some extensive research on the fulltimers section before making the jump.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:25 AM   #3
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The only thing i can offer advice on is the solar and batteries. My only regret with my solar and batteries was not doing it all one time. I added solar then later upgraded the batteries, worked out fine but if i did it again I would do it once and be done. I would also suggest seeking out someone who is well qualified in that area and have them do the job. Cost a bit more this way as opposed to purchasing this here on sale, that there on sale and so on................but a soup to nuts system built and installed by a pro will perform much better in the long run.

Good luck
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:40 AM   #4
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I think adamfolger has some good advice. I know you already have a tow vehicle, but I was thinking a small gas Class A pulling a jeep.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:39 AM   #5
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Good information in the posts. I would definitely go with solar from the beginning, at least 400 watts. I would have it installed by someone that specializes in solar, not the dealer. 2000 watt inverter and 4 GC2 6 volt batteries.

Toy hauler with maybe a diesel generator.
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:17 PM   #6
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Sorry, didn't read the entire OP post. 50k+ miles in a year? And you want to get a TT? unclear if a majority of those miles will be towing. If so it will not last very long.
Plus, all those miles will now need to be at the speed limit for towing of course. TT are notorious for getting squirrely.
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Old 08-24-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by computerguy View Post
TT are notorious for getting squirrely.
That's about as ridiculous as saying that MHs are notorious for burning to the ground leaving nothing but a frame and ashes.

50K miles would probably work out better in a MH towing a car, say a Jeep or some such, than a travel trailer.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:47 PM   #8
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That's about as ridiculous as saying that MHs are notorious for burning to the ground leaving nothing but a frame and ashes.

50K miles would probably work out better in a MH towing a car, say a Jeep or some such, than a travel trailer.
Guess the sarcasm doesn't come through a forum post...
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by computerguy View Post
Guess the sarcasm doesn't come through a forum post...
That's what these things -->
are for!
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by adamfolger View Post
Welcome to the forum Chris. It sounds like you will have a lot of valuable equipment on board and I would think that a tt would be a little light weight, construction wise, thinner doors, less insulation and just overall easier to break into. If you leave a tt out in the woods all alone, it may not be there when you get back. At the least, it would likely be broken into and ransacked. I'm a retired 25+ yr LEO and I would not do it.


Many people full time in light weight tts but they chase 70* weather. Unless the generator is at least 4,000 wats, you will find it struggling to run air con and elect heaters. With propane heater, you will go through 15-20 gal tanks quite often. I think you should do some extensive research on the fulltimers section before making the jump.
Gracias! I will definitely read up some more. It seems every new place I check I find something else that I had no idea about! The more I think about leaving my trailer somewhere other than an RV park or campground if I am going to be chasing photography for a while, the more I realize it's not very smart. I have left my camera and slider at one location running a time lapse, while I drove around running-n-gunning taking pictures at other locations, and I was worried sick about it the whole time. Thank you for that advice!

I have not really even begun to read up on generators. With all of my computer and camera gear, I want to be able to run everything (and have AC or heat) without any problems. Would an Onan 5000 be enough for that? Should I invest in some kind of power surge for the whole trailer, or will individual ones be okay?
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:54 PM   #11
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The only thing i can offer advice on is the solar and batteries. My only regret with my solar and batteries was not doing it all one time. I added solar then later upgraded the batteries, worked out fine but if i did it again I would do it once and be done. I would also suggest seeking out someone who is well qualified in that area and have them do the job. Cost a bit more this way as opposed to purchasing this here on sale, that there on sale and so on................but a soup to nuts system built and installed by a pro will perform much better in the long run.

Good luck
Thank you! I was hoping to be able to add this into the financing and payments, but I also don't want to run into any problems. I'm assuming I can get this done any time after the initial purchase if I am going to get it done somewhere besides the dealer. It's possible I may not need it, since I intend to run the generator, but it is nice to know to get it all done at the same time. Depending on how much I end up putting in to this on the front end, I may HAVE to wait for the solar upgrade. Haha.
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:58 PM   #12
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I think adamfolger has some good advice. I know you already have a tow vehicle, but I was thinking a small gas Class A pulling a jeep.
I would love to do it that way, and at some point I might be able to, but I need my truck for my primary business for the foreseeable future. I have to tow event trailers all over the place during the season.

If I get rich, then I'm buying a setup just like you said.
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
Good information in the posts. I would definitely go with solar from the beginning, at least 400 watts. I would have it installed by someone that specializes in solar, not the dealer. 2000 watt inverter and 4 GC2 6 volt batteries.

Toy hauler with maybe a diesel generator.
Great info/specifics! Thank you!

If I don't go with solar from the beginning, I will still be able to get it a month or five months later, right? How long would a system like that run everything, or would it? I have read that you need the generator to run the A/C. My biggest concern is if I left my dog in the trailer and it lost power. I read somewhere about a system that kicks the A/C on at temp limits, but would a solar/battery system power it?
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:59 AM   #14
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Sorry, didn't read the entire OP post. 50k+ miles in a year? And you want to get a TT? unclear if a majority of those miles will be towing. If so it will not last very long.
Plus, all those miles will now need to be at the speed limit for towing of course. TT are notorious for getting squirrely.
I'm sorry I wasn't more specific. I will need my office with me, or at least close by, at almost all times, so depending on how long I stay at each location, 1/2 to 3/4 will probably be with the trailer. I do like to drive around new places and "scout" out everything (and I enjoy driving in general), but with all of my trips being without a trailer it's hard to gauge how much of that I will be able to do with one attached. I just kind of roam on my trips. I will try to plan my future trips with the trailer attached a little better, and for some trips I will be revisiting places I was unable to stay long enough before. This is the major reason I want to keep the trailer on the shorter end so I never have to worry about getting into any kind of spot, whether it be a Walmart parking lot, or a BLM site off the beaten path.

What do you mean by not lasting long? Are you talking about tires, brakes, greasing axles, etc, or the trailer will start to fall apart? I have been pulling 20-24 ft trailers for the tournaments since 2009. We have gone through bent axles, having to rewire the electrical, lots of tires, and other normal wear and tear, and it's a pain. Something is always going wrong. Should I expect the same things with a toy hauler travel trailer with putting so many miles on it?

Oh boy... :-/
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