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Old 10-25-2021, 10:14 AM   #1
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Got a recommendation for Better Built travel trailers? Or Aftermarket shocks?

Iíve had two 5th-wheels. A used JAYCO and a new Forest River FLAGSTAFF. Now thinking about a travel trailer because when the dogs got old, they didnít like the steps on the 5th-wheels. I think the JAYCO was the better built. After 4 summers, the Flagstaff had molding that came off and staples holding the under-paneling were coming out and the front decal flaked in second year.

I believe a lot of models are sub-contracted to 3rd-party makers and would like hear about well built travel trailers or ones to avoid. Looking to get a travel trailer in the 30-foot range. Maybe one that is one or two years oldÖ not any older.

On a related note, Iím thinking AFTERMARKET SHOCKS on a RV would extend the life of the RV. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for any info,
Arizona Bob
PS. I saw someone recommended a Flagstaff. Not my experience, but pulled it on some very poor state highways. Maybe a ĎStickyí , By State, showing this xx-highway, between two points is where you will get shaken to death. Call it: Highways with more patches than asphalt.
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Old 10-25-2021, 10:34 AM   #2
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IMO, there are many better brands though keep in mind that all use many of the same components (windows, doors, furnaces, fridges, microwaves, awnings, etc. etc. etc.).

I'd consider the following to be "better" brands;

- Arctic fox
- Nash
- Outdoors RV
- Lance
- Bigfoot

I've heard good things about Escape and Casita but didn't check them out as they are lighter weight trailers that didn't have the large tanks, heated tanks, double pane windows and higher R values I was after.

I purchased an Outdoors RV and am happy with it; the Northwoods frame, offroad suspension, shocks, goodyear endurance tires, insulated compartment doors, high ground clearance, large tanks, double pane windows, solar rough in and higher R values than most were what drove me to the brand. .....beware that they aren't light and you'll need a 3/4 ton minimum for all but the smallest of them.


Dave
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Old 10-25-2021, 11:55 AM   #3
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Well built TT

Dave,
Thanks for the info about Escape and Casita. I donít need ĎAll Weatherí so I will check out these two. It appears I should look for an aluminum frame as this is an indicator for a well built RV. I hope you agree.

BobL
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Old 10-25-2021, 12:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ArizonaBobL View Post
Dave,
Thanks for the info about Escape and Casita. I donít need ĎAll Weatherí so I will check out these two. It appears I should look for an aluminum frame as this is an indicator for a well built RV. I hope you agree.

BobL
I think the Escape and Casita and good designs and have the advantage when it comes to leaks, etc. with thier fiberglass clamshell design (not that they are immune from leakage). Another big advantage is the light weight if you are using a marginal tow vehicle. You may not need "all weather" but better insulated units also stay cool better, are quieter, etc. so there are trade offs.

I don't believe that aluminum frames are necessarily indicative of higher quality though many higher quality units use that method. .....Nash is a good example of a high quality "stick and tin" trailer.

My ORV uses a bonded aluminum frames sidewall similar to my Bigfoot 3000 series but the roof uses more traditional wood trusses and fiberglass batt.....BNeukam is correct when he says that such a structure has the potential for moisture mold issues and his recommendation to inspect is logical IMO.....but I wouldn't count a trailer out due to that type of construction and problems are relatively rare and, IMO, largely preventable. They also have some advantages compared to most foam roofs which aren't as strong for walking on and there are issues with mounting extra items like solar panels on those roofs as there is no plywood top layer.


2 cents,
Dave
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave Pelletier View Post
I think the Escape and Casita and good designs and have the advantage when it comes to leaks, etc. with thier fiberglass clamshell design (not that they are immune from leakage). Another big advantage is the light weight if you are using a marginal tow vehicle. You may not need "all weather" but better insulated units also stay cool better, are quieter, etc. so there are trade offs.



I don't believe that aluminum frames are necessarily indicative of higher quality though many higher quality units use that method. .....Nash is a good example of a high quality "stick and tin" trailer.



My ORV uses a bonded aluminum frames sidewall similar to my Bigfoot 3000 series but the roof uses more traditional wood trusses and fiberglass batt.....BNeukam is correct when he says that such a structure has the potential for moisture mold issues and his recommendation to inspect is logical IMO.....but I wouldn't count a trailer out due to that type of construction and problems are relatively rare and, IMO, largely preventable. They also have some advantages compared to most foam roofs which aren't as strong for walking on and there are issues with mounting extra items like solar panels on those roofs as there is no plywood top layer.





2 cents,

Dave


Dave- Agree with most, but disagree on strength of a laminated foam board roof. Artic Fox just started using a foam board roof on their truck camper, and itís stronger than their older truss design. Lance with its foam board laminated roof has integrated structure, and itís feels very solid walking on it. They have being doing this since 2010.

Most manufacturers that use batten insulation, place trusses 2í on center, with either 3/8, or 5/8 plywood, or OSB. Iíve walked on many of these that feel very sponge, especially around large openings. Itís not about the materials used, but how they are applied.

Would love to see changes in camp trailer roof construction.
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:35 PM   #6
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Dave- Agree with most, but disagree on strength of a laminated foam board roof. Artic Fox just started using a foam board roof on their truck camper, and itís stronger than their older truss design. Lance with its foam board laminated roof has integrated structure, and itís feels very solid walking on it. They have being doing this since 2010.

Most manufacturers that use batten insulation, place trusses 2í on center, with either 3/8, or 5/8 plywood, or OSB. Iíve walked on many of these that feel very sponge, especially around large openings. Itís not about the materials used, but how they are applied.

Would love to see changes in camp trailer roof construction.
Obviously, I'm not familiar will all manufacturer's roof designs and I'm glad to hear the latest AF and Lance ones may be better than the Rockwood I looked at but that one only had two trusses in the middle; one on either side of the AC unit.....the rest was all just foam and luan and they didn't recommend mounting anything using just the luan. I would worry that the foam could compress when walked on, like their ill-fated floors from years prior.

It also depends on materials, thicknesses and construction; the ORV uses 3/8" plywood on top of the trusses, I hate OSB even for home sheathing.

Dave
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Old 10-25-2021, 06:08 PM   #7
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The AF is just like the Rockwood, vacuum bonded with integrated duct work. Will be coming to their trailers soon.

The problem with either plywood or OSB it only takes moisture to grow mold spores. Luan is a lot more resilient.

The attic is the most important area of a structure, but itís the most neglected.
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Old 10-26-2021, 06:13 AM   #8
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Got a recommendation for Better Built travel trailers? Or Aftermarket shocks?

How much do you want to pay for a trailer?
Quality costs. My top 2 favorites when it comes to build quality is Airstream and Lance. Our current trailer, number 4, is by far the best built weíve had. A 2021 22í Airstream 22FB.
Good luck.
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:16 AM   #9
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Lots of good advice above!

Avoid:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f50/new-22-gulfstream-with-many-many-defects-what-to-do-559069.html

Dutchmen
Kodiak
Keystone
Voltage

All tend to be cheap. Odds of a good experience are low.
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Old 10-26-2021, 10:36 AM   #10
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A lot of good trailer manufactures have gone out of business over the past few years. Thor and Forest River have taken over and just drive the quality down and shove the out the door.

Some of the better built trailers were:
NuWa HitchHiker
Carriage Cameo
King of the Road
Teton
Excel
and a few others.

Ken
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:18 AM   #11
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Check out Oliver. Maybe not large enough for you but you won't find more durable construction. https://olivertraveltrailers.com/
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Old 10-29-2021, 03:43 PM   #12
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When I started looking at travel trailers this spring, Outdoors RV kept coming out at or near the top of my list, more often than not. I previously had a Four Wheel Camper, so build quality, a good reputation and pedigree, and a product that is going to (hopefully) give us years of trouble free use was extremely important to me. We spent considerable time looking at many new brands, and honestly were a little insulted at the poor quality of the majority of them. We ended up buying a 2019 mew leftover Outdoors RV 25RTS from our local supplier. My Wife and I have been more than happy with it, the build quality is excellent, and while she is on the heavy side, so far the trailer has stood up to our style of camping (lots of rough back forestry type roads) with no issues at all. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-30-2021, 12:45 PM   #13
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@trikebubble Nice spot. I would not mind staying there for a few days!

We are on our 2nd Nash and overall the quality of the build has been good.

Our current 2018 26N was the first year of regular production and they had not decided to put shocks on the Nash at that point. I would say you, (OP), are correct about the shocks. I wish ours had them. I have looked into getting some installed but so far have not done it. Some say it is not that hard to have done, others say after market installation of shocks on a TT is tough and often the results are not what was expected. I am sure the most important factor is the experience and attention of the installer. I think that beefing up the shackles/suspension and adding shocks would be the only improvement I would desire in our Nash.
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