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Old 01-09-2019, 09:23 PM   #1
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New RVer in Alberta

Hi there, I'm interested in purchasing an RV to start camping this summer. Located in Calgary Alberta. Family consists of myself, my wife and two boys 3months and 3 y/o.

Definitely have some questions for the more experienced members, especially with regards to tow vehicles and trailer lengths. Haven't purchased tow vehicle yet..

Look forward to mining info from you all!
Thanks
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:56 PM   #2
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Welcome to the club.

Best advice I can give you is get to an RV show near you as soon as possible and walk around and "try everything on for size". Don't start window shopping at a dealer until you've seen what "all" the manufacturers (or at least the ones featured by retailers at the show near you) have to offer.

Have an idea of what type of camping you want to do (campground or "in the wild", electrical and water (and sewer) service or dry-camping or boondocking) and how long you expect to be out and in what weather - we camp year round so we bought a 4 season that makes it easier to get out in -10 Celsius for a couple of days.

Buy more tow vehicle than you think you need... you run out of towing and payload capacity fast especially with a family and all the extras that entails, especially with a 1/2 ton. I bought our trailer well within the towing capacity of my truck but I'm right at maximum for payload, axle weights and tongue weights.

Don't believe anything your dealer of choice tells you about weights and ability to tow. Many stories on here about folks who are overloaded before putting gas in the truck, water in the trailer or even the wife and kids onboard.

Consider renting a couple of different styles of trailer before buying to see how you like them - my girl and I love the rear dinette plan as we mostly back country camp and often back right up to a body of water and stare at it. However, that means that our ability to take other folks camping in the trailer with us is nearly impossible unless they look like Peter Dinklage... some campgrounds around BC have started renting out trailers already located onsite at the campground. Neat way to try it out first since you don't have a tow vehicle already.

Anyway... welcome and enjoy the community!
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:27 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!!
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RoadDogYVR View Post
Welcome to the club.

Best advice I can give you is get to an RV show near you as soon as possible and walk around and "try everything on for size". Don't start window shopping at a dealer until you've seen what "all" the manufacturers (or at least the ones featured by retailers at the show near you) have to offer.

Have an idea of what type of camping you want to do (campground or "in the wild", electrical and water (and sewer) service or dry-camping or boondocking) and how long you expect to be out and in what weather - we camp year round so we bought a 4 season that makes it easier to get out in -10 Celsius for a couple of days.

.

Anyway... welcome and enjoy the community!
Thanks for the input. Thinking of starting off mostly in Campgrounds with hookup but occasional dry camping as well.

When you say buy more tow than you think is needed. What kind of buffer do you think? Tow Vehicle will be an SUV not a truck as it will also be wife's day to day and she'd not interested in having a truck. The one's we were looking at are about 8500lbs rated, so I was thinking of keeping Trailer Dry weight at <5000lbs. Wondering if that's a sufficient safety factor? I want to get this kind of info from Campers and not Salesmen!

Cheers,
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:36 AM   #5
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Better get busy, you've got a lot of tire kicking to do!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal camper View Post
Tow Vehicle will be an SUV not a truck as it will also be wife's day to day and she'd not interested in having a truck. The one's we were looking at are about 8500lbs rated, so I was thinking of keeping Trailer Dry weight at <5000lbs. Wondering if that's a sufficient safety factor?
It's less about safety and much more about payload and weight capacities. For example my travel trailer is around 5000 lbs dry and you'd never be able to tow it with an SUV due to tongue weight. Too much weight on the tow vehicle before you even put kids and "stuff" in it. My trailer is notoriously front/tongue heavy. If you are looking to tow with an SUV, find out what payload is on anything you are looking to buy and then add up the weight of you, wife, kids and "stuff" (bikes and whatever) that will travel in the truck and then add 10-15% of the weight of the trailer to that number. If that's over payload, that's your first warning you don't have enough tow vehicle.

I guess the other question is what's your idea of an SUV? A Suburban or a 4runner?

Don't get too discouraged by the above... you just need to be way more careful than someone who already owns a diesel dually and is looking to take the family out. But the salesman who sold me mine would happily have sold it to you as well and you'd have problems...
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:38 AM   #7
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:26 PM   #8
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Welcome Calcamper, from one fellow Albertan (DeWinton) to another. Folks here are awesome with sharing info.

I'm not very good on the technicals/mechanics, but can't stress enough to ensure that you don't get a trailer too overweight for your tow vehicle. Rightly or wrongly, I am convinced that whilst in theory we were underweight for our F350 dually, our 5er tore the guts out of it in the late 90's early 2000's. After selling it on with disclosure she'd had a replacement transmission even though she was less than 3 years old, the next family had two more transmissions towing their smaller 5er. Like I said we're not technical/mechanical at all, but remain convinced it was too much trailer for the vehicle irrespective of what we were told. Either that or we had a rogue truck and the towing just added to the issues, but the breakdowns, always occurred when towing a 5er on extended trips.

The next best piece of advice we've ever received, is never, ever take at face value what you are told by any salesman! Always do your due diligence and check the facts/spec sheets etc.

Also seriously think about how you will utilize your trailer, boon docking/full hookups versus number of family members and days you need your fresh, grey and black tanks to last!! If boondocking, is there capacity for battery/solar system add on, to assist you in that endeavour?

We've been RVing since the late 90's when our children were in school = was the best thing we ever purchased, but with that said and done, we were one of few of our friends that truly did and do use our RV on every school vacation and more. We also mainly dry camp, rarely having full hook ups FWIW.

Enjoy, it's our favourite way to travel, explore and experience this awesome continent we are on.

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Old 01-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #9
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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 thread here and ask questions as they come up in the appropriate thread.

Rent a unit for a couple of short trips to see if the RV lifestyle fits you and the family. Then look at as many rigs as you can before deciding on the "right" one and do realize that your first one probably will be a training rig and not your "forever" one.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:26 PM   #10
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Welcome from the SE corner of the province. Glad to have you with us.

Now is the time of year RV shows begin popping up so it's a good time to look without being in the wind and cold. Take a camera, take photos/videos and pick up any brochures laying around then go home, pick 2 or 3 that look most interesting then go and view them at the dealership where you have more time to look. Besides RV shows use Kijiji or Trader to search for both new and good used ones. We found ours on a farm north of Lloyd so don't be afraid to expand your search area.

Not all salespeople are bad. The good ones will take you through an interview process first to find your needs and capabilities then make some recommendations. Salespeople see jerks walk in every day so it works both ways. Speaking from experience, not speculation. Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadDogYVR View Post
It's less about safety and much more about payload and weight capacities. For example my travel trailer is around 5000 lbs dry and you'd never be able to tow it with an SUV due to tongue weight. Too much weight on the tow vehicle before you even put kids and "stuff" in it. My trailer is notoriously front/tongue heavy. If you are looking to tow with an SUV, find out what payload is on anything you are looking to buy and then add up the weight of you, wife, kids and "stuff" (bikes and whatever) that will travel in the truck and then add 10-15% of the weight of the trailer to that number. If that's over payload, that's your first warning you don't have enough tow vehicle.

I guess the other question is what's your idea of an SUV? A Suburban or a 4runner?

Don't get too discouraged by the above... you just need to be way more careful than someone who already owns a diesel dually and is looking to take the family out. But the salesman who sold me mine would happily have sold it to you as well and you'd have problems...
Thanks for the feedback. I'm fairly new to the variations in tow capacity, trailer weights etc so it's very useful. I'm not sure if I should be posting here or move it to a Different forum...

SUV would be something along the lines of a nearly new Nissan Armada or maybe a Tahoe. Armada tow capacity is around 8500lbs, not 100% sure on the Tahoe.
I see the payload of the Armada is around 1700bs so I'll keep that in mind reviewing trailers. I think it's suitable for our family as there are only the two adults and boys are still young. I was thinking of Trailers around 24' at ideally 4500-5000lb dry. My wife may have other ideas on that front though!

Do most trailers list tongue weight? Just wondering how to tell if a trailer is front heavy? I. Would have assumed 5000lb was in my range, so it's good to know.

We have done some camping in a rented Hybrid trailer last year so used that experience to determine what we are looking for when purchasing. Really enjoyed it but with a new baby and travel cot etc, we are definitely looking for something with some more floor space.
RV show is in Calgary in a few weeks so I'll be there and if the pricing is right, will probably purchase.

Thanks again for the help.
Cheers
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by momdoc View Post

Rent a unit for a couple of short trips to see if the RV lifestyle fits you and the family. Then look at as many rigs as you can before deciding on the "right" one and do realize that your first one probably will be a training rig and not your "forever" one.
Good advice. Rented last year for a couple of trips and gave us a good feel for what we liked and didn't.
Thanks
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