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greenhouse 08-10-2020 12:01 PM

Searching for our first RV! Family of 4
 
Hi all! We are a family of 4 from Michigan and are (excitedly) considering our first RV! Grew up with a GMC Eleganza which sparked my love of RVs!!

Hubby is a kiteboarder and so this all started with the desire to be able to have a place to "chill out" between kiting sessions on Lake Michigan. We are typically backpack / tent hiking campers. However, with COVID and all of our travel plans being put on hold, we are considering a small RV for shorter trips of 1-2 weeks out of a time. I feel like my mind is swimming with all I have learned and yet I am just left with more questions.

We have narrowed our search down and we know we want either a Winnebago ERA 170x or a Coachmen Galleria 24Q. Leaning more towards Winnebago. The 4 seats with seatbelts were important to me and because the two 2nd row seats are removable, that leaves options for the future with storage if we only have one kid with us. We really want small and manageable and hubby wanted the MB170 chassis so this is where we are at. I know it is small. We know it doesnt sleep 4 easily. We know we can throw out a tent if we want and my hubby is the master at figuring out ways to make 4 work (like the Roadtrek RS Adventurous does with the front 4 captains chairs). So, that being said, what do I need to consider that I am NOT thinking about? We aren't having luck finding used so may pick up a 2020 we have found. is it okay to ask on this forum what i should be paying (discount)? Also, anyone have any guidance / advice on retro-fitting winter package (heat belly pads for tanks and wrapping lines)? Is that even doable if we find a vehicle without the winter package? THANK YOU in advance for being willing to share your experience and wisdom with a newbie :)

Rocinante440 08-10-2020 12:39 PM

You may also want to take a look in a completely different direction, at the Winnebago Solis 59PX. Seems perfect for this kind of activity and family size, though the rooftop space would be a little chilly in winter. Also, if you're not already watching the Ultramobility channel on YouTube, he has lots of helpful reviews worth seeing that may help with your decision process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn5yRboppEo

greenhouse 08-10-2020 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocinante440 (Post 5390738)
You may also want to take a look in a completely different direction, at the Winnebago Solis 59PX. Seems perfect for this kind of activity and family size, though the rooftop space would be a little chilly in winter. Also, if you're not already watching the Ultramobility channel on YouTube, he has lots of helpful reviews worth seeing that may help with your decision process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn5yRboppEo

Thank you! We did look at that but could not get our head around the cold "up top"...so functional though!!

Winterbagoal 08-10-2020 04:48 PM

How much of the plumbing is actually exposed underneath a newer class B van? I thought many had opted for trying to keep it all above the floor, for the insulation factor? You might want to go see one of each at a dealer and get under it for a look. Or, fire an email off to the 2 manufacturers you're considering and ask them about winter camping in these specific units. My 2002 Roadtrek had winter camping capability, using plumbing that was partially inside the cabin area.
EDIT: Just looked at the 2020 ERA owner's manual and the fresh water tank looks to be below the floor.

Isaac-1 08-10-2020 06:25 PM

One big thing to think about is tank sizes for fresh and waste water system. This is the downfall of most class B's, many have black water tanks of under 20 gallons, some under 12 gallons, which is barely enough to get a family of 4 through a single night of typical bathroom activities.

magicbus 08-11-2020 03:43 AM

On our 2018 Era the water tanks are all below the floor so it would not work for winter camping. We use bottled water and antifreeze in the toilet every year until we get far enough south.

Dogman635UT 08-11-2020 05:06 AM

Have you given any thought to a Class B, Nexus Models like the Viper at 24'-8"-foot, 6'-5" Headroom and 8-foot wider? A DRY BATH, with no inside Closet outside the Bathroom. Sleeps three but I'm sure you could add another. With an Overhead Cab sleeping area. Just a thought as it is a Ford F-350 and has more pulling power and Hitch weight. Larger Holding tanks and a Fuel tank about 10-gals more. One last point more workroom in the Kitchen.
Here is a link to the Viper 25V Model with a full slider for more room. The cost is just over 100.000 for a 2021 year model https://www.generalrv.com/product-ne...lass-bplus/25v

As for your two selections, Galleria has better workmenship, in its cabnets. NO Closet in the bathroom. Both have a WetBAT not a drybath like the VIPER, Both have NO Slider as the VIPER has a full sliding wall to make more inside living space. The Galleria I think is a better selection between your two selection and looks great, where the Viper not so much, but a wonderful working RV to fit your family in comfort.

NO I don't sell RV's

greenhouse 08-11-2020 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Winterbagoal (Post 5391120)
How much of the plumbing is actually exposed underneath a newer class B van? I thought many had opted for trying to keep it all above the floor, for the insulation factor? You might want to go see one of each at a dealer and get under it for a look. Or, fire an email off to the 2 manufacturers you're considering and ask them about winter camping in these specific units. My 2002 Roadtrek had winter camping capability, using plumbing that was partially inside the cabin area.
EDIT: Just looked at the 2020 ERA owner's manual and the fresh water tank looks to be below the floor.

Thank you - yes, what i have found is that unless the specify winter package, there is a lot that would be exposed to the elements. I dont think a winter package would even keep it above freezing if temps really dropped, either.

greenhouse 08-11-2020 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isaac-1 (Post 5391251)
One big thing to think about is tank sizes for fresh and waste water system. This is the downfall of most class B's, many have black water tanks of under 20 gallons, some under 12 gallons, which is barely enough to get a family of 4 through a single night of typical bathroom activities.

Wow. that was an eye opener. 9 gallon black tank on the Era. Your point is a very, very good one. Thank you!!

greenhouse 08-11-2020 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by magicbus (Post 5391588)
On our 2018 Era the water tanks are all below the floor so it would not work for winter camping. We use bottled water and antifreeze in the toilet every year until we get far enough south.

Dave, I hadn't thought about "work arounds" like the bottled water and antifreeze until we get to a warmer climate. Thank you. Can I ask (because you have an ERA), how long can you go (no pun intended) before emptying black tank?

greenhouse 08-11-2020 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dogman635UT (Post 5391612)
Have you given any thought to a Class B, Nexus Models like the Viper at 24'-8"-foot, 6'-5" Headroom and 8-foot wider? A DRY BATH, with no inside Closet outside the Bathroom. Sleeps three but I'm sure you could add another. With an Overhead Cab sleeping area. Just a thought as it is a Ford F-350 and has more pulling power and Hitch weight. Larger Holding tanks and a Fuel tank about 10-gals more. One last point more workroom in the Kitchen.
Here is a link to the Viper 25V Model with a full slider for more room. The cost is just over 100.000 for a 2021 year model https://www.generalrv.com/product-ne...lass-bplus/25v

As for your two selections, Galleria has better workmenship, in its cabnets. NO Closet in the bathroom. Both have a WetBAT not a drybath like the VIPER, Both have NO Slider as the VIPER has a full sliding wall to make more inside living space. The Galleria I think is a better selection between your two selection and looks great, where the Viper not so much, but a wonderful working RV to fit your family in comfort.

NO I don't sell RV's

Thank you!! We, too, felt like the Galleria craftsmanship was superior. The fit and finish is SO nice. The ERA seems to have come a long way looking at year over year improvements. Galleria has nice touches like the garbage can holder and the flip out in front of the sink. I had not thought about anything with a slide out (maybe due to my newbie nerves over dealing with another new thing??) I will check out the Viper. Being married to a designer means he is pretty particular about the look of the rig too...I am more focused on function for 3-4 people. Thanks for the suggestion!

Rocinante440 08-11-2020 11:28 AM

Given you're looking at Sprinters, have you considered the Pleasure-Way Plateau models? They have 3-point seat belts in the rear lounge. If a Ram ProMaster platform is ok, you could also look at their Lexor models. Pretty sure they also have 3 point restraints in the rear lounge. Not entirely sure about sleeping arrangements for 3+ people, but they are nice units designed to transport 3-4 people safely with those rear seatbelts.

magicbus 08-11-2020 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by greenhouse (Post 5391959)
Dave, I hadn't thought about "work arounds" like the bottled water and antifreeze until we get to a warmer climate. Thank you. Can I ask (because you have an ERA), how long can you go (no pun intended) before emptying black tank?

In April wife and made it from Florida to home using only our RV tanks and made it in 4 days. I consider that the limit for our black tank. :)

Isaac-1 08-11-2020 02:16 PM

My rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water per day per person without active water conservation measures, this means flushing with some water after each toilet use, no if its yellow let it mellow, etc. and a single sub 3 minute shower per person per day, plus kitchen use water.


With water conservation that can be stretched considerably, cut back on showers, catch shower and dish water and use it for toilet flushing, etc., but regardless of how you cut it you need to plan on about 1/2 gallon going into the tank per #1 use, and 1 gallon going in for each #2 use. Less than this and you will just be asking for a clogged up black tank. Google says average human urine output per day is 1 -2 liters.


As a point of comparison my 28 ft class A has 80 gal fresh water, 40 gray and 40 black tank sizes. When traveling solo I can easily go 8 days between dumping taking a 3 minute shower each day. Of course when solo traveling I tend to do a lot less real cooking than when my wife is along so a lot less dishes to wash. The big difference here is that my coach is on a 17,000 GVWR chassis so can carry a lot more weight with just under 3,000 pounds CCC (cargo weight carrying capacity) where many class B and B+ coaches are under 1,000, some under 700.


Without management my gray tank would fill up before my black tank, though on my coach the bathroom sink feeds the black tank not the gray so dish water, etc. tends to go down the toilet or the bathroom sink to balance out the tank loads, and lower the chance of clogs.


p.s. if you still want to stay small and get better tank size I would suggest looking at something like a Winnebago Vista 26HE, 27N, 27PE, etc. The 26HE is only 26'11" long


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