I would get a generator if the choice is that you can only have 1 of the above. In the summer, I prefer to park in the shade if possible so mostly to keep things cool enough the AC isn't necessary. I have the inverter generator capacity to run the AC but don't find it a very good option.
You'll find it also tends to vary a great deal as to how much good sunlight you'll get over the course of days, or even weeks which can result in your wishing you had a generator.
That said, I personally aren't all that much of a fan of generators and prefer not have to use them. That means something like a fairly large battery bank, more than likely solar, and a generator for when needed, which hopefully isn't often.
How's that for "It depends"
New model requirement! Andersen manual or auto slide. I was parking my trailer at home the other day with my manual slider in the rear position when I notice that the trailer would have hit the cab if it was not slid back!
Obviously you're not properly equipped to be on the roads. Haven't your read the forum and learned that a 5er can't be towed with a SHORT BED TRUCK! If you do try something so foolish, not only will you destroy your truck but the ride will be so rough you're beat to death if you drive down the road. I'm really surprised the local Towing cops didn't lock you up in the looney driver bin ;)
Actually, the Andersen moves the pivot point (Ball) approximately 4 inches aft, and depending on how you set the ball adapter on the kingpin it can effectively add approximately 4 inches to the arm which will make the rig slightly more responsive. It will also result in your being able to turn a little bit sharper without hitting, but you'll still have limits.
The tires we have seem to have reasonable reviews, they're Sailun S637 G rated and appear to be much more heavy duty than most. We also already have the correct track system, auto adjusting brakes, 7k axles, and the shock mounts look to be secure enough. The spring packs look a little on the light side as I recall and I don't remember having a wet bolt setup so I'm adding those to the TO Do list. I had room to keep my old TT at the house but now have to store the new setup in a storage lot until I get a pad poured in the spring so I can't verify things easily. Of course in the storage lot there isn't room to put the slides out.
You guys pretty much have me sold on the Solar, and I'll probably go with 4 6vdc batteries, I just need to find a battery box that I like to go up front. I already have a 400 watt pure sine inverter, and will probably go with a configuration where I can use that, and maybe a larger whole house 2000 watt system if desired. The dual system to keep parasitic drain down makes sense to me. Now I need to get into the electrical panel and see how it's wired, and how much trouble it will be to isolate the desired circuits through transfer switches, and maybe sub panels.
For the tripod stabilizer, it looks like it would be really easy to adapt a ball to the mount.
As far as hitting the sides of the truck because of the side to side articulation from the ball mount, that happens with most good 5er hitches as well. You need to keep enough bed clearance to keep that from happening. I run with a hard core off road crowd, many of whom tend to forget the limitations of the RVs when they drag their 5ers into some of the backcountry areas. Several of them have the damaged truck beds to show for it, and even more have the damaged 5ers that were to big, low, or long to have been on the roads they took them on. Some also have the damage to show for improper hitch up of normal 5er hitches, which make quite the noise, and attract a good crowd if you drop the rig on the bed in a campground.
Until I read this thread I never would have realize how difficult it is to hook up the hooks on two safety chains with spring loaded clips. I always though that hooking up the umbilical was the hard part. Maybe it's just that the chains seem awful heavy to those still worn out from lifting a 5er hitch into the bed of the truck ;)
For those looking for a hitch for a lighter 5er like my 15.5k gvwr rig, the Andersen is a great option. The greaseless ball is virtually maintenance free, the hitch is quick and easy to get into the truck, and it won't get you the briefing from your back doctor. It also locks up nice and solid so you don't get the slop you find in many 5er hitches. If you're worried about truck bed deflection you can use the rail mount version with a picture frame rail setup. It's a solid well made design that should last longer than my Ram for sure if kept within the design specs.
for campers that are moved often, I've found adding an auto leveling system to be more than worth the cost .... we went with Quadra Manufacturing's Bigfoot system .... if the camper is wired and plumbed for a washer/dryer, adding them isn't a necessity but would be well worth considering .... I can's speak for anyone else but I know just how much time we enjoy sitting in a laundromat .... depending on were you camp, having a fresh water filtration system can really come in handy .... we added an reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system and wouldn't want to be without it .... lastly, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit, rainy days happen
The Bighorn has the 6 point auto level which I put high on priority list priority list due to posts I'd seen on this forum. Seems just about everyone having them seem to love them. We also have the stadium type seats across from the television, which are nice, but they only recline on AC power. Heated and massage as well, but again not really set up for boondocking. More and more it's looking like a large battery bank and solar will be high on the priority list.
Our rig is plumbed for the washer and dryer, so for that I'll probably hold off and wait until we start doing the longer trips. I'm sure the DW will probably change her mind and adding that will become a priority at that time.
The water filter system is an idea I like. I'm adding that to the list to look into and more than likely add in.
The fridge does indeed run off Propane, or 110 but it's the new 18cf unit that has fans in both the freezer and main refrigerator section, it also has the anti condensation heater strip so it will probably be a big power drain. I'll have to play with it more to see. Right now I don't have a spot big enough at the house to run out the slides. We'll pour an RV pad in the spring. The water heater is AC/propane 12 gallon so hopefully the oxygenics shower head I installed will help keep us from getting too carried away with the hot water.
For coffee I'm covered, Duel K-cup/regular drip if on power, one huge enamel percolator, 12 cup stainless percolator, and a Coleman drip filter unit that you use on the stove. Seems I'm a Utah transplant, was stationed here while in the Air Force and became retirement eligible. Liked it so I stayed. I did live here for a couple of years as a youngster though and loved exploring the state as a kid.
As for 36 hours for hair to dry. I kept mine short after my AF years. Wash, quick comb through when still wet, it dries in just a few minutes. If it gets unruly, a hat works wonders. Guess I'll just have to keep smiling, and be happy for how good I have it when I get sent out in the mornings to start the gen.
Oh, the microwave does vent outside which is nice, provided I remember to unlatch the flap on the vent cover. We also have a fantastic vent fan in the kitchen. It has the rain sensor but doesn't have a vent cover. I'll have to put one on in the spring, and replace the vent in the bathroom with a max air, or fantastic fan. It's got one of those stupid little worthless fans now, and no cover so that I can leave it open if it rains, or if I forget while heading down the road.
I hadn't thought about adding water to the fresh water tank. I have a couple 15 gallon portable tanks, and several 5 to 7 gallon tanks as well as a water thief, but the new 5er doesn't have a gravity fill so I can't just dump a few extra gallons in like I'm used to doing. I'll have to figure out a pump setup, and I'll need to explore the waste hauling options. Great inputs, and I am making list.
The battery bank, possible solar thing I need to think through. We only got to use the new rig for 3 short trips, 7 days total, all hookup sites so I don't know what to expect battery life wise from the 2 group 24's I have. I don't anticipate they will last long though. Although most of the lighting is LED, the fridge, water heater etc seem to be more power thirsty than the stuff in my old Timber Ridge. I have 2 champion 2000 inverter generators currently so I can hopefully run at least 1 ac unit in a pinch, or the microwave if really needed. historically though I've only used a single generator to run the hair dryer in the morning, and a couple hours every few days in order to charge the batteries back up to 80 to 90 percent. (I won't even try to explain the hairdryer while at a remote site) We never were out long enough that I worried about not bringing the batteries up to full charge while on the trip. Thinking about it now, that's not a good idea for weeks or months on end.
We're now less than 18 months out of retiring, and purchased the retirement rig now, intending to work out the bugs, and upgrade as required for the heavier than we're used to usage we intend to put on the new setup.
In looking at our logs for the last five years, our normal usage is 6-8k miles of travel a year, a few longer trips of up to 2 weeks at a time, most are 3 or 4 day trips with one way travel of 400 miles or less. Most trips were to forest service off the paved road campgrounds, followed by most of the western state National parks or state parks for the more developed stuff. Maybe two or three RV parks a year. Future plans are to spend weeks or months at different locations in order to explore more in depth at a much more relaxed pace. Alaska, the east coast, and spending a lot of time in Canada are on the agenda. The new rig is also much larger which will result in our having to adapt new routines, and of course we'll be spending a lot of time in the RV vs it just being a place to sleep which will be a big change for us as well.
Given the changed use of the RV, what mods would we probably find most useful? How should I rack and stack what I should add this winter right away, and what I should take a wait and see approach to?
Old TT ran virtually everything of DC. New one needs AC for TV, Stove vent fan which is part of microwave etc. With the bigger rig will I find myself forced into spots with at least elec, or will I still find a lot of options for off grid stuff? For those running inverters are you running whole house or dedicated circuits, and are you happy with the choice you made, or do you wish you went the other way?
From the posts I've seen, if we're going to use hookups much we'll want a power management system. Are thefts of portable ones that common, or is the general consensus to go with a hardwired system?
Washer/Dryer or combo unit seems like a no brainer to me, but the wife seems to think she would be okay using campground laundry's on occasion. While she's thinking that would be fine, she hasn't ever had to do it due to the shorter length trips we normally take. Thoughts?
What am I missing? I'm sure spending months vs days in the RV will include us wishing we had a lot of stuff we don't currently have.
BTW, we have all the outside stuff, screen room, grills, stoves, dutch ovens, chairs and tables, portable ice maker and blender etc. so I think we're pretty good there.
I'm one that would recommend against using the toilet while traveling, but by that I would mean "vehicle in motion". This recommendation wouldn't be based on my own experience, but instead that of a friend who's wife to this day hasn't forgiven him for a certain mishap that took place because of his "idiotic driving".
Was the advice because of winter weather?. Unless you're worried about freezing issues I can't imagine why you wouldn't use the toilet in the rig. That's what I thought it was there for. If the concern is freezing up, that is something you would need to explore further as different rigs handle the cold very differently.
Over the years I've spent a lot of time winter camping, snowshoe tent or snow cave type stuff mostly in my younger years, and RV of some sort later on in life.
Unfortunately, in my experience finding or maintaining water in a liquid form was not something I found easy to do, with the only option I found most of the time involved utilizing some sort of heat source (Fuel) to provide water. Sometimes you can find a spring that is flowing, or get under the ice to find water. Seems you either have to keep it in a heated space taking up room you want to use for something else, or take the time, and burn the fuel to take it from frozen to flowing.
Are there any options for enclosing and heating the area with your water lines so that you can continue to use your tanks in colder weather?
I've rented diesel trucks with flatbed trailers and brake controllers from both Ryder, and Hertz equipment rental over the years. In both cases they were set up for bumper pulls though and I didn't check as to whether or not I could have got one set up with a 5er hitch. It might be worth looking into however as they do target towing operations.
Thank you all for your replies.
Does this Anderson hitch work in a short bed?
The B&W flip-over gooseneck ball installed on the truck appears to be in front of the rear axle (toward the front of the cab) and my older truck has the fifth wheel centered right over the axle? That makes me wonder if this anderson hitch will work on my short bed dodge.
Looking forward to this weekend here in Missouri, gun rifle deer season opens up and I've seen more deer this year than I ever have.
When you install the Andersen hitch, it moves the ball back approximately 4 inches from the one in the bed. I use mine in a shortbed truck, but the 5er has the cutouts so I am still able to get a pretty decent angle in a turn, although not necessarily a full 90 degrees. For 90 degrees with a shortbed you'll need a slider, or something similar.
By tank heater my assumption is that he means electric heaters that you can turn on to keep your tanks from freezing. To know what sort of options you might have when it comes to cold weather we really need to know more about your specific RV. It's been years since I owned a motorhome, and the one I had didn't have any heat options for the tanks. My last two towables used the furnace heat to keep the underbelly warm, and as long as I used the furnace they were good down to around zero. A TT I owned prior to that had the tanks, and many of the plumbing lines completely exposed underneath and didn't handle cold weather well at all. There is a lot of variation so good advice will only come with knowing what you're using.
I second the Andersen Ultimate. About 85 pounds for the steel version 35ish for aluminum. A fifth wheel gooseneck adapter puts leverage on the kingpin arm, and with many 5er frames being marginal already it could lead to problems. Use the Andersen adapter to bring the ball to the kingpin and you end up with the same stresses at the kingpin it was designed for. How well the design process went......
I have to ask::: What two chains do you hook up on your fiver?
Assuming this is directed at me being only one mentioning chains on a 5er.
I'm using a 2015 Ram 3500 with factory 5er gooseneck setup. On the factory ball mount I'm using an Andersen ultimate hitch which attaches to the gooseneck ball in the bed and raises the ball up to the same height of a 5th wheel hitch. You then have a ball adapter that attaches to the kingpin on the trailer. Unlike a gooseneck adapter, this doesn't add a lever affect to the 5er with the subsequent risk of frame damage. It does hook up very solid with no slop, and no noise. Being a ball hitch I'm using a set of safety chains, which although not required in the state I'm in, are in some states, and in others they don't know whether to class this a gooseneck hitch or what. Chains are easy to clip on so I just use them and not worry about whether I need to or not. Many of the folks I know in my area are switching to this hitch due to it's lightness and ease of installation/removal as well as it's simplicity. If you like to use the bed of your truck when not towing it's the way to go.
I've never seen any difference towing wise to where it is a consideration at all for me when buying, other than total length of combination maybe. I've towed trailers since way back when you had a custom hitch on the back of the biggest sedan you could find, then later on using what passed for a truck and never had sway issues on anything I had set up, even when towing double with bumper pulls. I have personally witnessed rigs that were set up wrong and had no business being on the road in my opinion so it does happen. Traffic and crosswinds are the only issue I've ever had on the road that may things exciting, and the size of the rig in more a factor with the winds in my experience than the type of rig.
For slow speed maneuvering I'll take a bumper pull any day, especially for backing up. You have quicker response and more flexibility for maneuver vs the more slumbering gentle lumbering response of a 5er.
For hooking up, with the back up cameras available now, either one is pretty simple. With my last TT I had a remote tongue jack so I would back under the hitch, lower onto the ball as I got out truck so I just latched and pinned when I made it to the back of the truck, hooked up two chain clips and inserted umbilical. The equalizer weight bars added maybe two minutes to pry into place and pin (You could also unload with the tongue jack if desired) and you're ready to roll. With the fiver (Andersen ball hitch), if I'm coming in straight I drop tail gate, back up to hitch, walk to back of truck push landing gear button until retracted. Push and twist remote cable to lock hitch pin, hook up two chains and umbilical, raise tailgate. Slightly easier than TT, but not significantly. With the 5er I'm not coming in straight to hook up I need someone to keep the tailgate from hitting the front of the 5er.
In the end, my suggestion is to go with whichever makes the wife happiest and you'll have great adventures on the road.
I'd re-think the sleeping bag thing. Once you hit the continental divide, you can expect some pretty cold nighttime temps in the western state mountain regions, in fact I've experienced snow in every month of the year in the west.
Trails in the national parks, state parks etc are easy to look up and get information on. When you say biking, are we talking roads, mountain biking, gentle trails, or maybe extreme biking. Are you looking to climb mount Whitney, or by hiking are you looking for more along the lines of national park type trails?
You need to describe what you enjoy doing a little more before I could make useful suggestions on what to see/do
For gear, first and foremost, warm comfortable bed. However you select your bedding, make sure you have the capability to be comfortable in warm climates, or if temps get down below freezing. Make sure you sleeping pad/air mattress/cot is something you will enjoy spending night after night on. If you're dry and comfortable at night, and get good nights sleep, you can pretty much deal with and enjoy anything and everything else that comes along. The rest of the gear you just need what fits your lifestyle for cooking, lounging, entertainment and whatnot.
Be exceptionally careful with leaving the dog for the day. Tents can get really hot, and it sounds like you're looking to explore some areas where wild animals, to include bird can be an issue especially with small dogs.
Sounds like a potentially fantastic journey to me.
Be advised, if you get a new Ram with the factory air assist rear suspension you get negligible droop, or you can set the alternate height setting and get approximately an inch of droop. I've got a new 2015 3500 SRW Ram with the air bags, and a 5er with a dry weight well over 12k, GVWR of 15.5k I use the alternate setting when hooked up to get the trailer as level as possible and the truck is basically level. Ride loaded is much better than empty.