For the $15,000 we could potentially pick up a 2007 Suburban 2500 with 110,000 miles on it.
Does it make it sense to get a vehicle just for towing purposes? Does anybody do this? Or are we better off sucking up our losses and replacing the one we have? Being in Canada camping season is not very long. :(
I appreciate any and all advice you have to offer.
Have to apologize as I didn't read through the whole thread, but I can relate to this.
I had a 1994 burb that was getting old and purchased a 1999 1/2 ton as a replacement (in 2009). Then we decide to get into camping, and with 5 kids + foster kids at times, a small camper was not in our future. I ended up buying a 2004 3/4 ton suburban with the 8.1L and 3.73 gears. Then I purchased a 31DBTS puma TT that empty weighs 8300 and camping around 10,000. That 3/4 burb pulls that trailer so easy and securely, I am really happy. So happy that in December I purchased a second 2004 - 3/4 ton 8.1L - 3.73 suburban to tow the boat (8,000 lbs on trailer). A 6.0 liter would have worked for the boat, but I figured why not have a backup one for the camper. I paid $14,700 for the 2nd 3/4 ton burb and it is in perfect condition. Had just under 62k miles and is almost a twin to the other truck. Both white, grey cloth interior so 9 passenger, only difference is one has barn doors.
So yeah, I can relate and some people do buy a tow vehicle just to tow. heck, I bought two. The half ton has 132k miles on it and is our daily driver. It is rated to tow 6000 and it has towed the 8000 lb boat locally just fine, but the trailer brakes are all new and work great. If you buy just a tow vehicle, the milage does not rack up very quickly either.
We have a 3 bunk hybrid with a couch slide. We've had 9 in our trailer (family met us at the campground and some stayed in our trailer).
I would recommend "trying" some before you buy. Meaning, try having a larger person (teenager or full adult) try laying down on the bed or the table after it is converted. Both of ours works for the kids, but once they reach approach 5 feet in height, both the couch and dinette get pretty small.
Otherwise it did great since we spent all the day time outside. If it were raining, 9 inside is pretty tough.
Good points, I will pass the advice onto them. Now I remember doing that in our Puma when we looked at it. My 13 year old son is 6'-0" (no typo) and he and his 11 yo brother fit in the Puma's Dinette without argument. That is saying something! I am 6'5" and I just fit in the dinette overall, so it is pretty big. The other camper they are looking at is a Spree 322BHS and the dinette looks really long (U-shaped) which is nice. Their children are pretty normal, not the freaks of nature that some of mine are turning out to be (size wise that is, mentally they seem fine)
During a rainy camping trip we had friends with their four kids join us in our camper. 17 people in it thinking back. We had about 5 of us around the dinette playing a game, two on the couch, the 1 yo on floor walking around. In the back we had 3 at the fold out table, two up on each bunk playing games and two in the lower bunks reading. No one was in the front bedroom. It was full, but we were fine for a couple hours while it was raining out. That Puma is over 300 square feet!
Thank you for reminding me about laying down and sizing the bed space.
Is there a Trailmanor that will accommodate that many???? Of course, there is a Trailmanor for everything.
A HTT is a great idea except for total number of folks to squeeze in. Are any of them old enough that they'd think having their own tent(s) would be a great treat?? If you could get the total number down by just 3 - 4, I think it might be possible....tight, but possible. If there are any much younger, you might be able to put 3 in a bunkend. Making up the sofa and dinette is a chore for every night, but with 9 childrean I feel pretty sure they're up to challenges. Might be that they'd want to just leave those beds made up and spend their time outdoors. Think you need to be looking at ages and genders of the children and move forward from there. Please tell me that there are no large, hairy dogs that camp with them, lol. THAT would be impossible! Good luck and please let us know how this works out....I think this is a first.
They did get a dog, something called a Mastiff? Just kidding, it is small and not sure if it would even tag along, they have family in the area if needed. The kids are younger, 11 down to newborn. I agree with the trouble of making up the dinette and couch every night, but you can't have everything with 9 kids!
There are plenty of campers out there that will handle a family of 11 no problem, the issue is they already have an E-350 with the 5.4L I believe. A v-10 version might be in their future if they want to travel out west with the family. Around Indiana, OH and Michigan, they would do pretty well as it is reasonably flat around here. The issue would be a Yellowstone trip or grand canyon, that would not be advisable or fun.
The trail manor is neat, especially how light they are. But I think one of the 23' hybrids would be better, like the 233S Roo with a dry weight of only 4500 lbs. Three tipouts for queen beds, a dinette and a fold out couch would fit 10 or 11, just better hope everyone gets along well! As they get older, a tent would help also.
If they had a V-10, I would look at the 314TSB Shadow Cruiser. Same layout as our Puma but only 6,700 lbs dry. With rear bottom bunks replaced by J-cube cushions, the back is set up to handle 6 kids. Awesome design for the weight.
Wait a minute. 5 + 4 + 2 = 11 :O and you want to squeeze that many bodies into a travel trailer of some sort? You're kidding!
You need several tents (or a converted Pullman sleeper rail car).
Not kidding. We have 5 children, 2 to 13. Last summer we also had 4 foster children with us from 4 to 11. Plus wife and I makes 11 total. The Puma did fantastic with that large dual slide quad bunk back bedroom. Fits 6 kids pretty easily. Then the older three boys crashed on the made up dinette (2) and one in the fold out couch. Wife and I had the queen bed up front.
I added a forth row seat to the suburban so it would seat 12 and that actually worked out really well. We tipped the scales right at 17,000, sometimes a few hundred pounds over which is the GVWR of the burb. But all the axle weights were well within spec and it towed beautifully!
so no, not kidding. I know it can be done and it can be done comfortably. Now, the other family with 9 kids, that is all their own. And they have a E-350 van and are looking at options. A couple of kids in a tent is always a possibility, especially as they get older (larger).
So this summer we camped with 9 kids (Our 5 + 4 foster) in our puma 31dbts and it worked great! Now there is a family in our church that is also considering getting into camping and they have 9 wonderful children, but are in a E-350 van with the 5.4L Definately puts something like our Puma out of the question. They were looking at some light weight travel trailers, but the empty weights are still up there at 7100 lbs empty!
So I thought about the hybrids, but the biggest I can seem to find is a 23' model. several of them out there with the three queen tip outs and a slide which gives incredible space for a 23' camper and around 5,000 lbs, but haven't really found anything that is just a bit bigger, maybe in the 25' plus range.
Anybody know of lightweight campers with the multiple tipouts that are over the 23' length?
Thank you for any who can help,
all good info. We do use a two 12" fans to help move air. Unit is a triple slide so that does not help. No shade here, all sun. The camper is nose in to the south, so morning sun is on the non canopy side with all the nice windows. I will just have to look at other options. Oh, also have ducted ac.
I think slide covers would help keep the sun directly off the slide roofs which seem poorly insulated. I can also feel the heat coming off the windows when the sun hits them, so might have to look at shades/covers for those. Walls and ceiling feel cool, but man do those windows transfer it! Will do the two vent insulations also. Think I will look into another ac unit also.
I understand it when we are in the camper. Right now we have four foster children with us, so we are camping with 9 children from 1 to 12! Yeah it is interesting. Fit fine at night, but it is a lot of body heat and open door time. Thought it would have been better when we were not there for three hours.
Thanks for all the ideas, going to be a hot one tomorrow also!
Hello, we have a 2012 31DBTS Puma trailer that is 15 months old. It has the 15,000 btu AC upgraded unit. It does not keep the trailer that cool, but wanted to ask what others have experienced first before going back to dealer.
For example, we are camping now at Hidden Ridge in SW Michigan. It is 95 to 97 outside, no shade, very sunny and light breeze. We were gone for a few hours this afternoon, so trailer was left closed up with no one in it and the door not being opened and closed. When we got back at 3pm, the trailer was at 80 degrees inside.
Now after about an hour, we have several people inside, limited door usage, one pot of rice cooking on low, and the inside temp is 86 degrees while the outside is now 95 (measured in shade).
Shouldn't a 15,000 btu unit keep a trailer more than 10 degrees below ambient?
This morning when we left around noon, it was 89-90 outside, inside temp was 82, the exit air coming directly out of the AC was 56 degrees. Shouldn't this be cooler? do i have an AC that is low on Refridgerant? I purchased the 2 year warranty from Forest river, so hopefully I am still covered.
Thanks to any that can help. Let me know if this is typical, or if I need a repair.