Arctic Fox/Nash have fabricated frames engineered and built in house that are designed for rugged use. When you start comparing weights, you'll notice the Arctic Fox/Nash products are hundreds of pounds heavier because of the focus on structure and robust running gear.
I have to second that. I do a lot of off pavement travel and although I don't have one they would be on my short list if I replaced mine.
I always check book values but my experience has been that the older the unit gets the less accurate book values are. Condition becomes paramount. I’ve been offered over double what my little ’89 TT books at and I wasn’t trying to sell it.
I try to find the same unit for sale or a similar one. Or even a different year to establish some sort of benchmark. I’ve also looked at what else I can get for that money with the viewpoint that a newer unit in poorer condition isn’t a better value. And depreciation on older units is almost irrelevant. On the other hand, a newer unit in about as good a condition for the same money is more desirable. I’d do my homework, use your best judgment and come up with a number you think its worth and make an offer. They do say “OBO”.
When you take the capital and operating costs of a MH into account it’s argumentative which is the cheaper mode of travel. But I have the impression, maybe unwarranted, that economics isn’t a driving issue in your decision. You say you’re “lazy” so the hotel route is a plus, you don’t have to do anything but make reservations and everyone else does all the work. But you also want to avoid schedules, a direct conflict with reservation traveling. And if someone fouls up one reservation the ripple effect may also foul up others.
The advantage of the RV travel is it’s easier to deal with the dogs and your schedule is entirely your own, you can travel at whim. And you have a lot more flexibility in where you go and stay, there’s no guarantee there will be an acceptable hotel where you want to go or that there will be room when you want it.
I worked out of town every other week for years and I got sick of restaurant meals and I was never at ease about the places I stayed. I didn’t want to bring bedbugs home and spend a fortune trying to get rid of them. Besides the obvious personal feelings about them. Still today, reservations are anathema to me, the freedom to travel where I want when I want is far more important than the minimal work I have to put into it. Granted I pull a small TT and someone with a big one might feel compelled to reserve campsites just to ensure they had a place to stay. But in the west, especially, there is a lot of public land so developed campgrounds aren’t a necessity if one wants to check out the more pristine areas.
I don’t see you decision as all that difficult, you just have to decide whether the ease of reservation traveling or the flexibility of RV traveling is most important to you. European travel in a different animal, but it depends how much of that you do. There’s nothing to preclude you from using hotels in Europe and an RV in-country. Good luck on your decision.
In 50 years of camping I don’t ever recall thinking a campground I was in was unsafe with one possible exception. I have to qualify that with the statement that I rarely stay in a commercial park and I could easily count the times I’ve stayed in or very near a city on my fingers. Most campgrounds I use are national forest or similar and somewhat remote from cities.
Not that I haven’t had any incidents. I once drove too long and pulled off the road in a patch of trees along a remote highway and set up my PU. During the night someone opened the PU door and set off a bobby trap I’d set. That sent them on their way, but I never had the bad judgment to drive like that again. Then once in Rocky Mt NP someone tried the door on my PU but it was locked. But I’d heard him coming, trying RV and car doors as he came and was waiting for him. By the time I got my levis on and got outside, though, he had disappeared. And once I pulled into a remote mountain campground in WY and was approached by three guys. My instincts for unstable or violent people are pretty good and the warning bells were getting loud. We made a campfire and sat around and talked and they mentioned they had no money which didn’t put me more at ease.:) In the end nothing came out of it but I kept my hand close to a .45 I had concealed under my jacket in case things went south. So the possible exception I mentioned.
Now in the city, I’ve waited patiently while someone tried to pry open one of my windows, unsuccessfully. And I once waited at the top of the basement stairs while one who got in that way tried to slip up the stairs. He got away when my wife had the bad judgment to come out put her hand on my shoulder. The noise she made when she hit the floor spooked him and he got away. And once I caught one cold at gunpoint in my bedroom in the afternoon.
So my attitude is concern about unsafe campgrounds is misplaced, it’s much more unsafe at home. As other posters said, there are resources to check out campgrounds. And you want to avoid ones in the depressed area of a town and where either the campground or the inhabitants look shabby. If you’re instincts say move on, do so, don’t intellectualize it.
That sounds like sort of an arbitrary number to me. But it’s true that the bigger you are the fewer places you can go or fit. Arizona’s state park limit is 35’ and not all will take that big a rig. CA’s similar, 30’ is common and many are smaller. For the most part I’d say even 32’ is too big for national forest campgrounds unless they’re very close to the pavement and well developed. If you wanted to camp in the NF’s I’d say you need to think a whole lot smaller.
Another consideration is that most people don’t buy that big a rig to dry camp, they want hookups. That in itself is a severe limiting factor on where they camp so inability to get into some areas may be irrelevant if they don’t have hookups.
It’s very hard to make flat statements about the length restrictions of RV’s; there are simply too many variables. One poster checked a couple of hundred campgrounds in CA and quantified how big an RV they would take. As I recall a 30’ could get into somewhat over 60% while a 35’ was around 40%. But because the sites will take that length doesn’t mean they’re available, a smaller unit may have taken them. So one winds up planning their trips with reservations so they can ensure they’ll have a place to stay.
You can often get seemingly conflicting answers to this sort of question, but I think that’s because the posters answering stay in widely differing areas. I pull a 16’ TT and prefer remote national forest campgrounds and length is critical. Others may have a 35’ unit and stay in commercial or other highly developed campgrounds. Neither of us has any trouble fitting the sites, but our experience isn’t necessarily applicable to the OP’s situation.
I’d suggest going on the net and checking the types of places you want to camp and see what sort of size restrictions they may have rather than focusing on an arbitrary number like 32’. Good luck.An afterthought. That big a rig isn't a good sightseeing vehicle, have you also considered pulling a toad like many MH users do?
Maybe we need a system like they had when I was in the Army. When the guys would complain to the sergeant he would tell them to go see the chaplain and have him punch their TS card. I didn’t know what to think of that, they hadn’t issued me one and I didn’t know if it wise to complain to the sergeant about that.
A few years ago I saw a couple in a MH across the road from my TT asked to leave a campground in Grand Teton NP because of two barking dogs. They had left in late morning to sightsee and put the dogs in kennels in the MH. Fortunately for me, I also left and didn’t get back until late afternoon to find a big crowd of people standing in the road by my site. Apparently the dogs had barked incessantly all day long and they continued to do so until well after dark when the people returned. That’s probably the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a real lynch mob, it was getting ugly until a ranger came up and stood with the crowd waiting for them to get back.
I have two dogs, an Airedale and a Golden and I can tolerate occasional barking. But constant barking can wear out my tolerance real quick. My son usually keeps them when I camp but I’ve recently considered taking them along on some trips. The thing I’m most wary of is having them bark constantly while I’m gone; I don’t like it and wouldn’t impose it on someone else. Unless they’re playing their tv, radio or music loud enough for me to hear.:) I’ll just have to do it and stay close enough to see how they behave when they think I’ve gone to see how well it’s going to work. Little dogs are no better; in fact I think the high pitched yipping is more annoying to me than the bigger dogs barking. But neither belongs in a campground.
I try to avoid campgrounds that use reservations because that’s an indicator there’s going to be more people around than I want. But given your campground was like that, it probably would have bothered me little because I wouldn’t have expected any privacy. But there does seem to be a tendency for some people to want to be close even though they have a ton of other options. Probably some feeling of security, or the lack of it. It bothers me more in the more remote campgrounds where I expect to have plenty of room around me. In fact, it doesn’t often happen anyway, just a different breed of camper I guess.
The most blatant example was a long time ago when I took my two boys tent camping. It was off season and during the week and the campground was totally empty except for myself. Around 10:00 PM a MH pulled in and began setting up right next to me. I was already in bed and the racket and clanking seemed to go on forever. The next morning I was up before dawn having coffee when he came out and started more unloading. I couldn’t resist it and I asked him what time the circus started. He never said a word; he just reloaded everything and drove to the other end of the campground. Where he should have gone in the first place. I felt a minor twinge of guilt for being rude, but it was outweighed by my irritation that he parked a MH right next to my tent.
As far as kids go, as a rule they don’t bother me even if they occasionally come onto my site. In fact, I suspect the DW sometimes encourages it.:) If they’re unruly or think the site is their playground that’s another story, but I just don’t recall any incidents where that happened. Having camped a big portion of my life with four boys, a grandson and two granddaughters probably makes me more tolerant of kids than if I’d had none, too.
As a rule I don’t stay in commercial parks so I don’t have that option. But it’s essentially a non-issue. We carry clothes for about a week and when it gets close to wash time we just watch for a Laundromat, they’re practically everywhere. I don’t recall ever having trouble finding one when traveling.
You’re learning about CA, I see.:D My first choice would be southern Colorado; SW Utah will be hotter than blazes in the summer. Except for Bryce at 8000’. If your TT isn’t too massive and you can forego hookups your options are almost limitless. There are national forest campgrounds all over but most don’t have hookups. But there are some commercial parks that do.
Someone mentioned Durango and Mesa Verde and I’d second that. If you go to Durango you need to take the Durango-Silverton RR, it’s getting expensive but it’s an experience if you’ve never done it before. And if you’re willing to double your mileage you could go to Yellowstone and the Tetons. But again, there is only one campground in each park that has hookups and the one in Yellowstone resembles a storage lot. Good luck on your trip.
Welcome to the forum, Tonydel. I hope your trip turns out well for you and I expect we will be hearing from you again. I can guarantee you that even with 40 days there’s a whole lot more you won’t see than you will. But it seems like you have two opportunities to see as much as you can.
Since you’ll be so far north my thought would to be see the northern part of the country on the way to SF on your first trip and cut down to the southern part on the second trip. The only downside is that summer isn’t the best time to be south; it will be blazing hot in the SW. Spring or fall would be a much better time for that area.
People on the forum live all over the country and as a group have probably been everywhere worth going and some places not worth going. So when you plan your route to wherever you can ask on the forum about routes, must sees, and so on and it’s almost a certainty someone can answer your questions. Good luck on your trip.
Flexibility is one term you could use. Since I was young I’ve had a serious and chronic case of wanderlust. I just have to see what’s over the next hill or ridge whether I’m on wheels or on foot. The TT allows me to explore with no concern whether I have shelter or food, I’m carrying it with me. Sort of like backpacking but I can cover a lot more ground. Then, too, I’m not at the mercy of having to be anywhere at any particular time, I only make reservations if there’s simply no other place to camp and that’s a rare event.
I’m also strongly attached to the mountains and unspoiled country and the TT allows me to camp there. If I had to stay in a lodge or hotel it would be a total bummer of a trip. So flexibility may be a good term, you go where you want when you want, stay as long as you want and leave when you want. And you’re not dependent on anyone else to provide you with the resources to do so. Except of course gas, groceries and propane.:)
That reminded me of many years ago when I first started PU camping. I was in Montana and I had driven too long and had to stop so I pulled over into a patch of trees along the road. Before I went to bed I rigged a bobby trap up on the PU door and crashed. During the night someone opened the door and set off the bobby trap which had me out of bed instantly.
After checking around and ensuring the person had spooked and taken off I was standing outside with the adrenalin still roaring when the ground started to shake and there was an intensely bright light. After a moment I realized it was a train and it looked like it was coming straight for me. In fact I was set up about 20’ from a rr track that I hadn’t seen in the dark.
So in the end, no harm done except for perhaps the perp who may have had to visit his shrink about his newly acquired phobia about doors. But I never made the mistake again of driving until I had to stop. I’ve pulled into many campgrounds after dark, but boondocking I look for a spot while I can still see.:)
Among the “RVer” crowd I think this evolution happens quite a bit. But it’s certainly not predestined for everyone. I know many people who, like myself, like to leave civilization a few miles back. They don’t go through this evolution simply because they would shortly be prevented from getting back in where they want to camp.
My evolution has been more types of RV’s than size. I tent camped for almost two decades and was perfectly happy. But as I traveled more, tent camping became a PITA because of the constant packing and unpacking of the vehicle. So I bought a PU and that worked great for another decade. Then when it was getting well worn we went to a 16’ TT. The DW wanted a bathroom and more storage and organization. And I think she felt a little more secure in a hard side though she never admitted it.
I pulled the PU with a car and my ’73 Bronco, but they wouldn’t pull the TT. But by then I had an ’86 Bronco which pulled the TT fine. About six years later I replaced the Bronco with an F150, which pulled the TT better. But that wasn’t an upgrade to pull the TT, the Bronco had over 100,000 miles on it and I tired of the frequent ac and fuel system problems. So another decade plus later I still have the same TT and TV. I have looked at going slightly bigger, up to 19’. But we’ve never found a floor plan we like; permanent beds or large bathrooms make the units feel too cramped. Even then, though, I wouldn’t have to upgrade my TV to pull it.
My longest trip was over 6500 miles and I’ve had a number of others approaching that. 2000 miles plus trips are rather common. A good many of those were in a Coleman PU that I used for traveling for 10 or 11 years. But I’ve never tried living part time in one. After I got my TT I continued to use it for hunting trips and it was subjected to some pretty harsh conditions.
You can get a ton of positive and negative comments about any type of RV, but the DW and I really liked ours. In fact the DW still occasionally comments she’d like to have the PU back. On the plus side you get a real “camping” feel and you can take it about anywhere you want to go. It was an east tow that barely affected my gas mileage. We were in some ferocious storms and were never uncomfortable and it never leaked. And when the weather was nice we unzipped the windows and got far better ventilation than I ever get in my TT. The low profile allowed me to park it in the garage, something I can’t do with my TT. Setup was fast, 15 minutes was probably the norm and I could be setup and in the PU in 10 if I had good reason.
On the downside it’s harder to heat and cool though that rarely ever was a problem. The memorable exception was a cg I pulled into in northern KY. Most units there had ac and I told my wife, what a bunch of whooses, they don’t even know what heat is. Maybe so, but they knew what humidity was, I hardly slept that night. Also, the PU had small wheels and they got a workout. I carried two spares and a set of wheel bearings and on a long trip I count on using one of them. But it was an easy fix that caused me a minimal delay.
It doesn’t lock as securely as a TT and that may bother some people. They also lack in storage space compared to a TT and for my DW, the lack of a bathroom was a negative. I see new ones that have makeshift showers and bathrooms but they’re massive compared to my old Coleman. And they weigh more than my TT. Personally, it that was my only option I’d just go with a TT. Lastly, if you have a “camper” attitude the PU will work great. If you want all the comforts of home there are better choices. Good luck on your selection.
The votes are overwhelmingly in favor of Yellowstone/Tetons and I have to agree. Yellowstone is huge and there’s more of a variety of things to see there. Besides, the weather there will be more pleasant in July. SW Utah will be hotter than blazes except for Bryce at 8000’. The canyon will be hot but tolerable. I prefer the solitude of the north rim but for a first time I’d recommend the south rim. The canyon is certainly worth seeing, but given the option I’d choose Yellowstone.
My TT generally stays packed except I remove food, clothes, and perishables and those things I may use between trips. When I worked and made frequent weekend trips I usually left some clothes and boxed/canned foods in the TT. I never left anything in the frig. I use a checklist I’ve refined over decades to pack and it doesn’t take me very long to get on the road.
We tent camped for 18 years and traveled all over the west and sometimes the east. At 40 I bought a Coleman PU and we did the same sans the constant packing and unpacking of the truck. At 50 we bought a small TT which we still use and the PU became my hunting camp and short trip camper. I gave it to a son years ago and the DW still comments she'd occasionally like to have the PU back.
I think you may be a little premature asking about options when you’ve only been in a Casita. Unless you’ve made an absolute decision that it is what you are buying. There’s a huge selection of TT’s out there ranging from tiny to mobile motel rooms. I’d suggest doing what other posters said about going to dealers and RV shows and looking at many of them to get a feel for what’s out there. Just pay no attention to what a salesman says about what you TV can pull, they notoriously overstate it.
Any RV is a compromise of various features that you want. Your TV has to be able to pull it without exceeding its ratings and without dogging down in the mountains and crawling up the hills. Where you want to camp is a big factor. If you’re going in the mountains and camping well off the pavement size is very important, the smaller the better. 17’ would work fine and you’ll be dry camping a lot. If you want to stay in commercial campgrounds with hookups the size is much less important. I assume you have no kids, three dogs and kids in a 17’ Casita would be a load. That from a guy with a 16’ who routinely traveled with three kids but no dogs. But who you’ll have in the TT is another important factor; you have to have enough space to be reasonably comfortable. And of course your budget for the TT is an issue too.
I just think you just need to educate yourself more about TT’s so you can make a good decision on what really suits you best. If you wanted a 17’ to camp in national forests, bigger tanks would be a worthwhile option. As would dual golf cart batteries, LED lights, etc. If you usually have hookups, then it’s questionable whether they’re worth the investment.
Stated maybe over simplistically, I’m strongly attracted to the outdoors and repelled by cities. So when I camp I don’t want any concrete, pavement, buildings, traffic or crowds near me, just basically unspoiled country. Which makes it difficult to stay in any sort of a building because they shouldn’t be there.:) Besides, I wouldn’t be camping then.
Economics is a big factor, too. My camp fees are trivial compared to motels. And my records show we spend about $12-$14 a day to eat - groceries. That would cover one meal for one person eating out so that’s a major savings, too. A long time ago we took our boys to Disneyland and environs for four days. I later calculated we could have taken a typical three week camping trip for the same money. I didn’t regret it, giving them that experience was the object of the trip and it costs what it costs. But it gave me a clue as to the huge difference between the two means of traveling. Granted, I use a small TT and if someone has a MH or other expensive unit their capital and operating costs are going to be a major issue that I don’t have. But those two elements are the major factors in my decision to RV.