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Topic: How long is too long?

Posted By: NogginBoink on 09/18/09 09:55pm

My wife and I both camped with our families as kids, and now that we have kids of our own we've decided that it's time to start our own family traditions.

We went to an RV show here in Dallas yesterday, and the only trailer that really called out to us was a 32' Zinger model. While discussing this later, we've started to wonder if that might be too long to fit into camping spaces.

Since we have no experience in this area, we're looking to the community for input. Is a 32 foot trailer too long? (Yes, I know that's subjective.) I have no experience towing a trailer, and while I'm not intimidated at the thought, I know enough to know that there's a lot I don't know.

I drive a 2003 Ram 1500 with the HEMI engine. The mfr rates it with a 7750 lb. towing capacity. The Zinger ZT32QB that caught our eye has a 6,000lb empty weight. Does the 7,750lb towing capacity of my pickup provide enough safety margin to haul this behemoth?

I'd appreciate the thoughts of the community as this newbie starts his RV-ing hobby.


Posted By: Rvndave on 09/18/09 10:25pm

If the truck will be overloaded or not you need to do some math. Information needed is the GVWR of your truck, the actual weight of your truck with all fuel passengers and cargo, the GVWR of the trailer, and the combined weight rating. This information will be in the owners manual, and on the drivers door or door post. The actual weight can be determined at the scales. Most truck stops have scales for about $10.


2003 Jayco 308fbs eagle 33' tt, towed by a 2003 Ram 3500 slt, quad cab dually, cummins diesel ho, trailer towing package, with 6 speed manual. Hauls better 1/2, 3 kids, myself, and a 2003 ez go clays car.. I have added so far, neon lights, clearance lights, back up lights, black light, lift kit, mud tires, and everything necessary to make the golf cart street legal. It's now ready to spend the winter in the garage for more mods. More neon, strobe lights, alarm, a pa system, maintance, and whatever else that comes along. This golf cart does wheelies and travels thru 7 inches of mud when need be. Two honda eu2000i gens twinned to supply the electrical power. Latest addition an 04 Honda Goldwing. [url]http://www.hometown.aol.com/rvnagain/myhomepage/profile.html[url]


Posted By: DesertHawk on 09/18/09 10:33pm

Yes, it is subjective, however....the bigger they are the more limited they get in finding spots to park them & the more fuel it will take to take them to a spot and of course longer will be more of a pain in pulling into gas stations, into parking lots, etc. Larger may also need a bigger & meaner tow vechile.

Do you NEED a 32' trailer? I'd guess, no. Do you WANT one?

I believe it all comes down to one's expections, one's comfort zone perhaps. I have always been one who would rather be able to get into small site if needed, to get to them as little fuss & trouble and to do it as economical as possible and still have some comfort. Not to mention, to be able to store the unit easly when it is not in use. And of course with slide outs, sites have to be wide enough to allow them to slide out.

This must be the neat Rig in question?

Our largest RV was a 1997 22' Coachmen C-class MH. Before that we traveled all over the west including Canada with a 1983 20' Komfort Lite Bunkhouse TT. Our two kids had their own bunks, we had to make the two "couch-like seats" into a bed each night. We have down size with just the two of us to a 16' Scamp TT.

I'd do some more checking, see if you can find one with room for the kids and you, but perhaps a little shorter. IMHO of course.

They are making some very nice lite weights. Such as these from Keystone.
For me this would be a nice size also a Zinger or if it is tooo small another Zinger.

Not sure how many you need to sleep. Best of luck in your search. They are neat to have. My son has a whole different mind set than his mom & dad, but he is often limited in where he can camp and park as well needing much more mussel to get it over the road. And the man can tread an eye of a needle with his Big Blue & Cougar, too. It is a bunkhouse model for his two girls, but would be able to sleep perhaps up to 8. To each his own.

Were you like to camp, RV Resort vs Forest Campground will make a lot of difference in what might be too long. We go for the forest campground, RV resort as a last resort. Private vs Public...ditto.


My son's rig next to mine.

* This post was last edited 09/19/09 12:29pm by DesertHawk *


DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
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*Previously~ 2005 16' Scamp



Posted By: mikejnang on 09/18/09 10:36pm

Most will say that is too much trailer for you truck. I will stay away from that conversation for now. Personally, my rig is 28 feet to the hitch and I have no desire to be any longer. One, it fits in my driveway to load and unload and in California, 29 feet seems to be the magic number where you are limited to what sites you can fit in or better yet, be able to back into. Call around to some of the places you might want to go and see what options you have with that size of trailer. The nicer pull thru sites will get reserved first so in busy areas or long holiday weekends, your options could be limited. We are very comfortable with 26 feet of living space and we have 3 kids plus me and the wife.


Posted By: dodge guy on 09/18/09 11:05pm

We own a Cherokee 32B. the living area is 31'10" and the tongue to bumper length is 35' I`ve gotten into some pretty tight sites that some here would say "I`de never be able to get into". keep in mind you will need a good Weight Distributing hitch with Sway Control such as the Dual Cam or Equ-a-lizer. my vote is obviously for the DC. as for the dry weight.....I can gaurantee you that the ready to travel weight of a 32' quad bunk TT will be at least 1500lbs more than the dry weight!!! that means you will be around 7500lbs or more ready to travel.

Hope this info. helps!


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Posted By: Thesubes on 09/18/09 11:14pm

Not sure how many kids you've got and their ages, so that makes a difference on whether you "need" a 32ft trailer.
We started out w/ a 28ft Sunline, no slide, it was tight w/ 3 kids and us.We're hauling a 32ft Prowler w/ a slide now, and we really haven't had problems finding sights to fit the camper in. W/ 4 kids, there's room enough that if we get a rainy day or two, we don't feel cramped like we did in the 28ft.
I will say I'd be very leery hauling that camper w/ that truck. But that's just me.


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Posted By: seamonster on 09/19/09 06:15am

I used to have a small one and found out I was always wanting
a bigger one(trailer). Now I have a 31 ft with slide bunkhouse.
I have the Sunset Trail 31 you might want to check it out it
is made by the same manufacturer as the Zinger and is somewhat
lighter. YOu will be much happier with a bigger one than a small
one and you will not have a problem finding a place to put it.


Posted By: nelson on 09/19/09 07:01am

Get the biggest you can afford and pull. It is not something you want to get and then trade in a year or two because you want more space. Most campground books and web sites give site size. Yes there are some small sites, Find another spot. Unless you have a place you must go to and it is small then get what you want the first time. Happy Shopping


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Posted By: MI.-mansion on 09/19/09 07:23am

Figure out how much time you will spend actually IN the unit. We have a 26bh and 2 kids, ages 6(girl)and 9(boy). We take bikes, scooters, sports equipment and a Dalmation. We are only in ours to sleep, eat brkfst, or if it rains(been lucky so far). We have plenty of room, remember, it is CAMPING! As far as your TV, I think you will need more power. My truck is rated to pull 9000lbs., my TT is 4750lbs dry and with all my gear around 5500lb. not including if you have to carry fresh water (mine is another 320lbs). You will feel it when going up hill. You don't want to over work your Truck.


Posted By: RustySocket on 09/19/09 07:30am

The only time trailer length matters is if you have some exact specific spot you insist on fitting in and your too long to do it.

The rest of the time you will find spots to fit in. It just works out that way.

I pull a long combo. We spend every weekend in it somewhere. I much prefer the space in the larger trailer over the campsite.


Posted By: mosseater on 09/19/09 08:30am

As far as trailer size, we have 34' and have had no problems getting in anywhere across the US. Some are a little tighter than others, but once your driving skills improve with time, it begins to become a non-issue. Obviously there are limitations, it's just that usually, there are enough campsite options that will allow you to fit. You can fit a larger trailer in a smaller site than may first appear. It just takes some creative parking. We have done only State Parks this year and sometimes you get what you get.

As far as your truck being able to tow that particular trailer, looks like it's a bit much for your truck once loaded. If I remember, Zingers were a tad heavier than much of the competition. I hear they are good trailers, though. What do your GCWR and payload numbers look like? What is your hitch tongue weight rating? Don't be afraid to have them weigh the tongue right in front of you. The published numbers are notoriously low compared to the actual weights. You need the whole picture to make a final decision. Once you have a clear understanding of your truck's limitations, shopping will be much easier. I actually ended up with a trailer that is right at my tow limit just by luck, because I didn't have a full understanding of what the numbers meant. Don't find out too late that you bought a trailer too big for your truck.


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Posted By: Sinton4616 on 09/18/09 11:23pm

Our TT is 34 ft and I haven't found too many spots that meet our needs we haven't been able to get to. I say "meet our needs" since DW needs level site, full hook-ups for medical reasons. Your needs will vary.

Over 30 feet or so, most CG to want to put you into a pull-thru site rather than a back in. It's quicker/easier for them.

Can you truck tow this trailer? Yes. Can it do it safely? IMHO No, not once you add the weight of the family, camping gear, food, dishes, and family pet. The better question to ask is "Can I safely tow this TT and feel comfortable doing it with my family?"

I remember my father telling me that you take the max vehicle weight and the max TT weight, never exceed 70% and you've got enough power to make a hill. Now-a-day you can visit the forums for more info and a good break down of the physics behind towing.

There are several things you need to consider when towing, especially when you start to get into larger TT.
1. Tow vehicle rating loaded. (key word is loaded)
2. MAX TT rating (loaded)
3. Lenght of tow vehicle (sway control)
4. Hitch type and sway control

I recommend you visit the tow vehicle forum for more information.


Working in Iraq, no camping this year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2005 Dodge RAM 2500 Quad Cab, 4x4, Long Bed, CTD
2006 Fleetwood Prowler 3102BDS



Posted By: campinginthewoods on 09/19/09 05:40am

I will add this why don't you call around or look at the campgrounds you most likly use and ask how long the sites are? The older campgrounds will be harder to get into because they were designed long before the big trailers/motorhomes we see on the road today.....it's just a thought....Right now I have a 25 ft TT and it works for me but I have thought of going bigger just some of the campgrounds I love has length restrictions mainly because it's an old campground but has some really nice water sites and it's hard to get the bigger rigs on site and the few water site they have are in high demand all year...Happy Trails


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With every birth and every union, the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love.
Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger. "


Posted By: mwebber78 on 09/19/09 06:42am

Texas had some of the biggest and most spacious camp sites I've ever seen (and the biggest steaks).

Here in New England site size is a consideration, most parks are older parks which started out catering to popups, tent sites and small early travel trailers.

32' is a good size for a bumper-pull and is spacious on the inside for a family. Do not compromise on your selection or you'll want to upgrade in a year or so. The Zinger is a great trailer, too. Crossroads give you a 2+5 warranty and they have fantastic people at the factory who are quick to answer questions. Also, Crossroads has one of the more active owner forums I have ever seen...

As far as your truck other's will be able to help you better then I can.


2013 Jayco Eagle 334RBTS
Disclaimer for the daft: Don't confuse my opinion with facts.



Posted By: jmtandem on 09/20/09 10:56pm

Steve,

Thanks for clarification. I understood you to encourage in your first response to get a shorter trailer to get into older/smaller campsites. You clarified that and if you have an AF 29, then you are in the 30 foot league, too. I never inferred that there were no places that a 30 foot TT would not fit, just that most that want an easy in easy out drive thru or at least an easy back in will not be able to or don't want the hassle of doing it. It can be done, but I agree, there are some places that it probably should not be tried. As to the OP, sooner or later he and his dear wife will need to put a trailer in a tight spot, I hope he and she practice and never think that they have to have a shorter trailer than they really want because of older/shorter campsites. The severe depreciation lost from buying new is enough for me to encourage somebody to get what they really want even if the learning curve for parking it in a tight spot is steep in the beginning. I like your comment that it is better to check out the site before entering as backing up in tight situations is not that much fun. I also like the area you live in, beautiful especially Hurricane Ridge


'05 Dodge Cummins 4x4 dually 3500 white quadcab auto long bed.
'09 299bhs Tango.


Posted By: Under Pressure on 09/20/09 07:25pm

I have a 2004 1500 Hemi Quad Cab and pull a 28' box, ~32' tongue to bumper with dual slides. Dry weight on the sticker was 6100 lbs- Dutchmen weighs them on the way out the door, so that is an honest weight that includes everything except propane and water. Towing is no problem at all so far. I keep an eye on the weight (travel with fresh tank empty when possible), but that has a lot more to do with the tires on the trailer than with the truck.


2009 Dutchmen 28B-GS
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Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/20/09 07:42pm

jmtandem wrote:

SteveRankin,

I think I know what you are trying to say. However, I take exception to comments that people that say they have never had a problem getting their trailer into a site really didn't try, went to a longer site in a RV park, etc. With at least 10 feet of trailer beind the rear wheels, it will fit into even a site of only 25 feet long. You might have to park the tow vehicle someplace else, hold back bushes and tree branches to get it in, ask the campground host to let you drive the wrong way on the camp one way road to have better advantage/angle into the campsite or ask the camping neighbor across the campsite access road if they would be kind enough to move their truck for a few minutes for more maneuvering room. But, I assure you, you do not need a 70 foot pull thru site in a fancy RV park to use a 30+ trailer. Everything I stated in this paragraph I have been part of getting big RV's into small sites. It can be done and might take ten front and back maneuvers to do it, but it can be done. The tongue or the trailer might be a foot from the access road and the back end over the dirt beyond the asphalt, but it can be done, has been done and is done all the time by those of us with 30+ foot trailers.


I don't have a problem with having 10' of trailer overhang the curbing at the rear of the site. In fact, that's our normal way to park.

Nor, do I have a problem with the tongue being inches from the access road (I do have a problem with the tongue sticking out into the access road, however). But, if the trailer is that long, either the access road or the site must be wide to allow for the trailer to turn going in and out.

Nor do I have a problem with finessing the maneuvering. If you knew me better, you'd know that I tend to look at the impossible and think of it as a challenge. Nor do I have a problem with unhitching, although we certainly prefer not to when we're doing one-night stands.

But, we've been to campgrounds over the years that 30' was simply out of the question. There was one little park on a river this summer that looked really nice. There was a sign at the beginning of the entrance road warning folks that it was limited to 20'. I stopped and walked down to entrance to the park. A quick glance told me I could pull it off. Well, the access road was narrow, winding and tree lined. We drove around the turns with the outside front tire of the truck off the road while the inside tires of the trailer were off the road on the other side. You couldn't have gotten the trailer into a site with a dolly, and if you did, the tongue would have been in the middle of the road.

A little while later, we cruising through a state park at Lake Louise, Alaska. No signs about RV size. I'm about half way through one of the access road loops with the truck tires off the road on the outside of the turn when the trailer runs out of room on the inside. If I keep going the trailer will hit the trees on the inside of the turn. We spend the next 30 minutes backing out this narrow, winding access road.

Since there is little info available on some of the places we visited this summer, we made a point of driving through every public park & assessing whether or not we could get our rig into it. We found some campgrounds that didn't have a single site large enough for a 30' trailer because the site was too short, a tree at the end of the site preventing overhanging the site, the site was 90 degrees from the narrow access road, etc. Often, all of the above.

We also found several campgrounds that had 5-10 sites suitable for slide-in campers and one site for a towable. We were fortunate many times to get that one site because we stopped early in the day. But, if you came in after we did, you'd have been out of luck.

Another factor is slides. Our Arctic Fox 29V has two slides, one of them is 13' long, plus it goes out 3.5'. This summer we had numerous problems with obstacles (trees, rocks, brush, power pedestals, etc.) being too close to the site to allow the big slide to extend. One time, we had to position the steps at the fixed picnic table and actually walk across the picnic table to get into the coach. We had even worse problems with our Holiday Rambler because both slides went out 3' and there was only 2' between them, so it was almost like having a full wall slide.

Now, having said all of that, I think we need to pay attention to the OP. He's never towed a trailer before. Sending an inexperienced RVer into a challenging campground with a large trailer is a recipe for disaster. The most likely result is a major yelling match between DH & DW, a scraped up trailer and a most unpleasant experience.


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Posted By: Dennis Smith on 09/20/09 07:52pm

My Fun Finder 16 foot is jsut the right size. Never have a problem with gas stations or any camp grounds. Got a bathroom, and all the other stuff that goes with it. Get what you want and you will make it work. I have seen some stupid big rigs and a few that makes my 16 foot look big. Get what you want and then go out and CAMP, My friend that is what its all about. But my ocean going Kayak is 5 feet longer then my camper and I think its kind of short.


Posted By: jmtandem on 09/20/09 05:08pm

SteveRankin,

I think I know what you are trying to say. However, I take exception to comments that people that say they have never had a problem getting their trailer into a site really didn't try, went to a longer site in a RV park, etc. With at least 10 feet of trailer beind the rear wheels, it will fit into even a site of only 25 feet long. You might have to park the tow vehicle someplace else, hold back bushes and tree branches to get it in, ask the campground host to let you drive the wrong way on the camp one way road to have better advantage/angle into the campsite or ask the camping neighbor across the campsite access road if they would be kind enough to move their truck for a few minutes for more maneuvering room. But, I assure you, you do not need a 70 foot pull thru site in a fancy RV park to use a 30+ trailer. Everything I stated in this paragraph I have been part of getting big RV's into small sites. It can be done and might take ten front and back maneuvers to do it, but it can be done. The tongue or the trailer might be a foot from the access road and the back end over the dirt beyond the asphalt, but it can be done, has been done and is done all the time by those of us with 30+ foot trailers.


Posted By: cachingcampers on 09/20/09 05:42pm

jmtandem wrote:

SteveRankin,

I think I know what you are trying to say. However, I take exception to comments that people that say they have never had a problem getting their trailer into a site really didn't try, went to a longer site in a RV park, etc. With at least 10 feet of trailer beind the rear wheels, it will fit into even a site of only 25 feet long. You might have to park the tow vehicle someplace else, hold back bushes and tree branches to get it in, ask the campground host to let you drive the wrong way on the camp one way road to have better advantage/angle into the campsite or ask the camping neighbor across the campsite access road if they would be kind enough to move their truck for a few minutes for more maneuvering room. But, I assure you, you do not need a 70 foot pull thru site in a fancy RV park to use a 30+ trailer. Everything I stated in this paragraph I have been part of getting big RV's into small sites. It can be done and might take ten front and back maneuvers to do it, but it can be done. The tongue or the trailer might be a foot from the access road and the back end over the dirt beyond the asphalt, but it can be done, has been done and is done all the time by those of us with 30+ foot trailers.



OK, so it ain't just me gettin' in the muck like that then

Glad I'm not alone!


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Posted By: Dixonmatco on 09/20/09 10:54am

Since we camp primarily at State and National parks, length is a factor as many in the western states are old and built long before the 30'+ rvs were invented. Our length at 26' bumper to ball fits almost everywhere but we have found a couple of SP campgrounds where even that is too long.
Places like Yosemite NP have a few sites that will accomodate longer rigs but most will not, and those longer sites are booked immediately as they become available.

Another consideration when looking at a longer "lightweight" trailer is the tank capacities. Most are woefully small. This is another way of saving weight and limiting max GVW and cargo weight capacity. This is important if you plan on doing much drycamping which is common at many of our State and National parks. Of course, not a problem if you plan on spending your overnights at Full Hookup parks which are mostly privately run parking lots. There are a few exceptions to this but not many.


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Posted By: turbopilot51 on 09/20/09 11:45am

Our tt is 34'-11" from hitch to bumper. With our tow vehicle I am pushing 57'. There are a lot of camping spots you can get into, but the problem I've found is enough room to manuver into the spot. There always seem to be a tree just in the wrong place. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Our next rig will be a fiver. Our tow vehicle is a Dodge 2500 and I wouldn't tow with anything smaller.


Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/20/09 12:19pm

When considering the question of whether or not a trailer is too long to fit into a campsite, I think it's imperative to listen to the experience of those that have had problems. When someone says they have never had a problem getting their trailer into a campsite because the trailer was too long, but they are really saying is that they've only been staying at campgrounds with larger campsites.

If you want to be able to stay in older RV parks, or many state and federal parks, where many parks in the West and far north, you'll want to get the smallest trailer work for you.


Posted By: jmtandem on 09/20/09 08:48am

Noggin,

I seriously doubt that your comment about not being at GWVR will be true. Look at the specs, the amount of weight between the dry weight and the GWVR is not that much. Water is 8.3 pounds per gallon, stuff in the trailer, etc. Also, I agree with the previousl posters that the dry weight is probably underestimated. I think that you will be at or perhaps a little over the GVWR on most trips. Also, remember the trailer is one size when it is nice out, sun is shining, and another size when your kids have friends along, the dogs are inside, and it is windy and raining. Don't go small. Rainy days will tell you what the size really is.


Posted By: firemedic16 on 09/20/09 09:00am

My TT is 36' when measured bumper to hitch. I have been to some nice " RV resorts " in New England and have had a tight squeeze in most sites. The worst was the most expensive.( wells, ME Pull through, TT bumper was at road edge and truck bumper was just over the line on the oppisite end of site.) And the places with the biggest sites were average priced.( sandwich, MA ) But even the tight sites were worth it. Location to beach is everything.


Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/19/09 10:22pm

NogginBoink wrote:

. . . and the only trailer that really called out to us was a 32' Zinger model.


Love at first site isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

NogginBoink wrote:

While discussing this later, we've started to wonder if that might be too long to fit into camping spaces.


We've owned 3 TTs that were 30' actual length and a Holiday Rambler 32FKD that was 33' long. We frequently had issues getting the 32FKD into campsites.

We spent 3 + months in the far north this summer and frequently had issues with our 30' long Arctic Fox 29V. While we only had to abort an entire campground a few times, we found our selection of sites as well as the room needed to maneuver was quite limited. Our solution was signing the docs today on a new Arctic Fox 24-5N that's 26'2" long. Plus, since it's a 5ver the actual LOA is 11 feet shorter.

NogginBoink wrote:

I drive a 2003 Ram 1500 with the HEMI engine. The mfr rates it with a 7750 lb. towing capacity. The Zinger ZT32QB that caught our eye has a 6,000lb empty weight. Does the 7,750lb towing capacity of my pickup provide enough safety margin to haul this behemoth?


First, empty weight is just the starting point. You have to add the weight of any options, propane, water before you even start putting your stuff on board. Second, it's doubtful that the actual empty weight is 6,000#. We've owned several TT's and they all weighed more empty than the brochure said.

Second, towing weight isn't the only weight you need to consider, especially with a 1/2-ton truck. The bugaboo of the 1/2-ton is tongue weight. We prefer to have 14% tongue weight; about 1,085# for that trailer loaded. The truck probably doesn't have enough carrying capacity for that kind of tongue weight + people + hitch + stuff.

Third, many of us that have been around for a while suggest limiting the trailer to 80% of the TV's towing capacity.

Weight is only one factor in towing a trailer. Length equates to sail area. The longer the TT, the more sail area for the wind to blow it around.

It's also likely that your truck has a relatively short wheelbase compared to a 3/4-ton crew cab. The W/B to length ratio is a very important factor in vehicle stability. I wouldn't even consider towing a 32' TT with a 1/2 truck. BTW, my wife drives an F150 SuperCrew that's a great truck. But, it's not even close to being the TV that our 2500HD is.

In other words, if you hitch up a trailer that (a) max's out the truck's towing weight rating, and (b) max's out the truck's carrying capacity, and (c) is long with lots of sail area too, you're not going to enjoy the ride.


Posted By: NorthTXCamper on 09/19/09 09:54pm

After 10 years of pop-up camping, we have recently made the decision to move up in class to and purchase a TT. After many hrs of research on the ideal TT that I have put in, I can understand why you are leaning towards the 32' Zinger. I am also impressed with this TT, and have recently made the decision to move forward with the purchase.

Here in Texas, you should not have a problem finding a spot to back the full 33.5 ft rig into. Ray Roberts State Park has a number of sites which would work fine for this length of RV at both Isle Du Bois and Johnson Branch for a close weekend getaway.

As for your towing vehicle, you might get by with the 7750lb towing capacity pulling this TT. If you look on the cabinet door above the sink, the actual gross trailer weight should be marked. I went inside of 8 different units today and the trailer weight varied between 6450 to 6580 lbs. I drive a Ford F150 with a 3.73 axle ratio which allows for 9200 lbs of towing capacity, so I feel comfortable with the added 1K to 1.5K of cargo in both my truck and the TT.

Good luck in whatever decision you may make. I agree that the Zinger is a well made unit with much to offer.


Posted By: NogginBoink on 09/19/09 09:58pm

For what it's worth, the GVWR of the trailer is 7780, which is just 80 lbs over the TV's towing capacity. And if I have that trailer loaded to max gross, I'm probably doing something wrong. I don't intend to carry that much stuff.

However, for other reasons, it looks like we won't be going with the Zinger. (Of course, until the check is written, who knows...)


Posted By: RvBill3 on 09/19/09 08:47am

We moved up from a 20 foot to a 30 foot trailer last year. Only once have we found a site that we reserved was too small, but it had more to do with the placement of trees that made it hard to back in. The campground let us move to a nearby site that was better. Usually we stay in federal or state parks and their websites tell the length allowed in each location. Some shorter sites can handle large trailers, but you have to park your TV sideways instead of leaving it in front of the trailer. No big deal.

Getting into (and out of) gas stations was my biggest problem. With more experience it became easier. You size up the pump you want to go to and wait for it to be open. Choosing gas stations that are also truck stops ususally have more room than small stations in urban areas. Just a matter of practice and thinking ahead about how you will get out of a station.

I'm no expert on TV's, but IMHO your truck is a little undersized. I was concerned about that with mine. The dealer let me take it for a test drive that was conditional on completing the sale. While it was empty at the time, I was confident that my truck has enough reserve to make for comfortable driving. A year later, we are happy with the ride. A very good WD hitch and sway control are a must. (I'm pleased with our Reese Dual Cam--others are very good also). Don't scrimp on that. Electric tongue jack is also a great help on big heavy trailers. I added mine myself. Some dealers may offer them as an option at point of sale.

Get the trailer you want and have fun!


2012 Forest River Sunseeker 2300 Chevy


Posted By: jmtandem on 09/19/09 08:54am

Noggin,

Here is my take on your questions. As far as the size of the trailer, if you get a little bigger now, you won't lose money trading up in a year or two because you bought what you really did not want and are now going bigger. RV's depreciate quickly. I have a 30 foot travel trailer and so far it has fit everywhere I wanted it to. You will be about 55 feet or so long on the highway and that can have some implications in merging into traffic, changing lanes, gas stations, parking at restaurants, etc.

As to the truck, it will be marginal. The numbers you need that have already been expressed in this thread are the GVWR of the trailer, not what it is empty. Then look at the trucks numbers and decide.


Posted By: RobertRyan on 09/21/09 02:32pm

Quote:

As you travel north, RV dealerships shift from a wide mix of RV types to a wide mix of towables & campers (in BC) to a mix of TT's and campers north of BC. We visited all 3 RV dealerships in Anchorage & found zero motorhomes & one 5th wheel. The rest of the new RVs in stock were smaller TTs (<25') and slide-in campers.

You get similar mixes of RV's in Australia, due to the vast number of dirt roads. People like to travel with camper trailers, caravans(normal and off road) rather than a Motorhome.


Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/21/09 12:43pm

jmtandem wrote:

Steve,

Alaska sounds like fun. Maybe one reason there are so many truck campers is the cost of ferrys if they don't want to drive both ways. Probably the longest TC on the truck would be about 28 feet ( I have had three TC's) and that is half of the 56 feet I am with the TT. TC's certainly have their advantages, room inside the camper is not one of them. But for an Alaska trip, I would seriously consider taking one.


I'm sure that some people buy a truck camper to save on the ferry fare, but I'm not talking about the ferry, I'm talking about driving. Additionally, I wasn't talking about the normal "Alaska trip" route. The Alaska Highway is fully paved now--driving to Alaska isn't much different than driving to Kansas anymore.

What we're talking about is driving the other roads that still exist in Alaska, the Northwest & Yukon Territories that aren't paved. Tne Taylor Highway aka 'Top of the World Highway' is the only one that is regularly traveled by RVs. RV traffic on the others is between uncommon & rare. Traffic of any kind is uncommon/rare on the Liard Highway.

As you travel north, RV dealerships shift from a wide mix of RV types to a wide mix of towables & campers (in BC) to a mix of TT's and campers north of BC. We visited all 3 RV dealerships in Anchorage & found zero motorhomes & one 5th wheel. The rest of the new RVs in stock were smaller TTs (<25') and slide-in campers.

Slide-in campers are popular because (a) most of the folks that buy them are hunters and fishermen--not RVers in the sense you & I are, (b) they don't come apart on rough roads like other RV types do, (c) they can driven down tiny winding dirt roads you can't get a TT down, (d) they can be turned around or easily backed up when that tiny dirt roads dead ends, and (e) they're 4X4's. I've towed trailers in 4WD conditions quite a bit, and even a small utility trailer can humble a well prepared 4X4. FYI, we engaged 4WD on three occasions on this trip in order to keep moving forward because we'd stopped making forward progress in 2WD, mix some rain with some sections of those back roads and it gets really slippery and messy.

I had a Beaver slide-in camper on a '69 GMC 3500 way back when. When we started seriously talking about going smaller than the Arctic Fox 29V, we included campers as a possible solution. But, they just aren't big enough for us, especially with our 2 dogs.


Posted By: manm on 09/21/09 10:05am

I have no problems finding/ backing into/ or towing my rig with my 1/2 ton.. The only thing I will sugest is getting a air bags for the 1000+ pound toung weight. That trailors max GVRW is 8100, I think the dodge 1/2 max with WD hitch is about 8300.

As I said a WD hitch "Equil-i-zer" and some air bags and the truck will tow it like a dream (Your gas milage however is another story )


Saber 30BHDS 35F TT (was)pulled by a 07 Dodge 1500 4x4...
-=New for 2010!=- 05 F-350 dually King Ranch loaded w/sled/atv deck for the toys. Not worried about weight limits anymore!



Posted By: Wishin on 09/21/09 10:16am

Only you can really answer the question but I think you've gotten lots of good information on what it is like to deal with a longer trailer. Our 26 foot trailer with no slides is as large as I want. Longer is just more hassle and not really worth it to me. We spend very little time in the trailer. We use it to store food, clothes, and sleep in. We ocassionally eat in it while traveling as well. This is how most of my family camps also. We have once camped with some friends and they are the opposite. The do all their cooking inside, they sit inside watching tv, etc. They spend much more time in their trailer and that is why they upgraded to their 31' trailer with a large slide. How you plan to use it will affect your decision. Even if it is raining I'd rather sit outside under the awning (assuming it isn't raining horizontal) than sit inside. I spend too much of the rest of my life inside, when camping I prefer to be outside. We also like to camp in rustic locations that were never designed for modern RV's. Sometimes I wish I had gotten a slightly smaller one as well. We also ran into some issues with finding a gas station that would work. If you are off on the beaten path and only ancient little 2 pump stations are available sometimes you just can't get in and out.


2014 Wildwood 26TBSS
2003 Chevrolet 2500 4x4 Suburban 8.1L 4.10's
1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon



Posted By: TorivioTribe on 09/21/09 10:25am

jmtandem wrote:

Steve,

Thanks for your suggestions on backing into a site. I will add that for us the best way to back into a site that I have found is to have my wife stand exactly where I want the rear corner of the TT to end up. No gestures, no radios, no shouting, no conversation except if we are having a height problem or something else is happening that we did not see on our walkaround prior to the backing. I like her on the passenger side and I back to her with the mirror. As she becomes a fixed object for a moment, is exactly where I want the rear of the trailer to end up, is not moving around and is always in the mirror, it is easier to back to her.


Or back into her.

Whenever we have to pull into a site at night, we have 7 (one for each child) battery operated lanterns. We place the lanterns out like a runway to follow. Then my son stands on the problem side (there always seem to be one) and shines my 18v flashlight on the problem so I can keep an eye on it. Once the obstacle is cleared, light goes off. When the back end is where we want it, the light goes back on. For this reason, we always refer to all parking places as 'landing pads'.


The Torivio Tribe
Pat (37), Pam (37), Joshua (11), Madison (9), Megan (8), Mackenzie (7), Mary (5), James (4), Molly (2)


1998 Ford E-350 15 Passenger Van
1986 Coachman PUP
2008 Jayco Jay Feather 30U TT



Posted By: 345jeep on 09/21/09 09:12am

OP,
If you want to see what a DW might do to the weight of that 32' Zinger, rent or get a copy of the "Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. DWs loves to put all sorts of things in the TT as they see it as their "2nd home."

You don't see all that many 30+ TTs being towed by 1/2 ton trucks (unless they are Toyota Tundras ). Might be a reason for this. If it were me, the old 1500 would be getting traded for a 2500. I can hear the conversation now - - "Honey, we can get the trailer that you love, but I need a new truck to pull it. You do want us to be safe...don't you !" Great excuse for a new truck !!!

Best wishes on whatever you end up !


2010 Skyline Layton 190
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 5.7L V8 4x4 3.73 Axles
Me, DW, daughter, Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle



Posted By: jmtandem on 09/21/09 08:17am

Steve,

Alaska sounds like fun. Maybe one reason there are so many truck campers is the cost of ferrys if they don't want to drive both ways. Probably the longest TC on the truck would be about 28 feet ( I have had three TC's) and that is half of the 56 feet I am with the TT. TC's certainly have their advantages, room inside the camper is not one of them. But for an Alaska trip, I would seriously consider taking one.


Posted By: jmtandem on 09/21/09 08:25am

Steve,

Thanks for your suggestions on backing into a site. I will add that for us the best way to back into a site that I have found is to have my wife stand exactly where I want the rear corner of the TT to end up. No gestures, no radios, no shouting, no conversation except if we are having a height problem or something else is happening that we did not see on our walkaround prior to the backing. I like her on the passenger side and I back to her with the mirror. As she becomes a fixed object for a moment, is exactly where I want the rear of the trailer to end up, is not moving around and is always in the mirror, it is easier to back to her.


Posted By: TorivioTribe on 09/20/09 11:51pm

As you pointed out, large is relative to what you comfortable with. We pull with a E350 15 passenger van, so our TT weight was limited. We needed to stay with the ultralites. You didn't indicate what your family consisted of. How 'close' of a family are you? As for our family, the 30ft was just about the minimum we needed. It was one of a few that offered a double bunkhouse for my 7 kids. There are a total of 7 kids, 2 adults and 1 German Shepard that go camping (and yes, they are all ours together). I grew up living on a Reservation in a 2 room house with 6 family members. So we are a 'close' family. There has never been any issues with 'my room' as we share everything. They really enjoy that time just before going to bed. Laying there discussing all the things that went on during the day. We stepped up to the 30ft TT from a PUP. Although it a little bit (???) longer, it is actually easier to back with.

As far as backing goes, you can find an empty parking lot and place cones all around. I like to do a modified version of a "truckers rodeo". If they can do it, so can I. It really helps prepare for the many obstacles we campers face.

Although it does take practice, it's a good idea to look at the footprint of the TV+TT at any campsite and make a mental picture. Just by driving by, we can tell if we'd fit or not. Just like someone else posted, if we could physically fit, we do like the challenge of getting in there.

I agree about the lightweight tanks being really small. We usually use the fresh water for bathroom use. Bottled water for drinking and cooking. A lot easier to run to the dumpster than to head over to the dump station. We tend to boondock more than do a full hookup.

Good luck with your decision.


Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/20/09 11:55pm

jmtandem wrote:

Steve,

Thanks for clarification. I understood you to encourage in your first response to get a shorter trailer to get into older/smaller campsites. You clarified that and if you have an AF 29, then you are in the 30 foot league, too. I never inferred that there were no places that a 30 foot TT would not fit, just that most that want an easy in easy out drive thru or at least an easy back in will not be able to or don't want the hassle of doing it. It can be done, but I agree, there are some places that it probably should not be tried. As to the OP, sooner or later he and his dear wife will need to put a trailer in a tight spot, I hope he and she practice and never think that they have to have a shorter trailer than they really want because of older/shorter campsites. The severe depreciation lost from buying new is enough for me to encourage somebody to get what they really want even if the learning curve for parking it in a tight spot is steep in the beginning. I like your comment that it is better to check out the site before entering as backing up in tight situations is not that much fun. I also like the area you live in, beautiful especially Hurricane Ridge


I think we're pretty much on the same page.

We've owned 5 TT's (1-18, 3-30's, & 1-34 actual length) + 1-37' DP. As you can guess, we're drawn to the 30-footers, and both of us love our Arctic Fox 29V (30'0") except for one niggling detail. We sold our DP and bought the Arctic Fox to make this trip to the far north. The Fox performed spendidly and both of us love it. We had a fabulous time--click on the link in my signature to find our more than you'll want to know about the trip and the rig--and we want to go back. In fact, after we completed all of the 'interesting' legs of the trip above the Arctic Circle, we spent an afternoon discussing whether to make a second run to either Prudhoe Bay or Inuvik, or maybe go back towards Yellowknife or ???. It was getting late in the season for going north again, so we decided to skip the tourist spots (we'd been there before) and just head for the Cassiar Highway and home at a leisurely pace staying in public parks all the way.

Since we know we're going back--it's just a case of next year or the year after--we've been talking a lot about what worked and what didn't. For the most part, the things that didn't work were little things like the standard duty air compressor. But, there was one BIG thing that worked flawlessly except for the big part. That was the size of the rig. 90% of the folks up there have slide-in campers. The other 10% have smaller Class C's (20-25'). Both campers and small Class C's can fit in just about any campsite, or even on tiny slivers of gravel that remain from old pipeline service roads. It's a very different story when you're pulling a 30' TT with a 53' combined LOA.

Now, I have to admit that one of our motives for selecting the 29V was the challenge of taking a larger RV where most folks fear to tread. The other part of our motive was that we'd have a lovely and comfortable RV both during the trip and for years afterward.

What we didn't expect was that we'd want to go back and spend even more time than the 3+ months, especially in the more remote locations. Hence, our desire to get a shorter rig--about 10' shorter.

But, back to the areas where most folks go camping.

We had problems on our first trip to CA with our HR 29FKS. Mostly it was a learning curve regarding leaving room for the slide we didn't have in the 27' HR before that. A couple of campsites were interesting getting into, but we made it. Then we got the HR 32FKD that was 34' and had two large slides. Now, those were a PITA. We not only had problems in older campgrounds, we had problems in newer CGs made for big rigs. The problem revolved around the slides being much lower on a TT than a DP, so they couldn't clear the power pedestal or water spigot. Maneuvering a 34' long TT isn't much fun either, but it is doable & easier than a big 5ver.

I agree that the depreciation on a new coach is scary. Having been there, done that twice before now we're doing it again . . .

But, the best way IMHO is to start out with a good old coach and (a) learn the ropes on something that not shiny anymore anyway, and (b) learn more about what you want and don't want before blowing the big bucks on a new rig. We started out with a fabulous 10-year old Holiday Rambler that was darn near perfect (full-size beds are too small). Our first trip was 2 miles down the road to the local state park. Two days later we left for 3 months in Alaska. We traded that coach for more than we paid for it AND got a fair price on a brand new Holiday Rambler with the same floor plan and a queen bed. What happened after that would change the subject to quality and Monaco, so we won't go there in this thread.

BTW, we have a few simple rules about maneuvering in a campground.

#1. Never ever yell at each other unless the RV is on fire.

#2. Never move the coach if the driver can't see the spotter. Never.

#3. If in doubt, get out, walk it, and talk it over. Repeat as necessary.

#4. We use a portable CB for the spotter and a CB in the truck. Much better clarity than FMRS radios.

#5. Sometimes it's better for DH to get out and do the spotting while DW moves the rig per his instructions.

#6. Don't forget to look up.

#7. Use a tape measure and draw a line in the gravel where the rig needs to go for the slide(s) to clear obstacles.

#8. Don't make large steering corrections while the coach is moving. If the steering wheel needs to be turned, stop, turn it and then move the rig. Turning the wheel and moving at the same time wastes precious space.

#9. Relax and don't get in a hurry. We do some of our maneuvering in low range simply because it lets the driver move the rig very slowly by just easing up on the brake pedal--no throttle.


Posted By: SteveRankin on 09/21/09 12:41am

TorivioTribe wrote:

. . .
Although it does take practice, it's a good idea to look at the footprint of the TV+TT at any campsite and make a mental picture. Just by driving by, we can tell if we'd fit or not. Just like someone else posted, if we could physically fit, we do like the challenge of getting in there.
. . .


I pace off the questionable sites before we start maneuvering. 18 paces if I have room behind the curb for overhang, 22 paces if there's an obstacle. If I get to the edge of the access road before the requisite 18 or 22 paces, then we'll need to unhitch. It only takes 30 seconds to know if we'll fit and if so by how much.


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