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webslave

Clearville, PA

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Posted: 02/26/12 03:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We started out 42 years ago backpacking. Now we own a 35' 5th wheel. We, prior to our 5th wheel, had a 21' FunFinder. Marvelous trailer, took it everywhere, cross country 4 times for months at a time. We finally came to the realization that 3-4 months was all we could stomach in a 21' trailer. We love each other dearly, live miles from any neighbors and love being together 24/7, but, there isn't enough space in a 21' trailer to carry the necessities of "living" for 6 or more months, let alone "full-time" for years. We started out with the "we'll hike and sit and relax" mode of traveling, but, how much hiking and sitting can one do? She started missing her spinning and weaving and while her folding spinning wheel would fit in the trailer's storage area, there wasn't enough room inside to set it up if it was raining outside and forget about getting a loom in there! We love jigsaw puzzles...where do you set one up where it won't be in the way?

You'll really need to sit down and think about how much space you'll really need to "full time" on the road. When we started talking about snowbirding, we both came to the same immediate decision that we'd need more room. While we loved our little FunFinder and sorely miss it, we are now much happier with our 5th wheel. Tons more storage in the basement (it is still only half full after our first season with it) and the interior is still very empty. I took out the freestanding dining room table and chairs and she now has enough room for a weaving loom and I can still walk around. I can relax in a swivel rocker and have my legs out without worrying about her tripping over them. I can work on puzzle over in the "office/entertainment" area and not feel rushed about finishing it or having to take it apart so that we can eat. We can comfortably wait out a storm without feeling claustrophobic. Simply marvelous.

We do, now, have to forgo some of the more "wild" and "rustic" campgrounds that we used to love, but, we're getting to used to not being in them. We've learned to not treat our RV as a hard-sided tent, but, more like a mobile home with all of its comforts. We still hike and bike, but, we go from our full hook up campground to the parks and trails to do it. We're older, we're more sedate and more relaxed. We've hiked so many miles in our backpacking days and spent so many nights on the trail in leaky tents that we tend to be more "sightseers" than "campers" in this stage of our lives.

The above is not meant to detract from those that "boondock" or prefer the more rustic campgrounds, we thoroughly enjoyed that lifestyle ourselves. I can't, personally though, imagine "full timing" in a small box. If you are talking about a bigger box, 30-35' for instance, IMHO, you can't beat a 5th wheel for utilization of space and towing ease.


My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

Don
Bronwyn
2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin

2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
Built in brake controller and exhaust brake
Tri Glide TrailAir Pinbox with a B&W Companion Hitch


pasusan

PA

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Posted: 02/26/12 06:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

N2TheWild wrote:

...Anyone out there familiar with the Canadian-made Alto TT? It's an expandable tear-drop shape (expands UP actually, not out). They're allegedly super light-weight; their site shows it being pulled behind a small car, which I have no intention of doing, but was curious if anyone here has had, or knows anyone who has had any experience in one...
I can't imagine anyone fulltiming in one of those. But it shows you really are thinking small! We like small too, but think what we have is about as small as we could stand - we really wanted dedicated bed(s) and definitely a couch - not just a dinette. I was like you with the planning and I drew up a floorplan that was the smallest with the amenities that we wanted and then actually found it on eBay. We didn't buy the one we saw, but it gave us a brand and size to look for. Our living area (we call it the great room) is both our dining room and living room. It is 23 feet long total. Here is the floorplan:


Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing where you go from here...


Trip Pics

"I'm out here to enjoy nature -- don't talk to me about the environment!" ~Denny Crane

Susan & Ben ~
84 Bronco & 90 Award Classic 23 joined with a Hensley Cub


pasusan

PA

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Posted: 02/28/12 08:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DH and I were discussing your plans and I can't help but push this trailer that we saw at the RV show. It is a new Dutchmen Kodiak and I know you wanted used.... But, it looks like you can get it for less than $20,000. I think we could fulltime in it - the living area really opens up with the slide out. Love the layout.



Here's a link.

27'7"
4964 dry weight

pasusan

PA

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Posted: 02/28/12 06:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

N2TheWild wrote:

{snip} I know the answer is as obvious as the question is stupid, but the Bronco handles your trailer well, yes?
Hi N2TheWild - thanks for everything you said. We do love our rig.

As far as the Bronco... We have done a lot to it to make it a good tow vehicle as its whole job in life is to travel and tow. Used to pull an 18' Scotty throughout our kids' growing up years. And now it pulls our retirement trailer (even though we're not retired yet, we hope it all will last). The Bronco is not the perfect tow vehicle because of the short wheelbase and lack of good steering response. We fixed both those problems with the Hensley Hitch - everything tracks in a straight line with no adverse effects from passing semis and crosswinds. We also added the largest radiator that would fit and of course a transmission cooler. It has plenty of power everywhere we've taken it (5.8 liter). Really love the back area with the back seat folded forward. We carry lots of stuff in there since our trailer doesn't have too much outdoor storage space. Our Scotty weighed 3000 lbs and our Award weighs about 4500 lbs, so not pulling a lot of weight.

I hope this helps and if you want more details on anything you are welcome to PM me.

N2TheWild

USA

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Posted: 02/26/12 07:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks SO much for the feedback today. Every word of it is invaluable to me.
My wife and I (the only two who will be involved in this adventure)are very, VERY comfortable being together/alone 24/7 as we have been for the last 7 years, but undeniably we've been doing that in a space larger than we need and FAR larger than we'll be looking at as full-timers. Your comment about "spending the days hiking and sitting around" made me smile because that's EXACTLY the mental image we've been focusing on, and I think sometimes we've used it to justify traveling smaller.

Living light is not so much an issue with us as we have always lived that way; neither of us likes to "collect" a lot of things; we're "one tv" people, minimal furnishings, don't even OWN a cell phone (although once we're on the road, that'll change) and over the years when we feel like we're starting to accumulate too much "stuff", we thin it back out. Sometimes I think, "well, people just don't understand how lightly WE live, how little space WE need to be happy".

But that said, the message keeps coming back to me loud and clear, that we shouldn't undersize ourselves, and I'm beginning to take that to heart. I don't know, maybe I question my abilities to haul 30' of TT along behind, maybe that's just something I'll have to overcome. I'm guessing that like everything in life, once you've gotten accustomed to the difference, it won't be a big deal. I'm hearing that pulling a 5th wheel will give me a little less to be concerned about in the area of trailer sway. Granted, our thought process is to be a minimum of two weeks at any given location as we migrate north to south and then keep the driving distance between stops at a minimum, probably a 200-300 mile driving day.

But we're looking at this as being the final adventure, the rest of our lives, and the LAST thing I want to discover once we've undertaken it, is that we undersized ourselves. That would be a mistake that we won't be in a position to easily correct. So while financial considerations, and maybe that mental block, keeps pointing me toward smaller TT options, your experience and good advice keeps me on track as to not ruling out ANY possibilities. Thanks again for sharing your experience and advice with us! ALL your input is welcome...

N2TheWild

USA

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Posted: 02/27/12 11:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gotta tell ya Pasusan, your post interests me on a lot of different levels. I had the picture of your rig saved in my favorites, but until your most recent post, I couldn't remember where I had picked it up It caught my attention, first of all, because of the Bronco (my current mode of transportation is a '96 Bronco) and while we'd have to put a lot into it to feel comfortable with it's long term reliability (we bought it 4 years ago to bring us from Utah to Washington, which it did, but we know little about the care and feeding it received before us), I'm always interested in seeing someone pulling a TT with anything other than the traditional big diesel truck. Yours clearly is in prime shape.

Then there's the TT itself. 23'? See, here I go again. I look at your pics, inside and out and I think "we could full time in something like this" particularly when we look at the possibility of 3 or 4 nights a month in a HoJo, Motel 6 or some similar location to break things up a little every now and then. Keeps me going back to that 23' to 28' range that I think could work well for us. I know the answer is as obvious as the question is stupid, but the Bronco handles your trailer well, yes?

And then there's your great photography hobby. I like to take a lot of pics myself, and it's another reminder of the opportunities that will be there on the road..

Kentucky_Joe

Fort Thomas, KY USA

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Joined: 01/12/2002

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Posted: 02/28/12 07:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Will add my two cents worth. We have a 26' TT and always travel very light. We don't take half the "stuff" others seem to carry, but we don't seem to miss it. Our longest trip was 5 weeks. I guess if we were full-timing, we probably would carry a few more things. We have been in the same size for about 11 years and don't want to go longer. We want to be able to afford going whenever we want to and don't want to worry about the cost of gas or whether we can fit into the various sites. We don't seem to drive each other crazy in our amount of space. What would I change? My sister and brother in law bought a TT with a slide (couch and dinette)and we have now gone with them several times. I like the way the slide gives you enough room for a recliner and a regular table and chairs. So if I decide to buy new, I would like to keep the same size, but have one slide so we would be able to have one or two recliners instead of our sofa and regular table and chairs would be nice.

Fizz

Ottawa, Canada

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Joined: 07/28/2003

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Posted: 02/28/12 09:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Three things we wanted in a small trailer was lots of windows, counter space and room for a decent TV. It's not always sunshine and roses. Living in a box can get closed in after a few days
After our first Winter away we replaced the mattress and the couch.

We have a 27 foot TrailBay.
http://www.rvguide.com/specs/r-vision/travel-trailer/2010/trail-bay/tb27ds.html

woodworker59

Florida

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Posted: 02/28/12 08:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife & I became full timers in may 2011. We bought a 2011 silverado 3500hd ltz with the duramax/Allison. I would buy more truck than you need if you buy a smaller tt or 5er. We have had 5ers. For years and each one grew in size. Leave room for growth. I have towed many tt&5ers and the longer & heaver the better they towed esp 5ers. Providing you have the right TV. As far as room goes get as much as you can afford. Even then their are times when you feel cramped. I know the dream is to travel a lot but in reality it's not a cheap lifestyle. We do 6 northeast 6 Florida and our trip between is our two or three week adventure. Do your homework and you will be fine. This economy has to get better someday, I hope before I die. Good luck with your future. Dave

CincyGus

Cincinnati

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Posted: 02/28/12 09:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

New2TheWild,

Your about 10 years in front of me but my wife and I are planning the same thing. We both love to travel, both love camping and the people we meet and both look forward to starting our journey once we retire. We plan on selling our home and upgrading the camper to something new and slightly bigger than the Passport 238 we recently bought since we will need a little more storage and do want a little more room if we will be living in it FT.

Here are some thoughts that are musts for us:

1) Must have at least one and perferrably two slide outs. Slide outs really open the space on the inside of a camper and make it feel much less closed in. Perferrably the living room is on a slide and the bedroom as those are the two area's I would spend the most time in when I am in the camper.

2) We, like you, plan to do plenty of the SP and NP's, along with many primitive areas where there may be no hookups available. A good Solar charging system will be a must to be able to extend our stays in these areas unless we want to hook the trailer and run the TV engine for hours to recharge batteries. I'm reading and learning about solar as often as I can in the forums and you may want to do some research yourself.

3) Something 30' long or less. Mainly not to limit our access into campsites and make manuvering in the primivite area's less of a problem.

4) I'm leaning more towards a 5th wheel, mainly because I have towed gooseneck trailers in the past and love the way they tow vs bumper pulls. Much more stable, sway pretty much eliminated, hooking and unhooking much easier than a bumper pull with a WDH and Sway control
which you will likely need with a trailer near 30' long. They also are much more manuverable in campsites and parking lots with the additional turning radius (90 degrees each side vs about 45 degrees in a bumper pull).

5) Insulated floor and ducted heating cooling is a must. With the plan to be moving around the country todifferent climates, having the insulation factor is a ducted temp control is a must for those times it gets below freezing or excessively hot. Money well spent in my opinion.

6) A generator big enough to run the camper electricity needs, just in case. There may be times the solar isn't charging enough and we are loving the out in the middle of no-where spot we are at. Being able to recharge enough to run the basic neccesities even if it's been cloudy and raining (thinking the Northwest in a salmon run fishing trip) is something I won't regret.

Good Luck in trying to think everything through and making the most of your lifesytle change. Hopefully some of this helps spur you to new thoughts to think about!


2011 Silverado Crewcab 4x4
2012 Passport 238ML

Hope your travels are safe and the friendships made camping are lasting.


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