Some good advice has already come in while I typed! I promise I won't always be so wordy once I get my situation established here
I can picture that dinette issue, Jim Shoe (I just got that, btw ) and I know it's going to be an adjustment from kicking back on the couch at home; we'll definitely keep the dinette thing in our mind.
RRUG, I KNOW that TC bathroom story will be amusing AND informative for the wife. Her one and only furniture REQUIREMENT so far is that we make that bed as close to "life at home" as humanly possible. She has memories of thin, uncomfortable mattresses and that will be an area of no compromise. I get that completely. Sleeping on the ground was fun when I was 20, but...
WyoTraveler, the ONE area I may be already prepared for is dealing with salesmen I have never had the slightest problem with getting up and walking out from a car salesman who clearly isn't paying attention to what I'm saying. I guess we've all been there. In fact, I almost enjoy watching them try to insult my intelligence or test my willpower...I'd like to hear the story of how you dug out sometime, too!! I can only imagine what similar memorable experience awaits me...
goodcruisin, thanks for reminding me about the generator issue. Something ELSE to research!!
Now THIS is what I'm talking about!! Thanks guys, I KNEW I'd find people who know their stuff here...
Like I mentioned, we've tried to look at all the options. I've got an ever-growing file of manufacturers sites for every conceivable type of RV, and we bounce back and forth between what we think might be our best options, based on factors like size, affordability, practicality, etc. Nothing is completely ruled out, and what heads the list one week might not the next. We're looking for the best balance for us.
I guess I should mention right off the bat, that our vision of how we'll do this is that we'll be staying at places like SP's, NP's and all those little unknown campground areas that we run across, hanging out there for a couple of weeks at a time, hiking the trails, doing a little fishing, just kicking back in the camp chairs, etc and doing no more than a couple hundred miles, more or less, depending on what the map shows us, to where we'll set up and do it all again. Primarily a North (where we live now) to South migration,'stay out of winter' goal. The wife envisions traveling most of the country, while I tend to lean towards keeping it in the big spaces of the West. I'm sure we'll work somethng out there...
A couple of factors; due to cost restrictions, we're looking used vs. new, so in that regard, we kind of have to think in terms of an age range based on when we expect to hit the road, and that would apply not only to the thing that's being pulled, but the thing that's doing the pulling. My old truck gets us where we need to go around here, but it's approaching the end of it's road, and certainly won't be the vehicle for the job when the time comes.
Motor homes are pretty much down at the bottom of the list, primarily because of the cost factor. Can't help but look at them and dream, but I know that in my reality, they're not really going to be an option. Of course we've also weighed the ability to unhook when necessary or desired into that decision. I've (reluctantly) 'just about' about gotten over my dream of pulling along an old Airstream
My wife, oddly enough, has good memories of pop-up campers, and we've both been impressed by the improvments made in that area, and unquestionably, from a cost/weight ratio they're a great way to camp, but I feel that keeping in mind we're talking long, LONG-term, a pop-up might not offer us the sense of solid-walled 'home' we'll want.
TC's are an option I had considered; the ability to carry it all on the vehicle of choice, but we're a little concerned that we'd be giving up too much on space. Granted, the interior space will be mostly for sleeping and sitting out those rainy days, but we're still talking 365 a year AND with the considerations of "stuff" that will be part of our daily lives(we're pretty much minimalists, but you know how it is; before you know it, you're wishing you had a little bit more storage space), I'm just not sure a TC will be enough. Of course as always, what I decide today, and what I decide a month from now may not be the same
Which kind of led me into the pull behind trailer/5th wheel area.
I've thought about either of those options and I guess a couple of factors, namely the driveability differences of the two are something I need to learn more about. For whatever reason, probably because I am new to all this, I tend to think that something no more than 25' would suit us best. I see some of these 42' monsters being pulled along and it's hard for me to imagine the combination of towing that AND relaxing I know it's something I'd adjust to, but really, I think something in the 20-25' range gives the best of the space desired vs. ease of towing factors.
Gas costs are something that aren't lost on me as well, although the more I can learn about the realities of that in advance, the better as well. Obviously, thought has to be given to the horse that's going to pull this cart and again power needed to do the job vs. fuel economy is a subject you guys will have much more knowledge of than I do. Gas vs. diesel, etc. We've looked into the lightweight trailer area and that seems to be an option that might work for us. Can they REALLY be reliably towed by something other than a big gas guzzler or am I asking for trouble by giving up a little towing power for better fuel economy?
As always, feel free to weigh in on ANY of this with your opinions, advice, experience. I've got a lot to learn, and a lot to get ready for and I appreciate everyone's input on any part of the process.
Yes, they can be towed by something other than a big gas guzzler.... But... While you are towing - any TV will be a big gas guzzler. You might want to look into the new Ford F-150 Ecoboost trucks.
unless you tow something like an Airstream, gas mileage towing a trailer will run between 8-12mpg, no matter what the length/size.
pulling a brick through the air, is the biggest reason for low mpg, not the weight of the trailer. air resistance is huge and worse the faster you drive.
diesels will get the higher end of the gas mileage and tow through the mountains easily.
the new Ecoboost F-150 gets 22-23mpg highway and has the power of a diesel but runs on cheaper gas.
Dan- Firefighter, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever(RIP), 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche LS, 2007 Rockwood Roo 23SS w/Equalizer and Prodigy, and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes
By now you have read as many opinions as there are options when it comes to RVs.. This type is too small, this one too large, too expensive, not enough options, too many options, too old, too new.....
If you don't have access to multiple RV types to live in for a few months I guess what I would recommend is going to RV shows / visit as many RV dealers as possible. And without meaning to use the word "possible" to often - spend as much time as possible in each type. If you're honest with yourself you will begin to develop an idea as to minimum conveniences and minimum size TO MAKE FULLTIMING COMFORTABLE FOR YOU AND DW.
Honestly... if it were DW and I... if we couldn't afford to get into a RV that meets our minimum "comfort" level for FT living, we wouldn't have made the purchase and lifestyle change.
Welcome to the forum! There are lots of RV types but I would be inclined to agree with a previous comment that a truck camper would be a good fit. Only you will know for sure so do your homework and you'll soon know what is right for you.
We pulled a lightweight 22' travel trailer all over the country last year behind our Tahoe. It went right up those mountain roads out west and through gas station lots without any problems. There was enough storage space for our stuff and even the small refrigerator was big enough for our needs. The only real trouble was when those rainy days came along and there was nothing to do but sit in the trailer and wait for the weather to clear. Our only sitting option was the dinette, and one of us had to turn our head at an uncomfortable angle to see the tv. That got old fast.
A few months ago we traded up to a lightweight 30' trailer with a couch and chairs and a slideout. Now we have planty of room to relax but towing it is more of a challenge. The Tahoe still does a fine job but now I have to look closely at parking lots and so forth so I don't wind up in a predicament.
Some times I miss our smaller camper, but I don't regret trading up though. If I was starting from scratch I'd buy a used pickup and about a 30' fifth wheel with a slide. That would be my ideal setup, but your needs may be different. Good luck and Happy Camping!
We are not full-timers nor do we plan to be. Still, we have experience with a small tt and a small 5ver. Our first camper was a new 1994 Thor Chateau 20' that came with a double bed separate from the dinette. It had all the basics like separate toilet/shower, 3-burner stove, fridg, but the storage was very limited AND we were more or less weekend and short-time campers. We had this unit for 9 years.
Our next camper, and current one, was a 2 year old (lightly used) 25' Cardinal 5ver with two slides (one on each side). The Cardinal brand is by Forest River and I would consider it a better quality unit, but not at the top of the scale. Unfortunately Forest River doesn't make 5vers this small anymore (empty weight is about 8,700 lbs). We've stayed in this unit for periods up to 3-4 weeks and certainly could go much longer if we wanted. It has a winter package for cooler weather. There's good storage, we can stand up in the bedroom, and it has a queen sized bed that we put a 2" memory foam pad on to improve the sleepability. I also took the stupid sofa/sleeper out and put in two slightly used Lay-z-boys in its place (best improvement we could have made -by far).
Our tow vehicle is an '02 Chevy diesel which I bought back in '02. Mileage on a recent 5,000 trip averaged 11.8 mpg. I know I could have gotten better mileage, but I tend to average 70 mph on interstates. With our old 20' camper and a Ford F-150 (4.6 engine) we got 8-10 mpg. Gassers generally don't get the mileage, but possibly some of the newer engines, as mentioned, might do much better.
My primary recommendation to you is to find some comfort in whatever RV you purchase. The small tt we had really didn't allow for much comfort as there was no place to lay back and read a book. The Lay-z-boys are great for that because we hardly watch TV. Cooking space, while usually limited in most RV's is important too. I think that a 25'-29' 5ver would be an excellent size for you. The towability of a 5ver over a tt is significant. Wind and big trucks will not push you around in a 5ver and you won't be bumping into each other quite a often as a tt.
A modest, somewhat small trailer might be a good way to start. If your income is limited, by all means consider used. I think you will get the most bang for the buck with a pull behind. Some will say- Too small for full timing but don't assume that to be so until you've tried it. Personally we prefer a 5th wheel and they have some advantages but do cost a bit more, are a little heavier and do require a truck(not necessarily a problem). Nothing against truck campers but seems to me they offer the least room for the dollar and many require a full ton truck.
Found your picture VERY interesting, pasusan...our current vehicle of choice (aka our only vehicle) is a '96 Ford Bronco that we bought cheap before we made our move up North 3 years ago. It's a gas guzzler without any help, and it needs some work but I love that truck. Now, part of our plan has been to buy a used RV while we're still here and with plenty of time and plenty of room to do so, make any necessary repairs/improvements a little at a time. we had recently had another of those discussions where we "agreed" on the the importance of putting repair and maintenence of the horse and the cart over cosmetic changes.
When I saw your picture, I was quick to point out "hey, look! THESE people are pulling their trailer with a Bronco!" At which point, she gave me The Look, and told me that if we were going to use the Bronco, it would have to painted a "pretty" color My Bronco, you see, is apparently an "ugly" silver....yeah, there's a good diversion of funds....
Quick question, and then I'm off to look through some of the links you guys have put out here:
In your experience(s), which is the easier tow, the TT or the 5th wheel? Less sway on the 5th wheel? Does the length/weight of the TT affect that?