I am upgrading tow vehicles even though we have 5.3 V8 and 6200lb towing. We run out of payload fast and practically had at GCWR just by towing the pup.
We are stepping up to K3500 SRW crew cab, old school 5.7, 4l80E, 4.10 ratio, and factory camper spec package. Getting it painted right now, and checking out some 2500 rims/tires off a 2010 that I found on craiglist. Find a cheap tow vehicle and start from there.
Don't underestimate the shower in these campers. It's a tradition of sorts at Ohio State Parks to walk around after dinner and scout out the campsites and other campers. A common comment I hear when folks walk by "our" local campsite (where we usually camp Memorial Day) is how wonderful they are (overlooking the lake and in the trees) but how far they are from the shower house.
Gotta tell ya I've not been in a shower house since we bought the Roo. Not once. Yeah, I schlep a lot of water and back haul the grey, but I like MY shower!
Don't spend a lot of time fretting over the shower vs shower house. Our 23SS has the corner shower - not huge, but very functional. Not gonna get a long, leisurely shower, but if just getting clean is what you're after, then you'll be fine. I use "my" shower every trip and would not even consider having to use the shower house - hate the things! DH, at 6'3 is more comfortable using the shower house, but has used "mine" and is ok with it. With little ones, I think you'll be surprised at how much you'll use your very own rather than haul kids and towels and clothes to the shower house. There have been some folks who have had issues with water splashing out of the shower stall/curtain - no problem here. So if you do get water splashing.....grab a towel and dry it off. Still easier than hauling all that stuff back and forth. The only time our shower gets used for storage is on the trip home, the laundry basket sits in there. It's yours, you bought it, you paid $ for it, use it!
2013 Rockwood Ultra Lite 2604
2003 Ford F-150 with Blue Ox 1000 & Prodigy
5 doggies - We support Adopt/Rescue
Sam, you were the best!
Foxy is our new camping buddy
Just rescued 2 lab sisters, 8 weeks old - Biscuit and Lily
OP - looks like these responses are converging on the need for a larger tow vehicle. Given your hard requirements you need a slightly larger and heavier RV - one that is realistically out of the safe capacity of your present RV. If getting a new tow vehicle is out of the question then you may well be restricted to a good popup. One thing is well advised though - I don't think you should relax your requirements just to fit a borderline suitable HTT. You will regret it after and grumble until you buy the correct RV for your needs.
Thanks again guys.
Once again you are probably right about the shower and the kids.
I guess a new tow vehicle it is. I'm taking suggestions My kids are 6 and 3 yr old twins--so still using car seats. My husband drives about 5 miles round trip to work. So we just hate to invest in a new vehicle for him when his current one is 9 yrs old with 45K--and of course paid for!
I guess you're happy with the expedition and Roo set up Chuck? That seems like it would be enough room for us, without being too big...and we could probably find a nice used one.
I really love the idea of the built in bunk beds. I saw a Dutchmen Cub 23BH. Any known issues with that model? It looks very similar to yours PAThwacker. Thanks for pointing it out.
And since I'm talking about all of my issues here with ya--any thoughts on storage?
We live on two acres on the river. My neighbors would probably hate us (because they could see it), but is there a reason why I wouldn't want to park it down in my backyard? We have picnic and oyster tables, fire pit, and the kids tire swing set up permanently down there. We have a big porch on our dock with electricity and already joke and call it our "weekend house". We thought it would be fun to use it at home. Does that seem reasonable? We've tent camped a couple of times and even invited friends to camp with it. HA HA.
I agree that the tow vehicle upgrade should come first. Yes, it's a major expense, but with the weight limit, you'll end up with an HTT that works now, but you'll soon outgrow. We went down the same path just a couple of years ago. Had a tow vehicle that could only pull 5000 lbs, so purchased one of the larger pop ups, even had a slide out. After only one season of cranking it up and down, pulling out beds, struggling with packing and unpacking, we ended up trading for a new tow vehicle, and trading for the new HTT.
Didn't mind the move up to the larger tow vehicle, the old one was a 2003 Tundra with a 6cyl, the new to me one, is a 2008 Chevy Silverado crew cab V8. The big surprise is that the Chevy gets better mileage than the Toyota did, and with a full back seat, more room for our three Akitas, or in your case, 3 car seats.
The hit on the pop up is what really hurt, I figure that each camping trip we took that first year, cost me about $400.
On the subject of storage, our neighbors take a different view. New Mexico is camping country, and at least half dozen of the houses in this valley, have some type of RV alongside them. Mine is parked between the house, and the garage, beds closed, but slide room out, and plugged in. I use it for my craft room, or a place to escape, when I just want a little private time.
Our's differs slightly than convential htt. I wanted space for beds, vs an uncomfortable couch, and don't have wards for storing clothes, nor slideout. It's a basic unit that grosses out at 5k but has the beds for everyone. We are typically only weekend campers, and don't ever fret about getting rained out, or plan to hang inside of it either. We are getting the pickup to haul stroller, pack n play, bikes, firewood, gray tanks, water tanks, and whatever esle. The trailblazer/pup worked out somewhat, but I had to put gear on the roof of it, and had a 100lb black lab share the back seat with one car seat. Typical camping weekends had it at 10000lbs combined, and that was one thousand pounds shy of the GCWR of the truck.