We are in the earliest stages of planning a trip to Alaska next year and are wondering about taking our Winnebago Sprinter-based Class C without a toad. What do experienced Alaska travelers think about it?
Our first trip to Alaska, we rented a 23 ft Class C and found some places we wanted to go that we could not. Our next trip, we towed a full sized Blazer 4wd and found a couple of places we needed the 4wd. Our next trip up, we towed a Honda CRV and it worked just fine. In answer to your question, I would tow. We used the toad enough for day trips and short trips that it more than paid for whatever extra gas the big buggy consumed.
Last summer, we drove to Alaska with a 25-foot Class C. Drove the entire Alaska Highway, went to Fairbanks, then Fairbanks/Denali/Anchorage, from Anchorage to Whitehorse and then down to Skagway before using the ferry with stops at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Prince Rupert. We have never used a toad and didn't really find a need for it this time. Unless you are serious boondockers, almost all the roads you use will be paved and have speed limits of 50MPH or more.
In the past we have taken a van tour into the Wrangell/St. Elias and Kenai Peninsula areas. So I don't see where you will have major trouble with a Sprinter van. Our major problem occurred in driving on washboard roads where the Ford chassis just would not permit us to go more than 10MPH. These were short roads to camping areas and not major portions of our trip. I suspect your Sprinter is better than that.
We went in 2000 in our Bounder and didn't really feel we missed out on much. There were a few places we didn't go and if it had been really important, we could have rented a car. We have RVed in AK three times, once for a week with ur daughters about 1993 for a week in a 28 foot rental, in 2000 as mentioned and for three weeks two years ago in a 31' rental.
Now that I have a towed, I would take it and spend some time in places we just passed thru the first three times. Is it necessary?, not in my opinion.
"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to go". R. L. Stevenson
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Out first trip to AK was in a 25' class C without a toad. I don't remember of any place that I wanted to go that I could not.
What I liked best not having the toad, I never had to go back to where I just left unless I just wanted to. We found beautiful places to park for the night. If we had been in a toad, we would have went back to the RV.
Alaska would likely be one of the BETTER places to visit that way. No congested cities with tight parking etc. so no problem driving the MH just about anywhere you want to go. Only exception might be some of the back roads that are not paved might be more comfortable in the towed but that's a matter of personal choice. Talking about places like the Denali Highway with about 100 miles of gravel and lots of bumps, or the Dalton Highway.
Good luck / Skip
2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR - 2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles) 2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer
US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population
Any Alaskan adventure is more fun if you include segments on the Alaska Marine Highway. Alaska Ferry System.
If you take your rig they charge extra based on total length. So Shorter = Cheaper.
Remember there are many Alaskan cities you can't drive to. For instance the capitol city of Juneau.
We have a small Truck Camper which worked fine. We never used it's four wheel drive.
We've been to Alaska twice and believe me the Ferry trips were highlights. In fact my inlander brother hasn't stopped talking about them.
Former user name: "Lots of Stuff"
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We've toured AK in a 22' and driven to AK in a 24'. We were definitely able to go anywhere we wanted to go, and parking was always easy. Yes, there are construction zones where you will have to go mighty slow, but that would be the same if you were bringing a toad. As someone else said, I think it would be easier to rent a car to drive someplace you don't want to take the RV rather than take a toad all the way up there.
We spent last summer in Alaska and parts of the Yukon in a 31' class C, with no toad. No problems. Occasionally we had to plan ahead a little and sometimes it was a little bit more of a nuisance but we had no real issues getting to any of the places we wanted to go.
Having said that, there ARE some places we would have liked to have gone but did not try(back roads, Hatcher Pass, Top of World Highway etc) But in general, Alaska is an easy place to be toad-less...there is lots of room....