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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Alaska

 > Help with Long Term planning for Alaska

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packpe89

NC

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Posted: 06/30/20 07:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife and I plan to visit Alaska in a few years (2-4) but may start getting the pieces sooner, so want some advice. We currently have a 26'TT (5500# dry) I pull with a F150 3.5EB. I will likely get a new truck in a year or so. Is the 26' TT a good size for Alaska? If i get a new camper, would likely get a smallish 5th wheel and then a 3/4 ton for towing. Should I stay at half-ton? Thinking I will get diesel for mpg and ease of fill-up at truck stops and don't care about brands. Or...should I get a Class A or C for the trip and a smaller truck and tow it? We live on a farm, so having a truck is a must, but other than towing, don't really care about what size.
So to summarize, which option would you choose? Or something else?

A. Keep trailer and new half ton
B. Keep trailer and new 3/4 ton
C. Class A
D. Class C
E. New fifth wheel and 3/4 ton
Thanks
JB

DrewE

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Posted: 06/30/20 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You'll see all different sorts of RVs in Alaska. Truck campers seem to be especially popular, and I can well understand the practicality of them there. Depending where you want to go, relativelyy small ones may be a little more practical. A 26' trailer shouldn't pose many particular problems, generally speaking. Of course, any setup has its advantages and disadvantages and limitations; there are a great many areas in Alaska, vast expanses indeed, that cannot be reached by road at all.

If you're interested in traveling the Dalton highway, I would not suggest going with a brand-new RV. It's a rather grueling, sometimes rough trip for the vehicle. It's also one of the most beautiful roads I've ever been on, particularly in the vicinity of Atigun pass (but far from exclusively in that area).

IMHO a towed vehicle with a motorhome is less of a necessity in Alaska than in many other areas. The only areas where RV parking is much of an issue are areas where there's public transit available.





daily double

ketchum ok.

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Posted: 06/30/20 09:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We pulled a 5er up there with our F350 a couple of years ago. We saw all these truck campers and realized the could go places we couldn't We bought a T/C when we got back and put it on the 350, now we use that setup everywhere we go.Just 2 of us and the dog but it works for us. We saw a couple in alaska that's had 3 kids in their Arctic Fox, and although they claimed no problems , I just can't imagine a trip like that!!

ppine

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Posted: 06/30/20 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A TC goes everywhere. You have fewer tires to worry about. I rented one on a Dodge in Anchorage and it was great.

A smaller lighter trailer would be okay for all of that driving, something 20 feet and under I would go with a 3/4 ton or a one ton truck.

Best to forget about the Dalton highway.

PartyOf Five

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Posted: 06/30/20 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our 31' C with toad took a beating going to Glenallen, Anchorage, Homer, Denali, and looping back down via Tok. There's all kinds of RVs, vans, motorcycles, everything visiting so bring what you're comfortable with. Gas prices, and all process, are higher by about 25% so plan and carry accordingly, but you can still find everything you can want to buy in the bigger cities.


Da Moose:2001 31' E450. 30k in 3yrs- 45 states, 9 provinces
PartyOf5: Driver's DW & 3 pre-teens -trying to connect, learn, appreciate creation & the Creator
May you find Peace in all that you endeavor

MDKMDK

Canada

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Posted: 06/30/20 11:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We were there in a 20' Roadtrek, so can't speak to towing something. I don't recall any obstacles being that insurmountable for any sized motorhome or towable combos. The odd soft surface, as in packed dirt/gravel combos, with no flagman or Pilot car/truck was occasionally a bit daunting, expecially near dusk, but nothing too dramatic. The construction workers up there are all 9 to 5ers.

If you want to see variety in RVs that tackle the AlCan Hwy 97, definitely stop in the Walmart/CTC parking lot in Whitehorse and the Walmart in Fairbanks. If you think you've seen it all, I've got news for you, you ain't seen nothin yet.[emoticon]

Even Dawson Creek had a few interesting oddities.
There was a guy there hauling a small house boat on a trailer behind a beat up old pickup truck, and after dark, he actually left the store, and proceeded to climb up on top of the house boat, and down inside for the night. First dual purpose, land and sea RV we've ever seen.

Beware the on coming 18 wheelers any time you're on gravel or dirt stretches up there. They will shower you with road debris, as it seems they're all late for something, the way they drive.


Mike.
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)

cross21114

Baltimore, MD, USA

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Posted: 06/30/20 12:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did Alaska in 2005 in a truck camper pulling a little box trailer so I had everything I needed, including an inflatible boat. Other than 1 week in Alaska when my wife flew up, it just just me and my dog.

Last year, my wife and I (also a dog) made the same trip in our Class C. Much more comfortable. Since we towed a 4 wheel drive SUV we could access everything I was able to in the pickup in 2005.

We experienced no damage to our rig, except 2 windshield chips - one in Wyoming in a construction zone and one on the SUV driving on the Seward Highway.

Just take it slow and agree with other advice to slow down and move as far right as possible when trucks and other rvs are coming the other direction.

Great trip - you will really enjoy it.


Chris
2018 Nexus Ghost 36DS
360 Cummins, 3000 Allison
2016 Ford Expedition


Trackrig

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Posted: 06/30/20 08:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello JB - I've lived in Alaska for 50+ years and have driven the Alcan a few times. I own a 40' DP, a 26' Nash 26X TT and a 3/4T CC 4X4 diesel truck among other vehicles.

Before I retired about six years ago we went Stateside and bought the DP, left it in WA until spring when the ice was off of the Alcan and then brought it up. We used it one year here as planned to get familiar with it. Then I retired and we took a month to take it back down the Alcan. (When we came north in it from Vancouver, WA, we made in 99 hours from driveway to driveway.)

A 40' DP is too large for everyday use in Alaska if you really want to see things. If you already own one and coming up for a vacation, come on up in it though.

We base the DP usually in the El Mirage area west of Phoenix because of the plane connections on Alaska Airlines in and out of Phoenix. We have left it various other places in the States when we make longer trips.

After not having an RV for a couple of years up here, we decideded we needed something for summer use as we snowbird and go to the DP during the winter. Previuously we had a TC, enjoyed it, and got around well in it with just us and the dog - though he was a 200# Saint Bernard. We preferred to not have another TC so after a lot of looking we settled on a Nash 26X TT. A very nice, well made, solid unit, though it is on the heavy side.

To answer your first question, yes your 26' TT is fine with a few qualifications. Mine has 16" tires and the axles lowered so I have all sorts of ground clearance for pulling off of the side of the pavement or down some dirt roads. Hopefully you're not riding on 14" wheels. Having said that, you will still get around better and find more or better camping spots with a TT.

Either way, I'd upgrade to a 3/4T 4X4 truck. There probably aren't more than a half doze 2WD pick-up trucks in Alaska. Dealers don't even carry new ones on their sales lot.

Yes, you're pulling your 26' TT with your F150 now, but the Alcan and Alaska has a lot of mountains, steep grades, dirt roads, etc. With a 3/4T you'll get better brakes and a better transmission.

If you're happy with your current TT, I'd just upgrade to a 3/4T 4X4 truck. Gas or diesel, both will work. I'm prejudiced towards diesel. I haven't owned a gas rig since the late 80s(?) when Chevy came out with the 6.2 diesel except for my Jeeps.

Again, the 26' TT will work, but a TC will get you into more camping spaces. Do you prefer full hook ups, in which case space doesn't matter. Or if you want to camp by yourself Canada and Alaska has places all over to just pull off into if you've got a small rig.

Bill


Nodwell RN110 out moose hunting. 4-53 Detroit, Clark 5 spd, 40" wide tracks, 10:00x20 tires, 16,000# capacity, 22,000# weight. You know the mud is getting deep when it's coming in the doors.


PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 06/30/20 09:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd chime in with what Bill / Trackrig said. Counting my stint in Ewe-stun, I've only got about 48 years up here, but something North of 25 trips on the Alcan, starting back when it was gravel.

Much of this is preference (or preference based on observation) but I'd suggest the following:

- Get a 3/4T, 4x4: I just backed an empty boat trailer into a nasty spot on my property; dry, light trailer, but gnarly nonetheless and needed the 4WD to make it work. Can't state what the current premium for 4x4 is, but can state with certainty that up here, it's worth it...and as noted, one almost never sees a 2WD pickup
- I'd guess that the truck with TC might get into more "camping spots" but I think you might enjoy a bit more overall mobility with a TT and a truck, particularly if you end up staying in one locale for more than a night....drop the TT, go for dinner, shop a bit (don't buy the tourist trap stuff), cruise the local area, call it a night: easier in just a truck.
- Alaska doesn't have any "cities" to speak of, but Los Anchorage and Squarebanks are still easier to maneuver in with just a pickup than with either a TC or a trailer.
- 26' seems about right for a TT size. Go with big wheels if you can.
- I have a preference for diesel for a variety of reasons, but gas/diesel is a toss-up in reality. I'd think for use other than AK (i.e. on the farm) diesel might be preferred.
- There's not many "truck stops" up here like there are in the L48 (i.e. Pilot/Flying J, etc). Most locations on the main highways are configured to allow big rigs to come in and fuel up. Some ain't. Some others are clearly geared toward big rig traffic, but that traffic is as much pickups hauling boats or sno-go trailers as it is 18-wheelers.
- Strong personal bias (and worth no particular weight) but I'd stay away from the big DP rigs or similar large Class A's. I'd also stay away from the Class C's, but lots of them are rented and apparently enjoyed up here.
- There's so much more to do in AK (and on the trip up through Canada) than "just" RV that I wouldn't contemplate the trip in a setup that didn't allow me to toodle off somewhere sans TC or trailer...but again, just personal preference.
- Bring good photo gear...


CRL
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
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packpe89

NC

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Posted: 07/01/20 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't really want to go the TC route, since we will still take trips locally with extended stays (NC/SC beaches and mountains). Sounds like 3/4 Diesel may be the way to go, and 4x4 is required here on the farm anyway. I am not sure about tire size on my TT, I assume you can upgrade?

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