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Old 07-27-2016, 12:49 PM   #21
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In our area, there's no where to rent a travel trailer. There are Class C's motor homes that are available for renting.

The easiest way to try out camping would be to buy a used pop up camper--with an a/c unit. You can buy'em for $3-$5K, use'em a year or two and sell'em for what you paid for them.

We have a 2 years old 36' fifth wheel trailer with 4 slides. The thing will definitely spoil you to comfort. It's more of a leave it in one place kind of camping. I do have the tow truck, but at 12,000 lbs., it takes a 3/4 ton diesel truck properly equipped.

Motor homes are better suited if a camper is going to be traveling extensively. My cousin has one used to tow a Equinox or horse trailer, and he goes to dude ranches all over.

I wouldn't even consider any travel trailer under 28' in length. They make them that size with a slide or two, and they're very roomy and comfortable. It is 1/2 ton towable, however few 1/2 ton trucks have the camper and max. tow packages needed to tow over 5,500 lbs. realistically. Travel trailers also have to use special hitches with bars to equalize the weight and sway control.

We have an Airstream campground close to our campground in N. Georgia Mountains. They're simply outrageously expensive, and not at all modern when compared with a fifth wheel like mine. They're not easily sold late model due to the high initial costs.
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:50 PM   #22
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Airstream owner here... I have all sorts of opinions but my basic advice is:

1. Life is short - go camping
2. Avoid slides on airstreams - they leak and add a lot of weight (same as most other travel trailers)
3. You should be able to save 30 percent or better on a lightly used model - if you can find it.
4. Go to an Airstream rally and tour through some rigs. Ask owners what their experience has been.
5. Life is short - go camping
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
You can rent any trailer to get an idea if you like the lifestyle, towing, backing up, dealing with the sewerage, etc. It doesn't need to be an Airstream...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
The more important issue than an Airstream is whether you like camping or not...
+1

In my case, we are both not picky about the motorhome that we bought (a second-hand generic class C), and it worked out fine. We could have a smaller one, or a class B, and it would be OK too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
Not to burst any bubbles, but check specs carefully before buying. IMO, a 1/2-ton pickup won't safely pull many larger/heavier campers.
+1
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:56 PM   #24
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All good questions. The towing capacity of my F-150 is rated at 9,750 pounds and the 20 foot Flying Cloud I am considering is:

Hitch Weight (w/ LP & Batteries) (lbs.) 631
Unit Base Weight (w/ LP & Batteries) (lbs.) 4,271

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 5,000


So OK there. The point about sales tax is a good one which I did not consider.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:10 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=Janet H;1761530]Airstream owner here... I have all sorts of opinions but my basic advice is:


3. You should be able to save 30 percent or better on a lightly used model - if you can find it.
4. Go to an Airstream rally and tour through some rigs. Ask owners what their experience has been.

Janet, thank you for your thoughts. But number 3 is the issue. We are looking at the 20 foot Flying Cloud which can be bought new for about $55,000.00 (about 18-20% off MSRP for a new 2016) and the used ones less than 3 years old are "asking" between 45 and $50,000.00. Not many are available so do not know what they would actually sell for. But it does not seem you are getting a good enough reduction for "slightly used" and I value the 2 year warranty on a new one...... and it's new.

Agree with number 4.

Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:13 PM   #26
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Fun blog about a couple of winemakers who shut down the winery and bought an Airstream to travel the country.
Tin Sheets to the Wind
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:50 PM   #27
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Not to burst any bubbles, but check specs carefully before buying. IMO, a 1/2-ton pickup won't safely pull many larger/heavier campers.
Absolutely on this. I spent about six months studying up on travel trailers (couldn't talk DW into it) and found that what I could tow with my GMC half-ton pickup was limited. For it, 75% of the maximum tow load (the max that should be used if for more than a very short time) is 6,500 lbs. That's a lightweight trailer.

I visited three dealers. Two of them tried to talk me into looking at trailers that, loaded, would have put our lives at risk if we used the current truck. They were disappointed that I'd done my homework.
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:00 PM   #28
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The Flying Cloud is surprisingly light though, as the OP pointed out. Its water tank capacities are a bit small, but that's the price to pay, I guess.
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:18 PM   #29
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With 70 yrs. of camping experience... and even though I hate to offer advice...

Try a week renting a park model in a nice campground. Not for the sake of $$$'s, but to see if the experience is to your liking. Campers are a special breed, usually very social and welcoming, but it's not for everyone.

The historic dream of pulling up to a nice roadside lake or stream, and sitting by a campfire hasn't existed for 75+ years.

A week of socializing with experienced campers should give a good feel of whether it's right for you... or not.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:02 PM   #30
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We had the boat. We had the self-contained travel trailer. We had the sports cars. We had the luxury cars. We had the estate on an acre lot. All good. All had their time.

Please enjoy them if you have never had the pleasure. We inherited the family cottage but it was not the time or place for us.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:21 PM   #31
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With 70 yrs. of camping experience... and even though I hate to offer advice...


The historic dream of pulling up to a nice roadside lake or stream, and sitting by a campfire hasn't existed for 75+ years.
Dang, I guess we invented a time machine as we have done exactly this three of the past six weeks.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:41 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil1ben View Post
All good questions. The towing capacity of my F-150 is rated at 9,750 pounds and the 20 foot Flying Cloud I am considering is:

Hitch Weight (w/ LP & Batteries) (lbs.) 631
Unit Base Weight (w/ LP & Batteries) (lbs.) 4,271

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 5,000


So OK there. The point about sales tax is a good one which I did not consider.

Payload is a more pertinent number than towing capacity. Max payload is listed as 2340 lbs.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:51 PM   #33
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I would encourage you to go for it after you do your research. In addition to the airstream forum, please check out rv.net for information. We started out as tent campers then went to a popup camper with the air conditioner and then a travel trailer that weighed about 5600 lbs. We had a 1500 tow vehicle that worked well for the popup and seemed to work okay with the travel trailer once we had the proper weight distribution and sway control and brake control systems. Our camping was local and pretty much flat roads.
That worked for us until we took our 3 week Route 66 dream vacation. The tow vehicle was not a good match. We were stressed, or I should say my husband was stressed, pulling the camper. We had 3 people and gear in the tow vehicle that is weight that needs to be considered as well as camper's loaded weight when you travel. The trip worked out okay. But once we were back home we ended up buying a 2500 tow vehicle. The next trip was awesome with the different vehicle.
I also wanted to give you another possible option for you if you tire of traveling. We rent a seasonal site at a campground/resort about 20 minutes from our home. The campground is on a nice lake. When we were working, we would go out to the campground almost every weekend. Now we can go out to the campground whenever we want and travel when we want.
I would encourage you to go for your dream. We love our camper and the rv lifestyle.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:52 PM   #34
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Like others, rent or buy used.

We had a neighbour who sold his business and bought one of those huge motorhomes-complete with slideouts etc.

He took it to Alaska (from Vancouver). Went in the ditch. Cost him $3K for tow and repair. Came home, parked it in his front yard. Neighbours loved that..not.

Sat for two years in the front driveway. He finallys sold it. Took a 35 percent hit. That plus the insurance for two years, gas, and the $3K repair.

VERY expensive trip to Alaska!


We did lots of camping and hiking in our day. Now, DW's idea of roughing it is a three star.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:55 PM   #35
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Some other good sources for RVing information:

RV forum run by same folks as E-R is: iRV2 Forum | – RV Forum Community and RV News

Used RVs: RVTrader.com: RV Sales - Class A, B, C Motorhomes, Travel Trailers, & Pop Up Camper RVs For Sale

I have a motorhome and we do both dry camping and parks. Tend to stay in state parks, but also use some private. It just depends on what you want to do and where.
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:49 PM   #36
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Payload is a more pertinent number than towing capacity. Max payload is listed as 2340 lbs.
It's been many years since I had a Ford 1/2 ton pickup. Never put that much weight on it though, to see how it would hold up.

My 25' class C has a net carrying capacity of 2646 lbs. That's a lot, because it does not have any slide, and is lightweight compared to other class Cs.

When I first had it, did not know better so pumped its tires up to the max 80psi. Boy, was the ride rough!

Later, looked it up and they said 65 psi. And that's for carrying that max capacity.
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:34 PM   #37
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I can't answer the question as to whether you'd like RVing, but in that size and price range, I'd look at an Oliver. It is all fiberglass, is a true 4 season camper and like all fiberglass campers, it has a low depreciation rate.

Oliver Travel Trailers | Fiberglass Travel Trailers
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:53 PM   #38
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I'll float another idea about the camping and outdoor experience..For 7K, I'd go to a site like O.A.R.S and look up some of their guided trips. That's real camping and adventure. you might that find one 7-10 day real camping trip a year in a different location might be what you are looking for. 3 weeks for a cross country trip and a return is not a lot of time.

Or look for a wonderful guided fishing trip, get the fishing and camping without a permanent commitment.
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:25 AM   #39
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Many decades ago my father received orders to move to Alaska and thought it would be a good idea to travel across country in a trailer to get there. He bought a travel trailer and we took a short vacation to try it out. Mom hated it and wanted nothing to do with camping after that so it sat for awhile until it finally sold.
Fast forward fifty years later. My wife and I thought it would be a good idea to consider a pop-up/travel trailer/motorhome for retirement camping since we have been backpacking and tent camping for a few decades. I also have fond memories of traveling around the country a month at a time for a few years camping out of my old VW bus in the 70s. We could afford most anything but then started thinking about cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, laundry, having to drive a big vehicle with low gas milege, and thinking back to my mother's complaints compared to driving a nice luxury car, staying in nice hotels, eating in restaurants, and camping when we wanted either in tents or in cabins. We decided that for us vacations were not meant for extra hassles, extra expenses, and household chores.
I would suggest either driving a week or more in a rented trailer or at least stay where they rent a stationary trailer in a park somewhere before you spend the cash.

Cheers!
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:58 AM   #40
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7 days rental for $7000? We briefly looked at something like that - very briefly.
Think of the kind of room you could get for a $1000 a night....or make it 14 days @ $500 night. I think of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, etc... On the other hand if you want to camp, get a nice tent.
The prices these RV rental places ask are crazy.
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