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Old 04-07-2015, 08:35 AM   #221
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I've got a 35 foot class A. I've had it for 10 years. It's a great way to travel. It's not cheap, but it is fun. I like sleeping in my own bad and having my own kitchen.

It is big and driving it is different then a car. But, it is enjoyable to drive, just don't be in a hurry. The engine is about 30 feet behind the driver so it's pretty quiet. You are sitting up high with big windows and have a great view.

Like I said, it is expensive, tires are $700+ each. I had a slide motor go out and it was $1,500 to fix.

But, the places we stay beat motels hands down. Staying a few extra days aren't a big deal.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:01 PM   #222
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We've never had an RV, but DW and I (okay--mostly "I") are starting to think it might be fun. We're not hard-core campers: we want a place to get clean, stay cool and stay warm. But, I'm cheap, and we're not >sure< that this is for us, so we don't want to drop a lot of cash. I'm considering these options:
-- Buying a used truck (can always use that the other 90% of the days) and getting a used truck camper. They seem to depreciate fairly quickly in price, and we were surprised by the room inside, even without "slideouts". Having that bed in the overhead frees up a lot of real estate in the main body.
-- Buying a used SUV (4Runner, Pilot, etc) and a lightweight trailer (Casita, Scamp, R-pod, Bigfoot, etc). The SUV would have a bit more utility for us than a truck when not hooked to an RV. I'm guessing an SUV with a lightweight trailer would get better gas mileage than a truck camper (just due to reduced frontal area)
-- A used Class B. Would be very nice on the road, but would not get much use the other 90% of the time we aren't vacationing. Plus, probably less room than the TC or trailer. And, they start out fairly expensive and by the time they get down to my range their reliability is questionable. But if we found the right one . . .
-- Maybe a used Class C.
-- The tinkerer in me would love to build a travel trailer (a bargain-priced used truck camper on a utility trailer--with streamlining of the front, room for gear/toys under the "overhead" and in lockers in the side "sponsons", etc.) It would be a blast, and cheap, and with care I could finish it at under 3500#. But not one person in a million would want to buy the blasted thing when I tired of it.)

I need to do more research, and then rent something for a short time to see if it is for us.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:54 AM   #223
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..........-- Buying a used SUV (4Runner, Pilot, etc) and a lightweight trailer (Casita, Scamp, R-pod, Bigfoot, etc).......... .
I can tell you more that you want to know about the small fiberglass campers like Scamp, Casita, etc. The good news is that they hold their value very well. The bad news (in buying used) is that they hold their value very well, especially lately.

I get 21 to 22 mpg pulling my 13 footer at 55 to 60 mph with my Escape. A minivan makes a perfect tow vehicle for these light campers.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:09 AM   #224
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Sam, I'll second what travelover said. Those small fiberglass campers are pricey, both coming and going, but if I were in your shoes that would be the route I'd take to make my entry into the RV scene.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:02 AM   #225
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I can tell you more that you want to know about the small fiberglass campers like Scamp, Casita, etc. The good news is that they hold their value very well. The bad news (in buying used) is that they hold their value very well, especially lately.

I get 21 to 22 mpg pulling my 13 footer at 55 to 60 mph with my Escape. A minivan makes a perfect tow vehicle for these light campers.
Depends on where you live and where you travel. We have a 16' trailer with GVWR of 3300 pounds. In coastal NJ it was very doable to tow it with our minivan. Once we got to Colorado it was extremely clear that the minivan was no longer up to the job. The combination of less power from a naturally aspirated engine at altitude and big, steep inclines to deal with on a regular basis meant it was no longer a minivan-capable job.

I think the small trailer is a great way to do this, especially if your current vehicles can tow it. If not, its more debatable. Perhaps one of your daily drivers could tow an A-liner?
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:55 AM   #226
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Depends on where you live and where you travel. We have a 16' trailer with GVWR of 3300 pounds. In coastal NJ it was very doable to tow it with our minivan. Once we got to Colorado it was extremely clear that the minivan was no longer up to the job. The combination of less power from a naturally aspirated engine at altitude and big, steep inclines to deal with on a regular basis meant it was no longer a minivan-capable job.

I think the small trailer is a great way to do this, especially if your current vehicles can tow it. If not, its more debatable. Perhaps one of your daily drivers could tow an A-liner?
It depends on your expectations. I expect to slow down on mountain grades. With 266 HP and a 6 speed transmission, a Sienna for example, will tow a fiberglass trailer nicely.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:29 PM   #227
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We've never had an RV, but DW and I (okay--mostly "I") are starting to think it might be fun. We're not hard-core campers: we want a place to get clean, stay cool and stay warm. But, I'm cheap, and we're not >sure< that this is for us, so we don't want to drop a lot of cash.
-.
If your partner is the weak link in the endeavor, going too spartan may blow the venture prematurely. A well priced, used, smallish class C has the advantage of being a package deal. If camping is not for you, the turnover cost should be worth the price of the experience.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:39 PM   #228
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If your partner is the weak link in the endeavor, going too spartan may blow the venture prematurely. A well priced, used, smallish class C has the advantage of being a package deal. If camping is not for you, the turnover cost should be worth the price of the experience.
This is a valid point, if Momma isn't happy, nobody's happy.

That said, a motor home requires the purchase of a unique single purpose vehicle and some kind of storage arrangement. A trailer gives you the flexibility to leave it at the campsite while you drive around the area with double digit fuel economy.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:14 PM   #229
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It depends on your expectations. I expect to slow down on mountain grades. With 266 HP and a 6 speed transmission, a Sienna for example, will tow a fiberglass trailer nicely.
What do the fiberglass jobs weigh?

My experience going up I 70 the first time with the Honda (similar engine/tranny to the Sienna, at least on paper) was that I had my foot on the floor mashing the accelerator down while the van crawled uphill at 35 MPH and the engine temperature gauge rapidly climbed toward the red line. This was with all the tanks drained on the trailer and me the only passenger in the van. Once was enough for me.

Of course if you are not leaving the Midwest, this may all be academic and the minivan may easily do the job with a small trailer.
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:25 PM   #230
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What do the fiberglass jobs weigh?

My experience going up I 70 the first time with the Honda (similar engine/tranny to the Sienna, at least on paper) was that I had my foot on the floor mashing the accelerator down while the van crawled uphill at 35 MPH and the engine temperature gauge rapidly climbed toward the red line. This was with all the tanks drained on the trailer and me the only passenger in the van. Once was enough for me.

Of course if you are not leaving the Midwest, this may all be academic and the minivan may easily do the job with a small trailer.
I'm surprised that you had this problem, as fiberglass campers up to 3500 pounds are towed regularly by minivans with good results. You are right , though, SamClem and I both live in the Midwest and a turbocharged truck would probably be a waste of money for me for the rare mountain towing I do.
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:34 PM   #231
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I'm surprised that you had this problem, as fiberglass campers up to 3500 pounds are towed regularly by minivans with good results. You are right , though, SamClem and I both live in the Midwest and a turbocharged truck would probably be a waste of money for me for the rare mountain towing I do.
Like I said, in NJ the van did just fine towing the trailer. Add a mile of altitude and try going up a 7% grade to 8,000+ feet of altitude and you quickly find you are beyond the minivan's limits as a tow vehicle.
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:41 PM   #232
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Another advantage for the Class C is that they are available for rental, that would be a good way to test out some things at low risk. But with insurance, maintenance, storage, etc it would be a pricier and "more hassle" option than a TC or trailer. Well, good to have options.
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:43 PM   #233
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sam, we started out renting a class C for a week-long trip a year before we ended up buying a travel trailer. Worth doing because you learn a lot even if you end up wanting something besides a C.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:05 PM   #234
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Like I said, in NJ the van did just fine towing the trailer. Add a mile of altitude and try going up a 7% grade to 8,000+ feet of altitude and you quickly find you are beyond the minivan's limits as a tow vehicle.
I believe you, just have not heard that comment before on forums that I frequent.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:53 PM   #235
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Neighbors up here traded an old, heavy trailer in on a shiny new light weight one a few years ago. The new one didn't make it through the winter. The roof caved in. It was insured, but I would not want one in a heavy snow load area without protection from snow.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:02 PM   #236
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I'm selling my 31' travel trailer for $6500 less than I paid for it--20 years ago. It's given us good service throughout the years.

When we retired, my wife said all she wanted out of life was a big diamond ring and a new fifth wheel trailer. Well, she got that 2015 model fifth wheel trailer, and it's fantastic. About that diamond ring: Everyone needs to have something to dream about.

We keep our fifth wheel in a membership owned campground in the North Georgia Mountains. We just call'em and they move our trailer on a campsite for us. Unless I take the trailer to Florida for the winter, I doubt it'll ever get 500 miles put on it. But we have 300 campsites, cable tv, a huge party house, 2 swimming pools and a big lake. Our grandson caught a 35 pound catfish out of the lake during Spring Break that we assume will get bigger in his mind as the years go in.

After living in Atlanta, we no longer like big cities with rush hour traffic, and prefer more of the simple life of camping--the RV way.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:15 AM   #237
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What do the fiberglass jobs weigh?
The manufacturers claim about 2200-2500 lbs dry for a 17 foot unit. Add the usual (water, propane, foot, dishes, etc) and I'd guess we'd be at about 2800 lbs.

One attraction of the RV is being able to take our dog when we travel. Many mid-priced hotels either don't take 'em or charge an exorbitant cleaning fee ($100+) if they do. I understand their reasoning, but it's a hassle. And putting the pooch in a kennel ain't cheap either, and can't be much fun for the dog.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:12 PM   #238
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The manufacturers claim about 2200-2500 lbs dry for a 17 foot unit. Add the usual (water, propane, foot, dishes, etc) and I'd guess we'd be at about 2800 lbs.

One attraction of the RV is being able to take our dog when we travel. Many mid-priced hotels either don't take 'em or charge an exorbitant cleaning fee ($100+) if they do. I understand their reasoning, but it's a hassle. And putting the pooch in a kennel ain't cheap either, and can't be much fun for the dog.
Here is an excellent resource for answering that question. These are FG campers weighed arriving at a rally, all loaded up for camping.
Trailer Weights in the Real World - Fiberglass RV

I agree on the dog issue - one of the reasons I got the camper was so we could take the pooch along.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:59 PM   #239
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One attraction of the RV is being able to take our dog when we travel. Many mid-priced hotels either don't take 'em or charge an exorbitant cleaning fee ($100+) if they do. I understand their reasoning, but it's a hassle. And putting the pooch in a kennel ain't cheap either, and can't be much fun for the dog.
4 of us and 2 dogs totaling 80 pounds between them are generally in our 16 foot camper. Being able to roll for a trip with an hour's notice and take the dogs along for free is a major attraction of this kind of camping.
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Old 04-23-2015, 02:02 PM   #240
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I can tell you more that you want to know about the small fiberglass campers like Scamp, Casita, etc. The good news is that they hold their value very well. The bad news (in buying used) is that they hold their value very well, especially lately.
Yes, I've noticed that. If we decide that a small trailer is for us, the next decision is whether to get more space for a lower price with a used aluminum trailer, or spend more initially on a used fiberglass egg-style trailer. The "egg" might be easier to sell either in the short or long term.
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I get 21 to 22 mpg pulling my 13 footer at 55 to 60 mph with my Escape. A minivan makes a perfect tow vehicle for these light campers.
That's a lot better than I would have guessed. Which engine have you got in the Escape?
I know in the "big picture" gas mileage probably doesn't matter too much. Still, if gas is $4/gal and we travel 400 miles/day, the difference between 21 MPG and 14 MPG (big truck pulling a mid-size trailer) works out to almost $40 per day--more than enough to pay for a full-hookup campsite for the night in most parts of the country.
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