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Any RV Saavy People HERE?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by 4Freedom, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Please, I desperately need advice from someone experienced with 5th wheel RV setups. I am looking to get rid of my SUV and purchase a Diesel truck and a 5th wheel trailer. My goal will be to live part times in the woods, like during Summer in RV parks and such. I'm really wanting to know the best type of setup. Anybody here who is knowledgeable about them, if you don't mind sharing some of your advice with me, it is appreciated. This will be my first time ever getting an RV and I like to make the right decision. I am going to probably join up some RV websites, but I just thought somebody around here must be into Rving..
     
  2. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Been into RV's for along time. I don't think 5th wheelers are the best option: cost, space, convenience. I don't like trading the usefullness of the PU bed for a very low headroom BR(not to mention the price). I'm for a std pull trailer w/slide; with a diesel PU (or Van), a 29 footer w at least one slide, a great place to stay. Much more cost and space effective. my opinion.
     
  3. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info motoman.. However, I am told a travel trailer is harder to drive, less gas efficient and does not usually have as much living space per foot. Also, I hear hooking/unhooking a travel trailer is harder than a 5th wheeler. Considering I will be travelling alone, this will be another factor. When I say camping, I generally mean I would stay in campgrounds, especially those that have all the hookups. I would leave my trailer there and take my truck to the more remote and out of the way places. I am very confused about all this and how to make the best decision. You are telling me that you think travel trailers have more space, especially in the bedroom than a 5th wheeler? I guess I don't quite get that.. Although, it somewhat makes sense by looking at it.. I guess the bed area would be placed up where the the mount connects to the truck. Why do the bedrooms look so spacious in pics of the 29' 5th wheeler trailers I have seen? I am going to have to find somebody who can take some time to explain to me the various options. Maybe, being in my early 30s, I just haven't met enough people who are into this lifestyle. For now, I will try looking at these RV websites.
     
  4. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Website will give some good ideals. People here will give you some good information. But nothing takes the place of looking at the beasties, and seeing what which has to offer you.
    On some 5th wheels with the front end bed I use for the dogs bed. Of course my dogs are LGD and a hound.
     
  5. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    A few months ago I finished up a two+ year stint working away from home living in my RV amongst thousands of other trade workers who also live in various 5th wheels, trailers and RVs. In between the end of that job and now, I took the family (me, wife and three teenagers) on a 2-month 8,600 mile trip from Oregon to Texas, along the Gulf to Florida, up the east coast to PA and back across upper states. My experience in this area to date tells me:

    a.) The vast majority of folks that spend any appreciable amount of time away from home parked in one spot do so in a 5th wheel. A truck pulling a tagalong has a longer overall length than a truck pulling a 5th wheel, and is also harder to turn, harder to backup and harder to attach. They are also more susceptible to wind sheer from passing trucks.

    b.) The vast majority of folks who spend any appreciable amount of time traveling to many different locations in one trip do so in a Class A motorhome with a 4-down towed vehicle.

    c.) A medium sized tagalong with a 3/4 or 1 ton gasser is by far your most economical choice if money is of concern.

    d.) Whatever you decide on...DON'T BUY NEW! There are excellent RV combinations for sale out there with hardly any use but huge amounts of depreciation that somebody else will have already eaten.

    Good luck! You're gonna love it.

    PS I recommend this community for further reading: http://www.irv2.com/forums/

    Keith
     
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  6. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I spent 4 years working in the logging industry in the mid 90's. I lived in the mountains in a 20ft travel trailer. all up and down the west coast from northern british columbia to nortern california.. some of the guys had bigger trailers, but they had to park them in rv parks because big trailers, will not get into the back woods, because the corners are too tight, and roads were to steep for the weight, also 5th wheels would hit there pickup beds when subjected to twisting of road. was able to live for 2 weeks at a time with a generator and 2- 50 gallon water barrels, and was able to shower every day ( quick showers preserving water in between soaping and rinsing.).. pretty much off the grid, made grocery runs about once a week.
     
  7. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot of great advice here.. You guys really got me thinking.. I know I got a very long learning curve in front of me. I'm thinking a 5th wheeler will be easier to drive and manage. Also, I don't plan on taking my trailer out in the backwoods or into the forest and camping there. Most likely I would pull into RV parks with full or partial service/hookups/etc. The thought of going out in the bush sounds nice, but I think I rather just leave my RV at the park and take my pickup truck with a tent and do the backwoods camping the old fashioned way.

    Really, I am ignorant and just trying to think about what direction I should go, since I know there are so many options and I don't want to waste time looking into the wrong direction for my plans. It seems lot of people are advocating Travel Trailers. Really, is the main advantage of a travel trailer that you can bring it on backroads? What if, for example, I want to stay in Glacier National Park , then the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho and and then head down to the Grand Canyon. I see there is a lot of nice RV parks in those places and would stay at them. So, in this scenario, 5th Wheeler or Travel Trailer? Ok, that is quite a large adventure.. Lets say I do want to find a more remote spot, maybe some place in the Bitterroot Valley away from it all. Now, I don't want to stay in the middle of nowhere off some dirt road. Perhaps, I just want to stay in a remote RV park. Is this possible? I mean it seems that a 5th wheeler has more living space and easier to handle, especially by a person travelling solo. Wouldn't a 5th wheeler serve the purpose well? Heck, I think if I was to do backroad camping, maybe I would invest a tiny travel trailer in addition to the 5th wheeler, for those type of trips. THis of course would be in the way future after I get my first trailer. I'm just saying it is an option too, right? Can I have both a 5th wheel mount and a regular trailer hitch on the bumper?

    I'm sure those of you who have lived full or for extended periods at a time have some interesting stories to share. It certainly must be an experience to live in a home on wheels. The whole concept I find so exciting right now, but I will have to get my feet wet. I definitely need to take some time checking out these beasts and learning the ins and outs about them.
     
  8. Drkside45

    Drkside45 chehalis wa Member

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    I was a service mngr in a large RV dealership for many years.Komfort makes a solid fifth wheel,so does Forest river.But go to Baydos in chehalis.Great selection,and they stand behind what they sell.(thats not where I was employed). As far as trucks,...go with a Ford. They're MUCH more pull freindly.They're made for it more than the others.Chevys always need airbags installed to help take the weight.Fords can take the weight and then some. Before you take your trailer off the lot,make them throw in a GOOD front to back caulking job,..around all the windowds,doors, everything.They're never sealed good enough from the factory.And around here they need to be like a submarine,and once the water gets in they go south. Hope this helps! have fun. pm me if you need
     
  9. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    I dont know how many times I have heard from folks in the industry 'buy your second RV first'. I take that to mean that people are often not satisfied with their first RV but have learned enough via that experience to make a better selection the second time around.
    Best advice I can give is to do some leg work. Even if you are not buying new, visit the dealerships and get inside as many different types, brands, models of RVs as you can. There are plenty of 5th wheels with stand up room in the front bedroom. They are typically very large.
    Also someone here mentioned a coach. This is not a bad idea. They are very roomy and comfortable and you can tow your car behind you.
    I will probably think of other stuff later but one other item comes to mind right now...dont skimp on the mattress. Lots of RVs have cheapo mattresses in order to save weight etc...
     
  10. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Buy used.. unless you are filthy rich and dont care.. there are alot of super nice used 5th wheels out the that are 3-5 years old. trailers depreciate in value at an amazing rate,compared to M.S.R.P. of new. Always check NADA book value before you lay your money down, or do a nation wide search on the one you chose and see what everyone else is asking for theres.. have you considered a 5th wheel toy hauler?.
    best of both worlds, cause its like having all the niceness of a 5th wheel and the convienience of a way to haul stuff with a ramp. also you need to know that alot of RV parks will not allow you to bring in anything over 10 years old into there park( keeps all the crappy trailers out). so you will have to plan on buying something that will be allowed in for years to come. as far as repairs, a guy can do just about anything, like fix faucets, replace fridges,sealing etc. on your own, with a little book reading. keep the wheel bearings inspected and lubed at least once a year. if you get a 5th wheel you can tow it with a short bed pickup,but be careful not to turn to tightley or you will hit the cab.. there are special hitches you can buy to make the system work without hitting. I prefer a dodge cummins diesel with a manual transmission. if money is no object the ford f-650 with and acer c7 cat motor is quite nice.
     
  11. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    I worked on the road most of my life and drug around a trailer doing it. There is alot to trailer life and how you will do depends on how much space you need. Trailers are hot in the summer and cold in the winter so you have to have systems that deal with temps. You will drag your trailer to where you want to go but the rig you drag it with still burns fuel when you arrive, might want to figure out if this is all economical.

    If you are doing this for work then it is all a tax deduction. Mileage on the vehicle and depreciation on the trailer, keep records.

    jj
     
  12. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Once you become a full-timer, you may realize the lack of space you are taking with you on the road. That's my problem with 5th wheelers. I don't care how much 'space' you think you have, you really need to maximize whatever you have. Once you hook up a 5th, you've lose much of your PU's usefullness.
    As far as driving, etc. that is a learned SKILL. What ever you are towing, you need to practice ALOT before hitting the road, or you will regret it.
    WHat you are saying now, is that you don't know. BTW, you don't even know, how much you don't know.
    Get out to dealers, or better yet, the RV shows, Look and learn. Decide on your own what trade-off's you are willing to put up with.
    Oh, the argument on gas mileage is doubtful to me, your tow vehicle setup, overall weight, and driving skills have much more to do with that than your RV configuation.
     
  13. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize how great of advice I would get here on this forum. I'm reading each of these posts thoroughly and definitely appreciative of everyone's advice. My head is spinning in circles a bit, as I just am so new to this whole thing and not sure where to start, but many people here have give me a good heads start. I'm definitely sold on the idea about getting a used RV. I didn't realize RV parks ban RVs over 10 years old. That seems really lame in my opinion and what if a person has a nicely kept up RV that is 15 years or something? How do they enforce such a rule, do they make you show paperwork for your RV before they let you enter? I guess in that case, I would have to probably get a 5-year old RV, every 5 years or so.

    motoman, so I take it you rather have a 30' Travel Trailer with a diesel pickup then a 30' 5th with the same diesel pickup? I guess my fear is that I hear travel trailers are harder to drive, harder to hookup, have the tendency to jackknife and are more sensitive to wind. I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel hauling one up a steep and curvy windy grade. I guess it makes sense that a travel trailer has a lot more room, consider you don't have the area with decreased clearance for the hookup. Wouldn't a longer 5th wheeler trailer make up for this issue though? I assume the travel trailers would be more cost efficient than the 5th wheelers, as well.

    So, is the general consensus here that Ford Diesels outperform Chevy's? I've also heard Dodges are quite reliable and would have a hard time choosing between the two. I am a big fan of Toyotas, but I am yet to hear of them coming out with a Diesel truck. Also, I couldn't afford a brand new of anything, truck or RV. Especially with the depreciation. I always buy a model that is 3-4 years to avoid the major depreciation that occurs after the first 2 or 3 years. Money is an object, so the F650 is out. I see they start at like $60k or something.. Unless, some kind soul would love to donate one or sell half price to a young 30 something with a dream :rolleyes:, I guess that's out. :D

    I won't even think about going out on the road, until I put in a lot of practice with my trailer. Also, I will need to do a lot of parking practice. I hate driving trailers, so now I will have to force myself to learn to like it.. LOL My problem is not much experience. Also, when I talk about gas mileage, I'm just talking averages for experienced drivers. I'm sure if I am dumb and decided to floor it and don't gain proper momentum I can expect gas mileage will drop. Anyway, I need to worry about getting the RV before I worry about practicing with it.. Gotta learn to walk before you can run.. In my case, I don't even have a pair of legs yet.

    That is what scares me.. I know that I don't know jack squat about what I don't know.. Like I said my head is spinning.. I'm really going to have to find a few folks who are willing to sit down and show me the ropes of all this.. Do you know when the next RV show is in Portland/Vancouver area? Any suggestions of dealerships that I should check out? I never would trust a dealer's opinion about anything, so I got to find other sources to educate me. But, I definitely want to check the rigs out. I hear a lot of bad reviews about Camping World, so I've thought twice about going there.

    Another question, is it true you need a special drivers license to pull a larger trailer or motorhome?
     
  14. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    The 10 year rule is quite common at more upscale RV parks, but in my experience, only really enforced if your rig is trashed. A clean, shiny rig will rarely get turned away. We stayed at several dozen RV parks on our cross country trip and although my rig is now 11 years old, we were never asked its age.

    A travel trailer is NOT difficult to handle, only a bit more difficult to handle when compared to a 5th wheel. It really is not a bad option, especially if cost is of concern. In reality, there is no appreciable difference in camping with a tagalong, 5th wheel or motorhome. All are appointed similarly. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. With a moderately sized tagalong, all you need is a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup or SUV with a strong V8 or V10 and you are good to go. You really don't need to go with the expense of a diesel. My RV, a 31 foot class A motorhome with a Ford Triton V10 gasser, weighs in at 20,000 pounds loaded and I got an average of 8.65 MPG over 8,600 miles across the US.

    Camping World is not a bad place to visit despite some folks' reviews. Their RV prices are quite reasonable compared to other dealers in the Portland area. They are a good source for accessories and parts while on the road, too. I did have a bad experience at the St. Augustine store, but all the others I've been to across the US treated me right.

    Each state has its own rules as to what license is required to drive larger motorhomes and trailers, but by and large with an average-sized rig your regular automotive license will be legal everywhere you go.

    Keith
     
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  15. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    Depending on where you are 'in the gorge' you may be not too far from the Camping World dealer in Troutdale/Fairview. They have a pretty huge selection of pretty much everything covered here in this thread. Go spend some time there. There may even be a fall RV show on the horizon. THat would be a great place to get an education.
     
  16. safehaven

    safehaven Second star to the right Member

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    I did not read all of the post, so I apologize if any of what I will say has been covered.

    In regards to the 5th wheel vs pull behind issue. I have owned both, a 30' pull behind and a 39' 5th wheel. I can say without any hesitation that I will never own anything but a 5th wheel ever again.

    The major drawbacks to the pull behind are these:
    - much more time consuming to hook up
    - less living space
    - wasted overall length (the tongue adds 4 or more feet to your length)
    - much more difficult to get proper weight distribution
    - even with sway control, you still get a significant amount of sway when going down the road
    - the "semi-suck", the affect of passing or being passed by a semi truck and trailer and being sucked into it, will make you pucker often
    - sway control can bind up or even fall of if you turn to tight (yeah, had it happen... it sucked)

    Advantages of having a fifth wheel
    - hooking up takes a fraction of the time
    - shorter overall length even with a longer trailer (my buddies 32' pull behind and truck is 6" longer than my 39' 5th wheel and truck)
    - virtually zero sway
    - thus, no sway control needed
    - virtually zero "semi-suck"
    - you will know the whole time you are towing a pull behind, a 5th wheel you will forget that it is there
    - weight distribution, while still needed, is much less critical than that of a pull behind

    I will give the edge to the pull behind on two things. First... if you need your truck bed, then a pull behind is your only option. Second... A pull behind is much easier to turn with, making navigation of tight turns, such as residential areas or fuel stations, easier.

    If you go the 5th wheel route, I would recommend the B&W Turnoverball and Companion hitch. When you don't need the hitch, you can completely remove it, leaving a fully usable truck bed. Most hitches will leave rails inside your bed that will get in the way of using it.
     
  17. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot safehaven for this great deal of information. This is very informative. I seen there are advocates from both sides: those who like Travel Trailers vs those who like 5th wheelers. I will say I am quite confused and will have to do more research. But, this really is giving me a good place to start looking for information. Somehow, I feel that a 5th wheeler with a removable hitch like the one you showed me might be a good option. Just the fact that a 5th wheeler is easy to hookup/unhook may be very important for a solo traveler like me. Also, the stories I read about travel trailers blowing into other lanes in high winds and jerking when passing trucks kind of scares me a bit.

    One thing I don't get is why some people say travel trailers have more living space and others say 5th wheelers have more living space. So, which is, Travel Trailers or 5th Wheelers? I am really confused.
     
  18. safehaven

    safehaven Second star to the right Member

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    I think the diiference in living space is this... The overall length of a 30' pull behind when conected to a truck is about the same as, say, a 38' 5th wheel when hooked up to a truck. So you "gain" living space with a 5th wheel witout adding overall length because part of the trailer overhangs the truck and you do not have the "wasted" tongue space. That is at least my take on it.

    BTW. Those numbers are just guesses for example purposes, not real world numbers.
     
  19. VW_Factor

    VW_Factor Woodburn Oregon Active Member

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  20. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    This is quite correct. The length of a tagalong includes the tongue.

    In my case, I chose a Class A/towed vehicle versus a 5th wheel or tagalong for two main reasons. Once I reach my destination, I have a 40mpg vehicle that I can tour with, and in the event of my RV's engine giving out, I am still mobile with the tow car. With a 5th wheel or tagalong, you are using that same big vehicle to tour your destination and if your truck's engine gives out, you are stuck until help arrives.

    Keith