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Do you even camp, Bro? Travel trailer/RV

FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
So I have been off and on looking for a travel trailer. Started looking at pop ups and decided when we get one were just going to go all out with more then likely a bumper pull Bunkhouse. We have 4 kids we want to sleep comfortably and having four bunk beds in the back seems like our best bet. (don't want to "have" to use the couch or eating table just so someone can sleep) Thought I would start a travel trailer thread and let every one post pics and stories if there was interest and I could ask questions.

First question:

Recommendation for a TT/RV forum that you like? Seen several and lurked at a couple but seeing if there is one you really like and why?
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Comments

  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My child bride and I have been campers for years, starting with camping out of the back of my pickup and graduating through tents and into travel trailers. I personally have no use for 5th wheel trailers but a lot of folks have them.

    Your first concern has to be your tow vehicle if you're going with a trailer. The vehicle needs to be strong enough to pull the trailer and have proper suspension and braking systems. It isn't wise to hook up to just any pickup and think you're gonna go safely down the road. Visit a Camping World store for more advice along these lines.

    A bunkhouse model trailer may be handy for kids but they're pretty constricting for adults. I've crawled into an upper bunk in the past and wasn't sure I'd ever be able to get out of it. Try before you buy is all I'm saying.

    You mention a bumper pull trailer. Nowadays one doesn't hook anything to a bumper any longer. Instead, a frame-mounted weight-equalizing hitch is employed. These shift part of the load to the front wheels of the tow vehicle and are quite necessary. I'd also recommend an anti-sway device which mounts between the hitch on the tow vehicle and the A-frame portion of the trailer. If you go without one of these you'll wish you hadn't after the first few times an eighteen-wheeler blows past you at about 75 mph and gets your trailer to fishtailing all over the road. An anti-sway device will prevent this from happening.

    You also asked about a forum. I've lurked at a few but, like you, didn't find one that held my interest. Sorry I can't recommend one for you.
  • Beaker38Beaker38 Posts: 184
    My personal opinon is that if you ain't in a tent of sleeping under the stars that ain't camping
  • BrianakBrianak Anchorage, AKPosts: 255
    Here is my setup. Went with the bunk house so my daughter could sleep and relax and not take up the dinette.
    image
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beaker38:
    My personal opinon is that if you ain't in a tent of sleeping under the stars that ain't camping


    I used to feel exactly the same way. But that was back in the day. And I dont think a guy has ever been camping until he's spent the night in a tent in a thunderstorm!

    But that was in my salad days. Now i'm the oldest BOTL on this forum and these creaky old bones require a little more comfort. We're still camping, only now we do it in a 29' travel trailer with a slide and skylights so we can look up and see the trees and the sky. :-/)
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here's a shot of our rig

    photo 1C6260D5-38CF-44F4-A87C-1C2E1638FA36.jpg

    Not only do we have skylights to see the trees and the stars, the back end of the trailer has a picture window looking right out onto the beach here at Seacliff State Beach where we're camped. We'll be back there for 5 nights starting 9/5.....
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Great stuff so far every one, keep it coming!
    jlmarta:
    My child bride and I have been campers for years, starting with camping out of the back of my pickup and graduating through tents and into travel trailers. this is where we are, my wife likes to tent camp with me but the 105' summer days are a bit more then she wants with out at least some form of occasional AC. So here we are looking for our first camper. About a year ago we were looking at popup's but changed directions and are ready to jump in head first I personally have no use for 5th wheel trailers but a lot of folks have them.

    Your first concern has to be your tow vehicle if you're going with a trailer. The vehicle needs to be strong enough to pull the trailer and have proper suspension and braking systems. It isn't wise to hook up to just any pickup and think you're gonna go safely down the road. Visit a Camping World store for more advice along these lines. I just traded in my 3/4 ton 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9 Cummins Diesel long bed in for a brand new 3/4 ton 2014 Ram 2500 with a Cummins 6.7 diesel. Think that would work for most of the more then average towing needs? ;-). Yep, I might know a little about HD pickup trucks and pulling a trailer

    A bunkhouse model trailer may be handy for kids but they're pretty constricting for adults. I've crawled into an upper bunk in the past and wasn't sure I'd ever be able to get out of it. Try before you buy is all I'm saying. I agree with you and I have no intentions of ever getting into any of the bunk beds. The Queen size bed at the front is where me and momma will be laying down

    You mention a bumper pull trailer. lingo misunderstanding, I just ment not a 5th wheel or gooseneck Nowadays one doesn't hook anything to a bumper any longer. Instead, a frame-mounted weight-equalizing hitch is employed. These shift part of the load to the front wheels of the tow vehicle and are quite necessary. I'd also recommend an anti-sway device which mounts between the hitch on the tow vehicle and the A-frame portion of the trailer. If you go without one of these you'll wish you hadn't after the first few times an eighteen-wheeler blows past you at about 75 mph and gets your trailer to fishtailing all over the road. An anti-sway device will prevent this from happening. care to comment on which Weight Distribution Hitches (WDH) you like? I was looking at some and one of the Reese (there was two, one that prevented sway before it started and another that corected it when it starts but i cant remember which was which) looks interesting as well as the Blue Ox I think it was called with the cam torsion rods

    You also asked about a forum. I've lurked at a few but, like you, didn't find one that held my interest. Sorry I can't recommend one for you.
    Beaker38:
    My personal opinon is that if you ain't in a tent of sleeping under the stars that ain't camping
    There was a time I could not agree with you more!

    I have logged several hundred nights in a tent or on bare ground or if I was very luck in a hammock. Grew up in the boy scouts and camped at the very least one weekend a month from the time I was 13 till 18 and it's a bit much to ask my wife and three kids three years old and younger to do the same right now. This is for a quick weekend campout or a long distance trip to enjoy family time and not spend it in a hotel on the way or once we get there.
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good. Thanks for clearing me up on your level of trailering knowledge. I wasnt sure how much detail to include. Some folks are total beginners and a lot of folks know more than i do on the subject. You asked about my preference in weight-distributing hitches and anti-sway devices. I gotta confess to being a creature of habit, i guess, because the first kind i ever tried is what im still with - EazLift. Both the hitch and the anti-sway device. I've not ever tried any other brand because i've never had a reason to do so. EazLift does what i need and ive never had a failure with either item.

    Thats not to say Reese and other brands arent as good as EazLift, only that i have no experience with others. I have to admit that some of the units with the super-fancy auto-rotating cams and self-equalizing blah-de-blah sorta scare me off. I just prefer the workable simplicity of EazLift and similar hitches.

    And heres an item you may already know but ill include it just in case. An ex-sisterinlaw didnt know about it and ended up totalling my pickup snd trailer, both. If, for some reason, your trailer happens to start fishtailing you correct it by applying the trailer brakes only - not your tow vehicle brakes and NOT with your steering wheel. Im referring to dry pavement conditions, not icy or slick roads. If you press the brake button on the trailer brake unit mounted on your dash it'll do the "string-tightening" effect and straighten things out. My sisterinlaw thought she could correct it with the steering wheel. I'm thankful she's my EX-sisterinlaw.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Well sometimes it's better to just assume I don't know anything and talk to me like I am two years old and speak real slow. I should also clear up my trailers use. I have owned or still have boats and utility trailers 16 to 20 feet. But I have never owned any with breaks on the trailer and they never needed WDH. (max weight of 7k lbs and well within my trucks capabilities) My only experience with electronic trailer breaks is maybe a dozen times I drove a 30' enclosed trailer that hauled our trench collapse rescue equipment and the brake controller was already preset. So somewhere along the lines I'll be asking questions about the trailer brake controller that is factory equipped on my truck. (haven't even read this part of the manual that I am sure would help with some questions might have)

    Like seeing all the rigs, how about some more pictures
  • jd50aejd50ae West Gnawed Pencil, TNPosts: 7,934 ✭✭✭✭✭
    We use to do a lot of camping but it centered around fishing. Pickup with a camper cover, large cooler, lots of blanket's and a case of baby wipes. Old fashioned coffee pot, 3 or 4 jugs of water, grill grate for cooking, hamburger or steaks, lots of matches and a 1st aid kit (well stocked). Never had the chance to go in one of them RV thingys, but maybe one day. I do know that we never had a bad time, it was always fun.

    Let me know when you are outfitted and I will help you brake it in :)

  • flowbeeflowbee Posts: 1,134 ✭✭✭
    Rob,
    We are looking into buying our first travel trailor, probably in the spring. I am looking at a featherlite model. Something in the 3000 lbs range, these are super neat, 16-18 feet or so, and I can tow it with my SUV. I don't want to buy a truck to tow it around, and sooner or later we will find one that works for us. we are a family of three, and we have been meeting our friends at the campsites for day trips to see if a tralior was a good idea for us. We stayed the night as a test, and the girls seem to really love it.
    Good Luck my friend!!!

    BTW, Cigars at the campfire with a good drink, made my whole trip fantastic!!
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Flowbee, keep me posted when you get one. The RV show comes to our convention center around January so were going to try and pull the trigger then
  • honorknight7honorknight7 Posts: 525
    The wife and I are looking to buy a trailer as soon as I can get back to work and back to normal, hopefully by the end of next year or 2016 at the latest, we have been looking at the "Scamp" brand, we've seen 3 of them while camping last year and all 3 of the folks owning them let us check them out, they are nice "little" trailers, we just want a nice little/light trailer for a comfortable place to sleep (sleeping on the ground now is near imposable for me since my back surgery - use a 24" blow up mattress at the moment when camping) and for an oven if there are bad rain days while camping....
    On my "boys" camping trip a month ago, it rained (think - cant see 20' away downpour) EVERY day from 4 pm until 10-11 pm then lightened up to a normal rain until around 6am, luckily one of my sons loaded his 10x10 canape when we picked him up, we had to make sure to make dinner around 3 o'clock, it would have been nice to at least sit in a trailer while drinking and BS-ing instead of huddling under the canape with the table and all the gear shoved under it also, and the tents were "swimming pools" inside, water came in through the bottom, even with tarps down first (lucky I have a queen 24" blow up mattress, though 4 guys on 1 queen mattress is not a pretty sight lol)
  • WaltBasilWaltBasil El Paso, TX Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭
    In regards to the tow vehicle, adding sway bars and all is nice, but if possible, get factory installed tow package. There is so much more to this than adding a frame mounted hitch. When factory does it, you're adding larger radiators, additional oil coolers, power steering cooler, larger brake systems, larger battery, etc. I've got 4 factory installed radiator type coolers in my ram from the tow package cooling down all my fluids. When you do have the two vehicle, be sure to keep the weight of the trailer in mind. Not just the overall weight, but the weight you're be throwing on the tongue of your tow vehicle. Standard Class III and IV range from 500-1200 pounds, and counts towards the total weight your truck/suv can safely haul. Weights given to travel trailers are generally dry weights. Then you're going to be adding an additonal several hundred pounds of gear and fluids. Possibly generator. Water tanks generaly hold 45-90 gallons. I think water is 8 pounds per gallon? That's when the 5th wheel comes in handy.

    I'm going through this process right now, and taking my time. I've already got the tow vehicle. Early next year we plan on buying the trailer. I'm glad I am taking my time. I've gone through 2 major changes so far in my opinions as to what I want or don't want.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    WaltBasil:
    I'm going through this process right now, and taking my time. I've already got the tow vehicle. Early next year we plan on buying the trailer. I'm glad I am taking my time. I've gone through 2 major changes so far in my opinions as to what I want or don't want.
    Tell me more about what your looking at getting and what and why you changed your mind about the others

    Yea 8 pounds is close enough for a gallon of water. 8.3 is what the majority of every pump operations book I ever read said on promotional study material.

    Also got my tow vehicle, 2014 Ram 2500 Megacab Laramie Longhorn 4x4 with the 6.7L Cummins diesle with exhaust brake, fully equiped with all the factory tow options plus 440 amp ( that's dual 220 amp alternators instead of the standard single 180 amp alternator, enough to power up a really small city lol) with a class V receiver hitch (that's the 2 1/2 instead of the 2") the tow weight of 17,000 pounds and Max GCVW of 25,000 pounds. I am not too worried about any of the trailers I have been looking at. Heaviest one so far was around 8,000 pounds dry weight.

    photo IMG_8925.jpg
  • WaltBasilWaltBasil El Paso, TX Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭
    Nope. You've got the tow vehicle covered. Completely. Except for maybe a CB. Mine is just a hemi. :-( hahaha.

    At first I was really into the Jaycos. Requirement for me: full fridge (separate fridge and freezer) and kitchen setup. Stand up shower and porcelan bowl. a Walk around master bed. No added bunks (just the two of us. Kids all grown - never to be let back in). Heating and air. Fiberglass outside. Full insulation.

    My first one was the size... wanted really small in length (15-17 feet), and I ended up changing to a longer one - 20-26 feet will do.

    My second change was refusing to go with an expanding side. But once I saw how they act and how much room some have left when they are fully IN... I can still make it from bed to bathroom without expanding - for those nights when you simply stay at a walmart parking lot or 24 hour rest area, where you're not supposed to expand and dig in. Now I won't mind an expando.

    We have several dealers around here... so I get to walk around them and play with them a bit.

    Now I'm leaning more towards the Lance 1985 model.
  • BrianakBrianak Anchorage, AKPosts: 255
    First thing to check is that you can wipe yourself in the bathroom. Some are very tight.
    Other nice things that I wish I had are a second outside door that goes into the bathroom. And an outside beer. These are a must if you like beer while camping.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Brianak:
    First thing to check is that you can wipe yourself in the bathroom. Some are very tight.
    Other nice things that I wish I had are a second outside door that goes into the bathroom. And an outside beer. These are a must if you like beer while camping.
    Oh man you are so right on about the toilet. I am a fairly big guy (325lbs and as wide as I am tall). Let's just say I struggle with what you are saying in a lot of houses much less a travel trailer toilet. I need lots of leg room to say the least. I have sat on a few at the RV show and the ones with a big bath room and the door you mentioned that goes outside and the toilet is on an angle in the corner I am ok. If it runs parallel to a wall I have already told the wife when it's time for me to drop a Duce either y'all leave the trailer or your just going to have to deal with the door being open and one leg sticking out the door.

    The outside fridge and kitchen would be nice but for me not a deal breaker.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Yeah Walt, here in the DFW area we have a lot of dealerships to go look at also. It's nice to have the variety to look and "window shop" and get what you want and change your mind about what you don't want.

    I had forgot about the slides and what you were saying with still being able to "live" in it if the slides are in. Very good points.
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    FireRob:
    I had forgot about the slides and what you were saying with still being able to "live" in it if the slides are in. Very good points.

    A very good point. You want to be able to get to the bathroom with the slide in if you're ever going down the road and suddenly need to make it to the John. Some floor plans won't allow you to get there unless the slide is out. Been there, done that...... LOL
  • WaltBasilWaltBasil El Paso, TX Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭
    Something else I just remembered. Solar options. Some offer that as a option. 180 watt panel pre-installed. I could always do it myself later, but if I'm spending the money now, I might as well go for the gold and have everything added up front.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    WaltBasil:
    Something else I just remembered.
    That is what this thread is all about!! Keep remembering things and post it here. Also another good point.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    As for forums. Just want to say so far RV.NET seems to be my favorite so far. I have not joined yet and looks like it is heavily supported by Good Sam Club and don't know if you have to be a member of Good Sam to join the forum
  • WaltBasilWaltBasil El Paso, TX Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭
    And let's not forget the ever important job of picking out a humidor for this home away from home. For myself, I'm thinking big enough to fit maybe 20 cigars in, but small enough to keep the thing stored in my BFH when not in use. That way, it stays seasoned throughout the year without thinking about it. When it's time to roll, I'll charge a humidifier for it and off we go.
  • RainRain Posts: 8,960 ✭✭✭
    Can we please rename this thread "Do you even camp, bro?"
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Rain:
    Can we please rename this thread "Do you even camp, bro?"
    Since when I wrote the title inwas thinking of you yes I will change it.
  • Here's mine just before my haul to Yellowstone.

    This is my second trailer, the first being a 23' conventional trailer (towed from the bumper) and it was a corner bed/bath. I would highly recommend not getting a corner bed/bath as I almost blew it up with a rocket launcher. Remember that slide outs add weight so get more than you need from a truck towing perspective. We shopped around 6 months for this one as we were very particular on what we wanted. We purchased an 05 in 06 and got a great deal. They even paid for my 5th wheel hitch + installation. Let me know if you have any questions.
    image
  • WaltBasilWaltBasil El Paso, TX Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭
    Nice looking rig, James. Nice.
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    WaltBasil:
    Nice looking rig, James. Nice.
    Darn nice! How you like that Duramax?
  • FireRobFireRob Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭
    Double post, my bad
  • Thanks Walt and Rob. I love my truck and specifically bought it used for the Allison transmission. It's an '02 but pulls all day long. I only have about 120k miles on it so I'm optimistic how long I can keep it.
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