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Eric21

Full-time in Keystone Bullet Premier?

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Hello,

I’m going to jump into full-timing soon and hope to take advantage of this site’s collective wisdom to evaluate my plan. I have not owned an RV before, but have rented a class C and done lots of extended “luxury” tent camping. Here is some info about the planned usage.

* Solo living - 6’3” man. Don’t plan on throwing any parties and rarely get visitors. May get a small to medium sized dog down the road.

 

* Generally treat my stuff with care.

 

* Plan to cook and spend most “home time” in a screen room. I like being outdoors as much as possible.

 

* Will usually do dishes outside.

 

* Don’t plan on spending time in sub-freezing weather.

 

* Live a minimalist lifestyle. Have very little and try to keep it that way.

 

* Will spend the majority of time in the South East US where it’s hot and humid but most campgrounds have electricity and water. Do plan to travel some to the rest of the US and maybe even Mexico and Canada.

 

* Will probably move an average of once every two weeks. Probably averaging 60 miles or so each trip.

 

* No idea how long I will do this for. ...could be one year ...could be 40 years.

 

* Will use campground showers and bathrooms (or the outdoors) whenever possible.

 

* Plan to spend most time in city, county, state and national parks. But will mix in some boon-docking and RV parks.

Here are some of my wants in an RV:

* spend as little as possible to meet my needs

 

* have as low a total cost of ownership (TCO) as possible.

 

* But I'm leaning towards buying new as I have an slight irrational fear about by used big-ticket items.

 

* daily driver with average 20 MPG or better in mixed driving. It will get a lot of use.

 

* 6+ cubic foot fridge.

 

* walk around Queen or split singles beds.

 

* interior standing room of 78” or better …including in the bathroom.

 

* Prefer shower with glass door as opposed to shower curtain.

 

* Vinyl upholstery and little to no carpet. —dust allergy

 

* Low maintenance. Don’t want to spend time repairing things or taking it to the shop

 

* air conditioner

 

* Decent carrying capacity (just in case)

 

* Decent inside and outside storage space

 

* Overall decent floorplan, attractiveness, amenities, and manufacturer to help with possible eventual resale

Here’s the plan:

Purchase new (or used) 4X2 Ram 1500 Quad-cab Express with the V6 Pentastar and 3.55 gear ratio and tow package. Put a Leer camper cap on the back. Plugged the numbers into a towing calculator and it should be able to tow 7000 lbs with an extra 700 lbs of cargo in the truck. Fuelly.com shows people averaging 20 mpg in mixed usage.

https://www.ramtrucks.com/assets/towing_guide/pdf/2016_ram_1500_towing_charts.pdf

Purchase new (or used) Keystone Bullet Premier 19FBPR. 4,200 lbs dry and 2,200 lb carry capacity. It’s attractive and light weight with decent construction, floorplan, manufacturer, and components. It has good headroom, and a big fridge.

http://www.keystonerv.com/premier/#/floorplans

http://www.keystonerv.com/premier/#/features

Questions:

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? If not, what would you recommend?

Edited by Eric21

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20 mpg mixed driving and trailer towing do not even belong in the same sentence. I think you qill be very unimpressed with the Dodge V-6 and 3.55 axle ratio.

 

Towing you might get 10 or 11 mpg (maybe 12) and open roads solo, maybe 18 mpg provided you keep the speeds down under 65 mph.

 

The Keystone Bullet is not a full time of 4-season trailer. It will be hard to heat and cool. Being smaller, will make the heating and cooling a bit better.

 

I have not seen a 19' trailer with a walk around queen bed or glass shower door

 

But do have fun looking.

 

Ken

Edited by TXiceman

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Hi Ken,

 

Thanks for responding. It looks like I was unclear in my original post. I don't care about the mileage when towing. Only a small percentage of the vehicle's mileage will be towing. I want 20 mpg when averaging highway and city miles without towing. It's supposed to get that mileage. Also, according to the Ram forums the engine tows pretty well with the 8 speed transmission and 3.55 rear axle. Reports have been positive from people towing similar weights.

 

Also, the Premier is small with good insulation and a Thermal Package:

  • R-11 floor and roof
  • R-7 side walls
  • Ducted Heated and Enclosed Underbelly
  • 2'' Duct off of Furnace to Underbelly
  • 30K BTU Furnace and Residential Heat Ducts

http://www.keystonerv.com/premier/#/features

 

And I'm not sure why I should care about a four season trailer when I will winter in Florida anyway? The Premier 19fbpr has a walk around Queen. It doesn't have a shower door, but that's not a showstopper. If it was, I could move up to the 22 foot model ...which has a shower door.

 

-Eric

Edited by Eric21

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Do what your finances will allow you to do. Purchase the best your budget will allow . Folks full time in all brands all price

ranges. Your MPG is off, 10/12 towing is a more realistic figure 20mpg daily driver maybe.

 

All season makes no difference if you do not plan to be in all seasons. You can do it.

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Eric, it sounds like you are thinking clearly about what you want/need. I'd toss out something else for you to think about: what about a motor home towing a small, fuel-efficient vehicle? The fuel use either way is likely to be similar, and you won't be putting a lot of miles on the RV. The other vehicle, on the other hand, is your daily driver.

 

My advice to people considering full-timing is to seriously think about what you want to do, and it sounds like you have already done that. You also sound like you are continuing to modify your ideas as you learn more. That's the way to do it.

 

You seem to be willing to at least consider a used truck, so why not a used RV? You will be able to buy a higher quality RV for the same amount of money, or the same quality for less money. Most people seem to trade their RV fairly soon after buying it because they find that it isn't quite what they actually need. Those who have done their research often find that only one change is necessary. Those who haven't done their research find that two, or even three, changes are necessary to get it right.

 

Since fuel use seems to be important to you, I'd strongly suggest that you consider the MH/small towed route. That will probably give you the least fuel used during the course of a year. Total cost of ownership is something that probably depends more on the individual owner than anything else. How much work are you going to do yourself, and how much will be done by others? Are you one who takes the vehicle into the dealership for every little rattle and squeak, or are you one who fixes only the major things?

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Off the top of my head:

 

I suggest you sit on that toilet and see how your feet and knees fit. An angled toilet would give you more room there.

 

I like the kitchen but am not fond of U-shaped dinettes. I'd rather have more table room and less sitting room.

 

The TV is behind the slide when the slide is closed. May not be a problem but is something to think about.

 

All season helps even if you plan to winter in Florida. You can still have hot days and cold nights where extra insulation would be appreciated. But you can spend more for fuel to cool/heat and you can wear more clothes if it gets that cold.

 

You will probably appreciate that bed--it will let you sleep at an angle if it turns out to be a tad short.

 

I would hate the location of the microwave but you are tall so it shouldn't be a problem for you. Just don't ask any short friends to remove hot food from it. :)

 

Linda Sand

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Do what your finances will allow you to do. Purchase the best your budget will allow . Folks full time in all brands all price

ranges. Your MPG is off, 10/12 towing is a more realistic figure 20mpg daily driver maybe.

 

All season makes no difference if you do not plan to be in all seasons. You can do it.

Thanks Rich,

 

Yes, 10 to 12 mpg or even lower towing would be fine. I'm hoping to average around 20 mpg in daily driving. Yes, I'm really trying to keep costs as low as possible without buying too cheap and dealing with the headaches and expense of poor quality. I'm okay with paying a dollar more now to save two down the road. But I don't want to spend money for unneeded luxury or prestige.

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... I'd toss out something else for you to think about: what about a motor home towing a small, fuel-efficient vehicle?...

 

...You seem to be willing to at least consider a used truck, so why not a used RV? ...

 

...How much work are you going to do yourself, and how much will be done by others? Are you one who takes the vehicle into the dealership for every little rattle and squeak, or are you one who fixes only the major things?

Thanks David, I am willing to consider a motorhome and toad. I agree that overal fuel cost will be lower. However, I think that initial purchase price and maintenance cost might be higher. Motorhomes cost a lot more than 19 foot trailers. Then I have more and larger tires to replace. Two motors. Two oil changes etc.

 

I'm also willing to consider used, and you make great points about high quality used RVs being available. Part of the problem is that I don't have the knowledge and confidence to check for water leaks and other issues. Buying new, I know I'll have the dealership and manufacturer to make things right at least for the first year.

 

I'm mechanically inclined and willing to fix what I can. But I don't have much experience doing major repairs. The only things I do on my current car is change my own air filter, cabin filter, head light bulbs, and windshield wipers. Anything else breaks and it goes to the shop.

Edited by Eric21

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Off the top of my head:

 

I suggest you sit on that toilet and see how your feet and knees fit. An angled toilet would give you more room there.

 

I like the kitchen but am not fond of U-shaped dinettes. I'd rather have more table room and less sitting room.

 

The TV is behind the slide when the slide is closed. May not be a problem but is something to think about.

 

All season helps even if you plan to winter in Florida. You can still have hot days and cold nights where extra insulation would be appreciated. But you can spend more for fuel to cool/heat and you can wear more clothes if it gets that cold.

 

You will probably appreciate that bed--it will let you sleep at an angle if it turns out to be a tad short.

 

I would hate the location of the microwave but you are tall so it shouldn't be a problem for you. Just don't ask any short friends to remove hot food from it. :)

 

Linda Sand

 

Thanks Linda,

 

Great input on the toilet, dinette, microwave and bed. I too would like more table space instead of the extra awkward seating space. Maybe I could add a flip ups to the table top to add more table space?

 

Also, do you think the Thermal Package I mentioned in my second post would be enough to handle the cold of Florida?

 

-ERric

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We are in Florida near Disneyworld as we type this. Been coming here for the winter for the last 6 years before that the SouthwestIMO the 'All seasons " hype is marketing to make you think you have something you do not have. All season is great as long as you only spend spring and summer in them.

 

We have had 4 travel trailers and two 5th wheels.We had a Coachman 26 footer that was very much on the level or maybe less than the unit you are interesting in .We camped in the Northern Ohio winter. We did not freeze to death any RV is not easy to heat and

cool as they are nowhere near as insulated as any home.

 

We are now in a supposedly well insulated Rv with the "artic package" in fact it is the so called top of the line Keystone Montana

Big Sky. It was in the mid 30's at night last week and we used some serious propane temp set at 70 degrees.

 

As you state stay in warmer climates you will be OK.

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We have friends who started out with a new Bullet trailer of 26' but traded after only 3 years because things were falling apart. We had rebuilt the dinette benches and beefed them up, the slide mechanism had repeated problems, additional ventilation fan had to be installed in the rear of the refrigerator, along with several other problems. The lack of storage was also a problem.

 

We travel with a 19' (interior length) travel trailer today and we get along because we now only travel seasonally and so only carry what we will need for the season, leaving the rest at the home base. But when we were fulltime we had a much larger RV with better storage space. We also towed with a V-6 powered tow vehicle and we found it had barely enough power when in mountains and ours weighed in at about 2000# less than yours. We typically get about 10 to 11 mpg, but have seen as little as 8 mpg when in the mountains. We are trading up to a 2500 diesel this year

Edited by Kirk

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We are in Florida near Disneyworld as we type this. Been coming here for the winter for the last 6 years before that the SouthwestIMO the 'All seasons " hype is marketing to make you think you have something you do not have. All season is great as long as you only spend spring and summer in them.

 

We have had 4 travel trailers and two 5th wheels.We had a Coachman 26 footer that was very much on the level or maybe less than the unit you are interesting in .We camped in the Northern Ohio winter. We did not freeze to death any RV is not easy to heat and

cool as they are nowhere near as insulated as any home.

 

We are now in a supposedly well insulated Rv with the "artic package" in fact it is the so called top of the line Keystone Montana

Big Sky. It was in the mid 30's at night last week and we used some serious propane temp set at 70 degrees.

 

As you state stay in warmer climates you will be OK.

 

Wow, it’s small world. I’m currently tent camping at in Central Florida. It got to the mid 30’s yesterday morning. With a small Vornado space heater in my 10X10 four season tent, I was toasty warm. Didn't even have the heater on full power. Was comfortable cooking breakfast yesterday morning at the picnic table with a small $30 space heater too.

 

I’m surprised to hear that it takes so much propane to heat these RVs. Have you tried using a space heater or two instead? Maybe it’s because these big RVs have so much more volume than my small tent. Or maybe it's the glass that lets the heat out. Looks like my assumption that it would be easy to heat the 19 foot trailer is wrong. I assumed my space heater would have no trouble heating it up as it should be better insulated than my tent.

Edited by Eric21

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We have friends who started out with a new Bullet trailer of 26' but traded after only 3 years because things were falling apart. We had rebuilt the dinette benches and beefed them up, the slide mechanism had repeated problems, additional ventilation fan had to be installed in the rear of the refrigerator, along with several other problems. The lack of storage was also a problem.

Thanks Kirk,

 

I've been told that all RVs can have problems even expensive Class A's. Do you think it may have been a bad apple or just early model issues that needed worked out; or were the problems indicative of poor quality build or design? Also, I wonder if the Premier might be of higher quality than the standard Bullet.

 

Can you suggest a more durable trailer that might meet my needs? I'm also considering a Escape 5.0 TA (small fiberglass 5th wheel), Rockwood Mini, and Evergreen I-Go. They have similar weight and length to the Premier.

 

....Also, considering a Lance 1995, but not sure it's worth paying twice as much for this over the previously listed models. It only seems of slightly higher quaility.

Edited by Eric21

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When you look at the lower price RVs it is important to understand that there are valid reasons why some models cost more. The appliances in them are all of them the same, but construction materials & techniques, fit & finish, and all sorts of hidden quality issues are the reason why. In addition, the lighter weight RVs are built to weigh less by using aluminum, rather than steel, less insulation, single pane windows and a long list of things that account for the price difference. Consider that these are RVs that were built for vacation use where owners spend weekends and summer vacation in them and little more. Most of them experience no more than 60 days of use per year, while you are looking for a trailer that will hold up for years while being used in one year more than those experience in 6 years. They simply wear out and require far more repair and replacement or upgrading than would a better quality RV. It isn't that the Bullet is a bad product, but it just is not built to be used as a year around home.

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When you look at the lower price RVs it is important to understand that there are valid reasons why some models cost more. The appliances in them are all of them the same, but construction materials & techniques, fit & finish, and all sorts of hidden quality issues are the reason why. In addition, the lighter weight RVs are built to weigh less by using aluminum, rather than steel, less insulation, single pane windows and a long list of things that account for the price difference. Consider that these are RVs that were built for vacation use where owners spend weekends and summer vacation in them and little more. Most of them experience no more than 60 days of use per year, while you are looking for a trailer that will hold up for years while being used in one year more than those experience in 6 years. They simply wear out and require far more repair and replacement or upgrading than would a better quality RV. It isn't that the Bullet is a bad product, but it just is not built to be used as a year around home.

 

Thanks. Steel? Even the expensive Arctic Fox trailers and fifth wheels are made with aluminum and/or wood frames. Surely people can full-time long-term in those? Perhaps it's the fit and finish and hidden quality issues that make the difference as you state.

 

Do you have any opinions on the Escape 5.0 TA? It seems to be of more durable construction. Like the Casitas which last for so long. Also, any opinion on Lance ? They claim to make a higher quality product and charge a premium for it.

Edited by Eric21

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I don't mean to say that a quality RV has no aluminum in it's construction, but only that all aluminum in metal parts tends to mean lower quality to lower cost. The use of wood in an RV's framework has come to usually mean a higher quality because it is heavy but it also does not transmit heat in the way that aluminum does and is also better than steel. There is a great deal involved in the construction differences between brands and it takes a great deal of study to compare across band/model lines. There are a wide range in design purpose of the different travel trailers on the market and if you buy based upon price only, you must expect to get less in quality and durability than found in the higher side of the price range. RVs are no different than cars in this sort of thing. You would not expect to find the same level of quality in a Ford Fiesta that you would when driving a Mercedes and the RV market is at least as wide ranging as the automobile market.

 

Some years ago, a group called the RV Consumer Group came up with classifications for the different RVs to aid potential buyers in doing a fair comparison of the different price/quality levels. They break the market up into groups such as vacation/weekend, snowbird, fulltime, and several other categories. They did this in order to allow a buyer to know a little bit of what to expect from a particular model when comparing to other brands and models and to enable us to fairly compare RVs of the same general classification of quality for price and other purchase reasons. It takes a lot of research or experience to know the different companies as to what part of the market their products fall into. Keystone is well known over the years for building to the low to mid price side of the buying public with their products while Arctic Fox is known to build to the more discerning buyer, who is willing and able to pay more for a longer lasting, higher quality of RV. There are legitimate reasons for the wide range in RVs available because most of us are more willing to pay a high price for an RV that we expect to use a great deal, than we would be willing to pay for one that was only to be used for occasional short trips. My former RV was one in the snowbird category because our budget didn't allow for us to afford the very best but we did plan to live in it and so wanted durability of higher priced RVs. Today I happen to own one that is rated in the vacation/weekend group because we do not use it enough to justify the cost of the better RVs but I understand that I can't fairly expect the same service and reliability as the former RV had.

 

The fiberglass egg type of RV construction is sort of in a class of it's own since all of those are somewhat to the small side of RVs due to the method of construction and they all tend to be very durable, and quite expensive for the small size that they are. We did look very hard at the Casita as those are built just a short distance from our home-base and I am also pretty familiar with the Scamp which we know some folks who have years of experience with those, while the Escape is one that I have seen and visited with some owners, but have had no direct experience with. To the best of my knowledge, all of those are of good quality but you should compare those to each other and any others in that same size/construction group as they are a very different type from the Bullet that you mention first, and so too is their cost versus size.

 

As to what one can live in fulltime, there is no RV to my knowledge that has never been used as a fulltime home, but you need to realize that much of the difference is in expectation and personal needs. There are those who buy at the lowest cost side of the market and live happily in them because they accept the need for much more repair and maintenance, they may travel far less and miles of travel play a major role in how well a construction technique holds up over years of use, and they may also be willing to accept the degradation of the appearance of the interior of the RV which comes from lower quality materials. The RVs of lower price typically have the particle board interiors with vinyl wood grain coverings, while the highest price RVs will usually have solid wood of high quality in the cabinets and interior. In the groups between you will find RVs that have vinyl covered cabinets with solid wood in the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

 

Over the years I have seen people live all of the time in RVs from the very smallest and cheapest to the very largest and most expensive. There is no RV sold that has not been used as a full-time home by someone, somewhere. The problem is which RV can you live in successfully? All that any of us can do is to share our experiences and observations and what conclusions we have drawn from our travels. You might be able to live quite happily in either the Bullet or the Escape, which most of us would not be able to do so. Our friends who owned the Bullet gave up on it because they were not willing to accept the amount of time that it required for repairs and maintenance nor the amount of degradation taking place with the interior. We did not buy a Casita because Pam & I could not deal with the compactness of that type of RV, when compared to the more conventional construction type of similar cost and size. As you shop, take careful not also of the weight of each of the different RVs as that plays a major role in what is needed to tow each one.

Edited by Kirk

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Kirk, thank you for the very thorough reply! You make a lot of good points.

And yes, I think I can be happy with a lot less than most people, as my life circumstances are different than most. I’m confident that a 19 to 23 foot travel trailer will be more than I need. I’m fudging up for the “just in case” factor. Also, I want a “reasonable” floor plan to help with resale.

To put things in car terms. I’m looking for the Honda Accord of RVs. A little bigger and more expensive than than a Fiesta, but overall has less hassles and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) …once you factor in repairs and resale value. The Accord would have lower hassles and TCO than a Mercedes too, but without the added prestige and luxury.

That’s why I listed the Keystone Premier instead of a Wolf Pup. I’m looking for the price point where quality is sufficient without going into the “overbuilt for my needs” or luxury category. The Premier looks impressive on paper. But maybe the the devil is in the details. Like maybe the aluminum being less sound than the Arctic Fox’s new “Aluminum Super Structure” which might be closer along the scale to the military-grade aluminum being used the the new 2016 Ford F-150 than to aluminum used in Coke cans.

I’m pretty confident that I want a 19 to 23 foot travel trailer. Just a matter of picking the quality/price sweet spot in regards to lowest hassle and TCO for my usage. Also, I’m willing to go with a heavier trailer if needed. I could always get the new F-150. The 2.7L V6 ecoboost tows like a champ and gets somewhat decent mpg (18 mixed instead of 20). And the tow capacity and mpg might be improved this Fall if the 2017’s get the new 10 speed transmission as predicted.

I’m still considering the Escape fifth wheel too. It seems like the way to go in regards to durability, TCO, and customer support. But there are some drawbacks that are keeping me looking a bit more.

By the way, is the RV Consumer Group still updating their reviews? Might it still be a worthwhile purchase? Or perhaps you can recommend some other books or resources where I could learn more about how to evaluate new and used RV quality better?

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Wow, it’s small world. I’m currently tent camping at a campground in Apopka, Fl …just North of Orlando. It got to the mid 30’s yesterday morning. With a small Vornado space heater in my 10X10 four season tent, I was toasty warm. Didn't even have the heater on full power. Was comfortable cooking breakfast yesterday morning at the picnic table with a small $30 space heater too.

 

I’m surprised to hear that it takes so much propane to heat these RVs. Have you tried using a space heater or two instead? Maybe it’s because these big RVs have so much more volume than my small tent. Or maybe it's the glass that lets the heat out. Looks like my assumption that it would be easy to heat the 19 foot trailer is wrong. I assumed my space heater would have no trouble heating it up as it should be better insulated than my tent.

This thing has a electric fireplace and in the mentioned temps will keep the entire RV warm.We do not like to run the fireplace all night or when not in the RV. A space heater in the 19 foot Rv you are considering will keep it warm in Florida temps. In a Florida winter a few years ago were it got downright cold, mid and low 20's highs of 40's low 50's with some wind we along with most others were using a tank of propane @ every 3 days temp set at 70.In a "normal" winter in this area we use about a tank every month or month 1/2. Water heater and fridge on propane furnace on auto set at 70 runs when it runs.If the fireplace is on the furnace will usually never come on till late a night when we turn the fireplace off. Right now propane with the RV plus card is 20.36 a fill. Remember we are 400 square feet interior with 4 slides.

 

It is also a fact that the Rv's built with lessor materials have a higher rate of failure and the more you use them the higher chance of problems.Our two 5th wheels with over 10 years of high end use have had more problems than our

4 previous low end use TT's put together in fact triple the problems.

 

You have a budget. You know what you can spend. There will be negatives no matter what but it will work.

 

BTW. There is a RV show at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando later in the Month of Jan.Good place to look around.

Edited by richfaa

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Eric, I am impressed with the research you have done and the fit with your lifestyle and what is important to you. I think an important attribute that was perhaps overlooked in your description was: I take care of my stuff.

 

When I first rented an unfurnished house I bought a bedroom set - double bed w/bookcase headboard, dresser w/mirror, chest of drawers, mattress and box springs. The price was a little stiff, but I finally got the furniture dealer to throw in a pair of end tables and coffee table for the living room and a pair of very nice lamps for the end tables. $69.95 for the whole deal (delivered). Of course it was a long time ago, but even then the furniture was made of paper mache covered with wood grain printed vinyl.

 

I too, take care of my stuff and used it for years. Then I got married and we used it for years. When daughter was in Jr. high, my wife insisted on a new bedroom set for us and we moved my original one over to the daughter's room. In less than a week, the springs had crashed through the bed frame and was sitting on the floor, one of the dresser drawers was broken in two and would no longer fit back into the dresser. And yet it had lasted for 20 years when treated respectfully. The point being that with your attitude of taking care of stuff, trailers that would not hold up for full time living by many people, with be just fine for you.

 

Given your enjoying cooking outside, and glass shower doors, I would sure move up to the 22' model which includes both things. I personally also like the entertainment center placement better in the 22'. I owned a couple of Ford F-150 EcoBoost V-6 crew cab pickups which were the best vehicles I ever had. Either of them would handle the 19' or 22' with ease.

 

I had a personal preference for a U-shaped dinette rather than a table and chairs, but everything else about the trailer I got matched my needs perfectly. I didn't view the table / chairs as a deal breaker and it has been okay, although if someone offered to trade me a U-shape dinette for them, I would be pleased to do so.

 

All told, I think you are on the right track and will be pleased with the results of your approach to the issues.

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Looks like my assumption that it would be easy to heat the 19 foot trailer is wrong. I assumed my space heater would have no trouble heating it up as it should be better insulated than my tent.

Maybe; maybe not. It's been years since I camped in a tent but my memory says the walls of an RV tend to feel colder than the walls of a tent. That said, I could heat my 24' van just fine with a small electric space heater when I was plugged into a campground's utilities. The walls were still cold to the touch but I was warm as long as I didn't touch the walls.

 

Linda Sand

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First let me say that we have spent as long as 5 consecutive months in our 19' KZ Sportsman with no slides and with two of us so I agree that there are those of us who can live quite comfortably and happily in smaller RVs. There are two problems with most of the smaller, light weight RVs in that they tend to be difficult to heat if you get caught in really cold weather, and most of them have plumbing that is in unheated locations that can easily freeze in such situations. Ours does. The other problem area that you need to look at closely is having enough storage to carry all of your possessions with you. We managed that nicely for 12 years in an RV that was smaller than most couples live in, but we would not be able to carry everything in our present RV. Be very careful of both weight limits and available storage space. It can be done, but just go carefully.

I’m still considering the Escape fifth wheel too. It seems like the way to go in regards to durability, TCO, and customer support. But there are some drawbacks that are keeping me looking a bit more.

In the smaller trailers, I would consider either the Escape 5.0TA or the Scamp 19' fiver to be very good choices, particularly for a single who enjoys small spaces. The main drawback to these is the price since they, like most of the highest quality RVs, are at the high end of the price structure for such small RVs. The Escape is listed as $30,300 Canadian, which converts to $21,470 US. Scamp doesn't list their prices so you would need to call them, but they are US built so there could be some savings in that. Another of the fiberglass egg constructed RVs that may be of interest to you is the Oliver Legacy Elite II which isn't a fiver but it is 23' long.

 

By the way, is the RV Consumer Group still updating their reviews? Might it still be a worthwhile purchase?

The RV Consumer Group is very much alive and active. I am no longer a paid up member, but was for quite a long time and still believe in the work that they do and I still support and recommend it. While it isn't a cheap group to join, they do provide excellent education materials and when I last checked them the ratings materials were as good, accurate, and unbiased as can be found anywhere. I was an active part of the group for several years at two different times and have used their advice in researching and purchasing several RVs. I believe that they are especially worth the cost for a new, inexperienced RV buyer. I believe that you will find very few who have joined the group and didn't feel that they got good value for the cost.

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I had a pop up camper that was about 17 feet long overall. We used a small electric heater that would burn us out. I am certain you could get an inexpensive electric space heater to keep a 23 footer toasty. Also, I've looked closely at the Casita (even visited the factory) and the Escape. If I were to buy a trailer between those two, Escape would win. Quality is about the same but the Escape is bigger. The Casita is neat but the extra room of the Escape won me over. If you want to look at an over-the-top egg, take a look at Oliver but make sure you have a BIG wallet! (On edit: I did not see Kirk's mention of Oliver before mine - Oops)

 

I don't recall your budget if you mentioned it. Arctic Fox is one of the top listers but also take a look at Big Foot. Really neat four season trailers that will definitely stand up to full time living.

 

Something else to consider with the eggs: they really hold their value. I don't know if it is because they are well built or because of the cult-like following, but they seem to hold value better than most other mid-level trailers. I shudder to think how much our Montana will be worth in a few years :(

Edited by Kevin H

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....

You have a budget. You know what you can spend. There will be negatives no matter what but it will work.

 

BTW. There is a RV show at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando later in the Month of Jan.Good place to look around.

 

Rich, thanks for all the info and advice. Heating the unit doesn’t sound so bad after hearing more info. And yes, I hope to make the make the Orlando RV show. Thanks for the heads up!

 

I was able to attend one afternoon at the Tampa RV show early this month. But that wasn’t nearly enough time. And I was still learning so much. I spent most of the time just picking the sales and product reps brains about general RV construction etc. Didn’t have time to really see many RVs.

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....

All told, I think you are on the right track and will be pleased with the results of your approach to the issues.

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I’m the same way with my furniture. Inexpensive stuff looks like new after years of use.

 

My only worry is the occasional visit from relatives with kids. A few of my nieces could bring down a storm shelter in less than an hour. Unless I get something with residential grade construction, I think I’ll have to have a “no kids allowed” in the RV rule and setup a big tent with fans or heater for their rare visits.

 

 

----Edit----

 

Thanks for the info on floorplan and tow vehicle too.

Edited by Eric21

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Maybe; maybe not. It's been years since I camped in a tent but my memory says the walls of an RV tend to feel colder than the walls of a tent. That said, I could heat my 24' van just fine with a small electric space heater when I was plugged into a campground's utilities. The walls were still cold to the touch but I was warm as long as I didn't touch the walls.

 

Linda Sand

Linda,

 

The walls of the tent don’t stay cold with the heater on. I think the outer tent shell traps the heat so the inner shell is warmed up. This four-season tent is really amazing. So much warmer than a normal drafty tent. Takes little to heat it up and keep it warm. If the difference between a standard RV and “four-season” RV is anywhere near as great, I can see why people recommend the “four-season” RVs.

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