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Nature or 40 feet 5th wheel?

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We went with 40' brand new fifth wheel. We now think 35' would have been fine. 35" def opens more possibilities esp if you will be looking at State parks and National Forest parks. 40' is still doable but fewer options, harder to maneuver, and for us we don't feel like we need the space so trade offs not worth it.

 

We have f350 dually 4x4. I drove Honda Accord most my life so big adjustment but I now really really like the truck.

 

When I was looking Kirk recommended I look at http://rv.org/member.html before making my purchase. A small investment in the scheme of things and I found it valuable.

 

I second the recommendation at your price point and intended use to look at Northwood--Arctic Fox.

Edited by Daveh

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Remote as possible was my goal when I retired as a forester. So my remote probably means different things to other people.

 

We had used two tent trailers for years and when I retired bought a 31 foot 5th wheel. It was WAY to BIG. Miles and miles of dirt road were just a chore and it pretty much shook the 5th to death. So we ended up "camping" pretty much as the end of paved roads. I really did not enjoy towing the vehicle, even though it was well within weight limits. The 5th wheel is now parked full-time in Arizona.

 

Last year we bought a 17 Casita and took it up to Alaska and back this summer. That was fun. I take anywhere I can take a pickup truck. So far it has held together rather well on some god-awful roads. You know it is a bad road when the cupboard hinge breaks in the middle of the metal...not on a joint. The storage in the 8 foot truck bed was pretty impressive. Everything lived out there except for the everyday stuff.

 

 

Years ago, I was at a Life-on-Wheels conference and met a guy that had a large 5th wheel AND a truck camper. I thought he was nuts, until I bought my second RV. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect RV so as noted you really have to make a decision on what is important to you.

 

For me it was remote.

 

BTW.....I think the best of both worlds is to get a dually with truck camper and tow a small fiberglass trailer like a Casita. That way you get a 2 bedroom 2 bath RV in a relatively small package.

 

How many RV's have two baths and bedrooms??

Edited by Vladimir

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True a 40' will not fit in every space that a 30' will but a 30' will fit in every space it firs in and that a 40' does. They will also navigate the park much easier, CA STATE Campgrounds usually have a 30' limit so do many USFS Campgrounds. Yes you can fit bigger rigs in and yes you can damage them in trying to do so. Remember when you go to a campground not every site is available to you but once you enter the campground you must exist, hours of fun, for me. Slope matters.

 

It seems the longer the RV and the shorter the space the more determined the driver to fit into the space and the more determined the "helpers" to get into that space and the space never gets any bigger, the slope any less and those damn trees and rocks just sit there with their same evil grins.

 

We really don't like the big country club style Campgrounds and opt for the more remote Campgrounds USFS and beaches. We downsized from a 32 to a 28. We can go where we want, when we want without much fuss. There is a huge difference in drivability too between the behemoth rigs and the more user friendly shorter rig.

 

But this is your first RV so how do you really know what you need or want. If you get a 5th wheel or trailer don't forget the length of the tow. If you buy a MH don't forget the length of the toad. Please let me know when you first plan to pull into a crowded service station in any RV, oh an 60 mph head and crosswinds or a steep mountain road.

 

We noticed that on our trip to Alberta last July/August the lack of big class A's especially DP's and 5vers. The abundance of new F53 mid size to 28' Class A' and TT. Acquaintances who I know have all downsized from their last RV wether MH, 5ver or TT.

 

I agree with those above who suggest buying used first. Find something older and clean. The bugs are hopefully out of it and it won't break the bank when you discover it was too big, too small, not TT or not a 5ver or vice versa. Also your first dent won't make you feel so bad and there will be a first dent. Then sell it and buy what you figured you want and need..

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Great post, Forest. Alas, great posts everyone, but Forest's really got us thinking.

 

Cheers,

--

Vall & Mo.

Edited by VallAndMo

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Thanks, for more info! Went to the RV show in Pamona this week and had planned to hike one day of the 3...well that didn't happen! 3 mind-boggling but informative days. I would like to respond to some of your specific comments. Can someone please tell me how to just quote ONE sentence and not the whole comment you made? Is it a matter of cut and paste?????

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I hit quote then delete the parts to which I am not responding. That leaves the header on the original post so people know to whom I am responding.

 

Look at me using correct grammar for a change! :)

 

Linda Sand

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I don't want to come on here and bash any particular brand, but, there are owners sites for most of the major brands. I'd suggest taking a look at some of them. Someone suggested you look at Northwood, the makers of Arctic Fox. I second that! Their owners site is www.nroa2003.com Sites for Keystone brands and Forest River trailers can be found by Googling. On these sites, you'll find either satisfied owners or a constant tirade of complaints. It's good to know what owners say about their trailers.

 

Best of luck in your search and subsequent adventure.

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I just, 5 minutes ago joined this forum, and we only have a few months to make some major decisions. We are getting ready to retire in December 2016 and we are jumping into full time rv'ing in May 2017 in a 5th wheel - never owned any kind of RV. We want to do this because of our first passion - hiking, and there are so many places we want to go. We know how we like to live and herein lies the rub! We like the space offered in a 40 footer, on the other hand, we like some semblenc of privacy in location and it seems(from what we have read) that 35 footers will open up more camping spaces that might be to our liking. We don't want to always have to be in private camps where we are stacked like dominoes. Are there enough "natural settings" out there for 40 footers or is it worth giving up 5 feet to perhaps gain more natural settings? We won't go shorter than 35?

If you have thoughts of perhaps changing from a 5th wheel to a MH, you really should rent a motorhome. As you have seen in the replies here, there are pluses & minuses to both a 5'er or a MH. Renting for 3 nights would give a good feel what they are like. For fulltiming very few people opt for a Class C, so I recommend you rent a 34' to 36' Class A. Also renting a 40' Diesel Pusher may be a thought as well. The rental price of these larger MH's are not cheap, but they are less expensive than buying a MH which in the end doesn't meet your needs.

 

I have not seen a place which rents 5th wheels. I think the cost of renting both a large enough truck and the 5th wheel combination is a problem, combined with the hookup and disconnect of the 5th wheel is so different than anything a novice has any experience with is a problem. Also there is probably a lack of demand for the 5'er rental.

 

No matter what you decide, 5'er or MH, you have a huge learning curve, if you have little or no experience with RV'ing. Not meaning to be negative, but there is a lot to learn.

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Can someone please tell me how to just quote ONE sentence and not the whole comment you made?

Just click on the "quote" button, then delete out everything except the part you wish inside of the quote box.

Is it a matter of cut and paste?????

You can also use the cut & paste to quote a part of the post but in doing it that way, you no longer have the section stating where the quote came from. You can also use the "multiquote" button and then use the "quote" button to get quotes from several different posts, or you could cut & paste if you don't care to have the source of the quote show.

 

When you use the tools like cut & paste, you then use the balloon along the top of the editing area. If you hold the mouse pointer over each of those icons, it will then tell you what that icon does. Things like bold, or italic, underline, crossout, or even sub and super script. It is also where you insert or remove a linked url, insert a picture and several other edit features.

Edited by Kirk

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If you want to be remote, and you want to be fulltime...you have a quandry.

 

Every 5' jump from 25-30-35-40-45' will be a fairly large reduction in the number of spaces available to you in what I'll call "public" parks: NP/NFS/SP/etc. The problem is much worse east of the Mississippi. The West is still pretty open except for parts of California.

 

I don't really see that larger RVs have larger living areas, if you're talking about 2 people. A short queen bed is the size of a short queen bed, no matter the size of RV it is in. A dinette is a dinette. A chair is a chair. You take up about the same cubic space no matter where you are sitting. So how many different sitting places do you need? Now if you have more than 2 people, or you want to entertain, that's another question and outside the scope of my comments. My point is that a 40' doesn't have all that different an effective living space than a 30', for 2 people.

 

No, imo, the biggest benefit to each of those 5' jumps is additional *storage*. And that's a big deal if you are truly fulltime, with no "land" storage. We wanted to stick to a 32-36' for reasons similar to you. But as we "played" house looking at different RVs I just couldn't see how to store all the gear and things I felt we needed in less than a 40' DP. Now that we're in it, I see I was pretty much right. All the compartments are full. Now yeah, I probably have too many tools and support equipment, but still...As we get better at this, maybe, *maybe*, I could get us down to a 35'.

 

Oh, and part of the reason we went with a DP instead of a 5er is that we felt the basement in the DP offered more practical storage than the cabinets in a 5er. Opinions differ on that. Also, you seem like the adventurous sort. Personally, I think adventurous folks are much better served by a Class A and a 4WD toad than a 5er and towing truck. Again, opinions differ.

 

Anyways, I'll give you a tip: go spend a lot of time with the ReserveAmerica website. Go do campground searches with filters for different lengths of rig. Do this for every part of the country you are interested in. You will soon see just *how much* each 5' increment costs you in space availability.

 

Then, make an inventory of everything you think you need to take: clothes, shoes, food, linen, tools, boots (bulky), outdoor gear, computers, DVDs, cameras, on and on. Everything. Now, go look at RVs. Figure out where each item is going to live. The result is likely to be quite sobering.

 

Now fit those two requirements together: how big do you need to haul your stuff, and how small do you need to fit where you want. There is no ideal compromise unless you can live *very* minimally in terms of possessions. If you can, then great. Actually, the ultimate in "it fits there" is a van. People do fulltime in vans. I couldn't, but there are people (almost all single) who do. See cheaprvliving.com for some outside-the-box thinking. Beyond the super-minimal lifestyle it's mostly a question of how big a rig do you need to haul your stuff. Don't forget that with a little work and creativity your toad can haul quite a bit as well. We use a RAM 1500 4x4 pickup with a cap on the back. That holds a *lot*, and yet still drives like a car, and can go 85% of the places a person not in a group would take a Jeep.

 

For us, we went through your process and found we could do "enough" with a 40'. More places and spaces then we can see in a lifetime. Some places we'll have to stay nearby and visit with the toad, but that's true of every rig. I second the recommendation for the WheelingIt blog mentioned above. They have been our inspiration.

 

Anyways, what I tried to suggest here is not what to buy, but how to approach the decision process so that *you* know what to buy. Good luck.

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If you want to be remote, and you want to be fulltime...you have a quandry.

 

Every 5' jump from 25-30-35-40-45' will be a fairly large reduction in the number of spaces available to you in what I'll call "public" parks: NP/NFS/SP/etc. The problem is much worse east of the Mississippi. The West is still pretty open except for parts of California.

 

I don't really see that larger RVs have larger living areas, if you're talking about 2 people. A short queen bed is the size of a short queen bed, no matter the size of RV it is in. A dinette is a dinette. A chair is a chair. You take up about the same cubic space no matter where you are sitting. So how many different sitting places do you need? Now if you have more than 2 people, or you want to entertain, that's another question and outside the scope of my comments. My point is that a 40' doesn't have all that different an effective living space than a 30', for 2 people.

 

No, imo, the biggest benefit to each of those 5' jumps is additional *storage*. And that's a big deal if you are truly fulltime, with no "land" storage. We wanted to stick to a 32-36' for reasons similar to you. But as we "played" house looking at different RVs I just couldn't see how to store all the gear and things I felt we needed in less than a 40' DP. Now that we're in it, I see I was pretty much right. All the compartments are full. Now yeah, I probably have too many tools and support equipment, but still...As we get better at this, maybe, *maybe*, I could get us down to a 35'.

 

Oh, and part of the reason we went with a DP instead of a 5er is that we felt the basement in the DP offered more practical storage than the cabinets in a 5er. Opinions differ on that. Also, you seem like the adventurous sort. Personally, I think adventurous folks are much better served by a Class A and a 4WD toad than a 5er and towing truck. Again, opinions differ.

 

Anyways, I'll give you a tip: go spend a lot of time with the ReserveAmerica website. Go do campground searches with filters for different lengths of rig. Do this for every part of the country you are interested in. You will soon see just *how much* each 5' increment costs you in space availability.

 

Then, make an inventory of everything you think you need to take: clothes, shoes, food, linen, tools, boots (bulky), outdoor gear, computers, DVDs, cameras, on and on. Everything. Now, go look at RVs. Figure out where each item is going to live. The result is likely to be quite sobering.

 

Now fit those two requirements together: how big do you need to haul your stuff, and how small do you need to fit where you want. There is no ideal compromise unless you can live *very* minimally in terms of possessions. If you can, then great. Actually, the ultimate in "it fits there" is a van. People do fulltime in vans. I couldn't, but there are people (almost all single) who do. See cheaprvliving.com for some outside-the-box thinking. Beyond the super-minimal lifestyle it's mostly a question of how big a rig do you need to haul your stuff. Don't forget that with a little work and creativity your toad can haul quite a bit as well. We use a RAM 1500 4x4 pickup with a cap on the back. That holds a *lot*, and yet still drives like a car, and can go 85% of the places a person not in a group would take a Jeep.

 

For us, we went through your process and found we could do "enough" with a 40'. More places and spaces then we can see in a lifetime. Some places we'll have to stay nearby and visit with the toad, but that's true of every rig. I second the recommendation for the WheelingIt blog mentioned above. They have been our inspiration.

 

Anyways, what I tried to suggest here is not what to buy, but how to approach the decision process so that *you* know what to buy. Good luck.

 

Quote from above: We use a RAM 1500 4x4 pickup with a cap on the back. That holds a *lot*, and yet still drives like a car, and can go 85% of the places a person not in a group would take a Jeep.

Gannet,

Good info and advice.

 

I just want to add that the RAM 1500 4X4 with cap on the back and lots of stuff in it is going to weigh way over 5000 pound towing limit of every gas motorhome I am aware of. So you must go with a diesel pusher for that size toad.

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Hiking, tents, popups,TT's 5th wheels been there done all of that and as the years went by our camping style changed as did our choice of camper. we would not have changed a thing .You may find that as the years go by you will want to do different things.

Purchase what you need to do what you want to do now and let life take its course.

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I'd like to say welcome. I can see you are putting a great deal of thought into this and congrats on getting out of the Rut Race. A few thoughts based on our experience and observations. Driving and Parking a short RV is more fun than living in it. Living in a non-slide RV is more reliable but tight. The more the RV the more the truck to pull it. The bigger the truck the more fun it is to drive till you get to town. Scales are not just for humans. Your marriage to tires will develop an itch on or before the 5th year and a definite divorce by the 7 year itch. Like most divorces it is expensive. Camping in a dry camp situation is fun till you have to dump. Motorhomes seem to be better at it than trailer folks due to the hook up factor. Our 31 foot motorhome was a hoot to drive on the road and in town. Our 40 foot motorhome was not as much fun to drive and was a definite pain in town. Once parked that 40 feet of luxury was to die for. Bigger is not better in our experience. The toyhauler was cramped inside, where we lived, but my motorcycle lived in the lap of luxury back there. We were volunteering at a State Park recently and a new, big red truck came in with a new 43' toyhauler. It was a family who stayed a long time at our Park and were heard to say something about a smaller rig in the future. I understood. What I have found in my RV experience is the rig that fits your needs is the best deal. Too much is just as bad as too little, just like in the Three Bears and Goldilocks. Look for quality, slightly used and a good build. Good luck with your search and travels.

Edited by motojavaphil

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Driving and Parking a short RV is more fun than living in it. Living in a non-slide RV is more reliable but tight. The more the RV the more the truck to pull it. The bigger the truck the more fun it is to drive till you get to town.

 

Once parked that 40 feet of luxury was to die for. Bigger is not better in our experience.

 

. Too much is just as bad as too little, just like in the Three Bears and Goldilocks.

Remember that the reason RVs come in such a wide range of types & sizes is that there are those who believe that each one of them is the very best choice! We went on the road with a 36' gasoline powered motorhome that had no slides and had no possessions that were not traveling with us. Many experts told us that what we were attempting to do could not be done, comfortably. If you read the discussions of the "right" RV on most forums, our choice is seldom spoken of favorably, yet we lived very happily & comfortably in ours for 12 years, only leaving the road for my wife's health. We spent time in 42 of the states and passed through 5 more and only experienced one breakdown that required towing. We put 77k miles on the motorhome and another 250k miles on three different towed vehicles in those years and had a wonderful experience.

 

There are many ways of living in your RV and they do not all have the same requirements so the best choice of RV is not always the same. I believe that it is a balance of budget, comfort, the right floor-plan, and RV quality. There are many factors that impact the choice which will fit you best, but I believe that most of them are your personal preferences and priorities. We came very close to owning the perfect RV, but what made it that way was high quality and it fit our needs and desires. Smaller people usually require less space and so can live comfortably in a smaller RV. It is also difficult to be happy in the most luxurious RV if you worry about how you will manage what it costs you to operate it or pay for it. On the other hand, if you buy the cheapest RV will you be able to keep it in good repair and live in it happily? And don't overlook the question of what you will do when the RV living must come to the end, as that can happen to anyone quite suddenly.

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When buying an RV in CA, some folks accept delivery in NV to avoid paying a tax. I'm not sure of the details, perhaps someone experienced with this will comment.

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