Freedomtailer

Best insulated slide-outs

28 posts in this topic

Drv but debatable, New Horizons, SpaceCraft. Older units not made now, Teton, Nuwa, Continental Coach, few others. 

Edited by GlennWest

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I cannot afford a custom made 5th wheel.

i need information about the current brand 5th wheels that are mid to luxury level.

we ar close to retirement and want to spend winters in warm places in the south.

We need a well insulated 5th wheel. Thx.

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Agree 100% with Glenn.

If you do not want to go the used or custom route, perhaps you can tell us more about your 5th wheel size, use (Winter in ?, etc.) and price range. Going full-time or parttime? There are 30 plus manufacturer and hundreds of models. In the majority of new production RV's attention to insulation, insulation movement prevention and air infiltration in not high on their priority list. They mostly target the weekend Summer traveler.

Also consider the windows and doors in your decision, as they are usually the heat loss and air infiltration weak links.

Edited by TheLongWayHome

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1 hour ago, Freedomtailer said:

I cannot afford a custom made 5th wheel.

i need information about the current brand 5th wheels that are mid to luxury level.

we ar close to retirement and want to spend winters in warm places in the south.

We need a well insulated 5th wheel. Thx.

Looking at rvt.com I see three really nice Newmar Mountain and Country Aire's for a good price and four Carriage Royal Internationals. The Newmar are nice hung wall units all aluminum super structure they are super insulated and quiet. We have two of them and even in central Texas one 15k BTU ac keeps it cool.

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1 hour ago, Freedomtailer said:

I cannot afford a custom made 5th wheel.

i need information about the current brand 5th wheels that are mid to luxury level.

we ar close to retirement and want to spend winters in warm places in the south.

We need a well insulated 5th wheel. Thx.

That is why I listed some used units. What is good is closed cell foam insulation such as the Blue Dow. Open cell, which the majority of Echart units use, let's lots of cold/heat through it. Drv uses wool house type insulation 3" thick. But is is compacted which hurts it value. Had been know to settle. Some will swear they are great. Ours wasn't. 

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We are interested in a new model not used.

My question is of the current brands available on the market, which are best to winter in?

We need about 36-37 foot Rear Living unit to live in during about 3 months of the year with lotsa counter space and excellent refrigerator! ( not a residential refrigerator)

 Hoping to go south for winter!

We fall camp on weekends due to we are both still employed. 

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You probably should change your wants then. Aside from DRV, none that I know of has good slides insulation. Most of the the high end units that spent more money on slideouts are out of business due to higher costs. I would in your case concentrate on tightly sealed and dual pane windows. Don't under estimate the value of good windows. They cover a large portion of your unit. A standard window is hot in summer and cold in winter. This is the very reason we own an older Teton. We wanted new but we're very put off by what was advailable. Also at this stage in life, we didn't want a 200k custom build either. Most of us chase the milder temps. I don't but because of work. Have to go where jobs are. Sad but what you want don't sell campers in today's market.

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Have a look at Grand Design - perhaps their Solitude 360RL. Add the Weather-Tek package. It's 39' but they have other similar models. Some of the others below might be longer too, but it was what we short-listed for going full-time.

Others to consider:-

 

Rear Living short-list.xlsx

Edited by TheLongWayHome
Lost lisiting (twice) - now a file!

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To TheLongWayHome....

Thank you, Thank you for that list!!! We will begin our search with those! We needed a place to begin.

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One thing you might also be aware of....most of the manufacturers do not put insulation in the slide floors. Just FYI.

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Arctic Fox uses R-15 reflective foil insulation and R-18 fiberglass insulation in their main roofs, R-15 reflective foil in the slideout ceiling (likely in the floor, too),  The slide side walls are made the same as the main sidewalls.

A slide topper awning will keep a lot of the sun heating off of the slideout roof.  Don't forget the thermal pane windows, standard on the Arctic Fox.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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Where do I find information about the insulation R factors on the 5th wheel. The sales person seems to just tell me what they think I want to hear!

who can tell me the true specs of insulation?

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1 hour ago, Lou Schneider said:

Arctic Fox uses R-15 reflective foil insulation and R-18 fiberglass insulation in their main roofs, R-15 reflective foil in the slideout ceiling (likely in the floor, too),  The slide side walls are made the same as the main sidewalls.

A slide topper awning will keep a lot of the sun heating off of the slideout roof.  Don't forget the thermal pane windows, standard on the Arctic Fox.

Lou. Artic Fox's brochure says R-7 in the floors and makes no mention what-so-ever of any insulation in the slide rooms, only the main roof, walls and floor. 

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1 hour ago, Freedomtailer said:

Where do I find information about the insulation R factors on the 5th wheel. The sales person seems to just tell me what they think I want to hear!

who can tell me the true specs of insulation?

The Manufacturer's websites are a good start - ask about walls, slide walls, floors, slide floors, Basement, Ceiling, end cap, under the pin box, .... Type and number of slide seals, Window types (single, double pane). Ask where are the ducting relative to the insulation. You may have to call the manufacturer. RV Dealer have too many vendor types and models to really know the details. Once you get it narrowed down to a couple of manufacturers, see if you can get a factory tour - ask lots of questions. If you get to a few manufacturers and models, this forum will have someone with direct experience in that model.

All search for Owner Groups for the manufacturers on your short list. They may also have a forum site. It they have an annual rally, you can go see and talk with lots of real owners in one location. Generally well worth the effort.

Good luck.

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Be aware that many manufacturers play games with the R values they claim. For instance, many will attribute rather high values to a foil faced bubble wrap. Some will claim as high as R-15, when in reality the correct value is closer to R-1.  See the referenced article for some explanation of these creative claims:

http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog/29497/The-Foil-Faced-Bubble-Wrap-Sham-Understanding-Radiant-Barriers

The best quality closed cell foam runs about R-5 per inch of thickness, while fiberglass batts provide R-3 to maybe R-3.8 per inch. So does it seem reasonable that a 1/4" thick foil faced bubble wrap provides R-15? 

I think that Artic Fox makes a nice trailer and we plan to look at them if we decide to replace our NuWa down the road. But the fact that they are claiming R-15 for a thin later of foil faced bubble warp is bothersome to me. 

Rather than accepting a manufacturers stated R-value, I would concentrate on the thickness of the wall/floor/roof structure and the type and thickness of insulation that they install. 

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I can only comment on my 1999 Arctic Fox 26x trailer.  It had fiberglass insulation in the ceiling and floor of the slideout as well as the sidewall.  It's slideout stayed considerably cooler than the 2004 Sunnybrook I have now.

As far as new units, all I could find was the brochures for the Silver Fox 5th wheels, which states it has R13 fiberglass in the ceiling and R15 bubble foil in the roof and slide.

http://northwoodmfg.com/arctic-fox-2/arctic-fox-35-5z/

One could call the factory and ask ... as far as I know they answer the phone.

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7 minutes ago, Lou Schneider said:

One could call the factory and ask ... as far as I know they answer the phone.

Even better, we're in La Grande for the next few weeks and plan to try and get a factory tour!  As I said, we are considering Artic Fox for our next trailer and would like to learn more about them.

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If I'm a Northwoods fan, it's because I bought that 1999 Arctic Fox 26x from a salvage yard after it had been in a crash similar to the Nash trailer in this video.  Pause it at the 36 second mark and see how well the structure held up after flipping onto it's side at speed and careening into the center divider.

My trailer was in a similar crash and survived in similar shape.  I don't know if you could say the same for other brands.  All it needed was to replace a bent hitch coupler, patch a couple of exterior gouges and a good cleaning.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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In regards to excelent refrigerator, I got a 8 cu ft in my new fifth because the manufacturer said they worked great. I wanted a residential but took his word. The results are they are no better cooling than the one I had in my 1998 coach.Now I am looking at a residential.

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On slide floor insulation.....

If the slide is flush floor then it likely does not have much, or any, insulation. If it is raised floor then it may or may not have insulation. It is "difficult" to design a flush floor slide with much floor dimension for insulation. Not impossible - New Horizons does it - but difficult.

This is just a general guideline. There are obviously exceptions. But if you look at flush floor slides you will see that they "typically" have little-to-no insulation added to the structure.

Air infiltration is as important as insulation "values". Probably more important. If you have lousy windows and slide seals - especially at the corners of the slides - you will get lots of air movement in the rig and it will feel far colder than "necessary". You need both - good insulation, and tightness. 

I agree that manufacturers "stretch" the insulation values. There is no real standard, and they have to figure out the layers themselves. 

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On our Teton our slideouts floor is same as walls. But again they were the exception and they went under also. Ours is flush mounts. Again I agree, can't go by advertised r values published. Have to do your own homework. Jfyi a 2" thick wall has more living space than a 3" wall. I didn't think it made much difference but after owning both it is. Also I had to call manufacturers to find out what type foam used when I was shopping. Specifically had to ask either closed cell or open. Again this isn't a priority with them. It don't increase sales

Edited by GlennWest

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NuWa used to make a big point of noting that they used only the Blue Dow Corning closed cell foam in their trailers, and pointed out the benefits of that material. But they're out of business, so your point about not increasing sales seems valid!! :(

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