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Janine K

HELP! Travel Trailers...which one

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My husband and I are in the market for a travel trailer....this will be our first RV purchase EVER!  We live in the chicagoland area and interested in hearing about some dealerships nearby (we are willing to drive a couple of hours).  Most important is a reputable dealer with a decent service department.

We are looking to purchase a travel trailer that is 30'-33' long with a decent bedroom (preferably a walk around bed) we do not like the bunk rooms nor do we need it...we would like to sleep 4-6, have a nice common area and an outdoor kitchen.  Our price range is $20,000-$30,000.

We just can't narrow down our choice, I think mostly because we just don't know enough.  We happened upon a sweet couple at an RV show recently and they recommended we look up this discussion forum.  Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Janine 

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!

In my opinion, finding a floorplan that meets your needs is very important to your satisfaction with any unit. Will you be using the trailer fulltime or just for weekends/vacations? What kind of weather conditions do you plan to use the trailer in? Do you already own the tow vehicle or will you match a tow vehicle to the trailer after you select the trailer?

Your price range generally puts you in the new market for entry level and seasonal use models from a number of manufacturers and may put you in the used market for four season and fulltime units such as Artic Fox, Open Range and Grand Design. It would help if you told us some of the brands/models that you are considering based on your floorplan and features preferences. 

There are relatively few travel trailer owners that participate in this forum so the odds that someone owns the exact model(s) that you are considering is not that high. If their is an owners' group for the manufacturer(s) of the units that you are considering that may be a source for specific information about models and any issues with the manufacturer or the specific model(s).

Since you have never owned an RV before RV Reviews and the RV Consumer Group may have information that you would find helpful.

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!

Edited by trailertraveler

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Here is another welcome! 

Because I have never lived in the Chicago area, I am not familiar with any of the dealers there but I think that you might be well to consider a trip to the heart of RV manufacturing country and tour a factory or two. Elkhart, IN is only about 2 hours travel from you and there are many RV manufacturing companies located there. By touring 2 or 3 of those it can help you to understand what goes into the construction of them and thus to better evaluate your choices. Here are some factories that offer tours.

 

Jayco          Heartland             Winnebago         Grand Design                 Keystone RV                 Forest River              

There are others so check around. Keep in mind that each RV manufacturer builds a wide range of price and quality of RV so look at each model very carefully. In general, higher quality RVs also cost significantly more. The lower price RVs are designed for lighter use as in weekends and vacations, while the higher quality RVs can be used seasonally such as by snowbirds or even full-time living. As a rule, higher quality RVs also weigh more so pay attention to the weight of the rigs that you check out. There are companies that have long histories of good reputations like Jayco & Winnebago and others that are relatively new to the marketplace like Keystone & Forest River.

 

 

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Welcome, Janine! As trailertraveler said, how you plan to use your trailer will make a BIG difference in what you should get. Full-time use is MUCH harder on an RV than weekend use, which means that you will need a higher quality coach.

Might I ask if you have considered other types of recreational vehicles? How you plan to use your RV will have a lot to do with what type of RV you need. Towables require a good-size truck, which will be your daily driver if you are full-time. For that matter, it will also be your daily driver even if you are a weekender on those weekends when you are out camping. An Airstream of the size you mention will have a gross vehicle weight of 9800 to 12,500 pounds. That will require at least an F250 or similar truck. A fifth wheel will need to be at least an F350 dually, and some of the better-made ones will need an F550. The bed of the pickup is mostly taken up by the fifth wheel hitch, so don't expect to be hauling 4 x 8 sheets of plywood with that truck.

A motor home can tow a fuel-efficient vehicle, which will also be easier to drive around on those trips to the sights and Walmart. They also have the advantage of having the interior a comfortable temperature all of the time, something that a towable can't do.

My suggestion is that you spend some time at every dealership and RV show you can get to. Go into everything on the lot, regardless of price or condition. Look at the floorplan to see what will and won't fit your needs. As you are looking at the older rigs, look at how well they have aged. You will find that the higher end coaches have fared better than the lower priced ones.

Earlier I mentioned the question of how you will use your coach. You mention sleeping space for 4-6. Most will fit that requirement, as there will be a queen bed at one end and a couch that turns into a bed at the other. A booth dinette will usually be convertible into another double bed. Finding an outside kitchen NOT on a bunkhouse model will be harder, but they do exist.

Edited by kb0zke

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Yes do lots of looking.  If you go to a TT that is 33 plus then you will find models with a closet and chest of drawers

in the bedroom.  Our last TT was a 2011 Keystone 30 footer and that was my wife's biggest complaint lack of storage space for clothes on a trip.

Also if you can find a TT that is a year old or so you will save a ton of money over a new one.

Edited by Phil Saran

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14 minutes ago, Phil Saran said:

Also if you can find a TT that is a year old or so you will save a ton of money over a new one.

If you're talking about US dollar bills, that would amount to over $900,000.  Pretty good savings for a one year old trailer.  :)

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On 2/4/2018 at 5:01 PM, Janine K said:

My husband and I are in the market for a travel trailer...

Among the reasons to do a lot of looking & research is that with each view a new item may present itself & you'll learn yet another thing about RVs. They all seem to do the same thing with pretty much the same items, so the difference is in the details, like floor plans, storage, roof, & spec sheets. It's not a difficult task and as the information you gather piles up you'll be smarter & happier with your choice of RV, especially if you are totally honest with yourselves with what you want & how you'll use it. The local dealers may have the variety to pick from, but don't disregard a little drive to get what you want. As you research manufacturers you'll be using the "Locate a Dealer" tab on their websites. Beyond a proper Pre-Delivery Inspection on a potential purchase, I wouldn't put to much thought into the service department of a dealer, choosing an RV Service Center instead as the former exists to sell RVs & the latter exists on their reputation of service.

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The best advice for new RVers id to look for a higher end used unit.  The depreciation is already taken by the first owner and many of the new unit problems are repaired.  Since you are new to RVs, hire an experienced RV inspector to thoroughly check over the RV and all systems operate properly.  Spend a few hundred dollars at this point can save a bunch on possible repairs later.

Ken

 

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New or used RV is a very personal decision and one often stated as the only best answer. While I too started with a used RV, I have known many who bought new for their first time and were then happy that they did so. If you do enough research and then buy new there are some clear advantages to that as well. My wife did not want to use a bed that was slept in and who knows what else by people that we didn't even know. Better quality RV manufacturers provide a warranty and they stand behind it. With a new RV the owner knows the entire history of how it has been used and/or abused. Having owned both new and used RVs and have never had a really bad experience with either one but I have also spent a lot of time and effort in researching each one before I bought it. You can save significant money by buying used if the used RV is a reliable one. But if you choose badly you could find yourself with a money pit. 

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The only advice I can give regarding dealer is "generally speaking" I've found small dealers outside the major urban areas to be better.

If you are not hands-on then there are allot of advantages to a new trailer with an extended warranty.

If you are hands-on there are allot of advantages to quality built used.

 My $0.02......I don't think there is much quality in new $20,000-$30,000 trailers.  

Have you looked at the molded fiberglass trailers like Bigfoot,  Escape Trailers and others

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/

On last word......before buying the people here would be happy to help you figure out how much your tow vehicle can pull.  

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 5:01 PM, Janine K said:

...We are looking to purchase a travel trailer that is 30'-33' long with a decent bedroom (preferably a walk around bed)... 

 

9 hours ago, ALLOY said:

...Have you looked at the molded fiberglass trailers like Bigfoot,  Escape Trailers and others...

Are there any of the fiberglass egg trailers in the size range the OP is looking for? I believe Bigfoot's largest is 25.5' and Escape's largest is 21'. 

Edited by trailertraveler

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6 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

Are there any of the egg trailers in the size range the OP is looking for?

Casita Travel Trailers only builds in 16' & 17' lengths currently and they are only sold new from the Texas factory. 

Scamp builds 13', 16' & 19' in length and they sell new from their Minnesota factory but will deliver. 

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6 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Casita Travel Trailers only builds in 16' & 17' lengths currently and they are only sold new from the Texas factory. 

Scamp builds 13', 16' & 19' in length and they sell new from their Minnesota factory but will deliver. 

Casita?  No!  Very little room if stuck inside.  Only walk around will be the Casita itself.  Owned one. . .never again!!!  Bought a B+ instead.

Edited by Jeff & Suzanne

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On 2/17/2018 at 4:34 AM, trailertraveler said:

 

Are there any of the fiberglass egg trailers in the size range the OP is looking for? I believe Bigfoot's largest is 25.5' and Escape's largest is 21'. 

I was talking to a couple that were looking at bigger but the went with molded fiberglass.  They thought quality was more important than the size of the trailer.

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for infomational purpose;   the Oliver fiberglass factory Hoenwald Tn. I think the longest is about 23-24ft.

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There are RV dealers in central Illinois.  I can't comment on their honesty or service as I have only looked, not bought from any.  Pontiac RV located in Pontiac has a good selection of different sizes of travel trailers.  Jerry Pressley RV in Decatur has a good selection of both new and used TT.  Four Winds has locations in Maroa and East Peoria.  I have not visited the following dealers -EZ Living in Braidwood, Terry's RV and Timber View RV both in Frankfort, a Google search will find many more.  General RV and Camping World have locations in the Chicago area, I think.

You will want to look at a lot of TT to see what features you want and what you can live without.  You will want to sit at the table, stand at the stove and kitchen sink, see how much knee room you have when on the commode.  A bed against one wall is tough to make, I currently have a TT with a bed against the wall on 3 sides - a wrestling match to make!

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