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Reedhoppa

Homeowner to P/T RVer Transition

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Hi, this is my first post. I'm in the throes of the transition of retiring and selling my home, buying an RV and hitting the road next fall. As challenging as this is for a 63-year old divorced dad, I think I'm actually on course. Yes, lots of questions but I think the best way for me to explain where I'm at, I'm going to list my progress and some of my assumptions. I'd really appreciate any thoughts or comments re: my general direction or help with things I'm missing. Here we go ...

  • Retired last December
  • Empty nester with kids who don't yet have families (so no grandkids to distract me yet)
  • Relatively stable financially with savings and retirement funds intact
  • 75% finished with prepping my home for listing next month (the decluttering and work involved has been super stressful but just taking it a day at a time)
  • Have spent probably 500 hours researching RV types and options including 2 RV shows, countless hours on YouTube and visiting dealerships
  • Recently traded my hybrid in for a half-ton Tundra with 9,700# tow capacity
  • It will be just me travelling and living in a travel trailer (my preference so far) - my brother is in a similar situation so we will likely be caravanning with our separate rigs
  • I live in northern Minnesota and I love it here for about 7 months out of the year
  • My house will hopefully sell quickly based on current market demand
  • I've rented a 10x30 storage unit and am beginning to move belongings there 
  • I'm thinking that I will begin a cycle in which I full-time RV for 4 to 5 months out of the year beginning this fall
  • When I get back from my travels in early 2020, I'll probably look for a smaller home base here in Minnesota
  • It's not unlikely that I will have to live in the RV for a period of time here while I buy a house and move stuff out of storage
  • But I don't harbor any illusions that I will be living in the travel trailer through a Minnesota winter (especially like the one we just went through)
  • I do like the idea of a travel trailer with enclosed and heated underbelly since I like mountains and occasional spring/fall camping and hunting trips
  • I like the idea of a permanent ladder and a walkable roof
  • I'm also leaning toward laminated FG instead of aluminum siding
  • I expect to boondock about half the time so I'm keeping an eye on tank capacities and solar prep options
  • I'm into backcountry hiking and mountain biking so those activities will figure into my future plans
  • I'm aiming for something in the 20' to 24' length range with dry weight under 4,500 pounds
  • I want a unit with a decent amount of storage. Will probably put a topper on the Tundra to increase secure storage there as well
  • I will definitely consider buying used but so far not finding much that interests me
  • I'm aware that a lot of these units are built cheap and I'm wary of getting a lemon ... the research is helping somewhat with narrowing my search parameters
  • I've spent my entire life roughing it on wilderness trips and sleeping on a thin pad in a tent so RVing will definitely feel like a luxury, buy my bones prefer a decent bed these days.

That brings me to today. I hope to pull the trigger on an RV purchase in May or June so I can spend a good three months breaking her in and working the bugs out here in Minnesota b4 I hit the road. I would love to hear from folks on the rationale here ... what am I missing ... looking out my window right now at the 10 inches of heavy wet white sludge and dreaming of warm places!

 

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Welcome to the forum!

That storm hit here in ND too so I can relate to the wet/snotty crap coming down now.  It just started back up but was able to get down the driveway in 4x4.  Be thankful your not in southern MN or SD, they got the worst of it from what I can get from the news.  This, on top of some bad flooding we are experiencing... wow.  I too want to leave the northern tier over winters, getting tired of this!  Looks like you are on the right track for sure.  Good luck!

Edited by NDBirdman

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Some things to consider is a mail service, full-timer insurance, umbrella liability insurance, organizations to join.

A mail service is where you have your mail sent and held. Upon request, they will forward your mail to you at a designated location, usually a small town post office that accepts General Delivery is best.

Full-timer insurance is the equivalent to homeowners insurance, you will also need renters insurance for your storage unit and umbrella liability policy. 

Escapees has a mail service but there are others. Full-timers insurance is easiest if you use a broker such as FCIS(800-331-1520) or Miller(800-622-6347). A broker can compare several different companies for you. You should be able to get your Umbrella policy through them also and maybe your renter's insurance.

There are many organizations you can join to reduce your camping costs. Most of us belong to Passport America, just staying a few nights on the road you get your money back. There are other organizations but best to wait until you find your camping style.

Welcome to your new life!!!!

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6 hours ago, Reedhoppa said:

Recently traded my hybrid in for a half-ton Tundra with 9,700# tow capacity

It will be just me travelling and living in a travel trailer (my preference so far) - my brother is in a similar situation so we will likely be caravanning with our separate rigs

I do like the idea of a travel trailer with enclosed and heated underbelly since I like mountains and occasional spring/fall camping and hunting trips

I expect to boondock about half the time so I'm keeping an eye on tank capacities and solar prep options

I'm into backcountry hiking and mountain biking so those activities will figure into my future plans

I'm aiming for something in the 20' to 24' length range with dry weight under 4,500 pounds

I want a unit with a decent amount of storage. Will probably put a topper on the Tundra to increase secure storage there as well

It sounds to me like you want one of these: http://northwoodmfg.com/arctic-fox-2/arctic-fox-22g/

They have a great reputation and are primarily sold in Canada but that should not a problem for you given that you live up north.

Linda Sand

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Thanks ... Arctic Fox and Nash are on my short list ... pricy but you get what you pay for. Also looking at a Keystone Bullet Crossfire and a Grand Design Imagine XLE. Alas, the choices are dizzying.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

7 hours ago, Reedhoppa said:

I'm aiming for something in the 20' to 24' length range with dry weight under 4,500 pounds

While it is easy to find travel trailers of that length and weight limit, it will be very difficult to find one of that length which is all weather capable that weighs so little. Better quality causes weight to increase. If you look at this 22' Arctic Fox it has a dry weight of 5254# and a GVWR of 7500#. Your Tundra has very low towing weight capacity.

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OK ... not sure about your numbers there. I'm pretty happy with my 9,700# of tow capacity but am still looking for something under (or close to) 4,500 pounds dry. The 22G has a dry weight of 4,678# according to the latest brochure unless I'm reading it wrong. In any event, I wouldn't foresee any issues with those numbers.

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Those will be little trailers. Have you considered a fifth wheel? If you plan to spend a lot of time in one place like winter in Florida a fiver makes sense. Good Luck

 

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Folks. Work with me here. I’m traveling alone. No wife ... no dog ... just me. I don’t need a palace. In fact, I like the whole “Tiny House” concept. I plan to be on the road for 4 months at a time. Then living in a cabin in the north woods the rest of the year. I own a half ton truck that I love. I’m not interested in a 5th wheel although I have nothing against them. Any other thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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I agree.  9700 pounds of towing capacity is nothing to sniff at and the Tundra has a very good reputation, so you shouldn't have any issue finding and safely pulling a trailer that meets your needs. 

I'll second the Arctic Fox suggestion. They are made in La Grande, Oregon and we toured their plant a couple of summers ago. They make their own frames in-house and that is a big plus in my book. The overall quality is good as well.  I see Arctic Fox fifth wheels and travel trailers fairly often in our travels, especially west of the Mississippi so can't imagine you'd have too much trouble finding a dealer in the states. 

I have no experience with the various brands of travel trailers currently available, but in general the better trailers weigh more and cost more. This is due to stronger frames and running gear, heavier (stronger) construction, cabinets, etc. Most of the appliances will be similar across the various manufacturers so I'd concentrate on the "bones" of the trailer as a primary item. 

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Sounds to me like you have it pretty much  figured out, plus unless I am reading it wrong you will end up only using the RV part time.  I would say just keep shopping for a TT that fits your needs then go for it. 

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Thinking part-time gives you much more flexibility since you won't need the ability to carry everything that you own with you. When we downsized from full to part-time travel we too went with a travel trailer for several reasons. You can't put a shell on the truck if you tow a fifth wheel and even if you remove the hitch when not towing you still have some hardware in the bed. I misread the weights you had with the Toyota, and agree that the 22G should work fine with it, or something similar to it. I work with the commonly accepted rule that your typical towing weight should not exceed 80% of rated maximum tow rating for the truck, which this trailer would leave you well under. You could even move up to something like the Nash 24M to get additional space and be well under that figure of 7700#. I would suggest that you not go down too far in size as that can be limiting if your plans should change. (don't even ask how I know this 🤔 ) By going with something in the range of one of these you would have the ability to stay where you need more heat or a/c longer as they are much better insulated and give good living space. 

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23 hours ago, Reedhoppa said:

Recently traded my hybrid in for a half-ton Tundra with 9,700#  I would love to hear from folks 

http://outdoorsrvmfg.com/creek-side-21rd/ deserves a close look! While being just outside of your dry weight quest, the GVWR is within your truck's ability being at 70% of your truck's tow capacity :)  This trailer also is without the slide which keeps the weight down as well as slide related issues. From the factory the trailer has the suspension that you'll want vs upgrading some of the other trailers on your radar, and the pricing is remarkably sweet as well. A search on the Find A Dealer portion of Outdoors RV website reveals https://www.apachecamping.com/default.asp?page=xAllInventory&vc=travel trailer#page=xAllInventory&make=outdoors rv&vc=travel trailer&model=creek side 21rd should you want to have a look. All things considered, including build & price, as well as your intended use, that 21RD model that I linked smokes the others that you referred to earlier. Look at the specs and capacities as well :)  Should you be interested, there is this http://www.irv2.com/forums/f282/ found here http://www.irv2.com/forums/ that could be helpful in answering questions.

Edited by rm.w/aview

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17 hours ago, sandsys said:

It sounds to me like you want one of these: http://northwoodmfg.com/arctic-fox-2/arctic-fox-22g/

They have a great reputation and are primarily sold in Canada....

Northwood Manufacturing is in LaGrande, OR.  I do believe they have the Canadian certification (or whatever the correct term is) so that they can be sold in Canada, but they are not a Canadian company.

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Wow! Great feedback. Super helpful. Headed down on the train right now to watch the Twins take on the Tigers ... about 35 degrees right now. Already looking forward to spring training next year down south with the new rig. I will be digging into your suggestions with more research and follow-up questions I’m sure. This is going to be fun!

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Can I add a little real life experience here.  Back in 2004 I got divorced, bought a 2004 27 foot TT and placed it in a small RV park about one mile from the beach in Southern California, I was still commuting to Los Angeles for work so for me it was a inexpensive place to live ($500 a month rent plus electric).

What it did lack was closet space (most TT do lack that).  You will find having a topper on your truck will be helpful for storing bines of clothes.  But you will still be short on hanging space for clothes.

 

Edited by Phil Saran

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3 hours ago, LindaH said:

Northwood Manufacturing is in LaGrande, OR.  I do believe they have the Canadian certification (or whatever the correct term is) so that they can be sold in Canada, but they are not a Canadian company.

Sorry. My error.

Linda

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 We were looking for an interior layout that made sense to us.  Think of spending a cold rainy weekend inside.  We did very well with that, and got very lucky on the content and quality.  It was an R-Vision product.  Aluminum frame, and reasonable quality throughout.

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… just to get an idea on various floorplans and prices here is a good site to do that:

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/travel-trailer?sortBy=price+desc

It sounds like you have a good plan and since you love the outdoors you'll really enjoy yourself!  A small trailer is very doable for you.  Good luck in finding the right one and enjoy the lifestyle.

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Quote

They have a great reputation and are primarily sold in Canada....

Actually, if you use their dealer locator on the website I think that you will find their dealers in most states.

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Another brand you might look at is Lance. They make 4 season trailers that are lighter than many and most could be towed with a half-ton. One of the nice things about them is the storage space - they have been making truck campers for 50 years so they are good at maximizing storage in small places.

https://www.lancecamper.com/

It would be worth taking a look at them.

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On 4/16/2019 at 9:11 AM, fpmtngal said:

Another brand you might look at is Lance. They make 4 season trailers that are lighter than many and most could be towed with a half-ton. One of the nice things about them is the storage space - they have been making truck campers for 50 years so they are good at maximizing storage in small places.

https://www.lancecamper.com/

It would be worth taking a look at them.

Anyone can add a sticker or note in a brochure that calls a camper a 4-Season unit.  They are not all created equally for insulation.

Also be very leary of any so-called 1/2 ton towables.  The ratings are often based on a base weight trailer and a stripped base model truck.

 

Ken

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OK ... one more question. I’m going to start looking at several small trailer models that range from 3,500# to about 5,000# dry weight. Some of the lighter units are single axle. The larger units are double axle. Speaking specifically from an axle standpoint, I guess I’m leaning toward a double axle for the peace of mind of having redundant tires in the event of a flat or blowout. Are there any other reasons why I should avoid a single axle if I go with a lighter weight unit? Again, many thanks in advance.

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Single axle trailers are more prone to the "wagging tail" issue where they oscillate side-to-side with increasing amplitude. It can be managed with proper loading and sway control devices, but if you've seen it happen it can get scary fast!

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