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Kdurgee

Newbies looking for camper advice?

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Hi all,

My boyfriend and I have been planning on becoming full-time travelers this fall. We bought an RV last year, and decided neither of us liked it enough to bring it. So we are selling it! Now we are considering the option of towing a small, very light camper. I have a Subaru Outback with a tow capacity of 2,700 pounds. What campers do you recommend we look at for living out of full-time?

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Welcome to the forum!

I think your out of luck.  That tow capacity includes all the clothes/food/cooking gear/water, etc you need to live.  I'm thinking about 1k lbs for that alone.  That leaves 1,700 for camper weight.  For full timing... I would not try it.  If I may suggest, sell the tiny car, get a truck or small motor home.  Maye a small teardrop style camper but I don't know what those weigh.  A small enclosed trailer hauling camping gear to include a tent?  IMHO

 

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52 minutes ago, NDBirdman said:

That tow capacity includes all the clothes/food/cooking gear/water, etc you need to live.  I'm thinking about 1k lbs for that alone.  That leaves 1,700 for camper weight. 

Maye a small teardrop style camper but I don't know what those weigh.  A small enclosed trailer hauling camping gear to include a tent?

 

Good points here. We are from NY, and plan on going to either Arizona or California for the winter. We talked about maybe getting a small teardrop camper for the trip out, and then searching for an RV out west. If there's anything I've learned from living here, it's that vehicles are much more expensive and will eventually rust out regardless of whatever precautions you take.

We have plenty of tenting gear as well. I'm just wondering, from an experienced standpoint, does this seem like a realistic plan?

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If you Google "lightweight campers" you will get lots of hits for places to start your research. That will help you understand what you can get with such a limited weight.

Linda Sand

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3 hours ago, Kdurgee said:

Good points here. We are from NY, and plan on going to either Arizona or California for the winter. We talked about maybe getting a small teardrop camper for the trip out, and then searching for an RV out west. If there's anything I've learned from living here, it's that vehicles are much more expensive and will eventually rust out regardless of whatever precautions you take.

We have plenty of tenting gear as well. I'm just wondering, from an experienced standpoint, does this seem like a realistic plan?

Anything is doable if the circumstances are right. 

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You didn't say how old you are but if you're a 'senior' then getting into a teardrop could be difficult.  Weather isn't perfect no matter where you stay so you might be spending some time inside.  Personally, we couldn't spend full-timing time in such a small RV even though we're outside folks.  You need even some space to get away from each other! :)  That could prove to become claustrophobic.  It would also be convenient to have a full bathroom onboard.   With your vehicle, you are going to be very limited as to what you can pull.

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First of all, welcome to the Escapee forums! We are very happy to have you join us and we will do all that we are able to help. Feel free to start as many new threads and ask as many questions as you wish. 

4 hours ago, Kdurgee said:

We have plenty of tenting gear as well. I'm just wondering, from an experienced standpoint, does this seem like a realistic plan?

There is no type of RV that someone has not used successfully as a full-time home while traveling and we have even met a very few who had done so in tents and pop-up trailers. The issue isn't if it is possible but rather if you are one of those who is up to living in any particular type of travel home. I am going to guess that you are pretty young and much more likely to succeed living in a tent, pop-up or another small trailer type of RV than most of us who frequent these forums. I would agree that your Outback isn't up to towing any type of travel trailer other than possibly a small pop-up. There are many more questions that need to be considered, such as what address will you use to keep your driver's licenses and to register and insure your vehicles, get mail, and get mail? Do you need to earn a living as you travel or have some type of income? The purchase budget has to be a factor in the choice of RV. I really think that we could probably give better advice if we knew more about you and what your plans are. 

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If you're primarily looking for a bed off the ground,  you might want to Google "Motorcycle camping trailers". They tend to have a bed in the body of the trailer then a tent room that extends from one side. You can then put a cargo carrier on top of the trailer for the gear you can't fit into your Subaru. We bought a lightweight aluminum roll-up table from REI that would make a good base for a kitchen unit in the tent part.

Linda

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3 hours ago, rm.w/aview said:

A number of folks fulltime in campers made by these folks https://aliner.com/

One advantage of the Ailiner is the hardtop and sides lets you camp in bear country. When we had our tent camper we were turned away from a campground in Yellowstone National Park.

Linda Sand

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Even though  AZ & CA are milder weather you will have a lot of 40s & 50s and maybe some 30s and some rain so you will need somewhere comfy to hang out. Just one more thing to consider.

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6 hours ago, hemsteadc said:

Tell about the one you bought and didn't like.

While I'm having fun looking at lightweight rigs, this knowledge would really be helpful if we are to truly help you instead of just playing around. :)

Linda

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17 hours ago, Kdurgee said:

Good points here. We are from NY, and plan on going to either Arizona or California for the winter. We talked about maybe getting a small teardrop camper for the trip out, and then searching for an RV out west. If there's anything I've learned from living here, it's that vehicles are much more expensive and will eventually rust out regardless of whatever precautions you take.

We have plenty of tenting gear as well. I'm just wondering, from an experienced standpoint, does this seem like a realistic plan?

Kdurgee, welcome to the forum.  I am hoping you get back on and post soon before these folks go crazy with unanswered questions!

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Agree with lots said here, need lots more info!  Read-read-read.  If you want to domicile out of NY which would probably be best in the long run, read up on those threads.  On your way to the southwest, you could visit/stop/get set up for domicile in SD, one of 3 states rated the best for full-timers from what I've gathered from the folks on here.  I can't personally help you on that, I'm just a part timer going snowbird soon, I'll probably never leave ND permanently.  I've lived in the southwest, AZ and NM for 12 years, it's a great area, you'll enjoy it!   BUT, it does get hotter than hell during the summer depending on where you land.... LOL

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20 hours ago, hemsteadc said:

Tell about the one you bought and didn't like.

Hi all! I'm overwhelmed with all the helpful advice, thank you so much!

Our RV is a 1980 Itasca Sunflyer.. a class A motorhome, which we decided is much too big for us. The truck itself runs like a charm, and only has 69k miles on it. My bf (24) and I (21) ideally would like a class C, and then we would tow the Subaru behind it. But, it is a big investment so that's where the small pop-up idea comes in.

With our price point, we'd probably be looking at something from the late 90s or early 2000s. We're just not sure if it'd be a better decision to wait on that purchase until we are out west. The small camper would just be temporary. Like I said, NY vehicles typically are a high price for junk. We're looking for the best bang for our buck pretty much!

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3 minutes ago, Kdurgee said:

ur RV is a 1980 Itasca Sunflyer.. a class A motorhome, which we decided is much too big for us.

Big in what way... maneuvering, parking, gas consumption...?

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21 hours ago, Kirk W said:

There are many more questions that need to be considered, such as what address will you use to keep your driver's licenses and to register and insure your vehicles, get mail, and get mail? Do you need to earn a living as you travel or have some type of income? The purchase budget has to be a factor in the choice of RV. I really think that we could probably give better advice if we knew more about you and what your plans are. 

We plan on work-camping for the majority of the time, and then boondocking on our off season. I don't plan on returning to NY to live, ever. We figured that we would roam around the country following work-camp jobs until we find a place that we really love enough to permanently stay in. As far as money goes, we definitely will be leaving NY with a good enough amount of money until we do start working, though.

As far as address goes, we aren't sure yet. Maybe you can help us out with that. I've heard of a company that will send all your mail to you (whichever post office is closest), but I think you need to declare residency in their state. I believe it was based out of North or South Dakota? I've had someone advise me to gain residency in either SD or Texas... I can't quite remember the reason though.😳

Edited by Kdurgee

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13 minutes ago, hemsteadc said:

Big in what way... maneuvering, parking, gas consumption...?

I don't know the mpgs on it since we really haven't drove it much at all. Maneuvering, parking, all that. It's 30 feet long and I don't feel comfortable driving it at all. 

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41 minutes ago, Kdurgee said:

I don't know the mpgs on it since we really haven't drove it much at all. Maneuvering, parking, all that. It's 30 feet long and I don't feel comfortable driving it at all. 

Very few couples feel comfortable living full time in less than 30 feet. We did it but we are odd. :)

The RV Driving School will teach you to be comfortable driving the one you have now which is cheaper than trading multiple times looking for one that works for you. https://www.rvschool.com

Linda Sand

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58 minutes ago, Kdurgee said:

 It's 30 feet long and I don't feel comfortable driving it at all. 

It does take some getting used to. You'll also have to get used to backing up a trailer.

Edited by hemsteadc

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3 hours ago, Kdurgee said:

As far as address goes, we aren't sure yet. Maybe you can help us out with that. I've heard of a company that will send all your mail to you (whichever post office is closest), but I think you need to declare residency in their state. I believe it was based out of North or South Dakota? I've had someone advise me to gain residency in either SD or Texas... I can't quite remember the reason though.

Before you get too far, you need to understand what domicile means and what kind of things are involved. I suggest that you start by reading Choosing a Full-time Domicile and then go on from there. I would then suggest you follow that one with The Issue of Domicile from the Escapees. Once you have done this you may well have other questions but members of these forums can probably help. There are numerous mail forwarding services that can help with your mail, but domicile is more than just a mail box.

3 hours ago, Kdurgee said:

It's 30 feet long and I don't feel comfortable driving it at all. 

My suggestion is that you keep this one at least for a while and spend some time practicing. If your partner can drive it to an empty parking lot on a weekend you can start by practicing there. That will be a very small space to live in and most of us find it a bit small. In addition, you are sure to lose money if you sell it and to get something else is probably going to cost more. Take your time in making decisions as this can be worked out but it is important not to rush things. 

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I also recommend you keep what you have for the time being.  A 30' motorhome really isn't that big and many women drive much bigger ones.  I think all you need to do is to practice and as you're traveling, drive it daily, taking turns.  This is the only way you'll be comfortable with a RV.  Some take lessons but don't drive regularly afterward.  That doesn't make one comfortable with driving.  Good luck!

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One way to practice driving is to have your partner drive it to a rest area on a freeway then you drive it to the next rest area. Pull through parking spots in rest areas are great for learning because all you have to do is drive. Nothing says you have to learn all the steps at once. Backing can come much later. :)

Linda

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