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TT questions


marytaz

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I won't be purchasing a TT for quite awhile, but I'm doing research to prepare. I just recently paid off the last of my debts and I'm now saving for my dream of living in a trailer come my retirement. I've been looking at different TTs and all the floor plans, options, etc. I have decided that I do want a new (vs. used) TT. I think in my situation, it would just be better for me and probably cost efficient in the long run.

 

I'll be living in the TT full-time and it will be parked - it won't be moved. A park model home won't work due to where I'm putting the trailer. I went a couple weeks ago to an RV dealer just to walk through different RVs to get a feel for sizes, layouts, etc. I took some pics and notes for further reference (what I want, don't want, etc.). I think a 5th wheel would be too large for me. It will be just me and my small dog. I'm used to living in small places and I grew up in a family of 5 in a 30' trailer. I've also done a couple of vacations (6 & 8 weeks each) traveling the US and living in a SUV. There are many wonderful places to see in this country! I don't have a lot of "stuff"; most of what I do have, I'll be selling beforehand.

 

A few questions have come to mind and I'm hoping I can get some advice here.

 

1. I have it narrowed down to something between 23 & 29 feet with at least 1 slide. I did see some I liked - Forest River Salem and Dutchman Aspen Trail. Any one have any experience with these?

 

1. I realize most TT's aren't made to be lived in permanently, but the mattresses in all the ones I saw were pretty bad. I currently have a Queen size mattress that is really good (got it after back surgery). I'm wondering...are the RV doors big enough you think to bring in my queen size mattress to replace the one that would be in the TT? I'm assuming they would be as that must have been how they got the current ones in, but most of the doors looked awfully small for that, it seemed to me.

 

2. At first I was opposed to the bunk bed versions because it seemed like a waste of space for me (don't need bunk beds). However, as I was walking through all the trailers, I started wondering where I would put my portable dryer. The washer is no biggie as it's on wheels and I could basically put it anywhere. But with the bunk beds, would those be removable so that I could make a little laundry room there instead? If the layout is so that it's near the bathroom, I could hook the washer up to the bathroom sink. They are both 120V so I don't think that will be an issue. If need be, I could have an electrician come out and configure it to the electric pad I'll have.

 

3. I may be ahead of myself here, but I've also been researching the best type of skirting. It can get cold (with possible snow) where I'll be and I want something that will last and keep things insulated as well as keep critters out. I'll be on a cement pad. Any ideas?

 

Thanks in advance for any ideas, suggestions, advice!

 

 

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We are full-timers but would not winter over somewhere that is gets very cold( Below 40 very often) It's too expensive to run the furnace. You can use electric heaters if it isn't too cold for too long. How about emptying your grey and black tanks? Are you going to have sewer hookups? If not, how will you handle that? If it gets cold where you will be, are you prepared to handle frozen water lines? Not sure I would want to try it in a travel trailer. There isn't usually much insulation in them and condensation is a real problem when it's cold. If I had to do this, I'd opt for any rv that had a fully enclosed bottom, heated water areas, dual pane windows and as much insulation as possible, be it a trailer, 5th wheel or motorhome.

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Thanks for your advice and questions, Pat!

 

Excellent point about the tanks. I will not be hooked up to a sewer and haven't quite figured out which way to go on that. I do have access to some huge storage tanks that I could transfer to from the trailer (since it won't have wheels) and then take to the rv dump in town when needed. That's more than likely what I will do, but "new" ideas may come to pass within the next 5-6 years so maybe someone will come up with a better idea. I thought of doing a compost toilet which would be a little less maintenance. Was thinking of running the grey water into the ground (I'll be on 15 acres of private land), with a bio-filter, but the work to do that is quite extensive in order to make it legal and safe. I do plan on insulating the hoses.

 

As far as heating goes, I do have an electric heater that will heat a 400 sf area and I'm not too worried about the expense (I've got that covered). I did see someone who had fully insulated the bottom of a trailer by installing fiberglass insulation with a vapor barrier on the bottom of the trailer. It was intriguing and I was thinking that might be a possibility as the trailer will be closer to the ground (I'll be removing the tires). That way it would have the fully enclosed bottom. December & January are the coldest months on average. I'm actually more concerned about the heat in the summer though, than the cold of the winter. If worse comes to worse, I will have a house very near by to run to. :)

 

In regards to condensation and forces of nature, the trailer will be under a lean-to. The dual pane windows are on my must have list.

 

I'm still making a list of things that I haven't thought about yet, so any ideas, questions...please bring them on. I have 5-6 years to do research on this. :D

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...I did see some I liked - Forest River Salem and Dutchman Aspen Trail. Any one have any experience with these?...The dual pane windows are on my must have list...

I do not believe that either the Salem or Aspen Trail have an option for dual pane windows. Northwood offers thermal pane windows as an option on their Arctic Fox, Nash and Snow River Trailers.
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I'd reconsider your decision to buy a new trailer after hearing that you want to take the wheels off. Most new trailers require quite a few trips to the dealer over the first year of ownership for warranty work. However a 1-3 yr. old barely used trailer will have almost all of the bugs worked out and be more reliable in a fixed installation. That is, unless you don't plan on using the warranty, but instead plan on doing all of the repairs yourself. If so, why pay extra for a warranty you will never use and suffer a 30% depreciation the first year? Why not buy one that is a couple years old with warranty issues already repaired?

 

Chip

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Excellent suggestions, trailertraveler, Chip & Geo! I had not thought about the warranty (new vs. used) issue.

 

Geo, by "major mods" are you referring to the bunk bed removal? If so, are they difficult to remove?

 

trailertraveler, good point. I was basically just looking at the floor plans on those two that I mentioned. I hadn't looked at the specs yet, but you are correct.

 

Chip, that being said, do you think I'd be better off going with a private sale or a dealership?

 

Working all the kinks out here. So glad I started researching and asking the questions now. Thanks for all your help!

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If you expect to live comfortably through a winter in ID you need to realize the ability of the RV you consider to be kept warm. That means the R value of walls, floor, and roof is critical and so too is the air tight standards of the RV. The models you are listing will be very expensive to keep comfortable and there is no way that a typical electric heater will do that job. I have lived in ID in winter and several other places like that and most RVs just are not built to be used when temperatures go well below freezing and stay that way. In addition, you will need to have plumbing (water and sewer) to the trailer that is insulated and heated.

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I do not believe that either the Salem or Aspen Trail have an option for dual pane windows. Northwood offers thermal pane windows as an option on their Arctic Fox, Nash and Snow River Trailers.

 

I agree that you should look at the Northwood products. They are made in LaGrande, OR by people who actually use their RVs and are a 4-season rig. That doesn't mean that you won't have to do some work to keep things from freezing, but they will have enclosed, heated tanks (as long as you run your forced-air furnace...running an electric heater exclusively will not heat the basement).

 

I'm willing to bet, too, that they are much better insulated that either the Salem or Aspen Trail...but you'll need to look at the R-factors on those (ceiling, walls, floors) and compare. Living in Idaho during the winter in an RV, I would definitely want something with double pane windows, good insulation, and heated and enclosed tanks.

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A good old fashioned outhouse is what I would do for a place lke you are describing. An outhouse can be kept warm and if properly maintained it is the same as a compost toilet. Wood ash dumped in regularly really helps. Then you just need to figure out what to do with grey water.

 

Personally I would not RV in cold weather but that is me. I snowbird for a reason...lol.

 

The people on survivalist sites are a wealth of information on all aspects of outdoor living and I glean tidbits from them periodically.

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Thank you to all! I've never even heard of some of these, but will check them out.

 

This is similar to what we would have to transfer the black and grey water to the RV dump.

http://www.amazon.com/Tote-N-Stor-25609-Portable-Waste-Transport/dp/B0085KGOH0/ref=sr_1_19?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1443993370&sr=1-19

 

In checking the local code, I won't be able to have a compost toilet or put grey water in the ground. So I'm back to the tanks (at least for now). In 5-6 years, maybe things will change.

 

A question about the R factor. I assumed this would be in the "specs" for the trailer, but in some cases I haven't found it listed. Should I discount those? I think that it's the higher number R factor, the better it is, correct?

 

Also, as far as construction, pros/cons of aluminum vs. fiberglass? What do you think would be best, given my situation?

 

I also found out that there's an RV show next weekend, which I plan on going to.

 

Thanks!

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Why not look at a "tiny house". You can have it built to your specs then delivered to your site. Unbolt your undercarriage and put it down on a slab. It would be easy to insulate to your needs. You could have it raised up on a platform if you still needed to add tanks to store your waste waters until you could dump them. I bet it would be more comfortable than a TT. One question I have is are you sure you can stay within the building codes if you remove the wheels from the trailer? Some things to think about.

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A question about the R factor. I assumed this would be in the "specs" for the trailer, but in some cases I haven't found it listed. Should I discount those? I think that it's the higher number R factor, the better it is, correct?

 

Also, as far as construction, pros/cons of aluminum vs. fiberglass? What do you think would be best, given my situation?

 

If the specs don't include the R factor, it's *probably* because the RV is built for vacationing during the summer. You could always call the manufacturer and ask.

 

And, yes, the higher the number, the better.

 

I wouldn't be as concerned about the construction material (fiberglass vs aluminum) than I would be about the quality of those materials and the quality of the manufacturing.

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R factor is important in both keeping warm and cool but make sure you get all the R factors, not just the roof which is usually highest. Get roof, floor, sides and any slides roof and wall ratings so you aren't surprised.

 

Our last rig had 6" foam in the roof, 2" foam in the sides and 1" foam in the slides, very noticeable difference in how hot the rig was if the slide was facing south versus the non-slide side.

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Can you not get a permit for this area? I would check out TT real well before doing this. I have a neighbor that lives in a 32' 5th wheel on his mother's property. It took him 3 tons of pellets to stay warm last year. He put the pellet stove in because he couldn't afford the high propane cost.

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