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Thinking about a travel trailer? Help me decide.


tyates007

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We are considering moving from our 5th wheel to a travel trailer. Here is why.

-We have a Arctic Cat Wildcat 4 that would require a 14 foot garage and there are no current floor plans we are crazy about. With a travel trailer I could put a 14' deck on the truck to haul sxs and still keep length around 65'. If I built the deck long enough to haul machine and pull 5th wheel I would have close to 20' deck.

-We have 3 little girls and are thinking a bunkhouse setup would be nice as they grow giving them space and extra sleeping capacity.

-Travel trailer and bed are much more economical option for total living space and flexibility than toyhauler.

Here are the concerns.

-We are currently pretty spoiled with our Mobile Suites 5thwheel. We are having a hard time finding a travel trailer we like.

-Brands, we have no idea which are better constructed than any other and the Internet searches are not helping. We have kind of narrowed it down to an Arctic Fox 31D or a Grand Design Reflections 308bhts. Price wise they are similar. We want something 4 season, thermal pane windows and well built.

 

I am coming here to see if anyone has suggestions on other models or experience or hearsay on the models mentioned. Thanks for your help.

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We had an Arctic Fox before our move to a fiver. At the time, it was a fantastic unit; we couldn't have been happier with our decision. I know that there production contracted to the point where they closed down the east coast facility. Last year I heard rumors about the owner of Northwood getting out of the business due to health concerns. I have no knowledge of current quality.

2012 F350 KR CC DRW w/ some stuff
2019 Arctic Fox 32-5M
Cindy and Tom, Kasey and Maggie (our Newfie and Berner)
Oh...I forgot the five kids.

 

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I would probably buy what I considered to be the best "chassis" and then do the interior the way I wanted. I'd also probably replace all the running gear since travel trailers tend to be on the "frugal" side when it comes to quality running gear. I'd probably drop some mor'ryde IS and 16" wheels with disc brakes on it. Or if it was very large, then the 17.5".

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

PLEASE no PM's. Email me. jackdanmayer AT gmail
2016 DRV Houston 44' 5er (we still have it)
2022 New Horizons 43' 5er
2016 Itasca 27N 28' motorhome 
2019 Volvo 860, D13 455/1850, 236" wb, I-Shift, battery-based APU
No truck at the moment - we use one of our demo units
2016 smart Passion, piggyback on the truck
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
See our website for info on New Horizons 5th wheels, HDTs as tow vehicles, communications on the road, and use of solar power
www.jackdanmayer.com
Principal in RVH Lifestyles. RVH-Lifestyles.com

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Last fall we bought an '08 Newmar X-Aire with a 14' garage. Solid frame, 3 axles with hyd. disc brakes, full paint. Used as a full time unit for the past 4 years. I'd say its down a notch or two from a M/S, but still pretty nice. Plenty of space for three kids and two adults, for a short time.

 

Carriage made a nice toy hauler too, the C-Force. Both the Carriage and Newmar are hard to find, but they're out there.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio1@comcast.net

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I know one member here has an Open Range TT.

Maybe they will chime in?

I don't know much of their quality, but they have a lot of floorplans to choose from.

 

Curt

2001 Freightliner Century, 500hp Series 60, Gen 2 autoshift, 3.42 singled rear locker.

2004 Keystone Sprinter 299RLS (TT)

2 & 4 Wheelers!

2013 Polaris Ranger 800 midsize LE

Our motto "4 wheels move the body, 2 wheels move the soul!"

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I would probably buy what I considered to be the best "chassis" and then do the interior the way I wanted. I'd also probably replace all the running gear since travel trailers tend to be on the "frugal" side when it comes to quality running gear. I'd probably drop some mor'ryde IS and 16" wheels with disc brakes on it. Or if it was very large, then the 17.5".

 

Good morning 007,

 

We are pretty odd ducks in that our "kids" are one grouchy cat named koi and a 1,050 lb paint horse named Dolly so no company makes a RV that fits our needs at all.......oh did I mention I take along a Honda quad AND a Samarai or sometimes a full size Blazer.......

 

Wife is the horse person I am just a horse-support-slave.....so we looked high and low for a single-horse horse trailer with living space for people.......even the custom builders were not wild about a single horse unit.......

 

One day the wife was cruising Craigslist and she found a 30 ft 2004 tt toyhauler that was mostly a shell unit with just a galley and a open space up front bed room / bathroom up front.....

 

Being a high end home designer the wife had no problem with the "basic shell" since she wanted to build out the interior as a rustic cowgirl bunkhouse interior.......all I had to do is make the running gear work AND also somehow fit Dolly into a comfortable horse-space.....gulp....

 

As jack said.....look at the frame and then consider up grading the running gear.......well, the frame was pretty basic but hefty 2 x 8 heavy wall rectular tube full length with a pair of 6,000 axles so was not very high tech but useable....

 

So the wife made a few truck load trips over to her suppliers and in short order the "cowgirl-bunkhouse" interior was well on it's way to being done.......my job was to simply design and fab a removable Dolly horse "module" that fit in the last 3 ft of the "garage / living room of the unit.......a self contained tub-like fiberglass removable floor unit was faberacated and two full height removable wall panels were fabed in short order.......not much more work than the international space station but what the heck Dolly likes to ride in the module and the Dolly-momma is happy and when the module is removed (5 min) no one knows we had a horse in our living room......

 

I am not a big fan of RV trailers as load haulers so except for the 1,050 pound of Dolly weight we pretty much off load all of the heavy stuff to the Freightshaker......the Dollytrolley a 97 FL Century with a condo and sometimes a 12 ft simple wood flat bed but most of the time we have a Morgan 20 ft X 8 X 8 cargo box garage with a roll up back door and a 4 ft wide curb side door the is ideal for hauling the 330 gal tote of water and 3,000 lbs of horse feed and "bling" ( cowgirl lingo for horse tack)......

 

Here is where things get interesting.......the simple 30 foot toyhauler has proven to surprise us with the open living space since it is a very open interior, even without a slide......we have a long fold down side table and just basic furniture. What we did not consider was how popular the 20 ft Morgan cargo box has become as a "reserve-bunkhouse-home theater-community center-workshop-and whatever....."

 

We spend much of our time boondocking at horse camps and on the road we often spend nights at fairgrounds since not very many RV parks have horse facilities.....

 

Our rig has become pretty popular with other "cowgirls" since we have TWO completely spare PRIVATE living quarters in the "Garage" and the other in the Freightshaker condo, each with a porta-potty and sink......we never intended to have a Three bedroom RV......but I am not in charge here......Dolly is the center of the universe......

 

Odd combo but it works fairly well......keeps the horse-slave busy enough to stay out of the bars......

 

The short-nose FL Century keeps our overall length combined at 64 ft 8 inches so we are RV legal in all states here in the West.

 

Drive on.........(so how many bedrooms do we have reserved for tonite......)

97 Freightshaker Century Cummins M11-370 / 1350 /10 spd / 3:08 /tandem/ 20ft Garage/ 30 ft Curtis Dune toybox with a removable horse-haul-module to transport Dolly-The-Painthorse to horse camps and trail heads all over the Western U S

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Good morning 007,

 

We are pretty odd ducks in that our "kids" are one grouchy cat named koi and a 1,050 lb paint horse named Dolly so no company makes a RV that fits our needs at all.......oh did I mention I take along a Honda quad AND a Samarai or sometimes a full size Blazer.......

 

Wife is the horse person I am just a horse-support-slave.....so we looked high and low for a single-horse horse trailer with living space for people.......even the custom builders were not wild about a single horse unit.......

 

One day the wife was cruising Craigslist and she found a 30 ft 2004 tt toyhauler that was mostly a shell unit with just a galley and a open space up front bed room / bathroom up front.....

 

Being a high end home designer the wife had no problem with the "basic shell" since she wanted to build out the interior as a rustic cowgirl bunkhouse interior.......all I had to do is make the running gear work AND also somehow fit Dolly into a comfortable horse-space.....gulp....

 

As jack said.....look at the frame and then consider up grading the running gear.......well, the frame was pretty basic but hefty 2 x 8 heavy wall rectular tube full length with a pair of 6,000 axles so was not very high tech but useable....

 

So the wife made a few truck load trips over to her suppliers and in short order the "cowgirl-bunkhouse" interior was well on it's way to being done.......my job was to simply design and fab a removable Dolly horse "module" that fit in the last 3 ft of the "garage / living room of the unit.......a self contained tub-like fiberglass removable floor unit was faberacated and two full height removable wall panels were fabed in short order.......not much more work than the international space station but what the heck Dolly likes to ride in the module and the Dolly-momma is happy and when the module is removed (5 min) no one knows we had a horse in our living room......

 

I am not a big fan of RV trailers as load haulers so except for the 1,050 pound of Dolly weight we pretty much off load all of the heavy stuff to the Freightshaker......the Dollytrolley a 97 FL Century with a condo and sometimes a 12 ft simple wood flat bed but most of the time we have a Morgan 20 ft X 8 X 8 cargo box garage with a roll up back door and a 4 ft wide curb side door the is ideal for hauling the 330 gal tote of water and 3,000 lbs of horse feed and "bling" ( cowgirl lingo for horse tack)......

 

Here is where things get interesting.......the simple 30 foot toyhauler has proven to surprise us with the open living space since it is a very open interior, even without a slide......we have a long fold down side table and just basic furniture. What we did not consider was how popular the 20 ft Morgan cargo box has become as a "reserve-bunkhouse-home theater-community center-workshop-and whatever....."

 

We spend much of our time boondocking at horse camps and on the road we often spend nights at fairgrounds since not very many RV parks have horse facilities.....

 

Our rig has become pretty popular with other "cowgirls" since we have TWO completely spare PRIVATE living quarters in the "Garage" and the other in the Freightshaker condo, each with a porta-potty and sink......we never intended to have a Three bedroom RV......but I am not in charge here......Dolly is the center of the universe......

 

Odd combo but it works fairly well......keeps the horse-slave busy enough to stay out of the bars......

 

The short-nose FL Century keeps our overall length combined at 64 ft 8 inches so we are RV legal in all states here in the West.

 

Drive on.........(so how many bedrooms do we have reserved for tonite......)

I'll bet my neighbor at the ECR would love to see photos of the DollyTrolly.

 

Rod

White 2000/2010Volvo VNL 770 with 7' Drom box with opposing doors,  JOST slider hitch. 600 HP Cummins Signature 18 Speed three pedal auto shift.

1999 Isuzu VehiCross retired to a sticks and bricks garage. Brought out of storage the summer of 2022

2022 Jeep Wrangler Sport S Two door hard top.

2007 Honda GL 1800

2013 Space Craft Mfg S420 Custom built Toyhauler

The Gold Volvo is still running and being emptied in July. 

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I'll bet my neighbor at the ECR would love to see photos of the DollyTrolly.

 

Rod

Good morning Rod,

 

I don't have very many images are of the Dollytrolley rig in general .........I do have too many images of Dolly the horse though, imagine that......like I said, the 1,050 pound pet rules the roost around here.

 

I think I have a few images on the iPad but they are sorta a pain to post directly to the forum since the native iPad image sizes are too large.

 

It is easy to email images direct from the iPad if you like just email me at mmcdan3189@aol.com and via return email I could send some images.

 

Drive on.........(Too many horse images.......)

97 Freightshaker Century Cummins M11-370 / 1350 /10 spd / 3:08 /tandem/ 20ft Garage/ 30 ft Curtis Dune toybox with a removable horse-haul-module to transport Dolly-The-Painthorse to horse camps and trail heads all over the Western U S

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I have been towing a TT for 9 years with our HDT. We have no plans of going with a 5th wheel. As Jack says, be careful which TT you select as many (most) are very cheaply built.

 

Steve & Gail

2000 Volvo VNL660 Autoshift Detroit 60 12.7 "Semi Crazy"

2016 smart "Lil Crazy"

2018 Space Craft 48' TT "The Nut House"

KJ4YGY & KK4CTE

 

Volvo w SpaceCraft 1024.jpg

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I'll bet my neighbor at the ECR would love to see photos of the DollyTrolly.

 

Rod

Rod,

 

Here is a image of the Dollytrolley with the 12 ft bed and coffin sleeper drom.

 

 

/media/mike/303AF1454CC3C3B6/Arizona_2015/FL_Images_08082015/IMG_6476_A_.jpg

 

photo-thumb-50953.jpg?_r=1460702908

 

This forum software hates my file system.......

 

Drive on........(Not very good pics)

97 Freightshaker Century Cummins M11-370 / 1350 /10 spd / 3:08 /tandem/ 20ft Garage/ 30 ft Curtis Dune toybox with a removable horse-haul-module to transport Dolly-The-Painthorse to horse camps and trail heads all over the Western U S

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You could also load the Wildcat at a steep angle and shorten the bed considerably. We carry a Forester and a small RZR on our HDT. With the front of the Subaru over the cab and loaded on a slope over the RZR the truck is just under 30'. The HDT has a small 42" sleeper.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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Rod,

 

Here is a image of the Dollytrolley with the 12 ft bed and coffin sleeper drom.

 

 

/media/mike/303AF1454CC3C3B6/Arizona_2015/FL_Images_08082015/IMG_6476_A_.jpg

 

photo-thumb-50953.jpg?_r=1460702908

 

This forum software hates my file system.......

 

Drive on........(Not very good pics)

Omg dollytrolley has a profile pic! After how many years?

98 379 with 12.7 DD

LG Dodge w/5.9 CTD

Chrome habit I’m trying to kick.

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You could also load the Wildcat at a steep angle and shorten the bed considerably. We carry a Forester and a small RZR on our HDT. With the front of the Subaru over the cab and loaded on a slope over the RZR the truck is just under 30'. The HDT has a small 42" sleeper.

Randy, how much shorter is your Subaru slant loaded? I played with the wildcat on a cad program and with the roll cage I was not able to save a significant distance loading even up to 45 degrees.

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If you decide to go the way you are thinking, I believe you have made two really good choices. Both are about as high end as you can get in pull trailers. I think the Grand Design is probably a little fancier but the Arctic Fox is built like a tank and you won't be disappointed. We just bought a 2014 Sunnybrook Sunset Creek. Too bad Winnebago bought them out and then discontinued them. It sure is the nicest trailer we have even owned. Very heavy for it's size, but that speaks to the frame and quality inside. And it has aluminum siding, which is strange for such a nice interior.

2007 Arctic Fox 32.5 rls for full-timing, now sold.

2014 Sunnybrook Sunset Creek 267rl for the local campgrounds now that we are off the road
2007 Silverado 2500 diesel

Loving Green Valley, AZ (just South of Tucson)

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The Subaru is loaded at a mild angle that only gains about 1' but the nose over the short cab gains about 18" more. We modified the roll bar on the RZR to make it easy to remove. That makes it short enough to load across the bed under the front of the car.

Looking at the pictures of the Wilcat 4, the front of the roll bar seems to slant back. My thought was loaded backward on an angle would shorten the length significantly but I guess you have checked that. By the time the TT tongue is added it would seem that the liveable space to over all length would be only modestly shorter than a 5er.

Our HDT has the small 42" sleeper and that also helps the overall length. Our 5er is only 96" wide so our hitch is only 54" behind the car. The back of the car is sloped which also helps. The higher the vehicle sits on the bed the more it reacts to the uneven 5er, truck angle.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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Just a little over a year - but he uses a lot of words, and is a great story teller!

Good morning Hero

 

Well like the old saying.... It takes a 1000 words to make a picture......errrr or something like that....

 

Drive on......(so many words that my pics are small)

97 Freightshaker Century Cummins M11-370 / 1350 /10 spd / 3:08 /tandem/ 20ft Garage/ 30 ft Curtis Dune toybox with a removable horse-haul-module to transport Dolly-The-Painthorse to horse camps and trail heads all over the Western U S

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The Subaru is loaded at a mild angle that only gains about 1' but the nose over the short cab gains about 18" more. We modified the roll bar on the RZR to make it easy to remove. That makes it short enough to load across the bed under the front of the car.

Looking at the pictures of the Wilcat 4, the front of the roll bar seems to slant back. My thought was loaded backward on an angle would shorten the length significantly but I guess you have checked that. By the time the TT tongue is added it would seem that the liveable space to over all length would be only modestly shorter than a 5er.

Our HDT has the small 42" sleeper and that also helps the overall length. Our 5er is only 96" wide so our hitch is only 54" behind the car. The back of the car is sloped which also helps. The higher the vehicle sits on the bed the more it reacts to the uneven 5er, truck angle.

Thx Randy. I will revisit the Cat at an angle. It has been over a year since I really looked at it.

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If you decide to go the way you are thinking, I believe you have made two really good choices. Both are about as high end as you can get in pull trailers. I think the Grand Design is probably a little fancier but the Arctic Fox is built like a tank and you won't be disappointed. We just bought a 2014 Sunnybrook Sunset Creek. Too bad Winnebago bought them out and then discontinued them. It sure is the nicest trailer we have even owned. Very heavy for it's size, but that speaks to the frame and quality inside. And it has aluminum siding, which is strange for such a nice interior.

Thanks Earl

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