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Travel trailer for 2 people?


jww193

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Hi all, my wife and I are getting close to retirement and plan on doing some national park camping. I'm looking into travel trailers and would like some advice on how big a TT I should be looking at. It'll just be the two of us and we'll probably be camping for 3-4 weeks at a time.

 

Any advice is much appreciated

 

~Jeff~

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!

 

If you are not happy with your choice of RV, you will likely not enjoy traveling in it for very long. It is a very subjective and personal decision. How much space you need and how you plan to use the trailer will be important factors. Will you mostly live outside and use the trailer primarily for sleeping? Or, do you want to have a place to sit, watch TV or read other than at the dinette or couch. Do you want a bed that you do not have to make up and breakdown every day? Do you want a separate bedroom? Do you want a bathroom that you do not have to walk through to get from one end of the trailer to the other? Will you use the public toilet and shower facilities or do you want to always use the ones in the RV?

 

If you have not RVed before, go to dealers or shows and walk through as many different units as you can. Go through the motions of daily activities including making sure you can use the shower and toilet comfortably. Keep notes of what features you like and what you don't. Make a list of what you absolutely have to have, what would be nice to have and what you don't want. If you have not RVed, consider renting. A small (25') Class C will give you a pretty good feel for what a smaller travel trailer will be like as far as interior space.

 

When you are looking at travel trailers, there are two lengths. The box or coach length and the over all exterior length which includes the A frame at the front of the trailer. There is no real standard convention as to how models are described so one trailer may be referred to as 19' (based on its box length) when it is in fact 22' in overall length and another trailer with a 19' box referred to as a 22'. There can also be a substantial difference in the tank capacities and cargo carrying capacities of similar size trailers. There are 19' trailers with less than 1000# of cargo capacity (which includes the fluids in the holding tanks) and others with 3000# of cargo capacity. What capacity tanks and how much cargo carrying capacity you think you will need will depend on how you plan to use the trailer.

 

There are some National Park campgrounds that do not have sites for the larger RVs, but I would not make that my primary selection factor in choosing a trailer.

 

We started with a 25' Class C with no slides that we used for weekends and week vacations and really enjoyed it. One of the biggest down sides for use was that to move from one end of the RV to the other, the other person had to sit down or make a real effort to get out of the way. At retirement, we switched to a 26' box travel trailer with a slide that actually had considerably more usable living space than the motor home. After 6 years, we started looking at trailers that had recliners and now have a trailer with a 29' box and deep slideout.

 

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum and good luck in finding the right RV for you!!!

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Another consideration is aisle width as it relates to the size of you two. If one of you always has to sit down for the other one to be able to move that can become an irritant quickly. Do you want to stop stirring the food you are making so your spouse can get by for hand washing?

 

 

Another consideration is height. My Dave's hair would move if he walked under the A/C in our first rig. While he never actually hit his head on it that moving hair was disconcerting.

 

Linda Sand

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We had a 27' travel trailer and it had plenty of space for the two of us. One thing we wouldn't like is a bed set next to a wall where one would have to climb over the other and it makes bed making very difficult. A bed both of you can walk around is best.

 

In a trailer that size definitely check out the shower space. Some are really small.

 

Travel trailers aren't noted for a lot of storage space outside so you might want to check that out also but you will have a truck for storage, too.

 

If you have a truck already, have you ever considered a 5th wheel. We had one of those, also, and they're a lot more stable of the highway and have more room inside and outside.

 

Have fun choosing. You'll enjoy whatever you get!

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...If you have a truck already, have you ever considered a 5th wheel...

If you do have a truck, unless it is at least a 250/2500 or higher rated, the number of 5th wheels that you can actually tow and be within the capabilities and weight limits of the truck will be very few despite what RV sales people and manufacturer advertisements may say. Even the 250/2500 models are easily put over their weight limits by many of today's 5th wheels. Here is a link to a website that has calculators that can help in pairing a tow vehicle with either a travel trailer or a 5th wheel.

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Anyone who started with something too small and found that out pretty quick?

We have owned RVs since our kids were small back in the 70's. Our first was a small popup and we soon figured out that it was too small for our purposes and so traded up to a larger popup. Since that we have owned 5 more RVs and have kept all of them for at least 5 years. We worked our way upward to the class A that we lived in fulltime for nearly 12 years and have now downsized to a travel trailer of 19' inside length. While we have been told repeatedly that our choices were wrong, they have all served us very well for the time and purpose we chose them for. We downsized when we left the fulltime lifestyle an while what we have would not be a good choice for many others, we have spent as long as 5 consecutive months in ours and done so quite happily. True, a larger RV would probably be nice at times, to us it is a balance between cost and comfort and we happen to be adaptable people and we manage to enjoy our RV experience in every RV we have owned and no two have been alike or the same size. It isn't possible for one of us to tell you what size you need. We know a couple who were in a class A of 42' with three slides and who sold it because it was too small. We also know a couple who have traveled quite happily as fulltimers for more than 5 years in a travel trailer that is 23' long and another couple who own a fifth wheel that is only 26' long and has no slides. We met a couple who had been traveling in a 17' Casita, no slides and little storage, as fulltimers and were in their 4th year.

 

You have received some good advice. I might also suggest that you may want to do a simulation of your daily living activities in each RV that you consider just to get a feel for how much room you need. With two people, do the things both do at the same time. For vacations and short trips, most people can adjust to much smaller space than for longer term use.

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You have received some good advice here so far. We bumper pulled from 1982 until 2008, we had 17' up to 32' lengths. We lost one to a fire, total loss. You need to like the person you go RV'ing with even if you are a weekender or monthly user and only use the RV as a sleeping and eating spot. If your going to mainly go to National, State, or government parks then the length of the RV becomes a factor, many have short sites, many of these parks do not provide a sewer connection at site so you will need to haul a blue tote or pull to the dump station when your tanks are full so tank size is important. Most normal sized RV's have tanks that can go 5 to 7 days and you can offset that by trying to get a site close to the restroom and being mindful of your tank volume. The placement of your bed is important, we recommend a front bedroom, with a center kitchen, and a rear entertainment, this is for weight control, your kitchen stuff will weigh the most so keep it in the center over the axles, your bedroom weighs the least keep it in the front, this helps your tongue weight. Try and find a unit that has two doors mainly for safety emergencies. It won't be much of a problem if you go big enough but you should look at two axles units, four tires are better than two. For pulling you need the anti sway hitch, you will like it allot when a big semi passes you at about 70 mph.

Good luck and have a great retirement. It's all about relaxing and having fun and don't let anyone pass you as you travel the highways and byways of our great country.

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We full-timed very comfortably in a 32' fifth wheel with two slides. We now have a 26' pull trailer that we are very comfortable in for a couple months in the summer and many winter trips. We bought a smaller trailer after we sold the fiver and was very unhappy with the tightness, one uncomfortable couch, and a table. It had a 1/2 slide with the couch. We now have the rig listed below and love it because it has a nice living area with a full slide, two chairs, a small couch and a nice table. Also a separate bedroom with a walk around bed. But to pack that much comfort into a small trailer, there are big compromises: you have to move one chair that then blocks the main door every time the slide is pulled in. You also can't access the bathroom for the living area when the slide is in so you have to go outside and into the bedroom door. We don't take long trips any more so the compromises are OK because we have such a large living area--pretty much unheard of in 20 some foot trailers. The other thing with a a pull trailer is you have to store a lot more in the bed of the truck so it is more inconvenient to access. I don't think my wife would full-time in this size trailer--she loved the higher ceilings and double slide in the larger fiver.

 

By the way, most full-timers would think our fiver was too small for them. But many do it.

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As has been said so often previously, where and how you live is such a personal process that we can't tell you or even imagine what will make you happy or unhappy. But if I ramble on about a few things that annoy me and others I really enjoy, perhaps it will prompt you to consider others that could be important to you.

 

When living in a small space, moisture is NOT your friend, in fact, quite the contrary. Some little simple facts like that can have far reaching effects and consequences. When I was a kid, taking a bath meant; bring in some wood, build a fire in the kitchen stove, drag in a wash tub, heat a few buckets of water and take your bath there in the kitchen among the people eating their cereal, playing with toys, reading the paper, listening to the radio, washing dishes and doing some cooking. Living in an RV will be nicer than that, but probably more like that than your current lifestyle.

 

One of the houses I owned had a big Jacuzzi tub in the master bath. I tried it out, meh. Baths were just something I had to do, certainly not the high point of my day. Spending extra time doing it, to enjoy the swirling water and bubbles wasn't in my play book. On the other hand, I hate a wet plastic shower curtain slapping me on the butt while I am taking a shower. That bathroom had a shower big enough for 5 or 6 people, with glass doors and I did enjoy just standing there relaxing in the hot steamy rain. If you tried to do that in an RV, the mold and mildew might attack you before you could complete the shower and remember the hot water tank is only 10% as large as your current one.

 

So you learn to take submarine showers. Don't need no stinkin' tub, quickly spray yourself and turn off the water. Soap up and scrub. Rinse off and you're done. 5 or 10 minutes, tops. Don't need a lot of room, but sure need: glass door; good fan powered vent in the shower itself, not just the bathroom; a seat built in the shower is a wonderful luxury you will grow to appreciate. And of course the final 5 minutes or so of going over the shower with a squeegee, which will give you time to drip dry a little and nearly eliminate hours of scrubbing the tub/shower.

 

As I get older, I find more and more things are becoming a hassle. Some will disagree, but for me, propane is a hassle. When I downsized from the house to the RV I selected an assortment of kitchen stuff, maybe 2% of the stick house accumulation. After a couple of weeks, I decided to bake something and discovered the RV had (surprisingly enough), an RV kitchen stove and oven. Yes, an oven in which you could bake things. Things like A cupcake, A chicken wing, A dinner roll, (not all at the same time, of course). Only 1 of my banking pans would fit in the oven. I know the oven works, because when they demoed the RV the salesman showed me how to lay on the floor, so you could look up into the oven, then reach clear to the back with a match, turn on the propane and light the oven and with a little luck come out with one or maybe even both of your eyebrows. Once I found out the pans didn't fit, I haven't even bothered to try lighting the oven. I can do the same things much easier with the toaster oven.

 

After a lot of research and thought I got an induction cook plate. It's wonderful. Not much waste heat into the RV, very little space, quick and easy. No hassle. Went down to the basement and turned off the propane tanks. If at some point I really need to run the generator, then I'll go turn the propane on again. But till then, life is good without propane. My heat pump is quite adequate and in the unlikely event I feel the need for more winter, I can supplement it with a little electric fireplace - they are attractive anyway.

 

One last rant. The first 2 houses I owned were ranches with a full basement - 1 stairway. The next was a split level, 5 level actually. Four stairways! The next 2 houses were on slabs. Not a single step in either of them. When my aged parents moved in with us, that became a big deal. An RV is pretty much going to have to be elevated up over the axles and tires. So there will be steps or a ramp / elevator. If you see a future with knee, hip, etc., problems in it, be sure your RV will accommodate the kind of assistance you might need for entry, exit or maybe even moving around in it.

 

The point I am so poorly trying to make is that if you are a happy person, you have evolved to a lifestyle that makes you happy. Moving to an RV IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT LIFESTYLE. Think carefully about what things in your lifestyle contribute to your happiness and whether they will still be possible and maybe even better in an RV. And give some thought to things that are a hassle to you or at least you would be happy to not have to do any more and whether you can get them to go away when you move to an RV.

 

For me, moving to full time in an RV has been one of the best things that has happened in my lifetime. I hope it will be true for you too. As I think about it, I know a bunch of people who have been forced to give up RV life and none of them did it without regrets. I don't know anyone currently living in an RV and is unhappy because of that.

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Our neighbors started with a 19' bumper pull trailer. They soon realized there were a few things they did not like. Very little cupboard for their clothing, small shower (unless you plan on using the public facilities and some are yuck) no comfortable seating for relaxing. They had their choice of the dinette booth or laying on the bed to watch tv. No sofa, no other chairs. Whatever you think you like, spend a few hours in it and pretend you are living there. Is the bathroom big enough to sit on the toilet , how about the shower , can the bigger of you take a shower, cooking - any counter space. Where will the dirty laundry go, clean clothes, shoes, jackets. How about storage space for any food. Pots & pans, toiletries - try to think of all you would take with you and is there enough room to store it?

 

Our neighbors purchased a 29' trailer and now can walk around the bed. They have an actual good size closet in the bedroom, a sofa and chair as well as a dining table and chairs now. Opposing slides in the living area give them a good size living room and they are much more comfortable.

 

Imagine spending 3 days straight (or more) inside because it's storming out.

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Jeff,

As you can see you are getting a lot of great advice. I would like to ask you why you are considering a travel trailer? Also what vehicle are you planning on towing with? A truck? Have you bought the tow vehicle yet? Going new or used? See all of that can narrow down our advice.

 

We full timed for 7 years and picked a trailer because we likes the idea of being able to put one or the other in the shop but still have a place to sleep or wheels. I know you can have a towed vehicle behind a motorhome but the beauty of a truck trailer combo is only one drive train to insure, and your trailer is basically insured with your truck insurance from a liability standpoint.

 

If you already have the tow vehicle we can help you size the trailer weights for safety. I am sorry to say but all but the smallest trailers that can accommodate two comfortably are not towable with the half ton 1500 series of trucks.

 

Thus my question of what you plan to tow with and if you already bought the tow vehicle.

 

We have a 2003 28 foot Sunnybrook 2850SL 5th wheel that we tow with a now long bed Dodge RAM 2004 diesel 2500. The Sunnybrook is aluminum framed and very light for a 28 footer, so we feel comfortable towing it, but more importantly stopping it, with that truck. I had a short bed 2006 Ram diesel but that was big mistake for us. It had no room for a hitch and a toolbox of the size I want. We just sold and bought another 2 years older with fewer miles and already fiver equipped.

 

So tell us if you have the tow vehicle or have planned for one.

 

Why you chose a travel trailer? (Price? Used? New?)

 

And what experience you have towing more than a boat.

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When I am in campgrounds and see the selection of RVs I am just dumbfounded. Most are gigantic, more like mobile homes than RVs. There are huge downsides....limited places to "camp" although that term hardly applies, lots of expense and maintenance and chores to do. By comparison after I retired, my wife and I and two cats took off full time in a truck camper without even the extra space from slideouts. We had an extremely comfortable full Queen sized foam mattress, a 3 burner stove, microwave, A/C, refrigerator, rest room/shower, a moderately comfortable dinette and two big zero gravity chairs hanging off the back ladder. I had 2 solar panels and AGM batteries installed and also got a generator. We had way, way more storage than needed and took way, way more stuff than we needed. In fact after two years of full timing I estimated that we had never worn even half the clothing or used half the tools, supplies, and gear.

 

Going light and being able to go without hook ups greatly increases the options for camping. For example in the first year we only stayed in RV parks a handful of times and that was due to visits to Williamsburg and some cities without other options. I figured we averaged $7/night for camping fees. Propane was about $10/month and gas for the generator less than $5. I toured places like the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone. When it was lunchtime we pulled off the road, cooked a real lunch, used our own rest room facilities and had a nap. The big rig guys were parked miles and miles away and drove their toads. They ate out of a lunch box and used overly ripe outhouses. Think about what you want to do and buy an RV that meets your needs. If that means sitting in RV parks great but don't buy a rig for an RV park and then try to visit national forests and primitive areas.

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Where will you hang your wet coat when you had to hookup in the rain because your reservation ended and someone else has your spot reserved for tonight? If that spot is in the trailer, how will you get to the truck? We can give you a ton of questions like that one. Reality is--there in no one perfect answer. You have to decide what's most important to you then go find the rig that supplies that.

 

Linda Sand

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I work on the theory that if you are unsure of what will suite you the best course of action is to hire a few different travel trailers overs a couple of weekends and if nothing else you will soon find out what dosent suite you.

 

mick

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All the technical details have been covered. One more thing I might suggest - visit campgrounds in your area, public and private. Walk around and visit with people using their rigs. You can learn a lot. One thing about RVers: we love to talk about and show off ourr rigs. Info right from the horse's mouth is invaluable.

 

Good Luck and don't hesitate to ask about specific models/floorplans as your search progresses.

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Jeff, you've gotten a lot of good information here. Obviously, only you can make the final decision about what to get. My suggestion would be to go out to campgrounds and talk to people. Ask them why they chose that type (NOT brand) of coach and what they now think. Also, go to as many RV dealers as you can and look at everything on the lot, no matter the price or condition. You are looking at what floor plans fit your life. Pretend to do the various daily activities in each one. It won't take long for you to have a pretty good idea of what floor plans will work for you.

 

It sounds like you aren't planning on full-timing, and that makes a few more coaches available to you. Given you stated plans, I'd suggest that you are correct in considering a towable rather than a MH.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeff, we bought a used 2007 Jayco 29' tt in 2008. Used 5x by orig. owner and wife but she wasn't in to that style of living, so we basically got a new trailer. It has a slide out that is just wide enough to get the couch and kitchen out. We took the two chairs out in the back picture window to accommodate our two German Shepherds. The dining set was the bench set up. The bath fully contained with tub/shower, sink, and commode all behind one closed door for privacy. Two doors on the same side - one in the back and one in the bedroom (which we never used, but felt we cld use it in an emergency beyond the emergency window exits). The couch was hard as a rock, so we basically only used it folded out with a 3" foam topper and fitted sheet holding it in place as we watched TV lying down. Since we would camp from 1 - 4 weeks at a time, storage was important and there is TONS of storage built in- amazingly so, never ran out of room and I'm an overpacker for clothing and food. Husband towed with F150 at first and later F350 dually, either one fine. He had no problems getting into gov.-type campgrounds and getting into some of those prime , smaller water sites. TT are low to the ground so very easy to have one step fold down stair, which is nice for loading/unloading your camper. We are just about to sell it. What we didn't like was the depth of the slide. There was a bottle neck at the area of the bathroom door swinging open, diagonal from the frig door, next to the large clothes cabinet, in front of the bedroom door, and about all where I was standing trying to cook next to the frig. So we were always both going sideways or waiting for the other and it was mentioned I was making facial expressions at times (ahem). That was the biggest problem we had, just not quite enough floor space for passing by each other; next would be the uncomfy furniture, but unlike you, we removed two chairs for the dogs. If we could have had a bigger slide, we'd have changed furniture, and managed, but now going to a 5er toy hauler w/ 2 two opposing slides. We did exchange the dinky double kitchen sink for one large stainless steel and added a sprayer to the faucet. Husband put water shut offs in water lines for safety sake. The travel trailer has served us incredibly well. Husband also does motorcycle racing, so that ttrailer hauled a HUGE amt of gear to the tracks multiple times each year with two race bikes in the pickup bed. We will never regret buying that tt; it's in great shape at 10 yrs old, under a port when not in use, always washed and waxed, husband did reg. maintenance on hubs, axles, bearings, etc. I hope there is something in this ramble that may help you in your decision. Good luck. - Mary

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