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Dreaming Small First


artywoof

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Hi all,

 

I'm getting addicted to this site, so much info to absorb. I am looking forward to asking about RV's in the future as I keep reading this site and so may blogs.

 

I have lived in an RV as a child for about 3 years or so back during 1983-1986ish I think. We had a Airstream, Argosy, and a 40' FifthWheel. If you were around Rovers Roost in '85-'86 school year you might remember a 13yr old kid running around the park. We owned spot 77 I think.

 

I am starting to dream now that I am older and able to maybe get a small RV to camp in to start and then in a few years after some studying go a bit bigger.

 

I own a '15 Subaru Crosstrek now so it's limited to 1500lbs towing, and all I can find is a 13' Scamp. I'd like to buy one of those to re-introduce myself to going about in a RV. I know by reading your posts that this combo is a bit tough as a Scamp is 900 to 1200 pounds depending on age and options. So I would likely only go for week long vacations to start staying away from big mountains.

 

Any info you can provide as to how risky that combo is would be greatly appreciated as I would have to watch what I put into both the RV and the car.

 

Hope you are all having fun at the Escapade!

Thanks Tim

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First of all, welcome home! You really do belong in this group, and probably would find the X-scapers site to be something you would enjoy. It is a parallel site to the main Escapee site but with more emphasis on the younger set, which is the future of the Escapees so I love seeing it starting to happen.

 

You haven't said anything much about yourself or if you have a family, but I'd suggest a good way to start might be to consider a popup type of RV as some of those are quite lite in weight and yet can be quite comfortable. I think that you could find something in those which would also be in your weight range.

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Thanks Kirk,

 

I am solo guy (Tim) with a dog (Rosko) so I don't need much space. I currently live in Austin TX in a 580sf apartment. I visited Livingston back in 2001 and used the mail service, and just two weeks ago with my parents who are considering CARE.

 

I considered the pop ups but they are basically a tent and I have one of those. I'd like something that keeps the elements out, tents/pop ups just don't do that.

 

If the current car is not capable then there is always trading it in for a truck that could better meet the towing expectations of a larger RV.

 

I do own a house that I rent out so if I sell that next year or after I could use the profit to purchase a truck and larger RV for more long term travels. Which leads to checking out the Xcapers info on jobs, I've seen a few I'd consider but I'm sure there will be more posted to check out.

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I do believe that if you trade for a better tow vehicle it would make your options now far better and more practicle. Even the little 13' Casita comes in at 1880# before you put anything into it. The KZ Sportsman Classic trailers start at a dry weight of more than 2000#. Those are just two examples of what your limits are and both are looking a empty weights while gross weight is what you really should be considering.

 

We travel in a 19' Sportsman Classic and while it comes in loaded at only 3800# and is capable of being towed by most SUV's out there or by a half ton pickup, I towed ours for three years with an SUV that was rated to tow 5000# and found that it was all I wanted with that vehicle. I have now shifted to a 2500/250 rated truck (the old 3/4 ton) and find it far less stress to drive and I have ample excess capacity to carry things in the bed of our truck. In addition, by upgrading the tow vehicle before you choose a trailer to tow, you will have far more choices and you will have the ability to move to a larger RV if you should wish to in the future. Remember that an RV of 20' in length is no more than 160 square feel of living space, even with a slide since your inside is not all available space. We manage with two of us in our little travel trailer, but we are now back to seasonal traveling and so do not carry all of our possessions with us any longer and we have the 4 door truck and truck bed to carry some of what we bring along. It is very possible to live in the tiny trailers for some people, but there really aren't that many who can successfully do so for very long as most are just not comfortable in such restricted space and limited ability to carry possessions.

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My dream rig may meet your needs. Take a look at Escape trailers. I would love an Escape 19 (or 21) and a 150/1500 truck. This would definitely work for me were I single or for the two of us for exploring and wandering. I love our 40' Montana for when we get to destinations and sit for a while, but it is a bit big and ponderous for spontaneous "Hey, what's down that road?" maneuvers.


My suggestion would be to get a bigger truck as your first step. As Kirk said, your options will increase dramatically.


I do like the Casitas but the Escape appeals to me more. If you get a chance, head up to Rice, TX and visit the Casita factory. Very impressive operation and product.


Yup, "You're gonna need a bigger truck"

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If I skip the Scamp idea I'd look more for a FT set up. If I go with a different tow vehicle I'd choose a travel trailer first as I have seen that recommended many times here. I say TT because I would like to get a cap for a pickup for storage of a buisiness idea I am still researching. A FifthWheel would take up that space in the bed. I would like to go with likely a 4 season trailer so I don't have to be as worried about it though still carful cause as a kid we had frozen pipes more that once flooding the trailer.

 

During my inital searching I like the Arctic Fox 25Y. Size seems good for getting into NP areas that have that 30' limit. So they mean trailer 30' length or over all truck and trailer must be under 30'?

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Welcome, artywoof! You might also want to check out Airstreams if you are going to get a bigger truck anyway. Most of them can be towed by an F150-class truck. Join airforums.com and ask lots of questions. Yes, there is a Classifieds section.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If I skip the Scamp idea I'd look more for a FT set up. If I go with a different tow vehicle I'd choose a travel trailer first as I have seen that recommended many times here. I say TT because I would like to get a cap for a pickup for storage of a buisiness idea I am still researching. A FifthWheel would take up that space in the bed. I would like to go with likely a 4 season trailer so I don't have to be as worried about it though still carful cause as a kid we had frozen pipes more that once flooding the trailer.

 

During my inital searching I like the Arctic Fox 25Y. Size seems good for getting into NP areas that have that 30' limit. So they mean trailer 30' length or over all truck and trailer must be under 30'?

I think you are onto the right idea here. That would be a great combo for a single person. Four seasons still means you have to take care of things if it gets much below freezing and certainly means winterizing if you are not in the trailer during freezing weather. NP parks just mean the trailer has to be under 30'. You can usually squeeze the truck in at an angle. If I were alone, even now that we are off the road, I would consider your idea...especially with an AF.

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Wow this research thing is so informative but also so confusing on what to concentrate on like camper or truck.

 

I found a YouTube Vlog for someone who FT in a 13' Scamp.

Interesting that I think I could make this work for me and my dog for the camper. But he makes me worry about my current Subaru Crosstrek and its ability to tow. He mentions HWY Speeds at 50mph with his 4cly, and that to me is just too slow and unsafe. I have done enough car travel and seen enough semi's just not like or treat slow traffic nicely to want to risk this option for a FT choice. It would be ok for a weekend camper but not FT.

 

So since then I found another Vlog

of a larger 19' Escape trailer and they tow with a Nissan Frontier. This combination seems to be more practical of going with a small set up. I plan to ask about his truck and how it tows in the mountains as I really like the GMC Canyon with 7000lbs towing. I know that limits me to trailer size but I was thinking of MPG mostly when that idea popped into mind.

 

Until I found this review

That states that the MPG up the mountain would be 3.6 MPG. Well that just seems like maybe a 1/2 ton would likely be a better choice for any mountain travel. But maybe a 19' Escape trailer would do better and be ok.

 

Mostly I am still wanting to stay small on the camper 13'/16' Scamp to a 19' Escape or even the Artic Fox 25Y. There are some larger trailers I am liking too but right now I want to concentrate on smaller.

 

For anyone thinking I should go FW and Diesel, I need the pick up bed for storage with a cap for a business idea so I don't want a FW. As for Diesel, I get sick/Migraines from the smell of diesel so I plan to stay away from them. So I'm concentrating on pickup and TT combo.

 

So thanks for the ideas, I'm going to keep up my research.

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You might want to take a look at some of the smaller motorized RVs while you are considering what your best option is. We chose a gas powered class A, but many singles find a class C to serve them well and that means you could tow a small car and so leave the more gas loving engine sit while you explore with the car. If your Subaru happens to be the manual transmission, you could tow it on it's wheels.

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I considered a motor home but my Subaru is AWD and automatic so it would have to be all four up on a trailer. I have read that some camp grounds don't have space for you to have a RV and a Car trailer and a Car all on one site. But since then I thought that a TT and pick up would be best as I could use the pick up bed as storage with a cap, like I could with an A or C class basements.

 

I have a business idea that I have built and in storage it's 9 pieces about 6'x2'x6" for each piece and weigh about 300-500lbs combined I think. So almost no class A or C would work as I would also not want to unhook them to drive them to set up for a work day, It's a partial start of a business I tried years ago but would like to take on the road. I still have to research this as part of my FT living as a job. It may work it may not but it's mostly built, I just have to find a way to make it work on the road rather than in one city like I had initially planned.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I do believe that if you trade for a better tow vehicle it would make your options now far better and more practicle. Even the little 13' Casita comes in at 1880# before you put anything into it. The KZ Sportsman Classic trailers start at a dry weight of more than 2000#. Those are just two examples of what your limits are and both are looking a empty weights while gross weight is what you really should be considering.

 

We travel in a 19' Sportsman Classic and while it comes in loaded at only 3800# and is capable of being towed by most SUV's out there or by a half ton pickup, I towed ours for three years with an SUV that was rated to tow 5000# and found that it was all I wanted with that vehicle. I have now shifted to a 2500/250 rated truck (the old 3/4 ton) and find it far less stress to drive and I have ample excess capacity to carry things in the bed of our truck. In addition, by upgrading the tow vehicle before you choose a trailer to tow, you will have far more choices and you will have the ability to move to a larger RV if you should wish to in the future. Remember that an RV of 20' in length is no more than 160 square feel of living space, even with a slide since your inside is not all available space. We manage with two of us in our little travel trailer, but we are now back to seasonal traveling and so do not carry all of our possessions with us any longer and we have the 4 door truck and truck bed to carry some of what we bring along. It is very possible to live in the tiny trailers for some people, but there really aren't that many who can successfully do so for very long as most are just not comfortable in such restricted space and limited ability to carry possessions.

 

Kirk,

 

I'm in the process of trying to decide on a tow vehicle and a travel trailer to start our camping experience. Wife and I plan to retire with in the next 6-9 months. I want to start traveling out west, but I'm not really sure how much my wife will want to stay on the road. I would like to go for 2-3 months at a time. This was just some back ground. My question is about your move to a 3/4 truck. I'm really trying to stay away from a 3/4 ton truck and stick to a 1/2 ton. Why did you jump to a 3/4 ton truck? I'm trying to limit the size of the trailer to stay with a 1/2 ton to start. Is it a mistake to buy a cheaper small trailer with plans to upgrade as I see how much and how we use the trailer? May go to an Airstream down the road.

 

Troy

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First let me welcome you to the Escapee forums! We truly enjoy helping and sharing with other RV folks and advising new people so we thank you for choosing us and are happy to assist in any way that we may be able.

My question is about your move to a 3/4 truck. I'm really trying to stay away from a 3/4 ton truck and stick to a 1/2 ton. Why did you jump to a 3/4 ton truck? I'm trying to limit the size of the trailer to stay with a 1/2 ton to start. Is it a mistake to buy a cheaper small trailer with plans to upgrade as I see how much and how we use the trailer?

There were several reasons for my chosen truck, not the least of which was the availability, since I purchased it from a neighbor lady who was moving into assisted living with our help. As such I got a used truck whose history I knew well and for a better than typical price. In this case it was a 14 year old Cummins diesel that had less than 100k of miles and also a stellar service record. But even if I had not had this one available, I probably would have leaned to a 3/4 ton series truck, just because of the history of towing with an SUV which was not tremendously lower in ratings than would have been for a 1/2 ton series truck. In addition, if you tow at hear the capacity of the chosen truck you will find it requires much more effort to drive and control, and it will mean that you have to change tow trucks if you go to a larger travel trailer. Our travel trailer is a very light weight one, with a GVWR of only 3800#, which could be towed by a smaller truck, but it is also only 20' in length and has no slides so if we should choose to go back up somewhat in RV size, we now have ample truck to tow it with, up to anything at all that we may choose to consider.

 

Having owned several 4WD vehicles over the years which I did use "off road" a good deal, I would never choose one for towing unless towing somewhere that it was more warranted than the conventional RV site. Such units are more costly to maintain and they burn extra fuel, while the vast majority rarely ever actuall opperate in 4WD, Where we go it simply isn't warranted.

 

May go to an Airstream down the road.

If you are serious about that choice, be sure to get at least a 3/4 ton series truck as those trailers are very heavy and also very expensive. The 22' model weighs in at 4500# and is priced at more than $5,900, according to the company website. And when you look at them be sure that you make note of the amount of storage that they have, as compared to other manufacturer's RVs. The Airstream is the most expensive travel trailer that I know of in today's market.

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So I have done a lot more research and have figured out that it's best I not tow anything with my Crosstrek. Even a 13' Scamp unless it was just to go local in state on weekends as a camper.

 

Like Troy I would prefer to not have to go with a big truck, I understand that I probably should but would like to pose the following ask for opinions. Reading so many blogs it seems like fuel is a huge cost.

 

I like the Chevy Colorado/ GMC Canyon trucks a lot. They are rated at 7000lbs and come in a diesel rated at 7700lbs. Now diesel smells and can gives me migraines so I would likely only consider gas trucks.

 

I would consider a TT like the Winnabago Minnie 2500RL (5,160lbs) or the Flagstaff Super Lite 23FBDS (5195 lbs)

 

Playing with the trailer calculators I think that these would be right at the limit and maybe to heavy? What do think?

 

Thanks a bunch as I research, Tim

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the Dallas RV show last weekend to look around. It seemed smaller to the Austin one in February, maybe it's the building. Anyway there were a few brands that were new to me and so I added them to what interest me.

 

I have noticed a lot of the newer RVs have an option for heated underbelly/tanks and even thermal windows. Do you think those are just gimmicks or will actually help if you stay in locaions that would get cold? If one were to workcamp at Amazon say in Kentucky or Fort Worth those places get plenty of cold temps, would those RVs have a chance at keeping one warm enough?

 

I plan to go to PPLMotormomes in New Braunfels on Saturday just to get an idea of used units and what to expect in them. I want an idea of how age affects them and try to think how old is to old. How much bells and whistles mean to me.

 

I am torn between ideally trading in my Crosstrek and getting a truck and TT. (I still owe to much on the Crosstrek now, but I love it too)

 

OR

 

Get a Class A/C and tow the Crosstrek (4up) on a trailer?

 

Thoughts?

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I have noticed a lot of the newer RVs have an option for heated underbelly/tanks and even thermal windows. Do you think those are just gimmicks or will actually help if you stay in locaions that would get cold? If one were to workcamp at Amazon say in Kentucky or Fort Worth those places get plenty of cold temps, would those RVs have a chance at keeping one warm enough?

We had both "gimmicks" on our fulltime RV and there is absolutely no way that I would even consider full-time living in any RV that didn't have both. Unless you think that frozen waste tanks that you are unable to empty is fun and sweating windows that need constant mopping, you need to realize that neither of them are a gimmick but are what most knowledgeable RV buyers insist upon for cold weather living. Dual pane windows are just as important in hot weather when you try to air condition as the prevent heat gain just as well as they prevent heat loss.

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I plan to go to PPLMotormomes in New Braunfels on Saturday just to get an idea of used units and what to expect in them. I want an idea of how age affects them and try to think how old is to old. How much bells and whistles mean to me.

I am torn between ideally trading in my Crosstrek and getting a truck and TT. (I still owe to much on the Crosstrek now, but I love it too)

OR

Get a Class A/C and tow the Crosstrek (4up) on a trailer?

Thoughts?

We did the same some of the newer units were falling apart when only 3-4 years old. There was a 12 year old Alpenlite 5th wheel though dated looked better than any of the newer ones.

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Well my trip to PPL Motorhomes was useful. Anything over 10yrs is out. The general smell and the deterioration of the RVs was a lot more than I would want to deal with. I will concentrate on the newer RVs from now on if not new or very close to new.

 

I only noticed a few RVs have a Thermal / Arctic or winter type package. I forgot to check windows on the used ones to see if they are double pane. I will definitely try to go with a 4 season package from now on for sure. I remember when I was a kid living in our 28" Argosy that the window and ceiling would always have condensation. So thanks for the reminder Kirk.

 

If I can find a used Oliver trailer I might be able to buy one but from what I can tell the new ones are in the $30K+ range and I think that would be too much for me. Maybe in the future.

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So I own a home in Leander TX, that I currently rent out and make a small $300 profit on every month. I am torn as to keeping it as is and renting it or selling it.

 

Keeping the house gives me a little income that could be used for either a car/truck or RV payment as I will not have enough saved up to pay cash for any of those to start RVing. So that would mean I would have a house payment, car/truck, and a RV payment. I would have to have a good paying job to survive. And that may just be very possible with so may options out there.

 

Or I can sell the house and use the profit to buy a truck and or RV and be at or close to debt free. Nearly all my income would then be used for traveling and reduce the burden of making payments.

 

Thoughts on what you did or what most RVers do when they start traveling?

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For what it is worth, here is my experience as a solo traveler in a small trailer:

 

I purchased an Escape 17B in 2011, towed it 77,000 miles in 5 years with a RAV4 (V6 & tow package rated at 3500/350 lbs). Lots of state & national parks, including a trip to Alaska. I spent last winter at the Long Term Visitors Area in Quartzsite dry camping for 93 days, and found the trailer worked well for a single person. I just ordered an Escape 21 (pick up date is October, 2017) because I wanted a full time 4 person dinette, an oven & microwave, all of which would not be possible in the 17B. I'm currently towing with a 2016 Tacoma Off Road.

 

If you are interested in journals of my trips over the last 5 years, check the link in my signature.

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Or I can sell the house and use the profit to buy a truck and or RV and be at or close to debt free. Nearly all my income would then be used for traveling and reduce the burden of making payments.

 

Personally, I would go this route. Debt free is wonderful! House free is wonderful, too. Why would you want to keep those anchors?

 

Linda Sand

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  • 2 weeks later...

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