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5er vs CL A


jacks

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Hi All,

Pros and cons of pulling a approx.,30' 5er with a 2500HD versus a 32' Tiffin Allegro with toad(or Motorcycle) especially with regard to boondocking and maneuvering through a city, maintenance issues etc., etc.,

Thanks again in advance:)

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You might as well have asked which is better, Ford or Chevy.

You will not find "the" right answer because one does not exist. The pros and cons are different for each of us and what you think may be a pro, others will see as a con.

Which do YOU like? What are YOU looking to do? If the motorhome is in the shop how many of you are there for that motorcycle? If it is just you, then that is a pro. If it is you, the wife and a dog, the M/C is a con. You are wearing out more tires with the truck and a trailer but have more seats. Pro or con?

Raining? Nice breeze and sunny? Truck or M/C? Pro or con?

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We can't tell you what you will value; we can only tell you what what we chose and why. I prefer a motorhome primarily because when arriving at a campground in the rain I didn't have to go outside until I really needed hookups--sometimes two days after arriving when my solar panels were not keeping up because of the rain.

 

Linda Sand

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OK I'll stick my neck on the chopping block!!! We have only ever owned large Class A motorhomes. So it may come as shock to hear that I think a 5th wheel would be a 'better' starting point. Simply because it should be a smaller outlay of dollars. Less insurance and registration worries. One less drive train to worry about. Less of a depreciation shock if you decide to change over to an A Class rather than and A Class to a 5th wheel. So from a budget point of view I would go down the 5th wheel route as a starting point. If it doesn't work out for whatever reason then it should be much less painful to make a change.

 

regards

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If you are going to be touring around moving every few days I would go for a Class A. We loved being able to pull up in the rain and put the kettle on with our feet up with out having to go outside.

 

On the other hand A big 5er with slides is great if you don't move it much.

 

Remember if you are boondocking with a 5er you need to think about generators, water tanks and grey/black water tanks.

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You might as well have asked which is better, Ford or Chevy.

You will not find "the" right answer because one does not exist. The pros and cons are different for each of us and what you think may be a pro, others will see as a con.

Well put! It tends be depend upon the priorities of the people inside as well as personal preference and what just feels right. Most of us can give you a list of reasons why we prefer the choice we made, but they are all personal opinions. A better question might be to ask each one to list his reasons for the choice that they made. Your question assumes that these two choices are universally better than a travel trailer or a class C, yet there are those who choose each of those as better than either of your options.

 

We liked our class A for it's flat floor with no interior steps, for the ability to use a less expensive vehicle(replacement, fuel, & maintenance) to explore with, and the security of a second vehicle to use if the RV should break down. But for every point I make, I know someone else who finds another type of RV better. If there were one best choice for fulltime there would be a clear majority of fulltimers in that one type but you can find someone in every possible choice. We have even known fulltimers who lived in a popup.

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jacks just be sure that whatever you do that your heart has as much influence as your head. Too many times folks base all their choices on money and not what makes them smile.

I mentioned the dollar aspect simply as another thought bubble. In reality I would recommend the RV that suits your intended lifestyle above all else.

 

regards

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We are new. 5th wheel is "on order". Don't even have it yet! Have never had anything...that is how new we are! We chose 5th wheel as we did not want a toad and we felt if our truck was broke at least our "house wasn't" We like the set-up of the 5er better as most Class A's have booth for the table and we found the family room set up just didn't fit us. Since this is our "virgin" experience (can I say that here??) we decided that we liked the fact that a 5er feels more like an apartment than a class A. I used to work at home, and didn't like my office in my living space. Likewise, we like the idea of not living where we drive all day. I know there are downsides to this as well, but just saying how we felt. We hike so 2-3 steps is not an issue for us at this point in our lives. Someday it might be and someday a Class A may be the "right" one for us. Something I read while doing research was "choose what you like and make it work for you" I think that was a great piece of advice. 6 of one half a dozen of the other. What works for you?

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We full-timed for 8 years in a 33' 5th wheel and 8 years in a 40' motorhome. We enjoyed them both but the motorhome won out. The reason we switched is that we hated driving the truck around. We loved towing the Jeep which gave us lots of added enjoyment, especially when boondocking and being so close to exploring deeper in the boonies.

 

Both were used extensively for boondocking on national forest and BLM lands. Both were driven in cities. Both fit in public campgrounds.

 

If maintenance or repairs need to be done on a motorhome you can still stay in it at night on the service lots and usually with electric hookup. We never slept anywhere other than our RV so that's not an issue. You don't have it during the day but that's when we did errands, siteseeing, went to the movies, etc. We lucked out and didn't have any major repairs - just normal maintenance. Recently, a couple needed body work and paint done on their motorhome and it was done within a week and they stayed in it at night.

 

I know it's not much help as both worked for us. It was the truck vs the Jeep that was important to us. You'll have to decide what's important to you. There is no right or wrong answer. Good luck with your choice!

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I think you're way ahead of the curve by doing your research and asking questions before you actually take the leap.

I don't generally comment on threads like this simply because my opinions tend to differ from most, but I guess I can stick my neck out.

Just to illustrate exactly what others have been saying.. and why it's very difficult to really say "what" exactly would fit you best.. 2gypsies has done a LOT of boondocking, however, for many of the same reasons that they felt a class A and toad was the right setup for them, I found that it didn't work for me.

I started out in a class A/toad combo, moved to two different 5'ers and eventually ended up with a 25' travel trailer that has turned out to be "my" best fit. I also travel solo.

Things I didn't like about a class A:
- More living space than was practical for a solo to use and maintain. Ie., it didn't make sense to have two loungers, a sofa and 4 dining chairs. I only got one bum and only used it indoors maybe an hour or so a day.
- Overall weight was too great to navigate very far off the beaten path.
- Maneuverability in-town is more challenging.
- Maintaining, registering and insuring two vehicles seemed redundant with little return for the effort and cost.
- Even though it's possible to stay in your rig while under repair, it ain't much fun. You need to be out of the shops way by a certain time, you're eating out (I prefer cooking) and need to be back by a certain time. It's not a major issue, but it is STILL an inconvenience.
- Gas mileage was pretty much in the crapper.
- While some will swear they have "never" had an issue with being able to get their rig into any campground they want... I would also guess they've never really strayed much off the interstates or from mid to larger sized cities. I want to stay where "I" want to stay.

Lifetyle-wise.. the killing stroke was that while day-tripping into more remote areas is doable, you are still tied down to your "home base" unless you're going to tent it overnight. For me.. the two best parts of the day are stepping out of my front door sleepy-eyed with a hot cuppa and enjoy a magnificent view to watch the sunrise. The other time... having a little sippin juice by the fire until long after the stars come up.. getting "droopy".. and being able to take two steps inside and crash after another great day.

I also prefer finding "just the right spot" and spend a week or two fully exploring the area. The last thing I want is to give it a "hit'n'miss" for a few hours.. or have to drive in and out daily.

So for me.. the revelation came one night that, "this is just ridiculous!" I could have parked a smaller rig "right over there". I don't particularly like crampgroungs, all this running around back and forth is pretty much a drag and I have a large living room I haven't stepped foot in for 4 days.

What I liked about a class A:
- Setup was easier/quicker.
- More "amenities" and automatic options.

I could see if you had foul weather it might be nice not to have to step outside, but I'm used to the pacific northwest. Rain & wind bother me none (and no.. I've never owned an umbrella. ;))

I realize my lifestyle isn't for everyone, nor is my rig setup. When I started out I never consulted an internet or other group. I assumed it's just "what you do" when you go full-time... buy a class A and toad. I went through two 5'ers after that trying to get to where I wanted to be.. again.. without seeking any advice (it never occurred to me there were groups like this). It was an expensive lesson to get where I am.. but most valuable lessons in life come with a price. Not a single regret there.

I AM from a different school of thought than most though. Not that it makes any of them "wrong". As many have already said.. there is no "one size fits all" answer in the RV lifestyle.

I say... don't necessarily buy the rig that best suits what you "think" you need then adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Decide what life you want and buy the rig that best fits your chosen lifestyle... as comfortably as possible.

Some will also say.. if you don't love your rig.. you won't love the lifestyle. If you spend the majority of your time indoors.. that might be true. For me, I say.. if you don't love your lifestyle.. it won't matter WHAT kind of rig you tow/drive.

I don't recall exactly who's signature line it is, but I firmly agree with it. It reads..

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, no money left, a cigar in one hand, a beer in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO-HOO, what a ride!!" :lol:

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Jacks,

 

When we were beginning to think about going fulltime, we were looking at 5th wheels because that is what my parents had when they fulltimed. BUT, we then decided to buy a Class C for weekends/vacations a few years before retirement to make sure fulltiming was what we wanted to do. Best decision we ever made. The Class C was forgiving for beginners to learn on, gave us all the practice we needed on different aspects, helped us see what would work and wouldn't going fulltime.

 

The first night we pulled into a park (state park in Arkansas) and it was raining - we had a pull through site (rather a pull around a curve site) and we spent the first hour laying on the bed watching a person with a trailer at the next site having to set up. And this wasn't the misty rains from the PNW, this was a typical gullywasher for the south midwest that soaks one to the skin in 30 seconds. The poor fellow was so miserable running back and forth to get level, get hooked up, etc. Put a big + in our Motorhome column. We had several other times when that happened, like pulling into a rest area and not having to go outside, just use our facilities and then be on our way.

 

We had two cats who were 9 and 16 yrs old at the time. We quickly found out that they traveled just fine in a motorhome because they wouldn't have to leave it, just get into their 'nap' spaces and off we would go.

 

We love to geocache and there are a lot of places that a big PU was not going to be able to go that a small little car can.

 

Did not want a big PU as a daily driver. We have a lot of friends who don't mind it and get along well. Like my small Subaru Forester (manual transmission) that can zip in and out of all sorts of places and gets good gas mileage.

 

We did a couple of 2 week trips in the Class C and it was quickly evident that there just was not enough storage space for fulltime living. So that meant a Class A for us. Since all of our family, except DD and SIL, are in the PNW, we knew that we would be doing a lot of trips back and forth across the Rockies. That's a lot of climbing passes and, more importantly, coming down passes which lead us to a DP with an exhaust brake.

 

To have the same types of amenities in a 5th wheel as our DP would have required an MDT/HDT to pull it - - again just not what I would want as a daily driver. We don't 'camp', rather we 'RV'. Spent a week boondocking at "Q" (everyone should do it once in their life) and while we have the tanks for it (100 gallons fresh water, 100 gallons grey, 80 gallons black) good sized battery bank, big generator, after about 5 days, we were ready to move on. And set up is a breeze, back into our site, hook up the power, press a button and the coach levels herself, push another button and the slides extend, finish hooking up the rest of the utilities that we need, and we are in business.

 

Our mode of travel is to stay 1-2 weeks in a spot with a 75 mile radius for exploring, then move on another 200-250 miles to another spot and explore for 1-2 weeks. We try to follow the 2-2-2 rule that Kirk first mentioned to me in the forum back in 2005 - 200 miles a day, in by 2:00 pm, and stay for a couple of days. Sometimes it is only for a day if we are going through familiar areas, but we do stick to the 200 miles/2:00 pm portion of the plan - that also means that you have plenty of choices for sites and you get in and set up before others arrive. Our cats got so in tune with the program that if for some reason we went beyond 2:00 pm (trying to get ahead of a storm, for instance) they would quite loudly let us know that it was time to STOP! It also meant getting a site with good view of the sky so we could get the dish set up to see the Ranger's baseball game that evening. ;)

 

So as you can see, there are a multitude of factors that go into finding that rig that works best for you. We've had ours for 11 years now, and though we only spend 6 months of the year traveling now and the winter in our Park Model in Mesa, AZ, we find that she still works well for us and we wouldn't want to change a thing.

 

Barb

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Barb,

What is the "Q". (Quartzsite?)

Great feed back and really interesting to hear how other humans got to where they are at:)

I can see it so true RVers meet a lot of people in their travels, I would for sure meet more than I do now!

Thanks

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Hi All,

Pros and cons of pulling a approx.,30' 5er with a 2500HD versus a 32' Tiffin Allegro with toad(or Motorcycle) especially with regard to boondocking and maneuvering through a city, maintenance issues etc., etc.,

Thanks again in advance:)

 

IMO, your size range means you will have little issue in either city traffic or boondocking. I have pulled a 38', a 44' and my current 40' 5er all over the country. No problems with any of them in city traffic. Some RV parks, particularly older parks, are not setup for larger rigs.

 

A motorcoach with toad has very different pivot points than a 5er. Was at a COE park in Ga last year. Gate attendant told me to get a real nice site I needed to go to a certain loop. I mentioned the size of my coach. She said she has had big Class As in there. Yeah, well those class As are NOT over 60' overall length. My truck and, at the time, 44' 5er were. Good thing I was experienced backing up, cause that tree wasn't moving for me.

 

As for maintenance, you will have mx requirements regardless of your RV.

 

Since this appears to be your first foray into RVing, I suggest you buy used. Lower initial cost and if you don't like the lifestyle, you probably won't lose as much money when you sell.

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By all means, do your research first! There is no generic "right" answer, only the right answer for you. We decided that we wanted to spend a few years full-timing after I retired, so we spent nearly three years in research. At first we were excluding motor homes because they use a lot of fuel. One day we realized that a motor home can tow a small, fuel-efficient vehicle. That changed everything for us. We based our plans on 5000 miles/year with the RV and 10,000 miles/year without it. That turned out to be fairly accurate.

 

The general advice is that a towable is the better choice if you are going to stay parked in one place for more than a month at a time, while a MH is the better choice if you are going to move at least monthly. That was why we chose a MH. We planned to stay 1-4 weeks in one place, then move on down the road. Things have changed some, and we're finding that we're staying put for 2-3 months at a time, so we're going to switch to a towable.

 

Motorhomes have the advantage of not requiring you to go outside for lunch on travel days, and pets can stay inside, then, too. They also have the advantage of letting you unhook the towed at the campground to scout out your site. Much harder to do with a towable.

 

A fifth wheel is like an apartment on wheels, especially if you have opposing slides in the living area. The bath is usually on the upper level, so if you are outside and need to use the facilities you have nearly a full flight of stairs to climb. Great for exercise, not so much for arthritic knees.

 

Travel trailers are not as tall as 5'ers, so they don't have as much exterior storage. They are also generally lighter, so you can get by with a somewhat lighter truck (F350 dually for the 5'er vs F250 for the TT).

 

Much to think about.

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We chose a motorhome for many reasons, such as the security of having a backup vehicle if we should ever be stranded, having a more fuel efficient vehicle for running about while stopped and putting those miles on a vehicle that costs less to replace. We regularly sat in one place as live-on volunteers for periods of one to four months, usually staying 2/3 months at a stop. In those periods we would see everything in about 100 miles radius and in our 12 years of living that way we went through 3 tow vehicles(over 250k), while putting just under 80k miles on the motorhome, accounting for a huge savings in operating costs. We also wanted to avoid the stairs that all fifth wheels have as Pam has difficulty with them so a flat floor was important. For me, parking a class A was less challenge than any type of larger trailer. We also enjoyed the fact that when traveling in a motorhome your living space is at a comfortable temperature all of the time, no matter the weather. I also find the storage space of a class A easier to use because you can more easily see what you have inside, since things not seen tend to be forgotten. But most of all, we just felt more at home in class A rigs than in trailers, for who knows what reason?

 

We have known many a fulltimer who lived in a class A and traveled like we did and sat for long periods and we have known many in fifth wheels that moved pretty much all of the time. I have long heard the theory that motorhomes are best if moving a lot and fifth wheels if sitting for long periods, but I really don't think that is a major factor for most folks. I think that the preference is a much more personal thing and logic is not all important. What is important is that the people inside believe that what they have is the best for their lifestyle. I was told many times that we chose the wrong RV, yet we loved our home on the road. Most people, if they look long enough at enough different RVs of all types, eventually just begin to feel that one type fits them best and when that time comes, you have chosen the right RV no matter what any of us believe. Buy what the two of you want, not what I think that you should have.

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We have known many a fulltimer who lived in a class A and traveled like we did and sat for long periods and we have known many in fifth wheels that moved pretty much all of the time. I have long heard the theory that motorhomes are best if moving a lot and fifth wheels if sitting for long periods, but I really don't think that is a major factor for most folks.

 

We totally agree on this. We, too, were volunteers and sat without moving the motorhome for 3-month periods. It doesn't affect a motorhome. Think of all of them that are put in storage for seasons or those that stay the winter in one spot. Many motorhome owners do this. We have also known 5th wheel owners who move a lot.

 

The important thing is budget, ease and comfort and for full-timers, storage.

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We went thru the same decision making process and we finally figured out that WITH OUR BUDGET it made sense to sell the motorcycles (I had 9 at the time!) buy a class A and a toad, put a bicycle rack on the Class A and hit the road. This has worked good FOR US.

The decision was reached because if we bought a 5'er we'd also have to buy a BIG truck to pull it and we didn't want to put out that much money at the time.

If and when we wear out this Class A we might re-look at the whole thing but so far we are happy with the choice we made after 1 1/2 years.

BnB

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