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Dennis K

Never owned an RV but going to live in one

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Good afternoon all

As the title says, I've never owned an travel trailer but due to certain circumstances I am very strongly considering living in one. It would just be myself. I've only been looking for about a month and have found some good deals on some used ones but have not been able to get to them quick enough. Not planning on traveling around with it, at this point. Just find a decent RV park that allows long term residents and is not super expensive. So some questions: Two that I'm wanting to look at now are a 2014 Prime Time LaCrosse Luxury Lite 327RES and a brand new Palomino Puma 30RKQS. Opinions on which is a better choice? The Prime Time seems to have a little more storage and is a maybe a little higher end. The Puma (actually did get to tour one live) seems pretty solid but not as fancy. There are probably a ton of good ones out there. What's better aluminum or fiberglass? Prefer 3 slides but 2 (Puma only has 2) might cut it if laid out right. Don't really need a bunkhouse but, Would it be suggested to be able to use for extra storage?  What brands to stay away from? Which ones to look for? Budget of $30K or less. Unfortunately, no 5th wheel. Need to get one pretty quick. Any advise/opinions would be appreciated. 

https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2021-Palomino-Puma-30RKQS-5014010053    https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2014-Prime-Time-LACROSSE-LUXURY-LITE-327RES-5013905823

Thanks for your time

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The first thing to come to mind is will you live in it full time and in what climate?  Very few RV's are built for very cold or hot climates and can become uncomfortable and expensive to heat or cool in many climates.

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Try Katy Lake RV park, very nice. Might have something for sale.

(They have covered sites available).

Edited by ToddF
add note

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Thanks ToddF. I did see that one when I looked online for that area. If I end up west of town I might end up there.

Do you think RV parks are good places to look for used RV's for sale?

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Even in Houston area, you need a full time 4-season RV.  If not for the cold, you need a well insulated RV for the summer temperature and humidity.  We see a lot of RVers in the summer suffering  and complaining about being unable to get the inside temperature below 85 degF when the the temperature gets into the 90 degF plus range.  Many wind up sticking a window unit in or one of the portables vented through an window.

Other wise you will need to get full shade to keep it cool.

Ken

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1 hour ago, kurtsara said:

Many RVs are not made to live in and use every day are they?

I think you're right that most are not built with the thought of it being someone's home. I believe this will be my least expensive option for the time being. I read about people having many issues with RV's but I wonder if it is from periodic use and not being used often/everyday. Sometimes non use is worse for something than daily use, like a boat or ATV or vehicle for that matter.

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Thanks TXiceman

So that is a certain type of trailer or an added option when buying? I guess bottom line. more insulation or shade. Is it possible to spray insulation into an existing RV?

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! Happy to have you with us and we will do all that we can to help.

With no previous RV experience, it can be very difficult to judge what is a good price and what is not. The same is true for quality of construction, as there is a very wide range in quality of RV on the market.I suggest that you take the time to learn more about RVs before you make this purchase as there is much to learn and if shopping the used market you also need to know how to evaluate them for condition. There are professional RV inspectors available who can help you with that but it will cost to use them. I would also suggest that you would be wise to shop mostly in the area where you are in order to actually look at each one and compare them. A good place in the Houston area to start is with PPL RV located at 10777 Southwest Freeway. They have a large inventory of all types of RV and have a reasonably good history of dealing with customers. By doing that you can see a wide range of used travel trailers of different brands, models, and price, and you can spend some time studying the differences in construction, and it interior quality. 

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4 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums! Happy to have you with us and we will do all that we can to help.

With no previous RV experience, it can be very difficult to judge what is a good price and what is not. The same is true for quality of construction, as there is a very wide range in quality of RV on the market.I suggest that you take the time to learn more about RVs before you make this purchase as there is much to learn and if shopping the used market you also need to know how to evaluate them for condition. There are professional RV inspectors available who can help you with that but it will cost to use them. I would also suggest that you would be wise to shop mostly in the area where you are in order to actually look at each one and compare them. A good place in the Houston area to start is with PPL RV located at 10777 Southwest Freeway. They have a large inventory of all types of RV and have a reasonably good history of dealing with customers. By doing that you can see a wide range of used travel trailers of different brands, models, and price, and you can spend some time studying the differences in construction, and it interior quality. 

Yes sir. I went to PPL Saturday and looked around a little. Unfortunately got there about 30 minutes before they closed and didn't get to look too much. I currently live in College Station so it's a little bit of a haul to just go there randomly but I will be going back.

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RV Parks often have a few "for sale" signs sprinkled throughout the park. You have nothing to lose by looking. A used unit may already be "set up", a process I suspect can get very expensive when moving a unit into a park. 

Katy Lake isn't going to be cheap ("heads up") but would be an awesome place to live.

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First I need to say living in a trailer is NOT like living in an apartment. Insulation is not as good. Tanks have to be dumped. Propane has to be refilled. Air conditioners tend to be very noisy. Etc.

As to the two you listed as potential, my initial reaction is I would buy the Puma rather than the Prime Time. Any trailer that has Lite in its name is not going to offer nearly as much because they did something to keep the weight down. The Puma has a great deal more storage room and its recliners actually face the TV so you are less likely to get a crick in your neck looking at it. Plus, the Puma has space for a washer/dryer if you get tired of going to a laundromat.

Linda Sand

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11 hours ago, Dennis K said:

Is this what you were talking about

That extreme weather package is part of what he was addressing, but there is no standard for what such terms include so it is no guarantee that things won't freeze or that you will be able to keep it at comfortable temperatures. All of us here that have lived in an RV know that even the best RVs are not as well insulated as a site built house and mid to low price RVs tend to be difficult to keep warm in cold weather and cool when it is hot. Nearly all monthly RV parks require the customer to pay for their own electricity and so electric heating is expensive and propane use will also be very high. In addition, many of the "lite" type of trailers as well as the lower cost ones, run water lines under the floor with little or no insulation to prevent freezing. Since most trailers have no heated space below the walking floor, that means water lines as well as waste tanks and plumbing will be subject to freezing. 

While it isn't a hard rule, in general the higher quality and better constructed RVs will be those that weigh more. A good example is that an aluminum frame is usually used to keep weight down but it also conducts heat more than steel. Insulation increases both cost and weight. Another thing to look closely at is the under side of the trailer as some have nothing to hide the plumbing and such there and others have just a fabric that does nothing to insulate plumbing. The best quality ones will have both insulation and heat pads for the waste tanks and the plumbing.  They also insulate the floor because you can lose a lot of heat through the floor in cold weather. These are just a few of the things that will be very important in cold weather. 

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Dennis K, we are currently in Oklahoma and we have a Wildcat on one side of us and a Alpine on the other side of us.  Both units have two A/C units on 50 amps and both have has to add supplemental A/C units to keep the inside livable in the summer.  They are going to be here for the winter and both have large propane tanks for the furnace.  Neither unit is 4 season, but the Alpine has a sticker on it claiming it has a Polar or Arctic pack.

If you want a better insulated used trailer, you need to be looking at something from NuWa HitchHiker, Carriage Cameo, Teton, Excel to name a few.  As far as I know, Crossroads in a 3 season trailer.

As noted, living in an RV is not as simple as living in an apartment.  We have wintered in the Tomball area and have to deal with freezing weather.  A heated water hose is expensive and does not protect the water faucet.  We just fill the fresh water tank and drain the water hose and turn off the water.  You will also need to close the fresh and black water tanks and drain the sewer hose other wise it can freeze and won't drain.

The other issue you need to deal with living in an RV in the winter is moisture and condensation in the RV.  You will need to keep a roof vent cracked open to let out the warn and moist air.  Vent when showering and vent when cooking.

90% of the trailers on the market are weekend/vacation use, 3 season trailers.  Our trailer has dual pane windows, better insulation, radiant heat barrier and we have been in temperatures from 15 degF to 109 degF and stay comfortable.

Ken

 

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I don't think OP has to worry about freezing temps in the Houston area. On that rare occasion when there is a freeze warning, simply disconnect water and sewer hose until it passes. Summer heat is the big challenge and that may be why so many install RV covered ports at Katy Lake and other parks.

Houston, TX
Weather averages
 
 
 
MonthHigh / Low(°F)Rain

January60° / 45°7 days

February64° / 48°5 days

March70° / 55°5 days

April76° / 61°4 days

May83° / 68°6 days

June88° / 74°6 days

July91° / 76°7 days

August91° / 76°7 days

September86° / 71°7 days

October79° / 63°5 days

November70° / 54°6 days

December63° / 48°6 days

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31 minutes ago, ToddF said:

I don't think OP has to worry about freezing temps in the Houston area.

I disagree, based on having wintered in the area. Average temperatures have very little to do with what happens in a cold snap. We wintered about 90 miles to the southwest of Houston 3 times and two of them had a few nights where temperatures dropped into the teens. It doesn't happen a lot but it does happen. The we helped to replace an RV's water lines that were split for another volunteer who had an RV with exposed water lines under the floor in 2006.

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As far as low cost camp sites, the Escapees HQ and Camp grounds are in Livingston near Houston. Not sure if that would be too far from work for you? You can also check on campgroundreviews.com for other camp grounds in your area. 

As far as finding used trailers for sale in a camp ground, sometimes you will see one, but not many. However, a camp ground is a great place to talk to owners of trailers about what they like or dislike about their trailer and what problems and repairs they have encountered. You can get a wealth of information and reviews from actual users to help you make your decision on what brands to look at and eventually purchase. Owners love to talk about their RV good and bad. Drive thru a few camp grounds, stop and talk to the owners.  

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For someone who does not plan to travel, a park model may be a viable alternative. They are generally better insulated and have regular household appliances, plumbing and fixtures. Used ones are often sold onsite in the parks where they are located.

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If I were to be looking for an inexpensive and stationary place to live I would look at a mobile home.  These are a lot better insulated and can withstand the fluctuating temperatures better and there aren't any tanks to dump.

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Having lived many years in the Houston area,  I have seen many times the temperature dropped below freezing.  It has gotten down to 17 degF several times.  Two years ago we wintered in Tomball (northwest of Houston) and we had a really long cold snap.  It was into the lower 20's and the temp did not get above freezing for about 36 hours.  People all around us wee experiencing frozen water lines and faucets as well as drain hoses.

So, yes, you have to deal with occasional hard freezes in Houston area.

The suggestion for a used mobile home is a much better choice if you are not going to travel.

Ken

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This summer I stayed at an RV park in the mountains of Arizona.  This particular park has 90 spaces, 30 are occupied all year, the rest are seasonal with a few saved for short time folks like me.  Some are park models, some are 5th wheels, some are travel trailers.  When I got there, 2 of the permanents were for sale.  During my time there 2 more went up for sale...by the end of summer, all were sold.  The permanents were all set up with skirting, large propane tanks, heated water hoses,  air conditioners, decks, stairs, etc.    That type of RV park might be worth looking into and asking about units for sale.  They may not be advertised.

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I looked at both models you liked.  They are both by Forest River and you might want to look up a Forest River Owner's Forum to ask specific questions about both of them. 

The LaCrosse is 7 yr. older than the Puma which would make a difference in the condition.  Be sure to check for water leaks around the windows and the edges of the ceiling although even a new RV could have leaks right away.  It has 2 ACs which may be important in Houston.  However, with the tall windows you're going to have heat loss and cooling is not efficient.  You may also get a lot of condensation inside during the winter with all the windows. Both will probably have single pane windows.  The TV viewing looks awkward but hard to tell unless personally inside.

The Puma has a wrapped and enclosed underbelly which would keep your plumbing from possible freeze.  There could also be a furnace vent down there for the plumbing; some have that.

Good luck!!!

EDIT:  Keep in mind with the LaCrosse and the tall windows.... if you're in a typical RV park you won't have any view or privacy with those windows. You'll be having a close neighbor next to you.   Most likely, you'll use the window covering for privacy.  If you were traveling and staying at public parks (state, national, national forest, etc.) you would have a more natural surrounding and perhaps even a nice view of a lake or river out of those windows.

Edited by 2gypsies

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Wow! Thanks for all the responses and advice. Lots to chew on and figure out. I'm sure I'll have more questions. I appreciate everyones time and I'll keep you posted. Don't stop with suggestions and advice, though. I like learning all this stuff.

Dennis K

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