Jump to content

Off road fivers


Recommended Posts

We are into year five of full timing. Our fiver is into year 18. We plan to do more western and Alaska travel in the next couple of years. We would like to go to some less traveled spots. Right now we are in a 37' Carriage. We love it but think it is time for a change. Two of the slides are quite large and have given us some trouble. They are unlikely to do well driving to Alaska. We think it is time to get a smaller RV for a few years and want something more nimble. We want to stay with a fiver and are not interested in a Class A as the units we've seen are too expensive (I am a diesel person.)

We're looking at the Arctic Fox 27-5L. Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of that vehicle?  Comments good or bad?

Does anyone have suggestions for a different vehicle? We want to be at about 30'. Decent kitchen. Room for wife's sewing machine and cutting fabric. We can live with a dinette but would prefer not to. Solar would be nice. Full queen bed (I'm tired of camper queen). Max height 13'.

Wayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have an AF Travel Trailer and not a fiver. In general the brand has a very strong reputation for being higher quality and heavily insulated. Not perfect of course but good. We boondocked with a couple AF fivers at the south rim last year and they were quite happy with their units.

Northwood makes a line of off road campers but no surprise they are extremely expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a few friends with tow behind AF trailers and they have been very happy with them. They hold up well. But two of those friends are now looking to downsize because they are tired of towing as they age. I looked at your choice of unit and liked it a lot. My only question is how much room there might be for solar panels?

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, sandsys said:

I have a few friends with tow behind AF trailers and they have been very happy with them. They hold up well. But two of those friends are now looking to downsize because they are tired of towing as they age. I looked at your choice of unit and liked it a lot. My only question is how much room there might be for solar panels?

Linda

Well we have 4 100W panels on the roof of our 25Y, and there is plenty for 2 more maybe 4, I'd have to measure. A fiver would have more room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

We're looking at the Arctic Fox 27-5L. Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of that vehicle?  Comments good or bad?

Wayne

It was my choice for a 5th wheel.

But I ended up with a used Carriage 30 footer simply because it fitted my truck.  That was a good deal as it is a nice trailer.

I am not sure that your going to gain much downsizing to a 27 footer.  I assume you mean driving Forest Service and BLM roads instead of off-road.  

Forest Service roads were built and designed for logging trucks.  I thought that I could easily tow a 5th wheel on those roads, especially since I worked for the Forest Service for 30 years.

You can tow a vehicle, but your 5th wheel is quickly going to come apart, even one as well built as the Arctic Fox.

I finally bought a small Casita for running on Forest Service roads and after seven years, just got it back from replacing some the rivets that hold the thing together.  I don't think even as well made as the Carriage 5th wheel is that it would have survived the same journeys.

I see that your full-timing.  Have you thought about a trailer AND a pop-up camper on the truck??  That way you can drop the trailer and use the pop-up camper to go further into the back-country.

Years ago I went to a Life on Wheels and met a guy that owned TWO RV's . 

I thought he was nuts.  I now own TWO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Vladimir said:

I I assume you mean driving Forest Service and BLM roads instead of off-road.  

Forest Service roads were built and designed for logging trucks.  I thought that I could easily tow a 5th wheel on those roads, especially since I worked for the Forest Service for 30 years.

You can tow a vehicle, but your 5th wheel is quickly going to come apart, even one as well built as the Arctic Fox.

 

Not every forest service or BLM road is bad for RVs.  You just have to do your homework, pre-scout it, if possible and most importantly, drive slow.  We've gotten off pavement approx. 20 mi or so with our motorhome & our 5th wheel.

Edited by 2gypsies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Not every forest service or BLM road is bad for RVs.  You just have to do your homework, pre-scout it, if possible and most importantly, drive slow.  We've gotten off pavement approx. 20 mi or so with our motorhome & our 5th wheel.

Well, another way to say it....there are few Forest Service or BLM roads that you would want to tow a RV for twenty miles, for months on end for 20 years.  It really depends on how much time you want to spend repairing your RV.  I do like the comment about driving slow.  That might mean 5 mph in many cases.

When I had a blog, I did wrote several articles on taking large rigs on Forest Service roads.  But the basic are:

Step 1.  Get a Forest Service map and highlight all the paved roads.

Step 2.  On the same map highlight all the high standard gravel roads.

Step 3.  On the same map highlight all the areas you want to camp.  And check out the dirt roads leading to the areas.

Step 4.  Decide if its worth it.

If your going to drive a large trailer be sure you know all about inter-visible turnouts.  That said there are LOTS of areas on National Forest land that are accessible by large RV's. 

When the Forest Service had an active timber program, the timber sales payed for the roads and their maintenance with many of the major roads being paved or high standard gravel.  Those days are gone. 

The one panic is finding a turn around stop for a large rig.   I remember we were doing a campground inspection one spring and a member of the public walked up to me with a complaint.

It seems that we had opened the road.  But like most Forest Service roads, that was all the information on the sign.  Road closed four miles ahead.

He, alone, backed up his trailer for FOUR miles.  He was not a happy camper.

But it can be done.  Myself, I just bought a very small trailer.

 

 

Edited by Vladimir
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Not every forest service or BLM road is bad for RVs.  You just have to do your homework, pre-scout it, if possible and most importantly, drive slow.  We've gotten off pavement approx. 20 mi or so with our motorhome & our 5th wheel.

That is absolutely the case. We use BLM and FS camps all the time. Tho I have to say the worst road to an established camp was to the FS Camp outside the Idaho entrance to Yellowstone.  It was a wonderful campsite tho with sites right on a whitewater river. But the road was 10 miles of the deepest potholes we have ever seen. A ranger told us that the USFS allocates no money for road maintenance.

One thing to be ultra cautious about is the fact that many of those roads have no turn arounds. Once you are on them, with your fiver or TT, you are stuck unless you can back up for miles. Ditches on both sides with trees right up to the two track. We got on one at Hungry Horse reservoir in MT only to find a big dirt pile blocking the narrow road five or six miles in, Geez that was something you won't forget. So drop the camper and drive the road out in your truck FIRST.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We boondock off of Forest Service roads from time to time.  We scout the road first but occasionally we have had an interesting time pulling out of dispersed camping sites.  For this reason I bought an HDT with two airlockers. One time we were about 300 yards off of the Forest Service road just off a marked trail.  It rained for several days. The road out was a muddy wet mess.  By driving slow and scouting the road first we generally don't run into a problem.  One time we missed the turn to the campsite we chose.  Turning around was very difficult but eventually we did it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some National Forests that are "better" for boondocking with a large rig.  Here is a brief write-up on how to find those National Forests.

https://usbackroads.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-to-find-boondock-locations-using.html

One issue to be aware of is the height of the 5th wheel.  Sometimes, the most difficult problem will not be the road, but the trees with branches that hang below 14 feet.

The problem of washboard roads destroying the interior of 5th wheels is significant.  I fish a lake every spring and a fly club shows up sometimes with all their trailers and members.  The road is county road to the lake.  Paved until five miles from the lake and then a good two lane road that has a bad case of washboard.

I looked inside the 5th wheels after five miles of gravel road and they were a total mess on the insides. Broken glass lampshades lying on the floor, drawers emptied, the entire interior covered with dust.

I don't know if it was just the people driving the 5th wheels had no clue on how slow they had to go on a washboard road to avoid damage to the trailer or that the trailers were never designed for off-pavement travel.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/1/2022 at 6:57 PM, Vladimir said:

I am not sure that your going to gain much downsizing to a 27 footer.  I assume you mean driving Forest Service and BLM roads instead of off-road.  

I'm not talking about true off-road driving or even extended rough road driving. I looking for something that isn't going to bottom out or shake everything lose easing though a rough area or driving moderately on a rougher highway. I would like to be able to boondock more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Vladimir said:

I looked inside the 5th wheels after five miles of gravel road and they were a total mess on the insides. Broken glass lampshades lying on the floor, drawers emptied, the entire interior covered with dust.

I don't know if it was just the people driving the 5th wheels had no clue on how slow they had to go on a washboard road to avoid damage to the trailer or that the trailers were never designed for off-pavement travel.

I'm pretty sure that most fivers have these vibration issues. Our checklist includes taking down fixtures, securing cabinets and refrigerators (all glass jars in bottom drawers for one) and lots of stuff on the bed and furniture. It still moves.

Wayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Randyretired said:

We have boondocked in AZ, NM, WY, NV, ID, UT, CO, OR, NEB, and AK that I can remember. We haven't been east much. 

Boondocking spots are rare east of the Mississippi. Florida has some and so does MN and I think MI.  COE is you best bet in the east.

1 hour ago, Randyretired said:

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Dish For My RV.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...