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Hi! My husband and I are getting ready to start living/traveling FT in a camper and we are looking for opinions of the Durango KZ half-ton 290RLT (or similar) 5th wheel. We are in our early 50's, no kids, no pets. We have already downsized to about 7 rubbermaid totes and clothes (also very pared down). This unit seems to hit all our requirements and a majority of our "would be nice to haves". We are concerned with its overall quality, we understand that little things go wrong on almost everyones unit, we are thinking more along the lines of longevity with the chassis and mechanical.

Any help would be appreciated, and if you have suggestions on other rigs we are also looking at the following as well.

D256 RKT

D283 RLT

Thanks,

Tiffiney

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I only looked at the floor plan and tank capacities. I could live in any of those. I like that the theater seating actually faces the TV. I like the table that would let you put an office chair on one side. I don't like that the fridge is blocked on two of them if the slides are in--that makes stopping for lunch along the way harder to do. I prefer having counter space on each side of the sink for washing dishes so you can have dirty on one side and clean on the other. These are my preferences; you get to decide on your own preferences so these are just things to consider.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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We full-timed for 10 years and had a great 40 ft trailer by HitchHiker.  Sadly, they stopped production in 2012.  Looking at the current copy of trailers, we see they are really short on interior storage in the bath, bedroom and kitchen.  Many do not have a pantry.  

Go sit in one for an hour and see how you fit.  See where you will store linens, toiletries etc. in the bath.  See where you will store clothes, (closet space and drawers), both warm and colder weather clothes.  I want drawers for my underwear, pajamas, etc.  Now to the kitchen, where are you storing pot, pans, silverware and an appliances?  Next, is the pantry large enough?  Is the fridge large enough?  

Other items to consider are:

Can you comfortably see the TV or do you sit sideways to see the TV?

Where will you be spending the cold weather and hot weather months?  Many claim to be 4-Season or Arctic Pack and really are not.  I feel true dual pane windows are a must.   You will need at least two 15 KBTUH A/C units and I like the heat pumps.  You start getting into true 4-season trailer, they are heavier.  make sure your tow vehicle has sufficient payload capacity to handle 23% of the trailer GVWR along with passenger, hitch and anything loaded in the truck.

Our HH survived 10degF and snow and did fine.  It also survived 109 degF heat in direct sun and maintained 77 degF in the trailer.  It was a true 4-season and full time rated RV

Are you adding a washer/drier?

How big are your water and waste tanks?  Are you planning to boondock?  Do you have solar panel and battery storage capacity to power some of the rig?

Make sure the tires have a DOT date code not over 6 months old and are not a cheap 10 ply tire and suited for the weight rating on the trailer.

Now enjoy shopping and do look at other brands.

 

Ken

 

Amateur radio operator, 2023 Cougar 22MLS, 2022 F150 Lariat 4x4 Off Road, Sport trim <br />Travel with 1 miniature schnauzer, 1 standard schnauzer and one African Gray parrot

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There are differences in all trailers or fifth wheels. 4season trailer is ok to use in all four seasons, that does not mean to live in full time. Look at the construction before you start looking at all the tv’s and fancy lights. It doesn’t have to be new either. Some of the best rv’s are not even made anymore. Stay away from the words light weight or ultra light. And use a truck that’s rated higher that the weight of the trailer for safety and longevity. Have fun, it takes a lot of research especially if your new to camping. 

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Thanks everyone. That was all useful info and we will definitely consider all areas when making our final purchase. We are not 100% sure we want to do this FT forever so we are trying to find a nice entry point that will not leave us so cramped that we hate it but also not so extravagant that if we decide to go back to a stationary home we won't feel so bad about our resale value or just using it occasionally for weekend trips. The KZ series felt like it was the best option in 5th wheels we have seen. We are also considering a couple of bumper pulls. 

We are looking at a Powerwagon as a truck but are also still weighing our options there.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, The Houchins said:

We are not 100% sure we want to do this FT forever so we are trying to find a nice entry point that will not leave us so cramped that we hate it but also not so extravagant that if we decide to go back to a stationary home we won't feel so bad about our resale value or just using it occasionally for weekend trips.

Leaving yourself room to maneuver is a good idea, especially if you have little or no previous RV experience. I am also a believer that when you do go on the road fulltime you should do so with at least a tentative exit plan. I took an early retirement at the age of 57, sold our house and moved into a class A as our only home, but did so with the realization that at some time in the future we would probably need to change back to a fixed lifestyle. With that in mind, we put the bulk of the money from the sale of our house into an investment fund that was very secure, yet did provide some growth. Our plan was to stay on the road for at least 10 years and hopefully 15. We had dreamed of living in a diesel pusher but dropped back to a gas chassis to preserve our house sale proceeds. Because of some health issues of my wife we feel that we did OK having stayed fulltime for 12 years. We sold the class A after 14 years and recovered about 20% of the purchase price. 

In the 12 years our exit plan did change and we reviewed it every couple of years and each time it would change at least a little. When the time came that planning enabled us to buy another home and maintain our financial security. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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Good advice above. If this is your first RV, I'd strongly suggest that you buy used first. Go to every dealer you can and look at everything on the lot. You are looking for quality and floorplan. There are only so many ways to arrange the interior of a box, so find the ones that suit you. Look at rigs that are 5-20 years old. That will tell you how well they stand up. Yes, there are people who abuse their stuff, but you can generally tell abuse from poor quality. Buy the highest quality you can that is in your budget and your floor plan.

The reason for buying used is that someone else has already taken the biggest depreciation hit, and most likely you won't buy the perfect rig first. After you have lived in it for a while, you will have a much better idea of what you really need.

Be sure to look at the GVWR of anything that you are considering. Use that number as the weight of the trailer, NOT the empty weight. For fifth wheels figure that 20-25% of that weight will be your pin weight, which is what will sit on the rear axle of the truck. Make sure that whatever truck you are looking at can easily handle that weight. To make life easier, use the weight of the heaviest trailer you think you might possibly like. That way, if you end up buying a lighter trailer, you will still be fine. If you buy a truck that can barely handle the lightest trailer you are looking at, you will have too little truck if you buy a heavier one.

If you are buying a new truck, rather than a used one, add a hefty cushion to the weight of the trailer. That way, if you decide to upgrade trailers in a year or two you won't have to upgrade the truck, too. Within reason, you can't have too much truck. A 3500 doesn't cost much more than a 2500 when you are looking at both new, but that 3500 a year later will cost quite a bit more than what you will get for the year-old 2500.

David Lininger, kb0zke
1993 Foretravel U300 40' (sold)
2022 Grand Design Reflection 315RLTS

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Northwood makes an Artic Fox 5er that has a good following and I dont hear much in the way of complaints.  They are not owned by the typical "corporations" much like KZ.

I would encourage you to NOT buy all new stuff esp the trailer & truck as the warranty repairs can tie them up for sometimes months and what will you do if you are fulltiming in them.  Personally, I doubt I will ever buy anything built after 2000 mostly due to the drastic shift in overall quality from manufacturers.  There are some very well respected brands out there that are no longer made and can be remodeled and customized(instead of settling for whatever interior designer decided).  Teton, Travel Supreme, Alfa, New Horizons, Cameo, Excel to name a few.  Often these may have been owned by people that did upgrades to them and they will have significantly improved decor or mechanicals, ie I talked to a man that had a 33' Teton that he upgraded the suspension on to the MorRyde IS and 17.5" wheels/tires and disc brakes.  Now that is rare but exceptionally safe and durable.  Not likely to have any tire and braking issues.  Just have to take your time and look.  Visit many to discover what you preferences are.  Amazing how much you can learn by going to see some locally.  I dont encourage anything with metal siding as a FT rig, generally those are for vacationers, also 32' is about the minimum length for options that are more suited to FT life, or even long term life.

Happy hunting!!

Marcel

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Limiting yourself to a ½T pickup towable may have negative repercussions, depending on your travel plans.

Eliminating driving in mountainous areas is the main factor. It's not only the towing weight involved; you will be pulling a 12" high wall, with associated wind resistance. There are online calculators to help with this consideration. Wind resistance increases with the square of speed. Aerodynamic drag: https://physics.info/drag/

A ½T pickup has a hard handicap for total weight, you must calculate what you will haul in the pickup and how it affects towing capacity, this will help: https://www.fifthwheelmagazine.com/new-tow-calc.aspx

Personally I would not consider less than a ¾T pickup for towing a 5th wheel trailer.

If you have a ½T and consider trading up to a larger 5er you must also upgrade to a ¾T.

 

Edited by Ray,IN
correct spelling

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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