Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do to my present circumstances I have decided to purchase a travel trailer. The only
Problem is I know nothing about them.
I sure could use some help to narrow done my search among the dozens of manufactures. Some must be better than others and still be in my price range, used <10-12k.
I have an idea of what I would like and one of my 1st. considerations is to have an aluminum frame due to weight and rot issues. A 24 body is about my maximum, I will be towing with a 1/2ton. M/C in the bed, no 5th wheel.
My next desire is to have a queen bed, with a seperated couch area and if possible a couple rear bunks for the grandkids.
Can all this be had in a 24ft.?
Who builds anything like this and what years have aluminum frames?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Could you give us a little more details?

1. Do you want this as an occasional use for vacations and a bug out vehicle?
2. DO you want to live in this full time?
3. Does your half ton already have a tow package? What is the make, model, year, and engine size?
4. Have you considered fiberglass trailers because you want it lightweight and not rotting?
5. Are you looking for a "four season" camper or will you primarily either not be using it in winter or going south?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This will be my full-time residence for the next 2yrs.
I do not need 4 season insulation now but will when I relocate in 2 yrs.
I will be purchasing my truck next month and will be sure it has a tow pkg or I will upgrade it, (used truck).
I plan to relocate to Nv.,Az, or southern Ut. In 2yrs. Likely within a100mi. Circle of Mesquite.
I do not think a Casita type fiberglass trailer would serve in my situation. I need the extra room to keep my sanity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
Holiday Rambler travel trailers are aluminum framed. I have owned several HR RV's--and they were aluminum framed. This does not guarantee that there will not be some water damage, or rot in the interior skin or floors, if there is water intrusion.

The Al framed coaches are better than wooden. But it is all in the condition of the trailer. You have to be very critical of any trailer you look at.

Yes, you can find a trailer, which will have a queen bed, bunk beds, and a separate couch (area). But, it will probably be more than 24 feet! A queen "corner" bed with a bathroom next to it (shower, commode, and basin). Then there will be a dinette, which can convert to a bunk--and you probably can find one which has a fold down bunk over the dinette. There has to be a galley, a hanging locker (for clothes=closet). The couch can be in the front part of the trailer, next to the dinette and galley--but you still have to have room for a door to get in and out...Do a mock up scale graph paper with 1inch + 1 foot. You can make scale cut outs to put in different places. See if what you want is possible, and then find a model, in good condition which matches these specs.
 

·
Live Secret, Live Happy
Joined
·
17,549 Posts
The actual trailer frame is always steel. The body frame is often made of aluminum in better makes.

I bought a six yr old 29 ft Prowler Regal 5th wheel in 2007. I played with it for a few yrs, then towed it cross country and my wife and I are living in it, while we build our new house.

My prowler has an aluminum frame and heavy winter insulation. I paid around $16k for it so I believe a bumper pull model of similar age would be right in your price range.

I encourage you to look at the "RV Trader" web site. This let's you look at many floor plans and compare pricing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,722 Posts
I lived in a 28' Airstream full time for 3 years while working from NY/NJ (in Winter) to the Gulf Coast (in summer)
-yea, got that kinda backwards
And building My house.
Including offgrid.

I made a thread that I think you would bennifit from:
http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=376137

I currently keep my Airstream on the Gulf coast in winter so I can use it to escape to, and live in it from thanksgiving to Christmas, stayed in it while down for easter etc.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Just a sec and I'll edit in a link to another EXCELLENT resource:

https://www.escapees.com/knowledge/discussion-forum
 

·
Ingloriously Deplorable
Joined
·
2,698 Posts
There are so many choices; Lance, Rockwood, Holiday, dutchman, jayco and each has something different. Some you pay for crap you don't need or want like fancy paneling. Others are so lightly built they're junk. This is probably something you'll need to see for yourself but the above manufacturers are a good start.

Solar power with or without batteries. LED lighting. Entertainment systems, type of hitch fifth wheel or regular tow (if you're doing a 1/2 ton not going to be a fifth wheel probably) refrigerator type, microwave and oven. Some are so underpowered, good luck cooking a cake!

Hitch needs to be a class III or better with the lighting connector and brakes. Two different pinouts. Receiver should be sized/height for the trailer's hitch. Weight is a relative thing; dry weight (totally empty) gross weight and you have to LOOK at the specs because the manufacturers fudge the numbers or just plain misrepresent what their capacities are. A 35 gallon grey water tank does not weigh 200 pounds. Water weighs about eight pounds a gallon. Propane, diesel/gas they all have slightly different weights. The black tank holds XX gallons. Remember there's solid waste in there too. There's weight of your clothes, personal items, that favorite jack, tool box...most people are shocked to find out what their rig weighs. Truck stops are good places to get this done unless you got a buddy who's a State Trooper commercial vehicle inspector who has access to a set of portable scales.

Get more truck than you think you need. You put five thousand pounds of trailer on the back of a 1/2 ton, will it stop? Trailer brakes, tow package with tranny cooler, load distributing hitch. Remember tongue weight is there for a reason. You put a seven or eight hundred pound hitch on the back of a half ton, the front wheels have less pressure on them and steering isn't so good. Airbag load levelers/managed suspension can help but if you put five pounds of...stuff in a four pound bag, will it fit? (Same thing) I see so many people with trucks obviously undersized and underpowered for their rig. Sure, you put a fifth wheel in the back of a little bitty truck it will ride easier because the weight is over the rear axle not on the bumper but that truck is working real hard to move, doesn't have enough brake and such BUT...if you do it right, it can be done. Got a friend who has a Nissan Frontier. Book says 6500. They make it work with a trailer pushing that number.

Budget...I know all about that. I got a half ton with the small block V8 I can, by the book tow up to 7200. Not gonna happen. Rig weighs 3500 dry, my load depends on where I'm going. Its all about how you pack. If you want Mr Toad's wild ride just try putting all the heavy junk in the back end...Just hang on, wear a seatbelt and crash helmet! (joke) Trailer brakes, tire monitors and backup camera(s) are musts IMO.

Ford F150 for example; book says with the small block V8 (I'm using generalities here so don't get all picky on me guys) yadda-yadda triton X.Xl the book says 6600lbs. Some other references says 10,000. Uh-huh...Like I said, gotta watch them numbers.

Point being you tow conservatively, five thousand pound trailer, truck rated for 6,600. you're pushing 80% of what is can haul. Truck has to work hard, going up hills you struggle, braking (don't forget braking) you burn A LOT of fuel.

Then look at something like a one ton with a 6.7 cummins diesel. That thing isn't even going to notice a 5,000 pound trailer hanging off the back bumper! You just cruise and you're not putting such a strain on things. It's a much more harmonious outcome.

Then you go to the trailer store and the guy in the checkered coat and 1970's hairdoo is going to sell you a rig you could haul circus elephants (and the clowns) in. Or try to, LOL.

Another example; I read an article the other day about Dodge ram, comparing the 2500 (3/4 ton) to the 3500 one ton. With the same engine the short bed 2500 could actually pull a bit better (by their numbers) than the 3500 long bed megacab. Think about it; the bigger the truck, with the same engine is more weight, right?

There's some engines to stay away from. Ford 5.0 has some issues. The 6.0 with the head studs not bolts...yeah that didn't work out when the engines kept popping the heads off under load. Google is your friend. If you have a good mechanic guy you trust, ask'em. I did and was surprised at the answers from a guy who spends his days turning a wrench under the hood not reading blogs. Same thing when you ask an operator/gunsmith what gun he likes for reliability. Then get out and talk to people towing trailers. Go to the lake/campground for a day and make some new friends.
 

·
Ingloriously Deplorable
Joined
·
2,698 Posts
Oh, forgot to add used versus new. Nice to buy new; you get to pick some things out you don't get to do when buying used. Sometimes you're just buying other people's money pit going used. Big Auto Dealer might not have the lowest price but they may offer advantages over Friendly Freddy's Garden O'gears.

I prefer used and I have experienced this; soon as you drive that shiny new buggy off the lot, take out your wallet, count out ten percent of the cost of the rig and set it on fire right then and there. You got to keep it a while to see any return. Last vehicle I bought was a nine month old that year's model with fifteen thousand miles and the manufacturers warranty. Saved myself almost ten grand and when I sold it four years later I had a good bit of equity. I made out for once. Didn't make up for all the times I got hosed (LOL) but it was nice for a change! If you're financing, used has different rules than new and the deals might not be so sweet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the advise. My circumstances will only allow me to purchase used. I understand some of that risk but also prefer the hopefully better return on my limited dollars.
 

·
Wearing fur underwears...
Joined
·
3,116 Posts
Hi Stinky. I don't think there is anytime that aluminum boxed trailers became "standard", as some are just junk. That aluminum frame is not to save weight, it's there to make a rigid structure. Don't get too hung up on weight. Some of the better made trailers might not be featherweight, but they are not made to fall apart in a couple years either.

Take a look at Dutchman and Arctic Fox trailers. Expect to pay a little more than a similar vintage "cheap" trailer. Air stream are pretty nice, but they don't go too cheap. I would stay away from a really old one unless you want a project. Had an Argosy and it was a nice trailer; or at least my wife made it nice, but too many gaps for things to get in, and a bit of work. Sold it and bought a Wind River.... I think. I'm going to have to go look at it now.

Don't be afraid to buy one a few years old. Most of them sit around all but a week or two out of the year. Biggest thing is probably checking seams, the roof, and looking for water damage. Walk around, open stuff up and use your nose. And RV stuff is expensive, so take some time and make sure stuff works.

Ours is only 23 feet I think, and has a metric crap ton of sleeping area. It has that corner "bedroom" deal that another poster was talking about. Not too bad for room on the bottom, and a smaller bed above. It's a real nice lay out as we can put the boy to bed, pull the curtain and hang out at the front or outside by the fire, and not disturb him too much. Then the front table converts to another bed, and the bench by the kitchen also turns into a bed. So it sleeps 6 pretty easy. And everything on it is also automatic, so there is no lighting pilots for the hot water tank, furnace and no big rigamarole to run the fridge/freezer on propane. Something that our friends with newer trailers don't have.

Actually took a long time to find a trailer that had a lay out we really liked.
 

·
Free-ish Man
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
I will be purchasing my truck next month and will be sure it has a tow pkg or I will upgrade it, (used truck).
If you haven't bought the truck yet why not get a 3/4 or 1 ton? In most cases fuel mileage is gonna be nearly the same as the half ton (unless it's a diesel, in which case it'll likely be better). Stopping ability will be much better and there'll be less suspension sag. Shouldn't really be that much more expensive used either. Way better to have too much truck than pushing a small one to the max, especially if you're going to be towing in the mountains much.
 

·
Outlander Territory
Joined
·
3,710 Posts
A 1/2 ton truck isn't going to do well with a 24ft trailer. I have a 28ft fifth-wheel that I will be moving into next year to RV full-time and there is no way I would consider anything less than a 3/4 ton for anything over 20-22ft.

Can a 1/2 ton pull something of that size? Maybe. Is it safe and efficient? Highly unlikely.

On another note, check out Ebay Motors and Craigslist. If you are really picky about what you want then it is going to take you a while to find it. Even my fifth-wheel (at it's size doesn't have a queen bed, although it would be nice, and they tend to be more common in and easier to find in the larger RVs.

As someone else mentioned above, join escapees.com. I'm over there and have found the info and people an invaluable resource. They are likely to be able to point you in the right direction for the kind of trailer you are looking for.

Also, I wouldn't get hung up on the aluminum frame. It's often not the frame that's an issue with water damage (although it can be), but the floor and ceilings.

Right now is a buyers market as everyone is pulling out their RVs to sell....there are at least half a dozen sitting at the consignment lot by my work as of this morning.
 

·
Wearing fur underwears...
Joined
·
3,116 Posts
A 1/2 ton truck isn't going to do well with a 24ft trailer. I have a 28ft fifth-wheel that I will be moving into next year to RV full-time and there is no way I would consider anything less than a 3/4 ton for anything over 20-22ft.

Can a 1/2 ton pull something of that size? Maybe. Is it safe and efficient? Highly unlikely.

On another note, check out Ebay Motors and Craigslist. If you are really picky about what you want then it is going to take you a while to find it. Even my fifth-wheel (at it's size doesn't have a queen bed, although it would be nice, and they tend to be more common in and easier to find in the larger RVs.

As someone else mentioned above, join escapees.com. I'm over there and have found the info and people an invaluable resource. They are likely to be able to point you in the right direction for the kind of trailer you are looking for.

Also, I wouldn't get hung up on the aluminum frame. It's often not the frame that's an issue with water damage (although it can be), but the floor and ceilings.

Right now is a buyers market as everyone is pulling out their RVs to sell....there are at least half a dozen sitting at the consignment lot by my work as of this morning.
I pulled mine fine with a 1st gen Tundra. It's a small trailer. I think for the most part, weight ratings for trailer hauling are crap. On the other hand, it doesn't make much sense to buy a heavy truck to haul a few hundred miles out of the year. I would consider some overload springs, with some of the newer "city" trucks.

I worry more about stopping than going. That means making sure I have a trailer brakes, a good controller, break-away set up, and making sure I have good brakes on the truck. Especially in the rear. That means getting underneath with a brake spoon with my current truck. And I really don't need to pull at 80 mph, just because I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the info., T Lever, can I ask what make
Model trailer you have now and what you might be moving in to ?
I will be purchasing my truck out of state, sure I would like a 3/4t but not sure I can afford one. In my local area (calif.) Trucks of any type cost about 30% more than purchasing out of state. I'm not locked into anything specific but those are the general costs.
On the 1/2 vs 3/4, I figure that 24/26ft is my absolute limit with 22/24ft my target, gross weight
the deciding factor.
I really appreciate all the advise I am getting thru this thread. Things are a bit upside down in my life right now and I can't think of all the questions I should be asking because I just don't have the background to ask them.
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top