Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome (my situation)
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 > Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome (my situation)

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DallasSteve

Texas

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Posted: 07/15/19 12:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did a search in the Search box here for "travel trailer vs. motorhome" and it gets zero results. You can try it for yourself. I even tried "travel trailer motorhome". Nada. (that's Spanish for nothing) I added a space in "motor home". Same thing. I even tried to Google "rv.net travel trailer vs. motorhome". Not much there, either. So that's why I'm posting a new thread about this often discussed subject.

I'm leaning towards a big truck + big trailer, but I wish I could find what I want in an economical Class A + Jeep Wrangler. (I was going to retire a year ago, but decided to wait another 18 months) I will only buy new, but money is still an object for me in retirement. I might go fifth wheel, but they cost more and I don't want to give up so much truck bed storage. I'll explain how I plan to use it and what I've seen so far (I started looking about 3 years ago). My planned purchase date is March, 2020. Maybe someone will see a solution that will change my mind.

I'm early 60s and retired. I plan to sell my furniture when my apartment lease is up and live in the RV. I will put some small, important personal possessions in a small storage space. I plan to travel South to North in the Spring, then North to South in the Fall. I want to see some smaller cities and maybe get back to (cheaper) apartment life in a few years in a smaller city that I like. Dallas is a great place to work, but I wouldn't want to live here. :-)

I plan to travel about 1 to 2 hours every few days and then explore the area a little. No 4 to 8 hour trips. I'm interested in the small/medium cities as much as the state/national parks. I think I should be able to find places to check out in a 1 to 2 hour transit and then spend 1 or 2 days exploring the area. Then in the Winter and Summer we will either set up camp in an RV park, or visit Latin America using AirBnB for medium term rentals. Yo hablo espaƱol muy bien.

Pros and Cons of big truck + big trailer:

Pros

1 - Cheaper any way you cut it (I used to be a CPA, so I'm confident about the numbers comparing travel trailer apples to motorhome with a toad apples).

2 - I love the Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS; it checks all my boxes, except that it's very big. I wish it could be smaller, but I have a lot of boxes to check. I don't see any motorhome with a similar layout because they have the seats up front.

3 - Only 1 motor to maintain.

4 - Slide outs are a little deeper.

5 - If the motor breaks we still have our home (yes, I've heard that with a motorhome you can arrange to live in the shop parking lot sometimes).

Cons

1 - I would rather drive a Jeep Wrangler than a big a$$ truck.

2 - The motorhome would probably have a generator which I would want to purchase extra for the trailer (still cheaper).

3 - Set up would probably be a little easier with a motorhome + Jeep.

4 - The ability to walk back to the kitchen or bath is nice in a motorhome, but for us it won't matter as much because we won't be making long trips between camps.

I've seen some motorhomes that wow me inside, but they have been in the $200,000+ range. Too rich for my pockets. Otherwise, the GD 312BHTS wows me more. I still love doing its online walk-through tour.

Any alternate suggestions before I make my big plunge?

Thanks, Steve

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 07/15/19 12:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Either way, sounds like a great time to be had!
Honestly, your intended use, to me, appears to smack dab in the middle of the flip a coin to see which is more preferable.
You'll get a bit more use able living space for similar size/$ comparison out of a TT. Little easier, park the moho, grab the Jeep and go with the moho combo.
Cost?
$40k GD 312
$50k +/- (gas/vs diesel, work truck vs upscale, actually $40k-70k)

$80-90k new gasser 35-36' class A
$25-35k new Wrangler (could be $20-40k depending what you get)

If you're comparing $200k coaches, then the truck n trailer seems like a huge bargain. If you're comparing gas powered A's then the gap is narrowed significantly.

Just pulling a TT, you don't need the biggest truck. Short bed ext or crew cab single wheel is pretty city friendly, but for long term, a TT the size you're looking at is better suited for a HD pickup not a half ton. Once out of the city it's not a hindrance at all unless you're hitting the trails in which case the Yeep (espanol for Jeep, lol) will be better.

So back to the beginning, flip a coin. One thing I've considered, is if you take alot of "side trips" where maybe you're not parked in a campground already, it looks weird to drop a TT and leave it for the day in a random parking lot. It doesn't look weird to leave the moho sitting there.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

DallasSteve

Texas

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Posted: 07/15/19 01:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, Grit Dog. That's exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to get. I'd give your post an upvote if this forum had one. So it sounds like you're saying if I flip a coin it may land on its edge. :-)

Steve

JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 07/15/19 02:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recommend you consider a TT. First the cost is much, much less so you can get something that is very nice without spending lots. Second, the tow truck will retain its value much more. There is a lot of demand for farm/ranch use, for use by tradesmen, etc. The tow truck does not have to be huge unless you are really looking for a whopping large RV. Next you only need to buy and maintain one motorized vehicle.

Next I recommend you reconsider buying only a new unit. RVs depreciate rapidly. Mine was in like new condition and cost less than half the cost of a new unit. Also RV construction and parts are often way less than perfect. New RVs always seem to require a shake down period and fixing issues. Let someone else do that for you. If you decide on a TT you should have lots and lots of choices for used units. A lot of families buy TTs and sell them after a few years and relatively little use as the kids grow up and refuse to travel with the parents.

gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 07/15/19 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK-NY wrote:

Next I recommend you reconsider buying only a new unit. RVs depreciate rapidly. Mine was in like new condition and cost less than half the cost of a new unit. Also RV construction and parts are often way less than perfect. New RVs always seem to require a shake down period and fixing issues. Let someone else do that for you. If you decide on a TT you should have lots and lots of choices for used units. A lot of families buy TTs and sell them after a few years and relatively little use as the kids grow up and refuse to travel with the parents.

You told the OP to buy only a new unit. Then you tell him the benefits of used units. [emoticon]

lovemountains

Georgia

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Posted: 07/15/19 02:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gbopp said to RECONSIDER buying only a new unit. He did not say condsider only a new unit!

DallasSteve

Texas

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Posted: 07/15/19 02:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jim

I've shopped used trailers (and motorhomes) online and I'm not seeing 5 year old units (my age choice) at less than half the new cost. They may be less than half the original MSRP, but the real "new cost" is typically about 70% of MSRP. Maybe if I could kick tires all over the US I would find what I want at half of original new cost, but I doubt it. On top of that I would have to pay someone to inspect them and walk away from them if they fail. And I have my father's advice in my head from when I was about 10 years old and he said "If you buy used you are buying someone else's problems." Still, if it was easy to find a lightly used RV at less than half the new cost, I would probably try it.

Steve

doxiemom11

Yoakum Texas

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Posted: 07/15/19 03:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would also urge you to look at used units. The new ones are not trouble free so you should plan on sticking around your area for a good while until you get all the bugs worked out. I would consider a 4-5 yr old one. If someone gets rid of it in the first year or two, maybe it had problems. If they kept one 4-5 yrs then the bugs should be worked out or they wouldn't have kept it that long. We purchased a 10 yrs old motorhome, now 19 years old and we have had very few problems. Things like replace circuit boards, fan covers, engine coolant overflow bottle, grab bar on the outside, lens covers. The rest were things you have to do to a car - new tires, serpentine belt, radiator flush, brakes etc. They last if you take care of them. We are still happy with our purchase.

jshupe

Austin, TX

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Posted: 07/15/19 03:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:


1 - I would rather drive a Jeep Wrangler than a big a$$ truck.

2 - The motorhome would probably have a generator which I would want to purchase extra for the trailer (still cheaper).

3 - Set up would probably be a little easier with a motorhome + Jeep.

4 - The ability to walk back to the kitchen or bath is nice in a motorhome, but for us it won't matter as much because we won't be making long trips between camps.


I think you should strongly consider a fifth wheel. It's true that you lose storage in the truck bed, but you gain it in the trailer. There is a reason that most full timers I've met have them.

1) You will get used to that big a$$ truck and it will be a non-issue. Even my wife comfortably drives my DRW, and wouldn't consider getting behind the wheel of anything other than a small car a couple years ago.

2) You can get a 5er with a genset in the front basement. Well integrated and ready to go. I assume you can get a TT with a similar configuration, but you will be giving up a lot of storage space. Standalone generators are a PITA and I'll not go back to them.

3) If you order hydraulic leveling and a 5er, I'd argue that the connect/disconnect and setup will be faster and easier than dealing with a toad where you have disconnect the toad before backing. I back into my site, put the rams down, unlock the hitch and put the tailgate down, unplug the pigtail, pull out from under the trailer, walk back to the control panel and hit "Auto Level". Takes five minutes or less from start to finish. Then you have the same electrical and hose hookups regardless of trailer or MH.

4) As you said, it shouldn't matter to you.


2019 RAM 3500 Longhorn HO/AISIN 4x4 CCLB DRW | 2015 Keystone Alpine 3730FB
Random musings (blog): https://www.lifeenroute.com

RedRocket204

Colorado mountains - Got trail?

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Posted: 07/15/19 03:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some good information for you so far and as first put by Grit, flip a coin if you are not certain. I know for me, my preference would be the lower price of the TT along with a comfortable and modern 1-ton diesel. Regardless of TT/Truck or Class A/Toed, I would be going diesel as it is a much more relaxing experience moving a good amount of weight navigating the mountainous west. It's not to say you need all that power and engine braking, but if you are traveling a lot, you WILL appreciate it. And with that point being diesel, you'll probably see the prices separate even further... maybe, maybe not but Class A diesel pushers do not seem to be cheap.


I love me some land yachting

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