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 > Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome (my situation)

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4x4van

California

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Posted: 07/16/19 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I travel with friends that have a TT, while I have a class A. My setup is faster than his (keep in mind I don't have a toad and he usually doesn't unhook his truck). Yes, hookups are the same. But I pull in and level and extend slides from the driver's seat before I even turn off the engine, while he has to get out, level the trailer right/left, THEN level the trailer front/rear (sometimes requires unhooking from TV, which also requires wheel chocks and/or x-chocks). I suppose that auto-leveling (cost?) would help with that, but you are still going to need to get out of your tow vehicle and walk back to do so. And since you will be setting up often, that extra time will get old in a hurry, IMO.

One other consideration; I can do all of it without going out into bad weather; can't say the same with a TT or 5er.

And don't completely discount the access while moving that a MH gives; quite often, my wife can go back and get me/her a snack/drink while traveling; she can also go back and use the restroom, take a nap, work a puzzle, etc.

* This post was edited 07/16/19 11:18am by 4x4van *


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2manytoyz

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Posted: 07/16/19 12:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Might want to check new "big truck" prices. My F150, super crew cab, max towing package, 5.4L gasser, blah blah, was $45K in 2010! Prices have jumped since then, and mine is limited to 11,100 lbs. Not a "big truck". The ones I've seen cost more than my used Class A.

My last setup was the truck mentioned, and a travel trailer. It was great, but had its pros/cons.

This is my second Class A. Bought this one 3 years old, paid $75K. Already had the Jeep. I retire in less than 1.5 years, and we plan on doing a lot of traveling.

Things I like about a Class A over a trailer.

* Built in generator. When we stop at rest stops, the rig is ALREADY cool, and everything works, just like being connected to utilities. Make a sammich, take a shower, take a nap, our choice.

* Backing a Class A is easier. There are no blind spots. It doesn't bend in the middle. I can always see down both sides, and the rear view camera can see the rest.

* When I back into the site, I put the motorhome in park, shut off the engine, and leave the generator running. A button is pushed, and the rig self levels. The wife drives out the slides. It doesn't matter if it's raining outside or not. If it is, I can wait until later to connect to shore utilities, then shut off the generator.

* Once we are at a campground, we have the nimble Jeep to go in town, or go off-roading. This can go many places a full sized truck either won't fit well, or not at all.

* If the engine dies in the tow vehicle (motorhome in my case), I always have a powered life-boat available.

* The motorhome has a big truck chassis (F550 on ours), V10 engine, and beefy transmission. Some people tow trailers with trucks struggling to handle the max rated load. My BIL was a good example! The only way I can tell the Jeep is still attached is to look at the rear view camera monitor. No perceptible difference towing it or not.

* Big comfy captain's chairs in the motorhome. Lots of room for everything, without having the cab packed with food, a cooler, and things we need quick access to. Plenty of room for 2 people, or 8, plus our dog.

* Sitting up as high as tractor trailers gives us a much better view of traffic ahead. Gawd forbid if we are in a head on accident with a car... but at least the worst of it will be well below us.

* The motorhome we have has an 80 gallon gas tank. More than double what my F150 has. Makes for a greater range before needing to look for fuel. Usually not a big deal, but was VERY handy in 2004 when we evacuated due to a hurricane with our then 1999 Class A. Gas stations were either empty or packed in FL.

* Our motorhome came with 4 house batteries, and an inverter. We can shut the engine and generator down, and still have 120 VAC power. Obviously this can be done with a trailer, but not a commonly included feature that I have seen.

* I don't have to tow anything. If we go to Disney's Fort Wilderness, all the transportation once there is provided. Last time we went, we took a small utility trailer, and our golf cart. That would be a challenge with a 5ver, unless a toy hauler!

[image]

If you have local friends with a Class A, and a 5ver, or big TT, I would encourage you to take both for a test drive. Take a look in the cab, consider how much stuff you'd typically want handy, and where it will all fit.

There is no ideal setup for everyone. But you can pretty much bet if it's going to be big enough to full time, and be comfortable, you're going to tow "something".

I've changed our setup many times over the years. Have yet to find the perfect one, but sure like what we have now.

Happy shopping!


Robert
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2012Coleman

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Posted: 07/16/19 01:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:

2012Coleman wrote:

To the OP: Why are you considering a bunk house? Are you thinking of using the bunk room as an office? The Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS is 37 feet. If you want to consider a fifth wheel, consider the GD Reflection 337RLS which is only 35 feet long.

Are you planning on boondocking, or only using sites where at least electric is available?

2012 Coleman

Good questions. I'll answer and I'd like to ask a question or two about Grand Design pricing for anyone to answer.

I don't expect to use the bunk house much for guests, but since we will be living in the rig full time I like to have more closet and storage space, plus it gives the outdoor kitchen which I want. To me a bigger space waster is the sofa at the end of the 337RLS fifth wheel you posted. We won't entertain much to need that either.

As for boondocking, I want to give it a try in some parks, but we will probably use full hookups mostly, unless we like boondocking a lot. So we might not even need a generator.

I just browsed the two Grand Design models on RV Trader and the fifth wheel is about $10,000 more. I like it, but probably not that much. My question is about the pricing. I've read that Grand Design dealers are prohibited from discounting new models. It looks like they can discount unsold new models from last year (2019).

How much will the Grand Design dealers usually discount the new year models?

Thanks, Steve
I can see your point on using the bunk room for extra storage for a full timer - was curious as the huge back window was a selling point for us - but again, we don't full time. As for pricing, I'm not sure where you read that, but my GD 303 RLS was a new model in May 2018 when I bought it, and I negotiated 30% off the MSRP which was a lower price than what they pushed across the table - I also got a second AC in the front bedroom installed at half the price as part of that deal. Dealer Was General RV in Orange Park Fl.

My input on the type of RV to get is this: I never owned a motorhome but have traveled and camped in one owned by my in-laws. A pro was the quiet on board generator we used to stop for the night where there was no available power. A con was not being able to back up with a towed vehicle hooked up - but people get over that. We had an issue in a gas station that caused us to have to disconnect it.

I have pulled and camped extensively in a travel trailer, and upgraded to the fifth wheel. The towing experience is much better with the fifth wheel, but since you stated that your trips will be short, that may be a non issue for you.

Regarding bed space - you should be aware of the payload capacity of the vehicle your towing with. I towed my previous TT with a 2003 Tundra, which was maxed out on payload. The drivers seat felt like a water bed even though there was no squatting when hooked up, and big rigs pushed me around a lot. All the stuff I used to haul in my bed including 42 gallon Thetford portable waste tank, and a big RTIC cooler for my beer, three bikes, grills, chairs, fan, patio mat, wagon, you name it, all fits in my basement storage.

I think the GD Reflection your looking at would be a good choice. Note that Grand Design is one of the few, if not the only manufacturer that won't void your warranty for living in it full time. I've also had an issue with my awning after the warranty was over that GD had fixed for me at no charge.

On edit - after reading 2manytoyz's post, I'd be tempted to go his route!


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DallasSteve

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Posted: 07/16/19 02:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2manytoyz

Thanks for all that info. That's a beautiful motorhome you have. I might still go that route. I know that the HD trucks are expensive (I would probably need an F250), but big truck + big TT is still significantly less than big RV + Jeep. The Jeep Wranglers aren't cheap, either, and I would want the 4 door version (more $$$).

There are a few points you raised that I would quibble with.

1 - You start off comparing a new big truck to a lightly used big RV. Sure, you can save money if you go used, but then you can go used on the big truck and it's still cheaper. We need to compare apples to apples. Used to used or new to new. The last thing I would probably buy is a used motorhome. I think there are too many more expensive gotchas that could bite me later and I'm not an expert at inspecting all of those things (and I don't know how to pick an "expert" I would trust). It's new or nothing for me.

2 - You talk about how much easier it is to set up the motorhome, but you don't mention the toad. Is there a button you can push to unhook the toad without getting wet in the rain? Apples to apples again. I'm not going to travel in a motorhome unless I pull a Jeep. If I'm going to buy and tow a Jeep I want to unhook it when I get to the campground. I guess you can unhook it later when the rain stops if you have a big enough space to wait, but I think a lot of RV parks don't have spaces that long or you'd probably have to pay extra for them.

3 - You make the class A sound safer than a big truck in a head on collision. At high speed nothing is very safe, but I would feel safer with the engine compartment in front of me instead of under me. And a big HD truck sits pretty high, too. It's not like the car in your example.

One other pro for the big truck + big TT that I left off my initial post is that (I think) you can find more mechanics who know how to work on an HD truck than a Class A motorhome engine, but I may be wrong about that. That's what my brother tells me about his Class C motorhome, that it's easier to find service because it's based on a Ford or Chevy truck. Class C is another can of worms that I had considered earlier, but it's probably not for me.

Steve





bikendan

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Posted: 07/16/19 03:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:

I've read posts from some people in bumper pulls who are full-timing and they say it works well for them.

Steve


Well, I'm not one of them. Each year, we head south for at least 3 months in our TT.
We would NEVER fulltime in a TT. A 5th wheel would be the clear winner for us, when we decide to fulltime.
Way more people fulltime in 5th wheels, compared to TTs.
There is a floor plan we like, that the manufacturer makes in a 5th wheel and a TT version. The 5th wheel version offers way more room and storage than the TT version and will be a shorter combo than the TT.


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jshupe

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Posted: 07/16/19 03:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bikendan wrote:

DallasSteve wrote:

I've read posts from some people in bumper pulls who are full-timing and they say it works well for them.

Steve


Well, I'm not one of them. Each year, we head south for at least 3 months in our TT.
We would NEVER fulltime in a TT. A 5th wheel would be the clear winner for us, when we decide to fulltime.
Way more people fulltime in 5th wheels, compared to TTs.
There is a floor plan we like, that the manufacturer makes in a 5th wheel and a TT version. The 5th wheel version offers way more room and storage than the TT version and will be a shorter combo than the TT.


Not to mention that hookup/ disconnect (no WDH), and leveling (if properly equipped) are much simpler and faster and the towing experience much better. It seems OP has already made up his mind on a TT, though.


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DallasSteve

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Posted: 07/16/19 04:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also remember reading a post here a few years ago that fifth wheels are much harder to resell than bumper pulls because they are more expensive and require the special hitch. Maybe that's not true either, but it sounds reasonable. And I've seen posts here talking about a problem with fiver handling; I think they called it "chucking". And some posters here say they have driven both and they think bumper pulls ride smoother. (That's sure to raise another reply from jshupe telling everybody again that I've already made up my mind) I think a lot of the great hype about fifth wheels may be that's what the salesman told them, they bought it, now they need to believe they made a good decision. Of course the salesman is going to say it's better because it has a higher price tag.

jshupe

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Posted: 07/16/19 06:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have owned multiples of both and still own a 24ft offshore boat (bumper pull tandem axle, over 12’ high on the trailer) that weighs more than a lot of travel trailers. I am speaking from first hand experience.

Chucking isn’t an issue if you have the right hitch, enough pin weight, and are riding close to level. I would argue that TT handling is much more uncomfortable unless you have a Propride or Hensley, and even then, there is a lot of improvement to be made (again, I am speaking from experience. I put several thousand miles on a Propride 3P). I am now on my second fifth wheel, and with the exception of something like an Escape 21 for short boondocking trips, will never be purchasing another travel trailer. That is a pretty widespread outlook among people who have owned both.

With either option a cheap hitch will result in a bad ride. If you are to compare with decent or even premium hitches, the fiver will come out far ahead.

If you want to disregard that as anecdotal, that is your prerogative, but many find it to be true.

* This post was last edited 07/16/19 06:57pm by jshupe *   View edit history

Bird Freak

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

jshupe wrote:

No it is not. It is hard to find a TT with auto-level.
Not anymore. I was at a dealer yesterday and most of the trailers on the lot had auto level.
I have had both MH and 5er. Set up is about the same but the 5er is more comfortable for us. I hate sitting on a sofa looking sideways at a tv and getting a stiff neck. My recliners are much better.


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Bird Freak

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Posted: 07/16/19 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:

I also remember reading a post here a few years ago that fifth wheels are much harder to resell than bumper pulls because they are more expensive and require the special hitch. Maybe that's not true either, but it sounds reasonable. And I've seen posts here talking about a problem with fiver handling; I think they called it "chucking". And some posters here say they have driven both and they think bumper pulls ride smoother. (That's sure to raise another reply from jshupe telling everybody again that I've already made up my mind) I think a lot of the great hype about fifth wheels may be that's what the salesman told them, they bought it, now they need to believe they made a good decision. Of course the salesman is going to say it's better because it has a higher price tag.
I have pulled all kinds of trailers for years and anyone who has will tell you a 5er or gooseneck is much more stable on the highway and no sway from wind or passing trucks.

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