Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by Evawright, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Evawright

    Evawright New Member

    Hi all,

    I have been reading your posts and taking it all in. I am afraid we have camper envy.

    My homeschooling family is ready to buy our first camper for full time living and so far we have found either fancy overpriced (out of our budget) or completely re-furbished fixer uppers (*cringes*) and dear mom wants to travel with us so I cannot picture her sleeping on the kitchen table/dinette at night so we are still trying to keep this dream castle at a budget while trying to keep our privacy of us having our own bedroom.

    We live in Ten Mile Tennessee and are looking for a good place to buy our camper.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Someone said Knoxville but a few of the lots there are pricey. We are willing to travel to nearby states within reason.

    1.) The place we are going to vacation at in Southern Colorado (San Luis) is remote with no electric hookup so is solar really a reliable source for a full timer or keep it just as a back up?
    2.) For a family of four is a bunk house a wise choice?
    3.) What choices should we make for heating arrangements?
    4.) Along with What size generator?
    5.) Does anyone use oil lamps in the evenings and at night? Safer alternatives?

    Currently we have a 1995 Voyager mini van and hubby wants to trade it for something that will haul our dream castle around.

    And did I mention five dogs and five cats? They each have their own traveling crates and large pens for vacationing. Most have been with us everywhere so parting with them is out of the question.

    Yes it does seem crazy but crazy would be not at least giving it a try! :blush:
     
  2. utmtman

    utmtman Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    I would say you will need a Travel Trailer or fifth wheel with that size of a family to be comfortable. As for boondocking which is the no electrical hookups, solar panels are ok for keeping the battery charged but when you start using them for much more it involve more panels, more batteries and can get quite pricey as well. As for heating the furnace in most the tt and fivers should suffice unless you plan to winter there as well than you might also want to add an additional propane heater you can set in the middle of the house to help add heat and they can sometimes do a better job than the furnace. Generator need will be based on what you plan on running as far as tvs, microwaves, convection ovens, toasters and so on.
     
  3. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Hey Evawright, welcome to the forum. The bunkhouse model RVs are about your best choice. JMO. I agree with Lee, the travel trailer (TT) or 5th wheel is your best bet. Be sure to look at a heavy duty mega cab diesel pickup to pull it with. 2 Honda portable 2000 watt generators wired parallel or a 3000 watt Honda/Yamaha/etc. will work if you want to run an air conditioner. If you don't care about a/c then a small portable 1000/2000 watt generator should suffice. :)
     
  4. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    I can fix you right up if you are willing to travel to Va.
     
  5. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Welcome to the forum. I agree with the advice Lee and DL gave you. The trip to GTS would be well worth the time. Ken handles a good line of TT IMO and the advice he gives you can depend on. You might want to rent a rv to give it a try before buying if you have never camped. Even a 40 footer can get cramped with kids and pets. Take your time and figure all angles. How old are the kids? Will they be ok with traveling? What about Mom? Will she also be fulltiming with you? Are the 5 dogs large or small? For the size TT you will need you will have to have a pretty big tow vehicle. Good luck and follow your dreams. Life is short. :)
     
  6. Domingo

    Domingo New Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    My wife and I travel with three wonderful children(6,4, and 2) in a 36' RV. sometimes it gets crowded but it is worth it. We have just added a small four legged friend. We are about to adopt a x large dog. I am having a hard time trying to figure out where to place the large crate, may have to travel without it(the crate). :)
     
  7. WandaLust

    WandaLust Member

    RE: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?



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    I don't want to be a killjoy but you need think about this. You have 10 pets alone, you and your husband, your mother and several children. You would need the largest TT or 5th wheel made plus a powerful gas guzzling vehicle to pull it with. Craig's list is a good place to look. We've found excellent RVs using the list and it saves a bundle over most dealers - but you have to be careful because they're as-is. Getting back to your large family. As I see it none of you are going to have any privacy or space and you will be on top of each other all the time, especially when the weather is bad. Clothes and bedding alone take up a lot of space. Then there's the children's toys and games. Laundry and food.

    This is from my own experience: Years ago I spent a week in a 10'X55' mobile home - not much different than a large TT. It was myself, my husband, my son, both my parents, a cat and 3 dogs. That was 5 people and 4 pets. It was so crowded and so uncomfortable that as much as I loved my parents, I was glad the day they left for home. I can't imagine what living under those crowded conditions full time would be like, even with loved ones. I know I couldn't do it.
     
  8. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?



    Eva, what's the difference between a travel trailer and a mobile home?

    "Four people, five dogs and five cats with crates!"

    You will all hate yourselves and your animals within two weeks.
     
  9. Evawright

    Evawright New Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Thanks for all the responses!

    The place we will be going to is 5 acres (which we already own) and hubby and I have been used to camping in the primitive. My 7 year old daughter would miss the occasional x-box gaming. lol.

    As for now we are in a single wide and moved here from a small older home that was a fixer upper (so this is like a mansion compared to the size of that we started from) and once we get there animals will be back outside.

    Our choices are A: Go back to small older home or B: Travel trailer on the five acres until we can find something larger to rent/buy. ;)
     
  10. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Evawright,

    If you want practical advice, listen to WandaLust and TexasClodhopper. What you are talking about is not at all practical. Realize that the very largest of RVs has a limit of only 400 square feet. In that you plan to put five people, five dogs and five cats! Since you are talking about a limited budget this probably will not be the full 400 but more in the range of 300. Keep in mind that the square footage is the total floor space before anything is put inside so all storage, furniture and appliances are deducted from the floor space. Our 36' motorhome has only about 95 to 100 square feet of actual floor space! That means that for actual moving about in the RV each person or creature will have less than 10 square feet of space.

    How large is your budget to buy this RV? A large fifth wheel trailer is very heavy and will need a minimum of a one ton truck to tow it if you have a fairly light one with few slides. To tow with too small a truck is to invite a loss of control and you could have a wreck that would endanger all of you and those who share the roads with you.

    Solar power is very limited and to supply even minimal power for a couple usually requires four or more panels and you are probably looking at far more than that. It also requires at least four large batteries and six would serve much better. For the number of people that you are talking about, four panels and six batteries and a charge controller is the minimum and you can expect to spend at least $5000 for that if you do most of the work yourselves.

    Then there is the issue of water, both fresh and waste. There are very few places today which allow you to dump the waste water on the ground, even when it is only the gray water. For five people, just the use of five gallons per day means the tanks to carry at least 80 gallons for it to last for three days and you also have to dispose of the waste water each time that you get more fresh water. That is not free so this means that you will have to stay in RV parks at least every third night. If you park on your own property, where do you get water and what do you do with the waste? Your five acres will quickly become pretty unpleasant if you empty the amount of waste your family will generate on to the ground.

    Campgrounds charge about an average today of $25-$30 and that is for two people and perhaps one or two pets. For five people and ten pets you will probably find some parks will be hesitant to accept you as a guest and those which do will charge you at least $2 per extra person and perhaps that or more for the extra pets.

    Is it possible to do this with your family? Well there are some people who might be able to do this at least for a short time, but there are not all that many who can. Only you can determine if you are one of those but I sure would not put my family into the type of thing that you seem to be considering. I know that isn't what you want to hear, but it is what we who have many years of experience in RV living believe.
     
  11. cwishert

    cwishert Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Ok I am going to add my opinion. I think you would be better off buying a mobile home to put on your property with that number of people and pets. I know this is not really mobile but it sounds to me like you need a place to live not a recreational vehicle. I really don't think anyone could take 10 pets on the road full time. And like Kirk said, I think that the park might not allow anyone to have more than 2 or 3. There are city ordinances against it inside some city limits. This again is just my opinion. I hope whatever you choose will work out for you and your family.
     
  12. Evawright

    Evawright New Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Thank you so much for the advice!
     
  13. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    As I read your second post I understand that you will not be traveling on the road but living on the 5 acres all the time. Guess you could call that fulltiming if you are in a rv but most fulltimers do not stay in one place long. I would also advise going with a mobile home or even a double wide as they can be bought about as cheap as rvs in some cases cheaper. Guess we need a little more information on your plans to give our opinions. Give it a lot of thought before making a decision and keep us posted. Hope it works out.
     
  14. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Going back to your OP about the only RV I can think of that would even come close is a toy hauler 5th wheel. Private bedroom up front, kitchen in the middle and in the back a pull down king or queen bed and one I saw had two side fold down single beds as well. This would also give room in the rear for the animals. Putting in a good sized gen 5KW to 7KW and a wave heater 5000-8000 in the rear for good constant heat and there is home. JMO

    LEN
     
  15. gewe72

    gewe72 New Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Hi,

    I agree with Len, A Toy Hauler is the only way to go with your entrouge. I bought my 2009 3300RLB Sundance through RVsaleprices and received an amazing deal Check out www.rvsaleprices.com and you will find Cyclone Toy Haulers and Rapture Toy Haulers at prices between $40,000 to $50,000. You will be amazed at what is offered.

    Happy Camping!!

    Gary E
     
  16. cwishert

    cwishert Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    Do you think Gary likes rvsalesprices.com??????? This is the 3rd post with the site in it. Just a question :eek: :question: :disapprove:
     
  17. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Camper envy- ready to buy- where to start?

    By dang I think you are on to something. ;)
     

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