Questions from a first time RV buyer

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by MikeinGB, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. MikeinGB

    MikeinGB New Member

    Hi! I am trying to find a camper that best meets my family’s needs. I am new to the camping world and have many questions. I am planning on using my camper mainly on weekends, with an occasional week long stay during vacation, and traveling no further than a 150 mile radius from home. Any input that I can receive would be of great value.

    After exploring all of the different models/options at our local retailers I am leaning heavily towards a hybrid. The 2 main reasons why I favor a hybrid are:

    1. Bed Size. As far as campers go, it seems that the industry standard for queen size beds is 75” long. I found a few hybrids that have 80” long beds. Since I am 6’ 8” (80 inches) tall, this is a given. Plus my kids are big too, and I want something that they will be comfortable in for years to come, as I am sure they will be very tall as well. Also, with a hybrid I can get 3 – 80” X 60” queen size beds in a given unit.

    2. Trailer Size. I’d like to keep it below 25 feet if possible. I have yet to find anything else with adequate bed size that is less than 25 feet. Also, I would like for each our 2 boys to have their own bed. I’ve seen models with bunks, but the bunks are only 72” long and are narrow, which I am sure they will soon outgrow.

    The 3 models that seemed to best meet our needs are:

    Stampede S-22 TBRG (by Palomino)
    Kodiak 23TT (by Skamper)
    Rockwood Roo 233 (by Forest River)

    Of the 3 I like the Rockwood Roo the best, as the layout is more appealing, and the fact that none of the pop out beds occupies the front side of the camper, allowing for more usable space in front as well as a larger awning.

    Some concerns that I have are:

    - Moisture build up on canvas. Internally due to humidity, especially when sleeping, and then dripping down onto the bed. Also externally due to rain, leading to mold/mildew, especially when having to pack it up when it is raining/damp, and the excess moisture eventually leaking through to the inside on mattress, etc before you get a chance to unpack it and dry it out. (Note: one individual had expressed these concerns to me from his previous experience with a hybrid, although he had admitted that it was an older model hybrid (1999 Bantam I believe) that he claims was one of the first on the market at the time and he felt that it wasn’t very well made.
    - Equalizer hitch – I’m not sure if this is necessary in my planned set up 23’ 9” trailer pulled by a 2003 Silverado 1500HD. (Note: I’ve been told by one individual (not a salesman) that this is really only needed on standard size 1500/F150’s and smaller vehicles, and since I have a 1500HD this isn’t necessary at all. (Just his opinion…)
    - Size of water tanks, clean, black, and grey water. I understand that bigger is better, but what would should I consider to be adequate, given my planned usage?
    - Durability of beds (I weigh 260 Lbs, plus my wife will be in the bed with me as well). There aren’t any prop rods/poles supporting the bed for underneath/outside, just cables on the inside that hold it open. The underside of the bed is fiberglass (I believe).
    - Use of a hybrid in colder temperatures, given that the beds are enclosed with canvas, versus fiberglass sides. The model I am interested in comes with heated mattresses & 20,000 BTU furnace. There is also an option for a heated holding tank – is this necessary since I am not planning on any cold weather (below freezing during the day) camping?
    - There is a $170 option of a RainKap ( which “prevents black streaks and easily replaces common one-inch trim insert (not present on all RV moldings). “ Is this worthwhile?
    - Buying thru RV Wholesalers ( Has anybody out there purchased from them or know of anyone who has? It appears to be a great way to save thousands of dollars, plus you get to set it up exactly the way you want, without having to settle for what’s on the local dealer’s lot or having to pay extra for a “special order.”
    - Lastly, storing my camper when it is not in use. I plan on storing it on an uncovered cement slab alongside my house, so it will be outside all year around exposed to the elements – with Wisconsin winters being the biggest concern.

    Sorry about the long post, but I’d rather have my questions answered by experienced campers, not experienced salesmen! Also, buying an RV is a major purchase, and like anyone else, I’d like to get it right the first time (or at least close). Any comments in regard to model selection or addressing any of my concerns would be greatly appreciated.
  2. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Questions from a first time RV buyer

    I believe that 'equalizer' hitches transfer some of the weight of the trailer from the rear wheels to the front wheels, and as such, are necessary only if you are near the GAWR of the rear axel. I'd take your truck, loaded with all people and gear you would travel with, to a truck scale and get the rear axel weight and the front axel weight. Then measure the pin weight of any potential trailer and ensure it is safely below the GAWR. Also, add the GVWR of the trailer to the weight of the truck (front weight plus rear weight) to insure that you are not exceeding the GVWR of the truck.

    Even if you don't need an equalizer hitch, you will want a hitch which will minimize 'sway' (where the trailer starts swinging back and forth, sort of 'the tail wagging the dog'). If I was going to tow a travel trailer, I'd first check out the 'Pull-Rite' hitch which claims to make a travel trailer pull as well as a 5ver...
  3. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Questions from a first time RV buyer

    First, welcome to the RV world! I think that you are looking at a good choice. I would also look at the pop-up trailers, if you have not already done so.

    quote:- Moisture build up on canvas.
    This really isn't a problem. We camped extensively in all kinds of weather, more than 30 years ago with our family and there is actually much less humidity problem with the slide out beds than with a fully selfcontained unit. There are several reasons, but the main one is the fact that the canvas is designed to "breathe" and thus allow excess moisture to escape. The frame will prevent water build-up.
    quote:Equalizer hitch
    This will depend upon what the tongue weight of the trailer is. The hitch is not just a question of weight on the tow vehicle, but also one of safety for vehicle control. The other hitch issue is a sway control. The trailer manufacturer will have reccomendations on these items. Take their advice(not the sales person's).
    quote:Durability of beds
    This is another thing to check with the trailer manufacturer. There will be a load rating for the beds. If you follow it, there should be no problems. If it isn't high enough, you might be able to develop some type of supports.
    quote:Size of water tanks, clean, black, and grey water.
    None of us can answer this one for you. When we had our pop-up it had a 10 gallon water tank and we could make that last for three days with five people. Our first motorhome had 40 gallons of water and 30 gallon waste tanks and we were able to last as a couple in it for four days, with each of us taking a "submarine" shower each day. But we have friends who carried 80 gallons of water that we traveled with who could not last but two days. We now carry 80 gallons of water as fulltimers and we can easily go a week on that amount. The point is that water use, or conservation is a very personal thing. Must you run the water to wash your hands or brush your teeth? If so, it will take far more water per day that it does for those of us who use one small sink of water, a wash rage and soap to wash up and about a coup of water to rinse the tooth brush. Can you train the family to use the shower by wetting the body, turn off the water to wash and the turn it on and rinse? Or must the shower run full force the entire shower? Will you eat on paper and plastic, or will there be dishes that must be washed each meal? These are things that only you and your family can control. With a family, bigger tanks are perhaps better, but keep in mind that the bigger tanks also weigh more. Water weighs 8.26#/gallon so carrying more is not free.

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