ultralites vs conventional

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by Skybird, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Skybird

    Skybird New Member

    I find that as with boats, trailers also are manufactured in different ways. With sailboats one can purchase a 32' sailboat that weighs as little as 8500# to as much as 25000#. Both are extremely seaworthy. Circumnavigtors tend to like the heavy displacement boats for their ultimate toughness while coastal cruisers tend toward the lighter boats that have much better performance. If you have to weather a hurricane at sea, you want the heavy boat, without question. Since I **** well knew I would never be caught at sea with a hurricane in the vicinity, I chose the light displacement sailboat. It can sail circles around a heavy displacement boat until the wind speeds reach 30 MPH, then they tend to perform equally, although for comfort, you'd want to be in the heavy displacement boat at that point. Light does not mean cheap! Light means that modern materials and manufacturing processes are utilized that save weight without sacrificing stregth or safety. Except for the Airstream line of trailers,I don't know if this is true of travel trailers. I'd appreciate feedback. While I know that there must be two opinions as to which is best, I really am more concerned about quality and ruggedness. I don't plan to be on the muddy backroads or in rugged terrain. Federal and State Campgrounds, Good Sam's, KOA's etc. will probbly be 85-90% of our camping.
    Thanks for laboring through my posting.....
     
  2. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    Skybird, In my opinion you will lose some quality in most lightweigh rvs. Most will have lighter frames and less material in them. Newer materials do tend to be lighter and stronger thanks to the space program. Most will depend on how you plan to use it. I would not want to be in any of them in a wreck or tornado :eek: . Do a lot of research and inspecting.
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    My lightweight trailer was pretty flimsy. For instance, the TV shelf was a piece of panelling (equivalent to 1/16" or 3/32" plywood). Kitchen drawers were plastic tubs like they use to bus tables at resturants. But it seemed sturdy enough where it counted - frame, floors and steps (to bedroom).

    I'd say that lightweight should be fine for occasional use, but might not stand up to full timing.
     
  4. Browzin

    Browzin New Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    Skybird
    Having made the switch from SAIL to land yacht some years ago I can understand your information dilemma. What holds true for Sail doesn't hold true for land. On land you get what you pay for, (quality wise). In the RV industry, unlike the boating industry, weight and quality go hand in hand, not that heavy always means quality. When it comes to RV's, you get what you pay for period.
     
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    There is some truth to the boat comparison, in that there are RVs that are framed of both steel and of aluminum and in trailers, even of wood. Each of those materials can be used for quality construction, and each has a different advantage, or disadvantage. Of the three materials, the least expensive for strong construction is steel, but aluminum will weigh far less. But aluminum is also the worst for heat loss. On an aluminum framed RV, on cool mornings you can easily see where each frame is located by the dew on the sides of the RV and in frost it becomes even more apparant. The highest priced fifth wheel trailers are constructed with wood framework because of heat loss. But when you build a strong RV from wood, the weitht goes up dramatically.

    So it has some truth in terms of modern materials, but the highest rated RVs, are almost always the heaviest because of heat loss.
     
  6. Skybird

    Skybird New Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    Okay,just as with boats, the answer is, "it depends". Does anyone have comments or knowledge about the Starcraft Antigua expandables ( http://www.antiguarv.com/antigua_expandables_highlights.html )? Again, we will not be full-timing and do not anticipate using the unit in extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. We do however, plan to use the unit as much as 6 months out of the year. I plan to go see the units next week and could probably judge the appropriateness if I had a standard for judgement. Any suggestions?


    Thanks,
    Ed
    s/v Skybird
    www.skybirdcruise.com
     
  7. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    ultralites vs conventional

    You might be wise to visit the RV Consumer Group.www.rv.org
    If you join they provide a good basic education about how to judge and evaluate RVs and also supply members with a CD of ratings of different makes and models. While they are mostly done by volunteers with only limited training, they are the only organization that evaluates RVs who do not accept any funding from the manufacturers. They also do a lot to educate the RV owners.
     
  8. ziggy355

    ziggy355 New Member

    Re: ultralites vs conventional

    Thanx for the tip on www.rv.org, went to the website. kinda pricey, dont you think? $100 bucks for basic membership?! :eek: there has got to be something better out there. :laugh:
     
  9. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: ultralites vs conventional



    Ziggy,

    There is a cheaper place, but not a better one. You could get the RV Buyer's Guide, from Motorhome/Trailer Life magazines which is supported by advertising from the very companies that make what they rate. But all that they ever write is positive reviews so I would not consider it to be worth much. The RV Consumer Group is a "not for profit" organization that lives on what it gets from memberships and the sale of some publications. The do not accept any money from any RV manufacturer or organization that has any connection to the industry, to avoid any chance of influence by them. For that reason they have to charge for a membership. They supply more RV education materials than any other organization and they will explain in detail what each rating means and how it was arrived at. Even a non-profit has bills that they must pay. For me, they saved me $7400 in purchase price and influenced my choice of a fulltime RV which has now served me well for more than six years. The savings was almost 10% of the purchase price, and it is hard to put a value on the guidance that may well have kept me from the purchase of a poor quality RV.

    Now let me ask you a question, if I may. Just what is good information about the purchase of a product that is going to cost you more than $50,000 worth to you? The $100 would figure out to be 0.2% of the price.
     

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