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Who knows travel trailers?

Discussion in 'Towing' started by RacerAV, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Jun 23, 2011 at 1:07 AM
    #1
    RacerAV

    RacerAV [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if this is the right forum, but its close. I've read the Towing Bible thread here, so no need to refer me to it, or repeat from it. (Unless you really have to!)

    I'm looking to pick up a travel trailer, to live in for an extended period of time. Something small enough to be able to tow anywhere with my Tacoma (info on rig at left) but large enough to feel comfy! I imagine I'll hang out outside of it a bit more anyway, but still... I've gathered I should stick to a dry weight of less than 4000lbs. (I hope for less) It'll have a lot of stuff in it, so I want to keep the trailer itself as light as possible. I might even mod it as I go, removing unnecessary items, maybe nets instead of doors on cupboards, etc. Lighten up anything I can, basically. Head to REI, get some backpacker's titanium cook/silverware? haha... My max tongue weight is 650lbs stock, but does my All Pro bumper and hitch change that? Besides lifting the hitch position up 6" or so, (I'll need an adjustable height draw bar (is that what its called?), right?)

    What should I look for in the trailer?
    Issues with plumbing, electricity, propane, etc. This will be my first trailer, and I know NOTHING about them. I will go to a dealer this week to probe for info as well, but the won't give me much info on used stuff Id imagine. I'm worried about capacities of propane, water, black, gray, etc... How long does xx gallons last? It would be just me living in it, so there would be less usage of essentials, but what are we talking here? Refilling once a week? Less? How can I prolong that?

    Reasoning...
    I am just looking for a change I guess. As much as I love all my "stuff" I get the urge to hock all my non-essentials and bail. I hate the feeling of being weighed down by too many material things. (I'm typing this on my cool bluetooth keyboard from Apple, on my 27" iMac, which is sitting next to my 13" MacBook Pro, next to my iPhone 4, etc...) If there were a fire in my building, and I lost everything I own, I'd only be sad about the real stuff, pictures, memories, etc, you know? I have a vision of buying a piece of land somewhere around So. Cal and setting my trailer there. Living for a few years, still going to school and whatever else. I go hiking, biking and camping all the time, and have been seeing lots of small cabins in the woods in the mountain areas of OC, and thought, perfect! I'd love to live out there, but buying a cabin isn't gonna happen. But land is super cheap in places, and payments are easier. It would be cool to always own that piece of land as well. I've lived out of my car before, not for long, and only out of necessity, but I actually had fun. Had a storage facility, and was/still am a member of 24Hour fitness, lol... workout, shower, on with my day!

    Your thoughts...
    What do you think? What issues will I run into that I might not realize now? I spent almost 7 years in the Army, I've lived out of a small bag for long periods of time. But assume I'm an outdoor noob, and go from there! haha...

    This is the picture that made me think, "thats it!" It would be like a vacation, every time I come home! lol...
    Takaya49's pic...

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help! All opinions and whatever are appreciated... please dont beat me up about this though... We all know how forums can be. Not looking to be talked down to, or out of this. Just be helpful, informative, or anything positive. If you have some actual negatives, let me know, just don't be a dick... ;)

    Adamo
     
  2. Jun 23, 2011 at 8:00 AM
    #2
    campthewestcoast

    campthewestcoast Oceanfisherman

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    Power extend/retract towing mirrors,brake controller,30amp charging system for TT,snug top camper
    Look at Hi-lo trailers, hardsided expanable travel trailers. I tow a 21ft hi-lo towlite with my tacoma and get up to 16 mpg. When you do the seach, look at oodle.com , rvtraderonline, or craigslist. There are some good deals out there. Try Hi-Lo trailer forum.com for more info and any questions you may have. In the libuary section of the hi-lo trailer forum there are pictures and floor plans.
     
  3. Jun 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM
    #3
    Goober

    Goober Earthlings are fun to watch!

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    Think food storage!
    Hey, I use to live in Fullerton back in '71-'73.
     
  4. Jun 23, 2011 at 8:23 AM
    #4
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Look around, the trailer's layout can make a HUGE difference in how 'big' it feels. My parents traded theirs for another that was the same length but it was much roomier due to an improved layout. How long supplies last completely depends on the user. If you can take showers with a single gallon of water, you do the math. If there are rivers or lakes around do rinse dishes then it helps water consumption also. Depending on how you use it, your holding tank (waste) can be the determining factor in how long you can make it. Will you be starting a fire at night for cooking or using the propane stove? Solar panels greatly extend how long the trailer's battery will last between charges. Use lights conservatively and, if you drive daily, get an electric lantern that plugs into the cigarette lighter and use that instead of the trailer's lights.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2011 at 9:09 AM
    #5
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Propane if used sparingly should last a few months or longer depending on your levels of use. Grey isn't too much of an issue cause you can dump it using a water hose way out away from the trailer (not legal in some states, probably all states).

    I think fresh water and black water will be the issues here.

    Most TTs have 25 - 35 gallon tanks, and with one person using the bathroom perhaps 3 times a day you're looking about a week or so, maybe less, maybe more if you're super conservative.

    Make sure to get a unit that appears well sealed, buy some sealant stuff, and sit in it when it rains. Inspect seals every few months. If you're handy with tools you can re-arrange things to better accommodate you.

    I'm interested to see how you do, most TTs are not designed to live in constantly but if you're handy there's no reason you couldn't do it.

    I've conseridered doing it before, and if I even needed to live "lean" I'd give it a whirl. But I'd stay at a RV park with electricity and sewer / water hookups because my wife and dog would never make it in 100 degree summers here in Texas.
     
  6. Jun 23, 2011 at 3:58 PM
    #6
    RacerAV

    RacerAV [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Some great ideas guys! Everyday I think about doing this I get more excited! My girlfriend laughs, but is supportive. She's awesome.

    campthewestcoast: i like the hilo trailers, but I wont be towing it around a great deal, so Im thinking my money would be better spent on a non expandable trailer.

    goober: food storage is a definite worry. I know I'll be short on storage space, but I will be "going to town" daily, haha, school, work, etc, so I figure I'll just be making more quick trips to the grocery store.

    pugga: the layouts ive been looking at are getting better and better. I was originally thinking of purchasing this small 14' on cl for about 1500 bucks, lol...after searching around here, found the Koala 21' that has an amazing layout!!!

    Heres the Koala: (I really like the 19RB and the 21CS, both amazing, but wanna see the price differences)
    http://www.koalarv.com/brochure/koala.pdf

    I like this one too...
    http://www.barberrv.com/Inventory/Vehicle/New/2012/Evo/1450/009447/Ventura/California

    Im DEFINITELY going to solar panel the entire roof. For the shower, I was thinking a small timer on the wall, to keep me on schedule in there.

    fajitas21: I was thinking about the gray water dumping thing, depending on where I am I think it would be okay. I can always use biodegradable soaps in the trailer, so the gray will not be harmful. Seals do seem to be a big issue, which is odd. Youd think all trailers would be sealed really well! Apparently not, haha. I am definitely the handy man type, can make/fix/do just about anything. And Ive got a good eye for design, so I will have some fun with it, making it my own. Of course if I pick up a nicer trailer, a newer Koala for instance, I'll have to do a LOT less.

    How much do you think it would cost to re-do the interior of a trailer? Say I bought a 1972 Prowler for $1500, but it needs work, seals, bathroom, water heater broken, lots of little issues, etc... Are parts and little things expensive? Or should I just bite the bullet now, pick up the new Koala and be done with it?

    Adamo

    PS. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about this guys! And hey, if any of you need a place to crash, I might be around! haha
     
  7. Jun 23, 2011 at 6:33 PM
    #7
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    On a travel trailer, EVERYTHING is expensive.

    However, if you find something you like at the RV store, just write down the model number and check it out online, it's usually cheaper, free shipping, and if you buy from someone out of state, tax free.

    As far as re-arranging, I've seen people remove bunks and make offices, computer desks...people replace their plastic toilets with ceramic standard flush ones...things like that.

    In truth the travel trailers are like homes when you first buy them. You really dont' know where all the stuff is hidden in the walls, and it seems daunting at first glance, but if you take the time to research your model, and aren't afraid to tear out a wall to see what's behind there, it's a pretty simple concept and not too terrible to work on really.

    Basically a travel trailer is a box with a wooden frame, PVC flexible hose for water, normal romex for electrical, a hole in the ground attached to a tank for sewer, a window unit AC mounted on the top, and copper propane lines running under the frame.

    Where we in a house has 2x4 studs, you'll have 2x2s or something. Where we have slabs and piers, you got a trailer frame. Where we have shingles, you got a rubber roof. Speaking of, that's what you want to make sure is sealed well.

    Also, if you notice water behind a wall or something, rip it out and address the leak before mold kicks in. But basically, if you keep the box waterproofed, you'll solve 99% of your problems.

    Some people who plan to stay for an extended period of time will build a shed around the TT for protection, shade, and increased durability. Besides, you could extend the shed a bit and make a home for your truck! It needs a home too!
     
  8. Jun 23, 2011 at 6:38 PM
    #8
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    One other thing I've noticed if you're browsing TTs in bulk. The naming of trailers has a code to it that speeds up looking for certain things.

    For example, on your Koala site:

    18BH = 18' Bunk House
    19RB = 19' Rear Bath
    21CS = 21' Center Slide
    26SS = 26' Super Slide
    25DS = 25' Dinette Slide

    RK = Rear Kitchen
    S = Slide
    SS = Super Slide
    RB = Rear Bath
    QB = Queen Bed

    Once you see them like that you'll see something which combines them like:

    26RKS = 26' Rear Kitchen Slide

    And bam, instantly they make sense.

    Enjoy.
     
  9. Jun 24, 2011 at 4:46 AM
    #9
    elwood

    elwood "Really, how hard can it be?" Jeremy Clarkson

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    I have toyed with ideas like that in the back of my head for years. To just get away.
    Anyways Trailers: the little bit that I have learned is that some say they are a light weight but when you see the number , wow. I am not sure how they are in the states but near our house is a guy who builds trailers one at a time and has been doing so for over 45 years. His father started the company years ago. www.taylorcoach.com is the site. We have the 19 foot and empty it is just over 2000# with a/c ,furnace, water heater etc. All real wood construction and 3/4 inch plywood subfloor. Built like a brick shit house. He has many american customers and getting across the border isn't a problem. Just haven't found a better made product that weigh's less. He welds his own frames and cuts all the aluminum siding, before shaping it himself as well. Truely HAND built.
    I have seen 20 year old models still in excellent shape. Just my $.02 if your looking for long term durability and gas mileage (based on weight towed).
    I have pics of ours in my gallery.
    Cheers and Good Luck:):)
     
  10. Jun 24, 2011 at 6:41 PM
    #10
    afob3

    afob3 Member

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    The Koalas are nice. In fact I just put my deposit down on one today. You are looking at a wide swing in prices from new to an old craigslist prowler. I would think the first place to start is by figuring out a budget.

    Also without knowing the climate of that part of CA I would be warry of any unit with an exposed underbelly. If plumbing / tanks are exposed to freezing temps you could have issues.
     
  11. Jun 25, 2011 at 11:04 PM
    #11
    RacerAV

    RacerAV [OP] Well-Known Member

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    awesome... yeah they look amazing! I have no idea what prices on them are, so Ive gotta swing by the dealer and see. I know they'll be 10 times what I was looking at on the CL, but I think I might feel a LOT more comfortable knowing my primary residence is 100%, not, fix it as I go along, if something broke at 2am on a wednesday night, not sure how happy Id be, haha

    Price wise, Im okay with making payments, it'll be much cheaper than my rent on my place now, that I'll never get a penny back from, you know?

    Weather here isnt a problem, but in the future itd be nice to know that I wont have issues no matter where I go, and it being a travel trailer and all, I should plan on getting around right?

    Adamo
     
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