Hi! My husband and I are completely new to RVing, so any and all advice would be so appreciated! We are currently researching travel trailers and suitable trucks to haul our family of 4 on both weekend and several-week long adventures. We have 2 teenagers, so we need the trailer to comfortably sleep at least 4 (queen bed for us and double bunks/bunkroom for the kids preferred). We would also like to keep the trailer length at less than 30 ft. Does anyone have a trailer they would (or would not, for that matter) particularly recommend? Any makes you love? Thoughts on Lance trailers or Keystone Bullet? I love updated interiors, but they’re hard to come by - (and a suitable Airstream is probably out of our budget). Thanks so much in advance for any advice you might be able to give! We’re so excited to begin this new adventure!
Unfortunately there’s no short answer to that. You really have to research, research, research. We looked so long that I can pretty much identify the maker or a trailer when get a glimpse of it.
Also, you need to keep a budget in mind for both the trailer and tow vehicle (sometimes referred to as TV so don’t get confused!)
You can choose either first. If you don’t want to get into a 3/4 ton truck then one of the best choices is a Ford F150 with the 3.5L ecoboost engine, but it will significantly limit what trailers you can safely pull, but you’re already looking at 30ft max.
That being said, did you mean a 30 ft CLASS or ACTUAL length? My 31ft class TT is actually 37.5ft long bumper to tongue. I would NOT recommend pulling it with a 1/2 ton truck.
In 3/4 ton trucks you can go gas or diesel. I have a F250 w/ 6.2L gas engine. It’s simpler and I can work on it. If something goes wrong with a diesel it can get expensive quick. It pulls my trailer “fine” but I wouldn’t want to get into mountains or high elevation.
Also keep in mind that you can get a lighter trailer (lite, hyperlite, etc) but there’s a catch. There is only one way to do make trailers lighter: use less materials.
“Lite” trailers tend to be less durable and will not have a “walk on” roof which can make roof maintenance more difficult.
Speaking of budget, are you ok with a corrugated aluminum exterior or do you want fibreglass walls? The latter being more expensive.
As far as I know Jayco still makes good trailers even though they are owned by Thor and they use the Goodyear Endurance tires (made in the US) which is fantastic, just research China Bombs.
We’re pretty happy with our Highland Ridge 31BH. It does have cable slides, which I’m not thrilled about, but with 4 slides, they didn’t have a choice due to weight. It’s already 9000lb dry. They come with Westlake tires which are decent.
Ok, probably enough for now, the wife is giving me the “it’s time to get off the computer” look.
Hi Richard - thank you so much for all the great information! Yes, lots to think about for sure… gas vs. diesel, truck size, etc. It’s so helpful to glean some advice from people like you! I’m pretty sure we will be like you by the end of this, recognizing various trailers at first glimpse ;). Thanks again!!
Ever thought of a teardrop and a roof top tent? That’s a possibility that you can take to places a conventional rig can’t go. Just a thought.
Richard made a lot of good points. Definitely need to realize that 30ft is the measure from bumper to hitch so the “box” will be closer to 25. But, if you plan to camp in mostly public campgrounds (state and national parks/forests) staying shorter than 35ft is a must.
In addition to the sleeping layout, you may also want to consider things like dual axle (most likely not an issue at your length because it should have dual axle), size of the fridge (bigger is better and especially separate freezer/fridge) and bathroom layout (definitely a shower that has its own enclosure). Also, if you get slides, consider the access to bathroom and fridge with the slides in - so you can at least get to the toilet and fridge while you are towing. And, one more comfort item we wanted was a “walk around bed” so you don’t have to crawl over your spouse to get in and out.
If you think you will be camping in colder climates, you may want to consider a four-season trailer. Better insulation. But, can add to the weight. And, if you are camping in hot places that will need you to run the A/C, you will want ducted A/C.
You can always change out the tires (we changed ours right away - not sure if you have America’s Tire Center stores near you but it was easy for us to order the tires and have them installed at their store. You can always get a mattress topper for the queen bed and change out other convenience/comfort items.
Our TT is a Coachman - a Forest River product. Once we nailed down the basic floorplan and the size, we found a few of the manufacturers often similar floor plans but have different finishes - like chevy v. cadillac. And you still will need to make modifications as you go.
Lance is really nice, independent manufacturer but can be pricey Their cabinets and finishes are like in your home. Airstream is overrated (IMHO) and I doubt you would find a floor plan that works for you. Plus, their storage is very limited.
Tow vehicle capacity is going to be based on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) AND tongue weight capacity. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity
As for the tow vehicle I’m just the opposite of Hobbes. I’m in a diesel SUV and wouldn’t want a gas vehicle, turbocharged or not, for towing. I live in Denver and have towed over the continental divide a few times. You tow with torque not horsepower which is where diesels shine.
I’m new as well. Research the Reviews on the manufacturers. I found a TT I really liked based on what I could see. Then I read the Reviews. Horror stories, coupled with poor customer service. Cracked trailer frame. Leaks, mold, appliances not working, etc. Really! No way was I buying a TT made by that company.
Thanks so much!! Good advice on the slides, Kim_K1 - we definitely will want access to the bathroom with the slides in, so we’ll look for that. Thank you all for the great info and advice - I really appreciate it!
I spent 3 years researching and contemplating which TT to get. My primary decision factor was build quality and I didn’t see anything nearly as well made as Lance. (excluding Airstream which $$ eliminated). So I bought one earlier this year and its been great. There’s just two of us so we have a 16 footer, it would be cramped for your family. Any of the 20+ foot models with slideout would work well for a family of 4 and can be pulled with a 1/2 ton pickup.
Awesome! I’m glad to hear you are loving the Lance. Certainly seems like certain Lance models, including the one we’re potentially interested in, can be hard to come by. I consider this to be a good thing, though, as they must be in high demand. Thank you for your input!
I’m late to the party, but we’re traveling right now with our family of 4 in a No Boundaries 19.3, and we love it. It’s 24’4” and pulls with ease behind my 2017 F150 with the upgraded tow package. It’s got a Murphy bed for my wife and myself, a bunk in the back for the kids and one of the dogs, and a fold down table for the second dog. We’ve been traveling from Texas to South Dakota and back, and it’s been great for us.
Most definitely research! We rented various floorplans over several trips before we committed to our Jayco 264BH. We found out through real-world use, that what we thought we wanted, in practice turned out not to work well for us. And even after all that, we’ve discovered that we are going to upgrade a bit. Love the 264BH, but we need the additional room a slide offers. Pay close attention to your tow vehicle and what it can handle. TV is not the place to skimp. Good luck and above all, have fun!
Thank you for posting this. It hits home. We are newbies and after research, put a refundable deposit on a 25 foot Winnebago Hike. We decided to not move forward on it as we are unsure through real world use what we will like! We live in Colorado and were skeptical even though my tow capacity is 7700lbs…how we would get it up and over the passes. Its a 4 cylinder turbo, We decided we will drive to Arizona next month and rent a few different ones to compare -tow and test down there before we make our decision.
Where can I fly with the whole family on vacation?
Excellent idea. We have a small teardrop that we love to camp in. Not all the conveniences of home, but we like back country camping and this has gotten us places a traditional rig couldn’t. We also have an older Nash 25’ travel trailer, that’s a tiny home size. Perfect for the two of us if we go the other route.
First time poster here. My wife and I have lots of experience tent camping and we’ve finally decided to take the plunge into the TT world! Currently looking to purchase our first rig and a vehicle to support it. Planning on keeping it for a while and having space for the dog and eventual kiddos. After some research we’ve got our eyes on the keystone springdale 1760bh (4600 MGVR). Our budget keeps us in the world of used full size light-duty or - if we stretch - a well used base model superduty. Top contender for a tow vehicle is a 2016 F150 crew 4x4 with either the 3.5L V6 turbo or 5.0 V8, both with all the required towing add-ons. Book says these configurations should reach 10.8k or 11.4k towing, however factoring in max payload (2.6k for both), curb weight (worst case 5.2k), and a 25% margin of safety on payload and tow, i figure those numbers are more like 6.6k/7.5k. If course going to use a trailer brake controller and a wt distribution hitch.
- Honest opinion on the keystone or similar trailers <5k?
- Does my math pass the smell test for rig capability?
- Suggestions for capable tow vehicles <$35k for a max 5k tow?