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Old    A. P. (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-10-2010, 8:59 AM Reply   
Just so we are clear. I'm talking about the trailers with the tow hitch and not a 5th wheel.

The wife really wants to get a travel trailer to take so we can start camping with our two little ones. Notice how I said "start"? We actually never have camped before because the wife wants a bathroom and doesn't want to sleep on the ground.

So the travel trailer is a good option and does appeal to me for family vacations. But since I am a complete novice in this area, I am looking for advice. Any brands to stay away from? Options that are essential? Problem areas? Style of trailer that is preferred? Would be towing with a GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab if that makes a difference.

My parents have a 5th wheel trailer so I wouldn't be going at it alone for the first few trips.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-10-2010, 9:08 AM Reply   
You will need to stay under about 24' for your truck. Anti-sway hitch will help, too.

Roofs and caulking are the #1 problem area to watch out for. Also make sure the water tanks are not cracked. Everything else is pretty easy to fix.

If you want to travel where it snows, you'll need heated water tanks.

Having a separate bedroom is nice with little ones because you can put them to bed, and come in later without waking them up. Also, and I like pop-ups, but hard sided bedrooms are nice compared to "hybrids" (TT with pop-out beds with tent walls). They are more insulated, quieter, and darker. Personally I would get a popup instead of a hybrid if I had to go that way.

Make sure you can sit on the toilet. Not kidding about this one - I'm 6'-3", and I have been in some that I literally cannot use.

One other thing to consider with bumper pull TT's - they don't have generators. You will need to buy one if you want to camp where there are no hookups. Also, the $300 construction site type genny won't cut it for most areas because they're too loud. Think $1200 / Honda.

Last edited by trace; 08-10-2010 at 9:13 AM.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       08-10-2010, 9:15 AM Reply   
I've thought a lot about this. I'm in the same boat as you. Right now I have a pop-up. It works, but only for fair weather family camping, where bathrooms are within walking distance.

I'm still convinced that an RV is the way to go. This way the drive can be part of the fun, and people don't have to be confined to the truck.
Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-10-2010, 9:26 AM Reply   
Your hindrance will be the truck. I had the same truck and ended up switching to a diesel. Get the biggest you can afford an pull. The guys already gave you the great advice. We have a Rampage that we love. We have a built in generator and shower and both come in extremely handy. My wife is like yours, so keep in mind the size of the tanks(especially grey) if she plans on showering. We load ours like crazy with quads, motorcycles, toys, BBQ,etc...

Make your first few camping tricks in very public sites that way you and can look around and talk to others to learn from their experience. Nothing worse than to be in the wilderness and have no clue what to do if something goes wrong.
Old    andy zarlengo (colorider)      Join Date: Jun 2001       08-10-2010, 10:01 AM Reply   
We have a 18.5 Frontier travel trailer that has treated us great for 2 years. I tow it with a 2004 yukon denali. The steep long mountain passes kill me. I can go 45 up them, but it inhales gas. I ave about 7 mpg when we go camping.. Of course that is here in CO where the mountain passes can be brutal. I can deal with it because I am not getting a new truck to tow with. Ours has a shower, tub which is very nice to have. We also have a 55 gal fresh water tank. The bigger the better.! It has a back bed that I just got a honeywell generator (2000 watt) from costco for 425 bucks. Very quiet for the price. Works great. Good luck on your search and have fun. We have a 4.5 yr old and he has loved camping for the past 2 years. Its a lot of fun, and not a lot of work/headache if you plan right.. Have the bearings serviced every year. Mine are only 2 years old and last trip started getting very hot hubs.. Its getting looked at as I type this.

Last edited by colorider; 08-10-2010 at 10:04 AM.
Old    A. P. (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-10-2010, 10:17 AM Reply   
Thanks for the advice.

I don't see us going in to the high Sierras so I'm not too concerned about the truck - other than the strain to the transmission. The truck towed the boat and didn't have too much of a problem. Jason - I think you are referring to a "Toy Hauler". We don't have quads or motorcycles so that wasn't the type I was looking at it if it makes a difference. Basically a 18'-23' trailer with bed, bathroom and kitchen.


Oh - and we are munchkins. I'm only 5'8" so size isn't an issue. But I can see what you mean about being tall and sitting on the toilet. LOL

Last edited by bigdad; 08-10-2010 at 10:21 AM.
Old    Coinless (bruce)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-10-2010, 10:47 AM Reply   


Have you considered a truck camper? You'd need at least a 3/4 ton, but you could pull your boat and camper at the same time. My camper sleeps seven and has a full bath, kitchen, generator, etc.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-10-2010, 11:45 AM Reply   
Nice set-up Bruce. I love truck campers for their utility. Being able to tow a boat is huge. Definitely puts you in the category of 3/4 or 1 ton, though. Although there are some light truck cab-overs, but I'm not sure you'd want to haul a heavy boat with one in place.

I dream of Air Streams. Yes, they're expensive, but they're lifetime trailers. They're built really solid, well insulated and tow very well. Someday when we've got a little one I'll probably add one to the fleet.

A.P. We saw a lot of trailers that were 1/2 ton ready when we were at the Sac boat show last year. A lot of them were great size. I think the best thing you can do is shop around a bit. Look at the quality of the builds. Open doors, look at shelves. Probably try to stay away from gimmicks that could break. Also, one thing to think about for camping: an outdoor shower is a really cool option for hosing down.
Old    Charles S (Chuch)      Join Date: Mar 2010       08-10-2010, 1:13 PM Reply   
We've run the gauntlet with pull behinds. Pop up - Coleman, hybrid - Cub, 27ft - Jayco, 31ft Fleetwood. I did tow the 27 footer without much issue with the Chevy version of your truck. It had no slide outs, so it wasn't too bad. I did tow the 31 footer with slide with my father's tundra...freakin awesome ability in that truck. We towed it down to our new place and left it though.

I'd say go shorter, with a slide out honestly. We love the floor space...especially if you have dogs and kids! Look for how things function. For example, some hot water heaters only work with gas, some are both electric and gas. Check faucets and water pressure. Things like quality of mattresses, hinges, door knobs and awning can be crucial. I'd stay stick with a reputable brand and go for it. You'll have a blast man. I'd look used for sure since a lot of folks are trying their best to dump these things right now.

Things I've learned over the years: Storage space is crucial! Replace the freakin stock shower heads. Caulk the shower before using...again. Try to buy bigger than you think you need the FIRST time. Make sure you invest in a GOOD equalizing trailer hitch. Invest in good connections (power, water, and sweage) the first time, And lastly...NEVER poop in the head.
Old    Charles S (Chuch)      Join Date: Mar 2010       08-10-2010, 1:22 PM Reply   
This was the day we hauled the bigger one down to the camping resort where she stays...
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