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Old 03-05-2013, 10:36 AM   #41
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a dually and a pop up...lmao!!!!
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:45 AM   #42
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Hornswoggle, our experience may mirror each other in reverse. We started out looking at 28 ft bunkhouse models and ended up in a 32 model. Let me share some things we looked at and maybe it will help.

By the way - I think you are doing the right thing by looking at smaller trailers. Otherwise you would have been looking into a tow vehicle upgrade very quickly.

We started out on the Grey Wolf line looking at this:
Grey Wolf Travel Trailer by Forest River

We still feel it was hte most bang for the buck of any trailer we looked at. At 16.5 out the door with all power options (touchscreen remote control for slide operation and stab jacks it was very nice. But too small and I just did not like the aluminum sided trailers.

with that said - this floorplan is killer and with a GVRW of around 7500 lbs is exactly in your ball park:
Grey Wolf Travel Trailer by Forest River

We then looked at Keystone, mostly the Bullet line and also Kodiak by Dutchman. We felt like we liked each but Coachmen offered more for the money with at least the same build quality. We were sold on the 310 (until the 320 came out):
Freedom Express - Coachmen RV

Note that on the 310 you are going to always be at your GVWR even packed lightly. It is probably too much, but with extreme caution, I think you could do it. It is about 1500 lbs less. It is however very long and to be safe you would be better in the 292BHDS which is really an awesome trailer is you have not been in one yet.

Then we went to the KC RV show and saw the Solaire. We already had our 320BHDS, but when my wife and I saw this one, we both commented that had we seen it first, we would have bought it.
Palomino RV - Manufacturer of Quaility RVs since 1968

The GVRW is right in your wheelhouse. You could pull this trailer comfortably and it has room for 3 kids. The fit and finish on the one we looked at was great.
I know this is the one you want, because it caught my eye too:
Palomino RV - Manufacturer of Quaility RVs since 1968

That 307 is an awesome looking floorplan. I think the weight is going to be a challenge, and truly it comes down to how safe and responsible you are. The truth is you are going to be over the hitch weight and CC of your Armada. I don't think you will be much over, but you WILL be over. That is a risk some people are willing to take, and while I would never recommend anyone purposely buy more camper than they can handle life experience shows some people can do it. When I was a kid we toed trailers all over the US with station wagons. People would say today we were crazy, but everyone did it. I can't tell you how many people I saw pulling 7500 lb airstream with Lincoln Town cars and Cadilac DeVille's.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #43
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a dually and a pop up...lmao!!!!
Sometimes it feels that way doesn't it

But seriously. Although I donít know the details on many of the trailers you are looking at, hereís my general take on where you should be in order to stay within your limits

  • Buy a trailer with a GVWR <6,100lbs. This means that the tongue weight (at a reasonable 13% ratio) would be 793lbs.
  • This would work for you because, as you stated in post #19, you estimate that you have approximately 878lbs remaining for the TW (Armada GVWR 7,300 less est. GVW 6,422 = 878lbs).
  • This would also keep you under the 900lb limit that Toyota places on the TW of a weight distribution hitch.
  • Such a trailer is probably listed with a dry weight of 4,500 to 5,000lbs.
That Coachman 292BHDS is nice, but hereís the issue: You will be at max with the Armada. You will be constantly aware of how much you pack and you will be aware of how fast the kids are growing. You will always know when that trailer is behind you and, flat land or not, strong winds and semis will remind you that the trailer is 33í long. Being from WI, I can also tell you that the winds blowing across a huge farm field and hitting you in the side as youíre traveling down the freeway is a consideration.

Also, the areas that you want to camp (Dells and Door County) are not exactly flat.

You asked for trailer suggestions so I am asking you to step outside of the bunk house floorplan for a moment and consider a hybrid. These trailers give the room you want inside with a fairly light tow and a smaller footprint. The Roo 233S, for example, has three queen bunks, will sleep guests with the table and/or couch as needed, and has a GVWR of ~6,300lbs. Loaded, our trailer weighs less than that, but using the GVWR as a max reference is good because it builds in a cushion.

Its also a 28í long setup but under 24í long towing. I am not one to suggest the wheelbase has to be priority, but I really do not think your Armada nor my Sequoia can safely tow a trailer over 30í. The physics just do not add up. Tail wagging the dog.

Anyway, consider a Hybrid for the Armada.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:41 PM   #44
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Welllll

I spoke with our dealer and told him about my concerns regarding my GCWR and explained to him that I was not comfortable exceeding that. I asked him to cancel our order for the Coachmen 320BHDS.


We are investigating the Keystone Premier 31BHPR. It is not a hybrid or expandable and at 31 feet it is a bit long for my wheelbase, but it fits our family needs pretty well.


90% of our trips will be within five hours of Chicago, so we will not be getting a lot of mountains.


This unit would give me about a 20% buffer on my tow capacity and about a 15% buffer on my GCWR.


Those are numbers that I'm comfortable with
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:19 PM   #45
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Welllll

I spoke with our dealer and told him about my concerns regarding my GCWR and explained to him that I was not comfortable exceeding that. I asked him to cancel our order for the Coachmen 320BHDS.

We are investigating the Keystone Premier 31BHPR. It is not a hybrid or expandable and at 31 feet it is a bit long for my wheelbase, but it fits our family needs pretty well.

90% of our trips will be within five hours of Chicago, so we will not be getting a lot of mountains.

This unit would give me about a 20% buffer on my tow capacity and about a 15% buffer on my GCWR.

Those are numbers that I'm comfortable with
Beautiful TT (Keystone)...but 36'L and "dry weight" of 6440lb & 795lb tongue?

Like all of us, once your mind is made up on a floorplan that works for you, nothing much can't change your mind...with that said, consider trading up your current tow vehicle...Good Luck!
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:23 PM   #46
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We will eventually upg the TV, but in the meantime a "happy wife is a happy wife".
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:34 PM   #47
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a "happy wife is a happy wife".
Ain't that the truth

Have a good one and I hope you stick around our forum. You're more than welcome!!
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:46 PM   #48
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I appreciate that and hope to stick around. The Keystone forum has a lot less people on it and you guys have been very helpful.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:05 PM   #49
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Saw that typo...meant to say a happy wife is a happy life. Works either way I guess
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:33 PM   #50
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We are investigating the Keystone Premier 31BHPR. It is not a hybrid or expandable and at 31 feet it is a bit long for my wheelbase, but it fits our family needs pretty well.
I'm not sure where you got the 31' length from as it's listed at 35' 4" on the Keystone site. The dry tongue weight is 795 lb so you'll still be over you're payload capacity. Your determined to tow a camper this big and heavy...I hope you getting the best hitch there is for sway control like Pro Pride, Hennessey as I think you'll really need it towing with that short of wheelbase.

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