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Old 04-11-2014, 11:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by gmacklem View Post
Sorry, everyone, I should have been more specific on what we are looking for. We are looking to upgrade our tow rig from the 2v 4.6l F-150 to a 5.4l F-150. The 5.4l will about double our tow capacity and be more than enough for what we are looking for.

As for the camper, we saw the Flagstaff SuperLite 27RLWS at a camper show and loved it. It has the most storage of any camper I have seen. It also has the nicest kitchen with tons of counter space and a living room almost as large as my home living room.

It checks all the boxes and then some. It is at the top of our price range though, so if you know of anything that provides most of the features at less price, let me know. In short, our requirements of the TT are:

Cold weather capable
Storage, storage, storage
Light enough to tow with an F-150
23-29 feet long (mostly because of lower weight)
Would like electric awning and tongue jack, electric stabilizers not a must
Outside speakers
I think your requirements are a good start, but we found that our requires followed things along the lines of the floorplan that was ideal for us. Obviously our needs are grossly different than yours, but here is what we worked off of:

Must haves
- Must have a big shower (we're not little people and didn't like the corner/neo showers)
- Must be able to walk around the bed
- Must be able to change clothes in the bedroom
- Had to have a u-shape dinette
- Sleeping for 6 without reverting to the dinette or sofa bed in the living room (2 in the master bedroom, 2 kids and 2 others/usually adults)
- The "2 others/usually adults" are my in-laws and I couldn't make them sleep on the floor or floor level
- Have an outside kitchen
- Outside kitchen needed cabinets
- Awning placement must be such that we could put a picnic table w/o blocking a door or hatch
- Must be able to get to the bathroom with the slides closed

Must not haves
- Didn't want a "step up" in the middle of the bedroom
- Could not have a "walk through" bath; must be a "side bath"

Nice to haves
- Prefer a bedroom with a slideout
- Being able to get to the fridge with the slides closed
- 1/2 bath
- A door directly to a bathroom
- One or more slides in the bunkhouse
- Less than 40'
- Folding grab assist handle to 2nd door

As you can see, we're particular. The problem with being so particular is that the length of the camper grew. We talked about our list of "must haves" to decide which was more important- a bigger camper vs. taking things off of our "must haves". Momma said we'd go bigger, so we went bigger. We ended up with a monster of a camper, but we hit all of our "must haves", "must not haves" and most of the "nice to haves".

I kept a spreadsheet of campers that we saw online or in person and it had columns for each of the things above. I ranked them according to that and ended up narrowing our selection down from 60+ models.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:28 AM   #12
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Our list was very similar, but only pulling with a 1/2 ton it eventually boiled down to:

1) Price
2) Weight
3) Kids don't sleep on top bunks
4) We don't sleep on the dinette.

I also found that brand really doesn't matter that much when compared to floorplans. Pretty much everybody offers the same layouts in one rig or another. The only exception I've found was the Chaparral 360 IBL (Chaparral - Coachmen RV) which I learned about through this site.

Aside from that one unit, I haven't seen anything at any of the manufactures that I can't get from another.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:56 AM   #13
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Look at the V-Lites. When we went looking, that's where we ended up. We have a 26WFKSS on order. I have a 2010 F-150 Supercrew 4x4, and didn't want to push the limits, for economic reasons. I thought this was a great size for my TV. If it'd of been a two wheel drive with the Eco-Boost V6, I'd of been more interested in a 28. If I thought we'd use it more, maybe even a 30. That extra 2 or 3 miles to the gallon, really adds up. Most of our trips, look like they will be long, with one or two overnight son the way.

It's everything we wanted, without shelling out more money for extra space, my wife and I didn't think we needed. She kept saying "It'll just be the two of us", and I kept saying, "Then why do we need extra seating". She was liking the more open feel of a third or longer slide, and a slightly bigger trailer, but more cubic feet of air space inside, equals more weight.

Without each of us staring at the same storage, and saying whether we think it is too much, plenty, or not enough, that ones up in the air. The one we ordered, seems to have more then enough to make our trips comfortable. NIce pantry and kitchen layout. A large Linen in the bathroom. A big wardrobe in the bedroom.

I also liked the multi entrance bath, that allows both ends of the trailer to use the bath, with privacy. We looked at a Jayco 5er, where you had to walk out of the M bedroom, into the rest of the trailer, to get in the bathroom. That one thing killed a deal we were interested in.

Think ahead, as far as where everybody will sleep when the lights go out. I think it would be real easy to buy more trailer then you'll use, but that may just be me. Will you need that extra sofa that makes into a bed, or will it be a catch all?
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:14 PM   #14
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In short, our requirements of the TT are:

Cold weather capable
just to clarify, FR doesn't make any true 4-season trailers. just cause it has heated holding tanks and dual pane windows as options, doesn't make the trailer truly "cold weather capable".
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:23 PM   #15
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just to clarify, FR doesn't make any true 4-season trailers. just cause it has heated holding tanks and dual pane windows as options, doesn't make the trailer truly "cold weather capable".
Can you elaborate on that? I don't know much about a 4 season camper but thought that an enclosed undercarriage and heated tanks was all it took. Is there more? What do other mfgs do that FR doesn't?

Thanks.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:29 PM   #16
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Can you elaborate on that? I don't know much about a 4 season camper but thought that an enclosed undercarriage and heated tanks was all it took. Is there more? What do other mfgs do that FR doesn't?

Thanks.
I think the real question is how cold (and for how long) do you want to go?
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:34 PM   #17
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I know little of Coachmen campers other than this: I was in a brand new one on a lot a few months back during a steady rain- not pouring, but more than a drizzle. Felt a drip on my arm. Slide was leaking. Asked to look into another on the lot and he stated that he couldn't open it and let slip that it had the slide fascia on order. This likely means that it had leaked as well and rotted the fascia.

After looking at MANY campers, here's what my personal recommendation is:

If you aren't dead set on a fiberglass sided camper, I'd look at the Palomino Puma. We had a 2012 and now have a new one on order. In-laws have a 2012. They've been great. Lot's of bang for the buck.

If you are set on a fiberglass camper, I think you'd be well served by a Keystone or a Rockwood Signature Ultralite or Windjammer. I will say that one of the main reasons I went back to Puma instead of getting a Rockwood this round was because of the tire and axle ratings. Too light for my liking. I have considerable reserve capacity on both with the Puma line, but you have limited payload on the Rockwoods and are right at axle and tire ratings when loaded.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:41 PM   #18
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I think the real question is how cold (and for how long) do you want to go?
I would like to be able to handle down to the teens for a few days without rupturing pipes and tanks.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:53 PM   #19
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The majority of info has been covered here as it relates to TV and other potential options within the FR lineup. I can speak only from experience with my Coachmen. We looked at everything for nearly a year before purchasing and the dealer we bought from pointed out a few things that relates to the Keystone VS Coachmen. Apparently this only may be true when I bought in 2011...Keystone at the time still used Formaldehyde in their process and you could clearly notice a difference entering a keystone vs coachmen in the odor during one of the many trips during the summer heat we made to the dealer. That was not the main reason we went with Coachmen however....I feel that their Catalina line offers one of the best values and price points in the industry. Granted it is a aluminium sided trailer and a bit heavier but the fit and finish over the keystone was very apparent.

Based on the info here, the Freedom express may not be of the same standards but as in anything in life people tend to air more negative things about a product than the positives.

When we eventually upgrade I think it will be a Wildcat 5er....Kids are not big enough to warrant this and we are very happy with our unit now. Plus its paid for!!

As others have said, most floor plans are available in nearly every mfg.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:55 PM   #20
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The majority of info has been covered here as it relates to TV and other potential options within the FR lineup. I can speak only from experience with my Coachmen. We looked at everything for nearly a year before purchasing and the dealer we bought from pointed out a few things that relates to the Keystone VS Coachmen. Apparently this only may be true when I bought in 2011...Keystone at the time still used Formaldehyde in their process and you could clearly notice a difference entering a keystone vs coachmen in the odor during one of the many trips during the summer heat we made to the dealer. That was not the main reason we went with Coachmen however....I feel that their Catalina line offers one of the best values and price points in the industry. Granted it is a aluminium sided trailer and a bit heavier but the fit and finish over the keystone was very apparent.

Based on the info here, the Freedom express may not be of the same standards but as in anything in life people tend to air more negative things about a product than the positives.

When we eventually upgrade I think it will be a Wildcat 5er....Kids are not big enough to warrant this and we are very happy with our unit now. Plus its paid for!!

As others have said, most floor plans are available in nearly every mfg.
True about the Azdel composite- much less odor than traditional luan. Still some formaldehyde from the carpet and upholstery, but I could tell a difference. The Coachmen trailers that were leaking were all Freedom Express, 2014 models.
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