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Old 02-08-2016, 10:34 PM   #1
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Chaparral 360IBL and what else???????

What other Fivers did you look at before purchasing you 360IBL and what made you sway for yours? Did you only look at Coachmen or did you look at other brands? Did it come down to price? Features? Value? Floorplan?
And finally, when you first started looking at Fivers, what was your original budget? Did you go over or pay less than expected?
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:10 PM   #2
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When we first started looking, we are looking at Class As. Then decided a 5er would be best for storage, full timing and not needing a separate toad. We looked on the internet at hundreds of sources and hundreds of floorplans and onsite at a few dealers for probably a year and a half before we bought. We looked at every brand, make, model and price. We wanted to be able to enter this next phase of our life experience without debt so price was an issue. We set our limits and knew what they were. We looked at used and new. The problem was, I am very into paper crafting. Cards, scrapbooks, some 3d elements and it's very important to me. We looked at numerous floor plans and a lot of the bunk rooms would have made FANTASTIC craft rooms but at the expense of the living area. I wanted a separate craft area (and DH wanted a separate craft area for me) because I get wild sometimes and the paper and glitter and glue and stuff just fly everywhere when I'm crafting. DH didn't want me to do it at the dining room area because of that and I didn't want us to have to live in a limited living area in order to give me a big room which would be just for me. I was at a crafting event with my sister in California when he found the 360. We looked at it the weekend I got back. Slept on it. Googled it. Thought and discussed it. Then decided it's what we wanted. Then began the long ordeal of buying it. Sigh. AND it was a bit of an ordeal. Three weeks later we bought it.

We have pulled out the bunks, put in a desk and three fixtures for crafting storage and we are both very happy with it. We know it will suit our every need for the next five years and probably much longer. We are happy with the price and so far, with the performance. We've had dinner and games for 9 people, have had the grankids stay over, spent approximately 50 nights in it over the past 10 months. In 110degree temps to 27degrees. It's a different style, a new adventure and a challenge to us as we are set in our ways by now. And every time we go out with it, we learn something new.

We wanted to keep our budget at around $80k for the truck and 5er and we were right on budget. We could have gone higher but we wanted some "flex bucks" for travel and extras. We could have spent less on a 5er. We could have spent more. But we went first and foremost with a floorplan we could live with and then in a price range we could afford. We did some research about reliability and found that there is NO PERFECT rv. Each and every brand, make, model and floorplan had complaints. So the first two priorities dictated our purchase.

When we told our kids (daughter and son) about our plans, they were all for it. Daughter and grankids are sad because they said they will miss us once we start traveling but son who has been workkamping for about 5 years totally understands our wanting to see the country before it's too late.

Driving a "big boy" truck is a new experience because we've always had compact cars and smaller trucks. DH is used to towing our 22' sailboat but towing and parking an almost 40' 5th wheel is a new adventure and one that DH has proved he is very capable of handling.

Would love to meet other 360 owners and all rvers and until then, look on this forum frequently to see what other IBLers are doing and what mods they've done.

Hoping others chime in with their experiences.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:50 AM   #3
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Our shopping experience started off when my father was in town and we were bored. We stopped by a local Forest River dealer who had several interesting models available. We walked through several rear living unit models and wished they had that floor plan but with a bunk house. Then we toured two Columbus models that were mid bunk units and we blown away by the floorplan. Are really didn't want to spent $60k+ for a fifth wheel, especially considering we had just purchased a 2016 Forest River Vibe 308BHS 6 months ago. We really never liked the floor plan in the Vibe once we took it out a handful of times. The single AC just couldn't keep up with the south Texas heat and the unit was extremely noisy. The master bedroom was very cramped and uncomfortable. So when we came across the Columbus fifth wheels, we knew we wanted to trade. It was very hard to find a dealer willing to give us anything for our virtually brand new travel trailer. We knew we were going to take a loss, we just wanted to mitigate how much of a loss we took. Most places wanted to roll over $8k towards a new unit. After looking at what it would cost to get out of our Vibe and into virtually any midbunk fifth wheel, we came to the conclusion to lower our budget a little. We looked at Sandpipers, Sierras, Dutchmen, Cedar Creek Silverbacks, lower end Polaminos, and about 2 dozen others. My wife was pretty sold on the Columbus but I expanded that it just wasn't worth the extra $20k it would cost us to get into the unit. Through our searching and searching and researching we saw the Chaparral line at several dealerships in Texas. They appeared to be priced comfortably in our new budget and equipped with many higher end features. We really were sold on the Coachmen product because of its exclusive use of Azdel in the exterior walls. I like the Dexter 8k axles and EZflex suspension. So once we were comvinces that the Coachmen Chaparral fell into our price range, we had to decide between the twp midbunk models. In the end, the IBL won due to the better kitchen layout and slightly shorter overall length plus a bike rack. We shopped and got trade in quotes from at least 8 dealerships. The very last place we looked was Seguin RV near San Antonio. We explained were we wanted to be and how much we wanted for our trade. They actually gave us over a grand more than we expected for our trailer. They also matched the lowest Coachmen's price that another dealership had the same unit for but wasn't giving us nearly as much on our unit. In the end, my family love the new RV and think we made a great move up.

I upgraded from my 2011 F250 6.7l truck to my current truck before we even considered getting another fifth wheel. I got a great deal on trade and it just made sense. It was meant to be given the new trailer.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:19 PM   #4
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My wife and I were looking for a bunk style 5th for the kids. Just about everything out there was the dual slides in the bunks with 2 on one side and either 2 on the other or 1 up top with the outdoor kitchen taking up the bottom space. When you did it that way, the main living area seemed much more confined.

Once we saw the 360, we just knew that was it. LOVED the huge living space plus the kids bunks (2 and 5 year old girls). My wife loved all the cabinets and storage as well as the full size island (with no sink) for preparing meals.

Everything just seemed so perfect for us. I really wanted an outdoor kitchen and would have loved a 2nd bathroom BUT I was willing to give up those two. The bathroom is a decent size and having a full size shower was a plus, especially when trying to clean up our girls.

There was one other coachmen that had the middle room entrance by the kitchen fridge and had it's own couch that converted to a bed as well as an entertainment center but it was 42ft instead of 40ft and this was my first 5th wheel. We opted to go with the shorter trailer even though it was only 2 feet.

No regrets, love this camper and would do it all over again.

PS - Just like Scootin on here, our camper is the "go to" camper for all of us. Typically it is the same 3 - 5 couples that all go camping together. Between the fireplace, 42"tv, plush leather reclining chairs and all the floor space.. nobody wants to stay in theirs lol.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:29 AM   #5
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My last 5th wheel had the rear living area that we really liked. Our wish list when we ever was to get another camper would include 2 a/c units, a bunk area for the kids, a large bathroom, a slide out for the master bedroom, bike rack, a lot of counter top space in the kitchen, free standing table and to still have a rear living area feel. About 3 years ago I found different brand that had most of what I wanted with the bunk room in the rear of the camper and still had that rear living feel to it. Then around October of 2014 is when I saw the mid bunk floor plan of the 360IBL. After looking at the pictures, I knew that this is the camper that was perfect for us. After about 2 months of deciding, I contacted Funtown RV and they got me a price that I was willing to pay with trading in my old camper. I really like all of the counter and cabinet space. The feel of being at home with the leather couches, fireplace and the tv across from the reclining theater seating instead of at an angle. The closet space up front is great when going on a week long camping trip.

One thing to keep in mind about the bar stools under the island. The stools can only fit one direction. When we went to pick up the camper the guy that gave us the walk thru did not advise us of that. After leaving with our new camper we stayed a night at Holiday Park at Benbrook Lake. The next morning when packing up, we put the stools under the island and when closing the slides in I heard a crunching sound. Broke the legs to one of the stools. The manufacture that makes the stool does not sell to the public. Thanks to Camping World for working with me to get a replacement stool ordered from them.

I have now had my camper for a little over a year and still glad I got the one I have even after seeing all of the different brands and models of the mid bunk floor plans. I am still adjusting to the extra 10 ft. in length from my other camper when backing up. I was unsure at first how this camper was going to pull with being 5000 lbs. heavier than my last. This camper pulls great. I can't get enough camping in. Texas weather is great!
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carter2k View Post

One thing to keep in mind about the bar stools under the island. The stools can only fit one direction. When we went to pick up the camper the guy that gave us the walk thru did not advise us of that. After leaving with our new camper we stayed a night at Holiday Park at Benbrook Lake. The next morning when packing up, we put the stools under the island and when closing the slides in I heard a crunching sound. Broke the legs to one of the stools. The manufacture that makes the stool does not sell to the public. Thanks to Camping World for working with me to get a replacement stool ordered from them.
Just had to read this to DH and he says I can tell a story on him now! I am the one who packs up the inside. Since we put our stools on the outside of the island, I always put these two little crates in front, wrap the stools with a quilt and then put in the slides. Well, on this particular trip which was about three trips ago, I had to leave early to go to Atlanta and he had to pack up both the inside and outside. (BTW he said he never realized how much work it took to pack up the inside!). Well, I didn't tell him which way I put the stools and when he moved in the slide...yep....crack....crunch. Broke one of the legs on the stools as they were faced the wrong way. BUT he said he found out gorilla glue works wonders. He repaired it, we use the all the time and you can't even tell where it was crunched.

New procedure--we pull in the kitchen wall slide first. Make sure everything is snug against it. Then I leave the blinds open on the small window by the dining area. As we move in that slide, one of us looks to make sure everything is ok.

So far...knock on wood...that's the only camping mishap we've had.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:59 AM   #7
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Oh and as for backing up...we've had a sailboat before but this is our first 5th wheel and the length was a bit intimidating for both of us. DH is getting so much better at backing up. Our first few times were nerve wracking but now, with some time and experience, is so much better. DH says it tows great. We've just learned to take our time and be patient, regardless of how many "old timers" pull up their lawn chairs and watch. hahahaha
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