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Old 05-23-2018, 07:36 PM   #1
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Cherokee Grey Wolf or Puma XLE - Need Help Deciding

I have been looking at no-slide, stick-n-tin travel trailers. I have narrowed it down to three, maybe four: Puma XLE 25RSC, Puma XLE 23FBC and Cherokee Grey Wolf 25RL. Each is about the same price, around $16k, and similar length. The 23FBC appears to be the most popular and available. It seems hard to find the Puma XLE 25RSC and Cherokee GW 25RL. I have been in the GW 25RL and Puma XLE 23FBC but not the 25RSC. My favorite is still the Cherokee Grey Wolf 23MK but the potential for a leaking slide worries me. I have tent camped all my life; this will be my first travel trailer.

So, I wondering if anyone has thoughts about these models, have experience with any or advice. My boys are grown, and it will likely be just me or one other. Tow vehicle probably not an issue, 2500 Ram with Cummins. Thank you, Jim
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:37 PM   #2
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A new travel trailer is a pretty individual decision. They all look good.

If you are worried about a slide, don't buy it. Yes, I know that problems are minimal, but why buy something that's going to be a worry. We (2 people) traveled over 30,000 miles in 5 years in a 21' travel trailer with no slides. It was a bit cramped at times, but we don't spend a lot of time inside a rig.

Make certain you know all the weights.. what your vehicle will tow...the cargo weight capacity...

Then jump in and get the one that meets your needs.
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:47 PM   #3
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We bought our first TT last fall, 23MK and absolutely love it. I've read a few threads about slides leaking, but considering how many TT are out there with slides (and the fact that forums tend to pull in problems seeking solutions), it doesn't seem to be a major issue.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdhoskins3 View Post
I have been looking at no-slide, stick-n-tin travel trailers. I have narrowed it down to three, maybe four: Puma XLE 25RSC, Puma XLE 23FBC and Cherokee Grey Wolf 25RL. Each is about the same price, around $16k, and similar length. The 23FBC appears to be the most popular and available. It seems hard to find the Puma XLE 25RSC and Cherokee GW 25RL. I have been in the GW 25RL and Puma XLE 23FBC but not the 25RSC. My favorite is still the Cherokee Grey Wolf 23MK but the potential for a leaking slide worries me. I have tent camped all my life; this will be my first travel trailer.

So, I wondering if anyone has thoughts about these models, have experience with any or advice. My boys are grown, and it will likely be just me or one other. Tow vehicle probably not an issue, 2500 Ram with Cummins. Thank you, Jim

Hmm...I didn't know anything about Palomino / Puma before visiting their site just now.

I did look seriously at the GW 23MK before deciding on the 20RDSE. What killed the 23MK for me was 1 door - in the rear, and having a difficult time navigating over a closed slide to get to the bathroom back up front. Having a way to easily exit the TT through an entry door in case of emergency crossed my mind as well.

The idea of a slide itself wasn't a show-stopper; it was whether I'd need to open it to have 'full' access to the trailer. Other than that, I would've probably gone with the 23RK.

On the Pumas:
If you get the one with the rear bath, you'll lose the nice picture window in the rear, w/ the 2 side windows. With the right campsite, having that view is really nice (and lets a lot of light in the trailer). It's a big reason I like a RL / RD floorplan.

The location of the grey & black tanks may (?) be a factor, if they're located toward the rear, where the lav / kitchen are (from a towing / balance perspective).

Cargo capacity is smaller on the Pumas. Not sure if that's because of heavier (better?) materials used in construction, but it looks like you've got 1600-1700 lb with either of the two. My 20RDSE is smaller than either, but (on paper) has a CCC of roughly both Pumas combined. If you (both) travel light, this isn't so much of a concern.

It looks like you might have to 'option up' a bit on the Pumas, to get to the same equipment level on the GW (especially if you were to head to the 'SE' / Limited trim, like the 23MK is).

Not sure how big Palomino's dealer network is; a lot of dealers carry the FR lines, and I think the Grey Wolf series is very popular (at least here in the Midwest; I've seen lots of them on the road). That might affect you on pricing, negotiating power, and post-sale service, either 'for' or 'against'.

Since the 2019s are now out, you s/b able to get a good deal on a 2018. I purchased mine end of March (just before the '19s), and got it for about 32% off MSRP. I could probably do even better, now.

With either brand... depending on where you're going to be camping, a shorter length gets you into more US Nat'l Parks (I can fit in 93% of the sites with my 25' (total length) & 17ft TV.), and it should be easier to back up, as well. From a TV standpoint, you're right - you could probably hook up two of the four on a double tow, and pull both at once (just for demo purposes)

As far as my experience with the 20RDSE...(also my first TT)

I still like the choice I made and don't wish I'd gotten something different.

I've only taken one trip in it, though (this weekend, I head out to Montana for two weeks, so I'll have a good idea of what I can expect. Between March and now, I've put in two 6v batts, a hardwired EMS, an ARP for the fridge, and I've got a Renogy portable solar kit, ready to install, along with a couple of other minor goodies.

As far as issues experienced w/ the 20RDSE (ones requiring warranty attention, anyway...)

- I discovered last week (while doing a backup cam) that the rear vertical edge of the roof (the 'transition molding' area, if you will) - has a small (1/16th? 1/8th?) pinhole in the roof, along with some nail pops apparently starting to make 'bubbles' in that same transition edge. Neither was there when I did my PDI in March, btw.

Before my trip, and now that I've taken pics and reported it...I'll put some Dicor on that spot, and keep an eye on it, with Eternabond ready to go, should I need it. Trailer was built in Aug 2017, and wintered over on the dealer's lot in IN, so the roof has been 'weathering' about 9mos at this point.

- The other item I noticed was on a couple of my cabinet facings; it looks like at some point, the wood used to make the doors may have housed some powderpost beetles (small round 1/16th holes). Doesn't look like an 'active' infestation, so I'll get some replacements from FR and I should be good from there.

Other than that, anything else I found was minor stuff that was easy to correct on my own. And there wasn't much.

That GW 23MK is a very nice trailer. It's not a huge slide, and at least the fridge isn't in it (making it a side vent, which run hotter).

If you decide to go with the Puma, and get the 25RSC, I'd get the one with the sofa, as it'll be a better bed for when you have a guest (shorter dinette beds are good for kids, IMO, and that's about it.)

In the end, it's your choice, of course.

Whichever way you go...have fun, and happy camping!
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Old 05-24-2018, 06:43 PM   #5
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Thank you for taking the time to respond, also Reserve-Snowbird and MillMitch. I really did not think about the rear windows of the GW 25RL and Puma 25RSC - very good point, and I really do like those windows. And, as you pointed out, it may come down to dealership. There is a family owned Puma/Coachmen dealer that is within 30 minutes of Greensboro that has very good prices (Country Roads RV). With the Cherokee models, they are only stocked locally by Camping World.

I understand, as most say, that all TTs will have issues. And, with the GW 25RL, I figured that without a slide, I would maybe eliminate one potential issue and even save about $2k. I just don't know enough about reliability of the Puma and GW models. Being an engineer, I feel I can handle most minor issues.

Thx again, Jim
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:09 PM   #6
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We have a 2014 25RS same floorplan as the 25RSC. A couple reasons for my choosing that model, #1 it has 2 doors (I can't crawl out of one of those escape windows), #2 it has a large awning, #3 it has a respectable wardrobe which is rare in a TT, the little shirt closets on each side of the bed don't cut it, #4 the amount of windows in the rear, after all you back into a campsite and aren't looking at the road you drove in on. #5 mid bathroom. About the only thing we would have done different is gotten the optional swivel chairs rather than the sofa. It is just 2 of us so we didn't need any more sleeping area. Puma makes an above average TT, the only problem we had was the Dometic AC lost its charge and it was replaced under warranty. The dealer we got ours from said they seldom see a Puma come back in to fix a problem. So take a look at the 25RSC. Also if you are considering Camping World check any customer reviews for their service as there are many bad ones and a few good ones, it seems that once they have your money they forget who you are.
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:38 PM   #7
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We have had our FR 23mk for almost 2years now. No leaks, and only minor issues that we have taken care of on our own. Big trip coming up next month as we are going up from Florida to Virginia, hope my good luck holds.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BooBoo23 View Post
We have a 2014 25RS same floorplan as the 25RSC. A couple reasons for my choosing that model, #1 it has 2 doors (I can't crawl out of one of those escape windows), #2 it has a large awning, #3 it has a respectable wardrobe which is rare in a TT, the little shirt closets on each side of the bed don't cut it, #4 the amount of windows in the rear, after all you back into a campsite and aren't looking at the road you drove in on. #5 mid bathroom. About the only thing we would have done different is gotten the optional swivel chairs rather than the sofa. It is just 2 of us so we didn't need any more sleeping area. Puma makes an above average TT, the only problem we had was the Dometic AC lost its charge and it was replaced under warranty. The dealer we got ours from said they seldom see a Puma come back in to fix a problem. So take a look at the 25RSC. Also if you are considering Camping World check any customer reviews for their service as there are many bad ones and a few good ones, it seems that once they have your money they forget who you are.
Sounds like you made a good choice w/ the Puma. The nice thing about sofa vs. chairs is that that is a pretty easy swap to get what you want (especially if you can get the table retrofitted in as well.

Hearing that build quality is good in the Pumas is reassuring to the OP, I'm sure. I just wish Palomino had more TTs with gallery / 360 shots - when I visited today, I saw what looked like a toy carrier and a bunkhouse. While I'm sure the fit / finish is similar across the line, seeing pics of the one you're interested in helps drive sales.

That's one thing that FR gets right - they don't showcase every floorplan, but they recognize that online bandwidth and storage are cheap enough to load up their sites, and that that helps drive sales

Seeing the OP state that he can only get FR / GW locally at Camping World - if that were the case, I'd look elsewhere, too. I have one 15min away from my home, and ended up driving 70mi each way to the next state (twice) to a smaller dealer for mine. You'll see many posts here stating to stay 'far, far away from CW' - not many people here are fans of theirs, it appears.

The CW rep at the Chicago RV show was very helpful (he suggested the 23MK when I told him my 'wants'), and I seriously considered the local CW to give him the sale - but I don't like the idea of the sales price being higher if you *don't* finance (I don't know the stats on how many purchasers of new TTs elect to finance vs. purchase outright, but I was in the latter category.)

All that being said - I'm starting to see that my own dealer doesn't seem to be any better than those stories about CW, post-sale. Too bad - because if that proves true, my referrals and my repeat business will be going elsewhere next time.

So...for the OP...looks like a 25RSC might be a good choice for him, too.

From the manufacturers I did look at - mid-bath floorplans that don't have a slide to deal with for access, are apparently pretty rare (slides are all the rage, so I understand). But I can see I'm not the only one who thought about this when I picked out a floorplan. I don't have IBS, Crohn's, etc. - but when you gotta go, if you're towing a bathroom, it kinda seems a waste not to be able to pull over and use it. Sometimes Mother Nature calls more urgently
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:22 PM   #9
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Thank you each for responding. I have not been in the Puma XLE 25RSC but plan to this Monday - Memorial Day. I have to travel to SC to see one. I like the "hall" in the 25RCS compared to the GW 23MK and 25RL and not separating the coach with the bathroom. The thing that really bugs me is that the 2018 Puma 25RSC moved the TV location from the dinette side to the left side, right behind the kitchen cabinets. It seems like an awkward TV placement as compared to straight on in the GW 25RL or older models Puma 25RSC. Am I nit-picking? Lastly, if I get the swivel chair option, do you think I can replace them with smaller recliners? Thank you again for your insight.
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:08 AM   #10
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I can't say the location of the Television is good. That would put it about 2 feet from your face. I would ask that the antenna outlet be moved so the TV could be put on the dinette wall. My Puma has the TV on the wall over the dinette.
One note - If you choose chairs over a sofa you will loose the pass through storage in the rear of the TT. The sofa sits on top of the storage area. It looks like they changed the sofa also from the one I have which didn't look good to me. Check to make sure the door to the bedroom is a sliding one and not a hinged door as they show on the floor plan. As for changing the chairs, you would need to check how far the chair extends to see if it can be done.
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