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Old 08-03-2016, 09:06 PM   #11
Happy Camper
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Near Selma, Alabama
Posts: 77
Having a TT "home away from home" is well worth the investment. I agree, a lower cost unit to start will give you the direction you need to say, "Yes, this is for us" or say "we tried it but...."

Our Cocker Spaniel loves camping and is OK with a leash when camping even after roaming free on our 5 acre home site.

If you try it, you will start your list of "wants & don't wants" to help you upgrade when the time comes.

Maintenance & upkeep are part of any luxury item you purchase (boat, vacation home, ATV, etc...) so make your budget the deciding factor.

Have fun & Happy Camping.

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Old 08-03-2016, 09:40 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4,921
X2 on a used RV. There have been people on here who dropped big $$ on a motorhome (MH), went out once, didn't like it, and then had to sell the MH at a substantial loss. You don't want to be that guy.

Also, since you're looking at travel trailer (TT), you'll need a tow vehicle (TV). And you'll need a TV that's big enough to pull whichever TT you chose. So there are lots of decisions.

Three things to watch out for with TT's, so here's a quick tutorial:

1. You probably have a 1/2 ton pickup truck. Don't let the salesman tell you, "Oh, a 1/2 ton pickup truck can pull this TT." Pickup trucks are NOT created equal. My 2009 Silverado owners manual listed 99 permutations of the Silverado 1500 1/2 ton that could tow 4,000 lbs to 12,000 lbs, depending on engine, cab size, box size, rear end gearing, towing package, etc.) So unless the salesman ASKS you exactly which model of pickup truck you have (I've never heard of any that ever did), don't believe him.

2. The RV dealer will tout the "dry weight" of the unit. Ignore that. Walk around to the drivers side and look at the sticker that will be there. It will list the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). THIS is the number to use when trying to decide if your TV will be adequate to pull it.

3. Take that GVWR number from the sticker and multiply it by 0.15. This should be your (most likely) max tongue weight. If you get a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) - and you should - add 50 lbs or so to the tongue weight. Now open your TV drivers door and look at the sticker on the B pillar. It will tell you your maximum payload. Payload is everything, other than the driver, that you add to the TV, including the tongue weight. (If it's a really new truck, it MIGHT be everything other than the driver and 1 passenger - check your owners manual). Most people actually go out on payload before they ever get close to the towing limit.

Go up to the top of this page, click on Library, then click on Towing, Hitching and Leveling and get smart on weights, etc. Make sure your TV can pull that 27RKSS.

Good luck.

Update: Here's some numbers to tell you about where you stand. I just looked up an 27RKSS. It says Dry weight is 6355 lbs and cargo carrying is 1327 lbs, so the GVWR will be around 7682 lbs. It says the hitch (tongue) weight is 720 lbs, but that's probably based on the dry weight. Once you've added a battery, propane and maybe some water in the fresh water tank, that will go up. 15% of the GVWR is 1,152 lbs. So you'll be somewhere in between. My 2009 Silverado 1/2 ton had 1511 lbs payload.

NOTE: I got these numbers from a dealers website, which I trust about as far as I can through my Mini Lite. The only true numbers are on the sticker on the side of the TT.

1988 Coleman Sequoia - popup (1987-2009) - outlasted 3 Dodge Grand Caravans!
2012 Roo19 - hybid (2012-2015)

2016 Mini Lite 2503S - tt (2015 - ???)
2011 Traverse LT, 3.6L, FWD
2009 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab, 5.3L, 4x4, 3.73
2016 Silverado 2500HD Dbl Cab, 6.0L 4x4, 4.10
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:04 PM   #13
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 406
Originally Posted by Cmunns View Post
My wife and I (& two dogs) have never camped. We love hiking and being outdoors. It's sometimes a struggle finding a place to stay that will accept dogs. Typically we use VRBO and find a cabin. But now we are thinking of buying a TT. We love the 27RKSS. But we are not sure if we will like the campground experience as much as a cabin. We are particularly concerned about our dogs being confined to such a small area while at the campsite.
Please offer any and all input to help us in determining if we should camp versus continue in cabins.
Thank you!
I think the main difference would be a cabin in the snow would be OK, most TT/RV's maybe not so much. At least I don't think our WJ would do to good in sub freezing temps... Other than that, I would go with the 27RKSS over a cabin, way more places to stay and you know exactly what you are staying in. We have not had any issues so far with our dog, a Lab/Sheppard mix ~50lbs. She has learned to wait until her morning walk to do her "heavy business", which amazes me. (She would do a few a day when at home). And only needs to do another #1 in the evening before going to bed. She gets walked in the morning and afternoon/evening. So far about 3 of the last 7-9 RV parks actually had dog runs where she can run off leash. We have a MiFi Hotspot that we leave at the TT all day and we have an IP Camera hooked up so we can monitor her and the temp in the TT, when we are out and about.
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2016 Windjammer 3006WK
2010 Dodge Ram 2500, 4x4, Diesel, Front Hitch, Air Lift 5000 Rear Air Bags, (not really used, left over from our truck camper). Equalizer E4 1.4k/14k WD Hitch. TST 507 TPMS. Furrion FOS48TA Observation Camera. Garmin RV-760 GPS. Honda 2000i Genny, PI EMS-PT30C.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:43 PM   #14
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Posts: 562
1st time camper - trying to decide to buy a TT or not

We travel with our dog. 90 lb. American Bulldog. She's not Barky and she's very friendly especially to kids. I check all campgrounds for a dog park. Dog parks are great and let the dogs run while in an enclosed space. Wonderful for young or active dogs like mine. Even the little guys benefit. KOAs seem to always have a dog park. Our home campground has one and more and more parks have finally caught on that an exercised pet is friendlier and more quiet. Our dog did quite well on our cross country east to west to east coast trip. We stop every two hours to walk around the rig and let us and the dog stretch. Sounds like we wouldn't make time stopping so often but we arrive at our destinations much less tense/grouchy and have good energy to set up camp. Dog gets use to it and she looks forward to the pit stops too. Make sure to carry dog biscuit/preferred treat in the vehicle and a chew toy. We have a designated area(the entire back seat of the truck) complete with dog's bed. We carry water in the vehicle with dog bowls and we also carry the much required poop bag. Some places mandate you wear them or carry them so they are visible to any and everyone. Other places don't bother to police their grounds. You will very easily tell the difference by the smell. To all: Please clean up after your pet! Some pet friendly campgrounds are considering a no dogs allowed policy because people don't clean up behind their animals. Hope some of my rambling helped. Remember dogs adjust; they just need a chance to show their best sides. Safe travels!!!

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Old 08-03-2016, 11:09 PM   #15
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 58
We bought a used 2011 Tracer 205M which turned out to have a number of upgrades from the previous owner.
Working on finding a TV(fingers crossed Friday). So far we have 16 days of driveway camping under our belt.
Our TT is pretty basic no slide outs, not much room compared to the unit your interested in. Took about 30 seconds to teach our two Bassetts to stay on the bed while we cook/eat dinner.
TT sleeps 3 so our two Hounds sleep on the dinette bed. When we start converting the dinette tails begin wagging. That is their spot. And yes they each have a pillow, lol.
No fenced yard means 2 long walks each day same as if we were @ a state park.
If we were @ a real camp ground all of us would be out either hiking or under the awning relaxing after a hike.
Live out of your RV not in it.

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Old 08-03-2016, 11:36 PM   #16
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Posts: 562
Bliss hunters : I agree. We have a rolling castle (1 and 1/2 bath, outside kitchen, bunkhouse ..... Yada yada yada) and love it. Especially when we invite others to join us. Or on really over at, rainy days but We still live outside our camper not in it.!!!

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Old 08-03-2016, 11:57 PM   #17
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 297
The vast majority of people camp with their pets and have no problems

Some things that might be warnings from your pet are...

If they're prone to nipping or biting. I can guarantee if your pet nips or bites someone they will immediately find out who you are and where you live. Nothing can be more distressful than having legal problems from another state. BTW: Always have your pets shots up to date and proof of it WITH YOU while camping.

If they bark or yap excessively. A camper in Ft Mountain GA was asked to leave because his dog would bark & howl continuously when left in their popup for hours.

If they do not like to be leashed. All state and federal parks require that except in designated pet areas. Most parks that I have been to, DO NOT have "designated" pet areas.

If they're not trained to come. You're hiking, you have the dog off leash and you see someone approaching, your dog had better come when you call to put the leash back on and not run to the other people, it might get maced and reported.

If they show excessive aggression towards people or other dogs just walking by your campsite. Not a bark or growl, most dogs do that but the type of attitude that startles people and make them walk away or avoid you. Others will complain.

If they're escape artists. If they can get out and roam, it's a very bad thing for you and the safety of your pet. There can be wild animals nearby and Fido will look tasty.

Finally, if you're a bad pet owner. I have seen police called to campsite when the dog was tied up to a tree while the owners were inside and the dog tangled itself to the point it couldn't move but a few feet. When confronted by park staff, the owners were vicious in their response. One was arrested and the rest were banned for life.

Other than the few examples posted above I have only seen a half dozen or so other bad pet things in the 30 years I have been camping with my family and pets, it's not common so it stands out when bad pet things happen.
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Old 08-04-2016, 12:11 AM   #18
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Location: Lethbridge, Ab, Canada
Posts: 1,401
I will echo some of the previous comments. Rent a trailer for a week and try out the lifestyle. You will quickly know if it's for you or not
312QBUD Owners Thread
2015 Wildwood Heritage Glen 312QBUD
2000 Chev 2500 Extended Cab 6 Liter
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Old 08-04-2016, 03:55 AM   #19
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 67
My wife and I purchased a 27RKSS this year. We have two dogs - basset hound and English shepherd. We love it---especially the fact that we can now take lots of short trips and take the dogs with us. There are tons of great campgrounds in SC! The 27RKSS is a good design for two adults and two dogs. When camping we keep the dogs in fairly large size crates. 3 options for locating the crates in this model camper: 1) on top of the "dinette" when collapsed into "bed" mode 2) on top of the couch when folded into a bed or 3) many people completely remove the couch and put the crates there (we didn't go that route). We place a thick "moving blanket" underneath the creates. Any of these methods allow you plenty of room so that you're not constantly moving stuff around to maneuver about the "house". One other tidbit of 100% certain that you have "enough" towing vehicle for this one. We have a Silverado 1500 with max towing package. Does great on flatlands. Haven't tried mountains yet but am a bit concerned that we may be undergunned---hopefully that won't be the case. Lastly....don't get into camping to save money. You'll probably be disappointed if that's one of the primary reasons. There are endless things that you find that you'll need or want that aren't included (WAY TOO MANY TO LIST HERE!). For us that's ok...we enjoy camping!
Charleston, SC
2016 Silverado 1500 LTZ
2016 Wildwood 27RKSS
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:31 AM   #20
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Piedmont, SC
Posts: 11
1st time camper - trying to decide to buy a TT or not

WOW WOW WOW!!! I've heard many people tell me that campers are some of the friendliest and most helpful people, but honestly I thought it was just sales talk to get us to buy into to all this. I'm overwhelmed with the awesome and thorough advice and can't thank you all enough!!!
Just to quickly answer some of the questions:
1. I'm an engineer and pretty good at fixing stuff (I'll have tools, WD40, & duct tape &#128521
2. Dogs are well-trained & will be with us 99% of time
3. Truck has towing capacity of 9,600 lbs. I got the 3.73 rear end & max towing package
4. Mainly planning on 2 to 5 hour weekend trips

Again, thank you all very much for the great and quick responses. You guys are awesome!

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