Yes, rent one first if you can. We bought an old camper at first, just to see if we would like it. We loved it, so we bought a new 30' camper and we use it a lot. No pets, though. Lots of campers bring their pets, however.
If your truck doesn't have a brake controller, you will probably need to get one installed, and make sure you have the correct electrical plug to mate with your camper.
2015 Salem Cruise Lite 262BHXL
Towed with 2015 Chevy Silverado
One of the primary reasons we bought a TT was so we could take our 3 kidz. It is very doable and very enjoyable. We stay in public campgrounds (State Parks, etc) or smaller private ones and have never had a problem finding a place to go or things to do.We enjoy hiking and just being outdoors so that takes care of the pups getting "bored". The top pic is the typical "post walk" positions!!
We never leave them unattended, if we go they go and if they can't go then we go somewhere else. Just our choice!
Beau & Sue FurKid Express
2015 Coachmen Catalina 303RLS
2016 Chevy Silverado LT 2500HD Duramax
The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs!
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.
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.
The other thing to question is how often do you go camping (or in your case cabinning)? If only a few times a year, the TT may not really be a good use of your funds. When we bought ours, we had plans to camp about six times a year. Once we started, we now camp at least once a month. I absolutely love getting away in the camper. In fact, I love going out and getting ready. As soon as I open it up, and take a deep breath in the trailer, I immediately begin to relax because of the "Smell of Getting Away!"
There are MANY good sides to having a TT. The biggest onces being you pull your home-away-from-home with you. It has your stuff (not what some decorator thought you might want). It is as clean (or dirty) as you are comfortable with. You control what bugs and critters are in it (should just be you and the dogs). You can keep your travel stuff in the trailer, so you aren't constantly loading and unloading your stuff. The list goes on and on.
Like others have said, there are places to rent trailers to try it. We camped in tents for almost 25 years until we rented a TT one summer (with AC) and the DW informed me we would NEVER TENT CAMP AGAIN!
The most important reason to have an RV is to:
Ben and Doreen
Home Away From Home - 2017 PT Crusader 315RST
TV - 2008 F250 Lariat 4X4 6.4 Diesel
42 nights camping in 2015
61 nights in 2016 (still not enough!)
Traveling with pets ... great fun with responsible pet owners ...
1. they must be friendly (recommend this for both people & pets)
2. check with your vet for proper shots & parasite control for the areas you will be traveling (we always use flea control, carry tick prevention to use in case). Consider microchipping & always have a tag on them with your cell number just in case they get away.
3. TV - we have seat belt / harness combos to prevent dogs from causing injury to us in case of accident
4. TT has 2 crates inside (to keep pawprints from our bed....) & tie outs used when we are on site (that only reach to the edge of our site & not into neighboring sites or roadway).
5. always use poop bags .... feed high quality dog food & the size of the poo is decreased significantly
6. our latest addition is still having a bit of trouble with comfort in the crate when we go off to fish or explore the local area without them ... bought an ultrasonic unit that triggers when they bark ... not a peep after the first bark to be heard coming from our camper.
7. AC is on but windows are open ...just in case of power issues. Still looking in to temp alarms for our phone in case of power outage while we are gone.
8. have a blast ... most camp sites have cost us less than putting the dogs in a kennel so we see it as cost saving to camp.
Finally ...here is a pic of our group ... all have made the front page at different times of camping with your pets blog sites. Unfortunately had to let our 19 year old cat Cleo go across the rainbow bridge just last week. Camping this month will be a bit of a tough reminder I am sure ... but would not miss a minute of it ....
Camping since May 2013 .... FL & GA only so far .... loving it!
Buy the trailer. Your aren't tied to it if you change your mind, but I would be willing to bet you like it. Traveling with a trailer is so much easier. Pack most of the items you need one time and leave them in the trailer. No more hauling everything in and out and then wondering what you forgot.
We have camped for over 25 years in various tents and trailers. We have always had two large breed dogs with us and no problems. Our lab and golden retriever get excited when we get the tow vehicle out. They know they are going to see new places and meet new people. Unless your dog is a hyper, high energy breed, being in a camper is no different than being at home except the scenery is better!
2015 Windjammer 3029 Diamond Edition
2011 Ram 5.7 hemi
Ohio River Rat
2016 camping: Lost count, but never enough.
2017 reservations made!
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.
Welcome to the forum! I hope you do decide to camp but I agree that perhaps renting a trailer first might be the best way to decide if you like the RV life; and cheaper than buying and not liking the RV life. We have camped a lot and have had almost no issue with other camper's dogs (campers...yes, dogs...not so much). The 33' Wildwood 24RKSS is nice, but unless you have some experience in pulling trailers, it is going to come with a steep towing learning curve. You will have a LOT of homework to do before you plunk down the $$$ for either a new or used rig, but to start you off do searches here on the forum for the following:
Tow vehicle towing capacity - check your owner's manual for the capacity of your truck. Keep in mind the tongue weight stated on the RV sales literature is fictional...add 20% and you will be closer to real life. When deciding on how much you can tow, NEVER ask the RV salesperson! They will tell you your Prius can pull that 35' Ultra Lite trailer no problem; you struggle off the lot, he gets his commission. Goes home. Done. Your problem now.
Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) - make sure you get one with sway control and that it is rated for the actual hitch weight (see above). You WILL have to adjust it as you get more miles under your belt. You will see much discussion about the various types, but most will serve well.
Brake controller - get the digital readout kind, much easier to determine what setting you are on, and do some reading on how to operate it.
Trailer tires - the OEM tires on RVs are cheap crap for the most part. Buy Goodyears or Maxxix; but mainly a name brand that you have actually heard of before. Yes, it comes with new tires...they auto destruct and take the RV wheel well with them when they do. Change them as soon as possible or negotiate with the dealer for upgraded name brand tires.
And most important: Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). The RV industry is NOT like the auto industry where you can jump into your new car and everything works for months and years. New RVs have been known to break down on the way home from the dealership! Seriously. Sadly. Search for PDI on this forum and you'll find a downloadable list of things to do before you accept your new rig.
Don't let me scare you, but DO go into the RV search well-armed with information and your eyes open. Again, the RV industry is not the auto industry with high standards and quick repairs, you will find real issues with many units you look at, and some that are well built. Well built is way more important than pretty (still talking about RV's here...hello!) when you are 300 miles from home and the slide room falls out, well built seems way more important than the pretty sofa fabric. Still, it is great fun, and something that will make awesome memories! DO come join us!
D_B Travelers - 35 nights in 2016... so far. 54 nights in 2015. 2014 Rockwood Windjammer 3001W Diamond Pkg, 2015 GMC 3500HD CC DRW Duramax, Equalizer 14K hitch, TST 507rv TPMS.
"Happiness? A good meal, a good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle."
George Burns (1896 – 1996)
We camped in tents for almost 25 years until we rented a TT one summer (with AC) and the DW informed me we would NEVER TENT CAMP AGAIN!
We camped for 12 years starting with kids in diapers and small dogs. The tent phase ended when a bear came sniffing right at the edge of our tent a 4am and the DW said that was never going to happen to her again. Moved to a popup for 7 years and a TT since then.