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Old 09-02-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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Mini Lite Inaugural Shake Out Trip

Youngest DS is now off to college and the house is really empty. So, we took our new Mini Lite 1901 out for a quick shake out trip.



N00b Lessons Learned (or how tenting is different than campering):
  • ***Chock TT tires before unhooking from TV***
    this was hysterical (given it ended well) - we wish we had a video! The epic tale of our camper parking itself will entertain fellow campers for years once we stop laughing long enough to tell it!
  • Wall/control panel switches need to be ON to operate the bathroom light and fan, and the light over the kitchen sink. Why FR designed the 'interior' switch on the control panel to control ONLY the light over the kitchen sink (which had its own on/off switch) remains a mystery.
  • Gas mileage stinks worse than I expected. 9 MPH on the way down (65 MPH). 12 MPH on the way back (60 MPH).
  • Beyond mileage, towing at @ 60 MPH is fine. @ 65 MPH...not so much.
  • Single axle TT bounces a LOT when roads are washboarded. And sometimes even when they're not.
  • Cord that goes between the TV and the TT for lights needs to go up through the tongue before being plugged into the TV. Electrical tape mended the dings in the cord before we discovered this one!
Pretty much everything went well:
  • If it was supposed to move, it does.
  • If it's not supposed to move, it doesn't.
  • The lights all work.
  • The a/c is great.
  • Fridge got cold in half a day and stayed that way the entire trip.
  • The w/h lit first try and has enough hot water for dish washing and two showers.
  • Microwave & burners work. (will try oven next trip...forgot to bring anything to bake)
  • Nothing leaks.
  • Use of floor space is superb. Love the Murphy bed.
  • Water filter does a fantastic job; it made the water drinkable.
  • After removing a lot of foreign bits & pcs over the weekend from the aerators water pressure is now excellent.
  • The shower is large enough for people of size. (2nd night was a LOT easier than the first.)
  • This isn't really related to the camper, but we got a kick out of it: the mantles on the old Coleman lantern that's been in storage for 18+ years were still good. Filled it w/white gas, pumped it up, & had light on the first try.
Of course, we had a page-long list of things we need to bring next time and a smaller list of things we didn't use & so won't bring again, half a page of potential mods, and we'll probably be rearranging gear storage for the rest of this summer. We expected this.

We also learned we're limited to full hook up sites for the foreseeable future. We use a LOT of water with this new mode of camping. Gray water tank has to be emptied every day. Once the TV is upgraded and we have room for more weight, this may be resolved with one of the external tanks we've read about here.

DH hasn't said a word about using the Rav as a TV...but I have found him grinning at the Tundra brochures and cars.com ads that are beginning to litter the kitchen table.

Shake out summary:
From reading this forum we think we must have received one of the only FR TTs that was built as expected. We had a brilliant first adventure and have reservations for next weekend. We may even try bringing one of the pupsters along on the next trip.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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It only gets better! Soon you will have everything set up "perfectly". Not sure what is up with that light switch. Same on our Ultralite. Dealer said it was so you could turn on a light as soon as you enter the trailer, but the switch on the light itself is closer to the door! The create a breeze fan in the bathroom also needs the wall switch on to work, so there is some flicking of switches on the lights if you don't want both lights and fan on at the same time. We love our murphy bed too! Just watch out that nothing gets knocked down off the night tables into the space behind the bed. Ask me how I know this. I DO have a solution, though
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
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OK, so you know we need to hear the whole story! Wheel chocks are FIRST thing down and LAST thing up... Nothing like seeing that thing start to roll to make sure you won't ever forget that again.

Oh, and make sure the stab jacks are all the way up before jacking the tongue up to hitch up. My kids bent two getting a little over excited 'helping' out when we had the popup.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:07 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=JJFerg;246475
DH hasn't said a word about using the Rav as a TV...but I have found him grinning at the Tundra brochures and cars.com ads that are beginning to litter the kitchen table.
[/QUOTE]

You will definitely like a Tundra for a TV. I don't need a weight distributing hitch or sway bar. You might look at a 4Runner too as it is a bit easier to park (smaller but still on a truck frame) but it might require a weight distributing hitch.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arlee453 View Post
Nothing like seeing that thing start to roll to make sure you won't ever forget that again.
Been there done that. It does get your heart pumping...
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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Appreciate everyone's kindness in not booting these n00bs out of the campering club and back to the ranks of tenters! :-)

2nd try is going much better. Backed in this time...and on the first go. As long as the couple of pull forwards while straightening count as part of '1st try'. At least I didn't have to make another loop! Chocks went down before we unhooked the TV. Then settled in for about 5 hours of t-storms and 1 tornado warning. Beautiful morning this morning! We think we're getting the hang of this!

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Old 09-08-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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JJFerg

Good to see your enjoying the new 1901. This TT is similar to our ETC 181. I'm still abit challenged backing up TT. Lol. We took it on 4800km trip last year to east coast returning thru NE states. Pulling thru White mountains in NH was little challenge. I'm also looking enviously at the newer 5.7l Tundra. Enjoy your travels and welcome to the forum
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:03 PM   #8
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Just my humble opinion, but I would keep an eye out for WDH w/ sway control, esp since you mentioned having single axle TT and using a small TV. If this TT can utilize a brake control, would definitly have one...

The worst sway I ever had was when we owned a popup... that thing was all over the road above 55MPH (dangerous) until we added a sway bar.

For under $300 you can purchase something like an E2 (600/6000lbs). Great piece of mind esp when those big tractor trailer trucks blow by. Not that har to install and you will learn a lot in the process....
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:57 PM   #9
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Freedom Tracker - we have the brake controller installed, and have the sway bar to imstall. I love my Rav - she pulls the TT all day long @ 60 mph without any real issues except the occasional bounce.

DH did commit after 2nd trip to installing sway bar. I think he was hoping I'd cave and let him get the Tundra with the big V8 this year. With college expenses for youngest DS that isn't happening.

I fully suspect next year's set up will include a much larger TV.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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JJ,

Congrats on the WDH anti-sway hitch... Once installed, you won't regret it.

Not sure what Rav4 you have but I believe they are rated to tow 1500-3500lbs. Your TT is rated 2885 lbs before loading your stuff... so you might be close to maxing out. If you have smaller Rav4 without tow pkg., may want to consider at least adding transmission cooler.

I understand wanting to control costs by not running out and buying a new TT right away. Perhaps your DH might want to spend the next year investigating options. Lots of advice on the FRF...

This happened to us... Purchased new TT in February and ended ip with a new truck (replacing SUV) by May and don't regret it!

Good luck and be safe :-)
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