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Old 01-01-2021, 01:49 PM   #1
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Hi and thank you for letting us join you here! My husband and I are just starting to research buying a travel trailer and feeling like we are clueless and have so much to learn. I think our biggest worry is buying something and finding out afterwards we overlooked something important or totally picked the wrong thing for our needs. Anyone have any pointers for shopping? Especially things that we might not think about since it's all totally new to us. Our tow vehicle is a 2020 F150, and it will just be for the two of us, a big dog, and 2 bicycles. Looking at lots of weekend trips and probably 1 or 2 longer trips every year. Definitely want something that isn't a ton of work to get set up when we get to the campground. Thanks in advance to anyone that takes the time to answer!
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:05 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place to do your research. Take your time and don't be afraid to ask any question. We were all in the same position as you are at one time. Some of your decisions will be dictated by your camping plans while others are personal likes and dislikes. One thing to remember while looking is that dealers are in the business to sell RVs and as such many will not provide the best or most reliable answer. There is a lot of good basic information on RVs in the library section ( tab in top bar) that should help make your decision easier.
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:32 PM   #3
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Welcome!
In the past, a great place to start was to go to RV shows and ask a lot of questions, not only from the dealers and representatives, but also from the other attendees.
Who knows what this coming year will bring with public shows and gatherings.

So-- there are no dumb questions, everyone is here to help you.
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkelly View Post
Hi and thank you for letting us join you here! My husband and I are just starting to research buying a travel trailer and feeling like we are clueless and have so much to learn. I think our biggest worry is buying something and finding out afterwards we overlooked something important or totally picked the wrong thing for our needs. Anyone have any pointers for shopping? Especially things that we might not think about since it's all totally new to us. Our tow vehicle is a 2020 F150, and it will just be for the two of us, a big dog, and 2 bicycles. Looking at lots of weekend trips and probably 1 or 2 longer trips every year. Definitely want something that isn't a ton of work to get set up when we get to the campground. Thanks in advance to anyone that takes the time to answer!
Hi and Welcome to FRF! Post the F150's specs and it will help determine size and weight of possible trailer choices. Not all F150s are equal, since there are hundreds of different configurations.
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:46 PM   #5
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Welcome from SoCal!
As already stated, please post the specs from the stickers on the driver's door pillar. The payload number will largely determine how much of a trailer you can pull. As for the trailer, simply examine the sleeping arrangements, bathroom adequacy (everybody fits on or in everything). For the kitchen, ensure that it meets your needs and then examine counter space. Does the trailer have space to relax as you wish? Is there enough storage to take all the stuff you need?
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:50 PM   #6
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Welcome! Another great place to look at all the different kinds of trailers and see what kind of prices is Rv trader. You can filter and search anything that you could think of.
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Old 01-01-2021, 06:54 PM   #7
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I would also search youtube RV videos... there are many people on there talking pros and cons of trailer life both full-time and for various types of vacations... some RVers like to travel light and move constantly, while others pack everything and stay at one place for 2 weeks or a month or more, so two different styles of RV life to look at.

#1 is to post the PAYLOAD or CAPACITY numbers on the driver side door pillar and those numbers will determine the MAX size of the trailer you can safely pull. PAYLOAD is way different then tow capacity... payload includes the weight of people, gear, and pets inside the vehicle PLUS the tongue weight of the trailer and the weight distribution hitch you will need. Surprising that many people buy the truck then purchase a much too large trailer to safely pull it over mountains and thousands of miles. So let the payload capacity number be your guide to trailer size and weight.
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Old 01-01-2021, 06:56 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your replies! We have looked at a few trailers and have an idea what we like as far as seating, kitchen, and sleeping areas but there are other things that we have no idea if it's something we definitely need or not really important (automatic leveling system for example). The only kind of camping we have ever done was tent camping, when we were in our 20s, with 2 small kids.

The specs from the driver side door say gvwr:7000, front gvwr: 3525, rear gvwr: 3800. It also says the combined weight of passengers and cargo should not exceed 1605.

It's a 3.5L ecoboost with a trailer tow package (not max tow).

Any other specs that would be helpful? We definitely want something light enough that we can occasionally take on long trips and into the mountains without stressing the truck too much.
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Old 01-01-2021, 07:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
combined weight of passengers and cargo should not exceed 1605.
1605# is the key number on that spec sheet...

total weight of persons, cargo and trailer tongue weight ( calculated as about 13% of total loaded trailer weight)...

The total trailer weight is not the listed tongue weight for a trailer which is often quoted by dealers... it is the total weight of the trailer after packing and adding battery and propane and filling water tanks, which would be the GVWR of the trailer... do not use the Dry Weight or the published Hitch weight which is often too low for safe towing.

1605# is NOT a great deal of capacity but should be OK for two people and the normal amount of goods that two would typically carry.
For instance, a 7000# GVWR trailer would use about 1000# of that 1605# just for the trailer ( 7,000 x .13 = 910 PLUS 70# or so for a weight distribution hitch) so you are left to 605# of passenger and cargo capacity in the truck. This is assuming I believe a 150# driver and a full tank of gas.

If you have P-rated tires on the truck you might want to consider swapping them to LT tires for better stability when pulling the trailer. THe tire size should also be on the same sticker you quoted.

PS... I maintain that I am assuming that you want to tow safely and not want to "white knuckle" drive while pulling a trailer. Some may say that you can go over loaded while towing with a 1/2 ton pickup, and while that is true to a point, I again point out my recommendation is to safely tow while getting enjoyment while driving.

My RAM 1500 is only 1309# capacity, but it is just the wife and I and a 5,000# loaded trailer, with my P (passenger) tires upgraded to LT tires to give better stability with a bit stiffer side-wall.
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Old 01-02-2021, 05:45 PM   #10
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There are many trailer floor plans to look at once you decide on a size for your camper. One thing that I found really important was to picture your day to day living situation while in a particular model. Don't picture the ideal weather days. Think about a cold, rainy day where you will need to spend the day in the camper.


Is there a comfortable place to sit? Can you cook comfortably? Is there enough storage for food and supplies? Not all days camping are you able to spread out in the great outdoors. That's how I picked the floor plan for me.


As far as some of the extra amenities that come with campers today, most you can live without, but once you have tried them, you won't want to. What kind of camping are you hoping to do? Full hook ups at an RV park will be different than boondocking or state parks with only electric.


If you are going to do a lot of state and national park camping, you will find a lot of electric only sites. A larger fresh water tank is nice to have if that is the case.



I don't have any kind of auto leveling system, but many people swear by them. My stabilizers get raised and lowered manually and it only takes me a couple minutes.
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Old 01-03-2021, 03:35 PM   #11
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Thank you all, the info is very helpful! The floor plan that we especially like, (2613BS), does not have weights listed yet and no one near me has one to look at yet so I don't know if it's a possibility or not. We have been in a 2608BS and loved it but it has kind of a heavy hitch weight. We want to get something that will be definitely safe towing in the mountains so maybe we need to be looking at something lighter than either of those.
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