Is bigger always better?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Gerryxf

New member
Joined
Nov 23, 2005
Posts
2
We are 2 wanabbees very excited about the purchase of our first 5th wheel. We are looking for a high quality, rear living area unit and are interested in the Carriage Cameo/Compass 30' - or other. We would be on the road for at least 6 one to three week trips per year, and might stay in one place for as long as 3-4 weeks. We will be preparing all our meals in the unit and one of us plans on doing a little office work on the road. We are a little concerned about the lack of kitchen countertop area in this size of unit. We started to look at a 33' which has a peninsula kitchen with more space as well as a desk which would be useful.

Now the problem: the 30' unit seem large from the outside, and the 33' would be gargantuan (to us). We are concerned about needing a 1 ton rather than the 3/4 ton diesel we were planning, poorer fuel economy and handling, parking, etc. We have heard that many RVers regret their initial purchase as being too small, and "trading up" seems to be endemic. We therefore want to make the right decision - do we go with the interior space we think we need, or compromise with the 30' to keep the package to a "reasonable size"? You opinions would be most appreciated.
 

Tom

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Posts
48,079
Welcome to our forum. Hopefully one of our trailer experts will be along soon to answer your questions.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,331
Location
Davison Michigan
Well, I can not speak much from personal expierence as the only trailer I had was a 13' Scamp (That and the Apache pop up)

However I can speak from observation... There are basically a few things to consider, You have already covered the internal considerations well.. Larger trailers have more space,, Slideouts add still more space, More space is good

However there are external considerations too... For example... When I graduated from that 13 foot trailer to a 37 foot motor home I had to buy another lot just to park it!  Yup, I actually had to double my land holdings (Ok, so the 2nd lot only cost me $368 on the city's abandoned lot program but still... I had to buy it, and fence it, and clean it up and.... Well you get the idea) as though I had parking for a 37 foot rig on my land... I had no way to get to it (houses are too close together for the rig to fit between them)

So, where are you parking it when not in use?, Make sure it will fit!

Next is pulling it down the road... The larger it is the more "Getting used to" it will take... However you WILL get used to it, so don't worry much here.

Next we have parking it at the campground... Oh, your campground is all pull through sites (PLEASE tell us where that is) Most campgrounds you need to back it in.  A few have staff who will do it for you but I can tell you I've been entainerned many times by folks backing their trailer into a parking slot... One I could likely hit dang near blindfolded (ok, so I've had some expierence with REVERSE and a trailer... I'm an old farm boy after all)

I'd say that should be your biggest concern... How big can you back in.  For me, most any trailer can be backed in with good mirrors and a partner (optional in fact) but for many... Well, let's just say I've seen people with the equivelent of my 13 foot Scamp or the old apache pop-up who had serious problems.

Heck... I've seen people who had serious problems backing a car or pick up truck into a facility WITHOUT ANY TRAILER attached..... Those folks should not consider a trailer EVER.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Bigger and better are by no means synonymous. ?

Big get you more room -- inside the trailer. ? ?However, how much time do intend to spend inside your trailer. ? Yes there are folks that arrive in camp, set up the trailer, and then spend all their time inside watching a TV. ?One is left to wonder why they have spent tens of thousand of dollars to watch the TV in strange places. ?

Your usage description is that of a typical vacation RVer -- same as me and dozens others here. ? ?You need a trailer to provide warm, dry, sleeping and cooking and toilet facilities. ? Most campgrounds have patio space at each the campsite and even picnic tables. ? A patio awning and some folding chairs and you have an out of doors living room. ?Most folks entertain on the patio, dine on the patio, serve drinks on the patio, ?play games on the patio (dominoes are big in RV parks), and just sit and read on the the patio. ?Of course, rain and snow rule out patio living, but most folks travel in the summer or in warm climates. ? Inclement weather shelter is only occasional.

A big trailer gives you more sleeping and living area for people. ?If you are traveling with kids you have to provide for them. ?On the other hand, if just two of you are traveling, you can get along a lot more cozily. ? A couple can fit nicely into any number of trailers under 26 feet. ? Our TT is 23 feet long. ?If I was to go to replace it tomorrow, I would probably upgrade to a 24 footer. ?Easier to make up the bed. ? ;D

Big trailers fit into fewer campsites and find it harder to maneuver on campground access roads. ?This is especially important in USFS and county park campgrounds. ? They are just harder ?to park where ever you go. ?

Big trailers are heavier and have more wind resistance to eat up your miles per gallon fuel usage. ? Big 5th wheels have a large frontal area to aggravate the wind resistance problem. ? ?Big trailers of all sorts have a lot of side area to present to big bus and truck shock waves and cross winds.

Big trailers have a lot more storage space. ? This the good news. ?The bad news is that you get to buy fuel to halt the additional stuff that you can store in that additional place.

Finally, I shall make my usual plea to use the Trailer Life Tow Rating tables found at http://www.trailerlife.com/output.cfm?id=42175. ? Look up the tow rating of your truck. ? With that tow rating in hand, buy a trailer that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating such that your tow rating is at least 10% greater than the GVWR. ?If you plan to tow in the mountain or pacific coast west, use 15% to 20% to allow for long steep grades at high altitude.
 

Gerryxf

New member
Joined
Nov 23, 2005
Posts
2
Thanks John and Carl your your considered remarks. All very uiseful. We may just stick with th 30 we saw initially and think about adding a butcher's block cabinet, extra flip up panel or equivalent to add more counterspace.
 

Dave R

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Posts
291
Location
North Carolina
We have  a 30 ft Cameo rear kitchen. I know lots of folks will tell you all kinds of horror stories
about stuff moving around and getting banged up in rear kitchen units, but this is our second one
and if we were to get another one today we would look for a rear kitchen unit. The biggest reason
is the increased counter space in the kitchen. Also if we were in the market for another one we
would probably stay with the 30 ft length. We travel about 5 months at a time in ours for about
10 months of the year.

Regards
Dave
 

Phil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Posts
982
Carl Lundquist said:
Big get you more room -- inside the trailer.    However, how much time do intend to spend inside your trailer.  Yes there are folks that arrive in camp, set up the trailer, and then spend all their time inside watching a TV.  One is left to wonder why they have spent tens of thousand of dollars to watch the TV in strange places. 

Maybe so they can try the restaurants in those strange places.  ;D

Phil
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Phil said:
Maybe so they can try the restaurants in those strange places.? ;D

I doubt it.  They don't seem to leave day or night.  Besides the restaurant scene in places like Borrego Springs is nothing to write home about.
 

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Carl,

Anyone who watches TV all day in Borrego Springs needs their head examined! ;D

The Mexican place isn't too bad and the local pub has pretty good grub. I agree it's not a gourmet dining experience. :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,123
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
While I agree with all the comments so far, I can't help but feel that if you are already worried about being cramped for space, then you probably won't be satisifed with the 30 footer.

Except for backing it into narrow sites - or in campgrounds with narrow interior roads - I don't think you will notice any significant difference towing the larger rig.  As for the truck size, you have to do the arithmetic with the truck's weight capacities (axle GAWRs, GVWR and GCWR) and the trailer weights. You have to do that with either the 30 or 33 footer, so if you don't know what those terms mean or their values for your truck and prospective trailers, ask for more help here.

I also think you would be best off if you bought a used trailer and got a 1-2 year's experience under your belts before trying to buy your "dream rig".  You are going to change your mind about a lot of things after several trips and it is best not to have a lot of money invested in a brand new rig of the  size and floor plan.
 

Betty Brewer

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Posts
4,747
Carl Lundquist said:
I.? Besides the restaurant scene in places like Borrego Springs is nothing to write home about.

Ok Carl,
This may be the first time I have ever questioned with your advice.  Pablitos is the Mexican  Restaurant in  Borrego Springs we frequent  each time we go to Anza Borrego State Park.  We love the big oval plates and the huge portions they serve.  Granted  the heat level does not compare with  New Mexico, but for the "middle of nowhere"  this is a great restaurant. We ate there a week ago and it continues to be a favorite. By the way we love the boon docking in the desert  atmosphere too.

Betty
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Pablitos is the Mexican? Restaurant in? Borrego Springs we frequent? each time we go to Anza Borrego State Park.? We love the big oval plates and the huge portions they serve.

Ah, indeed.? But did you write home about them. :)
 

Betty Brewer

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Posts
4,747
Carl Lundquist said:
Ah, indeed.? But did you right home about them. :)

Actually since home is inside my motorhome and I did write to you about it, I could say that I wrote at home about the restaurant.
Do you know about the new beautiful RV Park that just opened in Borrego Springs?

Betty
 

Normalwa

New member
Joined
Nov 26, 2005
Posts
4
Location
Yuma, AZ
We went from a 36 foot class A into a 38' 5th wheel.  I had never pulled or backed one in my life.  It took me about 15 minutes driving around the RV dealer's lot and I was comfortable pulling and backing.  The backing did take a little more practice to become proficient.  I have been pulling it for 1.5 years and back it through a 16' wide gate onto a lot in Yuma every year in one try and haven't ht the fence, yet.  Oh, we are full timers so I put about 11,000 miles per summer on the truck and about 6,000 of that is pulling.  We moved and had to park 22 times in 6 months this summer and I never missed a space.  Had to do some fancy backing in some places.  All you have to remember is to take directions from one person and only one person at a time.  Take you time and you will get it there.  I was entertainment for some of the old timers the first six months I was learning, but I didn't care, I got it where I wanted it without a scratch on it.

One piece of advice I give to people who are thinking of buying their first rig is to rent one for a week or two or a month.  It is a whole lot cheaper to pay $700 or so a month rent then to loose several thousand $ to trade up if you do an oops.  This might be good advice for you to think about.

We love our HitchHiker Champagne.  Look at the Discover America line of HitchHiker they have some real nice floor plans in the 30 to 33' range with island kitchens, desks, rear living area and lite enough for a 3/4 ton diesel.

Good luck with what ever you decide.

Normalwa
 

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Betty,

Carla's bar and grill isn't bad either. It's the local hangout after work but the food is pretty good and not that expensive. Employees seem to be pretty friendly, too.
 

2006F350

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Posts
393
Location
Memphis TN
Carl, I know you don't know me from Adam, names Larry, but I sort of have to take a small exception with your statement about big 5ers, trucks, and side winds. We just purchased an Everest 37' 5er, pulled by an F350 Dually with the 6.0L Diesel. Made a nice trip (actually the maiden voyage) from Memphis TN to Austin TX over Thanksgiving. We were never bothered by cross winds or big trucks (or actually any vehicles) at any time on the trip.

As far as parking, so far, we have limited ourselves to KOA's as we do not have a generator, and morning coffee is mandatory. We were in a bit of hurry on everything, and totally forgot about the good old fashioned coffee percolator. The ones we stopped at had plenty of pull-thrus, of which I'm glad as I had nighmares about backing, which I found after the first couple attempts was a lot easier that I was making it. There is no comparison between backing the 5er and a TT, and I was trying to back it like a TT ... boy, I was all over the place.

Don't want to get on anyones bad side from the get-go, but I had to pitch my 2 bits on this. I've driven MH and pulled TT that were really upset when big trucks passed, but the setup I have didn't seem to even notice them. I have to conclude that the stability comes more from the dual rear tires than anything else.

Sorry if I have offended anyone.

Larry
 

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Hi Larry,

Stating your opinion should not upset anyone as long as it is not done in a deragatory manner, which you didn't. :) Don't be afraid to contribute your experiences with others. I have seen many owners of 5th wheels have a devil of a time backing. Perhaps you could share some tips. ;)
 
Top Bottom