Military couple getting started

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Gijoe88

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Jan 21, 2019
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3
My wife and I are talking about downsizing to a travel trailer until I retire in 10 yrs. We have a few questions as we have never been in a travel trailer before, yes we have been doing our research.
1. We would like a 30' trailer, would a bumper pull or 5th wheel be better?
2. What size truck would be best, I would use the truck primarily to drive to work and wouldn't be pulling the trailer too much.
3. Are there any upgrades you would recommend for full time living?
 

Oldgator73

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Dec 28, 2017
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Location
Dover, DE & Mouth of Wilson, VA
You have ten years left to retire from the military? Are you planning on living in the RV until retirement? My wife and I lived in our 5th wheel for my last year in the AF. One thing you will have to consider is storing the RV if you get an overseas assignment. I have seen more and more military families traveling from assignment to assignment in RV?s and living fulltime in them. You can stay at Famcamps on military installations. Some will let you stay up tp 180 days, some maybe more. Not sure if 30? will be large enough for fulltime. You don?t say if you have children. Our 5th wheel was 37? with 3 slides. Something that size you would most likely need a one ton truck. For the 30? TT you could by with a 3/4 ton but you might want the one ton in case you change your mind and want a bigger RV. Take your time and get the right RV. Best thing to do is let your wife pick it out. ;D Many on this forum will explain why.
 

Gizmo100

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Sep 28, 2018
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Welcome to the forum Gijoe88

1. We would like a 30' trailer, would a bumper pull or 5th wheel be better?

A 5TH wheel will require a larger truck to move the Trailer...But they tend to be nicer and offer more storage. The only thing I don't like is the interior steps to the front of the trailer.


2. What size truck would be best, I would use the truck primarily to drive to work and wouldn't be pulling the trailer too much.

This will depend on the trailer selected...But for a 30 foot nothing smaller than a 3/4 ton truck. (A 5'er may likely need a 1 ton)

3. Are there any upgrades you would recommend for full time living?

The preferred up grades would be determined by where you would be located and the everyday things that you would want. A good example would be if your in the south and you like to do a lot of cooking..You will need a 50 amp electrical system and dual A/C units.

My suggestion to you is to take your time and research every option you can find. Living in a TT is NOT a cheap option to renting a small house or mobile home. They are a pain to heat and cool. And they were not really designed to be lived in full time although a lot of people make it work.
 

blw2

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Aug 9, 2012
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Location
Saint Johns, FL
lots of opinion in the answer to that question...and lots of variables

you didn't mention...but there's also the motorhome option to add into the debate...
from my perspective...which is not from a full time living position...
5th wheel would typically tow much better...and I think may be just a bit easier to hitch, unhitch, etc...
5th wheel will tend to have high ceilings and a much nicer feel inside.
many 5th wheels seem to be better designed for couple living and full time living
many TT's tend to be set up more for families
TT + tow vehicle is a long rig.... while the 5th at least overlap a little
motorhomes allow a much more economical and arguably more comfortable car for running around while at your destination..e.asier to park, etc...
motorhomes I think tend to be a good bit more comfortable enroute
motorhomes are much easier to set up

anyway, between bumper pull and 5th, I'd personally lean to the 5th (but wouldn't eliminate a bumper pull from consideration)...

and I'll add this...when we were looking to go larger...and again, we are vacationers with a family... I went round and round between bumper pull, 5th wheel, and motorhomes...
and I have to say that personally, I am thankful we went with a motorhome almost every single time I see a TT on the road, at gas stations, etc... or when I hear their WDH squealing and creaking as they pull into campgrounds, backing into sites, etc...  I literally often take pause almost every time, and with a sense of relief express thanks.


 

Hanr3

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Jul 5, 2012
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392
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Central Illinois
Gijoe88 said:
My wife and I are talking about downsizing to a travel trailer until I retire in 10 yrs. We have a few questions as we have never been in a travel trailer before, yes we have been doing our research.
1. We would like a 30' trailer, would a bumper pull or 5th wheel be better?
2. What size truck would be best, I would use the truck primarily to drive to work and wouldn't be pulling the trailer too much.
3. Are there any upgrades you would recommend for full time living?

Thanks for your service!
1. TT is 10-15% tongue weight, while a 5th wheel is 20-25%. 5th wheels tow better and are more comfortable in the long run, more head room, more storage space, and generally more modern conveniences.
2. Best truck will depend on the trailer. The truck must be able to carry the load of the trailer, both tow weight and carrying capacity. Most 1/2 ton trucks tow TT, however there are some 27' and shorter 5th wheels that can be towed with a 1/2 ton, but you have to match them up. The reason most tow a TT with a 1/2 ton is related to the carrying capacity of the truck, tongue/pin weight. Most on this site recommend a 3/4 ton truck, but it's only $1K-$2k more for a 1 ton truck. Plus you need to decide gas or diesel? Best truck really depends on the trailer and how you plan to use it.
3. Upgrades for full time living? I don't full time, yet. Ill leave that for others.
 

RVMommaTo6

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Aug 5, 2018
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2,139
Location
Rochester, NY
Thank you for your service and welcome to the forum! Have you never been in an RV or just never lived in one? I would try them all out for a week or so before making a final decision if this is your first ever RV experience and your going straight to full time.
 

Gijoe88

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Posts
3
We have never been in an RV or a TT.we plan to rent a few to feel it out before we make the leap. We have no kids or plans of any. We do have a small lap dog. We discussed this as a way to quickly build our savings prior to my retirement.
 

kdbgoat

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Apr 16, 2014
Posts
6,329
Being most posts have revolved around TT or fiver, I'm going to go in a different direction. The biggest thing is the floorplan. There are many other things to consider but the most perfectly built RV with the most bling and the biggest tanks in the industry don't mean a thing if the floorplan isn't right for you. Little things add up. Do you want a washer and dryer? Split or combo unit? Is there room for that? One really big thing to consider is where are the dirty clothes going to go? Considering the military generally have a LOT of uniforms that much be kept neat, where are everyone's clean clothes going to go? Is there room in the bathroom to comfortably use the toilet? What about the size of the shower? It's fine to deal with a little neo-angle shower for a couple of weeks while vacationing, but I guarantee you will hate it in two months. Major things like that will stick in your mind long after the thrill of lighted cup holders in the theater seating that you can't hardly stand to sit in anymore, and led strip lighting everywhere lose their appeal. What I'm saying is don't get blinded by the bling and forget the important stuff.
 

lynnmor

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Joined
May 14, 2013
Posts
1,586
Gijoe88 said:
We discussed this as a way to quickly build our savings prior to my retirement.

You better research this aspect real well, RV's depreciate fast, are wasteful in heating and cooling, have many maintenance issues and costs for land use.  Your savings just might not happen.
 

Ernie n Tara

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May 16, 2009
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4,210
Location
Ft Myers, FL
To expand a little on the cost aspect, you need to recognize that RV living is more costly, not less, on a strictly comparable basis. The potential savings, if any, lies in the acceptance of the fact that we tend to live more expansively than necessary.

No couple really needs a 3,000 square. ft. brick home with pool for example, but "Joe has one!" so that's what we tend toward. We live comfortably in a 425 ft. motor home plus a storage building as an example. The pool is 150 ft. away and taken care of by someone else. Living comfortably, we spend a lot less than we did in the large modern home. However, if we had lived in an 800 ft. apartment we likely would have spent less than we do now.

So the savings lie in the the fact that we are more realistic about our standard of living than we were before. On the other hand, we're very comfortable with how we live and wouldn't change it. In our case it wasn't the cost that drove our decision, but what we are comfortable with, and the fact that we live on half of our previous expenditure is a bonus. There are others in our resort who certainly spend half or less of what we have/do.

Look at how you are living and how you would be willing to change that if you intend to save.

TANSTAAFL !

Ernie

 

Senator

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Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Posts
244
Location
Eagan, MN
Originally I looked at 23-25' pull behind trailers.  Just for fun, I looked at a 5th wheel, when I was there.  I bought a 39' Keystone Alpine with 4 slides.

 
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