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analemma77

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Aug 13, 2016
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While we think we would like to buy a Class C and towing a Ford Fiesta for a family of four, two of which are 8 year old twins -- I'm wondering if we would be better off with a truck and trailer.  We don't have a truck at the moment and don't really need a truck any more than anyone else, basically handy sometimes -- so we would have to buy a truck and a trailer.  We've rented a Class C on a few occasions, 25 foot was cramped, the 30 foot was enjoyed by all.  Any advice on Class C or truck and trailer?  Thanks
 
That really falls under the "personal preference" category. It really depends on your usage and budget. But first, a little helpful terminology. Travel trailers, popup trailers, 5th wheel trailers, cab over campers and Class A, B and C motorhomes are all considered RVs (Recreational Vehicles)

Trailers tend to cost a lot less than motorhomes, because they don't have drive trains. There's no engine to service, or smog and registration fees are usually a lot less than motorhomes. You will, however, need a suitable vehicle to tow a trailer, and a lot of first time RVers have made the expensive mistake of buying an inadequate tow vehicle. Don't trust RV sales people to steer you in the right direction. Come here for those answers.

When you get to your destination with a trailer, you can unhook and have a driveable vehicle to go places. If you're in a motorhome, you'll either have to break camp and drive the motorhome where you want to go, or tow/haul another vehicle. The larger the motorhome, the more impractical it is to make a grocery run with it.

Motorhomes usually setup faster than trailers, especially motorhomes with hydraulic jacks, because all you've got to do is push a few buttons to lower the jacks and deploy the slides. Levelling a trailer can be a bit more involved and cumbersome.

Another nice thing about motorhomes is, if your passengers need to go to the bathroom, or get to the fridge while traveling, they can do so while you're cruising down the road. Not so with a trailer. Just food for thought.

Kev 
 
My advice if you are considering a trailer, is to go to a couple of RV dealers, pick out a potential trailer that you think would be big enough for you, that can haul the stuff you want, has big enough tanks, if you plan to dry camp, etc.  Then note its weight and its GVWR, remember no one ever pulls an empty trailer around so dry weight only matters for getting it off the RV lot.  Then find a tow vehicle that can handle that weight of trailer, along with weight of passengers, luggage, and other stuff.

As a rule of thumb I suspect you will find that you need at a minimum a 1/2 ton crew cab pickup truck to safely pull a typical 25 ft travel trailer, a 1/2 pickup with optional HD towing package might handle a 28 ft trailer, and for anything bigger you really need to be looking at 3/4 or 1 ton trucks.  If you end up needing anything bigger than a 1/2 ton pickup, ask yourself if you want to drive a large pickup truck around all the time, and if that is even a practical option where you live.  Large trucks are not fun to drive in areas with lots of compact car parking, tight streets, or older parking garages with tight switchbacks and low ceilings.

This coming from someone that owns both a crew cab Ford F250 and a small 28 ft class A motorhome
 
If you decide on a motorhome, I strongly suggest a Class A in the 30 ft size range rather than a Class C.  You get more usable interior space, more weight carrying capacity, more storage underneath, and better visibility out the front.  The only downside is it may take you a couple of trips to get accustomed to the different driver position in a cab-forward vehicle.  For a given size and equipment, a class A doesn't cost any more and is actually easier to drive.

A 30 ft class C has pretty well maxed out what a van chassis can do.  If you feel the "C" style is what best suits your needs, get a "Super-C", built on a medium truck chassis.
 
With the truck-trailer combination, your larger investment (truck) can be one of your daily drivers while the RV itself (trailer or 5th wheel) can be a relatively low investment with a lot of family features.

With the motorhome your investment will most likely equal that of a truck and trailer combined, and you will need to make sure one of your daily drivers is towable.  That larger investment will probably sit a lot in storage.

We have had every combination possible - including boats and toys, etc.  We prefer a Class A because it is the ulitmate in ease of use and comfort, however financially it makes the least sense for us as vacationers.  The better value would be the truck-trailer combo like we had before.  I just got tired of having a giant dually truck as a daily driver.  I told my wife I make a better Ralph Kramdon than a Jerry Reed!
 
I hate to sound like any kind of an expert, but we have done a lot of different things and that is what put us were we are. 
How do you plan to use the unit? 
Are you going to go one place and come home?  Get a trailer. 
Are you going to travel to lots of different places and never stay long?  A motorhome has an advantage.
Are you going to use it just one or two weeks a year?  Think about a trailer.
Are you going to travel long distances?  In a motorhome, the kids ride with you and can possibly get snacks and nature breaks underway or at very short stops.

Everything is a compromise.  What do you want and what are you willing to give up to get it?

We have become travelers and not campers.  So the set-up time became an issue.  We have a small motorhome.
We rarely stay at a single location (except major rallies) for more than a single day now.  We now have a motorhome.
We often are underway for more than eight hours in a day.  With a motorhome, the navigator can get drinks and snacks for the driver.  (Traffic Permitting)

It has not always been this way.  We started out tent camping.  Never had a tent trailer. 
We also dragged a cruising sloop all over the place and have had a class B and a C at different times. 
Get what you think will work for you now and expect to change it as your lives change. 

Do your best to make it a fun adventure for the kids and they will have memories that will last.

Matt 
 
You can't beat traveling in a motorhome, air ride being the best. I've had 2 5th wheels and now a Class A. Since we have gotten it we have done a lot of short weekend local trips. Not having a truck to unhook and park makes the trips even easier. It's all really what you want but with the cost of a new truck even a 1/2 ton is a big investment, add the trailer to it and your in motorhome prices.
 

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