Slide or no slide dilemma

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Well-known member
Sep 15, 2018
Hamilton Ohio
In my ongoing search for our perfect travel trailer (humor), it seems like slider problems are among the most common complaints.  Sliders that don't work, sliders that get stuck, sliders that sag, sliders that leak a little, sliders that leak often, and sliders that leak all the time.  For newbees like us, who I'm sure will have our hands full with the maintenance learning curve, and who are looking for something under 25' or so, no slider at all is starting to look like an advantage.
I do not have a slide on my 20' Puma TT.  The extra space would be nice.  I could probably handle the extra weight of the slide on a less than 23' TT with my Yukon XL pulling it.  That said, if you are looking at 25', and considering a slide, more than likely you will be nearing the upper limits of a F150/1500 truck.  That is a whole nother debate and thread, for sure.  That said, I would not let the maintenance or the stories detour you from considering a slide.  Most of them seem to work fine.  Like everything, the more frills, the more potential for maintenance.  But the number one thing in purchasing the TT, you are happy with your decision, and the inside floor layout.  I/We do recommend starting out with a slightly used TT, they tend to have the factory defects / errors / bugs worked out. 
I had the same fears as you on slides. At some point they may rear their ugly head. But so far so good with my 2004 Pace Arrow with 3 slides.

The extra room for us is definitely worth the risk.

In eight and a half years, I've not had slide problems, leaks or otherwise. The only time water has come inside was when LOTS of rain collected on the slide topper and I wasn't careful enough when retracting the slide, and then it is only the one very long slide that goes out over 3 feet. A slight tilt forward and slight tilt to the slide side takes care of most of that, with a terry towel handy "just in case." And that was only when the slide topper didn't stretch out tight, leaving a slight sag to catch the rain. With the topper tight that didn't happen.
I'd suggest you step into a 25 footer with a slide to see the huge difference it makes in room.
I've not found slide outs to be problematic.
We have had 4 RVs over the years, two of them with slides and two without, and we have never had a single problem with the slide itself. The only time we had any issue was when we stayed at a leafy RV park in San Antonio and had birds start to put together a nest on the top of the slide and under the slide awning. I had to clean that out before we could put the slide back into the RV and leave, but I have always found the extra space well worth it.
Get a slide, you wont regret it. I had the same concern as you but on a truck camper. I bought the Artic Fox w/slide and could not be happier that I went with a slide. After 25 days of camping this year with Artic Fox, we haven't had a issue. Too much internet reading was raising my concern, and too many opinions with people without a slide talking about things they have no experience in. Its mechanical  so problems may happen, but it can fixed and the payoff out weighs a chance of a problem. Resale is going to be higher and a bigger market of potential buyers, most people today will want a slide and not look at a rig w/o one,,,gregg
Let me join in with the choir here.  First off you won't see a lot of messages about Hey my slide works perfect, this is just not something folks write about.  You really mostly only hear the OMG's, disasters.  So don't let that .1% dissuade you. 

Our history, we had 4 different truck campers, 2 with slides, 2 2ithout.  Slides no problem and they increased the internal space dramatically.  One was an Arctic Fox like the other response, one was an AlpenLite.  Then we moved to a 35' motorhome, no slide.  The space was great, but the width was limiting in moving though.  We recently bought a Winnebago, 37' with 1 slide.  Dramatic difference!  This is a 2000 coach, so 18 years and so far so good. 

Back to your present situation, get one with a slide.  If you spend any time inside you will appreciate the room.

We were also newbies and first time RV people,
I wanted a cheap one w/o slides for less issues but liked the
The additional space it gives. My Wife wanted 2 slides at a minimum
She ended up winning, so far so good I love the extra room
And have had no issues... knock on wood. I did have to replace a topper though
When were shopping I didn't think we needed a slide...It's just extra weight and something to deal with.

I was WRONG...It's very tight with the kitchen and table. When the Wife is cooking I have to find a place to sit down and stay out of the way.

Of course it will depend on your floor plan but in the future I would be more open to slide(s).
I would like to offer a counter point to all this, I have a 28 ft motorhome with out a slide, and it is just the way I want it, if I were to have to replace it, I would get another one, probably the same model perhaps a couple of years newer, but preferably without a slide.  In my travels over the last couple of years since buying my current coach, amounting to something around 140 nights in various campgrounds, I have seen multiple people having issues getting slides to retract, one was parked next to me at an FMCA regional rally, the wind was blowing at 25+ mph on departure day and their slide topper got caught brining in the slide, they had 5 or 6 people there up on ladders helping out trying to get it fixed.  In addition to this water leaks associated with slides are a common cause of wood rot in RV's, when looking at used RV's I have spotted signs of water intrusion, wood rot, etc. around at least one slide on most used coaches I have looked at. 
And from the sublime to the ridiculous, some time back, Thor came out with a six slide motorhome.  It was nuts, not sure if they ever sold one.  Not sure what they would have done with them if nobody bought one.  There must have been someone that liked it.
and there you go, a negative, one instance.  I have worked in the RV industry, currently as a tech in a dealership.  I asked around about how many issues with slides, and while they do happen, it is not that common.  A royal pain to be sure, but so are leveling jacks, things happen to them as well.  Engines are pretty durable, but water heaters break.  Face it, any rv is a house on wheels in a perpetual earthquake and things can go wrong.  Should I say can?  Something will go wrong, maybe not while you own it, but someday something will.

I have replaced and repaired water heaters, from an older one developing a leak, to newer ones that have a thermostat go bad. 

To his point, having 28' and no slide, we had a 35' with no slide for 10 years, some of those years full timing in it.  We could have gone an extra 10 years with no slide, but now that we have it, we love it, and our (if) next coach will have at least 2.  We have a living room slide, but a bedroom slide will make it that much more roomy.

Good luck in your search and your decision.
I have had continual slide problems with my unit, going to the factory five times.  However, would not consider getting a coach without two slides.  Much more comfortable when parked.  Just my wife and I with 100+ pounds of love that sprawls wherever he wants to.
If you looked at all the refrigerator, furnace, battery and water heater complaints, you might not want any of them either.  Obviously any additional piece of mechanical or electronic stuff can have problems, but where do you draw the line?  Slides provide a huge benefit in space and usability at some cost in potential issues.

I've had slides in one trailer and 3 motorhomes since 1998 and have had exactly one slide problem, which was a bent limit switch that I fixed myself once I figured out what it was. I wish I could claim as few problems with tires, converter/chargers and water leaks...
I would never own a RV without slides. I purchased a class A and did not get slides, what a mistake. It was almost impossible to sell when I wanted to upgrade for more room ie slides.
My neighbor bought a travel trailer without a slide.  Within 6 months he was wanting one with a slide.
I can't say I wouldnever buy another RV without at least one slide, but it would be highly improbable.
I agree with most of the above.  Our 10 YO FW has 3 slides and stays set up in the back yard - my getaway.  No leaks.  It REALLY makes it feel sooo much bigger!
Slides are a definite for us as well! If you are traveling with pets or have extra people coming to visit for the night, the slides certainly make it feel more roomy.

I sure do love the Airstreams (not their price tags, though) but I am not sure we could ever get by without any slides.

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