New, pondering options for road trip - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-22-2015, 02:14 PM   #15
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Did a grand adventure trip with our children that covered just about every national park and significant sight west of the Mississippi River starting from coastal Connecticut.
It took an action packed 6 weeks and a lot of planning! Because we would be in Brown Bear country and because we value our comfort as well as safety we of course used a 24 foot hard sided Travel Trailer....might suggest you do the same and remember to bring along at least 2 spare tires for the Travel Trailer as well as at least one for the tow vehicle!

Watch craigslist every week for used hard sided Travel Trailers and you will find a deal on one with little use. I see them all the time in upstate NY and western Mass. Don't limit your search to fiberglass units or you will be looking for years because used fiberglass units are few and far between.

Travel trailers are easy to set up as you travel. Once you have established a checklist for arrival and departure it only takes a few minutes once you get used to it.

Have fun...be prepared for any any all emergencies...Happy Camping!
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:56 PM   #16
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You're in Bear Country

I've traveled throughout British Columbia and Alaska, tent camping, kayak camping, and RVing.
Some serious considerations:

Rain - on one trip, heavy rain for one week - bad for tent camping, stuck in motel trying to dry out. While kayak camping in Glacier Bay, Alaska, it rained for a solid week - so hard I had to wear rubber rain gear over my Gortex drysuit! Be sure to take an extra tarp(s), rain boots.

Bears - hard-sided trailers more safe than canvas. Bears are attracted to food odors and human conditioned bears are dangerous, so keep your campsites clean, food properly stored to avoid food odors. see:
Safety: bears and you Alaska Bear Safety | Avoid Bear Conflicts Fishing, Hiking & Camping

Dogs - Bears don't like dogs, will chase dog back into camp and your family. Always keep your dog on leash; keep bear spray handy at camp and while hiking/fishing. No guns! Take a small emergency airhorn - that'll scare em.
Remember, you can't leave your dog in your camper or vehicle, a consideration whether to take or board while you're traveling.

Mosquitoes & deer flies - be prepared - they're big and plentiful. Also to treat your dog.

Double bed too small? Try sleeping head to toe - worked well for 2 adults and a 50 lb dog on one bed in a 13footer.

You might consider renting a small RV, camper or tent-camper instead of buying. If you do, check to be sure you are able to drive on gravel roads, put freshly caught fish in refrig.

Whether you buy or rent a tow vehicle, or an RV, make sure you have an exta tire for the towed vehicle with you.

Enjoy this magnificent country - Do visit Denali Nat, Park and take the bus tour; great campgrounds at Nancy Lakes State Park (between Talkeetna and Denali) for loons, canoeing. Enjoy and keep us posted.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:06 PM   #17
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Thanks! My family did this same trip when I was 11- I'm excited to relive it with my kids. I have family in Anchorage to be our tour guides.

Is it possible to rent a trailer or rv for 8 weeks? I thought it would be cheaper to buy and resell. When we went as kids, my parents bought a small rv, sold it in Alaska, and we flew home.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:10 PM   #18
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With the suggestion to look at a sticky the Elephant in the room makes it's appearance. What is the towing capacity of the OP's Ford Flex.


Although it is frequently posted "as high as 4500 lbs when properly equipped" it's basic towing capacity may be as low as 2000 lbs., which can have a major bearing on the choices.


The 4500 lb tow package apparently includes the following: (See note at the bottom)


Class III Trailer Tow Package – 4,500 lbs Tow Capacity

The Class III Trailer Tow package is available on either the SEL or Limited Trim levels, and with either the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine or the 3.5L EcoBoost engine. This package increases the maximum tow capacity of the 2014 Ford Flex up to 4,500 pounds. With the trailer Tow package, the Flex comes equipped with a 2″ Class III receiver hitch, a wiring harness with 4- and 7-pin connectors, and the addition of Trailer Sway Control to the Traction Control System of the vehicle. In addition, on the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, an Engine Oil Cooling system is added, to help keep the engine from overheating while towing a heavy load.


NOTE: As always, the Owners Manual for the specific vehicle must be consulted before making any decisions concerning towing capability.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:41 PM   #19
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I do have the factory tow package- my owners manual says maximum trailer weight is 4500 lbs. I do want to stay well under that.
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Old 08-22-2015, 07:02 PM   #20
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Just to verify, and that's with the 2" hitch receiver installed? If so, sounds great.
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Old 08-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #21
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Yes, with the 2" hitch receiver.
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:20 AM   #22
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Where to stay cheap in cities (or at least the 'burbs)

You can stay free at many Wal-Mart parking lots (ask the manager) and at Camping World(s). Also, many of the larger casinos. At least here in Washington State. Of course, most of it is "dry" camping. But the price is right!

My dog and I have been to Yellowstone many times in our 13' Compact Junior, and no way would I ever want to be in a tent trailer in grizzly country.
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:24 AM   #23
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Roomy sleeping

By the way, one advantage of my 1970's rear-door trailer is that you can make the entire front of it into one large 80" long bed wide enough (if you squeeze) for 2 adults & 2 little kids. And no one has to climb over another to get out!
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Old 08-23-2015, 03:26 AM   #24
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I would go the fiberglass route. It can get wet for weeks on end, especially if you decide to hit Alaska / Canada in late July or August (our rainy season). Tents need time to dry out, and are miserable if packed and unpacked wet several days in a row. If you are sincere about possibly offloading a trailer in Alaska, I recommend posting on the Anchorage Craigslist, Scamps and other small towables are very popular up here. With a little effort you could turn a small profit on a used one in decent condition.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:10 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieR View Post
Pop-ups are so readily available that I fear we couldn't get rid of it when we need to.
Hi Carrie. Years ago we bought a good 2 year old Coleman pop up and used it for 5 years. We took it all over North America.

We took care of it and after 5 years we sold it in hours for the price we paid for it.

They are easy to mount bikes etc on the roof.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieR View Post
I do have the factory tow package- my owners manual says maximum trailer weight is 4500 lbs. I do want to stay well under that.
Your Ford Flex is a very capable, proven tow vehicle. There are some interesting reviews of some that are towing some good sized travel trailers and they work well. If I had the size of family and a dog that you have I would be looking for a larger egg. Your Flex can easily handle it provided you get the connection (hitch) set up right.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:09 PM   #26
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New, pondering options for road trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieR View Post
I can park something at my brother's house for at least a few months. Maybe I can just keep my eye out on the used market next spring, and let fate decide whether we tent, pop-up, or trailer.

Do you pop-ups weigh less than fiberglass? Can you put bikes on top?

I do think, as much as I love the dog, that he will stay home with family. Too many limitations.

Your plan sounds very sensible.

As to weights, I think it is fairly safe to say the smallest pop-ups are lighter than the smallest eggs, though not by as much as you might think. The lift mechanism and beds negate some of the advantage of canvas walls. Their lower profile will make them an easier tow, other things equal. Beyond that, though, both types can get quite heavy as size and amenities grow.

I'm not sure I agree with Bob that pop-ups are easier to maintain than fiberglass eggs. I have owned both, and I'd give the edge to fiberglass, assuming they are similarly equipped in terms of appliances, plumbing, etc. I like to keep thing simple, in any case. We were actually looking for a small pop-up when we stumbled across the Scamp. It is a bit tighter on space, but much more solid-feeling in wind and rain, and our goal is to spend as much time as possible outside the trailer, not inside!

My family of six camped all over the continental U.S. and eastern Canada in the 60's and 70's, first in a tent and then in a pop-up. Never Alaska, though. My best memories, ironically, were some of the hard times: packing up the tent in the middle of the night during a tropical storm in Louisiana and moving to a motel, Dad spraining his ankle while fishing with Grandpa at Yellowstone, camping on the Colorado River in 115-degree weather without AC, wheel bearings freezing on our station wagon and riding in a tow truck in Iowa,... These are the times when you bond as a family.

In the end, it's not about the equipment, it's about the journey!
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #27
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The Tent Trailer shown in Post #6 weighs an honest 720 lbs ready to go but yes, more elaborate tent trailers can get very heavy. The pop-up supports on that one weigh less than 10 lbs each, not a whole lot.
I was referring to smaller Tent trailers being easier to maintain. Simpler water, electric and drain systems. Yes, you have to be a bit more careful with long term maintenance, but day-to-day is easy-peasy. And no windows to leak...LOL


As the family is still considering tenting, I think that a tent trailer is an easy step up off the ground. And OMG, do they have a lot more room inside, Two full beds, a full time dinette and a dance floor.... all in a less than 8' box
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:32 AM   #28
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When I was looking at tent trailers (8' box, same as the Palomino) most of the good condition newer ones I found were in the 1100-1200 pound dry weight range. Coleman/Fleetwood Taos was the most common, and it weighs in at 1180 pounds. That's with a cooktop, sink, and small 3-way fridge, nothing else. Didn't find anything lighter or more basic that wasn't a project. Like fiberglass eggs, small ones in good condition seemed to sell quickly.
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