Help! Need bigfoot size advice today! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-04-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
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Help! Need bigfoot size advice today!

Hi wise fiberglass forum!

I need to make a fast decision -- as in today if possible -- between a 17.5 foot bigfoot and the 21 foot.

Background: We are a family of four, kids are 5 and 7. We are mainly tent campers but want to get a trailer for both camping and rv'ing (not sure if I am making the right distinction, but I think of camping as going out in the woods for a couple of nights and building a fire etc. and RV'ing as traveling around from place to place sleeping in the trailer, whether on an off-road or in a campground).

I think know the basic upsides and downsides to each, so looking for someone who has BTDT with both or either size.

17.5 : smaller, lighter, easier to tow, easier to park. But smaller beds, less room, less storage.

21 foot: more room, bigger beds, less cramped for four of us. But bigger, heavier, harder to park and store and tow.
Are those pros and cons accurate? Is there is big difference in towing experience, parking ability, usability between the two?

I have been saving up for the trailer so the difference in price between the two isn't as important as their usefulness and how much we will enjoy using them.

Please, any advice appreciated!!

Cheers,

Camping_Mama
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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Question

A lot of your decision may hinge on additional variables:
  • New or Used?
  • 17.5' in which floorplan?
    25B175G = "L" shaped Gaucho?
    25B175CB = Center Bath?
    25B175FB = Front Bed?
  • 21' in which floorplan?
    25B21FB = Front Bed?
    25B21RB = Rear Bed?
The 25B175G is definitely for short people.
In addition some of the older models have the refrigerator under the counter, which may be smaller than one in it's own cabinet like newer ones.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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Both are used.

The 17.5 is the center bath layout.

The 21 is rear bed layout.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:44 AM   #4
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I don't think you could comfortably sleep 4 in the 17 BF unless it's the new model with the big rear dinette. The 21 would work, it is big and heavy. Our son has a 13 ft Scamp with the couch that converts to bunks in the front. No bathroom. The grandkids are 9 & 10 and they love it although the bed for the adults is a little small. Have you considered the Parkliner or Escape that has a bathroom and bunk bed options in the 17 and 19. Good luck!

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Old 03-04-2014, 12:20 PM   #5
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We own a 1989 17.5' Gaucho and find that it works great for us.
The CB is different, but FWIW:
The G's interior height is great for my 6'2 DH and he can stretch out on the dining table bed with no problem. As for storage, we keep our outdoor gear in the tow vehicle. Everything else fits well inside.
Can't tell you about sleeping on the couch in the 17.5 CB; it is shorter than the one in our G model. Only you know how well your youngsters will share a bed and how quickly they may outgrow that arrangement.

Towing - we can pull our 17.5' with either our Sienna Van or Sierra pick-up with no problem.
I do find it very maneuverable. We drove from Calif to VA this summer and even drove parts of Hiway 1 along the northern coast of Calif.
Could not pull a 21' with the van and I personally would not have been comfortable with that extra length (funny how much longer 3.5' can seem), YMMV.

Parking - we found it very easy to park where there was not special parking for long vehicles (i.e., at shopping centers) because we easily fit across two end-to-end slots in most cases (does that make sense?)

Hope this helped some & Good luck finding what works for you.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:26 PM   #6
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Very helpful, Lora, thank you.

Is it just the two of you in your 17.5 G? We hope to mainly be outside while camping, etc., but I imagine with four of us inside the 17.5 CB it could get tight fast.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:33 PM   #7
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I know a number of people who camp with 2 children as well as a dog or 2 in a 17' Bigfoot with the side Gaucho as well as rear Gaucho. Some of the older Gaucho models had an overhead pull down bunk (not sure if thats an option on a newer ones or not) - kids on the Gaucho and parents sleep on the dinette. What works for you is really an individual thing. The 17 front bed model with the rear dinette would work as well as long as the kids are all good with sharing a bed on the rear dinette - that layout is not found used to often as its a relatively new layout.

The 21' is a nice trailer! But as you know bigger translates to a lot more weight to tow around. Although the 17' is also on the heavy side of fiberglass trailers in that size range as well. Which may or may not make a difference to you if you have a vehicle that has the tow capacity. The newer the Bigfoot & the more options it has the heavier you may find it is compared to an older model.

The thread called Trailer Weights in the Real World may help you with the decision.

One question you may want to ask yourself is do you have room to store a 21' at your home? Some people find with bigger trailers they need to pay to store the trailer away from their home which over a few years can amounts to a fair amount of money for storage.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:35 PM   #8
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There are only two of us, but when I went camping with two adult girlfriends and my daughter, we spent an evening inside playing board games and, with everyone cooperating, were able to enjoy snacks as well. It might have been easier if we hadn't kept the dining table made up as a bed.
We do spend most of our time outside when the weather is nice.
Our trailer weighed out at about 3300# when we took our two month cross-country trip this summer. Max total weight is 3500.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:36 PM   #9
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The 800 lb Gorilla in the room is "What are you going to be towing with?". The larger of those two trailers weighs a LOT more than the smaller one, and both are known to be on the heavy side for size.

In our chart for real world weights we see:
17.5 Bigfoot 3000 to 4200 lbs
20 & 21 Bigfoot 5000 to 6300 lbs.

Remember, sellers claims and mfgs. stated weights are usually going to be minimal, these were trailers actually weighed at a campsite.



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Old 03-04-2014, 12:40 PM   #10
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BTW not sure if you saw it or not but there is a VERY nice Escape 19' currently for sale on this forum .... may be the happy medium you are looking for.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
The 800 lb Gorilla in the room is "What are you going to be towing with?". The larger of those two trailers weighs a LOT more than the smaller one, and both are known to be on the heavy side for size.

In our chart for real world weights we see:
17.5 Bigfoot 3000 to 4200 lbs
20 & 21 Bigfoot 5000 to 6300 lbs.

Remember, sellers claims and mfgs. stated weights are usually going to be minimal, these were trailers actually weighed at a campsite.
I hear people poo poo the weights on the Real World List often by saying that those trailers were carrying way more stuff than I ever would and they probable had full water tanks as well... but I would caution you from assuming that.

Many of the people attending the rally are careful with what they load into their trailers and the rally where most were weighed has full hook ups. The trailers were weighed on arrival at the meet so it would not be common for someone to fill up there tanks for travel to a full service campground.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:05 PM   #12
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I have a 2008 AWD Sienna now, but I don't really want to tow with it. I am sure it is a great tow vehicle, but it is also my main car and I love it and don't want to put a bunch of hard miles on it.

We are thinking of buying an older Tundra (2004-5 ish) and pulling with that.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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Actually, it appears that the Sienna isn't rated as high as you might hope for. Even with the factory tow package included it looks like 3500 lbs is the maximum allowed. And with 4 people on board your total vehicle weight might be exceeded. . Here's a link to some articles:

Sienna Gen-II Towing Capacity. (2004-2010)

I didn't see a specific mention of the AWD versions, but I woud seriously doubt if it would be anywhere near what you need for the larger Bigfoot and could be pushing it's limits with the smaller one very easily.

It also appears that adding the factory towing package, that was standard on 07, but not in 08, is very difficult and expensive.

The best source for specific vehicle information is the owners manual shipped with your vehicle.

Because towing capacity is such a critical issue, may I suggest that you get the horse, before buying the cart? Or at least stick with the smaller cart as a precaution.

BTW: The crew cab Tundra isn't well known for it's ability to pass a gas station, especially when towing.



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Old 03-04-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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Yes, Bob, I agree that the Sienna would not be a good choice to tow a BigFoot of any size. Not planning on using the Sienna for towing unless I end up with a much smaller lighter trailer, any maybe not even then (just because I want to keep it nice as my everyday vehicle not my "camping truck").

If Tundras are gas hogs, I imagine most similarly sized vehicles are also bad in that regard. The long wheel base vehicles with a 6,000 or more tow rating seem to all be gas hogs, sadly.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:59 PM   #15
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Lots of members hereabout tow trailers with their "Everyday" vehicles. We used to tow a Lil' Bigfoot (13') with a 2010 Honda CRV and it never complained. In fact we were all over Utah just last spring with it. Just stay within the published limits.

BTW: Are you near SLC or Spanish Fork. I have a relative (Levi Jackman) on the This is the Place monument who also settled Spanish Fork a few years later.



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Old 03-04-2014, 02:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by camping_mama View Post
If Tundras are gas hogs, I imagine most similarly sized vehicles are also bad in that regard. .
Actually will be in the age range 2004- 05 you say you are looking at.

But I think you will find the gas milage has improved greatly for most vehicles including trucks in the past few years... actually more so in the past couple of years. Even so I have a 2011 V6 truck with a 6500lb towing capacity that gets about the same gas milage on the highway as my 2007 Subaru Outback 4 cylinder.
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Lots of members hereabout tow trailers with their "Everyday" vehicles. We used to tow a Lil' Bigfoot (13') with a 2010 Honda CRV and it never complained. In fact we were all over Utah just last spring with it. Just stay within the published limits.
Well, part of it is the strain, but also the fish gut smell, camp fire soot, muddy boot wearing, mosquito spraying, pine needle in carpet camping realities I don't necessarily want in my van. :-)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H
But I think you will find the gas milage has improved greatly for most vehicles including trucks in the past few years... actually more so in the past couple of years. Even so I have a 2011 V6 truck with a 6500lb towing capacity that gets about the same gas milage on the highway as my 2007 Subaru Outback 4 cylinder.
Makes sense. Just not sadly in the market for such a new (expensive) truck. If there are 2011 trucks that can pull 6000 lbs with good gas mileage and under $12,000, sign me up!
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by camping_mama View Post

Makes sense. Just not sadly in the market for such a new (expensive) truck. If there are 2011 trucks that can pull 6000 lbs with good gas mileage and under $12,000, sign me up!
LOL Let me tell you sister having faced the what to buy issue myself recently I wish that was the case! If there was such a thing I would have snapped it up! LOL
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:53 PM   #19
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My wife and I started off with a 17.5CB and loved it except for its sleeping quarters. We just couldn't find an arrangement that was comfortable. We now have a 21RB that's almost perfect for us. I would think that some of the pluses of the 21' over the 17.5 for you would be ....

The rear bed is very comfortable according to my normally non-camping wife. There is even a curtain that can be closed for some privacy. Your two kids would probably be very comfortable in the front dinette/bed area.

The 21' has a separate shower over the 17.5 wet bathroom. It also has a little more room but not much. Cleanup should be a little easier also.

The 21' has a little more interior and exterior storage but again, not much more.

I believe the 21' also has a little larger holding tanks.

I didn't find the 21' any more difficult towing or parking. However, the tandem axles on the 21' seemed to provide more stability. Maybe that was just my imagination. But I also like the idea of the tandem axles in the event of a tire blowout.

We tow our 21' with a Ford F250, 4x4 which is probably overkill. Although I don't have any towing experience with a 1/2 ton truck I think it might be ideal with a 21' Bigfoot. We originally towed our 17.5CB with a Toyota Tacoma. It got the job done but it felt too light weight to me.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:54 PM   #20
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Just a few thoughts from someone with a 17 CB Bigfoot. 2 adults and 2 small kids will fit but it will be very crowded. What would you do when the kids get bigger which happens rather quickly. When we go camping with the grandkids a tent is part of the equipment.

As far as storage, if I filled every storage area with gear I would easily exceed the axle capacity of the trailer. I believe the later Bigfoots have a[ heavier axle but then the weight of the new trailers is greater so you would want to be careful how much weight you have on board. Storage can be a blessing or a curse. With more storage space it's easy to overload your trailer.
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