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Old 09-04-2014, 09:21 AM   #1
Murf2 OP
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Camping Caravan Help?

Hey all, The wife & I are sliding into semi-retirement soon & want to do some longer term camping trips with our DR650 & DRZ400 tagging along. We always tent camped before but are needing more comfort now. We would like to stay relatively small so we can get to some of the out of they way places easily. I'm mulling over several combinations & thought I'd see what the collective thought. Any insights into my choices would be great. I currently have an 01 GMC with an 8500K tow rating.

1. Get a small travel trailer & load the bikes in the back of the truck. This is O.K. but loading & unloading will only get harder as we get older.

2. Small travel trailer modded to haul a bike on the front and one on the back. Seems pretty good but bikes are out in the open & I've heard varying thoughts on modding the light ass trailer frames they all seem to have.

3. Small toy hauler(24 ft or so). This looks pretty good but kinda spendy. Also, the smaller toy haulers either have only the drop down beds in the back or maybe a small bed crossways in the front. I worry about comfortable sleeping when the bikes are still loaded. On longer trips we might have to hit a parking lot a couple nights & wouldn't want to unload to crash awhile. Maybe store the bikes inside in the winter to free up garage space.

4. Class B or small Class C & pull a 10 or 12 ft enclosed trailer. This seems like a pretty good idea. We could haul the enclosed trailer with the truck for overnighters or when we weren't camping. We could also store the bikes in the trailer over the winter to free up some room in our garage.

5. Class C toy hauler. This seems like a great idea except for the price and the fact that I haven't even seen one yet. Might not be that great of a deal in the real world. Also there is the whole "extra" vehicle to maintain but that would apply to any solution using an RV I guess.

As you can see, I don't have a clue about what I should do. Let me know what you guys think. Sorry for the ramble!

Murf
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:40 AM   #2
Manuel Garcia O'Kely
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how about a camper in bed of truck, trailer for bikes?
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:55 AM   #3
DriveShaft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf2 View Post
Hey all, The wife & I are sliding into semi-retirement soon & want to do some longer term camping trips with our DR650 & DRZ400 tagging along. We always tent camped before but are needing more comfort now. We would like to stay relatively small so we can get to some of the out of they way places easily. I'm mulling over several combinations & thought I'd see what the collective thought. Any insights into my choices would be great. I currently have an 01 GMC with an 8500K tow rating.

1. Get a small travel trailer & load the bikes in the back of the truck. This is O.K. but loading & unloading will only get harder as we get older.

2. Small travel trailer modded to haul a bike on the front and one on the back. Seems pretty good but bikes are out in the open & I've heard varying thoughts on modding the light ass trailer frames they all seem to have.

3. Small toy hauler(24 ft or so). This looks pretty good but kinda spendy. Also, the smaller toy haulers either have only the drop down beds in the back or maybe a small bed crossways in the front. I worry about comfortable sleeping when the bikes are still loaded. On longer trips we might have to hit a parking lot a couple nights & wouldn't want to unload to crash awhile. Maybe store the bikes inside in the winter to free up garage space.

4. Class B or small Class C & pull a 10 or 12 ft enclosed trailer. This seems like a pretty good idea. We could haul the enclosed trailer with the truck for overnighters or when we weren't camping. We could also store the bikes in the trailer over the winter to free up some room in our garage.

5. Class C toy hauler. This seems like a great idea except for the price and the fact that I haven't even seen one yet. Might not be that great of a deal in the real world. Also there is the whole "extra" vehicle to maintain but that would apply to any solution using an RV I guess.

As you can see, I don't have a clue about what I should do. Let me know what you guys think. Sorry for the ramble!

Murf
Option 4 is personally my favorite combination for 2 folks who can trailer some bikes for short trips while the class-b is hooked up. Great flexibility, and better suited to putting down long miles in comfort, since you maintain very convenient access to the living quarters from the cabin. (and imo, putting down miles in comfort is a pretty big factor for logistics planning).

Your main vehicle *is* hooked up, though, when you've set up base camp (unless you're dry camping). But of the rv options, it's the most likely to fit in more camping spots, parking spaces, etc (in certain configurations, of course).
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel Garcia O'Kely View Post
how about a camper in bed of truck, trailer for bikes?
This is very common in some of the more remote places in Canada.

#4 would be my personal choice using a class B.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:09 AM   #5
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I like the truck camper and trailer idea. It's probably the cheapest and most modular. Although this comes with zero experience. I had a guy who used to camp luxuriously up in Maine rafting. He had a ford diesel with a pimped lance camper and towed an enclosed trailer full of his gear. Other than your "gear" it's almost identical. Was a pretty compelling setup as the truck was 4wd and you already have similar. I think lance is top of the heap too. Add a nice car hauler type enclosed trailer and you'd be ready.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I don't think a pick up camper will work out for us. The nice over the cab campers are too heavy for my current truck. Payload with her, me and gas is only about 1,200 lbs & she doesn't think she'd like the "coffin" effect of the over the cab bed.
I like the B or C & trailer combo but dislike the extra tags, insurance, maintenance as well as the cost of the rig. Thanks again for the opinions!

Murf
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailah View Post
I had a guy who used to camp luxuriously up in Maine rafting. He had a ford diesel with a pimped lance camper and towed an enclosed trailer full of his gear. Other than your "gear" it's almost identical. Was a pretty compelling setup as the truck was 4wd and you already have similar. I think lance is top of the heap too. Add a nice car hauler type enclosed trailer and you'd be ready.
+1
Been doing it for years with an F150 and 4-Wheel pop up camper, which is about 900 lbs.

I've even carried an inflated 14 foot raft on it numerous times (about 200 lbs, rigged with rowing frame) in the lowered position of course.
For me, at 6'1", the short door height is an issue, and you get used to it too. You also have to set it up and take it down, but that's maybe 5 minutes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf2 View Post
I don't think a pick up camper will work out for us. The nice over the cab campers are too heavy for my current truck. Payload with her, me and gas is only about 1,200 lbs & she doesn't think she'd like the "coffin" effect of the over the cab bed.
It's not as bad as you might think. At least it wasn't for me. I was sure I wouldn't like it at first, but you get used to it pretty quick, or fold down the dinette and each have your own bed. That way nobody has to move to the let the other elderly camper out to pee at 2AM. BTW, my "bathroom" is in the gear trailer.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:16 PM   #8
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Compromises all around, Pat. We had a popup for a few years, which was minimal accommodations, but also minimal price and not much of a hit on gas mileage. Now we have a 22' hybrid camper, which is much nicer, but more of a pain to haul around, and takes a definite toll on mileage. Pickup campers seemed like a good option for a while, but the lighter ones are cramped for interior room. Hayduke and Tammy had a full size van that fit both bikes, and a camper to pull behind. When they came out to the Gyp Hills a couple of years ago, they just brought the van, and slept in it with the bikes unloaded. A truck or van with a camper gives you a bad-weather vehicle to leave camp in. A self-contained camper only leaves you whatever you're towing for transportation, unless you break down camp. Good luck with it all. I'd probably go out to Anderson's, or to Camping World in Grain Valley, and try some stuff on for size.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:38 PM   #9
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:39 PM   #10
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For options 3&4 you should consider renting before you buy. It'll help decide one way or the other
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:17 AM   #11
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Sportsmobile type van would be my choice but that's also what I am currently trying to build.

Look on expedition portal under 4wd van section tons of nice examples. Essentially a class B but with the ability to get off the beaten path. Depending on how you set it up you could haul bikes inside, on the rear hitch, or in a trailer.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:13 AM   #12
Murf2 OP
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Quote:
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Compromises all around, Pat. We had a popup for a few years, which was minimal accommodations, but also minimal price and not much of a hit on gas mileage. Now we have a 22' hybrid camper, which is much nicer, but more of a pain to haul around, and takes a definite toll on mileage. Pickup campers seemed like a good option for a while, but the lighter ones are cramped for interior room. Hayduke and Tammy had a full size van that fit both bikes, and a camper to pull behind. When they came out to the Gyp Hills a couple of years ago, they just brought the van, and slept in it with the bikes unloaded. A truck or van with a camper gives you a bad-weather vehicle to leave camp in. A self-contained camper only leaves you whatever you're towing for transportation, unless you break down camp. Good luck with it all. I'd probably go out to Anderson's, or to Camping World in Grain Valley, and try some stuff on for size.
Hey Barry,We went to Grain Valley over Labor Day. I think I may have gotten more confused the more I looked. That Anderson guy is quite the character, isn't he? I tried to buy something there last year but no deal.

Hopefully we will be out for months not weeks, so I'm looking for a descent level of comfort. I just don't think I have enough truck for the kind of pick up camper I'd need.

The travel trailer with the bikes in the truck seems to give the most room for the money. I just don't look forward to loading & unloading, although I hope to stay at a location for a good amount of time then move on and stay at the next place awhile. I may be worrying too much about the loading.

Barry do you haul a bike with you when your camping?

Thanks,
Murf
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:54 AM   #13
shipwrek12001
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I'm in that delima

, I purchased a used 24ft fun finder xtra. which is pretty good as a toy hauler. fits 2 bikes super easy, probably 4 squeezy.. you can sleep at the rest stops without pulling out the bikes...
My issue is you cant go to the out of the way spots, and no one likes to pay for the extra fuel. The price of fuel has out weighted the price of a motel.

So it is cheaper to car and trailer with motels than pulling the rv around... go figure. I am considering the slide in camper so I have the choice, boat or bikes. .. also get to the out of the way spots, which of course are always moo betta...
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:40 AM   #14
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With a class C definitely consider buying used. They depreciate fast. We have a 1990 model built on an Econoline 350 with < 20K mikes that new was around $65K and it would be difficult to get more than $7,500 - $10K for it now. It has more problems from lack of use than too many miles.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:13 AM   #15
DriveShaft
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I'm in that delima

, I purchased a used 24ft fun finder xtra. which is pretty good as a toy hauler. fits 2 bikes super easy, probably 4 squeezy.. you can sleep at the rest stops without pulling out the bikes...
My issue is you cant go to the out of the way spots, and no one likes to pay for the extra fuel. The price of fuel has out weighted the price of a motel.

So it is cheaper to car and trailer with motels than pulling the rv around... go figure. I am considering the slide in camper so I have the choice, boat or bikes. .. also get to the out of the way spots, which of course are always moo betta...
It's definitely gotten to the point where a 10mpg hit on gas is pretty cost comparative with motel rates at the end of the day. Hauling around a full-sized rv w/ a relatively conventional half-ton rig as opposed to a sedan is pretty much guaranteed to give you about a 10mpg delta. If you're averaging 400 miles traveled per day, and you figure gas is something a bit north of $3.50, you're talking about racking up more than $140 towards a motel if you just drive a small car and motel it, and that's not even considering the fact that most RV spots are between $30-$80/night.

That being said, motel rates aren't *always* cheap, and tend to skyrocket 1) when you want to be someplace, and 2) where you actually want to hang out. This summer, we were RVing in OBX, and found that the holiday inn express was more than five times as expensive as our RV spot. It's their business to know when they have you by the short and curlies.

These are all things to consider. IMO, rvs have a sweet spot of travel ranges and days stayed, where they're not only fun, but make sense too. And range can be extended if you plan your outfit to offer highly mobility, offers flexible configurations, and juuuust big enough.
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