Does what I want exist?

pookie

Observer
TLDR: I need options that can sleep 4 people, 2 adults, 1 teenage man child and one other kid. My wife is over tent camping. I already have a 2006 Tundra SR5 4x4 Doublecab and a Snugtop camper shell. My wife wants A/C and heat and I don’t disagree based on lots of summer travel plans. I want an out door kitchen setup with an awning. We don’t need a bathroom as this will be a campsite or compost toilet type trip. We won’t be spending lots of time off grid because we just don’t have time for it. Quick setup and tear down is key.

My thoughts dump:

We’re looking at taking multiple separate trips from TN to “out west” over the next couple of years., and probably at least one more back to Maine.

*Backstory* a few years ago we decided to try and take our kids to see as many National parks and all things America that we can. I’ve traveled all over the world, and seen a lot of big cities in America, but not a lot of the rest of America. My wife and kids have seen most of the east coast from FL to ME, and a trip to CO. *End Backstory*

Earlier this summer we flew to Colorado and did the rental car, VRBO, passes, food, etc. and it ended up being a very expensive trip. So, with other “out west” trips planned we are looking at options. All of our travel will be from the end of May to early August, because school. We have 4-5 years left for trips with many child before we are down to just the 3 of us. We may also try and do some local fall/winter trips which is why we need heat.

Man child and I have used the camper shell and a futon mattress to sleep during fishing/hunting trips. However, those trips were mostly fall/winter trips when it was cool up in the mtns.

I’m thinking smaller is better. So really we need space for 4 people to sleep (we’re moving from ground sleeping pads to a camper). Things like a/c, heat, galley, and awning would be requirements based on our travels. I assume most of our nights in the camper will be in route to our end location, and then the camper being left in place as we explore.

I could also get behind having the galley setup in the truck (drawers, slide setup) as the bed will only be used for storage.

More thoughts dump to follow.


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crazysccrmd

Observer
Space for four people to sleep comfortably is starting to get big. Are you wanting to tow off-road on rough trails or park in state parks, forest service land, etc?

If off-road isn’t the intent I’d recommend this. Plenty of room for everyone, not huge as far as trailers go, one of the higher quality companies and a shiter that your wife really wants but will say she can do without to make you happy.

 

Obsessed2findARuggedHybid

Well-known member
I assume since your posting in this forum you do want a trailer that is off road capable. If this is the case or even if not (most typical mass produced rv's that sleep 4 have bathrooms and are 22 feet long) I would suggest the Arkto g12.
 

K9LTW

Active member
Granted...I'm biased...but definitely look at the Arkto G12 that @Obsessed2findARuggedHybid mentioned. Admittedly it'll start getting tight with 4; particularly as your youngest grows. It has a permanent residential queen bed (east-west) and two benches below that can be converted into an L-shaped platform. The long bench is over 6' x 30" wide. Perfect for the man child. I'm not sure how long the shorter platform would be, but can measure it once home, or hit up @Arkto on here or from their site (arktocampers.com). Alternatively, one or both of the kids could camp in the truck/on the ground.

The interior and storage solutions of the Arkto are a major reason we went with it. With 3 massive, 24" deep drawers, four cabinets that open up front, a large pantry area under the bed, and storage under the short bench...it's heaven. No living out of duffel bags for us! To be fair it's just my wife and I and our two dogs.

The exterior galley is awesome with ample places to prep food. Heat/hot water is via the propane Truma system and you can get heat for the tank added as well for winter camping to combat frozen water supply. We only have a MaxxAir Deluxe fan, but they now offer a 12V AC solution with a low-pro Dometic unit. You can get an ungodly amount of battery and solar supply now, too. Or not since it sounds like you may be hooked up to shore power more often than not. It's all in whatever you want to spend. You'll also have an exterior shower on the rear of the trailer.

We opted to pick ours up in Edmonton (from VA). Importing it was really easy. Or you can just have it delivered and not worry about Customs, etc. Financing a foreign purchase is...cumbersome...but I can give you some pointers/help there if you want.

Check 'em out as their list of options is regularly updated. You'll be very hard-pressed to find something comparable in options, quality, AND an amazing customer experience for the money IF the layout, size, and features fit YOUR needs.
 
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Obsessed2findARuggedHybid

Well-known member
Also might add to K9s post. The CA exchange rate adds favor to your wallet for an already reasonably priced rig.

Aaron has achieved about every certification known to man on the G12 and really focuses on QC. I don't own an Arkto but I am very impressed.
 

driveby

Active member
Your wife is over tents, but are the kids? A good 3 man tent and a "couples" trailer bed might be the goldilocks answer. Or kids sleep in the cap and you and the wife in the trailer.... If you go that way your options open up exponentially.
 

Obsessed2findARuggedHybid

Well-known member
Good point drive but I am sure both the wife and poki have to set up, take down and help kids go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Also bear country and kids in tent = lack of sleep for my wife
 

Obsessed2findARuggedHybid

Well-known member
Wolf is correct there is a premium for off road craft shop built trailers. You mentioned you wanted a outdoor kitchen with awning. This kind of puts you in the craft builder area.

Escapes are awesome. I looked real hard at them. Also favorable to Canadian exchange rate. I believe they are priced real close to the Arkto especially if you go light on solar and Lithium
 

eatSleepWoof

Do it for the 'gram
Built-in outdoor kitchens are nice to have, but I wouldn't compromise on other aspects of the trailer for one, nor pay a $10-30k "overland" premium for one.

A collapsing camping table and a propane camping stove take you 90% of the way "there" with minimal expense. Most trailers even have propane hookups that can be used for the stove (assuming the stove you use is okay to run on regulated - ie. low pressure - propane).
 

pookie

Observer
Thanks everyone for the responses.

I had a little sticker shock after looking at the links yall posted. I’m not sure we need anything that tricked out. Also much bigger than I was thinking. Honestly I guess I’m not sure what I was thinking, but 19-20’ seems like a much longer trailer than I originally pictured.

I like the parents in the trailer kids in the truck bed setup, but worry about them being too hot. My son and I have slept in the truck bed under the shell during spring turkey season and been ok, and that was in March in the Smokies, not out west in July. Still worth considering tho. I also thought about making drawers and having my outdoor kitchen be from the bed of the truck. But that might involve unhooking the trailer to be able to cook. More thoughts needed there as well.

It will go off paved roads,Ike forest service roads, but not too crazy.


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Pacific Northwest yetti

Expedition Medic
Does the AC/Heat need to be self-sustaining. Or will you be in sites with hookups?

That could change things, if you wanting run an AC all night off of battery and solar, sure. It’s doable but will be 20k in additions. With lithium, solar, DC/DC, etc

( My brother has a shop that does this) Zero Declination, in Reno. So I know what it takes.


Like a lot of folks have said, a smaller bunk house travel trailer will probably be your best get it and go bet.
* if you can find something that wont kill the tundra. Family's ( the gear they come with) weigh a lot. I think the tundra has a 6k ib tow capacity. Maybe one of the R Pods, like the 203. Typical RV build quality

 
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eatSleepWoof

Do it for the 'gram
Thanks everyone for the responses.

I had a little sticker shock after looking at the links yall posted. I’m not sure we need anything that tricked out. Also much bigger than I was thinking. Honestly I guess I’m not sure what I was thinking, but 19-20’ seems like a much longer trailer than I originally pictured.

I like the parents in the trailer kids in the truck bed setup, but worry about them being too hot. My son and I have slept in the truck bed under the shell during spring turkey season and been ok, and that was in March in the Smokies, not out west in July. Still worth considering tho. I also thought about making drawers and having my outdoor kitchen be from the bed of the truck. But that might involve unhooking the trailer to be able to cook. More thoughts needed there as well.

It will go off paved roads,Ike forest service roads, but not too crazy.


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Here's the thing: trailers often look big from the outside, especially to someone that hasn't owned a similar trailer before, but once you get the family inside, you'll find yourselves rubbing shoulders and stepping over each other (literally) in no time. When it comes to real-word travels, there's little to no difference between a 12', 20', or even a 25' trailer. Yes, a 25'er is more than twice the length of a 12'er, but you'll still have the same exact limitations (turning around, tight corners, trickier backing up, etc.) in the real world. The only real limitations are what your vehicle can safely tow, and where you will store the trailer. Don't buy a small trailer with the expectation that you won't need the room only to find yourselves hating being crammed like sardines.

For two adults, a teen, and a younger kid... if you get anything under ~20', you'll be making a mistake. Even the 20' options are borderline IMO.

Focus on comfortable sleeping arrangements as the #1 priority. A shower and toilet make life a lot easier, even if you don't think you'll ever want/use them. Having a table where you can sit the family and play a game of cards in bad weather can be the difference between being miserable and wanting to go home vs. enjoying the trip and making memories. An indoor kitchen makes life a lot easier if you find yourself camping in an area with insane swarms of mosquitos or wasps.

I suggest you find a nearby RV rental place (there are plenty of AirBnB-like sites for renting RVs; ex. outdoorsy.com) and try renting two-three different trailers to get a feel for them in actual day-to-day use. Spend a thousand bucks on three-four rentals right now, and save yourself thousands in bad purchasing decisions down the line.

Look for manufacturers that have been around for a while and have a decent rep (very few will have reputations better than "decent"). Look for two axles and adequate ground clearance not only for forest service roads, but steep inclines into gas stations and driveways. Look for brands that are well-known and will hold resale value. Look for common appliances/components that are wide-spread in their use and can be fixed by any RV mechanic in any hole-in-the-wall town, vs. a fancy component from overseas that no one has ever heard of. Look for well-built frames and high payload (ie. GVWR minus weight of trailer), as that's an indicator of a trailer that's relatively "light" for its frame and axle setup.

Maybe one of the R Pods

Friends don't let friends buy Forest River products.
 
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