Travel Trailer Size Experiences & Recommendations?

lifeisgoodsteve

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Dec 12, 2018
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159
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Napa, CA
Hi All,

Has anyone learned some lessons from experience on some optimal travel trailer length range that will allow access to the most roads which one would reasonably tow a trailer?

My priority is to be able to live in the trailer during Fall in gorgeous areas of WY/MT/ID for a few months of the year to take advantage of the ability to work remotely, and therefore have much better access to hunting than a 16 hour drive. Just me and likely my two labs.

I'm aware and fine with not getting to all the trailheads with it as my main hunting will continue to be backcountry backpacking and also can do a truck basecamp for 7-10 days no problem if a trailer can't make it to rough to reach areas. That said ideally I'd really like to be able to access enough country to find gorgeous spots to enjoy nature living in my mobile office/home/base camp.

Anyone with actual experience in various areas you can share?

Thanks,

Steve
 

Voyageur

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Feb 12, 2020
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164
Not sure what you mean "travel trailer" but about 3 years back I bought a 7X14 cargo trailer that was factory insulated and wired along with baseboard heat. It had a ramp rear door for my ATV, sliding side window, roof vent, and a sliding RV style side door. I added some e-track so I could quickly put up a bed. It worked OK. Was really spacious for just me and adequate for two people. Definitely had to be more careful going down trails so I didn't get into an area with no way to turn around and get out. After three seasons of use (just this past winter) I sold it and opted instead for a Unicover fiberglass shell on my truck. I now tow my ATV in a small utility trailer that I can easily unhook and get turned around if I get into a tight spot. Main reasons for selling my bigger trailer are because pulling it added another layer to travel that I didn't really enjoy...almost doubled the cost of fuel, slightly limited where I could go. No big glaring shortcomings with the trailer, I just like to travel lighter and simpler.
Not sure this helps, but it's my experience.
 

mxgsfmdpx

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Oct 22, 2019
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Northern California
If it’s just you and two dogs go for a cab over camper. Just make sure your truck has the payload (different from towing capacity) to handle it.

What vehicle do you own as your haul vehicle?
 
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lifeisgoodsteve

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Dec 12, 2018
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Napa, CA
If it’s just you and two dogs go for a cab over camper. Just make sure your truck has the payload (different from towing capacity) to handle it.

What vehicle do you own as your haul vehicle?
Thanks guys. I’ve seriously considered the cabover as I have a 2011 Chevy duramax long bed. With a truck camper where do you store all the coolers?

I also have to think if I’d be cool living out of one for a couple months and being productive for work also. Can supplement with hotels as they seem cheap that time of year.

How easy is it to drop off one of the truck campers in a spot so can drive normally to access rougher country?
 
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lifeisgoodsteve

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Napa, CA
Voyageur- thanks, I had previously been thinking of simply a super short toilet/shower/utilities trailer I could disconnect and turn around if needed. For a week or two would be nice but as I’ll need to actually get work done I don’t think I’ll be focused enough lounging on a camp chair In 30’s weather or in my truck bed. For simply hunting trips the shell w bed when needed and backpack hunting is awesome.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
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Looking at the exact same thing. I looked up Colorado off road trailers they have a cargo craft that's a 7 by 14 so figure 18 foot overall length that has off road tires and suspension. I have found a hotspot antenna I can mount and looking at it I should be able to fit my Rokon, freezer and my office setup in it.

I've got the exact same concern about getting in and not being able to turn around in a lot of areas I go.

I was figuring on parking the trailer down on BLM near main roads where I have cell signal so I can work and then just using my truck as a mobile base camp for days when I'm hunting. I have a shell and roof top tent for me and the boys to sleep in.

I am probably working remotely for the rest of the year looking up what's going on and so I am working out west currently out of a rented cabin currently.
 
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lifeisgoodsteve

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Joined
Dec 12, 2018
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159
Location
Napa, CA
Looking at the exact same thing. I looked up Colorado off road trailers they have a cargo craft that's a 7 by 14 so figure 18 foot overall length that has off road tires and suspension. I have found a hotspot antenna I can mount and looking at it I should be able to fit my Rokon, freezer and my office setup in it.

I've got the exact same concern about getting in and not being able to turn around in a lot of areas I go.

I was figuring on parking the trailer down on BLM near main roads where I have cell signal so I can work and then just using my truck as a mobile base camp for days when I'm hunting. I have a shell and roof top tent for me and the boys to sleep in.

I am probably working remotely for the rest of the year looking up what's going on and so I am working out west currently out of a rented cabin currently.
For cell signal boosters, I just tested out this past week the Cel Fi Go X, which made a big difference taking 1 bar and making it 3 bars and useable and even a couple spots of zero bars to passable 2 bars. It's very pricey, but for me I need it for my home office internet/phone as my house has worse internet options than third world countries. Doubling use for home/hunting/backcountry living time made it worth it as it boosts up to 100db when all others are up to 70db. Not sure how much of a realistic difference it is, but it simply worked well this past week in the mountains.

The "off road"/winter-insulated ones that come up most seem to be the Arctic Fox and then Outdoors RV, but they're also the more expensive (of course).

In my case, I'm totally comfortable to buy a good deal used, then have a few months living in it and possibly just sell it after.
 

Voyageur

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Voyageur- thanks, I had previously been thinking of simply a super short toilet/shower/utilities trailer I could disconnect and turn around if needed. For a week or two would be nice but as I’ll need to actually get work done I don’t think I’ll be focused enough lounging on a camp chair In 30’s weather or in my truck bed. For simply hunting trips the shell w bed when needed and backpack hunting is awesome.
I had that same thought when I reread your initial post. Thanks.
 

mxgsfmdpx

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Oct 22, 2019
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Thanks guys. I’ve seriously considered the cabover as I have a 2011 Chevy duramax long bed. With a truck camper where do you store all the coolers?

I also have to think if I’d be cool living out of one for a couple months and being productive for work also. Can supplement with hotels as they seem cheap that time of year.

How easy is it to drop off one of the truck campers in a spot so can drive normally to access rougher country?
They are plenty spacious for coolers. Ours has a shower and toilet in a little bathroom. A decent size fridge and freezer. There is plenty of room for our large cooler as well. As long as your don’t try any steep side hilling you're fine. Just don’t cheap out on mounts.

Ours is also set up to tow a trailer behind with a special hitch from Torklift.
 

blueyceman

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Oct 17, 2019
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I recently bought a 2010 Wolfpup mostly for remote wellsite geology work (so I don't have to drive 100+ miles each way each day). First thing I did was upgrade the axle, added larger commercial truck tires to give it more clearance, bought a solar suitcase, removed the A/C unit and replaced with a fan (I'll be offgrid and don't want to lug a generator around constantly), painted the inside, and bought a quality inverter wiring it directly to the battery. Very happy with it so far. Tow it with a tacoma, weighs about 3200 dry and I've gotten it into some tighter spots already. I love the almost full size propane powered fridge that seems to consume pretty low amts of fuel. Also I think that buying something ten years old allowed me to save about $10k, and invest a little bit of that back into a beefier suspension and other upgrades.

Here are a few pics: Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 1.49.56 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 1.50.18 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 1.50.31 PM.png
 

timekiller13

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Dec 28, 2015
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I've seen some people take some pretty large travel trailers/5th wheels down forest service roads in Colorado, not to mention horse trailers. Heck, a couple years ago, Dad and I drove to the end of single lane forest road, that was pretty rough mind you, to find a 40+ foot 5th wheel toy hauler sitting at the end of it with 4 guys and some ATVs parked in a make shift camping spot.

I think if I was going to live out of one for a few months, I would want a decent size travel trailer, something along the lines of 22-26ft living space. Keep the overall length, tongue included, under 30 ft. You could always park it in a more accessible area and then drop it, set up shop and then drive your vehicle a couple more miles to access your hunting area. My Dad had a Jayco 22FB that was super nice for things like you are mentioning. Overall length was 25 ft, it weighed about 4000lbs so towed easily. Perfect living space for 2 people, or one person and some animals.

Another thing to keep in mind since you will be dry camping, is the capacity of your freshwater, blackwater and grey water tanks. Smaller campers usually have smaller tanks, which means you will be filling them up faster and then having to worry about dumping. Black water is not a big deal takes a while to fill it, but you can fill a small grey water tank quickly with just a couple showers if you aren't very aware of how much water you are using.

Also, make sure anything you buy has a propane powered fridge and propane powered water heater. Propane powered fridge use almost no fuel, a 30lb propane tank will literally last months if just running the fridge on it. That way you can keep your food cold and have hot water without any electricity hook ups. Your battery will run your lights forever if it's fully charged. Only thing you need electricity for is an A/C, but you can probably survive without that in the mountains in September. But, if I were living out of one, I would invest in a generator.
 

The John

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Aug 30, 2013
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West Linn, OR
I have a 27ft Outdoors RV (ORV) and I absolutely love mine. It is much larger of a rig that I thought I would ever buy but its been great. We mostly camp in the NF random sites and dry campgrounds which is where my ORV comes in. They are built to drive up/down the not so great roads and with LED lights, larger fresh water tanks/grey and black tanks, solar panels you can stay out for a while with a minimum amount of generator use.

There are lots of trailers that can do what you are looking for, but I wont be buying another brand anytime soon.

Pic is from two weeks ago, in the Ochoco National forrest.
 

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CCH

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Mar 10, 2017
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Colorado
We have used just about everything except a fifth wheeler or a motorhome. I thought a pop up truck camper would be great, but my wife did not like it. It was a pain going in and out of (pretty common in recreational camping), had limited space and had to be packed up to use the truck. Electric jacks would have helped, but in my limited experience just getting your truck bed properly lined up can be really tricky if you're not on level ground. It's not necessarily a quick procedure.

Lifted pop up trailers can be great for what you're describing. There are many tricks for improving their insulation, and they can go just about anywhere and are less likely to sustain damage going down the road because the cabinets all rest on the floor and everything is sort of cinched down. Down side is packing them up when the weather is bad.

We now have a small hard side bumper pull (about 21 feet with hitch) that works fine for two people for weekend trips. The tanks are simply too small for longer trips without hook-ups. As mentioned, tank size is a key feature. Construction is as well. Most campers are built like crap and don't hold up real well to lots of use on rough roads. Those big fifth wheelers you see are generally built to a higher standard and aren't as affected by the bumps they hit. So, they are tougher to get back there, but can take more abuse doing it.

We are looking hard at Outdoors RV campers. They are definitely designed to take more heavy use and colder temps. They offer some in the 21 foot range that would be perfect for what you describe, and you have enough truck to tow pretty much anything they sell.
 

Beendare

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In Traffic
fullsizeoutput_76.jpeg

Heres a buddies rig in the Arizona desert buried to the axles....and its not even that big. [then we proceeded to get 4 other trucks stuck trying to get it out. Ugly.

I think if I was getting one for a hunt/live in trailer it would be a pretty big one 30' or so, goose neck with capability of hauling a side by side in the back...there are some pretty nice ones- OH and buy it used.

My buddy picked this one up off of Copart auction site for $3500...I think its 26'.

________
 

2five7

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Joined
Jul 15, 2017
Messages
361
When referencing travel trailers, the stated length is generally meant to be the actual box length, not the total including the hitch. For a bumper pull, I'd say 24' is the sweet spot. Short enough to get into most places, and big enough to feel spacious inside. Can be pulled with just about any 1/2 ton or larger truck, as they only weigh in the 4000 lb dry range.
 

X-file

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Jul 15, 2017
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Location
Montana
First thought is ground clearance. Even though the roads are actual roads they do get deep ruts and pit holes in them. Second thought is for length. I would say 20’ to 26’ total trailer length will get you a lot of places. We traded our 23’ overall length keystone for an Outdoors RV. Much more ground clearance. Actual suspension with shocks. Much larger tanks for water, onboard generator and solar. Total length is 25’10”. First off-road trip is this weekend. But we bought it because we felt limited in the places we could go on the keystone. When we looked the Nash, Artic Fox and the ORV were the finalists. We went with the ORV as this is intended to be used for many years to come.


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