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Old 06-08-2019, 07:45 PM   #11
cookinwitdiesel
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You may want to consider a bunkhouse model with a spacious bedroom for you. The bunkhouse can be the kids space that doesn't have to be setup and torn down every day. With a large enough bedroom, you can set up a "desk" over the dresser area possibly and use that to remain productive.

Some good keystone options that come to mind:
Avalanche 378BH (also available with residential fridge in 379BH)
Montana High Country 364BH (also available with residential fridge in 365BH)
Montana High Country 362RD

All of those are also bath and a half models which will be appreciated I think with 5 people sharing one trailer.

I personally just took home a Grand Design Solitude S-Class 3740BH which is also a nice bath and a half bunkhouse model with a lot of space in the front bedroom also. A family who calls themselves the Wandering Arrows had the same model and full-timed in it until they had to stop for medical reasons and the husband who worked on the road built a nice office setup in the bedroom that may work well for you as well. Here is their tour, the link will jump you to the bedroom where you can see his setup. I know this is a Keystone forum, not saying you have to get a GD, just showing what may be possible with a little tweaking in one of the above mentioned models.

https://youtu.be/2Dc4sf9ucbs?t=705

And yes, get a diesel dually, do not get a smaller truck and compromise your safety or RV choice.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:43 AM   #12
Tbos
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I’d say go for it. There are a lot of You-Tube videos out there of families that full time. I do think a bunk house model may work Bet than the mid bunk. Buy a good used DUALLY to tow it. The safety of your family depends on it. Let us know what you decide. Have fun shopping.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:54 AM   #13
Local150
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Kids

If you have 3 young kids, have you considered a MH ? I had 1 when kids were little and was good, kids could move around some, lay down and eat etc. I now have a 30ft. 5ver, but now it's just me
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:48 AM   #14
sonofcy
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Don't forget when looking for sites to also account for width with slides out especially if they are on both sides. Also check height. Obviously a diesel dually is needed to safely tow it, a one ton crew cab long box would be best. I use a Ford F450 and it's my only vehicle plus I live in lotus land where small cars are the norm. I just consider it a bonus to park further away and get some free exercise. It drives like a regular car and cuts faster than all but a few models of F150's due to wide track.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:04 PM   #15
johnlewis
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Consider how often you will move around. With kids that young, I think any move will be complicated, and cause some upset. They'll get used to it eventually.
You will want a big unit. We full-timed in a 37' 5th wheel, and loved the unit, because with 4 slides, it felt like a small apartment.
Look at the GVWR on the trailer. This is the maximum recommended weight with your possessions, etc. You will probably have to work to stay at or below that weight. 5ers have a lot of storage space. The first time we loaded ours to full-time, we were 1,000 lbs overweight.
With that GVWR, go looking for a truck. The truck you buy should be able to handle the pin load (20% of the 5er weight is a good rule of thumb). Its "payload" should be able tro handle the pin load, plus all the items in the truck (you, passengers, all the stuff you have to have in the truck for the kids, and anything you put in the bed of the truck). You may not find a 1-ton dually (350 or 3500 series) to handle this. You might have to go to a 450 or 550 series truck. A diesel engine will make towing so much easier, especially towing in hilly or mountainous areas.
If you and your wife (especially your wife) are excited about full-timing, the do it. From experience, I will suggest you be sure she is excited about the idea, not just acquiescing to you. Happy wife, happy life.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:28 PM   #16
elbzero
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the advice! I meant to come back here and read all the replies earlier, we had a lot of stuff going on this week. I came back to see all this amazing advice.

It is good to see so many people willing to share your experiences, it real helps to know there will be people to help as we learn the ropes

A few things :

I think you guys are right about the kids, they probably won't get much out of it from a memory stand point, but like some others said hopefully even if we don't go full time in the future that we get them started young and carry the tradition on into their older years.

For the dually, seems like several people have suggested this. In some of my research I heard this is a good thing to have, I think understand the basic physics of why this is better, but just wondering if some of you could elaborate on why it so essential to have. I definitely want to make safety my number one priority, especially with carry the kiddos.

cookinwitdiesel Wandering Arrows was a great recommendation, his office setup seemed very nice.

Brentw The driving school is actually a really good idea, I don't know if they offer anything like that near me, but if they do I am going to check it out. At the very least I have a few friends who are experienced trailer drivers ( including my father ) so hopefully they can help teach me the ropes.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:40 PM   #17
Logan X
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With the suggestions you received regarding getting a Dually, It essentially comes down to payload capacity. The payload capacity is the amount of weight you can carry inside of your truck. This includes the pin weight of your fifth wheel in addition to all of the occupants and cargo in the truck.

The payload capacity is different for every truck and it is listed on a sticker inside the drivers door. It says “all occupants and cargo shall not exceed xxxx pounds.”

The pin weight on bigger fifth wheels is around 3 thousand pounds or more. To accommodate the heavy pin weight, you need a truck with a large payload (or cargo carrying capacity) hence a Dually.

A 3/4 ton truck, like an F250, has a payload around 2000 pounds. A 1 ton single rear wheel truck, like an F350, has a payload capacity around 3000 to 3500 pounds, and a dual rear wheel 1 ton, like an F450, has a payload capacity of around 4000 to 5000 pounds. Those are just rough estimates to use as examples.

Also, the Dually will be the most stable towing platform for a large fifth wheel.

When you are looking at weights, don’t use the dry or empty weights. For calculating the pin weight on a fifth wheel, it will be about 22% of the trailers fully loaded weight, or the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Trailer GVWR x .22 = estimated pin weight. Or for a 16000 pound trailer the pin weight would be around 3500 pounds.

I hope that made sense.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:04 AM   #18
Roy Finchville
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1) check warranty/guaranty first. RV’s were not designed to live in for extended time period. DO NOT RELIE on Sales Rep.
2) Travel Trailers generally lighter and less expensive but smaller and more prone to side sway from wind,etc.
3) Public Campgrounds usually limit to 30 amp(1 air conditioner), not longer than 30 feet long. Not more than a 2 week stay.
4) suggest become a member of Good Sam’s or other organization which addresses ability to forward mail from one Good Sams park to another. Also has many other perks.
5) may want to look at long term service agreement with National Company that services at campgrounds. Of the last 9 months my camper has sat on lot 5 months. While more models and layouts are available the repair side of the industry leaves much to be desired. The quick money is in the initial sale . Having to stay in a hotel while also travel trailer payments gets old very fast.
6) Find the units you like and then query them on line before buying. I found out the hard way. Seems like the Company and unit I purchased has a ling history if problems which they are not willing to address as ling as they can make sales.
7) Be aware that R V industry is self regulating. Outside of axles and traffic lighting they can pretty much do what ever they want. I have not found an RV company that requires a Licensed Architect or Licensed Engineer to stamp and approve an RV. The industry succeeds because the number of new people buying new trailers that use them for a short period and then sit.
8) The bigger the trailer the bigger the vehicle to pull it. Always use the projected total loaded vehicle weight NOT dry weight when sizing a vehicle to tow a trailer. Trailer Brakes are important. An undersized vehicle may for a short time pull the load but it has to stop it. Turbochargers and other after market equipment may help for short time until engine/transmission/rear differential etc. repeatedly fail.

All that being said my family has camped for 42 years and it helped us grow closer and see America . Being in campgrounds we have met people from all over the world.
I would rather be in a parking lot campground than a 4 star hotel.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:56 PM   #19
notanlines
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The suggestion of a class A with children moving around and laying down and eating is a very bad idea, possibly resulting in tragic consequences for obvious reasons. If one believes a child would be in peril in an auto at a 65 mph collision, simply imagine the danger bouncing around a box without restrictions.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:48 PM   #20
chuckster57
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If you get a class A then getting groceries requires either taking the “house” to the store, or buying an additional vehicle to drag around. Laws have changed and a towed vehicle is supposed to have a braking system, break away and brake/turn signals, or a trailer to put it on.

“Drivable” RV’s do come with additional seat belts but there may not be enough. NO RV dealer can legally alter or add seat belts. IMO your best case is a large Fiver, large truck and a sense of adventure!!
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