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Old 02-05-2017, 07:36 AM   #1
tkarmsfull
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Any Large Family RVers....help us make it happen

Hello just joined the Forum and, for better or for worse, am hoping for so good, solid, honest advice.

We do not have a TT yet but hope to. However, we are a family of 8 although 1 ds is on his own and 1 is in college. So full time we have 4 DC at home and then the college Ds on some weekends and in the summer. As you can imagine our primary vehicle is an SUV...2008 Expedition EL XLT.

I know from reading that SUV towing is not recommended due to the fact they aren't really designed to pull large trailers. Our vehicle is paid off and we hesitate to buy a truck as it won't haul everyone. So I am wondering what do large families do? The cars that transport them won't work for the size trailer that most need.

DH and I have looked at the Hybrid but really don't love them or the Pop Ups. Are we relegated to tent camping and just need to get a better mattress? lol

Please be honest but considerate as I know many of you have talked till your blue in the face about GVWRs, Payload, GCWR, Tongue weight.....etc. to those who are new to RVing!

Thanks,
T
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:24 AM   #2
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A good friend of ours has 8 children, so there were 10 of them. They had a Ford F350 "bus van" with a diesel engine, bought a 30' Sand Piper (I think) bunkhouse and enjoyed camping as much as any family. Their problem was where to carry all the bikes, trikes, wagons and doll houses that were a necessary part of every camping trip. Somehow, they managed and now that all (yes every one) of the kids are grown, at any family gathering, without fail, camping comes up in the conversations as they talk fondly about the happy memories they have.

So, possibly look at some of the "large van" offerings that have seating for up to 15. You might find something that would work for your "relatively small family" (compared to some).....

My suggestion: Find the suitable trailer first !!!! That way you know the requirements that your tow vehicle has to meet (beyond the number of seats) and you're assured that the vehicle you do finally choose is up to the challenge of towing as well as seating.
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:34 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum from Southern MD. I know of several large families that camp. If you look on YouTube there is a family with 9 kids that full times it. Search for Knorp and South. They ended up buying a dually and a big fith wheel with a bunk room and they modified it. There are some lightweight bunk room TTs out there that might fit your need. Have fun looking. The RV shows are getting into full swing right now.


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Old 02-05-2017, 08:39 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. I'll keep my response simple and truthful. Any half ton towing a large tow behind will not have enough payload for a large, growing family of 8. If you're looking to keep your current TV and purchase a camper large enough to accommodate 6-8 people, your only option would be a tent camper or possibly a lightweight hybrid.

If, on the otherhand, you're open to acquiring a new TV, your options will be more plentiful. Tow vehicles that come to mind are 3/4 ton to full ton passenger vans...i.e. Chevy's Express or Ford's Transit lines.

Good luck and welcome.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:27 AM   #5
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Trying to keep it simple I have to agree with busterbrown above.

The vehicle will pretty much be maxed out by 6 people and all their "stuff" for any length of stay. A travel trailer of any size is going to be too much IMO. That said, I do see many folks using hybrids and pop ups with lots of kids - usually smaller out camping and having a blast. They make BIG pop ups nowadays compared to what they had when I was 20-25. I wish you the best of luck in finding something. We thought our pop up was a wonderful upgrade from tent camping.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:30 AM   #6
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Appreciate these suggested options.

Wanted to apologize if this thread is in the wrong area as I see there is a "perspective owners" forum please move this if you need.

So DH and I are talking and really evaluating our needs now and in the future. Of the 4 dc who are still home full time 2 will be moving on (or at least most likely) as they become adults. When all dc are off DH and I are eyeing a sweet little micro type TT. We love the cozy feeling of those and we are drawn to them. However with 4 other people to house that's not practical. At this point our "perfect" TT is the Grand Touring 2670BHS we also like the 2400BH.

*want to add 21OURS to list of Possibles
We are browsing the F250/F350 diesel market as the reality is we should have bought a Pick up years ago. We are always hauling something besides kids! The Expedition has been a Wonderful vehicle and served us well. Never thought of a Van. I will pass this on to DH.

Thanks again,
T
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:52 AM   #7
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My problem a few years ago. Our final fix for 3 kids and 9 grand.
My truck F350 CC LB DRW . Fiver 365MB sleeps 8+.
Kids truck 2500 Chev CC.

I tow fiver has all the needs for the woman. Not all go at same time. Norm is about 10-12. No overload problems.

Vech 2 takes all the gear including a large castle tent ( can make rooms ), bikes, kayaks wood and other stuff, which loads truck.

Meets changes as they happen and tons of fun.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by tkarmsfull View Post
Appreciate these suggested options.

Wanted to apologize if this thread is in the wrong area as I see there is a "perspective owners" forum please move this if you need.

So DH and I are talking and really evaluating our needs now and in the future. Of the 4 dc who are still home full time 2 will be moving on (or at least most likely) as they become adults. When all dc are off DH and I are eyeing a sweet little micro type TT. We love the cozy feeling of those and we are drawn to them. However with 4 other people to house that's not practical. At this point our "perfect" TT is the Grand Touring 2670BHS we also like the 2400BH.

*want to add 21OURS to list of Possibles
We are browsing the F250/F350 diesel market as the reality is we should have bought a Pick up years ago. We are always hauling something besides kids! The Expedition has been a Wonderful vehicle and served us well. Never thought of a Van. I will pass this on to DH.

Thanks again,
T
IMO just keep browsing until you find a larger vehicle (truck) if you think there are other needs for it. Personally, we couldn't live without a truck because we are always loading up and hauling something somewhere for someone that doesn't have one - or for ourselves. The reasons I would suggest the truck are several (other than the above); you can carry "stuff" in them...lots of stuff, you can tow with them (large trailers), they are as comfortable as a car/van/SUV and they are more "stylish" than the aforementioned (I know, a very subjective view )

I know you are drawn to a micro trailer now, and they seem cool, but wait until you retire and try to spend a month in one. You may still love it but I suspect you will tire of it quickly. We spend months at a time in RV parks and I've seen maybe 1-2 (southern US). Buying the larger truck keeps your options open without having to go through all the hoops again; and as I said, I don't think you will be giving up a thing other than interior "people" room possibly. Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:43 AM   #9
tkarmsfull
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I love all the things you are giving us to think about! GREAT suggestions and advice.

Thanks so much!
T

PS- in truth those Fifth Wheels intimidate me. I can't imagine having to haul one! YIKES If Dh couldn't drive I am not sure we could leave. lol
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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TK, you just need to "man-up" (Did I just say that? No, I meant take the bull by the horns!) If you can raise the number of children you did AND keep the same husband I would say you have all it takes to learn 5th wheeling. None of us knew what we were doing the first time Dad let us try to back up the utility trailer. We see lots of women hauling fivers in our RV park every year. And mark my word, NONE of them need my help backing into a tight spot.
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:19 AM   #11
tkarmsfull
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TK, you just need to "man-up" (Did I just say that? No, I meant take the bull by the horns!) If you can raise the number of children you did AND keep the same husband I would say you have all it takes to learn 5th wheeling. None of us knew what we were doing the first time Dad let us try to back up the utility trailer. We see lots of women hauling fivers in our RV park every year. And mark my word, NONE of them need my help backing into a tight spot.

My experience backing utility/flatbed trailers has NOT instilled confidence in my abilities!!!
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:45 AM   #12
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Some others thoughts about what my friends have done to camp with large families. If you do not have enough room for all the family in 1 vehicle. Some one drives a 2nd vehicle. If you cannot sleep all in a RV some sleep in little tents. Staked out at the site or next site away.
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Old 02-05-2017, 12:49 PM   #13
tkarmsfull
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Some others thoughts about what my friends have done to camp with large families. If you do not have enough room for all the family in 1 vehicle. Some one drives a 2nd vehicle. If you cannot sleep all in a RV some sleep in little tents. Staked out at the site or next site away.
We have tossed this around but the ages and genders of our 4 don't make it a good option. DS 15, DD13, DD5, DS 3. Not wanting to put teens together in 1 tent as the boy girl thing and privacy. The other are a bit too young to be there without mom and dad.


So we are looking into another TV but the hard truth is money is an object. So we either have to wait a few years to buy our RV so we can buy a different TV or we find something our Expedition can reasonably tow for now.....or an unknown relative suddenly bequeaths us a large amount of money!! We cant do both RV and TV. Perhaps we need to give the Pop ups another look....

OR look into a class C!! Hee hee
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:03 PM   #14
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I understand. With children safety and privacy are important. You won't be the first family to start with a pop up. We did, Dad got a 1960s model. We used it maybe 8 years. Our family was only 5 total. When I became a dad, having 2 sons. We were going to get a pop up and looked at several. Ended up with a Regular TT a used 14fter that had everything but shower or tub. Even so, that was to small for 4 since 2 were under 5 years old. Good luck with that ever you work out. Best times for many is remembering those family camp trips.
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Old 02-05-2017, 05:13 PM   #15
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We have tossed this around but the ages and genders of our 4 don't make it a good option. DS 15, DD13, DD5, DS 3. Not wanting to put teens together in 1 tent as the boy girl thing and privacy. The other are a bit too young to be there without mom and dad.


So we are looking into another TV but the hard truth is money is an object. So we either have to wait a few years to buy our RV so we can buy a different TV or we find something our Expedition can reasonably tow for now.....or an unknown relative suddenly bequeaths us a large amount of money!! We cant do both RV and TV. Perhaps we need to give the Pop ups another look....

OR look into a class C!! Hee hee
My thoughts. You have the Expedition you love - I assume it is in good mechanical shape and can last several more years?? If so, look at a pop up that fits mom, pop and the little ones. Let the teens sleep in their own small tents at night. I did that for many years and so did my kids when they got to be that age. They liked it. Back then you didn't have all of the space age materials to keep you warm and dry like you do now - I would love it! (As long as I didn't get soaked every time it rained like I used to "back when".)
I would love to say get a smaller full size RV but even small ones will have a tongue weight that's in the hundreds of pounds and the Expedition will be loaded already.

If the Expedition is not in great shape (it's 9 years old), look at a new TV with an eye on what you eventually want for an RV and maybe pick some interim type of trailer (pop up again) that could be a bridge from the "now" until the time you could upgrade to a larger RV money wise. I think we've all been in your place and wish you the best.
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Old 02-05-2017, 05:50 PM   #16
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My brother and I were "banished" to tent when the family had a camper. Then we were upgraded to the camper shell when we had a 19' Ideal TT. It's how you deal with it I guess, my dad always said boys were meant to rough it.

A class C might be a viable option, and you can get a good used one for a reasonable price. Keystone doesn't make any drivables that I know of, but that doesn't mean you can't stick around and ask questions if you find a candidate. Gas mileage isn't going to be much worse than towing a trailer and you'd be surprised how many beds you make in a C class.
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:31 PM   #17
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I forgot to address the Class C in my previous post.

I see very few of them. I see even fewer that accommodate 6 folks comfortably while camping....and, as with any motorized RV, what then do you do when you get "there"? We talked to our neighbor yesterday (motorhome pulling a new Jeep 4 door Sahara) and they said they had family at an RV campground down the road in a Class C.....for 2 months with no vehicle?? What do they do? They ride a bicycle for the 3 miles back to the Big Top grocery!! Ain't gonna happen here (and it's their parents....and our neighbors look to be at least 65 plus??).
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:45 PM   #18
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Your looking in the wrong places LOL!

Doing a PDI on a brand new C that would sleep 6 adults comfortably.
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Old 02-05-2017, 07:56 PM   #19
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You all have given me some really well thought out and gracious answers and I am grateful for them. We are now wiping the slate clean so to speak and will be starting again with a new perspective. We need to really list what is the most important part of the dream and go from there. Thanks for bringing us back to level headedness again. (Is that even a word? Lol)

Sourdough your thoughts on the Class C are the reasons we had for looking at the TT. We like to explore the area when we camp.

Well it looks like we have a new goal and, like you all have said, lots of shows and dealerships (both car and RV) to see.

Thanks and blessings!
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:35 PM   #20
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tk - you are experiencing what I suspect most RVrs have gone through. Heck. when we bought this RV, owning 2 vacation homes, it was one of the most analytical things we had gone through....just to decide if it was smart to get one. After that trying to decide if it would work, what would work, what it would take to tow it etc. is a brain filling experience. For us, as a retired couple looking to "look around" and wanting the most room in the best accommodations we could find it took a lot of time to get what we wanted. Looking for a larger family is much more difficult and time consuming. We have discussed most/all of the aspects that you have to consider when you move to this decision. Ultimately it will be hard, you will have to delete things you want and then make a decision on.....what you think is important.
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