Author Topic: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay  (Read 17519 times)

Matte

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« on: August 14, 2013, 09:44:57 AM »
My wife and I are considering buying a used travel trailer. (have a tow vehicle already)  18-22 foot or so, 10-15 years old costing $4k to 6k (2500 a gift for cleaning and selling a relatives camper).We have done lots of tenting, hotel travel, and such but I really want to be more off the beaten path (and my wife wants showers and security).  Am I crazy for wanting one of these? I know il only get 11mpg towing.  We live in bc canada, there is pretty much unlimited wilderness camping within 1hr to a few hours away (free in forestry sites) My wife is a teacher, summers off, I work in oil (shift) and get 10 weeks off a year plus all my weekends are 3 day sets off.  Unlike most people I actually think we would get a lot of use out of it.  Tents we like but limits is to pay sites with showers (that solar bag shower is not enough), tent trailers have the same issue. 

Maybe you guys can talk me out of this.  I know it's a convenience thing, and a bit luxury and lazy.  I just feel like we would actually get good value of use and enjoyment out of this.  I'm handy so maintenance is not really an issue.  Also I don't see depreciation as an issue as we will be buying in the us and importing to Canada so it could be re-sold for a profit easily.


NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6420
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 10:11:46 AM »
By "travel trailer", you mean some kind of RV or "fifth wheel", right?  I'm not sure of the correct terminology--but I have not heard of the term "travel trailer" before.

Matte

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 10:13:48 AM »
Towable trailer likE a 5th wheel but pulled from a standard hitch and smaller.

NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6420
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 10:19:08 AM »
Gotcha. Thanks.

You said that you wanted to be able to get off the beaten path.  Won't this rig actually limit you a bit, in terms of traveling on 4WD roads, etc?

huadpe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 10:40:37 AM »
Also I don't see depreciation as an issue as we will be buying in the us and importing to Canada so it could be re-sold for a profit easily.

Be -really- careful about the legal side of this.  CBSA can be very not-nice about improperly declared vehicle importations, and if it's not done properly or the trailer doesn't meet modern safety standards, you may have a hard time getting plates for it.  At a minimum, they'll want you to pay GST/HST when you import or register it.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 11:42:41 AM »
So you already camp, but you'd see this as an upgrade to your camping, something that'd help your wife enjoy the trips more, something that might mean you'd take more frequent trips, right?  I ask this because I've occasionally heard of people buying campers FOR THEIR FIRST CAMPING TRIPS and discovering that they dislike camping.  That's an expensive mistake. 

Also, you're not talking about borrowing money for a camper, are you?  This is a luxury, and you never borrow for luxuries.
Buying used is a great idea.  Plenty of people buy these things, thinking they'll use them constantly, and then after the initial honeymoon period, they just sit in the driveway.  Some things probably shouldn't be purchased used, but campers are probably near the top of the "good idea to buy second-hand" list.   

Could you borrow -- or even rent -- a camper before you make the investment to buy?  It'd be great for you to be able to try a number of sizes and styles before you take the financial plunge yourself. 

My husband and I are interested in a buying a teardrop camper once the kids are both out of the house.  They're much less expensive than full-fledged campers, and we think it'd be a worthwhile investment for us.  We're middle-aged now, and we like camping but also like the idea of sleeping on a mattress!  Since you're handy, you might even consider building your own teardrop. 

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 12:01:31 PM »
It is definitely cost effective if you give up your house to do it!

Otherwise it depends on the ratio to hotels to tent camping you normally do.

I wrote a very brief summary of RV living for frugal RV newbies based on my experiences here:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/minor-celebrity.html

(starts about 1/3 of the way down, after the second ---------------------------------- section divider)

At the bottom is some links to ideas for improving MPGs

Feel free to post or PM me any specific RV related questions - I have been full-timing (including a couple cross country trips) for the past 12 years.

Matte

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 10:24:02 PM »
As for the money it would be cash and not debt. It would be a couple months without making an extra mortgage payment.  As for the cbsa I am not worried about that, I have imported several vehicles and a utility trailer before.  There is tax, that's it, no inspection on trailers.  As for the camping right now we camp about 3 weeks a year in pay sites in a tent and do 4-5 in hotels.  I could see that flip flopping with the trailer to more weeks in the trailer then hotels.  I grew up wilderness camping in a camper lots, my wife has not experienced it too much.  I really do think trailers are a great deal used.

NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6420
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 07:26:13 AM »
I would say go for it, and let us know how it goes.

I am thinking of doing a similar thing one of these days--I want a slide-in camper for my truck.  Just a small, pop-up type like a Four Wheel Eagle.  I think during the summers (which I have off, since I teach), I would spend very little time at home!

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1047
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 07:49:28 AM »
We have one and love it.  We don't rough it, we pay for sites with hookups in state parks.  We camp easily a month (total) out of every year (basically 2 summer weeks, 2 winter weeks, plus some long weekends here and there).  My DH wouldn't camp without the camper, and it is in any case without question true for us that we camp longer and ignore the weather more (there is no way I would routinely tent camp 2 weeks in the winter, even in our mild southern US climate, and dealing with the ~3 big lightning storms that hit during our big summer camping trip would have been a real nuisance in a tent) with the camper.

 

Matte

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 04:35:51 PM »
Glad to hear the positive advice.  Thanks for the frugal camping links tips.  I think we will go for it, and jump when the price is right on a rig we like.  I like those pop up truck campers personally but my wife prefers the tow behind. 

Matte

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2013, 10:30:28 PM »
Well we pulled the trigger on a 2004 18' nomad trailer.  Paid $5000, just picked it up and brought it through the border today.  No issues at the border other then getting drilled a bit about why the price was so low, a/c was broken(no big deal), and it was the end of the year with a very motivated seller.  Paid my tax and now all I need is a fridge recall fixed (free) and a Safety inspection. 

Pulling it (4200lb dry) with the half ton was not bad, I got 10.6 mpg, by comparison on the way down we got 20.1mpg.  Honestly for the shorter distances we go and being free of paying for services and fee campsites the mpg doesn't seem that bad. 

NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6420
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: Justifying travel trailer yay or nay
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 08:15:47 AM »
Sounds great.  Hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it!