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Old 01-04-2017, 11:36 PM   #1
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Smile What Are Your Top 5 Recommendations for a Newbie?

Hi! I'm new to the forum. Our family (2 parents, 4 small kids, 1 small dog) is selling our house this spring and heading out on an open-ended-travel-the-country road trip. We homeschool and telecommute, so we've got an ideal set up, and we really want our kids to see the amazing beauty of our country.

After reading lots of horror stories about water damage issues, we've decided to buy new to try to avoid water problems. We love the 17xfd model, especially the mix of outdoor camping and TT conveniences. This is our first TT, and we're transitioning out of tent camping. We're aiming for a simpler life and aren't looking for a hotel room on wheels, so a hybrid seems like a great fit for us. Our TV is a 2008 Toyota Sequoia.

Before we head out on the road, I'd love to hear what 5 things you'd recommend. Are they things we need to bring with us? Things to do to our HTT or TV? Things to watch for on our HTT as we purchase/head out? What "top five" advice would you give to your friend who was selling it all and heading out to explore our country? I've researched and researched till my head is spinning, so I'd love a short and sweet list to help us focus as we count down to our departure date!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:10 AM   #2
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We don't full time so a list might differ but I did lots of homework and it's paid off with very little stress on our trips.
1. Things I don't leave home without: water pressure regulator, surge protector, 2 lengths of Rhino sewer hoses (just to make sure I can always reach) and the sewer elbow for the drain, box of stackable Lego style leveler blocks, water filter (attaches to outside water source and brass elbow so it will lie flat against trailer, dedicated drinking water quality fresh water hose, cable coax
2. Extras that are really helpful: clear sewer elbow for trailer side to see when tanks are empty and clean, expandable hose and spray wand to clean black tank from inside since I don't have black tank flush on outside, small folding table we place outside trailer door for all sorts of handy uses, headlamp so I have light hands free, small tool collection that stays with trailer (pliers, screwdrivers, crescent wrench, small hammer), extra power cord in case shore cord on TT doesn't reach
3. I keep all these things divided in 3 tubs stored in outside compartments, one is tools and stuff related to hooking up trailer for towing, one is the electric and water stuff (sewer hoses are in our bumper and I keep elbows in plastic bag) including box of disposable gloves, and another is some camping supplies (small propane bottles, small axe, folding hammock, wind proof lighter, lantern mantles, etc)
4. As you can see, we still are CAMPERS even though we have a TT. We kept all our camping gear and much of it's in the trailer: my Coleman stove and lantern, collapsible camp kitchen, folding chairs, etc. I still like cooking breakfast and dinners outside a few times each trip, and so forth.
5. All that was outside, which is my domain. My wife has done a great job inside with storage containers, door hooks, Command Hooks, linens, and decor to keep things organized and homey. So whoever has that gift, turn them loose!
That's plenty; others will have good tips too. Take what is most applicable to your set up. Don't skimp on having a great hitch set up and brake controller, even on lighter hybrid model like yours.
Happy Camping and Safe Travels!
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:50 AM   #3
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1. Sway control

2. More than the basic AAA package. you need a plan that will cover long
tows for both the trailer and the tow vehicle. We use Coach Net

3. An electric space heater. This will usually keep you warm without having
to use your propane supply. You will be using campground electricity
instead

4. Ability to use internet when not on wifi. You will want the ability to search
for campgrounds that are ahead of you on the road.

We are not full timers, but we typically take 1 to 3 month trips. Have traveled coast to coast and border to border including Alaska. It is wonderful out there. Enjoy!!
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:56 AM   #4
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The most important thing to me is safety. Boring stuff, but the most important.

1) Remember that both your trailer and tow are vehicles and they must operate safely to keep your family safe. Is the tow big enough and powerful enough for your trailer? Is your tow in good condition - are the tires good and kept properly inflated? Are the engine and transmission up to the task? All the lights work? How about the trailer - how are the tires? Do the brakes really work? Do the lights work? Do both the tow and vehicle tires have a TPMS? Will you check the hitch and the connection to the trailer, all the tire pressures, and all tire conditions and lights daily? Will you drive conservatively, or are you in too big of a hurry to get somewhere? Do you have a way to put a spare tire on?

2) Electrical safety - you gotta have some method of checking campground 30 or 50 amp outlets for proper electrical connections. A bad ground or reversed neutral/hot can kill you or your family. Both issues are not nearly as uncommon as they should be.

3) How will you maintain contact with the world? Do you have a weather radio? Will you keep current on weather forecasts? How high a wind do you want to drive in? What will you do to keep your family safe in really bad weather? If there is a tornado warning, where will your family evacuate to?

4) Do your trailer smoke and propane detectors actually work? Does your family have an escape plan in the event of fire?

Beyond safety, the most important thing to me about owning a modern trailer is the necessity to keep it dry inside. Not for user comfort, but to keep the trailer from disintegrating around you. Every penetration into the roof or sides of you trailer needs to be checked regularly, like at least monthly. Will you seal with caulking, Eternabond, or something else? As you know, if water gets into the roof or walls, damage is difficult and $$ to fix. Any leak needs to be fixed now, not tomorrow.

I know this listing looks long, complicated, and scary. But you asked. Lots of folks operate and tow trailers safely and you thinking about important trailering issues is proof that you want to do so, so you will. I'm sorry that this list is neither complete, short nor sweet, but there is a lot of stuff to keep in mind. And more that others will call attention to.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:57 AM   #5
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There are some basics that you will need.
Electrical:
- 3 prong outlet checker (insure CG pedestal is wired correctly)
- 110VAC Digital Voltage Display (insure proper CG voltage)
- Surge protector (protects against CG voltage spikes/improper wiring)
- 12Volt Digital Voltage Display (insure batteries are ok)
- Good small ceramic heater (we use the oscillating type)
- 12Volt table top fan (get the one that uses the TT battery.. has adapter with it)
- Voltage/Amp meter (to troubleshoot electrical issues)
- Extra fuses
- Good High intensity LED rechargeable flashlight
- Extra COAX cable and connector - just in case

Water:
- An inline water filter (Walmart has them)
- Water pressure regulator
- Extra 3/4" white water hose

Keep them out, before they get in!
- Foam spray (crawl under TT and spray EVERY little/big opening - Don't wait until you have a critter in the TT)

Reflective Roadside warning triangles (just in case)

A good Roadside service plan Good Sam (we had to use ours last summer for a flat tire AT THE CG - lucky us.. they were out and plugged the tire within the hour)

IF you plan on doing any dry-camping (no electric, water, dump) that is another list.

The other posts all have GREAT additional suggestions also.

Glad you asked before your started your NEW LIFE!!!

Don
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:14 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have a great idea to travel full time.
1) Stay within your weight limits including the cargo capacity of your Sequoia.
2) Use a good weight distribution hitch with built in sway control. We use an Equalizer brand 4 point hitch. Easy to hook-up and disconnect, plus it works great.
3) Emergency road side service. We had AAA, but cancelled that and went with Good Sam's service.
4) Take your time! We usually drive 55-60 mph and try to scope out in advance where we are going (Thanks Google maps & Google Earth).
5) Have fun!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:42 AM   #7
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First thing that comes to mind is the old 10lbs in a 5lb bag. You said you are not looking for a hotel room on wheels but I would describe what you are proposing as pretty much a hotel room on wheels with a kitchenette. The set up for a family of your size would be great for weekends and summer vacations to where ever, but for full timing it seems like a bad idea. Admittedly I am not a tiny house kind of guy, but just seems like a constant swap of use purpose each day as you switch from sleep mode to eat mode to teach mode to eat mode again and then evening mode in a small single space living area. My wife and I [3 kids and a couple dogs] cut our teeth in a pop up, taking countless fall outings and vacations all over the lower 48; BUT full timing would have lasted less than 48 hours as DW, Dkids, Ddogs, and me wouldn't be speaking in a friendly way.

If you move forward with your plan, you can forget most of the stuff others have suggested since you will not have room for it. You will need sewer hoses, extension cord, water hose, etc but there isn't a huge storage area in the hybrid and your TV will be taxed in tow weight and overall capacity even with the basics. Your set up will basically be a tiny house on wheels pulled by a small Tv that is packed to the gills with stuff, people, and the dog.

Recommendations? I would start with a bigger TV probably a 1500 crew cab pickup with V8 or ecoboost power. You will have a more appropriate TV with space for your stuff in the bed. Personally I would step up to a larger TT with bunkhouse and more room / privacy for the parents. Its the full timing plan that causes me to ?? your plan. Wish you the best!
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:36 AM   #8
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OK I am going to be different here... 4 small kids.. they are going to grow.. For the length of time, I perceive, you are going to be in this rig I think you will find your better off with a bunkhouse model..
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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Before you spend a lot of money on this rig, I'd suggest you see if you can rent something similar and take a 3 or 4 day weekend trip.
I think you'll very quickly see the wisdom in BassDogs post above.
And if it's a rainy, cold weekend so you have to stay inside for 4 days - even better (or worse) :-).
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:10 AM   #10
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As BuddyRay mentioned... see if you can rent one THAT SIZE first, for a few days. Size will be an issue... or it may not. Better to be sure first. Give a local dealer a call and see if he has any good trade ins that you could rent.

Don
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250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
MagicJack Internet Phone
2012 Ford F150XLT, EcoBoost w/3.73
157" Wheel base, HD Towing Package

Our Solar Album http://www.jaycoowners.com/album.php?albumid=329
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