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Old 02-23-2014, 03:02 PM   #1
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Fulltiming in a SLX 185RB?

Hi everyone, I'm a soon to be newbie (taking delivery at the end of March) and will be diving right into full-timing. I'm not new to camping, but have never owned (or towed for that mater) my own trailer (don't worry, I plan to take it slow and stick close to home until I get my sea legs). Like all newbies, I have a ton of questions. Here is one: Does anyone out there have any experience full timing in these smaller/lighter trailers, and do you have any suggestions about how to make it a self contained unit? The TT will have only one 12V battery. I'm thinking I will need a 2000W generator with an inverter. Is that off base? I could add another battery too, but the CCC on these light weight trailers is very low. I'm going to need to travel light. Thanks for any insights you might have! - Tin Lizzie
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to JOF, Tin;

What is your tow vehicle? A strong tow vehicle can help make up for limited space and capacity. If you have the money for it - I would go for solar and plan on extra battery capacity. You'll also want to get a good quality roof vent fan and vent covers....a battery monitoring / amp draw modification would be a must.

Do search in the archives for "Lightweight camping" ...and spend your time going through the boondocking and full-timing sections for starters.

Good luck
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:24 PM   #3
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Thanks Three B.,

The tow vehicle is still an open question. The specs for the 185 RB says a Ford Escape with a factory tow package can pull it, but the GVW of the TT and the towing capacity of the Escape are exactly equal - 3,500lbs. I'd like to consider getting the Escape because of the gas mileage, but wouldn't I want my tow vehicle to be heavier than the TT to prevent the tail from wagging the dog?? If not the Escape, than probably a full size SUV. I'm open to suggestions.

I'm already planning on a second battery and would love to go solar one day. Unfortunately though, solar is not in my immediate future. So that's why I'm thinking a generator (a quiet one) to bridge the gap. No? I saw an ad for a Champion 2000 W gen/inverter that was only 5.3 (I think) decibels. I thought it might be worth a look.

I believe I have a roof vent fan and vent covers with the package I purchased from Jayco. There are monitoring "things" for the battery and the water tanks too. Is that what you mean? You lost me at "amp draw modification".

Thanks for your thoughts. I greatly appreciate it!

TL
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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I'm assuming you are going full-time touring - state parks - boondocking....if so, I would go with a larger TV....something in the 5,000lb range w/ 4WD or AWD. Lugging a generator, gas, waste tote and extra water storage === I would lean toward a medium sized crew cab pick-up with bed cover or cap.

The Champion probably wont run your A/C....do some homework searching this list and on youtube for comparative testing.

Following is a link to a thread on battery metering....there are many others as well.......

https://www.jaycoowners.com/showthrea...the-12V-System
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:06 PM   #5
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Thanks again! Yes, I'll be in state and national parks, but I'll be working. You are confirming what I already knew but didn't want to accept. Forget the Escape. Got it.

I have a dog that will be with me too. A 14 yr. old 70 lb. dog. so a pickup wouldn't work right now. I thought about a van, even bought one with a tow package and break connector/controller and everything (Chevy G20 Sport Van), but it turned out to be a big mistake. 10 MPG and it's just too much "truck" for me (3/4 ton). So now I'm selling the van so I can buy a smaller tow vehicle with a little less muscle. Good point about a TV with at least a 5,000 lb. towing capacity. and storage for stuff I won't be able to fit in the TT. That's why I originally went for the van. Now that the TV is not going to be a van, 4WD or AWD will absolutely be a requirement. So if is not going to be a van or a pickup, I guess that leaves me with a SUV.

Thanks for the link to the voltmeter. Great suggestion. I'll do some more research on the generator.

TL
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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Congratulations! I do agree if you are in the market for a different TV, I would get something over rated for what you need/want. When you are looking at the tow rating, the calculation is based on an average size driver (170 lbs) and a full tank of fuel. Nothing else inside the TV. So if the Escape is rated at 3500 lbs and you weigh 160 pounds, you fill up the fuel tank, and bring a few snacks into the cab with you. You should be fine, at least in theory, but nothing else can be in the TV. Personal I would look for something with at least 5500 pound towing capacity. That will give your some cargo room for your generator and other supplies, plus keep you away from being at your tow limit.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:22 PM   #7
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First Change a few lites in your ceiling fixtures to led this will save electricity a lot, convert your furnace gas line to a quick connect for a catalytic heater this will replace furnace which uses a lot of elec and is noisy , think long and hard before getting a generator, they are expensive and you may find when you get on the road not really necessary, If you tow vehicle has an electrical connection to you're TT you should have battrey charging while you are driving. I have the same rig as you , fridge will run on gas(very economical). The only thing your need electricity is lites and fan if you follow my plan
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:48 AM   #8
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Lizzie, have you thought about a mid-size pickup (like a Dakota or a Colorado) as a tow vehicle? I used to have a Ranger with a towing capacity of 5300 lbs. There are versions with very spacious back seats for the pup, and you could use the box for all that extra "stuff" we all need to carry. Just a suggestion.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:41 AM   #9
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:07 AM   #10
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Thanks so much everyone!

Jagiven, Thanks for confirming what I knew but didn't want to accept. I will find a TV that can tow 5K to 5.5K lbs. Just for the record, thank heaven I weigh less than 160 lbs!

Great info Michael, Thanks! When not plugged in I plan to use a couple of lanterns instead of the interior lights as one way to save elec. Its a start anyway. About the furnace, I thought it ran on propane, no? You suggest replacing it with a catalytic heater. I'll keep that in mind for a little further down the road. I'll be under warranty for a couple of years and don't want to mess that up. I will need to run A/C and I need to find a reliable way to power it (for my dog) while I'm at work. (Yup, I'm still working, but determined that there is a better way to do it... hence the TT ). I will also need to power a laptop, my little WIFI thing, and a cell phone. A little further down the road I'm thinking about a mini solar system for charging my electronics. But right now I'm blowing my wad on the TT, sway bar/equalizer hitch, and initial start up-must have supplies (sewer hoses, waste water tank, etc...) and possibly a generator. Its gonna take a few months to restock the cookie jar.

About charging the TT battery with the tow vehicle battery - I will be (hope to be) stationary for 2 or 3 months at a time and I thought it wasn't good to use the vehicle battery to charge the TT battery because the vehicle battery is not a deep cycle battery. I've gotten mixed info about this and I still don't get it. Any insights you or anyone might have would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Brownie, Until now I hadn't seriously considered a pick up because I thought the dog issue cancelled out that option. She is old and fat though and I'm still not sure she could get into a pickup, I'll take another look. Thanks!!

Hi Redhorse, Thanks for the welcome.

Tin Lizzie
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