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Old 09-29-2015, 09:06 AM   #1
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Jay Feather X254 for cross country trip?

Hi, all. This is my first post and hopefully the beginning of some new family adventures. My wife and I are planning to go on a cross country trip in a couple of years with our 3 daughters, now 10, 8, and 3. We have only tent camped up until now, and my wife really doesn't particularly enjoy it, especially not for 7-8 weeks. To be honest, we are pretty overwhelmed with all the options and things to consider. So, here are my questions (and I apologize for asking the same types of questions that are asked a million times).

1) Do you see a camper like the x254 being able to handle the multiple set up/take downs that we will be doing? Is there another model that you would see as a better fit? It is our hope that each of the girls would have a place of their own to sleep and to retreat to for quiet if needed (keep in mind, in a few years they will be 13, 11, and 6)

2) We know that we will be needing to purchase a new vehicle (right now a Honda Odyssey). My wife really wants a vehicle to have 3 rows of seats for the day to day life needs, but with a GVWR of 6,000 lbs, probably hilly terrain that we will encounter, and wind drag, I am not sure that is possible (not to mention safe). Does something exist (that isn't a full size van - she made it quite clear that this isn't an option)? Am I limited to a crew cab truck? Suggestions about what you would use?

3) Since this is all new to us, do you have any other advice to offer?
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:59 AM   #2
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There is a lots of opinions. We have a X23B, we have been all over the place, up to 3 weeks at a time. No issues with multiple setups and tear downs. What is nice, in bad weather you are up off the ground and stay fairly dry (expect for hooking up the hitch). We have been known to pull in late and not even unhook or setup at all, just crawl in and go to sleep, and deal with setup in the morning.

One thing I would recommend doing, as I am not very familiar with the rear hard sided slide out. Find out if you can sleep in it with it retracted. Sometimes, it is nice to pull into a Walmart parking lot, rest area, or somewhere else to take a nap, or sleep for the night, without fully setting up.

I am not much of a modern vehicle guy, so my help is not the best here. Key is to look at the load capacity labels and remember, that you need capacity, not just for the people in the vehicle today, but how they will grow, all the stuff they will bring and what ever else you will put in back or hook up. So making sure you have enough capacity is critical.

I have heard the Suburban is now available as a 3/4 ton. You might have to buy it used as I have heard they are only providing new ones for fleet operations right now. Personally, I really like Crew Cab pickups, but they are not right for everyone.

Last tip, when you go to a dealership to look over your options, ditch the salesman, and kids if possible. Sit in the TT, think about how you are going to use it. Then look through every cabinet, drawer, under the bench seating, determine where are you going to put all your stuff. Some of the really small units, are challenging to place all your necessities.

Best of luck to you
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Old 09-29-2015, 03:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the insights, Jagiven. If, by chance, I was able to convince my wife that a truck is our best/only option, would a 1/2 ton crew cab truck work? I'm thinking F-150 or Tundra. My wife mentioned the Toyota Sequia as a possibility. Thoughts?
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:14 PM   #4
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I tow the X254 with a Ram 1500 crew cab with no problem if that helps.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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We tow our x254 with a Ford Expedition 5.4 L heavy duty tow pckg 3.73. It works but since we have 4 kids two of which are teens I would like a larger TV in the future that had more payload and a little more umph. I would love the 3/4 ton Suburban if we came across a used one.

I don't see why it would be any different with set up and take down then any other trailer.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:10 PM   #6
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P.s. We also own an Odyssey and it is not enough to tow the X254.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:35 PM   #7
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If you are going for a half ton, it's going to depend on the half ton. We own the little sister, the X213, and we are super close to our rear axle weight rating and close to our payload (1525#). Even if we had a higher payload, we'd hit the RAWR anyway. Our tongue weight on the X213 is 770#. So even if you've got a decent payload, the RAWR may be the limiting factor. We've got Max Tow on our F-150, so have a higher RAWR than some of the other models. But we also have a high trim level with heavy options (power running boards, heated/cooled seats, moonroof, etc.)

Our loaded weight of the trailer basically is the GVWR of 5500#. If we had the X254, with the extra weight of the length and more bunks, I can see that we'd still basically be at the GVWR of 6000# carrying the same cargo. And if the tongue weight was 15% of 6000, we'd be at 900, which would put us over payload I believe and for sure over RAWR. Maybe the X254 lends itself to a lighter tongue, but the X213 does not. And there isn't an easy way to load heavy in the rear due to the rear slide.

If you are considering a half ton, I'd get the sticker weights off the door and also load up your family and camping gear in the back and take it out and weigh it at the CAT scales before purchasing. Nothing worse than having a vehicle that is super close to not being able to tow a trailer. Having had the experience of that TWICE, I say get more than you need if you can.
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Old 10-01-2015, 05:37 AM   #8
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Our 26BH is a similar size and weight to what you are looking at - we tow it with a 1/2 ton crew cab Silverado and it does great. We towed it with a Tahoe last year and it did ok, but not as well as the truck. The shorter wheelbase and 4 speed trans in the Tahoe were not as nice as the longer wheelbase and 6 speed in the Silverado. If I were going to tow with an SUV again, I would get the longer wheelbase (Suburban or equivalent) with a 6 speed.

We are planning a long trip out west in a couple of years when our kids get a bit older (3 & 5 now) and I am confident in the truck doing well. We have towed from MD to OH, PA, VA and WV and it did great.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:44 AM   #9
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Being new to this I don't want to put myself or family in an unsafe situation by having a tow vehicle undersized (not to mention me not feeling overly confident). The likelihood of finding a 3/4 ton suburban between now and when we would need one is pretty low, especially in the Vermont area. Looks like we are headed the truck route.

That is great advice, SilverEscape. Thanks.
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:02 PM   #10
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We bought a 2015 X254 earlier this year and have used it for a multi-campsite this year and it worked well for us. Set-ups and tear downs are very quick and easy with the rear slide. Although if your planned stops are at plazas or parking lots, a trailer without the rear slide would be more convenient for you. We have 4 girls of a similar age range as you and we chose this trailer because of the 4 single bunks. We felt that it would work out best in the long run as the girls get older.

As far as tow vehicles, we towed this year with a first gen Sequoia and I would definitely advise against that as a TV for this trailer. While the numbers and the scales say we're within capacity of the vehicle, driving it lets you know it's beyond its practical capabilities...especially in the terrain where I live. As other threads have noted, this trailer is tongue heavy and that seems to make it tow like a larger trailer than what it is. We'll be shopping for a 5.7l Sequoia or an Expedition in the spring.
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