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Old 08-19-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
Aquayne
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5 year plan, What Camper for minivan?

Hi,
I am on a 5 year timeline. My amazing wife and I are having twin girls in a few weeks. We already have a daughter now 2 years old. I am in graduate school, again, to be a school psychologist. I will be through school in 3 years. I was at WDW as a child in the early '70's when all was new and shiney. I have been several times over the years and my wife and I love Disney. We dream of taking our three girls there for a great time.
I have wonderful memories of camping in a camper as a child. We had a small shasta travel trailer and it was great. One big difference was the car my parents pulled it with was a '69 Chevelle. It had over 200 hp.
The van we have, or will likely have, will be a mini-van. I hope that by 2013 we will have one with a diesel engine for more pulling power. We will be pulling down the West Virginia Turnpike all the way to FW.
I hope you can give suggestions for a light camper. I like the Jay-Feather with two pull out beds.
Any suggestions?
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Aquayne View Post
Hi,
I am on a 5 year timeline. My amazing wife and I are having twin girls in a few weeks. We already have a daughter now 2 years old. I am in graduate school, again, to be a school psychologist. I will be through school in 3 years. I was at WDW as a child in the early '70's when all was new and shiney. I have been several times over the years and my wife and I love Disney. We dream of taking our three girls there for a great time.
I have wonderful memories of camping in a camper as a child. We had a small shasta travel trailer and it was great. One big difference was the car my parents pulled it with was a '69 Chevelle. It had over 200 hp.
The van we have, or will likely have, will be a mini-van. I hope that by 2013 we will have one with a diesel engine for more pulling power. We will be pulling down the West Virginia Turnpike all the way to FW.
I hope you can give suggestions for a light camper. I like the Jay-Feather with two pull out beds.
Any suggestions?
My wife pulls a 2006 Jayco 1007 tent trailer with our 05 Montana minivan and has no problems with it and still gets close to 30 MPG on the highway. She takes our 4 kids camping all teh time and our youngest is only 1 as of this past May.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:40 AM   #3
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Ah, it's great to have a plan

Since you've got time, my advice about a camper would be to get one that will accomodate you and your family for a while. You hear the phrase, "buy your second camper first" which means take your time, do your homework, examine your needs, and THEN pull the trigger. For example, some folks buy a camper that's just fine for now when the kids are little but when they grow into teenagers and want a little more "space" from each other on those rainy afternoons, that's when you wish you'd gotten a bigger camper

It's a "chicken or the egg" issue for you. Regardless of which comes first (the camper or the tow vehicle) make sure your TV has enough towing capacity for you, DW, the girls, bikes, and all their "stuff". I own a pop-up and pull it with a minivan (with the manufacturer's tow package) and pups are getting heavier these days with slideouts, hard walled bathrooms, etc. and are beginning to stretch the limits of mini-van towing. I have a Jayco 12HW Select from 2005 and now Jayco boosted that model to a 14-footer for 2008. I wouldn't be able to pull it with my present vehicle if I had the 14-footer instead of the 12-footer.

You might want to look at the Jayco hybrids (I think the Feather line has a few of those). Still feels like camping since you sleep under the canvas but you get the comforts of a walled living area. Sure does make it nice campin' at the Fort!

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Old 08-21-2008, 08:46 AM   #4
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We have a minivan and pull a 2007 Fleetwood Westlake. We also had an engine cooler installed last year. Our minivan is ok for straight driving on relatively flat surface, but we stay away from an mountainous trips. Honestly in hindsight, we should have held off on the trailer until we could get a pickup or suburban.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:50 AM   #5
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We have a pop-up for a family of 5....I have 3 girls, too!

Many pop-ups can be pulled by a mini van, just make sure that you have one with the towing package because that means more than just a hitch. Changes are made to other areas of the vehicle to make it able to pull without destroying your transmission. Also, check the towing capacity. If your van can pull 3,500 lbs that doesn't mean you can get a pop-up that weighs 3,500 lbs. You will need to get one that's a little lighter so when it's all packed up and you've got people and stuff and dogs, etc etc...that you are still under that weight.

We have a fleetwood coleman, 15 ft box. It has 2 king beds that slide out, one double bed (the table), and the couch makes a twin. There is a small area for a potty and shower. We looked at TT's at the time as well, but settled on the PUP because it was actually more spacious than a lot of the TTs, lighter and less expensive. We really don't spend much more in gas pulling it than we do just driving with out it. We also enjoy it because we love the "feel" of tent camping. Really feeling like we're outdoors and opening up the windows. Ahhhhh! I want to go camping now!
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:27 PM   #6
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start collecting brouchures

got to all the rv shows or display rooms you can.... this way you will know what you like, want or don't like. Then in a few years when you are getting to buy, you will know what is really fully loaded an what is not.... Also you can start an excel sheet with cost... this way you can start tracking cost new VS used.....
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 5stljayhawks View Post
got to all the rv shows or display rooms you can.... this way you will know what you like, want or don't like. Then in a few years when you are getting to buy, you will know what is really fully loaded an what is not.... Also you can start an excel sheet with cost... this way you can start tracking cost new VS used.....
Good advise!

I will add to that...when you are ready to buy you'll be armed with so much information which is nice. When we purchased our last tt, we went in knowing EXACTLY what we were willing to pay for it. It was much much lower than sticker price and lowere than the first couple of deals they offered us...but we ended up paying what we wanted to pay!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:39 PM   #8
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Hi Aquayne:

I am brand new at this, so hopefully I'm doing it right!! We stayed at the Fort (in a cabin) for the first time in about 30 years at the beginning of the month. I loved it and know we will go back, so I was browsing through this board when I saw your question.

We recently purchased on of the Jay-Feathers you mentioned. Ours is called an Export and its dry weight is under 3000 pounds. There are two pull out queen size beds and another bed for two people when you fold down the dinette. Most importantly for travelling with children, it has a bathroom that they can use in the middle of nowhere!

So far, we absolutely love ours. We tow it with a Toyota Highlander with a 6 cyl engine and get about 15mpg.

Good luck with everything - and especially with the twins. Camping with kids is so much more fun than staying in boring old motels!
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gillenkl View Post
We have a minivan and pull a 2007 Fleetwood Westlake. We also had an engine cooler installed last year. Our minivan is ok for straight driving on relatively flat surface, but we stay away from an mountainous trips. Honestly in hindsight, we should have held off on the trailer until we could get a pickup or suburban.
What is the Engine Cooler? I'm interested in hearing more. I think this is what Ma was trying to tell me about the other day. How much do they cost? I assume it helps keep the engine cool...
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:28 PM   #10
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What is the Engine Cooler? I'm interested in hearing more. I think this is what Ma was trying to tell me about the other day. How much do they cost? I assume it helps keep the engine cool...
This is interesting to me as well. We are pulling our pop up with a minivan and anything I can do to make it easier on my van sounds like a good thing!
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:34 PM   #11
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This is interesting to me as well. We are pulling our pop up with a minivan and anything I can do to make it easier on my van sounds like a good thing!

I think they mean a transmission cooler to help keep it from overheating and siezing up.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:18 PM   #12
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Yeah, my guess is they are talking about a tranny cooler. Personally, I would steer clear of a mini van as a tow vehicle. In fact, since you have not apparently yet bought a tow vehicle, buy more truck than you need, since that will not only make towing easier, but will also allow you to upgrade your trailer without upgrading your TV. I would consider a half ton pickup with an extended or crew cab. With the incentives Ford and Chevy have now, coupled with the lousy economy and higher gas prices, you may be surprised at the truck you can get for the money. Front wheel drive mini vans have very little towing capacity.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:30 PM   #13
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I'm a big time planner,

But in 5 years any brand vehicle or camper we recommend may not even be made at that time or something way better might be around by then. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:18 AM   #14
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I agree with 2goofycampers on this one. 5 yrs down the road is a long way off. Not a bad idea to start saving now for your big purchase but don't think you can really count on what vehicle or campers will be available then!

Good luck with the twins... They are a blast. Ours are 4 now and starting pre-school this year.

They are a completely new experience from having one at a time!!!
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