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Long story short... we may be in the market to downsize from our 33' Open Range.  Ideally looking for something in the 21-26 foot range, on the lighter side, not super high end in terms of $, with a decent reputation for being solid and reliable.  The tricky part for us is that we need room for 2 dog crates, but we're fine with making some modifications if needed - for example taking out a dinette as long as there's a couch/chairs for seating.  (In our current setup we ripped out the bunks)

We haven't camper shopped in about 8 years and are just starting to look, so we really aren't up to speed with what's out there these days and what brands have a better reputation than others.

Anyone have any experience with a brand/line they'd recommend?

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I am a fan of the Forest River lines, I would look at the Surveyor, or the Flagstaff or Rockwood  line which are built in the same factory. Grand Design has been getting good reviews and do know they make a TT line. I used to like Jayco but their reviews have gone down since bought out by Thor. Artic Fox is another good build but are a west coast mfg with very few dealers here in the east. If you find something you like let me know and will try to answer any questions.

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10 minutes ago, DaveInTN said:

You open to going back into a hybrid, or are you looking at purely hardwall campers?

Most likely hardwall. As much as I loved our hybrid, we want to be able to install the crates once and not have to fuss with them when we setup/take down. And we just don't need a 2nd bed 99% of the time.

Although that said, last night I saw the snazziest hybrid ever. It had more floor space than some apartments I've lived in.  ;)

 

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19 minutes ago, dblr....Rennie said:

I am a fan of the Forest River lines, I would look at the Surveyor, or the Flagstaff or Rockwood  line which are built in the same factory. Grand Design has been getting good reviews and do know they make a TT line. I used to like Jayco but their reviews have gone down since bought out by Thor. Artic Fox is another good build but are a west coast mfg with very few dealers here in the east. If you find something you like let me know and will try to answer any questions.

I have been poking around the Grand Design website and there's some super snazzy stuff there. Downside is that they may be pricier than we're shooting for right now.

We've been hearing the same about Jayco for a while, including from friends/family that have them. 

I'll check the others out though, thanks!!

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We've been happy with our Winnebago Micro Minnie. It is 7 ft wide and several models have slides. If you want a standard width trailer the Minnie line is the same build and finish quality. In particular their customer service has been very helpful sending me drawings without question of the sidewall and slide construction for adding a topper. The also rejected one warranty repair but when I called them to explain what was going on they approved it and expedited the parts to my dealer. Both the number of initial problems, how they were handled and materials used are leaps and bounds above what we had with our old Palomino product (same dealer for service). 

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No matter what brand you buy there will be someone who has had a problem and "Oh my god this is the worst camper in the world". I have heard horror stories and seen horrors stories since  I live and work in the campground. I am personally living in a Grand Design Reflection bought new 3 yrs ago and have had nothing wrong except for an air conditioner the first year and that wasn't GD's fault. I believe the Reflection is outside what your specification was but they do make 2 TT's smaller called the Imagine and Transcend. Kathy just told me that they make a smaller Reflection, just saying. Anyway Grand Design was bought by Winnebago but remains as a separate company. I do believe the quality of the GD is outstanding compared to a lot of what I have seen and their customer service gets good reviews. Just my opinion.

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13 hours ago, keith_h said:

We've been happy with our Winnebago Micro Minnie...

 

13 hours ago, DaveInTN said:

I was also going to suggest Winnebago.   Their towables get very good reviews from what I've seen.  

 

Thanks!  We'll give them a look.

12 hours ago, TnBob said:

No matter what brand you buy there will be someone who has had a problem and "Oh my god this is the worst camper in the world".

Totally agree.  That's why reading reviews online isn't super helpful, especially since it seems that mostly the people with problems are the ones that write them. 

12 hours ago, TnBob said:

I am personally living in a Grand Design Reflection bought new 3 yrs ago and have had nothing wrong except for an air conditioner the first year and that wasn't GD's fault. I believe the Reflection is outside what your specification was but they do make 2 TT's smaller called the Imagine and Transcend. Kathy just told me that they make a smaller Reflection, just saying. Anyway Grand Design was bought by Winnebago but remains as a separate company. I do believe the quality of the GD is outstanding compared to a lot of what I have seen and their customer service gets good reviews. Just my opinion.

Thanks Bob. We've seen a few Grand Design TTs in person and they're super snazzy. Good to hear from someone that's actually living in one! 

They do have a couple of floorplans we like that fall into the size range we're looking for, but unfortunately might not fall into the budget.  But if we can make the numbers work, they'd be high up on the list right now.

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17 minutes ago, parrothead7368 aka Norm said:

Have you looked at smaller toyhaulers, The dogs would have their own room.

That's a good idea... except smaller ones, are they not typically one large room (with the toyhauler door on back to roll the toys in)?   

20 hours ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

Long story short... we may be in the market to downsize from our 33' Open Range.  Ideally looking for something in the 21-26 foot range, on the lighter side, not super high end in terms of $, with a decent reputation for being solid and reliable.  The tricky part for us is that we need room for 2 dog crates, but we're fine with making some modifications if needed - for example taking out a dinette as long as there's a couch/chairs for seating.  (In our current setup we ripped out the bunks)

We haven't camper shopped in about 8 years and are just starting to look, so we really aren't up to speed with what's out there these days and what brands have a better reputation than others.

Anyone have any experience with a brand/line they'd recommend?

Older or new?  If older... I like the older Jaycos. 

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52 minutes ago, parrothead7368 aka Norm said:

Have you looked at smaller toyhaulers, The dogs would have their own room.

Small toy hauler could totally work.  Anyone have any experience with a particular model/brand?

27 minutes ago, twiceblessed....nacole said:

Older or new?  If older... I like the older Jaycos. 

Totally not opposed to used in good condition, but not probably not more than a few years old. We're not planning to keep this "forever" but we also don't want to have to fuss with issues that may come from a much older camper.

 

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I've not owned an RV before, but I've been in a few dog handler setups.  One of the neat ideas I saw, was where they changed the base of the dinette seats to be dog crates.  Worked well for the medium sized breeds.   Another option is here: http://www.doityourselfrv.com/thor-pet-friendly-motorhome/    This motorhome is less than 30 feet, and has some nice customizations for dog owners. 

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1 hour ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

Small toy hauler could totally work.  Anyone have any experience with a particular model/brand?

Totally not opposed to used in good condition, but not probably not more than a few years old. We're not planning to keep this "forever" but we also don't want to have to fuss with issues that may come from a much older camper.

 

While I can appreciate not wanting the fuss... honestly, I think they're all (pretty much) junk.  Sigh.  I tried to talk Tom into an older unit this last time, but he really wanted a rear living room... and we could only get that in a mid-bunk, which is only found in units made in the last few years.  If I could have talked him into it, I would have found a rig that was 10 years old (we baby our campers, so I know that there are other owners out there who take really good care of their rigs); I would have bought older unit for SOOOO much less, remodeled inside so it was cute and dealt with issues when they came.  Heck, our new rig has been in for repairs at least 10 times and it goes back to the flippin' factory (for major repairs) in a few months.   All that to say... new/newer doesn't mean no issues.  But, I do get it :) 

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2 hours ago, ThemeParkCommando said:

I've not owned an RV before, but I've been in a few dog handler setups.  One of the neat ideas I saw, was where they changed the base of the dinette seats to be dog crates.  

We've pretty much realized this is what we're likely going to have to do this time around.  That's fine as long as there's also a couch.  I'm not a big fan of dinettes anyway and we rarely eat in the camper.

We're not shy about modifying something for the dogs.  Our current camper we ripped out the bunks to install crates and a bar...

DSC02711
1 hour ago, twiceblessed....nacole said:

All that to say... new/newer doesn't mean no issues.  But, I do get it 🙂

Very true!  And we mostly know what red flags to look for in a used unit, and what we can reasonably fix ourselves.  We just to try and avoid setting ourselves up for a major project.

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3 hours ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

We've pretty much realized this is what we're likely going to have to do this time around.  That's fine as long as there's also a couch.  I'm not a big fan of dinettes anyway and we rarely eat in the camper.

We're not shy about modifying something for the dogs.  Our current camper we ripped out the bunks to install crates and a bar...

DSC02711

Very true!  And we mostly know what red flags to look for in a used unit, and what we can reasonably fix ourselves.  We just to try and avoid setting ourselves up for a major project.

Now we know why your dogs appear to be happy all of the time. I would be too with my own personal bar.

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Don't forget that what ever you see as a price on line, the "real" price is about 30% less, especially if you go to one of the shows 

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1 hour ago, TnBob said:

Don't forget that what ever you see as a price on line, the "real" price is about 30% less, especially if you go to one of the shows 

Sorry to high jack this thread, but Bob you need to go the DC GG this year!  Get a move on and plan the weekend and book a site!

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I would love to Eric but every year I am running back and forth for baseball and with the girls playing volleyball now I would be gone all day Saturday and if they have a tournament that weekend it would be all day Saturday and Sunday. It kinda screwed me last year for some reason none of them had anything that weekend but it was too late. If the same happens this year I may run up for the day Saturday.

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I get it.  Just wanted to hear your smart a** sitting around the campfire again.  Maybe this summer I'll be able to buzz down to see you guys.  It was great to see you last fall.  I will PM you next time so I won't have to hi-jack a great thread.  Sorry Mo.

9 hours ago, TnBob said:

I would love to Eric but every year I am running back and forth for baseball and with the girls playing volleyball now I would be gone all day Saturday and if they have a tournament that weekend it would be all day Saturday and Sunday. It kinda screwed me last year for some reason none of them had anything that weekend but it was too late. If the same happens this year I may run up for the day Saturday.

 

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On 4/5/2019 at 5:05 PM, keith_h said:

Now we know why your dogs appear to be happy all of the time. I would be too with my own personal bar.

LOL!  Yeah we joke that we only bought the camper for them.

On 4/5/2019 at 9:21 PM, TnBob said:

Don't forget that what ever you see as a price on line, the "real" price is about 30% less, especially if you go to one of the shows 

Roger that.  

On 4/5/2019 at 9:52 PM, DaveInTN said:

Who buys a camper at a show? 

My brother. Twice. :ROFLMAO-1:

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8 minutes ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

 

My brother. Twice. :ROFLMAO-1:

Ha...I was waiting for Bob to come back and comment.  He and I went to an RV show together back in 2011 in Nashville, and I bought our last trailer at that show.  Actually got a really good deal, so your brother might be pretty smart!  

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and believe it or not, I bought the one I am in at the Tampa show. Ask about it sometime (in person) it's a good story

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We've never bought one at a show but I have found the dealers around here will still honor RV show prices and negotiate from them for a period of time after the show has ended.

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