View Full Version : many questions about TrailManor

11-16-2003, 10:52 AM
I am new to this forum. I do not own a Trailmanor, but my husband and I are thinking of buying one. Please forgive me if I give a somewhat lengthy esplanation of our current situation, it will explain some of my questions.
First, we live in the North Georgia Mountains. We live on a dirt road, not too well mantained, somewhat steep (but not super steep).
Parking the trailer will require fairly tight backing up.
Second, we recently bought a small used class A - 24 ft(Europa). I do not drive it, and my husband has found out that he really dislikes driving it. Because of the width, and the fairly narrow roads around here, and the somewhat mushy steering wheel, he finds that driving the RV is rather nerve-wracking. So we have decided to sell it.
We still would like to camp. We travel quite a lot, and getting in and out of motels sure gets old. THe TrailManor sounds like a good compromise between ease of driving and livability. We would be buying a full size van to tow it with.
Here are my initial questions:
1. Realistically, is towing a TrailManor going to be easier than driving the RV? No sense in going this route if the driving is going to be just as stressful!
2. Are there any problems driving with the TrailManor over a semi-rough dirt road? (About 1 1/2 miles from the paved road to our house)
3. How difficult is it to back up with a fairly tight curve? This would be needed when we park the trailer at our house.
4.When traveling, can you partially open half the trailer without unhitching it, in order to get a snack (or maybe even cook lunch), and use the toilet?
5. We are thinking of getting the 26 foot model. (there is only the two of us) We would be using one of the bed areas for storage. Is that feasible?
Is the area above the bed rigid, or does it somehow 'squashed down'?
6. Can anything be hung from either the sides,top or back of the trailer? (thinking of a porta-bote and/or bicycle)
We are trying to make this decision, and we do not want to make a bad one, like we have done with the RV!
Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated!!!
Piera Kelley :-\

11-16-2003, 05:19 PM
Good questions, Piera. Let me take a stab at some of them.

1. Is towing a TrailManor going to be easier than driving the (class A full size motor home)? In most ways, yes. It does not get buffeted by the wind like an RV. The slipstream of passing trucks, etc, doesn't "grab" it like it grabs an RV. It weighs a lot less than a Class A, and probably has more horsepower or torque per pound to horse that weight around. It is not as wide, and can turn more sharply than a full size motorhome. You don't have to worry about overhead clearance. You'll get much better gas mileage. And when you get to your destination, unhitch, and set up, you can use your tow vehicle for local travel.

2. Are there any problems driving with the TrailManor over a semi-rough dirt road?Not really. I suppose that one potential problem is that if you drive too fast, and hit a hump or a swale, you may drag the tongue jack or the rear bumper. So don't drive fast. The only other problem I have encountered is that the caulking around the wheel well liners was poor, and dust got in. So I recaulked.

3. How difficult is it to back up with a fairly tight curve?Practice practice practice. The two of you should work as a team, one driving, and one spotting and directing. It is certainly possible to jackknife any trailer - but it is never necessary. Just go slow.

4.When traveling, can you partially open half the trailer ... Not very practical, unfortunately. This is the one area where a full hardside trailer or motorhome has an advantage over any folding trailer, including the TM.

6. Can anything be hung from either the sides, top or back of the trailer?Sides, no. Top, maybe. If you plan to carry something heavy, like a canoe, then you have to remove the item before you open the TM. If you want to carry something lighter, then you can adjust the torsion bars to make up for the load. Back, yes. Several of our members carry a couple bicycles back there on racks. Porta-Bote ought to be OK, though I'm not sure how you would strap it down. You don't want anything much heavier than that, though, as it reduces the tongue weight. Front, yes. You may be able to strap something reasonably light to the A-frame. I carry a 10-gallon blue tote there.



11-16-2003, 06:21 PM
What Bill reports is 100% true. I would add a little, as follows:
1. Towing with a full size van you may have to keep looking back to make sure it is still there when on the highway.
2. I would make sure to order the 2" lift kit and see if there is anyway to re-inforce the hold down stirips and check the latches often.
3. Ditto Bill. Another thing you might wish to consider is one of those dollies that are designed for doing just that kind of tight turns. If the area is flat I bet you could get one for under $100 that will work well. If you have to go to electric powered one it might be costly.
4. We have tried it and found it was a lot easier to find a quicky stop with lots of parking room. That kind of kills two birds with one stop, we get to walk around a little and take care of what ever other business we have. It's also a good time to change drivers.
5. Only when it is open. A lot of folks do this.
6. I would only add something to the front. However your post got me to thinking. I would like to know if one of those bike rack things designed as an add on to the hitch could be used for this. Maybe someone who has one will let us know.

Another added item that you should consider is that our gas usage is only increased by about 2 mpg when towing over not towing. With gas prices what they are now, that is a biggie.

Make sure you go look at the TMs before you bid on one. They are smaller on the inside than they look in photos. We are wishing we had one that was just one size larger than what we have. (but then we are both large people, maybe we just take up too much space)

11-17-2003, 07:50 AM
6. Can anything be hung from either the sides,top or back of the trailer? (thinking of a porta-bote and/or bicycle)

I have a Porta-Bote and the only good place I have found to carry it is on top of the truck. I use a set of roof racks and a modified load extension device. There was a place to carry the Porta-Bote on the older TrailManors on top of the front shell on the curb side. The newer units have a vent fan installed in that area now. The area is now too small for Porta-Bote mounting on the 2619 and 2720 models. The larger models may have roof space in front of the vent fan.
MJL :)

11-17-2003, 11:17 AM
I agree with all the above and would like to add one thing. Many times we stop for lunch and a nap at a rest stop and always open up the TM while it is hooked up. Takes a couple of minutes but it is worth it. You get back on the road refreshed :D.

11-17-2003, 12:59 PM
and thank you all for the great information! It is really appreciated! The only remaining problem is the width, which is still over 7'. My husband thinks that is still too much (I am also collecting info on the much smaller aliner), but I think maybe if will be acceptable, if the trailer is as stable as your answers indicate. The problem with the RV (about 94 inches wide) is that, on a narrow road, you have to 'correct' it a lot to keep it centered. But I think that if the TrailManor does not sway, it should be easier keeping it centered even on a narrow road.
The reason we are being so fussy about ease of driving is that we travel a lot (my husband is a just-turned-professional nature photographer), sometimes driving for 8 hrs a day, 2 or 3 days in a row. Not getting too fatigued and tense is very important, and necessary for safety.
Again, thank you, and keep the good info coming!

11-17-2003, 04:43 PM
5. We are thinking of getting the 26 foot model. (there is only the two of us) We would be using one of the bed areas for storage. Is that feasible?

I don't wish to sound too trite, I'm just an owner of a TM but the ALiner does not have a full time bed does it?

11-17-2003, 07:27 PM
I only have one thing to add. We live on a long, narrow private road (1.25 miles to our house) that is paved, but with some sharp turns and limited visibility. Before we decided conclusively to buy a TM, we tested what it would be like to tow something of that length home by using our utility trailer and attaching some long 2 x 4's with clamps to imitate the length and width of what we thought we would be towing. When we pulled into the driveway and parked it, it fit. So did the TM. If you could "tryout" your road and parking area somehow, it might help.

11-17-2003, 08:02 PM
I am reading your comments/suggestions, and I want to answer some of them:
Windbreaker - you are absolutely correct, with the aliner you have to make the bed out of the dinette every night (at least on the model we are looking at). There is clearly no comparison between the Trailmanor and the aliner. The only reason I am looking at the aliner is that if my husband definitely nixes the Trailmanor (because of the width), the aliner becomes just about the only other alternative.
I am a safe but slow and reluctant driver, so in reality he is going to be shouldering the burden of driving most of the time. So it is only fair that the decision be his. I can only nudge a little... :) and all the info you are giving me helps!
B & D - that is a great idea! The road going to our house is uphill, and the only way to get to our driveway is to backup into it at a 60 degrees angle to the road. (If we want to get out of it again, that is!) I think that trying it out with a mock-up is really going to show us if we can do it or not.
Texas-Camper - What you say about the difference between driving the RV and the trailer with respect to the width makes a lot of sense. I am going to print out your email and show it to my husband (I have just reported to him in general terms up to now), and see what he thinks.

Thank you! This forum has the most helpful people I have encountered yet on the net! It is almost worth buying the Trailmanor just to have an excuse to stay on it! :) :) :)

11-18-2003, 02:29 PM
....with the aliner you have to make the bed out of the dinette every night (at least on the model we are looking at). There is clearly no comparison between the Trailmanor and the aliner. The only reason I am looking at the aliner is that if my husband definitely nixes the Trailmanor (because of the width), the aliner becomes just about the only other alternative....
There is one other hard side folding RV that compares with the A-Liner. That is the Chalet: www.chaletrv.com The Arrowhead and Aspen models have a couch that converts to a bed as well as the dinette conversion. Like the A-Liner, it is smaller than, and has fewer amenities than those found in the TM.
While my TrailManor is a great RV, I almost bought one of the Chalets for size reasions. It would have been a better fit my '90 Isuzu Trooper II. There is also an "off road" option package for the Chalets. I know of several lake side camp sites in Arkansas that are located at the end of logging roads. I used to tent camp in them. I need to scout the roads again to see if I can get my 2720SL back in there.
MJL :)

11-18-2003, 04:54 PM
One thing to consider if you have really tight quarters for where you're to store your TM at home is something that was mentioned a while back on this board. A hitch on the *front* of your TV. My driveway is EXTREAMLY tight, and really hard to get my tm into because I have nothing but woods across the street, and a rock wall on either side of the driveway. I am seriously considering this option as from what people have said, this makes it a LOT easier to park the TM in a tight place. Another option if you have one of those quad runners, which in your case, very may since you live out in the woods kinda, and due to the nature of your hubby's work, is to put a hitch ball on it to park your TM at home. I'm in the auto business, and I happen to know a LOT of garages use them to move dead cars around in and out of bays etc...till they can be repaired. At least this is the *best* option for most small garages over an electric hitch jack as it's about the same cost, and you can do a LOT more with it than simply move trailers/vehicles around with it.

One more point to consider is how much time are you going to spend in your trailer? If travelling over the road, and you wind up in an area where it's raining for a week or so, you DEFINATELY want to consider that small, but IMPORTANT aspect, simply that of livibility. Do you two want to be constantly crawling over each other for a week straight in one of the smaller trailers? When ya look at one of the smaller models of trailers out there like the A-Liner, both of ya get inside, along with any pets, and picture being stuck inside for a week straight........that should hit home really quick. We have the equivelent of a 3023, and when we're sitting on the couch watching TV or something, it just seems huge to us!

Towability........We tow with a 1991 S-10 blazer with a 4.3L, and can hardly tell it's back there unless on a steep long grade. It tows as easy as my much smaller boat does! While towing, I get the same mileage outta my TV as I do driving around town which is about 17mpg. You might want to reconsider the TV as well due to the nature of your husband's work.......Photographing nature.....a 4wd TV will get you further out there for better pictures than a full sized van will, and as my rear seat's collapsible, it gives me PLENTY of cargo room.

Anyway, just a few thoughts that I noticed nobody mentioned prior, thought I'd throw them out there.......hope it helps!


11-18-2003, 11:44 PM
I just had a thought. Not that I'm trying to talk you out of a TM but did you look at the class "b" motorhomes? If you are getting a full size van they are not much larger and some even have full time beds. I've heard a lot of good things about the smallest Winnie. Also a few bad, like replacement parts for the motor are very costly. But it might be something to think about. :-\

11-20-2003, 08:22 PM
I checked out the Base Camp trailer before ordering our 2619 TM back in June. They have a web site but I could never get them to respond to my emails or requests for information. Finally they did respond but it was after I ordered the TM.

I recently received an email that they have a sale with a free awning. They only manufacture one model at this time.

They seem to be around $5K cheaper than the 2619 TM but they have fewer features. For example the shower/bathroom is surrounded by a curtain, no solid walls. Also there is no sink in the bath. There does not appear to be a wardrobe.

However it does have a generator option from the factory which the TM does not have.

It may be a viable alternative for someone looking for a pop-up with solid walls.

12-20-2003, 09:41 AM
Another option for close-quarter trailer ops (assuming you are doing so on relatively level surfaces--paved or unpaved) are the little tow motors used for light airplanes. They are designed to move airplanes that weigh up to 6,000# and can be easily adapted to move trailers with a piece of 1/2" x 12" steel rod and a hose clamp.

With this rig you can move the trailer anywhere you want it to go and turn any corner you want to turn without any additional space requirements for the TV. Both gasoline and electric units are available, depending on need. I've used both extensively and recommend the electric model if 110v AC power is available.

The tow motors have enough power to move the trailers on fairly steep grades, but I would recommend doing so only if you have chockers standing by on each main wheel in the event of a mechanical failure, operator clumsiness or other oops.

12-20-2003, 06:33 PM
Check out Trailer.Tow at "www.wingwalker.co.za/" Lighweight, folds up for storage and relatively inexpensive. Cheers, Dick Coombs

12-20-2003, 06:52 PM
Forgive my earlier post about "inexpensive" Trailer Tow device. I was reading (in a "senior moment") the shipping price vice the base price of the device. FYI 6.91 Rand equals $1.00 U.S. Sorry, Dick Coombs :'(

01-27-2004, 11:23 AM
The Base Camp RV reminds me of the Apache, the old hard side pop up, which I used to see many years ago. I do notice that it has a "wet" versus a "dry" shower, and it doesn't seem to be as wide as the TM, even though it is supposed to be wider. Am I missing something?