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02-03-2006, 10:28 AM
Suppose that you had no previous camping equipment and had decided to buy a medium size Trailmanor to use during retirement. Trips would vary from a 10,000 trip to Alaska to a 100 mile trip to the beach or mountains. There would be some dry camping but most would be full service camping. When "customizing" the trailmanor at the official Trailmanor site what would you have Trailmanor supply as options? What would you make sure that the dealer provided (batteries, propane tanks, etc.) and installed? What would you buy at Walmart? I know that this depends on many variables but I think that for some things that it would be cheaper or better to let the manufacturer do it, somethings are better installed by a dealer, and somethings are cheaper and the variety better at Walmart.

02-03-2006, 10:50 AM
There are only a few factory options, and of course you would specify whichever of those you want. I'm thinking of air conditioning, TV antenna, swing-around hitch, hanging cabinet, microwave in lieu of oven if that interests you, countertop extension (aka "microwave box"). Awning, of course, if you want it - I have no use for mine, wish I didn't have to lug it around. Carpet vs no carpet may be an option. None of these are easy to retrofit outside the factory, so get what you want, right up front.

Propane tanks and regulator come standard from the factory.

Almost all of what the dealer does is just final delivery prep. To the best of my knowledge, the dealer installs only one item as a standard thing - a battery. As a default, most will install a marine/RV "deep cycle" battery from Interstate, either a Group 24 or a Group 27. This is a perfectly fine battery if you camp with hookups, but a little lightweight if you want to do extended dry camping. In this case, you might want to upgrade to a pair of 6-volt golf-cart batteries. You can Search this group for specific recommendations.

The dealer will probably also give you a "getting started" kit. It will include a white water-supply hose, a slinky sewer hose, and a first bottle of toilet chemical. You should make sure you have all of these before your first trip. He may also give you a 30-amp-to-20-amp adapter as part of the kit.

Can't think of anything else the dealer should supply as a standard thing - or that he has available as a TM-specific option.

Trailmanors are pretty complete - there isn't much else that you "need". As you camp, you will identify a few convenience items that you would like to have. Most of them can be purchased from WalMart. A few items, I suppose, are specific to camping or RVing, so you might get them from Camping World, or any RV store including your dealer. But it is hard to make up a list - most of it will be specific to your needs, and you will find them out as you camp. Do you need a charcoal grill? Some people can't live without one, I have never found a use for one. It is up to you, but you can add one whenever, and if ever, you want one. Do you need a blue tote for sewage? Only you will know, and only after you have camped for a bit. Do you need a cigarette-lighter plug-in voltmeter? Only you will know. How about a complete solar-power system? Again, ...

To get started, your best bet is just to hunker down for a few hours and read through as many posts on this forum as you can digest, particularly in the Technical Forums section. You'll get a lot of ideas from that. See anything that appeals to you? But if you are new to camping/RVing/Trailmanors, your particular list of goodies will come from your own experience, and I'm not sure anyone can give you a definitive answer based on their particular experience.

Have you looked at the Trailmanor.com web site, and seen what is standard and what is optional from the factory? Bottom line is, get the factory options you want, then go camping. You will not find that anything important is missing, you will have a wonderful and comfortable experience, and you can add "goodies" later, as you decide what you would like to have.


02-03-2006, 11:09 AM
It took us a couple weeks to outfit ours to our specific needs once we got the trailmanor home. You'll need bedding, dishes or paper plates, and various other kitchen utensils - take a long lighter too for lighting the stove and campfire. We also have a battery operated fan for the fridge to keep the temperature even as well as an exterior thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature which is almost essential in my opinion if you want to keep lettuce and other delicate foods from freezing (both very inexpensive and can be found at CampingWorld - I bought mine on eBay). Television if you want it (we also have DishNet). Toiletries for the bathroom as well as Thetford recirculating toilet chemicals and toilet paper specific for RV toilets (CampingWorld or Walmart). For the exterior we like to use a water filter which fits between the freshwater hose and the TM. Flashlight, chalks, leveling blocks, ball hitch grease, hitch lock and TV mirrors are essential! I'm sure I missed a lot of other things but this is all I can think of off hand. You might want to visit a local campground/rv park with full hookups and a Walmart nearby on your first time out just so you can get a good feel for everything and buy the necessary items as need be.

You'll need a weight distribution bar and a brake controller fitted to your tow vehicle prior to towing which your dealer can assist you with. Most of us here recommend the Prodigy Brake controller as being the most efficient and reliable and cost effective... this is what we have.

If you have never camped before, you might want to perhaps try renting a small camper or RV before buying to get a feel of the whole experience. Just remember that it will be hard to compare what you rent to a TM.


02-03-2006, 11:10 AM

I agree totally with Bill. I will add my slant: If you follow anyone elses advice on what to buy, a bunch of the new items will soon be sitting in your garage unused. Your camping profile will be different. You may not even know what that is right now unless you have done a lot of camping. So take your time and get just what you need and the manner of implementing that need that works best for you. This is a big fun part of the whole experience: its called "retail therapy". Others call it shopping. Its also called "Walley World" or "Camping World", or the "Toy Store"!

Have fun!

02-03-2006, 02:29 PM
There are only 6 items listed as "optional equipment" on the TrailManor site. The list is short and you just decide what you want to do when camping. One thing to consider is resale value - if you don't get an awning and AC, you may have a harder time selling later. Do you want to sit there and watch movies? Some do. We have never used our TV antenna - we go camping to camp. Others take all kinds of entertainment equipment. We rarely use the awning - only if there's rain. We haven't used the air conditioner, but our kids did when they used our TM, so there's some value there. In our opinion the hanging kitchen cabinet is a must (just don't load it too heavily because you have to pick it up and hang it on the wall at an awkward stance) but the swing-around tongue isn't necessary, in our opinion. Others wouldn't have a trailer without it. So you see, it's different strokes for different folks. We carry a small electric heater to use instead of burning up our propane in the furnace, although we have used the furnace to get the temp up faster. We have Travasaks for sleeping, (kind of a sleeping bag with sheets) others use sleeping bags and some make the bed up with sheets and blankets. We don't buy anything at Camping World that we can get at Wal-Mart or K Mart simply because it costs so much more at CW. We take a small gas grill, others take a charcoal grill, and some don't take any grill at all. We use mostly paper plates and cups, others like real plates and silverware. Somebody suggested the little refrigerator fan - we use one and always will - they're about $16.00 and run off one D cell forever. Less chance of freezing things you don't want frozen. As others have said, go camping and then decide what else you need. Use things you already have to start with and then you will have a better idea as to what you want to buy specifically for use in the trailer. This is my opinion only and YMMV. We've been camping as long as we can remember so it was easy to figure out what we "needed". As the saying goes, "Just do it!" and then figure out what will help you be more comfortable in your own trailer. Good luck and most of all Enjoy Camping!

02-03-2006, 04:53 PM
The TM (or any RV/tent) is really just a place to sleep. Of course you have indoor plumbing, cooking and seating. If you have little to no experience it will take awhile to decide what you need and how you will use your TM. Will you use it as a base camp just for cooking and sleeping, or will you spend most of your time in it or some where in between. Will you pack all your food and "stuff" before you depart or get most of it after you arrive at your camp site? I couldn't agree more that you can make do with things you have at home until you figure out your personal style ... and needs. Some great advice here to try to use what you have and make notes about what you think you need that you don't have, what would be nice to have but you don't really need and what did you bring that you never used?

Almost all used RV buyers expect an awning and air conditoner. Beyond that I would think it is all a matter of preference. No doubt you have been reading the forums and can decide if you need a hanging cabinet or a swing away hitch. Alot of your decisions can be made based on your life style. You'll probably camp much as you live .... spartan or material girl, as the shoe fits.

Part of the fun of camping is the adventure and the unknown. Enjoy your journey!

02-05-2006, 06:59 PM
We ordered ours so we could get nearly every option. e did not the the TV antenna. If I wanted to watch TV, I would stay at home. Even then, reading the TMO forum is more entertaining ;)

We use the larger 40 gallon water tank nearly every trip. We also use the microwave drawer/cabinette and hanging cabinet every trip we take. We use the awning about half the time. This is the half that is in the summer, not the winter. We use the A/C a third of the time. I have no use for it in the winter. I have never used the rear hitch receiver.

The single most important thing I DID NOT have on a trip, was ant spray while boondocking.

Bill & Lisa
02-06-2006, 12:52 PM
It was mentioned briefly in one post but worth repeating:
* presure regulator for the water line
* water filter for the water line
* hose if it wasn't provided. We carry an extra length and a "Y" valve as some campgrounds have community water-one faucet that supplies several sites. Having a Y allows you to hook up your hose and still allows others to get to the water. The alternative is filling your onboard tank and disconnecting or you may find that other folks disconnect you to use the water and are not good about hooking you back up afterwards.
* I would get the wrap around carpet covers for the steps as they can help keep alot of the dirt and leaves out and are safer if it rains (wet metal gets slippery) (less than $10)
* another "your preference" item is to replace the two outdoor light's white lens on the curb side with amber lenses to cut down on the bugs attracted.
* If you enjoy sitting around a campfire, something to sit in. Size is one consideration, comfort is another.

anyway, my 2 cents worth

02-07-2006, 07:28 AM
Thanks for all the help.
Is there a big difference between a v6 Tacoma crew cab and a v8 Tundra crew cab? I am trying to decide between a 2720 and the 31KB. Most towing will be in the East but our favorite park is Yellowstone.
Would you order the 2 inch lift? I don't see it in the brochure.
If you already have a heavy duty hitch, can you add weight distribution to it? I have no idea how those things work.

02-07-2006, 09:03 AM
I won't speak to the V-6 Tacoma vs V-8 Tundra issue - I'll let Ray handle that one, along with anyone who has a Tacoma.

As I recall, Yellowstone is not a hard park, towing-wise. Grades and altitudes are moderate. Nothing like the high Sierras or the Rockies further west.

The lift kit is one of several options that do not appear in the brochure. I didn't have it on my first TM and never really missed it. I do have it on my second. If you stay on paved or improved gravel roads, it is not a big deal. It's biggest utility seems to be in reducing the scraping of the rear bumper as you go over drainage swales at gas station exits, etc, and for that alone I guess it is worth it. There doesn't seem to be a down side, and at the factory they told me they routinely put lifts on all units that will be delivered in the west.

The thing on the back of your tow vehicle is not a hitch, it is a hitch RECEIVER. The hitch is the heavy steel thing that you will slide into it. The receiver must be rated Class III/Class IV. The way you can tell is simply to look at the square opening. If the opening is about 1" on a side, then you have a Class II, which won't work. If the opening is about 2" on a side, then you have at least Class III, and now you need to look in your owner's manual to find the weight capacity of the hitch receiver.

The hitch itself - the part that plugs into the hitch receiver - can be either weight-bearing or weight-distributing, and of course you want the latter. It is heavy - think 40 or 50 pounds of steel.

Hope this helps.


02-07-2006, 12:24 PM

You may find info on your Tacoma vs Tundra question in the forums over at http://www.tundrasolutions.com. There is a lot of towing discussion there but I don't recall that anyone has used both. We waited a year for the new, larger Tacoma to come out and wound up buying a Tundra after driving them back to back. It's probably an age-related opinion but we found the Tundra to be more comfortable and refined. They are both rated to tow more than the largest TM and either should serve you well. You are probably aware that a new, larger Tundra is due in the fall.

02-07-2006, 12:51 PM
(As I recall, Yellowstone is not a hard park, towing-wise. Grades and altitudes are moderate. Nothing like the high Sierras or the Rockies further west.)

There are some rather high passes in and around Yellowstone. Bear Tooth Pass weighs in at 10,974 and several other areas are up in the 9000 foot range. The Absaroka Range forms the eastern border of the park contributing to the altitude. You would definitely want to drop your trailer before making the loop around the park.

02-07-2006, 06:29 PM
My two daughters, grand daughter and myself went to Yellowstone in the last week of May 95 and my wife and I went in July of 94. I towed my 3124ks with a 6 cyl 4-runner, and had no problems with the climbs and altitude. The TM was definitely fully loaded.
I had to go through yellowstone because the grand teton "Colter bay" was closed. It is a very nice rv park which opens in june.
We had to go through the park to the Yellowstone KOA "www.yellowstonekoa.com" at Madison. We stayed there 7 days. It has an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. "Excellent in May". Enjoyed the park very much.

The RV campgrounds in Yellowstone park are very close together, so we chose not to camp there.
Get an annual parks pass if you stay at the koa, because it is a few miles outside the park.
P.S. They will not let you camp inside Yellowstone with a canvas pop up. Bears...
Enjoy your trip.

02-07-2006, 07:00 PM
Would you order the 2 inch lift?
If I did not have the 2 inch lift kit on my 2720 then it would rub on the ground going in and out of my driveway.

02-07-2006, 07:23 PM
Thanks for all the help.
Is there a big difference between a v6 Tacoma crew cab and a v8 Tundra crew cab? I am trying to decide between a 2720 and the 31KB. Most towing will be in the East but our favorite park is Yellowstone.

Huge difference. Towing a 31KB at the elevations of Yellowstone (~8000 feet) with a V6 will be an exercise in total frustration. Even a 2720...and the load of a long trip...will make the V6 badly strain at higher elevations. The V8 has much higher torque...and the Tundra is a far more refined vehicle for long distances than the Tacoma. Several TMO members have tried, repeat tried, to tow TMs with V6 Tacomas in the western mountains at elevations over 5000 feet. After a few frustrating trips, they traded up to V8 Tundras.

Would you order the 2 inch lift? I don't see it in the brochure.


If you already have a heavy duty hitch, can you add weight distribution to it? I have no idea how those things work.
You don't actually have a heavy duty hitch. You have a heavy duty hitch receiver...the part that a hitch slides into. The hitch is the part that hitch ball is bolted to. The actual hitch can be a simple drop down hitch bar (aka weight carrying) or a weight distributing hitch. Please study this webpage to understand the advantages of a WDH and to see pictures of the various WDH. (http://www.usa-trailer-hitches.com/wd_main.htm) Please note that a WDH is a system of bars, brackets, and lift chains that definitely can't be "added" to a normal weight carrying hitch.