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Pittsbrat
04-23-2009, 09:25 AM
After screening all kinds of trailers and motorhomes, the TM seemed the best for us -- on paper. However, on visiting the dealer and checking them out I must admit I was less than impressed. The finishings seemed cheap, the seals at the seams did not seem robust, and they were much smaller inside than I'd anticipated. At every turn, it seemed like it wouldn't stand up to much use. I was hoping it was a collapsing travel trailer, rather than a hard sided popup, if you get the difference.

Because this is an enthusiast forum, you guys know the good points and the bad points and how easy the compromises are to live with. So, please, convince me I'm wrong. Really. I'd kinda like to be wrong because it would save me about $50K.

ng2951
04-23-2009, 10:31 AM
Well first what is the mission you want your RV to fill? It may be that there are other trailers that fit your mission better.

As far as durability goes, go look at used TMs. For the most part I found that TMs held up rather well. I was very concerned with seals and leaks. The older units I looked at did not seem to have any problems. There were certainly lots of wear marks and color fades (UV does that) but everything operated perfectly.

In the folding trailer arena, TMs interior space are among the best. Until you get to the larger Hi-Los TM interior space and usage is a lot better. Even the largest TM is significantly lighter than modest size Hi-Lo.

The TM is built to be really light. TM uses composite construction. Real pluses there if you ask me. There is not lots of wood since wood is heavy. Exterior-wise I do not see lots of issues. Its no better or worse than most RV builders.

Interior-wise, TM still uses composite construction. This works fine and saves considerable weight, but it will not take the abuse wood would. You cannot put a hot pot on the table top and not risk problems. This type of construction has the same issues any laminated surfaces would, but not hugely so. If I could avoid clipping corners when I store our gun cart in the main aisle I wouldn't have chipped some molding. Also I have to convince Lady, one of our dogs, to stay off the couch ledge we be in tall cotton.

I really regard the Hi-Lo and TM as the near equivalent competitors. Frankly, the only Hi-Lo I really like is the largest Hi-Lo. Forgive me if I wrong, but that Hi-Lo weighs a lot more than the largest TM(3326). I don't see how you can drag that Hi-Lo with a V6, but you can drag 3326 with one.

All folding trailers do have an inherent problem: you have to stow everything before you close them. That gets to be a bit of a drag especially one one-day stays. But if you work from a checklist and stay organized this is less of a problem.

The TMs bathroom is really among the best. Despite people's fussing the recirculating toilet is a great concept. Once you learn how to charge it properly, it works just fine. Its big advantage is that it does not consume water and stores all its waste. If you are dry camping, you do not have to watch drinking water get consumed on every flush or watch the level in the black water tank. This again saves on weight. The downside is learning how to use the chemicals properly and tank charging.

The TM also has one of the better hotwater systems IMHO. It is both electric and gas. What is slick about that is that you can run them together. That greatly reduces recovery time. However, I think most users if they have electricity available run on it rather than gas. I usually preheat the HW before I leave on a trip. That tank is so insulated it will retain for a very long time.

Until you get to the larger Hi-Los, the TM's bathroom configuration is better. You don't have the "wet floor" bath like some trailers do.

One thing I did find out is that the smaller TMs set up better than the big ones. On the large ones the ends tend to sag some. Its a non-issue if you know that, but I didn't. I would have problems getting the rear door jam to align properly. When I started to realize what was happening and read some cryptic comments in forums, I realized that the rear of the trailer was sagging. I was going to install some levels on the rear shell, but I have a small bullet level that I use instead. Works fine, no problem.

I don't think this happens on the smaller trailers.

So if you want a hardside folding trailer, that is light, can be towed by a V6 or less a TM can be the right way to go.

fischnet52
04-23-2009, 10:32 AM
Well, I will be anxious to hear/see replies from long time owners, since we just got our 2720SD in October and have yet to get out in it - other than the driveway! Here is food for thought that we considered before joining this fine 'club' of owners.

My thoughts were similar to yours .. a bit mixed when we first looked at the TM at the dealership 4 yrs ago. We had first seen one in Olympic NP, being used by a retired couple who had traveled the US with it and loved it - a 3124 I think. The dealer also carried HiLos and several other 'standard' hardsides and we spent hours going from one into another, repeating a lot of "yeah, buts" to one another. I'm sure the salespeople all talked about the crazy couple! However, we have camped with a large Jayco popup for 12 years (with up to 4 kids) and it is still in very good shape. i.e. we really take care of things we use. Now that we are retired, our consideration was to have something with the shower and toilet, the oven and AC and a little more 'live in' space than with the Jayco, so we could be self-contained in RV parks near/in cities we want to visit, yet still be able to get into the same more remote camp areas we could with the PUP... we spend most of our time outside when we camp, under the awning or at the fire ring or picnic table. I've got a camp table and Coleman propane stove that we will continue to use outside as well. We also wanted to have the towability and mileage we got with the PUP if possible. A major consideration is that we could aways get the 16ft of PUP into a small site, then open it to it's 22 ft and have room ... in sites that you could not get a 24ft trailer into.

I know what you mean about interior size/room, seals and concern about 'standing up' to use, when compared to a full size trailer. My Dad had a 31ft 5th we used and there is no comparison in room, no seals to worry about, etc. But they are two different animals. It depends upon your overall desires and needs.

After discussing these issues and reading through the forum, we decided that it is obvious in many ways that folks with TMs have very similar expectations from their RV. It was also fairly obvious that, while some aspects seem to be not 'robust' enough for a lot of use, there are many folks who have used them extensively and do not see a lot of degradation in the units. My greatest concern is in making sure that I'm careful with the shower walls in takedown, as I see that as the weakest component. All other features are well designed for use and, based upon how our PUP has fared, should last many good years!

I have also talked to owners of older units I've seen in campgrounds who purchased used and new, and have had the same very positive comments from both regarding solid construction and durability of seals and components.

TMs are not for everyone ... This is the best place to help determine if it is a fit for your needs.

harveyrv
04-23-2009, 10:48 AM
We bought our 2720 when it was 10-years-old. It's now over 11-years-old and we camp with is a LOT (usually every other weekend). It has held-up remarkably well. Durability really isn't an issue, unless an owner tows the thing off-road a lot. Ours doesn't leak a drop and we've had it out in some pretty nasty weather. The nice part is that it doesn't have to be stored outdoors, exposed to the aliments 24/7.

The real advantages to the TM is tow-ability and store-ability. If you have room to store a hard-sided trailer and a TV that can handle it, that would certainly be a better choice (IMHO). The $ difference would certainly make up for any fuel savings. You can buy a full sized travel trailer with slide-outs for the price of a TM.

rumbleweed
04-23-2009, 11:31 AM
Based on your opening statement, I am not at all surprised by your conclusions/concerns. You are comparing apples and oranges. I guess the first question you need to ask yourself is " what do you want to do with your RV?" If it is tour the country with all one night stays at various types of facilities, a motor home may be a better choice,If you plan to have it delivered to a long term campsite and go there on weekends, maybe a travel trailer with push outs is right, If you want to get away for a few days or weeks at various places and plan to tow your RV with something less than a 3/4ton truck and still have many of the comforts of home, and not sleep on the ground or under canvas, then the TM is a great choice. There is no perfect RV, even a $500K top of the line motor home has disadvantages. You will not be happy with your choice unless you first determine how and when you plan to use it.

Pittsbrat
04-23-2009, 12:37 PM
We plan to use it to go to dog shows. The vast majority have electric/water hoookups at each spot, and a central dump station area. The typical trip would be 3-4 nights, say Thurs-Sun or Fri-Sun around the southeast. We are not campers. My wife's idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And I say that only half jokingly. At the shows, what we're really interested in is an air conditioned living room, with sleeping space being secondary. The head is a primary consideration, as most of the sites have only porta potties and no showers. Cooking facilities are not important at all. We would like a bed for us (convertible OK), plus space for a couple of kids (beds or floor). If the kids come with us, we can put the dogs in the SUV for the night. If the kids stay home, the dogs can have the living room space. They don't need to be crated at night. The noise at dog shows can be annoying, so sound insulation is important.

One of our 3 garages is big enough to fit any size TM plus the kids' stuff and the motorcycle, so being able to store it inside at home is key to its appeal. Our neighborhood has deed restrictions that do not allow any trailer or RV to be parked outside for more than a day or two while staging for/from a trip. We have a tow vehicle for a TM, but it will not pull a big travel trailer. If we don't opt for a TM, we'd probably go with a motorhome rather than a "regular" trailer or 5th wheel plus a tow vehicle. The cost of the outside storage is not that great, but we'd like to avoid the weathering issues.

jhill30
04-23-2009, 01:31 PM
We have the exact same issues you have about the neighborhood covenants. To be honest, that was the main reason we got our TM. Yes, those big RV's are nice, and roomy. But towing them and storing them, to me, are huge downsides. If you are planning on sitting in your camper most of the time, the TM is probably not for you. (unless you sleep alot)

My wife had never been camping before we got ours, (about 2 years ago) and now she can't wait to go. She loves it!
In any rate, if you do decide to go with TM, there is no doubt, that when you do run into problems (and you will) that the people on this board will help out in any way they can. They are great! Good luck hunting....and have fun

Scott O
04-23-2009, 02:32 PM
Your closing sentence told me all I need to know...if buying a TM will save you $50k then it really isn't a fair comparison! Going in, realize a TM is a compromise. It is light and easy to tow, at the expense of a little robustness. It is small and many fit in the garage, which may limit room on the inside. It is not a house on wheels, but a comfortable and very functional place to stay when away from home. What it is is what it is, and if you think it will replace a 35' fifth wheel or bus motorhome it isn't going to happen and you will be disappointed. Read the comments in this thread carefully. They are written by folks who, like me, love our TMs but realize the compromises involved in having one. As far as convincing you that you are wrong...there is no right or wrong here. You must analyze what your goals and needs are in purchasing an RV and act accordingly! And let us all know what you decide.

ragmopp
04-23-2009, 02:40 PM
My wife's idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And I say that only half jokingly.


Don't take this the wrong way but if what you stated is true, then I wonder if a TM or anything less than a motorhome will be adequate. You know that old adage: If momma ain't happy nobody's happy....

Mike Anderson

ng2951
04-23-2009, 03:07 PM
Sound may be a problem unless you have the AC running. If the AC is running its pretty loud.

One thing you might like to do is rent a trailer for a test. I do not know of any TMs available for rent anywhere, but you can rent some trailers that are pretty close to a TM.

A TM is fine for two and a couple of small dogs, but they do not have the room of TT with slideouts. Something like a 3124KB or KS would likely be a good idea since you would have better storage. Some of those trailers have the 40 gallon water tanks, which you might need with 4 on board.

We have the 3326 which is quite nice. We are able to store all our outfits, CAS firearms, gun cart, camera gear, generator (which we bring when we are dry camping), and other gear. The only limitation is that we have to move gun cart out of the trailer when we get set up. Still we could probably do most of this in a 3124KS.

When the kids start getting to be adults floor space might be a problem, but then the beds are pretty large. An average sized person can sleep on the sofa bed (I have), but it might be tight for some.

In many ways I think you might be happier with a motor home or TT. The one thing to consider is that with TT you can separate TT from the TV. If you have a problem with the motor home, everything goes to the service shop. Also, you can use your TV as transportation when are the shows. That's a heck of a nice thing to have.

countrygirl
04-23-2009, 03:46 PM
FWIT

Last year we camped at a state park there were a lot of dogs and also the tent campers next to us were arguing...(at least one of them was drinking to excess) we went inside and it was peacefully quiet and we slept well.

BOB_STRONG
04-23-2009, 05:29 PM
You didn't mention at all that you had looked at the TM Elkmont travel trailer. From the pictures that I have seen, it looks like a real nice travel trailer. It uses the same construction as the regular folding TrailManor, but you don't have to worry about setting it up. It has the full size refrig, and you can get the regular RV toilet instead of the recirculating one if you so desire. It still is very light and easy to tow.

Last week I had spoken to Keith Hulsey at the factory, and they are in the process of making a larger Elkmont based on the 3326 King frame. It will be a 27 foot plus travel trailer. It will have a different floor plan than the present 2 floorplans now available in the Elkmont. He said it should be in production within 2 months. This is what we plan on getting since my friend has problems getting in & out of the bed due to his Parkinsons disease. We have owned 3 TrailManors since 1992, and I think they are a great unit. Sure they have a few problems, but what RV doesn't?????

I think that TrailManor makes a well built trailer, and they use brand name products in them. The biggest thing is that the factory stands behind the product. There are not too many companies where you can call up & get to talk to someone like Ed Lytle if you have a problem. To me this means a lot when you invest a lot of money in the product.

From reading your post, it seemed that you worried about the seals, water leaks, and how poorly it would stand up after using it a lot. I think the Elkmont would eleviate all of these worries plus the Elkmont costs less than the traditional TrailManor.

If I were in your shoes, I would seriously look at the Elkmonts. From what Keith HUlsey told me, 40% of all TrailManors sold now are the Elkmont models. The Elkmont will fill the nitch for people who are uncomfortable with the design of the traditional folding TrailManor. If we didn't have faith in the product, we would be looking at another brand of trailer. Instead, we will be buying an Elkmont and still staying in the TrailManor family as soon as the new larger model comes out.

4Kids2Dogs
04-23-2009, 05:33 PM
I'd have to agree that you need to analyze your needs and wants again. This is a wonderful forum to help you with any questions or concerns about TrailManor ownership, but the initial decision must be yours. The reasons we each had for buying a TM are many and varied, and while the unit may be extremely comfortable to those of us upgrading from a tent or canvas fold-up camper, it may be "down and dirty, roughing it" to those who are accustomed to and expect the Hilton. If towability does not concern you, or if you are able to afford a large motor inn, other units may be preferable. Initial reaction is important, since how you feel about a purchase will affect your enjoyment of the same. You will have to get used to the quirks of any RV, and if you are excited at the beginning, you will have a much easier time working out the bugs. As for us, we were thrilled with our TM from the start, and we went into this purchase happy and willing to work out any kinks we may encounter. We just love being in the great outdoors with our family, kids and pets! Doesn't sound like that is what you need, though. So, it's worth some consideration!

PopBeavers
04-23-2009, 05:36 PM
My brother has a 32 foot fifth wheel trailer. Very nice.

He can not go where we can go. We do not like to go where he can go.

He is retired. Some of his trips are for several weeks. He goes to RV parks with a club. They watch television in the evening.

We go to forest service campgrounds. A year ago we bought some ATVs and motorcycles to ride on forest roads to explore the forest. We now prefer to camp where we can ride the ATVs in and out of camp to the trails, instead of towing them in a trailer to the trail head.

If I can hear voices from the adjacent campsite, then the campsites are too small and we will not go back there again. If I wanted to be in a crowd I would have stayed home. Real solitude requires backpacking, which my wife can no longer do with her bad knees.

The TM is a more comfortable place to sleep than a tent and it has a bathroom for the middle of the night. Our son (26) and daughter (28) still go camping with us, but they sleep in their backpacking tents. Allegedly I snore. However, we leave the door unlocked. I have no doubt that if the weather turned bad overnight they would move indoors with us. Our 2720 can sleep 6 in a pinch.

Half the time we cook outside, but if it is cold or damp then we can cook indoors. The interior size of the TM is not an issue for us, because there is rarely more than two people inside. We sit at the picnic table or around the campfire, except during the day when we are away sightseeing.

Two years ago the two of us explore the north coast of California. We stayed two nights at each campground. This gave a one day of travel and then one full day to our. I grew tired of setting up and tearing down, even though we traveled light. Next time I wiall stay a minimum of three nights at any one location.

We wanted the largest hard sided folding trailer that was not longer than 19 feet, so I could park it in the garage. Anything that will not fit in my garage will cost more than $100 per month, 10+ miles from the house. We did not want fabric walls, like a tent trailer.

For us, the TM is perfect.

I like to camp with hookups once a years, in the fall. This is when I flush out the sanitation system really well for winter storage. Otherwise, we are self sufficient. This year I purchased 4-7 gallon water containers, to supplement the 40 gallons I carry in the TM. This will allow 5 adults to camp for three days with no access to water and still take shores at the end of he day after riding ATVs on dusty fire roads all day.

Do not confuse RVing wih camping. My brother is an RVer. We are campers.

RVers use the RV as a portable home on wheels. The stay in RV parks wih all of the comforts of home.

Camper use it as an upgrade from a tent or tent trailer, so we can be reasonably comfortable in the middle of nowhere.

I have nothing against RVing. That is just not something we have any interest in doing.

The first time we camped in the TM the guy camped across from us came over to see what we had. I loved his comment "Wow, you can take that to Highlands Lakes".

Highlands lakes is about maybe 10 miles down a dirt road, with a few sections that are steep enough that it would be helpful to have 4wd so you don't get stuck. Due to low clearance with the tree limbs, low profile is also helpful. This lake has a reputation for decent fishing. Since i do not fish I would not know. But this guy in is regular stand up trailer apparently does fish. His wife will not go camping without the trailer. so when he goes fishing at Highland Lakes, his wife stays home. If he had a TM, she would go. It sould like he bought the wrong trailer, mainly because he did not know that such a trailer existed. He did not do enough shopping.

First, decide where you want to go:

RV parks
National Parks
State Parks
Forest campgrounds
dispersed forest camping (aka boondocking)

Then decide on the size of RV that can go to those places. Many California state parks are limited to 30 feet, so my brother can not go to our state parks.

Then consider amenities and how you will get it to the destination. How long will you use it:
weekends
two week summer vacation
extended tour of the US for several months
live in it full time for several years.

Everything is a trade off.

4Kids2Dogs
04-23-2009, 07:09 PM
Wow! That just about sums it up, Wayne! The more I think about it, even though this started out on the negative side, I'm really glad this thread was posted. It's reminded me of all the really great reasons (for us anyway:rolleyes:) why we got our TM.

ShrimpBurrito
04-23-2009, 07:16 PM
From what Keith HUlsey told me, 40% of all TrailManors sold now are the Elkmont models.

Wow, if this is true, I hope that means the folding campers won't soon go bye-bye.

Dave

robertkennel
04-23-2009, 08:19 PM
Don't forget get the negative about a motorhome. If you forget something like milk you have to bring your motorhome to the store. Roll up the awning,sewer,water,tv disconnects and start over on the releveling on return, unless you tow another vehicle. I'm a pilot too and sometimes it is fair to compare small planes to travel trailers. They both always have some issues.

ng2951
04-24-2009, 06:55 AM
I think I should expand some on the construction. The TM uses the same construction techniques used in aircraft. This is both strong and light.

Composite construction is a laminated structure: aluminum or wood over foam (using epoxy as a binding agent). This yields a very light and strong structure, though more expensive. Its a lot like wood except the non-load bearing sections are replaced by lightweight foam.

If I were looking for a lightweight trailer like the Elkmont I would go with TrailManor first. I don't think there is a manufacturer out there that has the experience with lightweight materials like TrailManor has. They know how to bond materials and how to build light. They have trailers that have been in service for decades that are still going strong.

One thing about the roof seals. They are not going to be a problem. The way the roof seals are built, they could be in really lousy shape, and still not leak. They roof ovelaps, and as long as it is anywhere close to being level, the water will not leak.

nonichris
04-24-2009, 07:48 AM
Just to add the thoughts of someone who also attends weekend dog shows. We were driving a class C motor home with our three dobermans. Hated the drive in that big ungainly box, but it was nice to be able to just stop and park and have little prep coming and going. We had a small one that fit into one parking space. We decided we would rather be comfortable and safer in the vehicle, so we got a very nice sturdy SUV, and the trailmanor. Now we travel much more comfortably but it takes longer to set up and take down. Once settled, we have much more space. The biggest problem is that there are times we need to put the dogs in an x pen or pup tents while we are working on the TM set up, as the back lid of the SUV, if left hooked up, can not be open once the TM is expanded. We haven't gotten to the point yet, where we are efficient about hitching and unhitching the trailer....It is definitely a trade off...but I had gotten to the point where I dreaded the ride in the big box, and having a low profile TT is so so nice.

Pittsbrat
04-24-2009, 08:04 AM
Wow, thanks for all the input, folks. I don't mean to be negative. I really feel strongly both ways.

On the one hand, having the TV at the shows would be handy, and towing a car with a motorhome creates a somewhat more stressful drive. The price of a TM is right, given the storage advantage. Having lived through the pop-up experience when the kids were little and we did actually go camping means I already have most of the accessories involved.

On the other hand, there's something to be said for just parking, plugging in water and power and being done with the whole thing. Plus for the passengers to have access to the head, fridge etc enroute (plus the additional moving around room) makes the drive much easier for them. The motorhome would be better on creature comforts, but at the expense of maintenance, purchase/storage cost and operating cost. If we went the motorhome route we'd probably end up with something like a gas-powered 30 foot Class A Winnebago. 3-4 years old and you're looking at at least $65K and at most 8 mpg. That's a little tough to swallow. It's not the money, it's the value (or lack thereof).

I will look a little more deeply into the TM, perhaps a bigger model than the 2720SL we picked on paper.

PopBeavers
04-24-2009, 09:00 AM
We picked the 2720 because it was the biggest that fit in the garage and it also sleeps the most.

When we bought it, our son (now 26) was in college and raced mountain bikes. So we used it as a base at mountain bike races. At 6 foot 4 he slept in the front bunk and petite daughter, though she could have slept on the dinette, slept in her backpacking tent. Allegedly I snore.

Our son now sleeps in his own tent.

Sometimes w take my wife's blind bother. He sleeps in the font bunk. When goes with us, one of his two son's (26) usually goes along. He sometimes sleeps in he dinette and sometimes sleeps in a tent, depending on how his dad is feeling. If it looks like his dad needs additional help, due to other medical issues, then he sleeps in the trailer.

When it is just the two of us we sometimes wonder if we should have gotten the SL or SD instead. For just two people, the front bunk becomes an awkward to use storage area, at least for us.

But, just about that time we realize that with our son getting married in July, in a few years we may have grand children, in which case the front bunk will be handy again.

My wife's parents, when they were still alive, had two different motor homes. the fist was a 28 foot Southwind. The second was a 32 or 34 foot Bounder. We borrowed both. Neither had slides.

When camping, you lose about 6 feet off the front, though you can pile stuff on the dash and seats. So 28 becomes 22 and 34 becomes 28 feet. The same size as our TM.

In either MH, it was difficult to have people inside while preparing meals. The kitchen was very small in both motor homes. In our TM, one person can work on he counter behind the stove, one at the sink and another at the table. a little tight but doable. Since it never rains in California ;) we rarely need to do this as we frequently cook outside. However, if you don't live in California, hen you may encounter more rain than we do. Therefore, you will be indoors more often than we are. So consider how many people will be inside and where, especially during meal prep time.

When we retire we will likely buy something bigger, but still keep the TM. By then it will be 16 years old. Not enough residual value to put much of a dent in the new trailer. By keeping it we can still use it to go where the new trailer can not go, or let the kids use it.

Queeniereads
04-24-2009, 10:02 AM
Well, I have to add my two-cents. We bought our TM becuase it is safe to tow and economical to tow because it is low. We had had a terrible accident towing a travel trailer, and wanted something that felt awfully safe. We like the Tm very much, 'tho I admist to missing the slide with the dining area occasionally and the fuller-sized refrigerator. But, part of the fun is peeking into toher people's TMs and finding out what clever things they have done to outfit their camper for longer trips. For example, we just bought a hassock with room inside to store all our shoes and to sit on when we eat or whatever. True, you cannot take your whole house with you in a TM, but I find the lack of clutter to be liberating, and we feel safe. We have had our TM since 2005 and have not had any problems excpet for a few screws that needed to be replaced or screwed back in. No leaks. No equipment failures. Good luck in making your decision. Q

robertkennel
04-25-2009, 10:47 PM
And don't forget the price of fuel could go to four dollars a gallon again. As soon as the economy even hints of a recovery the speculators will get the price up faster than it went down. It would be a hard sell for the motorhome then if you wanted to get rid of it. Just one more thing to throw into the mix.

ng2951
04-26-2009, 08:46 PM
The other nice thing about either TT or TM is in the event you have problems with the TV, you can drop it off without dropping off everything else. It has been one of the reasons we shied away from motorhomes. 8 MPG did too.

Since "cap & tax" with European style fuel prices, may be on the horizon having a TM may make the difference between making that trip or not.

Just remember that RVing is not cheaper than staying in a hotel, but it is heck of lot nicer and the dogs are usually always welcome...

meriflower
04-28-2009, 12:24 PM
After screening all kinds of trailers and motorhomes, the TM seemed the best for us -- on paper. However, on visiting the dealer and checking them out I must admit I was less than impressed. The finishings seemed cheap, the seals at the seams did not seem robust, and they were much smaller inside than I'd anticipated. At every turn, it seemed like it wouldn't stand up to much use. I was hoping it was a collapsing travel trailer, rather than a hard sided popup, if you get the difference.

Because this is an enthusiast forum, you guys know the good points and the bad points and how easy the compromises are to live with. So, please, convince me I'm wrong. Really. I'd kinda like to be wrong because it would save me about $50K.

I know this is a TM forum but if you're looking for a collapsing travel trailer, have you checked out Hi-Lo? It is another option. We compared both Hi-Lo and TM when looking for our next RV several years ago and that is how I came to know of this forum. I still come back here from time to time to see what's new. We chose a Hi-Lo and like it. Ours has been trouble free going on 3 years so far.

Al-n-Sue
04-28-2009, 03:34 PM
My comment is that ALL RVs are a compromise. Whether you have a tent or a class A pusher diesel, you gain and you lose on each choice. You have to decide what it is you want out of the experience and pick the option that best suits your circumstance. Trailmanors fit a niche market. If you fall into that demographic, it is a good choice. If not, it may not be so good. Most of the people on this forum fit that niche and are enthusiastic about it.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

PopBeavers
04-28-2009, 06:45 PM
My comment is that ALL RVs are a compromise. Whether you have a tent or a class A pusher diesel, you gain and you lose on each choice. You have to decide what it is you want out of the experience and pick the option that best suits your circumstance. Trailmanors fit a niche market. If you fall into that demographic, it is a good choice. If not, it may not be so good. Most of the people on this forum fit that niche and are enthusiastic about it.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Besides the niche market aspect, another feature of the Trailmanor is this website. Other RVs may have a similar independent forum, but not all.

The nicest RV owners on the web are the members of www.trailmanorowners.com. If you don't believe me, just ask us. ;)

mbd4kids
04-28-2009, 06:58 PM
As a previous owner of a full size trailer, I would agree that you might be giving up on interior space. However, since that one rolled in a highway accident, and we were a bit afraid of it happening again, we switched to a very used TM. So far no leaks, and I assure you, you don't know it's behind you compared to a full size camper. There is no drag on the car, and in fact, my husband got better mileage (slightly) pulling the tailer on our maiden voyage home, than we got going to pick it up. That definitely doesn't happen with a full size. And compared to regular pop ups, well, there is no comparison. You are safe in a full shell from storms, and you can't find a bathroom like the TM unless you seriously give up floor space. Good Luck!

SCBillandJane
04-28-2009, 09:37 PM
It has been interesting reading how many different reasons people have for choosing Trailmanors. To answer durability questions we bought a 5 year old 3124 last year and traveled from Key West Florida to as far North West as you can go by road in Alaska. With other trips we have about 20,000 miles with mostly one night stops in full facility campgrounds. We never had to stop for repairs. Not even a flat tire. Other units under repair in Alaska for long periods of time made us appeciate what we had. Yes, set up can be a pain in the rain or heat, but that is a few minutes. For the long driving hours where we forgot we were pulling a trailer it was worth it. My suggestion is go to a dealer with your wife and put the unit up and down 5 times in a row. If you and your wife are still interested, buy it.

ng2951
04-29-2009, 07:08 AM
I know this is a TM forum but if you're looking for a collapsing travel trailer, have you checked out Hi-Lo?...I also don't think this forum is snobbish about TMs or Hi-Los. If I were going to get a Hi-Lo I would be looking at the 25s-27s. They have a really nice interior setup, especially since they locate the bathroom between the bed room and living room.

On the motorhome side, you may want to check on the solvency MH manufacturer. Some have gone out of business and that might make some of the proprietary parts difficult to come by.

With a trailer it sure makes it simplier since there is no motor or transmission to fool with.

The only major problem, if you want to call it that, I have had with my 3326 was the street side front molding cap flew off the trailer. I patched it with duct tape (even held up through two frog stranglers) until TM sent me a replacement (less than a week and $32).

Scott O
04-29-2009, 09:50 AM
To follow up the previous post, the insurance and related expenses on a trailer are amazingly less than with a motorhome type vehicle. I doubt if living quarters maintenance is much different in a trailer or motorhome, but there are no power plant or drive train issues with a trailer. We are currently "camped" in a delightful park in Paso Robles (Wine Country RV) and getting ready to go out and do some serious wine soaking, I mean wine tasting! The ONLY thing I really miss in our TM is a full sized referigerator...everything else is just dandy!

CowboysFan78
05-01-2009, 07:49 AM
The TMs bathroom is really among the best. Despite people's fussing the recirculating toilet is a great concept. Once you learn how to charge it properly, it works just fine. Its big advantage is that it does not consume water and stores all its waste. If you are dry camping, you do not have to watch drinking water get consumed on every flush or watch the level in the black water tank. This again saves on weight. The downside is learning how to use the chemicals properly and tank charging.

I'm interested to hear more about the 'tank charging' that you mention. We bought a 2006 3023 early this year and will take our 1st trip on Mother's Day weekend. We are beyond excited! We come from a pop-up with a cassette toilet, so even the concept of having an actual sewer connection is new to us! I hadn't heard the term tank charging, and would love to hear more so we can be prepared.

CowboysFan78
05-01-2009, 07:53 AM
The real advantages to the TM is tow-ability and store-ability. If you have room to store a hard-sided trailer and a TV that can handle it, that would certainly be a better choice (IMHO). The $ difference would certainly make up for any fuel savings. You can buy a full sized travel trailer with slide-outs for the price of a TM.

I totally agree, and that is the exact reason that we spent 'full-sized TT money' on a 'folding camper.' It is still saving us money when you consider that we pull it with our Nissan Quest van, which we'd have with or without a camper. There isn't any need for us to get a big truck to pull a big TT. I think the TM is a wonderful option in this scenario!

4Kids2Dogs
05-01-2009, 08:12 AM
I'm interested to hear more about the 'tank charging' that you mention. We bought a 2006 3023 early this year and will take our 1st trip on Mother's Day weekend. We are beyond excited! We come from a pop-up with a cassette toilet, so even the concept of having an actual sewer connection is new to us! I hadn't heard the term tank charging, and would love to hear more so we can be prepared.

Hi there! FYI, there are tons of posts about the commode...just search "Thetford" (the brand name) and you will get lots of hits, including this great post from Bill: http://www.trailmanorowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2354&highlight=thetford

We have young kids, too, ages 10, 6, 5 & 2, so having working facilities is a definite "luxury" after tent camping!! I'm sure you will have a great summer!:D

CowboysFan78
05-01-2009, 09:42 AM
Hi there! FYI, there are tons of posts about the commode...just search "Thetford" (the brand name) and you will get lots of hits, including this great post from Bill: http://www.trailmanorowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2354&highlight=thetford

We have young kids, too, ages 10, 6, 5 & 2, so having working facilities is a definite "luxury" after tent camping!! I'm sure you will have a great summer!:D


Awesome...what a great post by Bill! I've printed it out to read (and read again) and take along on our 1st voyage!!

Al-n-Sue
05-01-2009, 04:48 PM
I'm interested to hear more about the 'tank charging' that you mention. ...... I hadn't heard the term tank charging, and would love to hear more so we can be prepared.

We also came from a popup with a cassette toilet, so I was a little worried because I didn't understand the recirculating concept either. But we camp with 3 other TM owners, and I thought if they can do it, so can I!

Actually, "charging" is simply the task of putting chemicals in the toilet and filling it with water until it reaches the "charge level" on the gauge. That's it. You're done! The gauge then shows you how full the toilet becomes. The "charge level" is the level where the pump will begin to pump water.

We've had our TM for a year now (3rd owner) and the toilet has been trouble free from the beginning.

We're going out Mother's day as well - but it will be our 2nd this season!

Enjoy.
Alan

photoadjuster
05-01-2009, 08:02 PM
Word to the wise.

Do not add chemical until the new water has been in the toilet for a couple of hours. The reason is occasionally something gets in the shutoff valve and the water leaks out. Just fill with water and wait. If the pump still circulates water, you know there is no leak and you will never waste a bottle of chemical. If it should leak out, just cycle the valve a few times to clear out whatever is causing it to seep.

Been living in my TM for the last 6 months. Wasted a bottle of chemical several times until it dawned on me not to add the chemical for a while.

ng2951
05-01-2009, 10:16 PM
Neat tip, but I have not had that problem. But its a good one to have in your quiver...

ED-n-KEL
05-05-2009, 02:00 PM
After screening all kinds of trailers and motorhomes, the TM seemed the best for us -- on paper. However, on visiting the dealer and checking them out I must admit I was less than impressed. The finishings seemed cheap, the seals at the seams did not seem robust, and they were much smaller inside than I'd anticipated. At every turn, it seemed like it wouldn't stand up to much use. I was hoping it was a collapsing travel trailer, rather than a hard sided popup, if you get the difference.

Because this is an enthusiast forum, you guys know the good points and the bad points and how easy the compromises are to live with. So, please, convince me I'm wrong. Really. I'd kinda like to be wrong because it would save me about $50K.

Pittsbrat,
I know what you mean, but as everyone is saying, you really need to decided for yourself if the TM is right for what you want to do.
My wife and I have been to several RV shows pondering this same question. We usually start with the TM's, and then do the entire show. Inevitably, we always find ourselves back at the TMs at the end of the day. Each time we both agree that the TM is the right "tool" for us.
We too have some reservations about the TM for various reasons, but some things out weigh others, so it's the overall package that must be considered.

Things like TV, storage of trailer, how many in the party, how long will you travel/stay, terrain, etc, are all things that should be considered.
As someone has already said, there are compromises with each type, brand, etc.

PopBeavers
05-05-2009, 03:46 PM
Just as an example, carpet looks really upscale, but it is not very practical for the way we camp. I would never want carpet.

I require something that is really easy to keep clean.

The cheap that you are referring to is not in the appliances. The appliances are actually pretty good.

Perhaps what you want is a marble floor, granite counters, etc. all of which are not at all practical. At least no in a light weight trailer that will spend at least some of its time getting towed on dirt roads.

Bill & Lisa
06-10-2009, 09:12 AM
Some really great responses to the question here. Good job everyone in giving opinions and things to consider and staying on topic.