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Old 07-05-2010, 09:50 AM   #1
Patrice
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Default Need Advice

My husband and I are looking at purchasing a new 3023 Trail Manor and would like some feedback. We have camped for 30 years starting with tent camping. We purchased our first pop up years ago and later moved to a travel trailer only to be flipped by a semi on the interstate, thus moving us back to a pop up. I am afraid to pull big anymore and really like the idea of a trail manor as it looks alot easier to set up than a pop up (not that a pop up is difficult to set up). I really like a lot of the features that a Trail Manor has including the bathroom. I would really like some pros and cons as to what you like with a trail manor and what you don't. I do not know anyone that has one so it is difficult to learn first hand experience. Thanks in advance
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:08 AM   #2
Wavery
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Originally Posted by Patrice View Post
My husband and I are looking at purchasing a new 3023 Trail Manor and would like some feedback. We have camped for 30 years starting with tent camping. We purchased our first pop up years ago and later moved to a travel trailer only to be flipped by a semi on the interstate, thus moving us back to a pop up. I am afraid to pull big anymore and really like the idea of a trail manor as it looks alot easier to set up than a pop up (not that a pop up is difficult to set up). I really like a lot of the features that a Trail Manor has including the bathroom. I would really like some pros and cons as to what you like with a trail manor and what you don't. I do not know anyone that has one so it is difficult to learn first hand experience. Thanks in advance
What area do you live in?

Try doing a search on craigslist for "Trailmanor". Go out and look at one. Have the seller set it up for you.

Any model will have the same basic set-up as the 3023. The 3023 may be a bit bigger or smaller than the ones that you look at but the set-up and concept will be the same.

IMO, our TM is a LOT easier to set-up than our Coleman PU. No more "cranking", messing with canvas supports, shepards-hooks and bed braces. Not as much bending. My wife and I are in our mid 60's and just got tired of the hassle of a canvas PU. The TM suites us very well. It's not as convenient as a TT while towing and sight seeing but it's not that much more to set-up when you get to camp. As you well know, even a TT takes some time to get into "Camp-mode".

You are right......the trailers tow easier than any trailer that I've ever towed. IMO, it towed better than the 2002 Coleman PU that I used to have. Although, don't get fooled by the dry weight on these trailers. It's important to have a vehicle that is fully capable of towing to GCWR of the 3023 plus all of your passengers and cargo.

The 3023 has a GVWR of ~5000#. I'd suggest that you have a TV (tow vehicle) that has a GCWR = 5000# + all of the cargo and passengers that will be in the TV.

General consensus on this board is that one should have a TV with a MINIMUM tow rating of 5000#. You will have to determine if this is adequate for you your needs or comfort level.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:13 AM   #3
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Hi, we also have a 3023 TM (2004). We love the ease of setup and more security with the hard shell versus canvas. The only dislike we had with ours is the toilet. It is called a recirculating toilet which uses chemicals to cover the stink and when you flush it all it does is recirculate the waste and chemicals together. After a few times of use it is really sick to look at and smell. I removed that toilet and installed a regular rv toilet with constant fresh water flushes and we use a portable tote as our holding tank. Other than that we are pleased with the 3023 and it's ease of towing and setup in tight spots. Jeff in Michigan.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:24 AM   #4
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We camped first in a tent, then a VW Westphalia and then a Class C Rockwood 22' and now we have a 3124KS from TM. Most on the forum would tell you that towing the TM, with the right vehicle and equipment, is pretty much a breeze. In fact, if there was a flaw it would be that sometimes you forget you're towing something. I've been in really severe weather with the TM while on the road and while set up and it holds up will in both situations.

Generally, my wife hates towing stuff. I'm not a big fan either. That said, the TM is plenty roomy when set up and not really so difficult to fold up either. Most of the fold up problem is putting all the "stuff" away but you get that with any type of camping set up. It does sometimes take a little oomph to fold up the TM so I'd try it a few times and see if you can handle it.

There are many really good modifications on this forum that are easy to do and make the TM an even better camping experience.

Good luck.

Phil
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:37 AM   #5
mbd4kids
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We moved to a 3023TM after we were flipped in our old RV (a full size 26'). My kids were petrified of pulling a trailer again, and so was I. While we also purchased a Suburban, which definitely is a plus for towing, the actual towing experience is a joy. (we had never owned a pop up though, so our only experience was the full size) Our gas mileage doesn't change pulling the TM. Honest. My definite cons are that we have to open to pack, and I am not a fan of the toilet at this time, and the fridge is smaller than a standard RV. (I can repost after our next trip because I replaced the toilet seals and added a vent to try to decrease smell, but am not sure if it worked yet.) Also, the actual storage space is a bit smaller, and while we make the beds work, we had quad bunks and a queen in the old trailer which were awesome. However, we have 4 kids (3 teenagers- more adult size) which places our demands higher than most. I have placed a plastic drawer unit in our tub with the hamper because we usually use the camp showers anyway, which helps storage, and purchased an over the sink cabinet and made a shelf for the micro which also help. All that being said, I would NOT trade my TM. The fact that we can still get out and camp, with a bathroom, kitchen, heat and air, and room to move, AND not be afraid towing, all significantly outweigh the minuses. Hope this helps- good luck! PS we are near Phila, in PA. If you're nearby, you're welcome to come see it. By the way, I am the wife, if it helps. I do more camping with the kids than my hubby, and am good with the towing...
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:52 AM   #6
Bill
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Patrice -

You mentioned that
Quote:
... we moved to a travel trailer only to be flipped by a semi on the interstate...
That says a lot about why many of us love our TMs. The small height means that it is almost immune to the turbulence kicked up by passing semi-trailers - or the wind you experience as you cross a long bridge, or come out of a protected canyon and onto the flats - a common experience in the southwest. By contrast, the slab-sided construction of a conventional travel trailer acts like a sail, picking up and reacting to every little breeze.

Most of us tow our TMs without a sway control because our TMs are so stable we don't feel need to have one. And the TM engineers have done a great job of sway elimination by moving the axle back a bit. This increases the hitch weight a bit, but stabilizes the trailer greatly. Many years ago, I towed a slab-side for a year, and even with a friction sway control (admittedly not a very good solution), it scared me to death.

On this board, we've heard the stories of a couple people who lost their TM by driving off the road. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone losing a TM in a wind-induced sway situation such as you experienced.

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Old 07-05-2010, 12:22 PM   #7
MariaG
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We went from a tent to the TM - what a difference! I love having the privacy and security of the hard sides. I can set up by myself if necessary, although it's easier with two people. I'd never towed anything in my life before the TM and it honestly feels like there's nothing back there - my sister has towed several different campers, pop ups, TT, 5th wheels, and was amazed at how well the TM tows. We get around the small fridge by keeping drinks in a cooler. I'll admit it's not as luxurious as my sisters 5th wheel and the storage space is less, but it's adequate. The recirc. toilet hasn't given us any trouble. I think the TM is a great compromise and I love that it's easy on the gas, too. *G*
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
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Like:
* Easy to set up - way easier than a tent popup - and you don't feel like every time you set up something can tear, snag or otherwise be ruined.

* Very warm and cozy but also feels like "camping" like a popup - ie, can hear the outside better than a trailer due to the soft seals between the shells.

* Pulls like a dream - no more bleedin weight distribution for me though I would get weight dist for a 3023 (mine is the 2619).

* No more getting sucked into passing semis

* 600 miles on a tank - compared to 350-375 with a TT, if you have a diesel.

Dislike:

* Can't run the propane fridge on the road

* Fridge needs a fan on while on the road

* Can't access the inside while closed (even my former popups allowed that!)

* Need to get something? You'll have to bend over? Beer? Bend over. Cups or plates? Bend over. May be less of an issue if your model has the overhead cabs but it gets super annoying. Maybe TM should give out complimentary lifting belts with the units to promote back health!

* Water capacity - mine only has 20 gal tanks. My last trailer had 40. You get used to that fast. Again, probably a non-issue with the 3023 as I bet the tanks are larger.

* Marine toilet - I don't care what rationale anyone says, the marine toilet is weak. I'd prefer a cassette toilet if that was the only option. The marine toilet is a problem waiting to happen. Oh and try to find parts for it! Thetford will basically sell the whole thing or major components which cost a lot.

* Coming from a travel trailer, it's not as easy to just stop and have lunch - or use the facility - way easier than a tent trailer but still.


Despite its compromises (every RV has them), it's still the most enjoyment I've had in RVs in a long time - and it's my 6th one. And that, as they say, is priceless.

HTH.

Matt
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:53 PM   #9
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I think the TM is a great compromise
Patrice - I think this is the key. If you recognize that a TM is a compromise of several different ideas and you are willing to live with that, then you will love it.

Many here do not like the recirc toilet - but again that is a compromise. We camp in "improved" campgrounds (anything from NFS with pit toilets to private parks with tile bathrooms) so we will always have some type of restroom available. We limit the toilet in the TM to liquid only and we have never had a problem with smell or any issues dumping.

Setup is not really a big issue. It takes us about 5 minutes to get the shells up and weather tight. A few minutes to set up the inside and then all we have left are the same things that a 5th wheel or TT would have.

Take a look at my web site with my story of how we decided to get our TM. I review some of the pros and cons there.

www.alancavin.com/trailmanor

BTW, one of the biggest pros is this forum - you will find all kinds of help from the most basic newbie questions to much more involved issues. $12 a year is cheaper than a magazine subscription and much more informative!

One other thing - if you are looking at the 3023, consider the 3124 - the extra foot of length gives you a king bed (sleep longways instead of crosswise) and a much larger storage area under the bed. It will depend on the TV you have on whether you can tow the extra weight.

Good luck. Let us know what you do.
Alan
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:02 PM   #10
ib4classics
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Patrice, good job for doing your homework. We purchased a 2006, 3023 used in 08. We traveled several hundred miles to get this particular 3023 (like new).
We started camping with a tent trailer in the 70's, moved to a class C then a Class A then to a travel trailer.
With all things considered, the TM offers more livable room, minus slide outs, than anything its size.
We have camped in 100 degree weather and never had a problem with the toilet, however we follow the directions. I have met and read about rver's that have had problems with odors in large motorhomes, we never have.
The TM tows like it's not there. We do use a WDH but not a sway control, no need.
Our TV has a 7000 lb tow rating and I really appreciate the McKesh mirrors.
15" wheels and tires are important.
Good luck.
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