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Old 04-23-2011, 10:07 PM   #1
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Default Prospective Buyer coming from a Truck Camper

I have been looking for an alternative to my 9.5 Northstar Truck camper. Space is getting tight. My family recently went from 2 kids to 3 a few weeks ago and we have a 72 lb. Lab retriever now. I really do not want a fullsize trailer, due to access to our favorite fishing, hunting and camping spots.

We camp year round here in Colorado. We mostly spend our time boon docking off of forest roads as far in as we can get. We are minimalists as far as extras go. I would be towing with a modified Dodge Ram 2500 diesel. I have read all I can about the Trail manor it seems like a good choice for us. I want a low profile camper with a enough room for 3 kids, a dog, and 2 adults. My questions are:

1) With some cold weather mods and dry camping can a TM be used for camping during the winter?Around 0 degrees?

2) With a lift kit and some real tires can the TM take the abuse of dirt road travel, light 4 wheeling to get to camping spots? I have heard that they leak a lot of dust on bumpy roads?

3)We use our camper probably 40-60 days a year. Is the TM sturdy enough to be used that much with out any major issues or failures? With proper maintenance of course.

I need some real world advice from a TM owner who really uses their TM to the fullest extent. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:35 PM   #2
T and C
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Default TM in freezing temps

Here is a link to one TM owner's experience. He spent 17 days in winter conditions in Moab, Utah. The thread is quite long but has a lot of discussion of cold weather camping as well as this fellow's (cold) hand's on experience.


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Old 04-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Sounds like you and your family are having fun in the "great outdoors" my thoughts in response to your questions:

1. yes, with modifications and or some adapting. The TM is well insulated, but the gray water holding tank is exposed and discharging the sewage from the recirculating toilet could be an issue.

2. unless a rig is designed for this kind of off road rigor, I think it is more than just a question of tires and clearance issues. You are going to severly shake up the contents of any rv. Fire roads would be ok -if driven slowly- but off roading could damage a TM or most other vehicles as well. And yes dust can be a hassle but is manageable. So I would not recommend it.

3. Based on my experience, yes, especially if you get one of the newer TM's. Mine is well made and is holding up very well.

Good luck.

PS. we "upgraded" from a VW camper and the 2720 we have provides much more space, especially with the beds on each end of the camper.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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1) TM can be used for winter camping, no problem, but zero degrees is really going to be pushing it, IMHO. You are really going to have to make several modifications to seal air leaks and add insulation, and even then, I'm not sure how comfortable you will be. Condensation will be your enemy -- your windows will get ice on the inside for sure. We've camped in 15 degrees a few times, and was able to keep it pretty comfortable inside -- around 60 degrees. But the furnace was running fairly often, so if you are running on battery power, battery capacity will become of paramount importance. If it's windy, you'll have a very difficult time keeping it at "room temperature". All that being said, the shelter a TM provides is WAY better than a tent!

Also, as noted above, you're going to have to worry about plumbing freezing. You cannot leave the TM overnight, or for a comparable amount of time, unheated in that kind of weather. But if you have electrical hookups or a generator, some of these concerns become less of an issue. Mr. Geek's thread referenced above by T&C is an excellent reference -- he certainly has focused more on the problem than I have.

2) See this thread:

In short, if you like to regularly go down 20 miles of washboarded dirt road at 20-30 mph, you're going to have problems.

If you want a true off-road outback trailer, check out Kimberley Karavan. Be prepared to shell out some serious cash, and import it from Australia as well.

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:48 PM   #5
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Hey Trout,
guessing you'll see this post as you still have a few days left on your trial membership. Recommend (if you buy a TT) that you get an older one since you'll probably beat it up anyhow. I've done some below freezing TM dry camping in Colorado, but never 0 degree stuff. Figure on not using any TM water system at 0*. Some folks put a little antifreeze in the toilet to ensure it doesn't freeze. I'd go Porta-potty and save the (frozen) battery's power for the furnace. Use collapsible 5 gal water jugs for supply water. Then drain into plastic tubs and toss outside (with minimal soap in it of course). Like Dave said, 0* is pushing it but doable. Take an extra trolling motor battery if you have one since battery power = life. FWIW, the most comfortable I've been out elk hunting in 0* was staying in a friend's army tent with inside put-together wood stove that vented out the top. Slick outfit. Lots of room to move around (and sit) and we were plenty warm. Good luck and let us know what you're leaning towards buying.
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