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Old 05-29-2013, 05:51 AM   #1
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Default Sell HiLo, Buy Trailmanor, or Keep what I have

This is just a vent or rant so please forgive the rambling but this has been on my mind lately. I currently own a Hilo 195L year 1994. My only issue with it so far is that it is rather small for two adults and one 10 year old child. I want a larger travel trailer and I have seen what I like purchasing a nice used 30 foot unit for $15,000, but the problem is that I cannot tow it with my current Ford SUV that I use with the Hilo. Purchasing the $15,000 trailer also requires purchasing at least a $15,000 used pick up or big 8 cylinder SUV, I am not opposed to that but we already own 3 vehicles so I would have to sell my VW Passat that I use every day to purchase the big gas guzzling SUV that gas mileage would kill me.

So today I am back to making the decision based on what I can tow with the Ford Escape with Eco-Boost (max 3500lbs) as I cannot justify buying a truck that I will only use 8 to 10 times out of the year. The only true alternative is a Trailmanor Camper which offers the largest camper I could get and be able to tow with my Ford Escape. But when I look at these they are beautiful and I am sold on its quality but the price knocks me on my rear. I will not pay the price for a new unit which is $30,000 plus (that is the price of buying the nice large used Travel Trailer and Used Truck), and the used ones are still expensive at $20,000. I have seen some around $12,000 for the 30 foot size I want but they are far away in California (I live in Chicago). Lastly it dawned on me that I want the bigger camper for me not for my wife and kid as they will only come to perhaps 2 out of the 8 to 10 times I use the camper. So perhaps I can keep what I have and just buy a nice tent to attach to my awning if I want larger space. Does anyone know of a tent system that attaches to camper awnings? I think this would be my best and most economical option; I just saved myself thousands of dollars!

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Old 05-29-2013, 06:14 AM   #2
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You should do some reading about the "real" weight of Trailmanor trailers. Realistically, an Escape is not a safe tow vehicle except for the smallest Trailmanors. Since you are interested in a larger trailer you should be considering a larger tow vehicle anyway.

Good luck with your search for a solution.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:07 AM   #3
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There are plenty of tent and tent-like solutions out there, depending on your specific interests and needs. Add-a-room type construction uses the awning as a roof, and gives you 3 walls and a skirt (using the trailer as the 4th wall). These have the upside of being "integrated" with the camper. The downside(s) are 1) less flexibility in placement (must be attached to trailer, so campsite must be amenable to that placement) and 2) much more expensive than a standalone tent (odd considering the reduction in materials and structural needs, but it's a supply/demand issue). Plus, with a Hi-Lo, you've got the consideration of the wall not being flat -- like on a TrailManor -- so the room needs to be custom fitted for the camper. Which adds to the price.

I did once find a compromise solution, a pop-up standalone tent that was designed to be placed against the side of a camper, so it eliminated the custom requirement, and the cost was less as well. Still had the placement issue, but it was not quite as stringent as an add-a-room. Unfortunately they don't make them anymore.

Many of us opted for standalone tents of one kind or another. I have one that's quite large, 12x12, with screened sides, and roll-down walls for rain. There's an optional floor that snaps in as well, so it could be used as a large tent if needed, and each rain-wall can also be put up as an awning, if you want to block the sun from a particular direction. I can place it anywhere it'll fit on the campsite, and cover the picnic table (the main reason) and if it's amenable, I place it close enough to the awning on the TM so that I don't have to get wet to walk from one to the other.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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HillbillyHotel asks a good question. It appears that the 1994 Hi-Lo 195L is listed as 2900 pounds dry (before options). This is a couple hundred pounds more than any of the TrailManor 2720 models, and almost exactly the same as Trail Manor's new 2922. Any of the TMs will have considerably more interior space than the Hi-Lo.

Both trailers weigh considerably more when you option them up and load them up with your camping stuff.

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Old 05-29-2013, 02:36 PM   #6
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When we decided on the TM, we had compared both the Hi-Lo and the TM.
The TM is larger then the Hi-Lo and real world weights are about 2000# less for the TM. Your cheapest option is get the add a room for the awning you have on the Hi-Lo.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:37 PM   #7
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I would research the tow weight specs on the Escape. I have a 3124 KB so it's one of the 30 footers you may be referring to. It will tow at close to and possible over, when loaded, 4k lbs. The Escapes are a short wheel base vehicle and towing over 4k lbs could be overrated.

The V6 Escape appears to have a 3500lb limit with a tow package.

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Old 05-29-2013, 03:14 PM   #8
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My cousin has a fifth wheel that has the add-a-room and it is nice but his problem is the amount of time it takes to put up between beers. It is not for just a night of camping because of that and the fact when we were traveling together and were staying a few days,there are campgrounds that will not let you put them up because of killing the grass issues. Just to let you know!

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Old 05-31-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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I'd suggest continuing to look for a used, smaller TM. I pull my 2720 just fine with a 3500 tow rated vehicle.
There are more and more low weight options appearing on the market. Few offer the value of a TM.
Google away and see what you find.
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