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Old 11-02-2013, 11:10 PM   #1
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Default Is there really a lot of work to own/use a TrailManor

I grew up camping with my family and want to provide my kids with the same experience. I fell in love immediately with the TrailManor (tow with my van, hard sides for safety, enclosed bathroom, etc.) and have been reading as much as I can about them. I have read a lot about concerns/experiences with battery life, people not liking the standard toilet, needing to use a fan with the refrig when you are driving. It all sounds confusing and a lot to have to worry about. We would most likely just be going on weekend trips due to a very limited budget and would not be able to upgrade anything initially. Can a completely inexperienced person use this or would I be in over my head?

Honest feedback would be appreciated.

I will keep reading up on things as well. Thank you!
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:16 AM   #2
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Location: Big Bend area, Florida
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You didn't say what your camping experience was, tent, pop up or RV. Setting up the TM isn't any more difficult then a pop-up camper and takes about the same time. Our two room tent takes longer, my daughters tent takes less time.
In bear country the TM is considered hard sided but bear camping rules apply just as if you were in a tent. The TM is no more bear proof then any other RV.
The standard TM toilet is unique, it is completely self contained in that you flush with recycled waste water after the initial use.
Because the TM when closed covers the refrig vents is why the fan needs to be run. This is to remove waste heat.
Batteries in any vehicle or RV require attention. RV's require paying a little closer attention their state of charge and fluid levels. Check out the "12 volt side of life" a two page write up batteries.
You didn't mention your type of van but TM tongue weights can be pretty high and may exceed your van's ratings. This can usually be taken care of with a weight distributing hitch, WDH.

The TM is easy to tow, comfortable in inclement weather, and makes the ideal RV for many of us.
Axis 24.1 E 450 chassis, 6 spd tranny. GVWR 14500# GVCWR 22000 # GW(scales) 12400 #

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“They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:00 AM   #3
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Any camper needs attention. I have had pop ups with canvass, a nice bunkhouse and then I stepped up to the TM. You are towing a trailer and it is bounced, bumped and rattled as you drive along highways, over railroad tracks, etc. etc. and you need to spend a little, and I do mean little, tightening screws etc. up once in a while. All camper roofs need to be checked for calk damage as well. It all dries out, shrinks or just comes loose as it is exposed to the weather, you will need to probably plan an afternoon removing and replacing it every other year or so.
I do about the same type stuff on my house and it sits still. I go up about every other year and inspect the roof for damage such as nail poppers, look around for leaky faucets, etc. change filters, etc. etc. and it sits still!
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:50 AM   #4
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Posts: 91

I am completely inexperienced (tent camping a handful of times but never a trailer/popup) and like you fell in love with the TM. Bought a 2007 2619 and you're right there's a learning curve but I'm here to tell you anyone can operate it. The only qualification I might add is, if you're not the type to at least read directions (and guides you can get on this forum) then it might not be for you.

The toilet complaints have not been an issue for us. I think the toilet is terrific. The fan/refrigerator thing - I suppose if you operate the fridge while driving, you need to run the fan. We don't do that - we just turn on the fridge after setup. Its icy cold by morning.

Here's a thought: find some of the "first time camping" threads on this forum (including mine) to get an idea of what to expect. Nothing life-threatening I assure you ! Good luck.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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I don't want to get mired in "solving the examples". So let me say, as others have, that all campers require attention. The TM requires less than some, and no more than others.

This board serves two purposes among others. The first is problem-solving. When a member encounters a problem and isn't sure how to handle it, he/she posts here, seeking advice. And since our members collectively have a great deal of experience, an answer is almost always available. And since we do a lot of problem-solving here, you see a lot of posts about problems, but very few posts from people who don't have problems. This is not unique to this forum - check out the Airstream forum, for example, or the Tundra Towing forum, and you will find the same thing.

The second function of this site, and much more fun, is the improvements that members have made to their TMs. Some of them are a bit silly, most are fun and useful, and some are truly important changes that the factory picks up and puts into production. Again, this is not unique to this board. User experiences are important to the factory, and they watch them closely and take them seriously. Everyone likes to personalize his trailer, and this is the place where we write about it.

So when you read this board, you see a lot about problems and solutions, and improvements. And that is good, not bad. Don't let that discourage you. Welcome aboard!

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Old 11-03-2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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Well stated Bill, like most news, the bad stands out the good gets ignored,

We love ours with no real problems.

2012 Chevy Traverse 2009.5 TrailManor 2720 with cassette toilet modification. Cat scale weight 3980 lbs. full tanks

"Retractable hard side camper", way more than a pop up

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Old 11-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #7
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Location: Michigan
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We bought ours (and did a LOT of work not normally necessary to a new camper owner) knowing nothing about them, really. Neither my husband or I had ever owned or used anything bigger than a cabin tent. That said, my husband is a master mechanic and very handy, with some open trailer towing experience, and my son is an engineering student and willing to look up and study any problem to its solution. If you're going to be doing weekend trips to campgrounds with hookups, and you are willing to do basic maintenance (caulking, screw tightening, paint touch up, battery service/replacement, etc.), I think you'll do fine. Like any vehicle or home, a TM does require maintenance - tires, batteries, caulking, etc. As stated above, any more complicated problems can be brought here for help from the forums. I would definitely join if you buy a TM, as there is info available to members that trial members don't see after their 30 day trial membership.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:48 PM   #8
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Karyn, a TM has no more concerns than any trailer. Anything you purchase will have the same types of concerns - battery life (it depends on what you use in your camper, how long a battery will last), etc. Nothing about a TM is hard/difficult. Setup is easy, leveling is no different than any trailer. Towing is easier, in our opinion, due to the low profile.

The fan for the refrigerator is simply a matter of turning on a switch (at the refrigerator) in the trailer. You will have the trailer open to put stuff into the 'fridge, so you just hit the switch. Not hard.

Most of the battery discussion we seem to have is regarding which type lasts the longest, not necessarily problems with batteries. A cheap 12v deep-cycle may last 2-5 years, while a better battery may last longer. Different types of deep-cycle batteries last even longer. Not a problem, just a preference in which battery to buy.

I will have a TM until we stop going camping/traveling. They are great trailers, with many benefits. Don't let a few discussions dissuade you from seriously considering a TM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
Laura FM
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We just traded in a pop up trailer for a Trail Manor. The TM is much easier to set up. It takes a little longer to learn, but it doesnt take long.

BTW, I think you can now get them with a different type of toilet.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:23 AM   #10
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Location: Albany, NY
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Default No Wet Canvas

We bought our "New to us" 2720 TM this summer...camped in it twice and NO it does not take alot of work. It was helpful that our friends logcabin had one for a few years and they were inspirational in our decision to buy one. We were boaters until the price of owning one became unreasonable.
One of the many advantages is that out TM fits in our garage.
We love our TM!
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