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Old 05-14-2008, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default Trailmanor vs. popup

I have never owned either and am comparing the Trailmanor to a Fleetwood popup with the hardsided bath. For those that have owned both what are the pros and cons of each?
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #2
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Time time time. We have had three popups before we got our TM. It takes forever to get that popup up in the evening and down in the morning. I'd guess it was taking at least an hour to get the popup ready for the road, a little less time to get it set up. We would stay in a Motel on the road rather than fight getting that thing up at night.

The TM is up in 5 minutes and down in 10 and hooked up to the truck. No cranks, no stuffing the canvas in no fuss. And no %$#@!!! language.

Furthermore the canvas is always getting rips and tears. We replaced canvas on two popups, $700 each time. And were doing constant minor patches. TM has aluminum sides.

Our popup wasn't well balanced and we would get sway. That made driving a white knuckled tense operation especially on wet roads and around semis. The wife refused to drive it in the rain. The TM is a dream to drive, not the slightest hint of sway.

Lastly there is no comparison in the room available and finish of the interior. TM is vastly better. I've yet to see a bathroom that I would want to use in a popup.

We, as you can tell, were just fed up with camping in a popup. We got to the point of hating the idea. Now this took us a while and we do 5000 mile trips every summer so we were pushing that popup past it's design limit. If all you want to do is an occasional weekend then you may find one tolerable. YMMV

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Old 05-14-2008, 05:50 PM   #3
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There is nothing really wrong with the Fleetwood, but go stand in the TM and you will immediately see the difference. I haven't owned a Fleetwood, but I looked at plenty of them before buying a TM.

The Fleetwood is really a tent camper. Nothing wrong with that just that it is different than the TM. The Fleetwood is also cheaper than a TM and is heavier than a TM.

The Fleetwood hardside bathroom is certainly a lot better than their softside ones, but it pales in comparison to the TM bathroom. The walls of the TM are much more significant.

Probably a better comparison would be to compare the TM against a Hi-Lo. Hi-Los are hardsided trailers like the TM. Again they are significantly heavier than the TM and are cheaper than the TM. Some of the larger Hi-Los have better bathrooms than TMs (at least in my opinion). Again Hi-Los are heavier than TMs which is something to consider if you are planning to go up hills.

The TM, Hi-Lo are not tent campers. These are hardsided trailers that are much tougher than tent campers. I think they are more comfortable and a better value than a Fleetwood.

A good idea at this point is to for you to tell us a little about what you envision doing with your camper and how much you are willing to spend.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:23 PM   #4
Scott O
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We had a very high quality Starcraft tent trailer as our first foray into the world of trailers. The Starcraft was as easy to set up as the TM, but much more difficult to take down, mainly because you have to keep tucking the tent in. The Starcraft did allow some access to the inside when down, the TM needs to be set up. Towing was very similar. The Starcraft had no holding tank for grey water, a major minus. You can compare the features of the tent trailer and the TM forever, but for us the bottom line you like living in a tent? They are very cold and noisy, and flap like crazy in the wind. After using the tent trailer for a year, we sold it and moved to something that we enjoy much more, a TrailManor.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:29 PM   #5
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One other thing about tent camping...all it takes is a knife or razor blade to get in.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:38 PM   #6
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It's the difference between a tent and a travel trailor. We have owned both. I agree! Go see one, put it up and stand in it. THere is no comparison. Queeniereads
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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We graduated from a Starcraft to a TM this year. We had the popup for 5 years and enjoyed using it, but found a number of particular things that encouraged us towards the TM.
Someone mentioned the gray water tank. Our Starcraft had a drain, but we had to connect a 15 gal low profile "blue tank" to catch gray water, and then empty it at the end of a weekend. And we typically filled it up. 15 gals of water is no mean feat to lift into the back of a truck or SUV to take to the dump. I actually messed up my back last fall trying to get ours out of the SUV at the dump. Not fond memories.
Second is bears. We camp a lot in the Colorado mountains, and every state park and most if not all Forest Service parks require you to store food in a hardsided vehicle at night and during the day if you are gone from your site. Got really tired of that with the Starcraft.
Third is storage. The Starcraft had storage under the seats, and a small cabinet - but those were easily filled with cooking gear and a few other camping items. No room to store food or clothes when traveling. The TM has the ability for us to load up the trailer and carry almost nothing in the TV. When DW transferred all our gear from the Starcraft to the TM, she was amazed at how much space we still had left to use.
Negative? The 5 yr old Starcraft cost us $4400. Our 5 year old TM was $17000. But well worth the difference.
Hope that helps.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:38 AM   #8
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We owned a 2004 Fleetwood Sequoia pop-up. It was loaded - Built-in microwave, 6 gallon water heater, hard-side bath, king beds on both ends, furnace, and A/C. Loved camping in it on weekends, but then came the trip from NE Tennessee to Utah.

Let me tell you, it got real old real fast setting up at the end of a long day of driving. Then the take-down the next morning, drive all day, and set up again. It was OK when we stopped for a couple of days in one place. Unless it was windy - May in southern Utah appears to be VERY windy. We actually had a support rod bent from the wind. Not a lot of fun. We travel with three Boston Terriers and worried constantly about them.

It was very easy to tow. But our TM is just as easy if not easier. We have LOTS more room inside (for rainy days). We just feel 'safer' in bad weather. We went to Tucson in March of this past year (very windy in south Texas that time of year, also) - the TM withstood the wind gusts extremely well (up to 55 mph winds).

Pop-up was $9,000 and our current TM was $30,000 - big difference in price BUT we feel like we have a much better camper. TM is so much easier to set up and take down. I wouldn't go back to a pop-up now (I'd give up camping first!).

Any specific questions I can answer re: the specific pop-up we had, feel free to ask.

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Old 05-15-2008, 10:14 AM   #9
Mr. Adventure
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Default Popup vs Trailmanor

Over the years, we've owned 3 popups, 1 standard travel trailer, a 37 foot Winnebago, and the TrailManor. We've used our RV's to go all over, in lots of different kinds of family adventures.

The advantage of the popup is that's lighter and a lot less expensive. They also can have king sized beds without the weight and length of a big TrailManor.

The disadvantages of a popup versus a Trailmanor:
- Canvas is thin. Issues include noise from other campers, light (headlights at night and the sunlight holds reville for you in the early morning), and it's easily damaged and sometimes hard to repair. And yes, there are potential security issues, but we never experienced any problems.
- Canvas is uninsulated. It gets lots of condensation on the inside when the heat is on, it lets heat out in the winter, and lets lots of heat in in the summer sunshine. Temperature control is harder.
- You have humidity management problems inside. When you camp in cold weather or the rain, your bed tends to get wet around the edges.
- If you're out in wet conditions, you have to dry a popup out before you put it away in order to avoid mildew and mold in the trailer.
- When you set up or fold down in the rain, it's hard to keep the beds dry.

Other things:
- Popups used to not be fully self contained, with hot/cold water and gray/black holding tanks (but maybe they do now).
- Most popups have relatively primitive stoves, ovens, sinks, drawers and cabinets.
- No popup bathroom was ever able to pass the DW test, although eventually there could be one, of course.
- The TrailManor awning, roof, sides, doors, and windows are more like what you'd see in larger and more comfortable RV's. The insulated TM walls are better than most other kinds of RV's.
- Popups still use a lot of wood in construction. Trailers can get wet in storage, and wet wood rots.
- Popups do not hold up as well as most other RV's. TrailManors hold up much better than most RV's.

Would we do a popup again? No, because we've gone soft these days, and our budget is better than when we were younger. But when we had young kids, we had a wonderful time camping with them in popups. The motorhome was a great RV, but the cost of gas makes it a park model. The TrailManor is a perfect compromise, where you can be on the road with 16-20mpg in the vehicle you'd otherwise drive to work.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:23 AM   #10
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We are selling our Starcraft Centennial that has Kingbeds and Slideout Dinnette for a 2720. Will miss the dining area. Three reasons - bears, wind, and security.

We beat the cold and heat with thermal blankets and bubble wrap.
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