Does size matter to you?

inthedirt

Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
977
SW Montana
Not talking below the belt, here.........

Been out with my mom in her hybrid and recently rented a 26ft Keystone w/slide. I gotta say, I do like the larger interior space compared to my Baja. They are insulated better (a concern for me with Montana weather), can obviously fit more people inside when the weather turns nasty, a dedicated and spacious bathroom is a nice bonus, as is having a decent-sized kitchen that you can actually cook in comfortably. But, does the physical size difference of your TT, MH, or hybrid PREVENT you from going where you want to go?

I ask because my situation may be different from the majority of people on this site, so I'll explain:

My Baja is the off-road toyhauler model and I camp so that I can stay out and play longer. Boondocking is my preferred method and in Montana, that means I regularly visit remote mountain lakes at 10k ft elevation. I've seen trucks with slide in campers, people sleeping in their cars, and tents up this high, but never have I seen anything like what I have because the roads going in would destroy most TT/MH undercarriages. Our Baja is definitely NOT a pavement princess! I pull it with a Ford Excursion, so the platform on the Baja is usually loaded with our dirtbikes or the ATV.

Getting tired of the setup time and the wifey is complaining about the noise of the tent material whenever the wind blows (its Montana....the wind is always blowing). Having something more insulated, warmer, and quieter at night would be fantastic. But I worry that I'd be giving up the Baja's capabilities. For you fine folks that are like me and almost exclusively boondock in no-man's-land, has your TT/MH ever prevented you from traveling where you normally like to get to? Short of a 4wd converted full-size van with sleeping quarters, I'm not aware of anything as capable and nimble as my Excursion and Baja. Please educate!
 

eoleson1

Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2011
3,613
Macomb County Michigan
I was just looking at my 19 ft Oasis and discovered that it would be quite easy to move the axle from on top of the springs to under them. Near as I can tell, this would give me an additional 6 inches of ground clearance. There are a couple of things that hang underneath that would be a pain if they broke. For example, the grey/black water drain pipe. Right now, it sits about 10 inches off the ground. Moving the axle would raise that to 16, but I think I would still worry about it getting knocked. If I were to modify it for off road use, I would make a skid plate to protect the low hanging plumbing. With the axle modification and the skid plates, I would feel comfortable traveling down most fire roads.
 

generok

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
3,391
Anchorage, AK
I have a 29' Fuzion toy hauler. Gravel highways are just a fact of life here in Alaska, and I've traveled hundreds of miles with it on gravel roads. Lack of pavement isn't the issue. Even though it can weigh up to 9000# fully loaded, I can haul it on any road. What kills me is two things:

1. SOFT SHOULDERS! If the road is narrow, and I get to the side and she shoulder collapses, oooh, that sucks!

20180603_100450(1).jpg
This was a hard lesson learned, but I know now, not to pull over that far in the spring when things are soft.

2. Gradients or dropoffs getting into sites: If the ground is hard enough, and it usually is, I can get into a site. But, if the site has a dropoff, I have to worry about the low hanging items on the rig like the plumbing and the steps. I've been fortunate here so far.

But, simply having a rig that long or that heavy hasn't prevented me from getting out there. In fact, I'm on the small side. I see 40' 5ers with toys out there all the time. IMHO, flipping the axle just because there is gravel travel expected isn't necessary. It would help if you expect to have gradient issues like the above, but definitely not an option for my rig.
 

inthedirt

Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
977
SW Montana
I've flipped the axles on plenty of trailers, and that helps, but I guess I'm more concerned with overall length and height. With the platform and tongue, I'm around 21ft long. But, the Pup's top is less than 6ft off the ground and low-hanging tree branches aren't a problem. Also, I have 13in of ground clearance and that REALLY comes in handy when encountering ruts, washes, logs, and boulders. If I were just heading down fireroads, I wouldn't think twice about it. The areas I head into are more like Class 1/2 Jeep trails. Luckily, I don't have to worry about plumbing with my cassette toilet. Thanks for comments.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,541
Albuquerque, NM
There are some off road TTs that I've seen. Our '15 177 Retro has had two lifts, a factory one of about 2-1/2" and another when we needed a new axle. (The guy at the spring shop was good - looked at the current TV, said "do you want to ride level?" and made that happen.) Single axle, the skid wheel still come into play now and again - and always in our sloped driveway. Listed as a 17' trailer, with A-frame and spare tire, we call is 20 or 21'. We actually finished off the skid Vs it originally had driving into one of our favorite campgrounds, with a deep pothole that stretched across the campground road.
We don't boondock, but will drive unpaved roads to get to an interesting location and campground. So far, ours has not stopped any of that, but we don't do the really gnarly stuff. (For a number of reasons, but a bad neck was the first limitation and I've lived with it for 20+ years, so we're used to not pushing the boundaries on that, not worth the literal pain.) We've seen TTs farther up unpaved roads than we'd dare go, and sometimes we wonder just how they get them that far out - and pray we don't meet them coming from the opposite direction on some of the roads.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
For me, size does matter. Most of the campgrounds I like are small. Very few large pad sites and they are usually in a not preferred location. My clipper is 20.5ft bumper to bumper and that is a big as I would go - motorhome or trailer. During the Great GPS Adventure, I did take the clipper on a 4wd road with no problem, but it's got a 1975 Dodge B300 chassis so has more clearance than many do.

If you have wide open spaces, then size is less of a problem. Boondocking in the Sierras, I wouldn't go big as the roads are very narrow and twisty.
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,426
I wouldn't want to go over 20 ft. ball to bumper due to the limitations of some of the formal campsites use. But after thinking about it and shopping around for years, we've decided to stick with the pup. I haven't lifted the pup but did remove the shower drain after we decided not to use the shower again.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,377
Northern Virginia
Size does matter. The longer the camper the wider your turns you need to make and in some situations on those back roads the roads are very narrow and making those turns may be a problem. Soft shoulders can be another issue especially if it rains etc. Camper is wider than the truck usually so the size of your roads may be an issue as well.
If you camp at campgrounds it’s a different story somewhat but for me size still matters here as well. A lot of the out of the way sites are smaller. Sites that are designated for larger campers tend to be kind of clustered together at least where I stay. I much prefer the quieter spots myself.
Sadly they don’t have those outback TT they have in Australia here. That would be perfect for you. The US market is very limited when it comes to off-road campers.
 

bearman512

Super Active Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,229
Albuquerque NM
We have a 26' 5er that DW and I researched for almost a year and found that this rear kitchen with slide was ideal for the boondocking we do the lowest point is the step well behind the rear axle and that is over 18". None of our plumbing is below the frame except the black/grey connector that is forward of the front axle. My only problem is height and need to keep an eye on trees. Overall length is 26' nose to rear bumper and I can maneuver in more tight spaces than a 18' tag trailer plus the added stability of the gooseneck adapter provides the articulation for almost all situations.
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vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,017
Pittsburgh, Pa
We have a 26' 5er that DW and I researched for almost a year and found that this rear kitchen with slide was ideal for the boondocking we do the lowest point is the step well behind the rear axle and that is over 18". None of our plumbing is below the frame except the black/grey connector that is forward of the front axle. My only problem is height and need to keep an eye on trees. Overall length is 26' nose to rear bumper and I can maneuver in more tight spaces than a 18' tag trailer plus the added stability of the gooseneck adapter provides the articulation for almost all situations.
zNVzkHoNA1Pv4daVOaMo-T5Wdej9wUt7KvaivmugGAq6EmUSFm9fs1dRlcq37GeFNodkZI44gahCb2uyRjLXOusWLMHvM9rypJbD1BiUMJneN3MCvOyAPr1RvLqK4b41XUPJlV_jojCXvV6njerH2NqSDZ_Hlw6UhiLfvsnE-yZbtonuvBEYcdrTkyvNWd1wC19xYyfQAf9fpFxqvQsC2bhIAub1koJue87VTTeHs1CUgmcMPo85yg77BDqgs12hBmteDuqgoOApgSj5XkDVsReZ0IVC-54WvidSMk6_0TcnicK53W_KJvVLJkd5Qa0oLR4J6mYuRL8JvQp3p4z7aN3lhX9ya8OaRiqMGFkYzDcVf3qmnDRZCgGE8SSrRXPDsCbrjBX-tWIj-h2i4QU_gkcq1XkAOrgQRdnmp8pNIJHl3jwMfQHj0cKvtlhg6a_nlmu3pJPbjHMVM-Uk0iGqNVwcZHHNLSrG9hdMwl8EzXVH2x-0T5PvKeVpC4brGEzFFrXRF9u2sK_qlMw_vP5W3iInQa6tRk3UuAj2g3PvHojbgEQQcC_nlgczZPKQiCP36-cwY2Bh8xa0eD0IAOWNhyhPB8Hge0e3uGIpmyrBmGjH3lZ1fUnbfhE_u3VLkioEsBXSguu51_yDl1AVjYcQRci1WAor4dAF_KvjKlS1b0rdgagWBQ25qdoQ3D-N9A=w1182-h886-no
I use a Anderson ultimate Hitch with Gooseneck and love it !!
 

gladecreekwy

Super Active Member
Sep 25, 2016
1,691
Jackson Wyoming
81272A3A-8784-4798-9CDD-346A3686CC53.jpeg We went for the smallest TT that would fit our needs for all the reasons you listed. We only boondock in fairly remote sites and didn’t want to miss our favorite spots because we couldn’t get the trailer in. We chose the 174bh Baja Jayco. Huge ground clearance, as much as my tundra with a 6” lift on 35s. So far we have been able to go anywhere the truck can which is almost anywhere
 

Ladiesman

Super Active Member
Feb 6, 2018
764
View attachment 63784 We went for the smallest TT that would fit our needs for all the reasons you listed. We only boondock in fairly remote sites and didn’t want to miss our favorite spots because we couldn’t get the trailer in. We chose the 174bh Baja Jayco. Huge ground clearance, as much as my tundra with a 6” lift on 35s. So far we have been able to go anywhere the truck can which is almost anywhere
Love that picture!
 

inthedirt

Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
977
SW Montana
I've got a couple interested in my 10Y for the price I'm willing to let it go for ($6500), so I'm currently shopping for either a MH or TH. Not much in my area for this price that isn't already clapped out and needing a few repairs. If my wife was willing to let me spend a little, and she's not, I've found some really cool converted school buses for $10k-ish. I know that is completely different than what I have, but they just look so cool!
 

inthedirt

Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
977
SW Montana
It sold last night after being on the market for only 24hrs. Didn't budge on my asking price, either. The shopping begins......
 




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