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Old 05-21-2016, 07:25 PM   #1
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RVs in Combination

On a road trip my wife and I were discussing pros and cons of motorhomes (A or C) pulling a toad, versus a pickup truck (or large SUV) pulling a trailer (bumper pull or 5th wheel). We didn't want to get too equipment specific, preferring to keep comparisons conceptual.

In both of these cases, a major disadvantage is that once base camp is set up, and one drives around in either the toad or pickup/SUV, we would lose all comforts of home. Granted a toad or pickup/SUV has advantage that it can be used as a regular vehicle while at home, but for many that are retired or have multiple vehicles that may not be all that important.

In that light, what would be some of the disadvantages of a compact toterhome specifically designed to pull a mid-size bumper-pull trailer, yet small enough to maneuver like a large van or dually pickup?

I was thinking in terms of a short yet powerful motorhome (20- to 22-foot-long toterhome) towing up to a +/- 30~35 foot travel trailer when space is needed. For short weekend trips, etc. the trailer could stay home. While camping at Yellowstone, as an example, one could drive around in the van-length motorhome leaving the trailer hooked up at site. Or if camping outside a city, one could tour city with conveniences of home (food, fridge, toilet, etc.).

I'm curious why we don't see more RVs in combination (i.e. -- RV pulling another RV). Any thoughts?
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:36 PM   #2
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Why can't you do that now? Pickup bed camper towing a travel trailer. I am seeing the re-emergence of pickup campers at camp grounds while we travel. Other than possible weight limitations nothing stops them from towing. Now, some of the campers may not allow access to the trailer hitch when they are in position on the truck.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:58 PM   #3
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I would guess you don't see that because of expense: You now have to pay for two RV's; have two water systems to maintain, two waste systems, etc.

In addition, the 20+ foot toterhome wouldn't necessarily be your daily driver (unless its something like a Roadtrek but even then those are pretty big).
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:54 PM   #4
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Interesting idea, I think too it is likely due to expense as well, but sounds like a good idea. I think there may be a bit of duplication, sleeping etc, but I wonder if a complete unit could be designed (tow vehicle and then trailer) to allow for maximum usage.

Jim
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:09 PM   #5
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They do it all the time with heavy trucks, look at these:
Showhauler Motorhome Conversions
Put a nice 5th wheel on one of those and now you're talking (of course you're also looking at multiples of six figures for prices). Granted some of those showhauler's are longer than 22'--a lot longer! LOL

But basically what Chance is talking about is a "sleeper cab" kind of arrangement.

We've seen several people with higher end 5th wheels pull them with a larger truck tractor with a sleeper cab. (Some of the truly nuts arrangements put a smart car on the truck just ahead of the 5th wheel.)
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
Why can't you do that now? Pickup bed camper towing a travel trailer. I am seeing the re-emergence of pickup campers at camp grounds while we travel. Other than possible weight limitations nothing stops them from towing. Now, some of the campers may not allow access to the trailer hitch when they are in position on the truck.
Dave, that could easily work with an F-450 with long bed, and a light camper that doesn't extend beyond rear bumper. But not being able to move from front to back without exiting camper would be a deal breaker. That's also why we never considered a trailer behind a pickup. We tried it once as a rental and found it wasn't for us. I think that would also be a deal breaker for too many buyers. It's not that similar to a Class A or C or a toterhome.

The same rig built as a small Super-C that allowed movement inside would work much better in my opinion.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:55 PM   #7
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They do it all the time with heavy trucks, look at these:
Showhauler Motorhome Conversions
Put a nice 5th wheel on one of those and now you're talking (of course you're also looking at multiples of six figures for prices). Granted some of those showhauler's are longer than 22'--a lot longer! LOL

But basically what Chance is talking about is a "sleeper cab" kind of arrangement.

We've seen several people with higher end 5th wheels pull them with a larger truck tractor with a sleeper cab. (Some of the truly nuts arrangements put a smart car on the truck just ahead of the 5th wheel.)
Jamie, I think you'd have to rule out a 5th wheel trailer in this size range. With that approach a short toterhome would be left practically useless -- mostly a sleeper cab as you said.

By going to a bumper pull arrangement, the toterhome could be of practical size. And I'm thinking small inexpensive rigs here, not Peterbuilts.

For example, a Ford E-450 can be converted to either a short Class C or Class A (like a short Axis) that would retain the entire Ford chassis at either 20 or 22 feet in length. By not stretching the wheelbase or the rear overhang, it would maintain the full 10,000-pound factory tow rating.

Cost is indeed a good question. A toterhome as described above would cost no more than a small Class C or an Axis, so about $70,000.

Add another $30k or so for a conventional +/- 30-foot trailer and total costs would be no higher than many larger Class As. And that doesn't even include the cost of a toad, plus tow bar, brake system, etc.

I honestly don't think higher cost would be a major problem.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Barrhavencobra View Post
Interesting idea, I think too it is likely due to expense as well, but sounds like a good idea. I think there may be a bit of duplication, sleeping etc, but I wonder if a complete unit could be designed (tow vehicle and then trailer) to allow for maximum usage.

Jim
Jim, based on further research, I thought I'd mention in wrapping this up that RVs that could work in this kind of application have been built in the past, and still are for that matter, although it seems they are often optimized for "off-road exploring". That seems to have been their market, rather than an RV designed from the ground up as a mini toterhome. The proportions do suggest that a compact maneuverable camper with long wheelbase and short rear overhang for towing is possible.

Many of these are/were expensive but only due to pickup chassis, Diesel engines, 4X4 drivetrain, high GVWR, lots of solar, large tanks for their size, etc.

I can only post one picture at a time, so here is an older Xplorer based on Dodge pickup.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:40 PM   #9
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They also appear to have made one a little longer that still looks short enough to park easily in most places.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:43 PM   #10
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An Tiger now makes small expedition RVs that could work, although pricey.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:52 PM   #11
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Aww, what the heck, it's only money. I say go for it.
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:19 PM   #12
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Great shots, I was wondering, has anyone seen a rig and trailer combo with some kind of enclosure between the two that would allow you to walk between the 2 units when parked .... Kind of like an articulated bus .. If you have seen those.

Jim
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:28 AM   #13
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Well now you are talking something like the Kiravan: EXPEDITION VEHICLE - KIRAVAN

Of course the trailer and tractor can't be disconnected there though (hmm this picture implies they can).
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:54 AM   #14
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that thing looks like it is MOON ready !

Our first true motorhome was a Coachmen Starflyte Class B.. 21'..
no slide..corner bed..on the E350 Triton...we could park that thing anywhere .. it was sweet !
I know there are a number of folks who hate slides...but, if that 21 had had a slide up front, we would probably still have it !! We did, in fact, pull our 12' motorcycle trailer behind it with no problem.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:28 AM   #15
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Aww, what the heck, it's only money. I say go for it.
In that case I'll make sure I put one on my Christmas list.



The Tiger Bengal CX pictured above starts at $117K base price, but other larger units list well above $200K base, with lots of options on top of that. Not to mention that at 28-feet long it defeats the purpose -- can't park it in car spots. The smaller RVs based on standard cab pickup are only 21-feet long, making them more practical for this purpose.

When in college I enjoyed driving off-road enough to build myself a VW rail buggy, and still would, but an off-road motorhome would be a huge waste for us. We would realistically never camp in remote areas away from civilization. And to just drive off-road a Jeep would be a much better choice.

A couple of friends have suggested that I convert my old E-350 van to 4X4 and tow it as a toad behind a new motorhome, but that too seems wasteful (although doing the conversion sounds fun if only I had the time). Its weight in the 8,000-pound range would also make it impractical unless towing with a very large rig.

I'll keep looking to see if anyone builds a small standard Class C with proportions ideal for towing a significant-size trailer. Practically all I've seen have too long a rear overhang which would make it dangerous.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:07 AM   #16
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The moon coach would be prefect up here north of the 49th, our roads have spring pot holes the size of moon craters!
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:35 PM   #17
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I'd like to see the insurance on that moon coach. Probably be enough the send NASA back to the moon
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:06 PM   #18
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The thing that puzzles me about huge expedition vehicles of all types is what are you suppose to do if it breaks, gets stuck, or flips on it's side in the middle of nowhere? Stuff can and does happen if you push limits.

With my buggy I only got it stuck once, and was able to push it while my future wife drove it. With a Jeep you get another Jeep to help. But with this huge thing, what's the likelihood that something big enough to tow you out will come along?

My guess is that much of the fun is in building it just because they can.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Chance
The thing that puzzles me about huge expedition vehicles of all types is what are you suppose to do if it breaks, gets stuck, or flips on it's side in the middle of nowhere? Stuff can and does happen if you push limits.
Look into the details for the Kiravan: There is tons of communication equipment and it even carries a motorcycle to go for help if there are any problems.

The Travel Channel did a show on it (Extreme RVs) while they were building it going into many details of the various systems. They even converted the motorcycle to Diesel so it could run on the same fuel.

I posted about it last year when the show was on: So you want to go anywhere in your RV?

A a youtube video on it:


Mark your calendars, they will be re-airing it Sunday June 5 @ 10pm:
http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/extreme-rvs
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Old 05-25-2016, 05:45 PM   #20
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Look into the details for the Kiravan: There is tons of communication equipment and it even carries a motorcycle to go for help if there are any problems.

....cut.....
That's great, but then what? If you are that remote, what help can you get to where the vehicle is located?

It reminds me of a dump truck that got stuck so badly on a farm that it took two large bulldozers to pull him out, but not before tearing off bumper and tow hooks right off frame. Or of a dragline that slid into muck and was just left there because there was no way for us to get it out. Not until years later.

A family member is rebuilding a Jeep with a V8 conversion, large tires, etc. to go off roading. I just tell him to have an exit strategy, because the more capable the Jeep is, the less likely you can call for a tow truck.

Don't get me wrong, I take my share of risks, and see the appeal in it. Besides, if nothing else the Kiravan looks really cool. You'd be the talk of the campground.
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