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Old 04-17-2009, 01:26 PM   #1
wigpro
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Florida and Alaska
Posts: 2
Newbie looking for recomendations!

I am brand new to RV'ing...and just joined this forum to gather some information. I have all summer to study and decide exactly what route I am going to go, but my plans call for buying what I need this fall! I have some pretty extensive requirements and would really appreciate any input that some of you fulltimers could provide.

My intention is to begin living fulltime by the end of this year.

I am somewhat self employed after my retirement several years ago and I will need good reliable fairly fast internet access. I design and build websites and also do commercial (travel related) photography and writing. so good reliable portable internet access is a must. I understand that some parks offer WiFi and that would be fine, but when out in the country, what would you recommend cell phone (air card) or satellite?

Actual Units - I am single, so a large "bunkhouse" is not needed, I am looking for the smallest light weight, winterized unit that I can find. I spend my winters right now in Florida and work at a Lodge in Alaska for the summers. I would like to experience winter or at least extended season in Alaska, so that is why I need a winterized unit. I have pretty much eliminated a trailer as opposed to a 5th wheel, but given the right unit (separate sleeping area and large dry bath, I can see where a regular travel trailer could still be an option, (Any thoughts?),but feel the ease of towing and the above the bed sleeping area, really makes sense. Also the larger bathroom! I also think at least 1 slide out is a requirement to make it more liveable full time!

Tow vehicle - I recently looked at a nice unit a Sunnybrook TITAN 24CKFS, which the dealer told me I could easily tow with a standard 1/2 ton pickup...however, I am reluctant to believe that. Feel I would at least need a 1 ton...any other requirements? I am thinking at least an F-250, preferably diesel.

Laundry - I realize it is only me, but I would more than likely prefer a washer and dryer within the unit. I hate going to laundromats, what is the downside of an installed stackable W/D. Any recommendations?

That will get me started...you can rest assured that I will have more questions as time goes on. But any help or direction that anyone can provide will certainly be appreciated!

Thanks

Jim Lucas
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:14 AM   #2
Motor31
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,130
You have some tough requirements. Off hand I'd say you are a good candidate for an Arctic Fox 5th wheel by Nash. They do a good job of building a well insulated and structurally tough 5th wheel. Since you want a smaller unit they may fit the bill for you. I had a Nash 23' unit and it was comfortable down to the lower teens in winter IF you had lots of propane. It wasn't the more heavily insulated Arctic Fox and had only single pane windows.

The Nash products are smaller units and go up to about 30' or so. They may not have enough storage in the basement area for full time users so be careful to balance out your wants for compact with the ability to take and store the items you will need / want to take along.

You need to look over their web site to see if they have a floor plan you like. I am not sure if they have a washer drier option. If they have a tall closet plumbed for it I'd definitely go for the stackable units (Kenmore) as that is what we use. The drier is 110 volts and not as fast as a 220 unit but does get the job done faster than the splendides do.

If you are getting a smaller 5th wheel (under 16,000 lbs GVW) you are still going to be more comfortable towing with a 1 ton. Ford has the highest tow ratings but Dodge with the cummins engine gets the best mileage both towing and unhooked. Since you are looking at Alaska you might also want to look into 4 wheel drive and stay with the dual rear wheels. The 4x4 does lower your towing capacity a bit so be aware if the numbers are close for the trucks ability to be in spec for the size trailer you want.

I use a satellite internet system with the Hughesnet 7000 modem. This gives me internet access 24 / 7, BUT all satellite based systems are using satellites that are in orbit primarily for the lower 48. A straight hughes net tripod system may not be the best bet. You might be better off going with a datastorm autoseek system where you have a possible option to switch satellites when you go to Alaska. Go to www.datastormusers.com/ to get more info on this kind of system and to talk to folks who have traveled where you want to go.

Other than satellite your best bet is to use a phone based (cell) system and you'll need to talk to the company about coverage, including during the travel through Canada.
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:31 AM   #3
wigpro
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Florida and Alaska
Posts: 2
Thanks for the info

Thanks for the info Mike....I really appreciate it. I have all summer to study and look around.

I leave for Alaska on May 7th and won't leave the Lodge until the end of September.

My primary goal is to get something and be ready to roll when I hit that magic 62 in about a year and a half...so plenty of time.

But since I will need both a trailer and a tow vehicle, I figured I might as well start buying while I am working part time and get everything paid for! And continue working in the meantime and enjoy the country a little bit.

I will take a hard look at Arctic Fox and see what they have to offer. I am a boat person and lived on a sailboat for a long time, so I know what living in cramped quarters means and traveling light....

I am really looking forward to moving "aboard" again...just a land yacht, rather than a water yacht!!

Thanks again,

Captain Jim
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
hitchup
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Currently: working on the road
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Arctic Fox is actually made by Northwoods in Oregon. They used to have a plant in Winchester, VA, but closed it down. But they do repair work on all mfger's units. http://www.northwoodmfg.com/ We would consider one if we were downsizing to a Truck Camper.

Alpenlite by WRV also used to be in PacNW. They made smaller well-insulated units. My parents owned two and pulled with a Chevy S-10 pickup from WA to GA a couple of times. Don't know what's available for resale.

DRV Suites makes a few shorter units. Also not sure what is available for resale. They hold up well for Fulltime living. We're in our 2nd one.

We prefer having onboard W/D. But it does cut down on your cargo carrying capability (CCC).
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