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Old 01-26-2009, 11:04 AM   #1
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Lightweight Trailers AKA Wandering Minds

Saturday we took a ride to a local RV dealer to make arrangements for a maintenance checkup on our Sunline. And of course we had to look at some travel trailers. The new lightweight travel trailers are kind of interesting, at least in concept, but we were not impressed by the interior quality of the furniture. Being spoiled by a Flexsteel sofa and chair, what we saw was definitely was not comfortable to us. Hard cushions forming a bench type sofa are not appealing. Has anyone else looked at the lightweight models and if so, what were your impressions?
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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I haven't been in ANYTHING since October 25th!!!!

I guess I'm not too surprised with the manufacturers going back to the cushions. It's going back like it was in the '70's and '80's with the lightweight design back them. It's sort of possible to call it a light weight and still have it stick built, but skimp out on other things like furniture and cabinets. I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see cabinet doors that have two pieces of luan with trim around the edge, creating a hollow door, too.

Not to mention the cushion type couches are not only lighter, but they can most likely be made in-house, and it's easier to get replacements made up for warranty, unlike Flexsteel's.

I think the days of solid cabinet doors are gone, at least for the immediate future. There will probably become a time again where you can get optional solid doors, but that's probably 15 years away. Then probably 20 years or so from now, the solid might come back to be a standard feature.

Assuming Flexsteel stays in business, I think there might be an option to swap it out for one with most manufacturers (even if they don't advertise).

I suspect the one place, if any, that many of these features stay will be with the park trailers, which is something I think might come back "in". They can get away with making a 30' trailer with slides and all the same construction techniques, but it'll be marketed as a PT instead.

When RVs first came about, they were small things that didn't do much besides be a place to sleep. Then, they started growing and growing, and then we got these long Spartan's that were just so big, and somewhere along the line they went down. Many of the manufacturers from that time are no longer, and production turned to smaller, lighterweight units. This really took off in the '70's and '80's, though the '60's saw some too. Then we started building bigger and better ones in the '80's, then slides came about in the '90's to make them even bigger, and the '00's caused the bubble to burst. It's a shame we didn't see any of the style of the '30's and '40's units come back. I think we're starting to ride the wave down and it'll be a while before we get back to the top again.

Sorry for rambling, I have a break now and it's not enough time to start any homework...

Jon
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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Lightweight Solution

We have a lightweight solution, a 1982 Sunline 15.5 SB. By now youknow we tow with a Honda CRV that gets 20 MPG when towing 26-30 when driving about.

We also have a 32 foot Bounder that we used for the previous 7 years. This year we're using the Sunline; we've used it for 7 of the last 9 months. At first we thought it would be too small but actually have been very comfortable. We find we can get into all kinds of places, even the Dunkin Donuts drive through.

The only thing I would want that we don't have is a bigger bath. We hope to find a 19 foot trailer, possibly 8x16 feet on the inside compared to 7x12 feet on the inside.

I will say the inside storage is adequate for all our traveling needs in terms of clothes, food, water.

If the 15.5 SB had been designed for two people instead of four it probably could have had a more useable bathroom.

We don't have an air conditioner or a second propane tank. The windows are very cooling and I just pay attention to the propane. We do have satellite TV and Verizon wireless broadband, a road expense we feel is well worth it.

Safe Travels,

Norm and Ginny Milliard
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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Honda03842,
We have a Sinline QUE RE and love it just the way it is. It has a very nice size Bath for its size plus AC & 2 propane tanks. The QUE is built for TWO. (not 3 or 4). It also has more counter space than much larger TTs plus a 80"X80"KING BED that I have never seen in any TT. (the QUE SE
has a 60"X80"QUEEN BED) Plus many other nice features. The Only thing we would like is larger gray & black water holding tanks (It does have room for them). It has 25 Gal.gray & 13 gal. black . I have seen some new small TT with larger tanks But that is the ONLY thing they have better than the QUE..... It is 17'7" long & 2930lbs. GVW is 3,500lbs.Dry hitch weight is 380 lbs. so, It could not be pulled by a 4cyl.Honda CRV.
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:50 PM   #5
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we have looked at just about every lightweight trailer that you could imagine and the only one that caught our attention was Heartland,have also talked to several Hearland owners and they all are very pleased with their campers.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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Some of us want to get away from it all and some of us want to get away from it all and TAKE IT ALL WITH US.

I remember the small TTs from the late 40 and 50s. My parents had a summer bungalow on the beach about a mile from a large campground. In those days the campers were outside almost all the time. Fishing, cooking, walking, collecting shells, sunbathing, socializing etc. Now you'll see people pull into the CGs in large TTs and motorhomes and never come outside once hooked up. I can't figure it - but to each his or her own.
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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Que

We have considered a Que. It's very well designed though it is heavy for it's length. We also have considered up grading to a Pilot or Highlander to be abloe to handle it's weight.

I must say I've never been in a Que but once this trip is over I intend to look for one, possibly at a M&G.

Norm
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:52 AM   #8
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The 1950 is a wonderful two-person TT. While I would love a queen walk around bed, my desire for that is not enough to jump to another TT. Also, I do a lot of cooking in the oven and just could not handle one of the "squatty" ovens I've seen in many TT's. The trailers we saw last Saturday were Heartland and had the cushions rather than real sofas. We're just spoiled with the Sunline.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:10 AM   #9
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But on the subject of smaller RVs....

Back in 1971, Sharon & I began our RVing with a new 18.5' Serro Scotty Highlander, which we pulled with an AMC Hornet V8. It was a great trailer...the "lightweight" of its time. Our later 15.5 Sunline was a bit like an unsanfordized version of that Scotty. Scotty DID have a 15-foot version of the Highlander.

Well....the Scotty is back in production, with Highlander and non-Highlander 15 ' versions. Take a look at: www.scottytrailers.com . But of course.....it's not a Sunline.

(Well, NO, we're not lusting after one, having upsized a little bit last year).

Frank
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:34 PM   #10
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Scottie

I looked at it and it looks like a heavier Sunline 15.5 SB.

Norm
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:09 AM   #11
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Diane posted
The 1950 is a wonderful two-person TT. While I would love a queen walk around bed, my desire for that is not enough to jump to another TT. Also, I do a lot of cooking in the oven and just could not handle one of the "squatty" ovens I've seen in many TT's. The trailers we saw last Saturday were Heartland and had the cushions rather than real sofas. We're just spoiled with the Sunline

It's funny you mention the Heartland having cushions instead of a sofa because it's been months since we looked at them and I did not remember,I do remember the couch being very comfy but I have back problems and I hate the soft sofa in our Sunline I always have to sit with a pillow behind my back.It was the overall fit and finish of the interior that really seemed to set the Heartland apart from other light weights.Our sunny is an 05 and we have never even used the oven in it so I thought that small convection oven was neat that the Heartland has.All in all I guess it's just a matter of preference and how you use your camper,but I don't consider myself spoiled by my Sunline interior because I have had many of issues with the interior already,biggest problem being the peeling woodgrain contact paper and no place to get something that matches to replace it.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:49 AM   #12
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The Heartland models we saw were North Trail and all had the convection oven and no real sofa. Heartland also makes the North Country models that appear to have sofas, real ovens and separate microwaves. These models were at the RV dealer but the salesperson didn't think we would like those so didn't show them to us. Not being in the market to jump right away and with RV shows coming up in MD in February, we'll just wait to see these models. Overall the quality of the North Country models was very good.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:08 AM   #13
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It was the North Trail that we looked at also Diane 31bhd was the floor plan so it must have had the cushions for the couch,We would have that camper now but the dealer was to proud of the unit,msrp was $29000.00 and the lowest they would go was $27000.00,it's a nice camper but not worth that kind of money.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:04 PM   #14
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We didn't discuss prices so have no idea if the dealer would stick to the MSRP or not. I believe the MSRP on the units we saw were all around $30,000. The dealer does seem to be delivering RV's to customers so I would guess he would not be agreeable to lowering prices too much.
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