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Travel Trailer Size and Road Limitations

Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
60
Hi All,

Has anyone learned some lessons from experience on some optimal travel trailer length range that will allow access to the most roads which one would reasonably tow a trailer?

My priority is to be able to live in the trailer during Fall in gorgeous areas of WY/MT/ID for a few months of the year to take advantage of the ability to work remotely, and therefore have much better access to hunting than a 16 hour drive. Just me and likely my two labs.

I'm aware and fine with not getting to all the trailheads with it as my main hunting will continue to be backcountry backpacking and also can do a truck basecamp for 7-10 days no problem if a trailer can't make it to rough to reach areas. That said ideally I'd really like to be able to access enough country to find gorgeous spots to enjoy nature living in my mobile office/home/base camp.

Anyone with actual experience in various areas you can share?

Thanks,

Steve
 
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wytex

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May 17, 2016
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Location
Wyoming
Double axle and 4 season, it will snow early in fall or perhaps late into spring.
Some really rough roads on the NF the higher the ground clearance the better.
For towing, get one as low profile as possible, winds in Wyoming can literally blow you off the road some times.
 
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Feb 2, 2019
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Yep, I figured I’d need extra insulation at the least and “off road package” but the off road package usually means more clearance/higher. Luckily where I Cow elk hunt in WY access is pretty easy for trailers. With high winds maybe I can mitigate by beIng careful choosing travel days.

I suppose it’s really how MT road conditions and access to beautiful country can park a trailer would determine length or not.

It’ll essentially be a mobile hunting cabin for a couple months that I’d like to park away from developed campsites as much as possible.
 

mthillrunner

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Aug 11, 2013
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SW MT
I’ve had a 31 ft bumper pull & presently have a 30 ft 5th wheel. I prefer the 5th wheel for 2 reasons: handles better in crosswinds & more maneuverable. I can get that length close enough to areas I want to recreate without difficulties. Four season camper is sound advice. I’ve traveled a good deal in western MT with it & never felt I couldn’t get close enough. That size, obviously, isn’t going on a narrow 2 track back in the sticks. I grew up in eastern MT. I wouldn’t even try to pull it on the gumbo roads out there if there’s been any precipitation or expecting some. Much of western MT the precipitation doesn’t make travel so difficult with a trailer unless it’s snow
 

twsnow18

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Apr 4, 2013
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Boise, Idaho
Mobility wise, cab overs are hard to beat. No problem driving to most any trailheads.

But if your serious about staying in it for a few months straight, a cab over would get old real quick. I like my 26' bumper pull,
especially once I get camp set up. But it's surely not agile.
 
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Mthillrunner. I like driving a 5th wheel better too, but am a bit attached to my truck shell for gear/cooler storage and the ability to use it when dropping off the trailer for actual hunting travel vs. living/working time in the trailer. Also, when I'm at home I can pull my horse trailer and still have the living/storage space of the truck bed for normal backcountry adventures.

Mobility wise, cab overs are hard to beat. No problem driving to most any trailheads.

But if your serious about staying in it for a few months straight, a cab over would get old real quick. I like my 26' bumper pull,
especially once I get camp set up. But it's surely not agile.
You nailed it. A cabover would be luxurious compared to what I'm used to...for a week or two, but realistically if I need to focus on work there is a certain comfort and space level that'll make a big difference.

26' bumper pull would be much more comfortable for the longer stays of live/work in the Rockies. How limiting has it been for you in general in the ID/MT areas?

I'll not be living "on the road" driving new places every day, but do expect I'd be moving every 7-14 days so need some flexibility. Figure might as well take advantage of the "work from home" culture now while it's fresh and very few in person meetings. Gotta find a way to make lemonade out of those Covid lemons!

Really appreciate the experiences guys, thanks!
 

mthillrunner

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Aug 11, 2013
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SW MT
We started with a 24ft bumper pull, no slides. I usually hunt with my brother. It got cramped after a few days. I got that thing a few places it surely wasn’t designed to go. The 31’ bumper pull with a slide was really nice space wise but was more difficult to maneuver for sure. I was still able to get it where I intended but I didn’t push my luck pulling that into tough spots. The 5th wheel is nice for me, good space & fairly easy to maneuver around. I do miss the pickup bed for storage without question. We tow all over MT & the towability mattered more than the storage I lost in the pickup bed. I never really wished the 24’ bumper pull could go more places. The 31’ certainly limited me more
 
Joined
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Messages
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We started with a 24ft bumper pull, no slides. I usually hunt with my brother. It got cramped after a few days. I got that thing a few places it surely wasn’t designed to go. The 31’ bumper pull with a slide was really nice space wise but was more difficult to maneuver for sure. I was still able to get it where I intended but I didn’t push my luck pulling that into tough spots. The 5th wheel is nice for me, good space & fairly easy to maneuver around. I do miss the pickup bed for storage without question. We tow all over MT & the towability mattered more than the storage I lost in the pickup bed. I never really wished the 24’ bumper pull could go more places. The 31’ certainly limited me more
Awesome, thanks for the input! At least for this first trial year, I think I'll stick with the bumper pull and sounds like 24' might be the upper limit of length for my purposes and the slide is on the radar for space/comfort. If it works well this year, might consider refining for next year as I'm comfortable waiting for a good deal on a used one, enjoying a few months and then selling it for ideally darn near what I pay for it.

Was your 24' total length with tongue or advertised box length?
 

mthillrunner

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Aug 11, 2013
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SW MT
It was total length from end of bumper to end of hitch. I’m 6’4, my brother is 6’5” so we take up above average real estate. Do dual batteries. You can do solar charging of batteries or use a generator. I opt for generator. In the fall your batteries won’t last as long between charges, due to furnace use & colder temps
 

beginnerhunter

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Feb 15, 2016
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Related, does anybody have a good resource for off grid RVing? Basically, pretend I'm completely ignorant of solar panels, generators, batteries, water capacity, electrical systems because I am. Is there a one stop website/YouTube channel for noobs?
 
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Feb 2, 2019
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Maybe YOU should think wall tent.
I've actually got the Kodiak 10x14 tent which is luxurious as a hunting base camp which is able to be heated too. If it was just a week or two it'd be a no brainer between backpack hunting, truck shell/kodiak tent. This would be the option I go if I simply get a cheap hotel or reasonable weekly studio/apt. rental for non-hunting days and weeks, which is another option.
 

mplane72

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Jan 25, 2016
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Iowa
What's the tow vehicle? 1/2 or 3/4 ton?

I've made a few long pulls with our 31' and 2104 f150 long wheel base and max tow. Including a trip across ND part of Montana, Wyoming and back across SD. Got lucky as far as the wind goes but still wasn't fun. Mileage sucked. Having comfortable digs wherever you are is great. Also, have done long trips with my buddies just a little bit bigger camper behind a F350. Much better driving experience but still doe'nt compar to 5th wheel. Like you I won't give up truck bed but if I was you I'd think about it. There are some smaller 1/2 ton towable 5th wheels. Don't skimp on Weight Distribution Hitch/ Anti Sway Hitch and make sure it's set up right.

I'm thinking you want a good quite generator.
 

mthillrunner

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SW MT
I had a 1/2 ton Chevy with the 31’ bumper pull that weighed 6500lbs, it REALLY struggled to pull that trailer. I now have a 3/4 dodge 2500 gas not diesel, mileage sucks. It pulls an 8000lb trailer like it’s not even there at times. The bumper pull would whip the pickup around pretty good in stiff crosswinds. The 5th wheel is much more stable to tow in crosswinds
 
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Tow Rig is a 3/4 ton 2011 Chevy Duramax Diesel, crew cab long bed. Yes, it's looonng, but silly stable when towing my small 2 horse trailer.
 

nrpate05

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Jan 5, 2015
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I'm interested in this as well. I remember in a Fresh Tracks episode, Marcus' dad brought a trailer to WY for an Antelope hunt. Looked like a sweet rig and small too, which I like. I don't tow much so I'd get the smallest that I'd be comfortable in with as few creature comforts as possible. But I'd also wouldnt be living in it for months at a time. Remember you still have to be able to get into fuel stations, etc. and turning around can be a bitch with large trailers. With a Crew cab long bed 3/4 ton you could get a pretty nice cab over camper, which will be less of a pain but likely more cramped.
 

2rocky

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Tow Rig is a 3/4 ton 2011 Chevy Duramax Diesel, crew cab long bed. Yes, it's looonng, but silly stable when towing my small 2 horse trailer.
So why not a LQ 3 horse trailer? 2 birds/one stone. It is basically a Toyhauler for Trigger.
 
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Feb 2, 2019
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So why not a LQ 3 horse trailer? 2 birds/one stone. It is basically a Toyhauler for Trigger.
I considered that but I've not yet gotten myself and my horse up to hunting mode and not sure if I'd want to be committed to having him full time when living out of a trailer for 1-3 months. For this first trial season think I'll stick with the 2 dogs and do some local horse backcountry hunting locally to test it out.
 
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