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Old 08-21-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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TT>RV and/or VV: trading one for the other

Maybe there is already a thread here, if so please help me find it.

If not, "why do people trade TT's for RV's and vice versa?

Is one "better" than the other for certain things?

Mostly, I am thinking about TT's in the 25' range vs. a comparable RV (interior space-wise)

My limited imagination only comes up with:

RV's easier to back up.
RV's usually/often have generator built in.
RV's can make use of whole space when moving.

TT has the "dinghy" already attached.
TT (usually) seem to have better use of space.
TT easier to upgrade (assuming you keep the TV)
TT (possibly) safer for passengers (airbags, etc.)

Appreciate any thoughts. Thanks, Steve

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Old 08-21-2011, 02:24 PM   #2
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RVs start to make sense for some full timers, I think. But for a few weeks a year, it probably doesn't make nearly as much sense to maintain a big, heavy, vehicle. Insurance, registration, tires, inspections, blah blah. It's not like you really use the RV for anything else. I know in both my father's case and in my own, we started in tents, moved up to RVs while we were raising kids, and have gravitated to trailers. If one of us were to retire and go full time, we might go back to an RV. But I doubt it.

Travelling with kids was easier for me in an RV I think. Nice to be able to run one to the bathroom or nuke up some popcorn or hot dogs, etc. without having to stop the entire show. We towed a Suzuki Samurai with a canoe on top behind it. Perfect.

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Old 08-21-2011, 02:48 PM   #3
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Similar thoughts: A motorhome has an engine, transmission, alternator etc. that are happiest when operated on a regular basis. Park one for the off season and you are almost guaranteeing that something won't work when you fire it up.

A TT has simple and relatively rugged systems that don't seem to suffer the "inactivity=failure" syndrome.

I think it is also easier to get my 31' trailer into and out of tight spots than would be the case with a motorhome.

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Old 08-22-2011, 12:59 PM   #4
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Check out some of the other more general RV forums as the airforum members tend to be partial to trailers.

In the broader non-Airstream market, TTs tend to be cheaply made as they are seen as an entry-level product. When people switch to a MH it usually is accompanied by more space, more features, and more amenities. As such it isn't so much about any inherent benefits of MHs over TTs as it is the overall package deal.

In practice MHs offer two main benefits as a class over TTs:
1) It is possible to tow a trailer, which is a big deal to people with boats or horses.
2) With class A MHs, it is practical to build a much larger and heavier rig with capacity for things like generators and 2x-3x the battery, propane, water, and holding tank capacity of a TT.

While situations vary, there's no real benefit in the hitching/backing/unhitching area because in practice people who have MHs usually end up with a toad (small car towed behind the MH).
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:22 PM   #5
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Rereading your post it sounds like you're interested in the counterpoint as well so here goes.

1) A major advantage of TTs is that tow vehicle maintenance can be performed at any repair facility and it is possible to camp in the TT at the same time. In contrast chassis maintenance is expensive and a major headache with MHs, especially for fulltimers or others who depend on their rigs. Often involves a hotel stay.

2) Airstream will outlast several tow vehicles with many units lasting 30 years or more before major renovations are made. In contrast with a MH there's no choice but to extend the life of an outdated chassis through maintenance and repairs, or abandon a still-usable coach.

3) Galley noise is a constant problem on the road in a MH

4) With an Airstream you get usable, practical windows on all sides. With a MH usually the cab area is covered by a curtain while parked, even if not, the windshield doesn't serve as a practical window because of height differences and inability to open.

5) While there are exceptions the larger MHs tend not to make good use of space leading to little improvement in livability despite larger square footage. Lots of space gets devoted to outdoor kitchens, 2nd and 3rd entertainment systems, stickhouse-sized fixtures and appliances, and bling like fake fireplaces.

6) Purchase price tends to be higher unless you proceed with the fiction that you will never want a toad. Just as most people don't want to use a TT's tow vehicle as a daily driver you probably don't want to use the toad that way so either way you have an added expense. While situations vary in most cases MH people spend more on toad hitching, braking, and transmission pump than TT people spend on a sway control hitch
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:05 PM   #6
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I have 2 trailers that I have owned for 30 or more years and a lot of tow vehicles have come and gone in that time and i do have use for the TV so it is not sitting like a motorhome would.

In the end it comes down to do you want to drive your vehicle and tow your home or drive your home and tow your vehicle
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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Nothing worse than being broke down on the road. When the tow vehicle becomes unreliable, trade it for a newer one, at a reasonable cost. When the RV becomes unreliable, you need the whole thing.

doug k
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:54 PM   #8
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The big thing a TT has going for it is the fact it can be detached from the tow vehicle and becomes "home" for a full-timer, or "base camp" for a holidayer.

Boy, I'd hate the thought of taking my home or base camp with me just to get a few groceries. There is the hassle of putting up awnings, getting inside travel ready, detaching hook-ups etc. One can also tow a small car but I do not want to go that route.

I would also feel trapped with a RV since they are a lot more expensive to move. I can hop into my truck and get away from "home" or "base camp" for a bit.
easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:19 PM   #9
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OK, this is an old thread and I could start another, but it appears that the comments are on point, so bringing the question forward seems best.

Issue one - Tow Vehicle can be used for day to day requirements and a motorhome can not. This is correct, except lots of folks really use their tow vehicle in a dedicated function. We purchased our SUV as a travel vehicle. When we travel, we take the AS. Consequently, the purpose it serves for our application is the same as if we had a motorhome.

Issue two - would not want to pack up RV to go get groceries. Makes sense, but we pick up supplies about once a week and our travel style is to move on after a few days. No problem picking up supplies while in transit. Actually easier as they get loaded directly into the coach. Our rig easily fits in a parking lot and any motorhome we would consider would as well. We usually park at the back, even at home with the car.

Issue three - terrible to be broke down and have no place to stay while the rig gets fixed. This is the one that rings true and very loud. Still considering options. We had a major damage issue and towed the trailer home. We took it to the dealer to repair and stayed in our house while the repair was completed. That would not be possible with a motorhome. Would have to stay in motel or rent a car to travel home until the rig is fixed. That could be mitigated with a toad, but we really don't want to tow one. More trouble and expense when we want less.

Issue four - a motorhome is more expensive to maintain, store, and repair. We think this is correct. Initial estimates seem to place us back in the cost profile the we eliminated when we sold the boat. More taxes, more fuel, and a bigger storage bill. So, would that cost be offset by more benefit?

Issue five - the benefit would be more space/storage; an onboard generator that would give us AC and keep the pups cool while we are out and about; easier rig to drive (not in all cases); more tankage; diesel power; dual ACs; and mobility while traveling; no unlock to access facilities; and a walkable roof.

Issue six - the down side is a motor home is taller, will use more fuel (diesel may or may not be less expensive); may climb grades slower; higher cost to store; has slides which may fail; and seats have less adjustment for comfort.

So, your comments and opinions are appreciated. What have I got wrong? If you could, would you? If you changed to AS, why? What do you miss?


Note - we have no full timer ambitions..... the motorhome would be shorter than our hitched rig ...... same width ..... about 2ft taller ....... and it would have IFS

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