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Old 01-14-2018, 12:02 PM   #1
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2018 28' Tommy Bahama
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Request feedback on Tommy Bahama options

After 8 years with a 40 ft. 5th wheel, we're downsizing, and really like the style, amenities and size of the Tommy Bahama. We've looked at one at our local Airstream dealer in San Diego. Getting very serious about purchasing one in a month or two (if the one on their lot gets sold, then special order one).

However, there's a couple of options we're uncertain about. If you already have a TB, would appreciate any feedback or thoughts. The final decisions are ours to live with, but you might have something we hadn't considered.

Here are our thoughts on the factory-installed options available:

2nd A/C: Definitely don't need one. We have 2 in the big 5th wheel, and maybe used the 2nd A/C two or three times in 8 years, and then only for 10 minutes to cool down the front bedroom after returning from an outing. We just haven't gravitated toward really hot climates when trailering. Just don't see the need for a 2nd A/C in a 27 ft. trailer.

Three awnings, power main awning: Definitely want them.

Gas oven: Don't want it. Would rather go for combo microwave/convection oven in its place and free up that pantry shelf. We used the gas oven in our 5th wheel one time, otherwise it was storage. Just don't bake. Use Weber Q outside for grilling. Yes, it means have to bend over or squat to put something in microwave and punch in time. Have thought about that. Still think pros outweigh cons when storage is at a premium (yes, also realize that if have gas oven, could still use it for storage, but still leaning the other way).

Rear view monitoring system: Have never used a "backup camera" with a trailer. Have always used "ground guide" (read: Trish) when backing up. Realize that this is intended for more than just backing up, because it appears to provide situational awareness behind the trailer while driving. Am leaning toward getting it.

Solar panels: We rarely boondocked with the 5th wheel, so have never used solar panels. Am going to fully retire in summer of 2019, and we plan to take longer trailer trips (4-6 weeks at a time, 3 or 4 times per year, and several long weekend trips). We just don't know at this time what kind of camping we'll be doing. Will we go mostly with hookups, or a mix of hookups and boondocking? Really want to explore some of the National Parks, and I think many of them are dry camping. We're also interested in trying out caravanning occasionally with our local Airstream club, and some of those trips may involve dry camping with the group. Having said all that, am leaning toward passing on solar for now, because until I retire, the trips will be shorter, in southern California, and most likely with hookups. Dealer says can install later if we want some on the roof (we know the trailer comes prewired for solar). Have also researched portable panels (Zamp, etc.). This option is the one that has us most conflicted.

As you can see, this is our first post on this forum. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Rick
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicknTrish View Post
After 8 years with a 40 ft. 5th wheel, we're downsizing, and really like the style, amenities and size of the Tommy Bahama. We've looked at one at our local Airstream dealer in San Diego. Getting very serious about purchasing one in a month or two (if the one on their lot gets sold, then special order one).

However, there's a couple of options we're uncertain about. If you already have a TB, would appreciate any feedback or thoughts. The final decisions are ours to live with, but you might have something we hadn't considered.

Here are our thoughts on the factory-installed options available:

2nd A/C: Definitely don't need one. We have 2 in the big 5th wheel, and maybe used the 2nd A/C two or three times in 8 years, and then only for 10 minutes to cool down the front bedroom after returning from an outing. We just haven't gravitated toward really hot climates when trailering. Just don't see the need for a 2nd A/C in a 27 ft. trailer.

Three awnings, power main awning: Definitely want them.

Gas oven: Don't want it. Would rather go for combo microwave/convection oven in its place and free up that pantry shelf. We used the gas oven in our 5th wheel one time, otherwise it was storage. Just don't bake. Use Weber Q outside for grilling. Yes, it means have to bend over or squat to put something in microwave and punch in time. Have thought about that. Still think pros outweigh cons when storage is at a premium (yes, also realize that if have gas oven, could still use it for storage, but still leaning the other way).

Rear view monitoring system: Have never used a "backup camera" with a trailer. Have always used "ground guide" (read: Trish) when backing up. Realize that this is intended for more than just backing up, because it appears to provide situational awareness behind the trailer while driving. Am leaning toward getting it.

Solar panels: We rarely boondocked with the 5th wheel, so have never used solar panels. Am going to fully retire in summer of 2019, and we plan to take longer trailer trips (4-6 weeks at a time, 3 or 4 times per year, and several long weekend trips). We just don't know at this time what kind of camping we'll be doing. Will we go mostly with hookups, or a mix of hookups and boondocking? Really want to explore some of the National Parks, and I think many of them are dry camping. We're also interested in trying out caravanning occasionally with our local Airstream club, and some of those trips may involve dry camping with the group. Having said all that, am leaning toward passing on solar for now, because until I retire, the trips will be shorter, in southern California, and most likely with hookups. Dealer says can install later if we want some on the roof (we know the trailer comes prewired for solar). Have also researched portable panels (Zamp, etc.). This option is the one that has us most conflicted.

As you can see, this is our first post on this forum. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Rick
Sent you private reply; here are a few of my observations on your options list:

2nd AC- depends on where your camping. If you go to Borrego Springs, the extra AC is great! (we camped in Borrego springs and desert areas quiet a bit both boondocking and at state park) 2nd AC Cools down faster and keeps the AS cool without working 1 unit so hard in hot areas. We went to FL in October and humidity/heat was high, so we also appreciated the 2nd AC to get inside comfortable fast. Resale is good also assuming selling in same area or someone in hot climate. Many folks have paid extra for installation of 2nd AC after purchase as I read the Forum...if it has 2, not a bad thing.

Awnings all around with power on main- All around good idea...you will benefit from the extra cooling and shade in summer. Power- heard pros and cons....not a big deal to manually set up/take down. understand some times the power awning can get stuck or have issues with wind when retracting.

Gas oven vs Microwave- in the 27' you have the option of both, correct? resale again, unless you really need/want the extra storage in the slide out pantry where the microwave sits. We rarely used the gas, but in our 28', we elected to get the microwave/convection combo, and wife now wishes we had the gas....go figure!

Solar- we have used GoPower 80W portable unit for past 5 years with 2 AS's, and it serves our needs well. Not too expensive and store easily under the table or at foot of our twin bed. Travels to new RV when you do sell. We also have a Champion 3400 DualFuel generator as back up for our AC needs. It runs on propane or gas; we use only propane, and have fashioned a hose connection to the front AS quick disconnect. Also use that for our O-Grill BBQ grill..

Hope this helps...
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:40 PM   #3
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Gypsydad,
Lots of food for thought, thanks very much (particularly your experiences with solar). As we evaluate these options, we're trying to balance our past camping norms with what else we might be doing that's different once I retire; for example, we can't see ourselves camping in the desert (not our cup of tea), or traveling to the hot and humid southeast (I lived in Tampa for 3 years and hated the weather except for Dec-Jan-Feb), but who knows? And resale value is always something to consider. Yes, the 27' TB comes with a gas oven and microwave (the latter on a shelf in the pantry). We'll chew on all this as we move forward.
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Old 01-14-2018, 05:29 PM   #4
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We have a 27" and I recommend the following:

1) 2 A/C's - Yes - Better to need and have than to need and not have

2) 3 Awnings - Yes - The benefits outweigh not having them. Shade/ability to leave your windows open in the rain - and they look fantastic. The powered awning may be a pain to some, but so far, we love ours.

3) If all we had was the gas top, we'd be A-OK - we like you use a weber outside.

4) Rear View Camera - It's slick. The option to have factory installed and covered under warranty is better than adding after the fact.

5) Solar - These trailers come solar equipped. We added two panels and plan to add 4 more. We had it on our Eddie Bauer and camped 14 days without using a generator or hook ups.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:59 PM   #5
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2018 28' Tommy Bahama
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Really appreciate the feedback. From the consensus we have so far, looks like we need to rethink our aversion to the second A/C. Glad to hear you like the rear view camera. Regarding the solar, sounds like you bought your TB without it and installed the two panels from the Eddie Bauer, or at the least had the panels installed after you took possession (meaning, they weren't a factory install). In other threads, have seen some posts advocating for the factory install, and some for aftermarket (by the dealer, or whoever).
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:11 PM   #6
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The TB was solar ready. We had the dealer install two new panels. We put the new batteries from the TB in the EB (for the new owners) and kept the LifeLine batteries from the EB into the TB (Upgraded batteries).

We have two panels on the new trailer but only had one on the EB. Plan to add more panels and two more batteries.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:11 AM   #7
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Welcome to the Forum.

Hi, some of my thoughts; Get the two air conditioners, but get a 30 Amp shore power cord with an adapter for use all of the time except for when you need to use both air conditioners. The 50 Amp cord is huge and heavy. Some people say that they live in Alaska and don't need an air conditioner. Some people live in Texas and don't need a furnace. That could be true if you never go anywhere. Our two longest trips were from Southern California to Alaska and back; And from Oregon all the way across the country and back. So we need and use all that we have.


We were fortunate to have a stove top, oven, and micro wave in our trailer. We seldom use our oven, but I wouldn't be without it. You know, when you need something and don't have it, [like a special tool] it's worth a mint. Yes the oven serves as storage too.


Awnings are great to have and really simple to use after a few tries. The electric awnings are way more complicated than necessary. Think of the old Lincoln convertibles or the Ford convertible hard tops. [Exageration] They had 47 motors, 25 relays, 62 sensors and ten miles of wire. Look at the size and into the control box on the electric awning, it's just too much to go wrong.

And lastly the solar panel system. Nice to have, wish we had one. Reports on this forum show that after market systems are much better made and cost way less than the factory system.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the clarification on the panels, and mentioning the batteries (From researching elsewhere on this forum and the Internet, am aware that solar requires different batteries). The battery swap was a convenient win for both parties.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:46 AM   #9
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Obviously, the above reply was for djarrett. Still getting the hang of posting mechanics.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:17 AM   #10
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2018 28' Tommy Bahama
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Bob,
Great feedback, thanks. That's 3 for 3 recommending getting the second A/C. Am familiar with the big, heavy 50 amp power cord (that's what we have with our 40 ft. 5th wheel, along with a 30 amp adapter for certain campgrounds). Have limited electrical background, but if I understand you correctly, you're saying to use a 30 amp cord and keep a 50 amp adapter handy for when want to use both A/Cs at one time. Didn't realize could do it that way.

Yes, I've also seen the mixed reviews on the power awning performance. Also recently saw a couple of actual Tommy Bahama MSRP invoices that show the power awning option adds $3,700. That's an awful lot of $ for that convenience, even if you could talk the sales rep into lowering the cost a few hundred bucks. And mechanical deployment doesn't bother me (still want all three awnings, for reasons everyone's already noted).
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:35 AM   #11
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Avoid the power option, but do get all 3 awnings. We have the power awning, wish we didnít. Very expensive to fix.

We donít have 2 heat pumps, have never missed the second. Thatís what wheels are for.

We love the gas oven, especially when dry camping.

3rd party solar will be better and maybe cheaper than factory or dealer-installed solar.

Rear camera: we have it and we love it.

Happy shopping, do whatever is best for you!
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djarrett View Post
We have a 27" and I recommend the following:

1) 2 A/C's - Yes - Better to need and have than to need and not have

I've not seen a 27' TB that hasn't had the two AC's. The only downside is if you camp a lot where they don't always have 50 AMP service, you end up using the supplied 50-30 AMP dogbone and then only get one AC anyhow. Actually, now that I think about it, there's two downsides. ...that 50 AMP cable. It's a beast. But that said, go for the two AC unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djarrett View Post
We have a 27" and I recommend the following:

4) Rear View Camera - It's slick. The option to have factory installed and covered under warranty is better than adding after the fact.
We have one, it's nice, but if we didn't have it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I do find that powering the monitor is a bit of an issue in my case because I already have a tire pressure monitor and GPS plugged into my accessory plugs, so I had to make a splitter to power it too. I also find it annoying that I have to run my lights all the time. I tend to leave my truck in the auto light mode and then I'm switching to lights on, and often forget to turn them back to auto for a day or two.

I also find image quality just so-so. Again, it's ok, you can see when your passing another vehicle that you are absolutely clear, and you can see behind you when you are backing up, so it works, but I do wish it was a bit clearer.

-Wayne
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:50 AM   #13
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Don’t forget that you lose a Fantastic Fan if you get 2 A/Cs - probably the biggest con for many, especially if you’re camping without hookups.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:05 AM   #14
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This wasnít really your question but I will share our experience buying a 2018 FC25. We went to our local AS dealer and got the usual pressure to buy one off their lot. I never buy a car that way so why would I buy an AS that way? I find itís SO much cheaper to order cars and RVs from the factory because then you can comparison shop and get what you want exactly.

I contacted many of the big AS dealers nationwide (that volume is important) and got a quote from RVone for 21% off list! I then took that quote to all the dealers closer to me (RVOne is 2000miles from us so I would need to pay $1.75 a mile to get it to me.) Armed with that quote my local dealer matched it, thus saving the double transport fee.

With RVs you should never feel locked into just buying from the local dealer. They will still happily do your factory service.

If you are looking for a 2018 it may be getting late in the season to special order unless a dealer is willing to change one of their pipeline orders to match yours. The factoryís 2018 capacity is already booked. We bought ours in November so I donít have experience with that pipeline conversion conversation. It may be fine. I sure wouldnít wait too long. Otherwise, youíd place an order in fall for a 2019.

Happy hunting!
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