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I know these questions are very subjective, but I am torn between a class B and a small TT like the Oliver Elite.


1. I like the idea of a TT because it provides a vehicle to go places, visit sites, stores, etc... But some say unhooking with a class B is not that difficult, only takes a few minutes, and can use it to go most places.
2. When we purchase, we will be about 70, good health, but I don't know how difficult setting up and tearing down, hooking up TT, etc.... will be as we age. Perhaps its no big deal as I know many seniors travel with a TT. But it seems that maybe just driving a class B and not worrying about hooking up to hitch etc. would be better for seniors. Also, things like making sure brakes or ok on TT ok etc...  Is towing difficult for seniors etc.?
3. I have never owned an RV and this is why I am seeking opinions from those who have experience.
4. I also know purchasing a nice Class B is a big investment, so I am not sure I can justify the cost compared to a small TT since I don't think I will use it more than 8 weeks per year. Of course, we may love traveling and find it is worthy the investment and travel several weeks throughout the year!
5. My plans following retirement at the present would be the first year to rent cabins etc... and see if we like traveling 8 weeks a year before purchasing an RV; or buy a small TT like the Oliver Elite. It appears that even if we concluded that we are not RVer's that we could sell it without losing to much of the investment.


Anyway, I know lots of points, but would appreciate any of your thoughts.
Dwain

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Why not rent an RV to try it out? That would give you an idea about both worlds.

What I like about  TT is you can set it up at a campsite and you are "home". You can spend the day watching the buffalo roam, or watching salt spray off the tops of waves near your new favorite lighthouse, or eagles soaring over a mountain top. When the day winds down you pull back into your campsite and nothing to do or hook up. Light a fire, uncork the wine, watch the fireflies...

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Posted (edited)

Renting is a great idea.

There's a site called rvshare.com, where individual owners put their own trailers and b/c/a motorhomes up for some period if time when they're not using them. (Not something I'd ever want to do with my Ollie, though.)

When my sister and her husband thought they wanted to buy a tab, I found one for them to rent for a week in Asheville. It was cute, but a few nights let them realize that model was not for them.

Sherry

Edited by SeaDawg
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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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So much depends on your travel style and what sort of comforts you will be happy  with. I have a 72 year old friend who spends a few months' worth of nights each year sleeping  in the back of his Toyota Tercel Wagon from the  '80s, most often  in wintertime near ski areas or backcountry ski tours (in case you've ever seen the  documentary "Dirtbag"  about climbing legend Fred  Beckey,  it's worth mentioning that this friend of mine has climbed with Fred more than once and is in Fred's direction  in terms of  expenses and creature  comforts or  lack thereof 🙂 ).  We have done a  lot of camping in our  Class B van - a standard  length Ford  E250 with things like furnace, fridge, inverter and microwave,  but  no bathroom. We've been pretty happy with it but as I've eased out of salaried life it has started to feel a bit small  for  the two of us on extended trips, particularly when  the weather turns wet and we spend more time inside the van. I think it will continue to be my go-to choice when I do solo photography safaris to places like Utah for a few  weeks, but we've  decided to get an  Ollie for many of the trips  my wife and I will take together. 

As a former colleague put it, "each tool is best for something and  worst for something else." The van is very  maneuverable (including the ability to  be parallel parked in any  decent  length city  parking space), we can leave the dog in it with the vent fan running on most days while parked for errands etc., and it's nice  to be able to transition from driving to  hanging in the  living space w/o  needing  to  get out  of  the  vehicle. But it can feel  quite small at times, it is at times a bit  of an  annoyance to shift from sleeping to  driving  modes when  we will  be returning  to the same site that evening - to  the point where we  sometimes defer errands or driving outings  in  favor of  on  foot or on  bike explorations nearer to  camp. We have strategies for dealing with the lack of a bathroom  when  boondocking or staying at park  campgrounds that  have  no showers (including a "sun shower" unit etc.) that work OK enough in many situations  particularly in warmer more pleasant weather. But I am looking forward to being  able to use the  Ollie wet bath, to have a "home base" that one or both of us can  drive away from (we don't always want to leave camp at the same time!) and to just  have a bit more space for some of our outings. For now I expect to keep the old camper van as it  has more utility  value to  me than it has resale value given its  age and mileage ( it still running and  working  quite  well). 

Edited by Jim_Oker
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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II December 2020 delivery

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I’ve only had a trailer so I can’t comment on owning a class B.  Maintaining our Oliver is pretty easy.  If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person bearings and brakes are not difficult.  I choose to go by my neighborhood RV repair shop once a year and have them to the repacking and brake checks/adjustments.  My tow vehicle is also my daily driver, so maintenance on it is what I would do anyway for whatever I’m driving.  I’m not 70, but will be in a few years.  Hooking up our trailer is not much of a physical challenge.

It does seem to me that a Class B with a toad would be two engines and drivetrains, two gas tanks and more to maintain.  It’s probably more comfortable while driving if you can walk back to your camper and get in the fridge or whatever.  I’m happy with a trailer that big enough to live comfortably in yet small enough to fit into some really good sites.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

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10 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Renting is a great idea.

There's a site called rvshare.com, where individual owners put their own trailers and b/c/a motorhomes up for some period if time when they're not using them. (Not something I'd ever want to do with my Ollie, though.)

When my sister and her husband thought they wanted to buy a tab, I found one for them to rent for a week in Asheville. It was cute, but a few nights let them realize that model was not for them.

Sherry

I agree. Renting is the best place to start for new to RVing. Suggested this to my older brother of course, I didn’t know what I was talking about. After 160 k on a class B waiting 10 months for it to be built. After three months In the Rv decided Rving was not for him and his wife.  He lost big money on resale. Try before you buy, it will save you Headaches and money.

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So renting a class B this summer confirmed my decision to go with a TT.   It was very easy to drive, park and hookup.  It was so loud in the van while driving due to items shaking.  I also didn’t care for layout limitations with cab in the living area.  Personal preference but renting helped to solidify direction I wanted to go.  
 

Good luck.  

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Jim_Oker said:

it is at times a bit  of an  annoyance to shift from sleeping to  driving  modes when  we will  be returning  to the same site that evening

This is the most overlooked issue with sleeping in your vehicle. Sleeping in or on your vehicle is great for ‘true’ over landing, where you go from A to B to C each night. That’s ideal in Africa or Australia where there’s great distances between destinations. But the US is so dense with things to see and do that you tend to spend two to four nights at any one location, sometimes more, taking day trips from camp. We started off our search for a better way to camp thinking that a rooftop tent was the way to go. Then we camped at Bryce for three days and watched A poor couple across from us unpack and repack their campsite every day for three days. By the third day they looked miserable and that was when we decided that a trailer was the better way. 

But of course we still have great memories of car camping - packing up our Saab late on a Thursday night so that we could head out right after work on Friday to get to a campsite around 10pm. Then unrolling our sleeping bags in the back and trying not to either suffocate or let too many mosquitos in through the night. That was the best. 

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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1 hour ago, TexasGuy said:

So renting a class B this summer confirmed my decision to go with a TT.   It was very easy to drive, park and hookup.  It was so loud in the van while driving due to items shaking.  I also didn’t care for layout limitations with cab in the living area.  Personal preference but renting helped to solidify direction I wanted to go.  
 

Good luck.  

You are right about the noise . . . . . Compared to riding in our pickup, our LTV van is much noisier.   Also, the effects of heat/cold transfer through the windshield to the living space is substantial in a camper van/motor home.

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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I never felt the want for an Class A, B, or C motor home, freedom of use with a TT just works better for us. Motor Homes I feel tend to cost more to own and operate, I'm sure this is debatable for many, but that's just how I see it. The freedom of having my tow vehicle to travel from the camping site to where ever we wish to go I feel is a big plus, yes you can tow a vehicle behind your motor home, but the additional cost of fuel, etc. I also look at resale on everything I own and a motor home is probably one of the worst investments you can make in life, I seen many friends just throw away money by the ten's of thousand and wish they had made a different decision up front.  The fiberglass TT market has always been a good one, or it is at the present time, I wish I had a parking lot full of Casita's to sell, we sold our two years old for $200 less then we paid for it, I also feel the Oliver will have great resale value if the time comes we want to sell it. All being said, for me it's not so much the money, but just making good value decisions and return on your money, plus getting a great product to enjoy. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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Our Ollie is our third RV in 34 years and we had the vehicle to tow it. We love the flexibility to set up camp and go out exploring.  If we were just starting out with no tow vehicle I would purchase one of the Cruise America class C rental units.  They were well maintained and built with heavy duty interiors for the rental market.  They typically have 140K miles and are 4 years old and sell in the low $30's.  You could buy one and take a spin around the country and probably not loose too much if you decided the road was not for you.  Good Luck

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13 hours ago, Overland said:

This is the most overlooked issue with sleeping in your vehicle. Sleeping in or on your vehicle is great for ‘true’ over landing, where you go from A to B to C each night. That’s ideal in Africa or Australia where there’s great distances between destinations. But the US is so dense with things to see and do that you tend to spend two to four nights at any one location, sometimes more, taking day trips from camp. We started off our search for a better way to camp thinking that a rooftop tent was the way to go. Then we camped at Bryce for three days and watched A poor couple across from us unpack and repack their campsite every day for three days. By the third day they looked miserable and that was when we decided that a trailer was the better way. 

But of course we still have great memories of car camping - packing up our Saab late on a Thursday night so that we could head out right after work on Friday to get to a campsite around 10pm. Then unrolling our sleeping bags in the back and trying not to either suffocate or let too many mosquitos in through the night. That was the best. 

And this is perhaps what eventually put us in an Ollie - after years of camping out of a Van, out of a truck, and a backpack, the joy of just leaving and returning - without the put it all away, and get it all out again - and repeat! -- the TT  has been much less effort in the long run. Not too mention the  other plusses of the Ollie. 

And with the proper TV, you can bring all your toys, all your "I might" need this stuff, and  - well you get the picture.  

Enjoy.

RB

 

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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19 hours ago, Overland said:

We started off our search for a better way to camp thinking that a rooftop tent was the way to go. Then we camped at Bryce for three days and watched A poor couple across from us unpack and repack their campsite every day for three days. By the third day they looked miserable and that was when we decided that a trailer was the better way. 

Yeah I honestly don't quite get the rooftop tents when people are primarily using them in established campgrounds. They seem maybe ideal for overland travel where you're  not sure what sort of spot you'll end up sleeping in each night but you  are fairly confident that you can at  least get your vehicle reasonably level.

To be fair, our van is  a lot quicker to get ready to  roll away with than was our tent/pads/bags etc., and when I'm solo I  can move from sleeping to driving in just a few minutes when desired (somehow when it's the two of us that rarely happens 🙂 ).  But at least when we were using a regular old tent we didn't need to pack it up daily when staying put in one site for multiple nights but driving  around to see sights etc. And we didn't need to climb down a ladder from the second story in the middle of the night if nature called.

I think it's important to remember that  most replies  you'll get here are from people who have decided that for their style of camping, a travel trailer works well - perhaps best. But if you haven't been doing much if any camping you may not really know what style you'll want to evolve for  yourself. The advice to rent is excellent, and while you're doing so, be sure to be social with other campers and get their thoughts on how their current camping setups are working  for them. You'll likely learn a LOT from having these conversations with people who have various types of equipment.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II December 2020 delivery

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9 hours ago, Trainman said:

I never felt the want for an Class A, B, or C motor home, freedom of use with a TT just works better for us. Motor Homes I feel tend to cost more to own and operate, I'm sure this is debatable for many, but that's just how I see it. The freedom of having my tow vehicle to travel from the camping site to where ever we wish to go I feel is a big plus, yes you can tow a vehicle behind your motor home, but the additional cost of fuel, etc. I also look at resale on everything I own and a motor home is probably one of the worst investments you can make in life, I seen many friends just throw away money by the ten's of thousand and wish they had made a different decision up front.  The fiberglass TT market has always been a good one, or it is at the present time, I wish I had a parking lot full of Casita's to sell, we sold our two years old for $200 less then we paid for it, I also feel the Oliver will have great resale value if the time comes we want to sell it. All being said, for me it's not so much the money, but just making good value decisions and return on your money, plus getting a great product to enjoy. 

trainman

Cost is a big difference . . . . the cost to license and insure a motor home or camper van is much higher than for a trailer, assuming your tow vehicle is also used for other than towing.   Our LTV cost almost almost $1,000 to license and $1,200 to insure - per year.  Add to that the added cost of service and maintenance, additional tires and unexpected chassis issues.  

We liked the idea of being able to drive off, in a small motor home, as if it were a car.  But you still have to secure all your onboard gear and pretty much pack up before leaving your campsite.  Camping in one place for several days wasn't too inconvenient, since it is small enough to drive around, but wanting another way to explore, other than on bike or foot has turned us back to a small travel trailer.  We are going to miss our van, but will love the Oliver.

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Not sure if I should start a new topic.  Plz correct me if I'm violating etiquette.

My wife and I are a couple of years from retirement.  We are pretty sure we will buy an EliteII as soon as we have the time to use it.  Yes, we are aware of the wait.

The plan is to be on the road at least 3 months a year (more the first couple of years):  Visit lots of National Parks; take day-hikes till we bleed; and stay till we can't stand it anymore.  Then return home to play with the kids and recharge.

We have camped and rv'd on vacations (2 weeks at a time) for years, but this will be a huge step up.

I would like the trailer to be comfortable enough so we always find it inviting, but I'm not looking for a replacement for home (or even an air bnb for that matter).

Why wouldn't I just buy the standard Ollie, with 0 upgrades, and celebrate my great luck?

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53 minutes ago, dennis said:

The plan is to be on the road at least 3 months a year (more the first couple of years):  Visit lots of National Parks; take day-hikes till we bleed; and stay till we can't stand it anymore. 

Why wouldn't I just buy the standard Ollie, with 0 upgrades, and celebrate my great luck?

We have been making our way around the National Parks and Monuments and enjoy camping there.  A lot of NP/NM campgrounds have no hookups.  At those locations we relied on our solar, 4 AGMs and inverter.  It was also nice to have the larger propane tanks for the furnace, hot water and cook top.  If you were going to camp at FHU sites those options are much less important.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

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A lot of what is standard on today's Olivers were "upgrades" when we bought ours. I think it's perfectly possible to camp and enjoy life in a standard Ollie.

Probably the only upgrade we have (today's list) that I personally would find very difficult to live without is solar power. Our old school 200 watts and two group 27 batteries have made camping in remote places, without services, much more enjoyable, and less stressful. And, solar is one of the few options that's not a quick change.

That said, you could just carry portable panel if you camp without hookups for a few days. And if you camp primarily with hookups, you don't need them at all, as Mike said.

I, too, love agm batteries.  But, if you're ok with the maintenance,  they'll be fine, too.

Today's "base" Oliver is a pretty sweet camper, in my opinion.

 

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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I believe solar is one of the most valuable options available - won't evaluate the new Lithium set-up, but my AGM set up has done very well and adds an enormous amount of options for camping - anywhere - in comfort. 

The 30 lbs. propane is also a value. My other options, hmm, I like the front tray, I like the rear (old version) rear rack, the Truma - mixed emotions - upgraded counter tops - yes, Couch cushions - a waste of $$, I'm sure I am missing something. Oh - I really like the electronic keyboard door latch. 

Good luck.

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201524964bac5483378b34b491562080842sm.jpg

 

 

 

 

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We don't have our Oliver yet, but ordered the cell booster as we camp a lot in marginal signal areas.

Next I'd say, the microwave oven delete in lieu of an additional pantry.  We don't use a microwave much when camping; would rather have the extra cupboard for larger items.  And (yet to be determined) with the door in the open position will make a great place for dish draining or prep area - might have to put something under the open door to level it.  

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Solar..keeps batteries up while stored..ready to go. Can watch tv to get local weather, so know how to prepare for tomorrow. 4_batteries keep the blower on the furnace running all night and day. Powers the microwave so no heat build that rainy humid day. 

 30 lb propane tanks keeps us warm all night, all week, all month.

The world existed for years without internet or phone service. It is an option, unless you have adult children that worry about what the 'old fools' are up to now...

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Thanks for the feedback.

The 30 lb propane seems like great addition. 

And we will take a serious look at the solar.  I've never had it.  So I figured I wouldn't miss it.  But it seems to have a lot of loyal fans.

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10 minutes ago, dennis said:

Thanks for the feedback.

The 30 lb propane seems like great addition. 

And we will take a serious look at the solar.  I've never had it.  So I figured I wouldn't miss it.  But it seems to have a lot of loyal fans.

Great option, too, if you ever decide to sell your Oliver, but then why would you do that?

Edited by Susan Huff

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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17 minutes ago, dennis said:

Thanks for the feedback.

The 30 lb propane seems like great addition. 

And we will take a serious look at the solar.  I've never had it.  So I figured I wouldn't miss it.  But it seems to have a lot of loyal fans.

The 30 pound tanks are heavier . Obviously .  We carry an extra 20 pounder, in the truck bed, sometimes. 

The solar is really the crux. Especially for us, as we camp without hookups, 99 per cent of the time.

Options depend on camping style. 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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58 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

The 30 pound tanks are heavier . Obviously .  We carry an extra 20 pounder, in the truck bed, sometimes. 

The solar is really the crux.

If I remember correctly you get about 5 gallons of propane in a 20lb tank and 7 gallons in a 30lb tank.  The 30 is heavier and is difficult for some folks to lift over the fiberglass enclosure when full.  Also, with 20lb you can exchange them more easily than a 30lb.  With the 30lb you generally have to find a place to fill it.  We also carry a 20lb in the truck for our fire pit and as general backup.  We’re happy with the 30s, but could live with 20s.

Agree with Sherry, solar is what really matters.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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