At the end of our 3rd season of RVing we say goodbye to our beloved Jayco Swift 184BH and hello to a Keystone Hidehout 24BHSWE. Like alot of RVers the shopping for a new rig basically starts the day you bring home your existing rig. For us the Jayco was our first venture into this way of travel and really acted as a way for us to determine if we would use the trailer and like camping as much as we thought we would. For us, it was apparent after only a few months that camping was what we were meant to do and the investment in our family was irreplaceable.
Not long into our second season, we started to identify several aspects of our trailer that just wasn’t ideal for us. Sure each of them were manageable, but if we were going to keep doing this; why compromise? So what did we want to change?
- Dedicated Beds: The 184BH has 2 bunks and a convertible dinette. This gave our daughter “her space” but caused Ashley and I to have to convert the dinette and never really allowed us to make the bed area as homey feeling as we wanted.
- Larger Refrigerator: The 3 cu ft fridge was great and worked VERY well, but it is small. We made due by using a large cooler and ice. Occasionally we invite people to join us at camp, and packing the extra food quickly became an issue. On several occasions we even had to have other people traveling with us take some of our food in their rig.
- Larger Black Tank: With only a 9 gal capacity, we were really limited to only being able to do 2-3 nights at most without having to hit a dump station. While a lot of campgrounds have dumps on-site it is an inconvenience to have to break camp to go do the dump routine. This usually lead to us just not staying anywhere more than 3 nights which limited some of our exploring options.
We really started our search about half way through the 2015 season. The number of manufactures and endless floor-plans can make this process a bit complex and confusing. We found it necessary to not only line out the 3 items above as requirements but we also had to identify a few more to help narrow the field of options.
- Bunks: We went back and forth but we ultimately decided that we had to stick with bunk-house models. This single choice alone narrowed the field a ton but having a dedicated space for our daughter was important. There are many sweet floor-plans that lack bunks but after much discussion, this just didn’t seem like an option for us in the stage of life.
- Under 30 feet: Doing a bit of research it seemed that staying under 30 feet allowed us to have more options at campsites. There are many campgrounds that can accommodate rigs over 30 feet, but frequently the number of spaces get more limited. Since the vast majority of our camping is in Federal and State campgrounds, we felt it was best to keep it small.
Our search started with Jayco. We had a great experience with our 184BH and had no reason to even really look at other brands. We started looking through the floor-plans and found that there was really only one the meet all of our requirements, the White Hawk 25BHS. While this is an awesome trailer, we just couldn’t get past the 2nd slide on the awning side of the trailer. Since this would cut into our usable space under the awning, we just really couldn’t see ourselves with this model. It was a bit unfortunate as we would have liked to stay with Jayco but the only other bunk house options they have put us over that 30 foot mark. After reading “How to Survive an RV Show…and Make it a Great Experience” we headed off to our local RV show with a listing of 16 trailers that meet all of our requirements.
As suggested in the book we knew going in that we were not going to buy at the show and we were going to focus on narrowing the field even more. After several hours of going in and out of trailers, taking many notes and pictures we felt that there was one trailer that was standing out. In addition, the sales rep (Casey) that we talked to was also standing out in our mind, so a win win in our book. After a lot more research online we went to Motor Sportsland to take another look at the trailer and make a few final choices. The entire sales process was very smooth and the trailer delivered was well coordinated and organized.
As we were moving our stuff out of our Jayco I felt a bit sad. I have never felt that way about an old car or a house so why with the trailer? I think its because the trailer really enables us to be at our best and those are great memories that will be with us for a lifetime. The trailer enables us to be who we really are and to truly enjoy our time as a family. Seeing the trailer leave that exposed this to us struck a bit of a cord and it was a bit hard to say goodbye. However as we have been moving into our new Hideout the sadness is gone and all of our requirements are now meet. Its time to start the next chapter in our camping adventures and we are looking forward to each and every one of them…