Curious about Hi-Lo Campers? Thinking about buying a Hi-Lo camper, curious, have questions? Ask them here
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Old 06-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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Default Full Timing/Long Term Camping?

New here....still searching for the right rig, but HiLo's seem to have what we're looking for to start our adventure.

We're looking to start out on extended trips looking forward to the day we sell the "stix'n'brix" to hit the road full time.

Does anyone here full time, extended season or do multi-month RVing with their HiLo?

Would love to hear your why's and wherefor's.

JandC.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:48 PM   #2
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OK...so maybe reword this a little.

Would any of you consider full-timing or extended season camping in your rigs?

Why or why not?

These units seem well built...even the 198something Hurricane Katrina survivor (very rough shape) we toured onna camping trip still had elements that had survived well intact.

Sort of like a Timex...takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Thanx,

JandC
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:30 PM   #3
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The people that I purchased my 1998 21tl from lived in the camper all winter in Florida. The only problem I can see is that one side of the camper is a little faded because it faced the sunshine.
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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J & C,
What part of the country are you planning full-time or extended season camping? Are you thinking of leaving your Hi-Lo in the up position during this time?
I lived in my Hi-Lo for several years while attending college in snow country. Might be able to give some suggestions.
Jim
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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Our goal is to be more or less gypsies traveling where the wind blows.

We may spend only days in a single campground or use it as a basecamp in a region we want to explore more deeply in our tow vehicle.

After a shake down period of several months of semi-local overnight, long weekend, week or two week trips we plan to hit the road and head towards the West coast for 9 months or so.

So, it will be a combination of up and down and longer term up.

I think what we're interested in is the things about the Hi-Lo's that are good for long term and the things that might be problematic that can either be overcome or that could be deal breakers. Basically what do you "love" about your Hi-Lo, what would you change if you could and what embellishments have you made that you feel make life on the road easier for you.

Even after looking at the rehabbed wreck the campground hosts live in most of the year, it seemed that the bones of this rig were still in very good shape even having been extremely cosmetically battered by Katrina.

Our research to this point leads us to believe that the 22' foot models would fit our needs sizewise for longer term travelling. I was very surprised at the storage space in them and liked that the layout made it where we could leave the end couch made out as the bed and still have space for casual sitting while inside the rig. We also like the low profile that should aid towability without as much drag as an upright TT.

Thanks,

JandC
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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The short answer is that for the type of travel you have planned, a Hi-Lo will do fine.

Now for the longer answer: Compared with other trailers, all other factors the same, with the low profile and low center of gravity, Hi-Lo's do tow like a dream. Sail effect is minimal. Tow vehicle gas mileage is better. They are heavier than comparably sized trailers, so you'll want to make sure your tow vehicle can handle extended 6 and 7% grades (in the west). My Hi-Lo's have proven to be very rugged, probably due to the steel and aluminum frames and minimal frame flexing that goes along with the low profile and split construction.

Camping is somewhat different in the west in that, once you get away from the Interstates, there are fewer full-hookup facilities and many more dry camps. Furthermore, many prime campgrounds are set in the mountains. Access can be more challenging, and a Hi-Lo is good at this because of the low profile, however camp set up can be more difficult because finding a level enough campsite (for a Hi-lo), or getting the Hi-Lo level enough to raise, is not always easy.

Other than the frame and telescoping feature, Hi-Lo trailers are pretty much like other brands... fresh water, gray water, black water systems, electrical systems, etc., all these can have occasional problems, and typically, are road repairable. The axiom that "the more complicated a machine is, the more there is that can go wrong," also applies to Hi-Lo trailers. Although very reliable, there is always the potential for lift system problems, and if traveling in the west, it won't be easy to find a Hi-Lo dealer to take care of these. Out here, VERY few other trailer dealers have ever seen a Hi-Lo, and generally I wouldn't trust them to even adjust my cables. So learn your Hi-Lo and be prepared to diagnose and make repairs if the rare happens and you have a lift issue. Do you need to carry a spare set of lift cables... no, should you be capable of setting a cable back onto a pulley... yes.

Finally, regarding comfort, if you've never done it before, sharing one small room for months at a time can be interesting. Intimacy and love aside, its nice to occasionally have some space. My wife and I finally went to a longer trailer, with a bed set up all the time, so one of us could read/puzzle/watch a DVD, without feeling we were disturbing the other trying to sleep. Something to consider when looking at the 22 footer.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:24 AM   #7
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This is Mrs. Campthewestcoast. I thought you might like a wife's perspective.

We have a 1997 21ft Tow-lite. It tows like a dream, very stable with little drag. We have done 4 day long weekend trips, but have decided it is a little too close of quarters for longer term travel. It takes time to set up and take down, if we were to move daily. We are working on scaling down our pack list, to decrease our extra camping stuff (but hubby insists it is all necessary, not sure why we need a large toolbox, etc.).

A few items that we added to our hi-lo:

We purchased a plastic 3 drawer dresser from Target, for our clothing. It fits underneath the dinette while we are on-the-road, and sits on top of the wardrobe when we are at camp.

The double couch/bed on the earlier 21ft Towlites are 45 inches wide. That is smaller than a traditional double bed, so we added a 2X8 with brackets to extend the bed to 54", added a futon and a 4-inch memory foam mattress topper. We keep the bed made and leave the couch cushions at home.

We always carry jumper cables, so if we run the battery dead using the frig while towing, we can jump the trailer battery with the truck to raise the trailer. Using the manual hydrolylic handle is not advisable.

You can see our modifications with pictures for solar and the battery upgrade elsewhere in this forum.

We added additional storage boxes outside, LED tail lights, electric tongue jack, and carry a drill with a socket to raise and lower the stabilizer jacks. We added indoor/outdoor carpet to the interior cubby holes (inside of wardrobe, under the dinette seats, and in the headboard) to prevent stuff from moving. We installed a knife holder (from camping world) on the inside of one of the kitchen cabinet doors to keep them from moving around.

I hope some of this helps. If we were to full-time it, we would probably upgrade to a 27ft with a separate bedroom.

Patricia (& Les)
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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Thank you, 2yax2go, for asking this question. I just joined this forum after learning about it on the Yahoo Hi-Lo list, which I joined just to find out about about full-timing. Now I have two sources of information, and that's good.

BTW, I'll be traveling solo. And while I'm originally from the East Coast - Philadelphia - I've been in Denver since 1979 and will probably spend most of my time exploring the West (especially the coast, since I really love being near the ocean). That's actually part of the reason I was thinking that if I did end up towing something, I'd rather have it be something easier to tow on the lovely mountain roads we have out here.

Meg
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:04 PM   #9
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Thank you for your replies...from both a his and hers aspect...it's very helpful.

JM...we have given that small space issue a great deal of consideration. We camp in what boils down to a 300+ pound tent on wheels called a Viking Express Tent Camper (which I think they don't make beyond the 2009 we bought)...no ammenities inside save 2 beds (one of which we use as a storage shelf), floor and 4 flexible walls with screened windows. The majority of our "living space" is outdoors and a 10x10 screened canopy room....it's something we want to continue even in a more solid rig.

Even at home we share a small space...if you will imagine 1100 sq ft inhabited by 4 adults, a 16 year old, a parttime overnight visitor or 3 or 6 and 4 dogs...you'll get why the Mr. and I spend the majority of our time in our sleeping quarters which we have turned into a bedroom/den. I've become quite adept at sleeping through his later nights on the computer.

At least to start the 22 footer seems quite spacious. And, thanks for the caution about leveling in the mts...I imagine he'll find solutions to that...he's a very clever guy.

Patricia...I like the idea of the dresser that sits on the wardrobe. We've seen a number of additional storage ideas for nooks and crannies to store seasonal and lesser used items. Since my Mr. is a handyman/jack-of-many-trades, I understand the tool box...wouldn't leave home without it.

Mr. built a 6" bracket to expand our tent camper bed so that my full-sized Areo-bed fits perfectly. You wouldn't think 6" would make that much difference, but it does. Since we share the same sized bed at home not having a queen is fine for us. Bedding is cheaper, too.

I'm printing both your posts to keep in the notebook we're starting for our buying trip and camping ideas in the not so distant future.

Meg...I used to live in both coastal Washington and coastal SoCalif. before I married a another lifetime ago. I'm looking forward to spending time out there again. My Mister has never been out West so I'm anxious to share it with him.

Your reasons for the Hi-Lo are similar to ours in that I haven't forgotten how much different the Sierra mt. roads are compared to our Blue Ridge mt. roads. We want something that will be easy to tow and not have as much negative affect on the gas mileage. That these rigs seem to be extremely well made is a big plus.

Thank you all for your input.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #10
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2yax2go,

If you are interested, I can post more pictures of the modifications that we have made to our Hi-Lo. You and your handyman husband might find some of them useful.

Les likes to continually work and improve the trailer, and has come up with some really good ideas. Here are some of the pictures already posted on this forum.

http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f18/battery-power-238/
http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f16/...n-255/#post625
http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f17/...s-207/#post624
http://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f19/...s-239/#post623

Patricia
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:18 PM   #11
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Patricia...would love to see more pix of the mods you have made...Mr. LOVES handyman work. Thanks.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:38 PM   #12
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My wife and I worked as campground hosts for two months recently and lived in our Hi-Lo 2209T (154 square feet) with two small dogs. We did just fine. In fact, we plan to host for a couple more months this year, and four months next year.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:56 PM   #13
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rhdx26...we're thinking along those lines once we get the travel part of our dream done...or need a longer term place to stay free of charge.

Got any special tips you care to pass along?

Maybe some pix of your rig?

There seem to be a good number of nice rigs out there and a what seem like fair prices. Hope the same is true a couple of years down the road when the stix'n'brix are paid for.

J of JandC
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:27 AM   #14
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We travelled in a 19' Layton for 14 years. Lots of multi-month trips, the longest was 4-1/2 months. We travel to get away from the familiar and experience the new. We found out after 4 months that we were homesick for the familiar.
We found that size was a relative thing. Our previous camping was tent and car, so a 19' cabin on wheels seemed huge!
We bought a 23' 2003 HiLo Classic two years ago. The floor plan, not the length, was our determining feature. But I have to admit, the extra space is nice.
Besides the mileage, an outstanding feature of the HiLo is that the inside of the trailer gets much more natural light and air flow. That's because there are windows on the sides instead of cabinets or appliances (because of clearance requirements for lowering the top). We were initially concerned about storage. But with the outside storage compartments and creative solutions by HiLo owners on this forum, it is not a problem.
So we are looking forward to many more multi-month trips. But we like our "home base" too much to go full time.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:49 PM   #15
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PopRichie went from PA up to Alaska and back - He must have taken the day off from the forum.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:47 PM   #16
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Rolff,
I didn't know anything about the forum back then, we were gone just over 2 1/2 months, it was a slow trip with many stops, wish we had stayed longer in Alaska. Fishing was great. We went into Canada and visited parks there before heading to Alaska, then down to OR, and Washington states before working our way home. Can't remember for sure but the trip was over 13,000 miles.
We have stayed about the same amount of time in FL.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:54 PM   #17
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Richard - I meant that you hadn't answered this today not back then. I just knew that you had done a major trip in your '95. I posted the Mod for the couch in my trailer today.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:27 PM   #18
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Oh, that's ok. I saw your mod, wanted to take some pics of the 95 for you but been busy and not sure if the battery will put it up. If I get a chance I will check it out.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:00 PM   #19
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Hello all.

I have been full time (well during the week at least) for the past month here at FT Knox. I have'nt had any problems in my camper since i got here.

I am looking at putting in an outlet for cable/external antenna, and next spring looking at a instant water heater (I like my hour long showers). Even with the 6 gallon water heater I still have no problem taking my shower.

As I said earlier, it is just me during the week, I usually drive the 2 and half hours every weekend to spend time with my wife and kids. The one weekend that she did come up here, it was very very small for the two of us, but we made due.

Before I set it up here, I did a lot of research on this forum, and other camper forums (this forum has by far been the most helpfull). I also enlisted the help of my brother (who lives in his camper all summer) and some of his neighbors (who live full time in campers). I even took a trip to the RV/MH museum in Elkhart, IN and assaulted the staff there with a few questions to ensure that I had all the bases covered.

The only thing I would recommend is a bigger camper, so that you can keep the bed as a bed and the couch as a couch.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:48 PM   #20
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Cav117,good to hear from you. It has been a while. Glad to know that you got your HiLo all fixed up and are using it. You almost need a short HiLo to do quick trips and a Bigger one with a stationary bed and a tipout for extended living. No RV is perfect. Thank you for your service to our country!!!!
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