For the past few months, I’ve been casually researching the possibility of buying a travel trailer. My thoughts were, a trailer coupled with the N.A.R.V. would provide enough sleeping space for possibly up to six people; which would be great for some of our normal trips like Florida Springs and snowboarding.
My initial thoughts were to get a smaller used trailer that would accommodate just the family of four. And up until this past winter, it was always my goal to get a four season camper, so that we could use it for snowboarding.
Last year, we went to a RV show and had a look at the Starcraft AR-ONE hybrids. While I was aware of what a hybrid was, I never really considered it until then. Considering that this past ski season, we tent camped in the Boone area in 20-30 degree weather, the requirement of a four season camper really was not justified.
So for a few months I kept an eye out on craigslist for hybrids and quickly noticed something unusual about them versus all other types of campers; they hold their value EXTREMELY well.
I ran some estimates to compute a “total cost of ownership” for 1) a 4-8 yr old hybrid, 2) 1-4 yr old hybrid and 3) a brand new hybrid. I made some assumptions that we would only use the camper for 4-5 years. Surprisingly, there was not much difference. And considering that a new camper’s warranty helps reduce the “lemon risks” of buying a camper, it quickly became a no-brainer; a new camper was a better investment with lower risk…assuming the used market doesn’t change abruptly.
After seeing and researching every brand available, we settled on the Jayco 19 SLX. Its U-shaped dinette, 2 year warranty on camper, 5 year canvas warranty and roof construction were the deciding factors.
I priced out the camper at every Jayco dealer in the Southeast, then had the local dealer match/beat the best price. We ending up at $15,500, which was slightly higher that the best estimate I received. But the one we bought had exactly the options we ultimately wanted.
Features We Like
- Color Scheme/Fabrics – The grey exterior looks (to me) like a higher priced camper and the interior prints are neutral to aid in resale value.
- U-Shaped Dinette – This was the deciding factor. We can sit four very comfortably around it. Six if we are REAL friendly.
- Narrower Body – No mirror extensions are needed to see clearly around the camper when towing
- Slide Out – Really makes the interior more spacious
- Tons of Interior Storage – We have the camper packed and a majority are still empty
- LED Lights – Wow are they bright!
Features We Do Not Like (so far)
- Narrower Body – The shortened bunks kinda suck when you want to stretch out. If you are taller than 5′ 10″, this is not the camper for you.
- Slide Out – I just have a bad feeling it is going to break
- Small Black Tank – WTF use is 9 gallons?
- Interior Table – While it is nice that it can be moved outside, there is absolutely nowhere inside to get it out of the way. Even in position it is hard to get around.
- No Medicine Cabinet – I’m clueless why this was excluded from the camper
- No Front Stabilizers – Completely missed this when comparing campers. Will likely be adding some.
- No Roof Fan – I suspect we will want to get one installed
My plan is to write a new like/dislike list after a few uses. Hopefully, it will not change too much.
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