What kind of horse trailer or RV should I use?

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    Determining the traveling and camping configuration that works best for you is one of the first tasks at hand when you decide to go horse camping, and one that Hubby and I took awhile to figure out.  If you don’t already have some traveling equipment, it’s a big investment that you naturally should consider carefully.

    By far, the most common configuration we see is the goose-neck, or fifth wheel, live-in horse trailer.   This is a very convenient, though sometimes expensive, way to enjoy weekends with your horses. Usually there’s a lot more space for the horses than humans, although more recently, we’ve seen larger living quarters, including slide-outs, that make it a bit more spacious.  For people like us that travel with only a couple of horses, we would certainly want as much living space as possible.  It’s a bit more difficult to find a trailer with less horse space and more house space.  They seem to be becoming more popular, though, no doubt because of the large number of retirees hitting the road.

    One con to that configuration is that storage space for hay is limited, unless you have a hay rack on the roof, and the muscles and energy to get it up and down.  For a weekend or short time frame, usually you can put enough in the back of your tow pickup, but for us, we like to carry more than that.

    The other con, of course, is living space.  It is often quite limited. Usually you have to climb up to bed on a ladder, which may not be suitable for some older or more affirmed folks, and a lot of these kinds of trailers don’t even have a bathroom or shower, so choosing a campground with some kind of toilet facility (usually a vault or composting type of outhouse, though sometimes running water is available).  Now, if the weather’s good and you don’t mind spending more time outside, perhaps around a campfire, then this may be a good option.

    We’ve also seen families, particularly those with younger children, that travel with just a livestock trailer for the animals and tents for the family.  That’s a great, inexpensive option as well.  Once in Colorado, we even saw a family that put up 2X10 boards along the front slats of a livestock trailer to make a solid bed frame for the youngsters to sleep on, with sleeping bags and blankets of course, while the adults slept in tents.  Horse camping can be accomplished even on the most bare-boned budget when necessary!

    We have also seen campers that travel in a motor home, pulling a horse trailer behind them.  This is probably the most expensive, and to our way of thinking, least convenient way to travel.  As impressive as these rigs can look, the cons are many.  First, if you need to run out and go shopping or anything, you need to take the whole house with you.  Second, the amount of living space lost to the driving compartment is significant, so even though the motor home might be 45 feet long or more, at least 6-8 feet is lost with drivers seat, steering wheel, entrance stairs, etc.  Personally, it’s hard for us to feel at “home” with a steering wheel in our line of sight.

    For us, we were spoiled by having large living quarters because we traveled in a 36′ travel trailer before we started taking our horses along.  We didn’t want to sacrifice our living space, especially when we’re on the road full time.  Before we started horse camping, we used a 1-ton GMC extended Savana van to tow the trailer, so anytime we arrived someplace, we could easily disconnect and have a vehicle to run around with, not to mention we had lots of extra storage space in the van for tools, clothes and other necessities.

    When we started touring with the horses, we bought a used 3/4 ton GMC gas pickup and a used two-horse, tall straight load trailer, both for less than $4000 total.  This way, we could stock up on a full pickup load of hay (which easily lasts 3-4 weeks, sometimes much more if there’s grazing available), and still have an easy way to drop one of the vehicles to make any side trips.

    Eventually, after having a little difficulty with the van pulling the RV trailer up the Rockies, we upgraded to a 6.6L diesel GMC 1-ton Sierra pickup, and used that to tow the RV, and switched the van over to towing the horse trailer.  That still gave us space for a month’s supply of hay, and the back seat of the 4-door extended cab gave us more storage in the back seat of the pickup. Several months later, we upgraded the horse trailer to a nice Logan 2-horse slant load with a full tack room, even more storage.  (All previously owned, by the way.)

    Of course, the single biggest challenge to driving two vehicles is that you need a partner (for which Hubby and I are both eternally grateful to have in one another), and you must be willing to pay for the extra fuel.  For short weekend trips, as most people do, this really isn’t that much of an issue, and well worth the expense for all of the benefits it reaps.  Even for longer trips like we do, it’s worth every penny for the extra convenience and space.

    Naturally, everyone’s needs and budgets are different, but it’s well worth the effort to put some time and consideration into your priorities, particularly if you’re new to the lifestyle.

    Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have, or any other suggestions or comments that are appropriate to this forum.

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Admin.
    • This topic was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Admin.
    • This topic was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Admin.
    • This topic was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Admin.
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