So… we bought a new fifth-wheel!
Wait. What? What did I miss?
Nope, you didn’t miss a thing. There was nothing wrong with our Coachman. You didn’t miss any catastrophes!
You may remember, if you read our post, HERE, that we considered ourselves lucky when we found and purchased our Coachman Apex in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Shopping for a camper of any kind, in Fairbanks, in October, was not the ideal of circumstances.
But we lucked out in finding the Coachman which was only a year old, gently used, and a great deal.
See the thing is, we didn’t get to shop length. We didn’t get to shop floorplan. We pretty much looked at it and said “This will do.”
And it did.
Jason did lots of modifications to make it work for us. And it did. But it was not without its quirks.
So the slide was a little cranky in cold weather. Who wouldn’t be?
So there was like NO room to get dressed in the bedroom. Who wouldn’t mind that? Jason certainly didn’t – ;-)
So the bathroom was tight and stepping down out of the shower was a bit scary. Who needs space in a bathroom? I mean, really.
So it was kind of dark inside with only a few windows. Eh, who needs lots of natural light when you can sit outside?
Jason had been used to pulling his 27’ enclosed snowmachine trailer for years. We figured a 28’ camper would maneuver about the same.
Nope. Turns out the axles are a lot farther back on the Coachman than they were on that snowmachine trailer. Not to mention there was a lot left to be desired when it came to ground clearance!
We loved our Coachman. But the real reality was that we just loved the LIFESTYLE.
So the more time we spent on the road, the more we realized we wanted to continue this lifestyle as long as we possibly could. Which ultimately lead to shopping around at what else was out there.
So what did we want?
#1 – We wanted more maneuverability. This was probably our biggest factor in the whole scheme of things. Backing up the Coachman was sometimes a nightmare, because no matter how good Jason was, that camper just didn’t cut the way a trailer should cut. And there were plenty of parking lots that we couldn’t even THINK about turning into. Fifth-wheels are all about better maneuverability!
#2 – We wanted to be shorter. In total length, all hooked up, our Diesel and Coachman were 52’ long.
With our new Cougar, we are now 45’ length, TOTAL!
#3 – We wanted to have access to the bathroom, even when the slide was pulled all the way in. This was another big one. 95% of the time, we always use our own bathroom. I hate public bathrooms. At least I know that mine is always clean.
#4 – We wanted (or should I say, I wanted…) better closet space. I didn’t need room for more. I just needed better access! Pulling out half my stuff every time I was trying to get clothes out was just a big fat pain. Our glorious Cougar has a second slide in the bedroom, with three nice sized doors that open fully for complete access! SCORE!
#5 – Carrying capacity. Since we were looking at fifth-wheels for better maneuverability, that meant we would have to get rid of the cap on the truck and most of Jason’s tools would have to go in the cargo bays. Turns out, the bigger rig you get, the more storage space you have, but the less weight you can carry. Ugh.
This is probably the biggest factor that kept bringing us back to the Cougar when we were researching. The Cougar 25RES is part of the Half-Ton Series, and is one of the shortest fifth-wheels you can buy. With a strong frame, this fifth-wheel is rated to carry 2600 lbs. Even though the Mountain Fox was rated to carry more, we really loved the layout of the Cougar. The 25RES is actually Cougar’s most popular layout for couples.
So we decided to take the plunge. Jason spent hours researching online. Every option we looked at, lead us back to the 25RES.
One of the perks to this lifestyle, is that we had the option to literally go ANYWHERE to buy our new rig. Jason found two dealerships, one in Wyoming and one in Idaho, that each had what we were looking for.
We ended up going with Midway Auto-Sales in Cody, Wyoming. We can’t say enough good things about these guys!
They gave us a great deal for our Coachman, and were even willing to work with us on all the details.
Jason is quite the wheelin’ dealin’ guy. As part of our deal, here is what we got:
#1 – They gave us a good deal on our Coachman for trade-in. YES!
#2 – They bought and removed the ARE cap from the back of the truck. And they installed the new fifth-wheel hitch. YES!
#3 – They removed the toilet from the Cougar. Jason was able to install our composting toilet in the Cougar. YES!
#4 – We took our four batteries and inverter with us. (Now we just need to buy some new panels and we will have solar again) YES!
#5 – They let us park our Coachman next to the Cougar to get all moved in and stay on their lot for three nights! YES!
All the staff at Midway Auto-Sales that we worked with, were super nice and very accommodating! We can’t recommend them enough!
It’s safe to say that we definitely did some purging, because now that we’ve been on the road for so long it’s easy to see all the stuff we don’t need!
But somehow, someway, we managed to get all the important stuff from the back of the truck all packed up mostly in the cargo bay.
We’ve pulled the Cougar just over 100 miles so far. Even though there’s a bit of a learning curve with pulling a fifth-wheel, which we’ve never done before, we are already grinning ear to ear with our choice.
While the Coachman was nice, it definitely had a “trailer” feel to it. The Cougar definitely has a more homey feel. And all these windows are awesome! I can’t wait to fill them with some spectacular views!!
So after two and a half days of busting butt to get things all put together, we are pretty wiped out. But man oh man are we happy campers!!
Stay tuned for a sneak peek at the inside... Coming Soon!
We are now on INSTAGRAM!
*RV Like Midgley contains affiliate links with Amazon. An affiliate link simply means that if you click through and purchase (costs you nothing extra) We get a few pennies too. If you appreciate the information provided here, shopping through these links are a great way to help keep us creating and sharing. http://amzn.to/2ByqGT8
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hi, I’m Hillary! Wife and dog mama. I am a retired 6th grade teacher, but still seek to share and help others at Teach Like Midgley
I enjoy spending time with my pups and my husband. I have a passion for rescues, and would save more pups if I could. I enjoy books and I am a mustang enthusiast. Thanks for reading!