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Post Info TOPIC: Keystone's Cougar vs Avalanche


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Keystone's Cougar vs Avalanche


Shopping for a 5th wheel seems to be quite overwhelming!  i think we've narrowed it down to two floorplans.  We're not concerned with the finishes but we want to make sure the structure and construction is good for a full timer and for use in cooler temps.

With that in mind, I have two questions for everyone---any preferences on the above 2 brands

#2--the dealer said the cougar is a vacation 5er and the avalanche is a full time 5er.  i can't tell the difference, what exactly does that mean?

i have been looking over the construction specs but hoping you all can give some "been there' advice!

Thanks! felicia



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Felicia,

You said you had two questions, but I only see one.  So, did you really intend to ask two?

While I am not familiar with either brand, and I am at work without the time to look at the differences in the construction and insulation "R" ratings, I will mention one other thing.

Some manufacturers won't warranty their RV's for full-time use.  I asked a factory rep for one company whether they would warranty the unit if we were full-timing and he advised us to "not tell us you are full-timing."

Needless to say, we didn't even consider that brand anymore.  Check with your dealer to see if the Avalanche does warranty for full-timers.  While you are visiting with them, ask them what the difference is.

If no one else answers your question, I'll research the two brands when I get home and give you an idea of the differences.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug



RV-Dreams Family Member

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A friend had a Cougar and got rid of it after one year. Insulation is below what he wanted, and the sides are not gel-coat, but are Filon, which is a lesser grade of fiberglass. He also had issues with fit and finish. So, I would guess it might be called an entry level or maybe a week-ender. The avalanche looks to be a better rig, but comparing the insulation and frame of both of them as well as the weight and GVW I am not sure either would suit for full timing. If you stayed in moderate weather you might be OK.
You do realize both are made by Keystone?
If it were me, I would look at some more brands to get an idea of what you want. After a LOT of research make a decision on what you want or need. Everyone has different things they look for in an RV, your ideas are the ones that count.


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Ken and Fran 2006 Sunnybrook F250 SD CC PSD


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Thanks for the info.  Yes, I did know they are both Keystone products, the dealer was explaining the difference in both but i don't trust the dealer as I know they just really want the sale.

Forgive my ignorance but why would the GVW determine if it's suitable for full timing?  i'm sure my husband could tell me but he's at work.

We have been looking at countless brands and I think my head is spinning a bit.  I just want to make sure we have our research together for making the right decision.

You mentioned that you didn't think it had proper R value in the walls.  What would be the minimum you would suggest for full timing?  I know we will be spending winters in places probaby 50-60 degrees during the day and 30--40's at night. 

Thanks again

Felicia



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Duh!  Your first question was in regards to a choice between the two floorplans.  Sorry that I missed that one.

The relationship of a fifth wheel's GVWR is related to the construction of the unit.  A lightweight fifth wheel will not have much in the way of thermal insulation.  A heavier one will have more on them to help make them more conducive to full-timing.

For instance, some lightweight trailers that might be rated as "4 seasons" are so rated because there is insulation and perhaps heaters for the holding tanks.  A higher rated 4 season will have more insulation overall, including in the underbelly.

Our first fifth wheel was a 26' Rockwood Ultralight and was completely unsuitable for 4 season, let alone for being comfortable for full-timing.  We spent 2 weeks in it while on vacation in 2009 and the furniture nearly killed my back.

Our current fifth wheel is bigger, heavier, and better insulated.  While I don't have specific "R" numbers to give you to look for, keep in mind where you might be staying during the winter.  Usually, the "R" rating in the walls is lower than the ratings for the roof and floor.  However, if one is going to be in an area where there can be winds, a heavier "R" rating in the walls is important.

While our Mobile Suites is not for everyone, we knew we were going to be living in it for a few more years yet here in Oklahoma City.  Guess what....we get winds.  So, we went with something heavier and better insulated.

Don't trust salesmen on what an "R" rating is.  Make them show you in writing, either in a brochure or online.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time last night to look into Cougar and Avalanche features.  If you're not in a big hurry, I'll try to get time this evening.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Shucks, my first attempt to answer about the GVW went into the ether. So, I try once more. If you figure it like this, the unit is rated for 11000 GVW, and dry weight is 10000, you are "allowed" 1000 lbs added loading. Then you put in a couch at 150, a mattress at 75, a chair at 75, a table at 50, 4 chairs at 15 per, 2 propane tanks at 30 for the propane and 20 for the tank (100), water hose, sewer hose, sewer connections, a couple of boards for leveling, a jack to change tires, a lug wrench to help, a canopy at 100, an electrical cable 50 lbs to cover all that. Now you are at 660 with 340 lbs remaining before reach maximum GVW, and you have no bedding, no clothing, no adult beverages and no food or way to prepare it.

Why is that important? Because the lower priced rigs (and this is generalization) are not as robust as the more expensive RVs. Most lower priced units use "I" beam or "C" channel construction. More expensive will use "Box" beam. The construction determines what the thing will carry. Something like Terry has is extremely robust, but it still has limits. The added load allowance will be a whole bunch more than say the Cougar. A lot of folks are quite happy with something like a Cougar, others, not so much.
Personally, if I were just starting, I would give serious thought to a quality used unit. I notice you are in Montana. It is a cinch you will need a robust rig if you spend any time in the RV other than in June, July and August. May and September are "iffy" if you are in a lower priced rig.
Regards and best wishes for a positive RV'ing experience. Do a lot of research and make informed choices.

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Ken and Fran 2006 Sunnybrook F250 SD CC PSD


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Thank you again for all of the info.  I'm learning a great deal as always from everyone!

While reading, what's the difference between z frame construction & the I or C beams that you were mentioning?

We would definitely be back to visit our beautiful state of Montana but it would be in the summer.  It gets really dang cold here in the NW corner!  I don't know how anyone makes it when it hits -32.

Felicia



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Difference in the web strength of the beam. A four sided beam is much stronger than an I (shaped like the letter) and a C (also shaped like the letter). The box beam is a rectangular beam that is installed in an upright position, giving greater strength and carrying capacity.

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Ken and Fran 2006 Sunnybrook F250 SD CC PSD


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In addition to Ken's comment, a Z-frame is more of a design of the layout of the beams (I, C, or Box beams) to make up the overall frame.  The beams are a "single" length of metal in one of the aforementioned configurations.

The frame is made up of at least two parallel beams with crossmembers running back and forth between them.  The beams are what the suspension is attached to and the axles are attached to the suspension.

And, I apologize as I've still not found time to research the "R" factors and construction of the Cougar and Avalanche.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug



RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thank you for clarifying.  No need to research the r values, I finally found it today.  it took some work on the avalanche but the cougar was easy.

felicia



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