Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

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Browser
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Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:45 pm

I'd like to hear from recreational road warriors which they prefer and why: Pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, or driving an RV and pulling a tow car? It would be nice to not have to worry about hitching two vehicles together, but I'm not sure I could get by with something like a Class B with no auxiliary vehicle for local get-arounds. But it would be nice to hear about that option too.
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by littlebird » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:56 pm

I preferred pulling a trailer with a car (really a big SUV). That way once we arrived somewhere we could set up, then drive away with the SUV to eat out, sightsee, etc. and come back to our water, sewer, leveling, etc. all in place. Also - only 1 engine to maintain. Always look for parks with "long pull-throughs"! :D

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by whaleknives » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:47 pm

This award-winning author chose to tow a trailer with a truck, probably as the lower cost option. She has written a Guide for beginning RVers that might be helpful.
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by ryuns » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:29 pm

I would imagine a lot depends on what you need out of your other vehicle when it's not towing/being towed. Ideally, your tow-behind is fairly small and economical. Depending on the size of the trailer you'd want to towing vehicle could range from a mid-size SUV to a full size, duelly pickup. Would you find any utility in a large pickup when you aren't towing? Do you have a need for a small car, or would your tow-behind end up being a heavy SUV anyway?
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:44 pm

It depends on what size RV and what you're doing with it.

You could also buy a truck camper and have just one piece to drive - with an incredibly high center of gravity.

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David Jay
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by David Jay » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:03 pm

We have had almost everything - we started in tents, went to a pop up, then travel trailers, then a motor home. The only thing we haven't owned is a 5th wheel.

First question I would ask is: Is this for extended stay (3 months in FL or AZ), or for vacations? That will affect your decision. Vacations are about traveling. Extended stay is about the interior living space.

Pulling a big trailer is the worst driving platform. The longest vehicle to maneuver. A motorhome pulling a small SUV ("jeep" or something) on 4 wheels is a nice traveling package but a travel dolly is a lot of bother. I hear that 5th wheels are the best handling road machines, but I have no experience. I plan to test-drive one.

I hear good things about 5th wheels, but they require a full-size pickup. So the pickup is your vehicle at the destination. Pulling a good-size trailer also requires a large vehicle but you can choose between several vehicles (like a 3-row Suburban). With a motor home you can have a little, economical, easy-to-park runabout.

I am a few years from retirement, but we are already thinking about what we will purchase. We plan extended stays (snowbirds!). For that use, we will not purchase a travel trailer. It will either be a 5th wheel or a motorhome.
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Toons
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Toons » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:17 pm

I own a Class B.(Roadtrek)
I don't tow anything,never had a desire to.
It lends itself to mobility.
Takes me about 15 minutes to pick up and leave a campsite. :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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David Jay
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by David Jay » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:18 pm

BTW, "hitching" a small vehicle to a motor home (towing on 4 wheels with a vehicle allows this) is a breeze. The tow systems ("Blue Ox", etc.) have extending arms, so you only need to get "close". Then hook up and drive away. The towbar arms extend and lock into place after hitching up, no alignment issues like a travel trailer.

Using the dolly so the driving wheels are off the ground is a real pain. You definitely don't want to do that every night if you are vacationing, it could work for a "one-way" if you are wintering down south. I would recommend purchasing a vehicle that allows 4-wheel towing or have a kit added that provides the necessary transmission fluid recirculation (the issue is the transmission design, many designs do not lubricate themselves properly without the engine running).
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:28 pm

One important difference is that if you tow 4-down, or with a dolly for that matter, you essentially can't back up. If you tow a trailer, you can, given enough room. Of course you could also bring along a small car on a flatbed trailer, and that you could back up.

But if tow four-down you do have to select the vehicle carefully, or use aftermarket equipment to provide the required lubrication.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:30 pm

Toons wrote:I own a Class B.(Roadtrek)
I don't tow anything,never had a desire to.
It lends itself to mobility.
Takes me about 15 minutes to pick up and leave a campsite. :happy
But actually much longer, because as soon as you get set up again after your grocery run, you realize you left your wallet at the walmart.

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Watty
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Watty » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:34 pm

Browser wrote:I'd like to hear from recreational road warriors which they prefer and why: Pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, or driving an RV and pulling a tow car? It would be nice to not have to worry about hitching two vehicles together, but I'm not sure I could get by with something like a Class B with no auxiliary vehicle for local get-arounds. But it would be nice to hear about that option too.
There is a third option.

I am not RV road warrior but if you are traveling with someone like a spouse then another option would be to have an RV and not tow the car but have them drive it and then meet at your destination. Depending on how far and how often you are traveling that might or might not work but if you typically only travel a few hours between campsites that might work OK.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:10 pm

Watty wrote:
Browser wrote:I'd like to hear from recreational road warriors which they prefer and why: Pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, or driving an RV and pulling a tow car? It would be nice to not have to worry about hitching two vehicles together, but I'm not sure I could get by with something like a Class B with no auxiliary vehicle for local get-arounds. But it would be nice to hear about that option too.
There is a third option.

I am not RV road warrior but if you are traveling with someone like a spouse then another option would be to have an RV and not tow the car but have them drive it and then meet at your destination. Depending on how far and how often you are traveling that might or might not work but if you typically only travel a few hours between campsites that might work OK.
I met an RVer at a campground who had a professional driver deliver his RV to whatever campground he selected, and then flew in to meet the RV. He might have been a boglehead, because he was excited that he'd gotten a great buy on his slightly used RV: hundreds of thousands off the price of a new model. It was a very nice RV.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:13 pm

Browser wrote:I'd like to hear from recreational road warriors which they prefer and why: Pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, or driving an RV and pulling a tow car?
Most of our experience is traveling and camping in more remote Forest Service and BLM lands around the American West — and we use a small, 16' fiberglass travel trailer and an SUV tow vehicle.

In more remote areas, a combination like this provides the most options, I believe, since the trailer can be set up in a campground or dispersed campsite and the tow vehicle then used to drive to trailheads, hiking spots, points of interest, etc. An RV pulling a car would be largely impractical in these areas, except for staying at the very largest, most visited campgrounds. A Class B camper might work (and we do see them), but one would have to break camp every day to drive around, and would be limited to driving mostly on the main Forest roads.
Cordially, Todd

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:16 pm

A car and a hotel for me...

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by texasdiver » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:18 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Watty wrote:
Browser wrote:I'd like to hear from recreational road warriors which they prefer and why: Pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, or driving an RV and pulling a tow car? It would be nice to not have to worry about hitching two vehicles together, but I'm not sure I could get by with something like a Class B with no auxiliary vehicle for local get-arounds. But it would be nice to hear about that option too.
There is a third option.

I am not RV road warrior but if you are traveling with someone like a spouse then another option would be to have an RV and not tow the car but have them drive it and then meet at your destination. Depending on how far and how often you are traveling that might or might not work but if you typically only travel a few hours between campsites that might work OK.
I met an RVer at a campground who had a professional driver deliver his RV to whatever campground he selected, and then flew in to meet the RV. He might have been a boglehead, because he was excited that he'd gotten a great buy on his slightly used RV: hundreds of thousands off the price of a new model. It was a very nice RV.
That sort of thing happens all the time in the boating world. I spent the better part of a decade living and working in Juneau, AK. Every summer a whole flotilla of large yachts would pass through town. It was almost always the case that the professional crew would sail the boat up from Seattle or San Francisco or wherever and the rich tech billionaire would fly in on a private plane with his posse and get choppered out to the yacht. I never quite got the point of owning an ocean-going luxury yacht if you only ever used it at anchor. Seems a waste of a good boat.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by David Jay » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:19 pm

Todd highlights the root issue - what is the primary purpose of the RV?

Rustic forest campgrounds - pop-up or tiny (<20') trailer + SUV (for trails)

Driving and day trips - Class B or medium-sized trailer

Long adventures - Motorhome+small car, 5th wheel+pickup, medium sized trailer

Extended stay - Motorhome+small vehicle, 5th wheel+pickup, large trailer + Suburban/Expedition

Until the OP identifies what they want to do with their RV, they will continue to get widely divergent comments...
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

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Toons
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Toons » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:16 am

tibbitts wrote:
Toons wrote:I own a Class B.(Roadtrek)
I don't tow anything,never had a desire to.
It lends itself to mobility.
Takes me about 15 minutes to pick up and leave a campsite. :happy
But actually much longer, because as soon as you get set up again after your grocery run, you realize you left your wallet at the walmart.

LOL,,,yep,,head back and search the Wal-Mart parking lot,cause that is where I probably "boondocked" the prior night. :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

retiredjg
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:36 am

I spent a year on the road with a truck pulling a 5th wheel trailer. I did everything from boon-docking to remote FS/BLM locations to KOA (as needed).

I have not done it, but my observation is that towing a car with a MH is more trouble and you have less flexibility in many situations. You cannot back up (even a few inches I was told) with that thing back there. Every time you arrive or leave a camp spot there has to be a place for you to unhook and hook the dolly (or vehicle). Such places do not always exist except at KOA type locations and out in the open desert.

Traveling alone may have had something to do with my perception - having 2 drivers would make the whole car towed by MH thing easier.

As already mentioned, the type of camping you plan to do will probably be your biggest determiner of which set up works best for you. If you plan to travel to a destination and not move the MH for a few months, towing a car could work fine. If you are moving every 2 to 10 days, the trailer option might work better.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by N1CKV » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:01 am

texasdiver wrote:That sort of thing happens all the time in the boating world. I spent the better part of a decade living and working in Juneau, AK. Every summer a whole flotilla of large yachts would pass through town. It was almost always the case that the professional crew would sail the boat up from Seattle or San Francisco or wherever and the rich tech billionaire would fly in on a private plane with his posse and get choppered out to the yacht. I never quite got the point of owning an ocean-going luxury yacht if you only ever used it at anchor. Seems a waste of a good boat.
Where do I sign up for a paying gig where I get paid to take long trips on a luxury yacht?

back on topic:
OP does not state their experience level in dealing with trailers/towing. If you do go with a tow vehicle/bumper pull or 5th wheel type setup - make sure you get enough tow vehicle and make sure you set aside funds for properly equipping the tow vehicle. Dry weight means nothing, the trailer will most likely be near maximum weight all of the time once your gear and supplies are loaded.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:12 am

I like the looks of this rig:

Image
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by dbCooperAir » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:08 am

Spend some time on this Forum:
http://www.rv.net/forum/

Its a great group, its the Bogleheads of the RV world.
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:27 am

Browser wrote:I like the looks of this rig:
As mentioned upthread, we can highly recommend the small fiberglass travel trailers and SUV tow vehicle as providing the greatest flexibility when camping, either in remote areas or established campgrounds. The trailers are very durable and much lighter than the larger, stick-built travel trailers and consequently one's gas mileage is better. Plus, they are very easy to maneuver in and out of tight campsites, even with just one person.

Adapting to living in the tight spaces of a small travel trailer does take some getting used to, but once it's set it up to meet one's needs, either for a couple or single person, the freedom of travel is wonderful. In the summer, we regularly travel and camp for weeks at a time in our 16' Scamp trailer and enjoy it immensely (photo below).

See this discussion forum, which is devoted entirely to small fiberglass travel trailers: Fiberglass RV

Image
Cordially, Todd

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:54 pm

Simplegift wrote:
Browser wrote:I like the looks of this rig:
As mentioned upthread, we can highly recommend the small fiberglass travel trailers and SUV tow vehicle as providing the greatest flexibility when camping, either in remote areas or established campgrounds. The trailers are very durable and much lighter than the larger, stick-built travel trailers and consequently one's gas mileage is better. Plus, they are very easy to maneuver in and out of tight campsites, even with just one person.

Adapting to living in the tight spaces of a small travel trailer does take some getting used to, but once it's set it up to meet one's needs, either for a couple or single person, the freedom of travel is wonderful. In the summer, we regularly travel and camp for weeks at a time in our 16' Scamp trailer and enjoy it immensely (photo below).

See this discussion forum, which is devoted entirely to small fiberglass travel trailers: Fiberglass RV

Image
So you like the Scamp? How much dinero for a new 16'? I don't find any dealers except the manufacturer in Minnesota. Any way to get a look at one without travelling up there?
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:14 pm

Browser wrote:So you like the Scamp? How much dinero for a new 16'? I don't find any dealers except the manufacturer in Minnesota. Any way to get a look at one without travelling up there?
Yes, most of the small fiberglass trailers — including Scamp (Minnesota) and Casita (Texas) — are only sold directly from the manufacturers and not through dealer networks. If you want to check out one in your area, my suggestion would be to post in the appropriate forum at Fiberglass RV, and see if there is someone locally who is willing to show their trailer. Quite a few owners are willing to help prospective buyers — but it helps to know exactly what model and size you want first.

There is also an active secondary market for used fiberglass trailers on that Forum as well. More importantly, one can find out a great deal about the various brands of fiberglass trailers, and their plus and minus points, by reading through posts and discussions there. It's the very best source to get you started learning about the specific brands of trailers, the models and the sizes that might work best for you. Highly recommended Forum!
Cordially, Todd

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:48 pm

I understand the manufacturers will also help you find people in your area (or traveling to your area) who are willing to show you their trailers.

The thing about the fiberglass ones - if one goes on the market it will likely sell in a matter of a few days so you have to know ahead of time if you want it and what you are willing to pay for it.

Also, there can be a waiting list for the new ones.

A friend of mine is just this week out looking at a fiberglass that they intend to buy - the dealer BC, not sure which it is - they are on the waiting list to get their trailer next year.

They must be great trailers.

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SimpleGift
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:10 pm

retiredjg wrote:The thing about the fiberglass ones - if one goes on the market it will likely sell in a matter of a few days so you have to know ahead of time if you want it and what you are willing to pay for it.

Also, there can be a waiting list for the new ones.
Right, used fiberglass trailers are in such demand that, if we were looking for one today, we would definitely choose to get on the waiting list at a manufacturer for a new trailer (six months wait, the last we heard), instead of trying to buy a used one on the secondary market.

First, one can get the exact options one wants (i.e., layout, appliances, extras or not). Second, one is assured that the trailer is going to be in excellent condition. And third, the new prices are not likely that much more than the used prices (maybe 10%-20% more, depending on condition). Eighteen years ago, we drove to Minnesota to purchase our Scamp new, but we could probably sell it today for nearly what we bought it for back then ($10,500, excluding inflation adjustments).
Cordially, Todd

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TxAg
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by TxAg » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:31 pm

I like tent camping out of a truck, but we rented a 32' RV this spring and drove a few thousand miles in it over the course of 8 days. We did not have a tow vehicle. It was nice!

I liked having a self contained unit and not having to worry about towing or backing up an attached unit (although it isn't that hard).

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:45 pm

retiredjg wrote: A friend of mine is just this week out looking at a fiberglass that they intend to buy - the dealer BC, not sure which it is - they are on the waiting list to get their trailer next year.

They must be great trailers.
It may be Escape based in Chilliwack, BC.
http://escapetrailer.com

The USD/CAD exchange rate is quite favorable for American buyers right now.

Here's a link to page for the 17 foot Escape: http://escapetrailer.com/trailers/the-17-foot-escape/
Wiki

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:03 pm

Yes, it's cute. And they have a 5th wheel as well!

I understand that backing a bumper pull is different from backing a 5th wheel, so I'd have to stick with the 5'er.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:13 pm

There's no doubt that fiberglass egg owners are an enthusiastic bunch. I've never owned an egg, but find the concept appealing. However, we have to remember that a large percentage of those enthusiastic owners may have suffered head injuries, from attempting to stand up inside their trailers, so their opinions may be slightly suspect. :wink:

Roughly, a typical RV today runs 78" inside, which, subtracting for the various handles and other protrusions in the ceiling, leaves you with about 75" of headroom. The tallest egg that I know of starts at 74" before subtracting for protrusions, and many (actually most I think) start under 72". Ouch. The 5th wheel variants are rare, but do have more headroom in some portions of the interior (but obviously less in others.)

I think the issue is partly that a few inches of added height does add weight and wind resistance, but also partly that a lot of the tooling used to build several prominent brands of eggs is from another era.

So that's a significant downside for an increasing percentage of people. But the upside is the towing performance and relative freedom from water damage, which is notorious for destroying conventionally-constructed RVs.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:31 pm

Besides the three brands of fiberglass trailers already mentioned upthread — Scamp (Minnesota), Casita (Texas) and Escape (British Columbia) — there's another manufacturer in British Columbia that may be of interest:

Bigfoot Fiberglass Travel Trailers

What's unique about these trailers is that they designed for four-season use, in cold and freezing weather. Beside double pane windows, all the tanks are enclosed and insulated, with ducted heat from the furnace routed to them and to the interior plumbing. Your water system is fully operational and protected as long as you keep the furnace going.
Cordially, Todd

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by MNGopher » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:20 pm

I have also been debating which way to go with the future rv in a few years. It would be mostly 2 of us, with occasional guests, used for weekends or up to two weeks at a time. I haven't heard anyone mention class C. I was thinking a small class C (24-28 ft) with a slide, might be a good compromise between mobility and comfort. Maybe put a moped on the back hitch for quick trips.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:28 pm

Simplegift wrote:Besides the three brands of fiberglass trailers already mentioned upthread — Scamp (Minnesota), Casita (Texas) and Escape (British Columbia) — there's another manufacturer in British Columbia that may be of interest:

Bigfoot Fiberglass Travel Trailers

What's unique about these trailers is that they designed for four-season use, in cold and freezing weather. Beside double pane windows, all the tanks are enclosed and insulated, with ducted heat from the furnace routed to them and to the interior plumbing. Your water system is fully operational and protected as long as you keep the furnace going.
Excellent point, and they do offer 76" inside (before deductions), plus the extra insulation. The price you pay (besides more money in most cases) is in weight - roughly a third more than other equivalent sized eggs. So you generally need a more serious tow vehicle for a Bigfoot vs. the other eggs. I believe even the smallest Bigfoot is 8ft wide, and that makes a huge difference in towing vs. a 6.5 - 7.5ft wide trailer. It matters more when you have narrower tow vehicle, of cousre. So Bigfoots are somewhat in another category vs. the Casita/Scamp/Escape crowd.

The four-season capability is a huge advantage, although running the gas appliances while on the road is... well, you'll get varying opinions.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:03 pm

tibbitts wrote:The price you pay (besides more money in most cases) is in weight - roughly a third more than other equivalent sized eggs. So you generally need a more serious tow vehicle for a Bigfoot vs. the other eggs.
Yes, weight is the critical towing consideration, especially if the OP already owns a tow vehicle. One can see the real world, loaded weights of the various models and sizes of fiberglass trailers here. These are rough average weights (fully loaded) of the four brands we've discussed:
  • Scamp 16'…..………2,600 lbs.
    Casita 17'…………...3,400 lbs.
    Escape 17'……..……3,400 lbs.
    Bigfoot 17.5'………..4,500 lbs.
Our experience is only with the 16' Scamp, but we couldn't safely tow a trailer that was very much heavier than ours, with the tow vehicle we currently have (Jeep Cherokee). The 17' Casita and Escape would require an even beefier tow vehicle, I believe — and, as you point out, the Bigfoot is in a weight category all its own.
Cordially, Todd

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:22 pm

Simplegift wrote:
tibbitts wrote:The price you pay (besides more money in most cases) is in weight - roughly a third more than other equivalent sized eggs. So you generally need a more serious tow vehicle for a Bigfoot vs. the other eggs.
Yes, weight is the critical towing consideration, especially if the OP already owns a tow vehicle. One can see the real world, loaded weights of the various models and sizes of fiberglass trailers here. These are rough average weights (fully loaded) of the four brands we've discussed:
  • Scamp 16'…..………2,600 lbs.
    Casita 17'…………...3,400 lbs.
    Escape 17'……..……3,400 lbs.
    Bigfoot 17.5'………..4,500 lbs.
Our experience is only with the 16' Scamp, but we couldn't safely tow a trailer that was very much heavier than ours, with the tow vehicle we currently have (Jeep Cherokee). The 17' Casita and Escape would require an even beefier tow vehicle, I believe — and, as you point out, the Bigfoot is in a weight category all its own.
Weight is important, but don't discount the difference between a 6.5 or 7ft and 8ft width, especially with a narrow tow vehicle. As it is a trailer is like a parachute, with the eggs being less bad in that regard vs. the usual box trailers, but the more area you've got stuck out in the air the more drag you get. Also 8ft means you need wider mirrors hanging off the tow vehicle, and makes navigating on narrow roads more difficult. Of course 8ft is nicer to live in, so there's always that tradeoff.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by whaleknives » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:10 pm

Browser wrote:I like the looks of this rig:
Image
All the more reason to check out this website: interstellarorchard.com and interstellarorchard.com/the-rig

Image
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:22 am

I'm in the market for a new SUV and am trying to decide whether to get something that can pull a small trailer. I want to stay as small and economical with the SUV as possible and mainly interested in 5-passenger models without the 3rd row. For the most part, these seem to have a tow capacity of 3500 lbs. I think the Jeep Grand Cherokee goes a little higher. What tow SUVs do folks recommend in this category?

BTW, I was looking at Airstream and they make a 16-foot trailer which, while rather pricey, is an Airstream. Base weight is 2860 lbs. Wonder what you think of that one and if a SUV tow-rated at 3500 lbs. is enough.
Image

http://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/sport/
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by SimpleGift » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:07 am

Browser, I'm reluctant to offer any blanket recommendations of tow vehicles for particular trailers, since my experience is only with the 16' Scamp. However, as you know, the loaded weight of these trailers is always much more than the manufacturer's advertised base weight.

Here is an Excel spreadsheet showing the actual, real-world weights of different models of fully-loaded fiberglass trailers, which were weighed at various rallies over the years: Real-World Fiberglass Trailer Weights

Hope this helps. Again, the folks at the Fiberglass RV Forum would best be able to answer your tow vehicle questions.
Cordially, Todd

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:34 am

What do these numbers mean in terms of figuring out the total tow weight of the Airstream Sport 16' trailer?
Hitch Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.) 350
Unit Base Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.) 2,860
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 3,500
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC=GVWR-UBW) (lbs.) 640
Is GVWR the total weight that you (should) have with the trailer loaded? Or can it be heavier than that?
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tractorguy » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:52 am

The advertised pulling capacity is an OK starting point but you really need to look at tongue weight, tow vehicle max GVW, and max load on each axle before you can decide if your vehicle can pull your trailer safely. In my experience, many RV dealers will upsell you beyond your tow vehicle's capacity if they think they can close a deal. Curt Mfg (who make trailer hitches) have got a primer on how to figure your capacity. Its here: http://howto.curtmfg.com/Pages/index.cfm.25.html Math is required.

A lot of car manufacturers apply a lot of Kentucky windage to come up with a advertised towing capacity. The advertised number is only good if you've got the base trim model (no heavy electric motors, sound insulation, etc.) and no cargo or passengers in the car. The real life towing capacity is usually lower than the advertised number.

And, the trailer weight is going to be higher (sometimes much higher) than the dry trailer weight that the salesman will likely quote. I'm guessing you need to add 1000-1500 pounds to the dry weight to handle the food, bedding, and other stuff you'll bring along. Just the load equalizing hitch adds 50-75 lbs for example.

We agonized about the motor home vs SUV & travel trailer option for 2-3 years before we decided against the motor home route. We had to upgrade our car anyway because it was worn out. We ended up with a Mercedes ML350 rated to pull 7200 lbs and a Jayco feather light that is 4500 lbs dry, 6500 lbs GVW. We also got a anti-sway, load distribution hitch which IMOP, is a requirement if you're anywhere near the max capacity of your tow vehicle. So far, we've only been out twice and haven't had any issues. We've been able to maintain 65 mph on rolling hills of the interstate in Wisconsin and stability hasn't been an issue. Its been a very comfortable drive. I think we'll struggle to maintain that speed in the mountains but we'll see.

I looked at and drove every 2015 mid size SUV before deciding on the Mercedes. We are not truck people and very much didn't wan't a big truck to drive as our primary car. My thumbnail assesment of my impressions are:
* The Japanese mid size SUV's such as the Toyota Highlander can theoretically pull 5000 pounds with 500 lbs max tongue weight but they don't seem to be designed with towing in mind. The cars don't have a 7 pin wiring connector or sway control.
* The American vehicles (Chevy Traverse, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, etc) have a towing package that was designed by someone who knows what a trailer in this country is and how it is used. They also have advertised numbers of 5000 and 500 lbs. They drive more like a truck than the Highlander. The Chevy towing ratings appear to be more honest than other manufacturers.
* The German manufacturers (Mercedes, Audi, VW, and BMW) are rated higher at 7200 lbs and 725 lbs tongue weight. I can't tell if this is just more Kentucky windage or if they are really designed to a higher capacity. However, I am not voiding my warranty by towing 6000 lbs. with the Mercedes.
Lorne

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by texasdiver » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:38 am

Browser wrote:I'm in the market for a new SUV and am trying to decide whether to get something that can pull a small trailer. I want to stay as small and economical with the SUV as possible and mainly interested in 5-passenger models without the 3rd row. For the most part, these seem to have a tow capacity of 3500 lbs. I think the Jeep Grand Cherokee goes a little higher. What tow SUVs do folks recommend in this category?

BTW, I was looking at Airstream and they make a 16-foot trailer which, while rather pricey, is an Airstream. Base weight is 2860 lbs. Wonder what you think of that one and if a SUV tow-rated at 3500 lbs. is enough.
Image

http://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/sport/
By the time you are ready to camp that airstream will be pushing 4,000 lbs. The base weights don't include all the accessories such as air conditioners and don't account for full propane and water tanks either and that's before you even start putting any of your own stuff in there. By the time you add camping gear, kitchen gear, bedding, outdoor folding chairs, tools, and all the other little stuff that fills up your camper storage compartments you will be adding hundreds more pounds.

I pull a 3500 lb popup camper with a 2014 Highlander that has a 5,000 lb tow rating. It does fine but I wouldn't want to tow anything larger unless it was only for short local trips.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:25 pm

Browser wrote:What do these numbers mean in terms of figuring out the total tow weight of the Airstream Sport 16' trailer?
Hitch Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.) 350
Unit Base Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.) 2,860
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 3,500
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC=GVWR-UBW) (lbs.) 640
Is GVWR the total weight that you (should) have with the trailer loaded? Or can it be heavier than that?
A common limitation of single-axle trailers is relatively low carrying capacity. On the other hand, single axles weigh less, are easier to maintain, and cost less at the toll booth. An NCC of 640lbs means you aren't going to bring much besides some food, bedding/towels, and clothing. Also remember to add the wet hitch weight to your tow vehicle's gvwr and make sure you don't go over on that limit, either. Overloading the tow vehicle is a common problem with 5th wheel trailers, which have a higher hitch weight than the bumper-pull variety, but can happen with any combination.

And no, you don't want to tow one of these with a tow vehicle rated capacity of 3500lb. 5000lbs would be the absolute minimum. Generally tow vehicles are rated with nothing but a driver, but when you travel with a trailer, you always take along extra cargo, maybe a passenger, etc. And that 150lb allowance for the driver doesn't apply to all of us, either.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by midmoder » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:14 pm

Browser wrote:BTW, I was looking at Airstream and they make a 16-foot trailer which, while rather pricey, is an Airstream. Base weight is 2860 lbs. Wonder what you think of that one and if a SUV tow-rated at 3500 lbs. is enough.
You're asking this on an investment forum? You might check out the Airstream forum (http://www.airforums.com/).

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:48 am

midmoder wrote:
Browser wrote:BTW, I was looking at Airstream and they make a 16-foot trailer which, while rather pricey, is an Airstream. Base weight is 2860 lbs. Wonder what you think of that one and if a SUV tow-rated at 3500 lbs. is enough.
You're asking this on an investment forum? You might check out the Airstream forum (http://www.airforums.com/).
Thanks for the link. I've found so far that one owner pulls the Airstream Sport with a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, which is a small SUV rated at 4500 lbs. That's probably pretty much the minimum tow rating for the Sport, I'd guess. I'm assuming that something like the Scamp 16 could be towed by vehicles rated at 3500 lbs. which opens up a lot more buying possibilities for 5-passenger SUVs.
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by David Jay » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:18 am

Browser:

Don't overlook the hybrids in the weight class. Because the sleeping areas fold out, there is a lot more floor space for the restroom and kitchen.

The single-axle hybrids (typically 17 ft - longer trailers are dual axle and a lot heavier) are under 2500 lbs empty. We had a Shamrock 17 (a Forest River brand) but Jayco and others also have hybrids in this size.
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:36 am

Browser, I met some people who were pulling a 22' (I think) Airstream with a VW Toureg - diesel. They said it was a great tow vehicle for that size trailer and was a good vehicle when not towing as well.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:07 am

retiredjg wrote:Browser, I met some people who were pulling a 22' (I think) Airstream with a VW Toureg - diesel. They said it was a great tow vehicle for that size trailer and was a good vehicle when not towing as well.
I think it has a 7700lb tow rating, so probably a good choice. You'd still have to be careful not to go over gvwr on the Touareg, which looks like it's around 1200lbs. We had a full-size truck with a 1600lb payload capacity and were at GVWR with two people and a lighter trailer.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by Browser » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:23 am

Isn't the diesel VW Toureg affected by the VW diesel scandal?
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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:38 am

Browser wrote:Isn't the diesel VW Toureg affected by the VW diesel scandal?
It's a completely different engine design, so probably not.

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Re: Do you prefer pulling a trailer with your car, or a car with your RV?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:27 pm

Browser wrote:Isn't the diesel VW Toureg affected by the VW diesel scandal?
I wondered as I typed that. Decided to leave it to point out that a "car size" vehicle can pull a pretty big trailer under the right conditions.

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