camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

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nyblitz
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camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by nyblitz » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:08 pm

Hi Bogleheads,

We are considering taking the family (2 adults, 2 boys ages 6 and 8) on several months-long camping adventure to Dakotas/Wyoming/Montana/Colorado next summer and then further west for summer of 2019.

Tent camping last month was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. So we are looking into campers/trailers.

We have a Toyota Sienna van, towing capacity listed at 1250 or 1275. Would like to keep, but willing to sell and buy used truck/jeep/suv in order to be able to tow a camping trailer.

Any advice or websites to point out for us?

Thanks!

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Sandtrap
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:36 pm

Toyota Tundra 4 door crew cab would fit the bill nicely. Order with tow package. 4wd a plus. Solid bedcover for storage in back plus still retains visibility for trailer backing and maneuvering. Would be able to tow many trailers with a high margin of safety.

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David Jay
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by David Jay » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:55 pm

In lightweight, the trend today is away from pop-ups and to hybrids (full height, with fold out "tent" ends). Even the smallest (typically 17 foot, single axle) hybrids have much more bathroom and kitchen than a pop-up.

When we had young kids and had a pop-up, we found that every set-up and every tear-down required hauling a bunch of totes to/from the pop-up. A hybrid holds a lot of that stuff (refridge, kitchen cupboards, etc).
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

kjvmartin
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:07 pm

My experience is that it's best to have more power than necessary when towing, otherwise the driving experience will be unsatisfactory.

If I was towing a trailer, I'd most certainly want a strong V8. Maybe not necessary, but better.

bigdav160
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by bigdav160 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:07 pm

Even the smallest folding trailer is going to beyond the Sienna's ability to tow.

I prefer 3/4 ton diesel trucks for towing. There's an added level of safety with a vehicle designed for heavy duty towing.

I am not going to lie. I like folding trailers because they are easy to tow (less wind resistance), easy to park and easy to store. The setup/take down time is a non factor for me. Just beware, not every park allows popups.

retire57
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by retire57 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:26 pm

That's not much hauling power at all. Even the smallest lightweight trailers start at about 2,000 pounds. Here's a website with wonderful forums full of knowledgeable and experienced people. (Sound familiar? :happy ).

http://www.rv.net/forum/

Good luck with your research!

Teague
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Teague » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:30 pm

The way to go about this is to figure out what trailer you want to tow first. Only then decide on a tow vehicle. Otherwise things get frustrating and expensive.

If you thought there were a lot of opinions about investing, just wait to see what's coming your way when asking about tow vehicles. A few approximate opinion groups I've seen:

-You can get away with whatever you have now, even if it's a Prius, since you aren't doing it all the time. Just stick a hitch on it and make sure your trailer has brakes.

-You need a class 8 (semi-truck) rig to tow anything bigger than a motorcycle trailer. Might as well spring for the Peterbilt.

-A half-ton pickup should be fine. They have more power than you'll ever need.

-A half-ton pickup will get you killed. The motor may be fine, but the suspension and brakes make them deathtraps.

And there's everything in-between. So, figure out what you're going to be towing, then try to figure the right appliance to accomplish that.
Semper Augustus

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sunny_socal
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by sunny_socal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm

I have a Tundra, it works very well. 10k towing capacity so any regular trailer will work except for the largest/heaviest models. Bought it used for $17k, could probably sell it for $20k today. Toyota holds value rather well.

Ours trailer is 27ft, gross weight 7600 lbs, has little kitchen, bath/shower, one slideout, bunk beds for the kids & queen bed for us.

I'd forget about towing with the Sienna, you either won't have enough capacity or you'll wear out the Sienna very quickly. You can tow those little u-haul trailers with a van but that's about it.

letsgobobby
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:55 pm

Pick your trailer first. Then pick the tow vehicle.

letsgobobby
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:14 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm
I have a Tundra, it works very well. 10k towing capacity so any regular trailer will work except for the largest/heaviest models. Bought it used for $17k, could probably sell it for $20k today. Toyota holds value rather well.

Ours trailer is 27ft, gross weight 7600 lbs, has little kitchen, bath/shower, one slideout, bunk beds for the kids & queen bed for us.

I'd forget about towing with the Sienna, you either won't have enough capacity or you'll wear out the Sienna very quickly. You can tow those little u-haul trailers with a van but that's about it.
The payload of a Tundra maxes out around 2000 lb, depending on model year, etc. A 7600 lb trailer will place 900-1000 lb of tongue weight on the truck which eats into payload. That leaves 1000 lb of payload for passengers and cargo. Enough for most situations but I wouldn't go so far as to say "any regular trailer will work" except for heaviest models. 3 passengers weighing a total of 500 pounds leaves 500 pounds for cargo. Yours is probably getting close to the upper limit of what a Tundra can pull, not based on towing capacity but on payload.

Point being for the OP, payload is often the limiting factor more than towing capacity. Pick a trailer, check its real world, full ("wet") weight, and then get the right tow vehicle.

What kind of trailer do you have? I just bought a trailer with a similar configuration - bunks for the kids, queen for us, 28 feet long. It weighs 8100 lb wet but has upgraded suspension so I can load an additional 3000 lb of cargo in the trailer, so up to 11,000 lb.

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:05 am

What year Sienna? Edmunds shows the current model as capable of towing 3500 lbs. Installing a transmission cooler to increase your tow capacity will be cheaper than a new cat.

Also, caveat emptor with any type of RV. Most of them are at or over their gross vehicle weight rating with full propane and water tanks and zero payload. RV salespeople as a rule are the worst of the worst. The Forest River family of brands, despite the stellar reputation of parent company Berkshire Hathaway, are very cheaply built. I witnessed a dinette table fastened to the exterior wall with brads, and heater vents placed nonsensically. Get something used, depreciated, and broken-in, as you won't save yourself any hassle by buying new.

Get a weight distributing hitch no matter what tow vehicle, and be 100% sure you have a good braking setup for the weight of trailer you're towing. Both are especially important if you're going to be in the Rockies. Have your hitch and wiring done at an independent mechanic (not an RV dealer)
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

Rupert
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:01 am

Are you sure about that towing capacity you cited? My Honda Odyssey will tow 3500 lbs, which is standard these days for a V6 minivan. If you have a towing package installed (transmission cooler, etc.), it will pull a loaded ultralight camper.

ThankYouJack
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by ThankYouJack » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:12 am

Towing capacity I believe also should include passengers and gear. So if you have 1,000 lbs of passengers and gear in your car, add that to your camper.

Another thing to point out is fuel economy. If you're towing near max it could really hurt your fuel economy. Diesel could be worth it.

You may also need new transmission and brakes sooner.

I would recommend a vehicle with double what you plan on towing. That will be safer and you can always upgrade to a bigger camper down the road if you choose.

bovineplane
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by bovineplane » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:36 am

Looking online is not accurate for determining tow capacity. Inside the drivers door there should be a colorful sticker with PSI ratings for tires. Also on the sticker is the weight ratings for this particular vehicle. Giving a generic "van should town 3500 pounds" is not the correct answer. Saying having more power is safer is not the right answer. Adding a transmission cooler to "increase tow capacity" is very much not the right answer. No matter what you do to the vehicle you cannot change what is on that sticker without expensive inspections and certifications.

Go look for the sticker, jot down the info and post it. Then work from that to what trailer you would like. Before you buy it go to one of the trailering forums and they can help decide if too much trailer for your tv.

TRC
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by TRC » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:39 am

Have you looked into a Dodge Sprinter + Cricket Trailer combo?

Rupert
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:44 am

An additional point: Picking the trailer first is absolutely the right answer. Once you know the trailer you want, check out the manufacturer's on-line forums, where people who actually own the trailer talk to each other. A lot of them talk about the vehicles they use to tow the trailer and any problems they've encountered.

coldday
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by coldday » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:09 am

Agree with those who say start with trailer wanted first. There's a huge range of quality and weight - generally if you are interested in something with slide(s) it's going to be considerably heavier. Start by reading about the different brands (especially owner forums) and asking people you know who have/had RVs about their experiences with different brands. The very pretty brochures will show some lovely looking and strangely "lite" models - something contributed to that. Some of them have, under the attractive flooring, something that might as well be Styrofoam. Lightweight, yes. Sturdy, no.

Over the years we have had a Coleman pop up, a late 70's Jayco pull trailer (very well built), a 2000 TrailLite (a nightmare of shoddy materials and pulled like a mess even though it was lightweight), an '05 Casita 17' (my personal pick for the best trailer ever, but alas a very small trailer for two people and two dogs one long rainy week at the lake) and now a '12 StarCraft Autumn Ridge (chosen for the 1/2 inch plywood roof, my husband is a fiend for a roof that can hold a man's weight if absolutely necessary for some reason). This series of trailers has taught us that there is a world of difference in quality that is amazing and in our (mostly lowish and frugal) price range, most are not very good and a few are gems (the Casita will always stand out there but they are just not for everybody).

One rule of thumb my husband always believed in is a fully loaded trailer plus tow vehicle passengers should not exceed about 80% of tow vehicle towing capacity. Remember, towing is one thing, STOPPING is another. Not everyone would agree with this but he is an admittedly "belt AND suspenders" kind of guy. I will say, though, in nearly 40 years of camping in a trailer and all the towing miles associated, he's never had a situation where he wasn't able to stop when he needed to.

Luke Duke
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Luke Duke » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm
I have a Tundra, it works very well. 10k towing capacity so any regular trailer will work except for the largest/heaviest models. Bought it used for $17k, could probably sell it for $20k today. Toyota holds value rather well.

Ours trailer is 27ft, gross weight 7600 lbs,
You are probably maxed out. The 10k towing capacity is meaningless. A half-ton will exceed the payload capacity well before hitting towing capacity.

The Wizard
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:37 am

Luke Duke wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 am
sunny_socal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm
I have a Tundra, it works very well. 10k towing capacity so any regular trailer will work except for the largest/heaviest models. Bought it used for $17k, could probably sell it for $20k today. Toyota holds value rather well.

Ours trailer is 27ft, gross weight 7600 lbs,
You are probably maxed out. The 10k towing capacity is meaningless. A half-ton will exceed the payload capacity well before hitting towing capacity.
Doesn't that depend on how much tongue weight the hitch is bearing?
How much should it be for a 7600 lb trailer?

Edit: Google answered my question:

Tongue weight is the downward force applied from the tongue of your vehicle to the hitch of your RV or trailer. The industry standard for tongue weight is anywhere between nine percent and 14 percent of the gross trailer weight (GTW.)
Attempted new signature...

jucor
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by jucor » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:53 am

I'd consider a class B motorhome like the Sprinter-based Winnebago Travato instead of a trailer and tow vehicle. Easier for most to handle in cities and mountain roads, and more comfortable to travel in than many/most tow vehicles. Low mileage used ones are available for $55-$70k.

nyblitz
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by nyblitz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:24 am

OP here - thanks for the many replies.

Our Sienna is a 2012 and only a V4, sticker on side says towing capacity is 1255.

Our plan is to look at routes and book them while continuing to research.

Unless we learn something new, the plan would be to purchase the vehicle and then trailer in Jan 2018 (batching deductions into that year - thanks Livesoft and others from this site!)

We'd purchase a Jeep to tow a Scamp or Casita as the trailer (leaning towards Casita 17 b/c height inside. Layout also seems better than Scamp 16).

My wife (who really enjoys this type of research), believes that either a Scamp or Casita 17 are likely the best size/weight/features of what would suit our family best. Crickets look really cool but none appear to have a bathroom (we think it's a need with the children).

Although I love Toyota and would be happy with a Tundra or 4Runner, wife has always wanted a Jeep, so we're headed in that direction for now.

Any glaring holes with this plan?

And Thanks again!

marc515
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by marc515 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:25 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:55 pm
Pick your trailer first. Then pick the tow vehicle.
Exactly! You are asking an open ended question, and will get more advice than you'll know what to do with.

Here are some basic suggestions:

1. Go out and look at campers, and try to narrow your selection down to a few models, and number them 1st, 2nd, 3rd, choice, as your 1st choice may not be available when you are ready to buy.

2. Take the highest Gross Vehicle Weight of the campers you've selected, and start looking for a tow vehicle that can tow that. NOTE: the tow vehicle towing capacity is usually based on the vehicle and the driver only, so if you load the tow vehicle up with 2 additional people who weigh 150Lbs each, and throw in a 50Lb dog, and then load up on another 200Lbs of supplies, you need to deduct 700Lbs off the stated tow vehicle capacity. Additionally, you want to have a 1,000Lb to 2,000Lb towing capacity safety margin; for example:

if your Camper GVW= 5,000Lbs., one would think they can buy a tow vehicle with 5,000 Tow Capacity. However, when you factor in the additional Passengers and supplies which equal 700Lbs, your actual towing was reduced to around to 4,300Lbs, so you will need to consider a vehicle with a tow capacity of at least 7,000Lbs.

3. When I towed, my camper had a GVW of 3,800Lbs, and I had my wife and dog, plus a few extra supplies in the tow vehicle, I ended up getting a tow vehicle with a towing capacity of 6,000Lbs.

4. Some will say you may not load up your camper to the specified GVW, but let me tell you, the "STUFF" you end up packing weighs more than you think, so it's always safer to over plan when towing. The more towing capacity you have, directly equals the less white knuckled driving you will do!

5. Most importantly, be very careful when talking to salesmen; most of them will tell you anything to make a sale. You would be surprised with the number of folks running around with under capacity tow vehicles, which is a major safety issue.

6. This site (RV.Net) has a wealth of information; much more than you'll ever get from this site.
https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuse ... rum/41.cfm

7. Google is your friend: do a search on "selecting a tow vehicle"; there are numerous sites to guide you.

8. Do not go cheap on safety.

Best of luck
marc

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Sandtrap
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:09 am

nyblitz wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:24 am
OP here - thanks for the many replies.

Our Sienna is a 2012 and only a V4, sticker on side says towing capacity is 1255.

Our plan is to look at routes and book them while continuing to research.

Unless we learn something new, the plan would be to purchase the vehicle and then trailer in Jan 2018 (batching deductions into that year - thanks Livesoft and others from this site!)

We'd purchase a Jeep to tow a Scamp or Casita as the trailer (leaning towards Casita 17 b/c height inside. Layout also seems better than Scamp 16).

My wife (who really enjoys this type of research), believes that either a Scamp or Casita 17 are likely the best size/weight/features of what would suit our family best. Crickets look really cool but none appear to have a bathroom (we think it's a need with the children).

Although I love Toyota and would be happy with a Tundra or 4Runner, wife has always wanted a Jeep, so we're headed in that direction for now.

Any glaring holes with this plan?

And Thanks again!
Casita is a good choice. It's also near the top of my rv trailer list where I to get one. All fiberglass. Shell construction.
Not four season but few are except perhaps the Oliver but those are pricey. The Casita's also have excellent resale value.
You will have more stability with a longer wheelbase on the tow vehicle.
Which model Jeep?

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lthenderson
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:20 am

We've been eyeing popup hardside trailers to pull behind our Sienna. However ours is newer and has a 3500 lb towing capacity. If it were me, unless you have a need for a larger vehicle other than pulling a trailer a few times a year, I would upgrade your Sienna to a newer one capable of towing so it can be used for duel purpose use. It would be a much more efficient use of a vehicle.

Similar camper to what we've been looking at.

Image

coldday
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by coldday » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:00 am

If you think Casita might be what you want, call the factory and ask for names and numbers of people in your area who have one. We sold ours five years ago but I assume they still have the same referral program. We looked at one in person before we ordered and it was a little shocking the first step inside, they are small. I perceived that as "cozy", some friends I showed ours to thought it "claustrophobic". Everyone is different in how they see them. Don't worry that you're putting people out to ask them to show their Casita, we showed ours somewhere around 8 to 10 times in the first few years after we bought it and we really enjoyed those visits. Casita people love talking Casita and my husband had fully perused the "modifications" section of the online Casita Club and done many of them and enjoyed showing his handiwork. We even showed to one guy who told me up front on the phone that he couldn't afford a new one so wouldn't be ordering but he wanted to see one in person before he started his search for a used one (which can take you a ways from home, we live in a biggish city but someone 100+ miles away bought it as he had been watching for them to be advertised used and knew what a reasonable price really was).

If you buy one and decide to sell they really do hold a lot of their value, much more so than any other trailer we ever had. You will get lookie-lous who think it should have depreciated more and try to offer what a similar aged other brand trailer would sell for but there's always someone out there who really does know what they cost and will buy at a price that will not make you unhappy.

Our oldest son is 6'1" and found the ceiling height okay EXCEPT for the bathroom, where the ceiling is a little lower and he had to stoop a bit.

Happy Camping whatever you decide to get!

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David Jay
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by David Jay » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:19 am

nyblitz wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:24 am
...to tow a Scamp or Casita as the trailer (leaning towards Casita 17 b/c height inside. Layout also seems better than Scamp 16).
As someone who has camped with two smaller children, I really think these small, hard-sided trailers are too small. You have to tear down every night for sleeping quarters and then put away the bedding every morning before you have a place for breakfast. That is going to get really old really quick.

For the same weight, you can have a hybrid. Two separate sleeping areas in addition to the living area. Seriously, go to any RV dealer and walk through some hybrids. Think about the sleeping area set up and tear down. If you don't like the fabric ends, hard sided slide-out ends are available (but at extra weight).

Something from the Jayco line: https://www.jayco.com/tools/archive/2017-jay-feather-7/
Or a Rockford Roo: http://www.forestriverinc.com/travel-tr ... ckwood-roo

The Casita or Scamp are minimalist camping for two adults. But for months at a time with two young boys??? NO WAY.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

letsgobobby
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:29 am

Casita is really small for a family. Nice campers, but very small. If you have a long stretch of rainy weather you will be unhappy. On the other hand, if you can set up a nice canopy and be prepared to be outside (but covered) playing cards or reading, you'll be ok. Depends on your family. For months long trip there is no way I would do something that small.

Also, Casitas may have quite a wait list to have one ordered. There are few on the used market but you could get lucky. Plan way ahead. some of these boutique trailers have a 1-2 year wait list.

If you're going to do this right you really want to get a trailer with 1 slide. For a family spending months on the road I wouldn't do smaller. It's certainly possible, of course. There are stories of families of 5 who take truck campers around the country for a year. But be honest in your appraisal of your family and how you'll be using the trailer before picking something too small.

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:52 am

Have you looked into renting for your big trip?

Buying a new camper and switching vehicles are big commitments. Are you sure you are campers at heart?

If bound and determined, are you going to have more kids? Plan for expansion in the tow vehicle and camper.

As kids get into activities camping windows close very fast. Just something to ponder.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

PugetSoundguy
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by PugetSoundguy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:54 am

We started trailer camping when our boys were the same age as yours. We bought a Jayco Jay Flight 184BH (2015 model bought in 2014). Here's what we like about it that might be applicable to your situation as well:

It is fairly light as trailers go. I can tow it with my 1997 Toyota 4Runner, but I wouldn't want to go any heavier even though the 4Runner shows towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. We also have a 2010 Sienna (v6) but I wouldn't want to tow with it.

We love the Jayco's layout. The two bunkbeds in the back are great for the boys. The bunkbeds are always ready to go, so at night the boys can just crawl in and they are out of the way. The boys also can escape to the own "personal space" in the bunk beds during the day if they want.

The large dinette in the front of the trailer is the other great feature in our view. So many trailers have tiny dinettes, but this one is huge in comparison. It has two bench seats on either side running fore and aft and the four of us can easily fit with plenty of elbow room. This room is more important that you might think; on a rainy day it's so nice to have a nice big table to sit at for meals, games, etc. The table folds down to a bed. There also is a big window at the front of the trailer so you have a good view from the dinette. Again, we didn't realize how nice this was until we were cooped up inside; the big window makes things feel less claustrophobic.

The roll top awning outside also has been great, as much to provide a dry area outside the door during rain as to keep the sun off.

The trailer doesn't have slide outs or anything like that but to us it has been a very good compromise between simplicity and function. We are really happy with it.

Also be aware that in any trailer this size the holding tanks are going to be really small. The boys know that for the most part the bathroom is "Mommy's bathroom." The three guys don't use it except maybe in the middle of the night. We use the campground facilities.

Please PM me if you would like anymore info... I think we are in a pretty similar situation with boys the same age etc.

nickjoy
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by nickjoy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:51 pm

The new Toyota Highlanders have a towing capacity of 5K. As long as you get the V6. That is approximate to the Toyota Tacoma, I think the tacoma beats it by just a few hundred pounds.

The highlander would probably be the most approximate to your current minivan, a lot of interior, but a big jump in towing.

I agree with others, see what you want to pull. Without that approximate weight, it's hard to go any farther. Also, if you're gonna stay in the midwest or California (just not the rockies), you're fine getting close to the max payload cause it's so flat. It's mainly an issue when you go up and down real big hills/mountains or wanna go real fast. A vehicle might be rated for X pounds, but it can handle more. I used to drive a worktruck that was a 3/4 pickup, but if you would get the dually version, all of a sudden it's a 1 ton rated pickup. Also, the 1/4 ton, 1/2 ton pickup designations aren't accurate anymore. A 1/2 ton pickup can hall over 3/4 tons nowadays, they just kept the naming conventions the same.

A 17 foot trailer is a lot of camper. Get a dual axle trailer, that will increase your tolls, but make everybody here a lot more at ease.

Have you though about a foldout roofttop tent? Also, you could have a small camper and the rooftop tent. Or you could have a small camper and the boys sleep outside in a regular tent. You decide, but I'm just trying to say there are options if you don't want to get big stuff. Or you can rent a truck for a month or two, that might be cheaper than trading in your minivan. Options, you got options.

The Wizard
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:35 pm

marc515 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:25 am

2. Take the highest Gross Vehicle Weight of the campers you've selected, and start looking for a tow vehicle that can tow that. NOTE: the tow vehicle towing capacity is usually based on the vehicle and the driver only, so if you load the tow vehicle up with 2 additional people who weigh 150Lbs each, and throw in a 50Lb dog, and then load up on another 200Lbs of supplies, you need to deduct 700Lbs off the stated tow vehicle capacity. Additionally, you want to have a 1,000Lb to 2,000Lb towing capacity safety margin; for example:...
Aren't you mushing together the Payload Capacity of the tow vehicle with its Towing Capacity?
They are two separate numbers that need to be observed, right?
In some cases, you could off load some cargo from the tow vehicle and put it in the trailer, for instance...
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Luke Duke
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Luke Duke » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:40 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:37 am
Luke Duke wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 am
sunny_socal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm
I have a Tundra, it works very well. 10k towing capacity so any regular trailer will work except for the largest/heaviest models. Bought it used for $17k, could probably sell it for $20k today. Toyota holds value rather well.

Ours trailer is 27ft, gross weight 7600 lbs,
You are probably maxed out. The 10k towing capacity is meaningless. A half-ton will exceed the payload capacity well before hitting towing capacity.
Doesn't that depend on how much tongue weight the hitch is bearing?
How much should it be for a 7600 lb trailer?

Edit: Google answered my question:

Tongue weight is the downward force applied from the tongue of your vehicle to the hitch of your RV or trailer. The industry standard for tongue weight is anywhere between nine percent and 14 percent of the gross trailer weight (GTW.)
You also can't believe the advertised weight of a travel trailer. It may be the weight of a bare bones trailer (no water, no propane, no awning and definitely no personal belongings) or it could be the actual weight (minus the personal belongings). The only way to know for sure is to go to a weigh station.

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Sandtrap
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:00 pm

Also be sure to have trailer brakes and trailer brake controller on the tow vehicle.
A must.

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by chmcnm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:38 am

I would consider renting an RV first. If you still want to buy I would look on Craigslist. Let somebody else pay depreciation.

As for towing, get the right tool for the job. Towing anything more than 3,000 lbs including people and gear should be done with a large wheelbase. I like my Tundra Crewmax. 99% of the time you would be ok with something smaller. It’s the time when you’re headed down a steep grade and someone pulls out in front of you that you’ll appreciate something larger. And it will happen eventually.

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:19 pm

Go big or go home.....

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by nyblitz » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:38 am

OP here:

Thanks for the many helpful replies here! Many things to think about and this is far more complicated than I anticipated.

My wife hopes we can successfully do this with a 17 Cassita and a Jeep and will make this work if it is possible.

I think our family can do the Cassita for weeks on end (we are minimalists, have a large food tent, would could outside, would only be inside to sleep and stay out of rain...) but have concerns about the vehicle.

On my superficial googling though - I have major concerns about the setup. Even though any Jeep we'd purchase would have the power to tow significantly more than the 2,500 lbs, most of the internet indicates that the small wheelbase on even the largest Jeep will make it very difficult to stop abruptly down the steep Colorado mountains. The Cassita has a high center of gravity which would not help. Also the elevation will reduce the power, potentially harming the transmission unless I go slow, keeping the rpm's high, and blowing heat into the cabin. Traveling on the interstate for several days with 2 children hauling a "light" trailer does not sound like fun, but instead the words "stressful" and "frightening" are in my mind now. I'd be doing nearly all the driving.

So, although I'd like to get my wife her Jeep, I think we scrap the idea that we can do this 6-7 week vacation in the mountains with a Jeep. Do those with more towing experience agree?

I think the options are:
1. Purchase truck/suv (prefer truck w/short bed) & re-eval trailers (perhaps Cassita IS the best for us - may well be)
2. Tent camp with van (would a loaded down V4 handle the Mountains if not towing anything and going slow?) and break up the tent monotony with RV rental vehicles / occasional hotel / Air BnB
3. Go with Jeep/Cassita but stick to flat Florida / other flat locations +/- stay off highways

Thank you!

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:58 am

nyblitz wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:38 am
OP here:

Thanks for the many helpful replies here! Many things to think about and this is far more complicated than I anticipated.

My wife hopes we can successfully do this with a 17 Cassita and a Jeep and will make this work if it is possible.

I think our family can do the Cassita for weeks on end (we are minimalists, have a large food tent, would could outside, would only be inside to sleep and stay out of rain...) but have concerns about the vehicle.

On my superficial googling though - I have major concerns about the setup. Even though any Jeep we'd purchase would have the power to tow significantly more than the 2,500 lbs, most of the internet indicates that the small wheelbase on even the largest Jeep will make it very difficult to stop abruptly down the steep Colorado mountains. The Cassita has a high center of gravity which would not help. Also the elevation will reduce the power, potentially harming the transmission unless I go slow, keeping the rpm's high, and blowing heat into the cabin. Traveling on the interstate for several days with 2 children hauling a "light" trailer does not sound like fun, but instead the words "stressful" and "frightening" are in my mind now. I'd be doing nearly all the driving.

So, although I'd like to get my wife her Jeep, I think we scrap the idea that we can do this 6-7 week vacation in the mountains with a Jeep. Do those with more towing experience agree?

I think the options are:
1. Purchase truck/suv (prefer truck w/short bed) & re-eval trailers (perhaps Cassita IS the best for us - may well be)
2. Tent camp with van (would a loaded down V4 handle the Mountains if not towing anything and going slow?) and break up the tent monotony with RV rental vehicles / occasional hotel / Air BnB
3. Go with Jeep/Cassita but stick to flat Florida / other flat locations +/- stay off highways

Thank you!
Jeep wheelbase is too short.
Toyota Tundra 4 door crew cab with fiberglass top or solid bedcover (trifold) for storage. With the Casita, this setup will go anywhere with a high margin of safety. Often you will forget you are towing anything. The Colorado mountains will not be an issue. You will also have the option of moving up to a larger RV later. A truck with a "tow package" will have upgraded trans cooler, etc. You can also add a rear stabilizer bar to reduce lean. The Casita is light so no weight distribution hitch is needed.
There is no comparison between #1 and 2/3 as far as safety margin and long term reliability.
Remember, trailer brakes and trailer brake controller on the truck. Tenkosha is a good one. Get the best brake controller you can afford.
You can store heavier cargo like extra water, etc, on the floor of the casita to keep the center of gravity low.
A 3/4 ton truck would be overkill for a casita. 1/2 ton would do the job with ample margin of safety, larger motor, v8 is better.
I have towed construction equipment, rv's, travel trailers, horse trailers, etc, with all types of trucks. The less stress on the tow vehicle the less stress on the driver.
IMHO this would be a good setup with family safety in mind and a priority. :D
There's a lot of ways to do things. As many as there are folks to suggest them.
Good luck and have fun.

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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Rupert » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:02 am


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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by David Jay » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:34 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:02 am
Have you considered the Cricket? https://taxaoutdoors.com/ultra-light-tr ... r-trailer/
Do you want to live in a Cricket for 3 months with 6 year old and 8 year old boys?
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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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by btenny » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:08 pm

I love Jeep Grand Cherokees and have one now that I tow a big boat with. It works great pulling and OK stopping but going down big mountains is too hard. I live in Tahoe. My boat weighs about 5500 pound all in and it is very tense towing that with the jeep if I go down hills, up is fine. Plus JGCs have a smallish back seat so seating back there is limited. But that jeep is amazing driving over our big snow and berms. So if you were to get a jeep you should limit the tow weight to 4000 pounds or maybe less.

Good luck.

Rupert
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Rupert » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:23 pm

David Jay wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:34 am
Rupert wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:02 am
Have you considered the Cricket? https://taxaoutdoors.com/ultra-light-tr ... r-trailer/
Do you want to live in a Cricket for 3 months with 6 year old and 8 year old boys?

I wasn't suggesting they live in it. OP listed tent camping as an option. How is the Cricket going to be worse than that?

The Cricket is something they can pull with a smaller car, sleep in when the weather gets bad, and supplement with a tent for more room.
Last edited by Rupert on Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The Wizard
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by The Wizard » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:24 pm

Can someone explain why the Wheelbase of the tow vehicle matters when towing a trailer?
I figured the weight of the tow vehicle, along with it's horsepower and torque, would be the main criteria for how massive a trailer could be towed...
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Teague
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by Teague » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:50 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:24 pm
Can someone explain why the Wheelbase of the tow vehicle matters when towing a trailer?
I figured the weight of the tow vehicle, along with it's horsepower and torque, would be the main criteria for how massive a trailer could be towed...
Leverage. The greater the distance between the front and back wheels, the greater resistance to sideways forces from the trailer. So, more stable. Too short a wheelbase and you have the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.

Beyond pulling power, a stiffer suspension and heavier brakes also make for a "better" tow vehicle, but of course at a cost of increased weight and initial cost, as well as a harsher ride.
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by coldday » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:13 pm

We had a Chevy Blazer when we bought our Casita, it did the job but we traded to a 1/2 ton truck within a year. My husband was a lot more relaxed with that combo. My memory is a little fuzzy these days but our Casita was well over 2500 lbs - these little fiberglass trailers are advertised as super lightweight but because they are ordered with a pick-and-choose list of options (and everyone wants virtually all of them, for good reason) you have to add the weight of air conditioner, etc. to whatever the advertised bare bones weight is. Also I have a vague memory that they have a pretty high tongue weight for their size which isn't at all a bad thing but you need to make sure you're getting a vehicle that can handle that.

I second the caution to avoid a short wheelbase, you'd end up regretting that.

As far as the size of the Casita for liveability, we were very comfortable in our Spirit Deluxe model when it was just the two of us. We started camping with our grown son and his group of friends who were pulling big boats so slept in tents. After a few hot summer evenings son decided that side bed in our camper was pretty attractive due to the air conditioning. (As I recall the bed is about 24" wide). Son is 6'1" and he slept in that bed by bending his knees (couldn't stretch full length) and staying in one position. It may have contributed to his discomfort that I wouldn't share the foot of our larger back bed with his German Shepherd, so granddog slept on son's legs. :D If you have two children it will be pretty cramped for sleep, unless one sleeps on the floor but then no one is getting up in the night for any reason because that kid will get stepped on! But we were outside every moment possible so as long as the weather held we were comfortable enough just going in for sleeping, bathing, etc (and the bathroom is amazingly spacious widthwise though not heightwise). They are not campers for people who spend a lot of time indoors but I'm sure you've already considered that.

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JaneyLH
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Re: camping trailer...need to change vehicle?

Post by JaneyLH » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:37 am

btenny wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:08 pm
I love Jeep Grand Cherokees and have one now that I tow a big boat with. It works great pulling and OK stopping but going down big mountains is too hard. I live in Tahoe. My boat weighs about 5500 pound all in and it is very tense towing that with the jeep if I go down hills, up is fine. Plus JGCs have a smallish back seat so seating back there is limited. But that jeep is amazing driving over our big snow and berms. So if you were to get a jeep you should limit the tow weight to 4000 pounds or maybe less.

Good luck.
We have used a Jeep Grand Cherokee as a tow vehicle for years. Our old 2001 was rated to tow 5000 lbs., but our 2015 is rated for 7000. We use a weight distributing hitch to compensate for the smaller wheelbase. We have two folding trailers, a Chalet hard sided a-frame and a Trailmanor that pulls out from both ends to go from 20’ for towing to 27’ when set up. They are lighter easier to tow since they don’t have the air resistance — both about 5’ high when folded up.

Oh yes, we bought the V8 with tow package. Also available in diesel with 7500 lbs. towing capacity.

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