Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

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beatle2020
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Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by beatle2020 »

My wife and I are retired. (me 70, wife 66). Thinking about buying a small travel trailer we can pull behind our 2016 Toyota Highlander. Highlander is rated for 5000 lbs tow capacity. I am having a difficult time determining the weight I can safely tow. Looks like 3000 to 3500 lbs? I am looking at a lower priced travel trailer. Possibly a KZ Escape 21 ft. or a Venture Sonic Ultralight 21". Both are 3000 plus pounds. Price budget $18,000 to $24,000. We live in Georgia and have our daughter and 3 grand kids in Arizona. Would like to use this for 2 or 3 trips a year to go and visit. Thought this would be appropriate in the Covid environment. Any suggestions on campers or towing would be appreciated. I would still have to put a hitch, sway bar and wiring on the Highlander.
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David Jay
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by David Jay »

Remember, you are going to load it up with “stuff”. The Highlander is a capable tow vehicle but I think you are wise to keep the empty weight to about 3500.
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unstartable
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by unstartable »

It sounds like you have reasonable expectations on the capabilities of your tow vehicle. Also consider the tongue weight, make sure it is set up correctly and you don't exceed the ratings of your rear tires and rear "axle". You might want to check out Lance as a manufacture. They have been making truck campers for a long time and more recently travel trailers, and they get a lot out of a little space/weight. Quality is above the industry average as well.
Point
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Point »

Have you considered an Aliner? Easy to tow. Easy to setup.
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Nestegg_User
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Nestegg_User »

you might want to look at prior threads on this topic ( a number recently, due to wanting to stay safe from COVID etc)

one trailer that is lightweight that numerous individuals liked was the Casita trailers (but I don't know what price point they are). I do remember that used versions were not available, as they were quite popular.

[we have a larger trailer (26 ft), but we have a much more capable tow vehicle in an F-250 truck. We wanted a fully capable trailer (not a composting toilet, full height, etc) and recognized that, fully loaded for a few week trip, that smaller campers just wouldn't be comfortable. ]

edit: looking at info on the four varieties that they have it appears that the dry weight on all of them are 2200 pounds or less, so they would meet some of your criteria.
(They are of fiberglass construction)
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
teCh0010
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by teCh0010 »

Check out the gulf stream vista cruiser, they were built specifically for crossover tow vehicles and the 17foot and some of the 19s would probably work for you.
retire57
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by retire57 »

Have you looked at the fiberglass trailers like Casita and Scamp? Your Highlander could haul either. The build quality is quite good compared to so many plywood slapped-together rigs on offer. While the quality is good, Airstreams are expensive and very very heavy.

We used to own a Casita and loved it. Wish I still had it. :( Website: https://casitatraveltrailers.com/
curmudgeon
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by curmudgeon »

That's a long way to drive several times per year, especially towing a trailer. I wouldn't buy a trailer for that purpose as a reaction to covid.

It does pay to spend some time thinking and evaluating before jumping in and buying an RV, as many people find they have made a mistake and end up selling again at a substantial loss.

A few points on trailers:

Understand the difference between gross weight rating (GVWR) and dry (or "shipping") weight. The difference between the two is CCC, cargo carrying capacity. If a trailer has a small CCC, you may be maxing out the GVWR (and thus the springs and tires) when towing. You are probably better off towing a 3200lb trailer with 5000lb GVWR than a 3000lb trailer with 3500lb GVWR, for example. Water is a big weight factor; you won't normally have full tanks, but occasionally you might have either fresh tank or gray/black tanks full.

The frontal area of a trailer will really whack your fuel economy, especially at freeway speeds.

Think about what features are "must have" for you in the trailer. My wife and I had a requirement that each of us must be able to get out of the bed without climbing over the other. I originally ruled out "wet bath" configurations where the shower uses the same space as the toilet/vanity; with time, I've realized we actually could live with the wet bath model in return for some of the advantages in space/weight layout.

You will need a brake controller for the electric trailer brakes installed in your tow vehicle as well.

Lighter weight trailers have a reputation for cheap and shoddy construction (part of the problem is just that RVs get banged around on the road so much). Life will be simpler if you can do most minor repairs yourself.

Camping without hookups ("dry camping") opens up lots of options on places to stay, but it means giving up A/C at night (it's not practical to haul and a/c-capable generator in your load factors).
atikovi
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by atikovi »

beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am Price budget $18,000 to $24,000.
Those trailers drop in value worse than euro luxury cars. You could probably find a 2 or 3 year old one for half that.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

atikovi wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:25 pm
beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am Price budget $18,000 to $24,000.
Those trailers drop in value worse than euro luxury cars. You could probably find a 2 or 3 year old one for half that.
You must not have paid any attention to the RV marketplace since Covid. My wife and I bought a slightly used Class B RV last June and I’m sure I could sell it right now for 15-20% more than we paid for it and that’s after putting 20,000 miles on it and spending nearly 80 nights enjoying it all over the country.

Covid has turned the RV marketplace on its head just like it has so many other industries. It’s all nuts, granted, but that’s the current state of affairs.
DoTheMath
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by DoTheMath »

Nestegg_User wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:21 am you might want to look at prior threads on this topic ( a number recently, due to wanting to stay safe from COVID etc)

one trailer that is lightweight that numerous individuals liked was the Casita trailers (but I don't know what price point they are). I do remember that used versions were not available, as they were quite popular.

[we have a larger trailer (26 ft), but we have a much more capable tow vehicle in an F-250 truck. We wanted a fully capable trailer (not a composting toilet, full height, etc) and recognized that, fully loaded for a few week trip, that smaller campers just wouldn't be comfortable. ]

edit: looking at info on the four varieties that they have it appears that the dry weight on all of them are 2200 pounds or less, so they would meet some of your criteria.
(They are of fiberglass construction)
+1 on the fiberglass trailers. fiberglassrv.com (https://www.fiberglassrv.com) is the Bogleheads for these sorts of trailers. If you are looking for a small, dependable trailer designed to be towed by vehicles like a highlander, you can't go wrong. Plus they hold their value well, so if you decide to sell it in a few years, you should get most of your money out.
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zie
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by zie »

beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am My wife and I are retired. (me 70, wife 66). Thinking about buying a small travel trailer we can pull behind our 2016 Toyota Highlander. Highlander is rated for 5000 lbs tow capacity. I am having a difficult time determining the weight I can safely tow. Looks like 3000 to 3500 lbs?
It depends on the exact model of the 2016 Toyota Highlander. Read the Owners Manual The relevant section starts on page 207(the link is a direct link to the Toyota owners manual PDF from toyota.com). Read and understand that section, and then on page 212 is the table giving you what you can tow. Then create a little cheat sheet that tells you the max tongue weight, GVWR, etc that you can tow safely per that section. Then go shopping with that little cheat sheet and buy something that fits the parameters.

The other option is buy whatever trailer you want, and then go buy a tow vehicle to tow it with (which is what I did when I bought my first trailer)

Do not listen to salesman, they will lie their teeth off, mostly because they don't know any better, not because they want to actively lie to you. Towing is a touch complicated, so it's worth the time to read the section and understand it, and get it correct.

As for the TT, the little fiberglass Escapes look pretty spiffy, but it doesn't really matter. Stay within your towing budget and your financial budget. I strongly recommend buying used, as you will save piles of money and the new stuff comes almost as broken as the used stuff, and the new warranties are usually a PITA to get worked out, especially while on the road somewhere(where you will have a very very hard time getting some random repair shop to replace/repair something under warranty). RV repair shops are basically all overworked and they have no desire to beat up the vendors for warranty re-imbursement, especially for a trailer they didn't sell you.

source: been traveling as a nomad for over a decade ;)
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am My wife and I are retired. (me 70, wife 66). Thinking about buying a small travel trailer we can pull behind our 2016 Toyota Highlander. Highlander is rated for 5000 lbs tow capacity. I am having a difficult time determining the weight I can safely tow. Looks like 3000 to 3500 lbs? I am looking at a lower priced travel trailer. Possibly a KZ Escape 21 ft. or a Venture Sonic Ultralight 21". Both are 3000 plus pounds. Price budget $18,000 to $24,000. We live in Georgia and have our daughter and 3 grand kids in Arizona. Would like to use this for 2 or 3 trips a year to go and visit. Thought this would be appropriate in the Covid environment. Any suggestions on campers or towing would be appreciated. I would still have to put a hitch, sway bar and wiring on the Highlander.
In my experience, I would never exceed 70% of the vehicle's towing capacity with a trailer. You can get away with going above that on relatively flat ground, but when you start climbing a mountain or going through very hilly terrain, you put a lot of strain on the vehicle and run a high risk of damaging something.

So that means that 3,500 lbs. is your safe max. There are many ultralight travel trailers under that weight.

I would not use a sway bar and would use a weight distributing hitch instead. When weight is distributed well, sway is eliminated.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
radiowave
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by radiowave »

OP, another vote for Casita or Scamp. Check out the Casita Freedom, the main dinette at the rear of the camper can stay down as a bed and you still have a small dinette with 2 captains chairs. New, this will run low to mid $20k, made in Texas near Dallas.

https://casitatraveltrailers.com/freedom/
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tibbitts
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:40 pm I would not use a sway bar and would use a weight distributing hitch instead. When weight is distributed well, sway is eliminated.
These days many of the better brands of weight-distributing hitches have a sway control function built-in to the weight distribution components, as opposed to the older hitches where the weight distribution bars were only loosely coupled to the trailer frame. Proper weight distribution does help a lot with sway but may not be sufficient by itself.
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

radiowave wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:48 pm OP, another vote for Casita or Scamp. Check out the Casita Freedom, the main dinette at the rear of the camper can stay down as a bed and you still have a small dinette with 2 captains chairs. New, this will run low to mid $20k, made in Texas near Dallas.

https://casitatraveltrailers.com/freedom/
We've been to the Scamp factory in Minnesota, and it was immediately obvious that they are really focused on turning out a quality product. Many of their units have been in use for decades.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
DoubleComma
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by DoubleComma »

We have owned Travel Trailers (TT) for years and have towed most of my adult life. There isn't a magic weight that you can safely tow based on published vehicle tow rating, that is just one of many things to consider.

Two critical numbers to know...Gross Vehicle Weight Rating & Cargo Carrying Capacity.

Your GVMR can be found in your manual or online if you know year, trim level etc.

The Vehicle Cargo Carrying Capacity is unique to the specific vehicle depending on configuration. There will be a yellow sticker in the B Pillar on the drivers door jam that will say something like all passengers and cargo not to exceed XXX weight...this is the starting point and easy to learn by simply looking at your car.

This is a little more work, but necessary since everyone adds things over time to a vehicle, so load your vehicle like you are going on the trip, passengers, pets, fuel, items you would keep in the car and visit a CAT scale to get a the loaded weight of you vehicle.

Subtract Scale Weight to GVWR, that is how much Cargo Capacity you have left...this is the most important number when matching a TT.

Next, recognize everything you tow has some weight carried by the vehicle (tongue weight and hitch) and the rest us towed by the vehicle. WIth TT 12-15% of the loaded travel trailer weight is tongue weight, this is absolutely necessary for stability and to prevent sway. Non-Heavy Duty vehicles run out of carrying capacity well before they exceed the tow rating.

Finally, always use the TT GVWR as the point you calculate from, not the unloaded vehicle weight that they publish in the specs.

Here is the math I would be looking at assuming a 5000# TT...

TT GVWR 5000#
Tongue Weight 12%-15% = 600# -750#
Weight Distribution Hitch (mandatory) 50#

So to safely tow a 5000Lb TT you would need minimum 650-800 lbs of cargo carrying capacity available in the Highlander.

Hope this helps.

The folks at JaycoOwners.com are super friendly and can really help you dial in an appropriate place to be looking. there are other forums too, RV.net, but many of them have very aggressive "weight police" members who just like to puke on the idea of anything less than 3/4 ton diesel towing a travel trailer
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

curmudgeon wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm Lighter weight trailers have a reputation for cheap and shoddy construction (part of the problem is just that RVs get banged around on the road so much). Life will be simpler if you can do most minor repairs yourself.

Camping without hookups ("dry camping") opens up lots of options on places to stay, but it means giving up A/C at night (it's not practical to haul and a/c-capable generator in your load factors).
I haven't found that quality/durability is related to weight, although you would think it might be. All RVs have a lot to overcome with banging around on the road. I don't have experience with extremely heavy bus-type RVs but otherwise they all seem to have structural problems, although a few brands (like the egg trailers mentioned here) do have relatively good reputations.

There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
tibbitts
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:33 pm
atikovi wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:25 pm
beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am Price budget $18,000 to $24,000.
Those trailers drop in value worse than euro luxury cars. You could probably find a 2 or 3 year old one for half that.
You must not have paid any attention to the RV marketplace since Covid. My wife and I bought a slightly used Class B RV last June and I’m sure I could sell it right now for 15-20% more than we paid for it and that’s after putting 20,000 miles on it and spending nearly 80 nights enjoying it all over the country.

Covid has turned the RV marketplace on its head just like it has so many other industries. It’s all nuts, granted, but that’s the current state of affairs.
I had been planning to buy an RV since last year and have been tracking the online ads, and haven't seen quite the jump you are describing. In the case of Bs, they have definitely seen values firming from their already super-inflated prices. That might provide a buying opportunity post-Covid, although a buying opportunity on Bs is kind of like a buying opportunity on any category of Airstreams: they'll still cost a lot. Bs always have seemed to hold value better than other RVs.
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dkdoy
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by dkdoy »

We have a 19’ fiberglass Escape trailer that we tow with a Highlander. The combo works well, have nothing but great things to say about the fiberglass trailers.
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:11 pm There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
The problem was so severe that Honda created the parallel kits basically just to 'solve' this problem (I've never come across another application where the parallel kits were needed), but it resulted in RV owners needing to spend well over $2k on generators and the parallel kit just to run their RV's air conditioner in relative quiet. Now, quality inverter generators with outputs well over 2kW can easily power a 13.5k BTU air conditioner for under $1k.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:54 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:40 pm I would not use a sway bar and would use a weight distributing hitch instead. When weight is distributed well, sway is eliminated.
These days many of the better brands of weight-distributing hitches have a sway control function built-in to the weight distribution components, as opposed to the older hitches where the weight distribution bars were only loosely coupled to the trailer frame. Proper weight distribution does help a lot with sway but may not be sufficient by itself.
That's true, though my experience and understanding is that with proper weight distribution, wind is about the only factor left that can lead to trailer sway.

We used a WDH with the long bars on our last TT, and we never had an issue with sway over thousands of miles of driving. It was a heavy setup, but it worked well. We passed a vehicle a couple of days ago that had so much tongue weight that the front tires were nearly off the ground. If they braked hard, the front tires would come off the ground, and the vehicle would lose all steering control.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
tibbitts
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:58 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:54 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:40 pm I would not use a sway bar and would use a weight distributing hitch instead. When weight is distributed well, sway is eliminated.
These days many of the better brands of weight-distributing hitches have a sway control function built-in to the weight distribution components, as opposed to the older hitches where the weight distribution bars were only loosely coupled to the trailer frame. Proper weight distribution does help a lot with sway but may not be sufficient by itself.
That's true, though my experience and understanding is that with proper weight distribution, wind is about the only factor left that can lead to trailer sway.

We used a WDH with the long bars on our last TT, and we never had an issue with sway over thousands of miles of driving. It was a heavy setup, but it worked well. We passed a vehicle a couple of days ago that had so much tongue weight that the front tires were nearly off the ground. If they braked hard, the front tires would come off the ground, and the vehicle would lose all steering control.
True, but air can have a huge effect, not just from wind, but from passing vehicles. The hitches with the solid connections from the bars to the trailer frame don't cost that much more than the chain-based hitches and aren't much different to hook up.

Also I learned that many people buy too-heavy-rated bars, and they do need to be approximately matched to the trailer weight. Buying higher-rated bars in case you buy a larger trailer in the future isn't a good plan.
LLeaff
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by LLeaff »

We bought our tow vehicle and trailer last fall. I was exceedingly worried about safety with my wife and kids in the truck (not to mention everyone else on the road if I f'ed up). I spent time on irv2.com figuring it out. I'd suggest you do the same. It's a great resource for RVing in general. You've gotten great advice so far.

I don't know anything about your towing vehicle, but keep an eye on your payload capacity. Typically this runs out before your max towing capacity. You have to factor in everything in the car. Your significant other, the (grand) kids, the dog, the gear, etc. Once you take that out of your payload capacity you know what you have left for your max tongue weight. Your trailer should be loaded so your tongue weight is about 15% of the trailer weight. That should give you the heaviest trailer you can tow. Your payload capacity is printed on a sticker on the drivers side door jam.

Also I thought I'd throw in a plug for a great hitch. Might be overkill for your situation... (https://www.propridehitch.com/). They're expensive, but you can find them used.
Last edited by LLeaff on Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:20 pm
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:33 pm
atikovi wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:25 pm
beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am Price budget $18,000 to $24,000.
Those trailers drop in value worse than euro luxury cars. You could probably find a 2 or 3 year old one for half that.
You must not have paid any attention to the RV marketplace since Covid. My wife and I bought a slightly used Class B RV last June and I’m sure I could sell it right now for 15-20% more than we paid for it and that’s after putting 20,000 miles on it and spending nearly 80 nights enjoying it all over the country.

Covid has turned the RV marketplace on its head just like it has so many other industries. It’s all nuts, granted, but that’s the current state of affairs.
I had been planning to buy an RV since last year and have been tracking the online ads, and haven't seen quite the jump you are describing. In the case of Bs, they have definitely seen values firming from their already super-inflated prices. That might provide a buying opportunity post-Covid, although a buying opportunity on Bs is kind of like a buying opportunity on any category of Airstreams: they'll still cost a lot. Bs always have seemed to hold value better than other RVs.
I should clarify to say that we bought a slightly used one. The seller had buyers remorse and sold 10 weeks after purchasing. So, we bought for more than $10,000 less than a great deal would have been brand new and there was only 350 miles on the odometer.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by WhyNotUs »

There are many lightish travel trailers out there and you did not really say much about what you want in a TT amenity package. For two or three trips a year, the ones that you listed are okay. I would look at the layout, relationship between the bathroom and bed, amount of storage, and size of water/ww storage for an extended journey to AZ. You might consider an Rpod, they have decent resale and are easier to sell if you change course or don't like pulling a TT after a few trips.

If you buy a popular model you can find forums online where people solve bugs and describe upgrades. As previously notes, for most brands the depreciation the first two years can be brutal. Considering slightly used is a good option- rvtrader.com


beatle2020 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am My wife and I are retired. (me 70, wife 66). Thinking about buying a small travel trailer we can pull behind our 2016 Toyota Highlander. Highlander is rated for 5000 lbs tow capacity. I am having a difficult time determining the weight I can safely tow. Looks like 3000 to 3500 lbs? I am looking at a lower priced travel trailer. Possibly a KZ Escape 21 ft. or a Venture Sonic Ultralight 21". Both are 3000 plus pounds. Price budget $18,000 to $24,000. We live in Georgia and have our daughter and 3 grand kids in Arizona. Would like to use this for 2 or 3 trips a year to go and visit. Thought this would be appropriate in the Covid environment. Any suggestions on campers or towing would be appreciated. I would still have to put a hitch, sway bar and wiring on the Highlander.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
HoosierJim
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by HoosierJim »

The Travel Trailer Weight Calculator does a good job finding the limiting factor.
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Watty
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Watty »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:54 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:11 pm There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
The problem was so severe that Honda created the parallel kits basically just to 'solve' this problem (I've never come across another application where the parallel kits were needed), but it resulted in RV owners needing to spend well over $2k on generators and the parallel kit just to run their RV's air conditioner in relative quiet. Now, quality inverter generators with outputs well over 2kW can easily power a 13.5k BTU air conditioner for under $1k.

Please do not plan on running your generator for long periods of time to run your AC if you are in an established campground and not boondocking. If you don't have a power hookup than that likely means that you should not be using your AC.

The problem is that it will disturb everyone else in the campground and in some cases running a generator has lead to altercations between campers.

Many campgrounds will also have quite hours after about 10:00 PM
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

Watty wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:13 am
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:54 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:11 pm There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
The problem was so severe that Honda created the parallel kits basically just to 'solve' this problem (I've never come across another application where the parallel kits were needed), but it resulted in RV owners needing to spend well over $2k on generators and the parallel kit just to run their RV's air conditioner in relative quiet. Now, quality inverter generators with outputs well over 2kW can easily power a 13.5k BTU air conditioner for under $1k.

Please do not plan on running your generator for long periods of time to run your AC if you are in an established campground and not boondocking. If you don't have a power hookup than that likely means that you should not be using your AC.

The problem is that it will disturb everyone else in the campground and in some cases running a generator has lead to altercations between campers.

Many campgrounds will also have quite hours after about 10:00 PM
Yes, being considerate of others is important. Inverter generators run pretty quietly, but most campgrounds won't allow any generators to be run all the time.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
playtothebeat
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by playtothebeat »

Have you looked at nuCamp Tab 320? Or if you want bigger, a Tab 400?
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:19 am
Watty wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:13 am Yes, being considerate of others is important. Inverter generators run pretty quietly, but most campgrounds won't allow any generators to be run all the time.
Yes, you should comply with campground noise rules. Noise is a source of contention, especially during busy seasons. Some RVers build small containment devices to further reduce generator noise, even from the small inverter-style generators. And ordinary contractor-style generators are definitely frowned on.

Also dogs are common RV companions, but can also be a source of unwanted noise, and also violate campground breed restrictions if you aren't aware of the rules.
Last edited by tibbitts on Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
HeartinAK
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by HeartinAK »

Agree with the fiberglass trailers. They actually hold their value very well. We are looking at purchasing an Escape trailer. There are a few here where we live and they are great.
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marc515
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by marc515 »

Your plan not to exceed 3,500 Lbs is good. While your Highlander of is capable of towing up to 5,000 Lbs. , that number is based on multiple factors. Additionally, having a good margin of safety is important. This website contains a wealth of towing information on GVW, GVWR, and GCWR, and towing capacity.

https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/how-i ... nd-payload
p14175
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by p14175 »

+1 on Casita trailers. We have owned two of them. Our last one is a 2006 17ft Spirit Deluxe.
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Sandtrap »

retire57 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:50 pm Have you looked at the fiberglass trailers like Casita and Scamp? Your Highlander could haul either. The build quality is quite good compared to so many plywood slapped-together rigs on offer. While the quality is good, Airstreams are expensive and very very heavy.

We used to own a Casita and loved it. Wish I still had it. :( Website: https://casitatraveltrailers.com/
+1
All fiberglass trailers vs plywood and fiberglass skin.
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alex_686
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by alex_686 »

Another vote for a fiberglass egg. We love out Scamp. You will have to make certain sacrifices.

You could also look at a teardrop trailer, which can even be light enough to be pulled by a Toyota Prius.
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

As I have said in other threads the fiberglass trailers are appealing, but would be much more so if almost all of them weren't designed for the average height of an adult prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. I don't know what the manufacturers are thinking. I know the molds are expensive but maybe replace them every quarter-century or so?
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by alex_686 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:45 am As I have said in other threads the fiberglass trailers are appealing, but would be much more so if almost all of them weren't designed for the average height of an adult prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. I don't know what the manufacturers are thinking. I know the molds are expensive but maybe replace them every quarter-century or so?
Increased height means increased weight. Besides, how much walking around are you doing? Do what I do - sleep and sit in it. And marry a short wife who liked to cook.

Or check out this trailer - it’s kitchen should be high enough for anybody.

https://vistabule.com/
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

alex_686 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:51 am
tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:45 am As I have said in other threads the fiberglass trailers are appealing, but would be much more so if almost all of them weren't designed for the average height of an adult prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. I don't know what the manufacturers are thinking. I know the molds are expensive but maybe replace them every quarter-century or so?
Increased height means increased weight. Besides, how much walking around are you doing? Do what I do - sleep and sit in it. And marry a short wife who liked to cook.

Or check out this trailer - it’s kitchen should be high enough for anybody.

https://vistabule.com/
It's very relaxing to be able to stand up without knowing you might hit the ceiling, or worse something protruding (air conditioner, tv antenna control, etc.) Plus it's nice to be able to shower standing up, and to prepare meals, moving between the fridge and countertop, etc. So yes in all three RVs I've owned I've done a fair amount of walking around, even though I haven't spent a high percentage of overall travel time inside them. A few inches does marginally add weight but opens the product to a much larger percentage of the population. I'm not saying you need to provide for the tallest .1% of people, but a large segment of the market is being left out by most of the models today.
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:23 pm
alex_686 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:51 am
tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:45 am As I have said in other threads the fiberglass trailers are appealing, but would be much more so if almost all of them weren't designed for the average height of an adult prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. I don't know what the manufacturers are thinking. I know the molds are expensive but maybe replace them every quarter-century or so?
Increased height means increased weight. Besides, how much walking around are you doing? Do what I do - sleep and sit in it. And marry a short wife who liked to cook.

Or check out this trailer - it’s kitchen should be high enough for anybody.

https://vistabule.com/
It's very relaxing to be able to stand up without knowing you might hit the ceiling, or worse something protruding (air conditioner, tv antenna control, etc.) Plus it's nice to be able to shower standing up, and to prepare meals, moving between the fridge and countertop, etc. So yes in all three RVs I've owned I've done a fair amount of walking around, even though I haven't spent a high percentage of overall travel time inside them. A few inches does marginally add weight but opens the product to a much larger percentage of the population. I'm not saying you need to provide for the tallest .1% of people, but a large segment of the market is being left out by most of the models today.
We never considered buying a TT that I'm unable to stand up in. Being 6'1", I can do so in most units, though a few are too short. Beds have been more of an issue for me. Many are laid out in such a way that I would have to scrunch up at least somewhat to fit, and I won't do that.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:54 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:11 pm There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
The problem was so severe that Honda created the parallel kits basically just to 'solve' this problem (I've never come across another application where the parallel kits were needed), but it resulted in RV owners needing to spend well over $2k on generators and the parallel kit just to run their RV's air conditioner in relative quiet. Now, quality inverter generators with outputs well over 2kW can easily power a 13.5k BTU air conditioner for under $1k.
With sub-3000-watt generators, manufacturers don't claim they will run 13500btu air conditioners, and for sure an air conditioner like that will severely tax such a small generator if it will run at all. But the 3000-watt models and the parallel kits are horrible solutions when size and weight are considerations, so the single smaller generators are really the only option. Sometimes the 13500 air conditioners seem to be the cheapest for manufacturers to buy, so they use them by default. An 11000 or 9000 is definitely something to look for if it's available.
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:37 pm
tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:23 pm
alex_686 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:51 am
tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:45 am As I have said in other threads the fiberglass trailers are appealing, but would be much more so if almost all of them weren't designed for the average height of an adult prior to the fall of the Roman Empire. I don't know what the manufacturers are thinking. I know the molds are expensive but maybe replace them every quarter-century or so?
Increased height means increased weight. Besides, how much walking around are you doing? Do what I do - sleep and sit in it. And marry a short wife who liked to cook.

Or check out this trailer - it’s kitchen should be high enough for anybody.

https://vistabule.com/
It's very relaxing to be able to stand up without knowing you might hit the ceiling, or worse something protruding (air conditioner, tv antenna control, etc.) Plus it's nice to be able to shower standing up, and to prepare meals, moving between the fridge and countertop, etc. So yes in all three RVs I've owned I've done a fair amount of walking around, even though I haven't spent a high percentage of overall travel time inside them. A few inches does marginally add weight but opens the product to a much larger percentage of the population. I'm not saying you need to provide for the tallest .1% of people, but a large segment of the market is being left out by most of the models today.
We never considered buying a TT that I'm unable to stand up in. Being 6'1", I can do so in most units, though a few are too short. Beds have been more of an issue for me. Many are laid out in such a way that I would have to scrunch up at least somewhat to fit, and I won't do that.
I had a Jayco "lite" trailer from the '00s, and it had the usual 6'6" interior (so really more like 6'4" with the usual accessories hanging down.) Oddly I looked at a new Jayco last year and it was more like 6'1"! Ouch! I realize Jayco isn't an independent company any longer, but still, that's a surprising step backward. But realistically stick-type conventional trailers, even "lite" ones, are in the mid-6ft range. It's the egg trailers that are almost alone on the low end of the range.
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willthrill81
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by willthrill81 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:53 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:54 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:11 pm There are now battery-powered portable air conditioners although I don't have experience with one. But a generator to run the AC will only weight about 50lbs. The original Honda 2000s were notorious for not running most RV air conditioners, but the newer models with slightly more power, plus some updates to air conditioners and the adoption of more sub-13500-btu models, has changed that situation somewhat.
The problem was so severe that Honda created the parallel kits basically just to 'solve' this problem (I've never come across another application where the parallel kits were needed), but it resulted in RV owners needing to spend well over $2k on generators and the parallel kit just to run their RV's air conditioner in relative quiet. Now, quality inverter generators with outputs well over 2kW can easily power a 13.5k BTU air conditioner for under $1k.
With sub-3000-watt generators, manufacturers don't claim they will run 13500btu air conditioners, and for sure an air conditioner like that will severely tax such a small generator if it will run at all. But the 3000-watt models and the parallel kits are horrible solutions when size and weight are considerations, so the single smaller generators are really the only option. Sometimes the 13500 air conditioners seem to be the cheapest for manufacturers to buy, so they use them by default. An 11000 or 9000 is definitely something to look for if it's available.
Not only do the 13,500 BTU air conditioners tax the limits of ~2 kW generators, all of those I've had experience with run very loud in the small confines of a TT. An 11k or 9k BTU air conditioner would definitely be my preference as well, quieter and easier to run. My guess is that RV manufacturers just buy the 13.5k BTU models in bulk and don't want the added costs and complexity of dealing with other sizes.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
Lalamimi
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by Lalamimi »

Look into a pop up type, they are light weight. We had one for 20 years. We just bought a 25' Rockwood Mini lite and tow with our Tahoe. The sway bars are a pain, we need to look into some other type. He had new gear put in, but most likely we need a larger vehicle for long trips. Enjoy!
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Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

Post by tibbitts »

Lalamimi wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:14 pm Look into a pop up type, they are light weight. We had one for 20 years. We just bought a 25' Rockwood Mini lite and tow with our Tahoe. The sway bars are a pain, we need to look into some other type. He had new gear put in, but most likely we need a larger vehicle for long trips. Enjoy!
I've had both types, and it really is a different experience. There are a few hybrid hard-sided popups, although by far almost all are soft-sided, and some of the hard-sided ones are not exactly lightweight. The aerodynamics on the popups are vastly superior, particularly if you select a smaller, narrow one. And obviously they offer a very open environment inside, as long as you leave the covers off the windows. On the other hand, popups aren't any use for stopping during a trip (like at a rest area), and you have to be careful to dry them out if they get wet. You also can't stop overnight at Walmarts or similar on the way to your destination, and they provide worse insulation in severe temperatures. Some parks don't permit popups or other soft-sided tents due to concerns with animals, and if you're concerned about personal security, there is obviously no way to lock up a soft-sided camper even to the extent you can with a hard-side.
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