Survey/Question of 13 ft Trailer Owners - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-16-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe
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I presently use a 17ft Casita for my travels, but because I normally go solo now (small trailers are too confining for my wife), I am looking at downsizing to a 13ft unit to allow me to use a smaller tow vehicle for variety (like my Jeep Wrangler) or fuel economy.

For those owning a 13, and towing it with smaller, less powerful, tow vehicle*, I would be interested in your impressions regarding performance, fuel economy (maybe mpg towing/not towing), and handling for the 13 footers. Please mention what you're using, of course!

Anyone downsizing like I am considering will hopefully chime in w/ comments how they handled the adjustment as well.

I am considering a unit with no bathroom or shower (use of flushing porta-potty), and having a couch (sitting and eating) as well as a dinette (permanent bed) such as a Casita Patriot Standard. I want a furnace, fridge, and an air conditioner, and a place to install a small 700watt microwave in addition to a 2-burner stove.

I tend to drive more than I "camp," with enroute nights spent at truck stops, WalMarts, and Rest Areas, and favor boondocking at relatively primative NFs whenever possible.

Bob
*TVs considered:
My current Jeep Wrangler, my Volvo 740 wagon, or perhaps a small 4X4 SUV like a Rav4 or CR-V
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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Name: Ches
Trailer: 1992 Kustom Koach 17 FT
British Columbia
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I had done what you are thinking about. I had a 17ft Boler which wife and I used when we were together. I also had at that time a Compact J. I would use that when wife was working. It worked great for me and am now sorry I sold the Compact J.

I never took no notice of gas mileage but will assume it was less than pulling the 17ft Boler. I parked any where I wanted and had no problems.

My tow Vehical at that time was a 4.3 GMC Sonnoma.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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Trailer: Boler American #3104
Florida
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As a RWD Volvo advocate, I would say that you would get a better ride of the two with the longer wheelbase of the 740. And so why buy anything else!?

Volvo 245. Boler 13'.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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Name: marvonw
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 13 ft
Great Lakes area-US
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We pull our 1978 Trillium 1300 (13') with a 2006 Subaru Outback wagon - standard 4cyl engine. We've had the Trillium since last Sept. and have pulled it for several thousands of miles already with absolutely no problems. Our mpg is right around 19, and we've been at over 8,000 ft in NM and had some pretty strong headwinds and cross winds. I hardly notice the trailer back there. Trailer weight, loaded, is around 1650 lbs. Our mpg without the trailer is around 28.

...MarvonW.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:19 PM   #5
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Name: james
Trailer: Boler 1984
Ontario
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We tow a 13 ft Boler with a Dodge Dakota extended cab4X4 with a 4.7 V8. I actually get better mileage than I did with a Saffari van with a V6 . We got the tow thinking that we would move up to a larger trailer and then had better thoughts. It's great for long road trips and if we want to park for a time then we take along a dining shelter for an extra living room. We have converted it to a permanent bed with a front two person dinette.
It works for us.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:35 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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Another Subaru/Trillium owner here (2005 Subaru Forester with a 1976 Trillium).

I have put on 5000 miles (7000 KM) in the past two years with a couple of major road trips plus weekend camping. I don't keep track of our MPG as it's a vacation but I assume it's close to what Marv gets as both Subaru's share the same engine. We have done some major climbs and descents in the Rockies and have passed may stick builts with overheated TV's

The ability to do a uie at the end of a dead end road never gets old!
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:50 PM   #7
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Trailer: 17 ft 1986 Burro
Tennessee
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Maybe better mileage but for sure you will notice how quick it jackknifes when backing up. Really takes some getting used to. Short hitch to wheels I guess. Just go real slow.
My 17 foot is real easy to back up now that I got used to a 13.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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I'm with Clive I tow a 13-foot Boler with a Volvo 245 wagon (4 cylinder, naturally aspirated, automatic transmission). I've also towed a Trillium 1300 and a U-haul 13' with the same rig.

For me, if the trailer were bigger, I doubt I would tow it as often. Since I can sleep in the back of the wagon, I'd probably be tempted to just do that instead of towing something larger. As it is, I do that some of the time.

OTOH, I haven't had a larger trailer, so I'm just guessing.

I get about 27-28 mpg when I'm not towing. I'm not sure exactly what mileage I get when I'm towing, but I would guess 17 or so. Since I only have one vehicle, I don't mind the "hit" in mileage (i.e. I prefer that to driving something bigger that doesn't dip in mileage but instead gets the lower figure all the time).

I don't have trailer brakes, but they might be nice for towing with a smaller vehicle.

The Volvo's substantial weight (~3500#) and long wheelbase make for pretty relaxing towing, as towing goes. Acceleration isn't stellar, and I don't think I can use the word "performance," but I don't mind that - I just plan ahead.

I can imagine where a 13-footer could seem a bit cramped with two or more, but for one person it seems quite roomy to me. I don't find the need for a bathroom since the whole trailer is a private room, and I spend - what - ten minutes a day doing "bathroom things," if that. I could see where a shower might be nice at times, but, like on a boat, I don't think I'd ultimately want to put that much moisture into the air and then have to wipe things down afterward. I'm content to take a "navy bath" in the trailer. Like you, I tend to "make miles" when I'm traveling, and just stop for the night in a rest area, or etc.

I don't have a microwave, or a flushing Porta Potti, but I do have a stove, furnace (unfortunately missing parts ), and refrigerator. I use WAG bags and a bucket instead of a Porta Potti.

I have not as of yet converted the front area to a dinette, although I do have the "double" bed set up all the time in the rear. I have a counter over the foot of the bed that is basically an extension of the kitchen counter, and that works pretty well as a table/desk. (I have a matching extension in the front that gives extra kitchen counter space.)

I'm thinking about making a full-width table/desk across the front instead of a dinette, but I haven't decided for sure yet. "Pros" for that are that I could keep my kitchen counter extension, and also get a larger desk/table area than a dinette would provide. I might like the room to set up projects or lay out papers. I'd use a folding chair or stool that could slip under the counter when not in use. But, I'm still toying with the possibilities up front, and currently just have the bench, with the bunk removed and in storage.

Raya
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1972 Compact Jr
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Another Subaru, 1997 Legacy wagon with the 2.2 l engine, 5 speed, with a Compact junior tagging along behind. The Compact Junior has a fairly flat front but low height becuase of the pop top. Most of our trips have been through mountainous areas, up and down passes. I find that I am getting approximately the same fuel economy pulling the trailer on the highway as I get in travelling around town, approximatley 10 litres to go 1oo km. Some one else can convert to american gallons and miles. I find that it goes down a lot if I'm trying to do freeway speeds. I really liked California direction to be at 55 if towing, I feel more comfortable. One of the pluses for a Compact junior, is that it can be a twin bed set up or a queen bed set up and another possibility is to have the bed set up as a full double with a small dinnette at the galley end . One future project it to have a small table top as well as the present but larger table top. We have a moveable base for the table pedestal socket, so we can have the table at a variety of spots including moving outside.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:25 PM   #10
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
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I towed a 13 ft Burro with a Honda Element... pretty much the same rating and car as the CRV you are considering.

Trailer weighed 1450 fully loaded with all the junk you say you want.. except I had no air conditioner or Micro, but I DID have a 3 way fridge.

I got 19-21 mpg with a mixed bag of roads and terrain. It did not struggle going up steep hills, but I wasn't going to break any land speed records when doing so.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:24 PM   #11
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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Whoops, to add to my previous post.
1. I have trailer brakes and I highly recommend them.
2. 13' Trailers do jack knife easy while backing up - I find it's one of the hardest trailers I have had to back up. Still, you can always pick it up and move by hand ... done that once or twice =)
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:35 PM   #12
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Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
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Quote:
I presently use a 17ft Casita for my travels, but because I normally go solo now (small trailers are too confining for my wife), I am looking at downsizing to a 13ft unit to allow me to use a smaller tow vehicle for variety (like my Jeep Wrangler) or fuel economy.

For those owning a 13, and towing it with smaller, less powerful, tow vehicle*, I would be interested in your impressions regarding performance, fuel economy (maybe mpg towing/not towing), and handling for the 13 footers. Please mention what you're using, of course!

Anyone downsizing like I am considering will hopefully chime in w/ comments how they handled the adjustment as well.

I am considering a unit with no bathroom or shower (use of flushing porta-potty), and having a couch (sitting and eating) as well as a dinette (permanent bed) such as a Casita Patriot Standard. I want a furnace, fridge, and an air conditioner, and a place to install a small 700watt microwave in addition to a 2-burner stove.

I tend to drive more than I "camp," with enroute nights spent at truck stops, WalMarts, and Rest Areas, and favor boondocking at relatively primative NFs whenever possible.

Bob
*TVs considered:
My current Jeep Wrangler, my Volvo 740 wagon, or perhaps a small 4X4 SUV like a Rav4 or CR-V
Our escape 4cyl. 5spd does a great comfortable job towing our deluxe front bath Scamp. It delivers great mileage at 58MPH, mileage suffers fast as speed increases.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:51 PM   #13
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Name: Patty
Trailer: Casita 13 ft
Texas
Posts: 91

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We pretty much have what you are considering in our 13 footer. We have a 13' Casita Patriot. As you can see from my signature we also have a 17' Casita as well. When we tow either one with our Dodge Ram 1500 we pretty much don't know either is back there, especially the smaller trailer. We haven't noticed the backing up problem being worse with the smaller trailer as others have mentioned.

The 13' is actually what I wanted when we went to buy originally and sort of got "talked" into the 17 footer. Since the 17' was our first ever camper, we discovered that we don't like dealing with the whole bathroom stuff so already the 13' is higher on our use list. We prefer the porta-potty if we have a night nature call. We put in our own microwave (we bought from Walmart) as we didn't order one with the 13' and that along with our two-burner stove is great. We mainly bought the smaller trailer for me to go camping alone with the Sisters on the Fly organization. However, hubby fits okay on the little couch upfront to sleep. The bed in it is a little tight for two people.

My opinion is that the 13' is absolutely perfect for one person. My only complaint is that I wish it had a tad more storage space but I use my tow vehicle to bring along what I need.

I don't know if we'll keep the 17 footer in the long run but my little Dinky - the 13 footer is here to stay! I love that little thing - it's cute as a button and I plan to use it for many years to come.

Patty


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Old 07-17-2009, 09:01 AM   #14
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Name: Alan
Trailer: FORMERLY:Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel Deluxe ('The White House')
California
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Booker -

**The ability to do a uie at the end of a dead end road never gets old!**

Off topic, but THAT is my biggest complaint about my F-150. I need 1/2 a football field (NFL, OR CFL - take your pick) to pull a U-turn. The turning radius SUX!!!

ok - rant off.
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