Would you tow on snow? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Posts: 153
Would you tow on snow?

If I ever needed the learned advice of you fellow FGRV'ers, I need it now! Advice is needed urgently-- my dear wife and I are at loggerheads about an upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon. It's been almost two years since our last successful trip with the Scamp. She's been dreaming of a spring break trip there since long before one year ago, when our Audi allroad blew its engine on Vail Pass, scuttling the same mission and causing us a $10K loss.

This time, the problems are different, but real. Colorado's being hit by a spring snowstorm as I write tonight. Denver is due for 6-12 inches by tomorrow night. Vail Pass is only getting half that much, but both places will remain cloudy and subfreezing, with continued snow showers, until Tuesday at least. So I believe getting out of Denver by I-25 or I-70 would be icy and snowpacked until mid-week. By then, with half Spring Break gone by, the Grand Canyon is just too far away, especially at trailer towing speed. And heading south through Alberquerque adds 50% more mileage; I estimate a 44-hour roundtrip at 50mph average.

Given those facts, I'd prefer to leave the trailer behind and use our reliable new SUV to drive there faster and cheaper, and stay in $50 chain motels in Flagstaff, or even better, near Zion, where the this week's weather will be 20 degrees warmer. Next week at the South Rim will be winter camping, nights at 15-20 degrees. Hmm...

Our trailer has brakes, our tires are good, fresh A/S, not snows. Oh, and the car has 18-inch wheels that leave footprints as wide as iPads. It's an AWD Tiguan, which we've never used to haul this trailer.

But enough of our (not-so)-little marital squabble. My questions for you and ya'll: what do you think about towing a Scamp 16 on wintery roads? Have you done it? Would you do it again? By choice?

I feel like Desi Arnez at his low point, about ten minutes before the end of "The Long, Long Trailer" here. I like the Scamp when it fits the trip, but it just seems like, this time, it doesn't. Looking for someone to back me up or set me aright about this quandary.

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Old 03-23-2013, 03:29 AM   #2
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Name: Jared
Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
Posts: 1,610
Vail pass...
ice and snow...
new, never used tow vehicle with wide tires...

Not only no, but hell no. Don't piss off Murphy, IMHO.

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Old 03-23-2013, 03:43 AM   #3
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 4,506
Like you I am use to driving in snow. Only once have I towed in snow. We were on our way to Yellowstone in early June and after waiting for two days we ventured across Togwotee pass. Our 4wd Tundra did fine pulling us through the several inches of slush. You know, the greasy stuff. The trip down was one of those white knuckle rides I would prefer not to repeat. I'd leave the trailer home or go the long way. Good luck, Raz
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:04 AM   #4
Name: JoJo
Trailer: Former CT 13 Owner
Posts: 88
So you start off the conversation....... " Honey. I'm really concerned for your safety......"
She'll KNOW you're lying, but at least you'll still have your Tiggy when you get back home.

Also, do you REALLY want to see what your Scamp looks like upside down at the bottom of a swale?
....and a river runs through it.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:33 AM   #5
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 24,792
Camping is supposed to be fun. The idea of towing in the snow sounds harrowing under the circumstances. I wouldn't

Be safe!
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:37 AM   #6
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1971 Boler 13' / 2013 Ford Escape
Posts: 965
My answer is NO, Don't do it. My way of thinking is when there is snow on the ground it is time to vacation where there is sand and palm trees and the means getting on a plane. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:15 AM   #7
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Woodstock, IL
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For us, we would leave the trailer home AND go the long way around. Safety first.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:52 AM   #8
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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Late season snow storms can be sudden and fierce on the south rim roads. We got caught there several times and can't count the number of cars, trucks and trailers we saw slid off the roads. Leave the Scamp at home.

We just returned (Last Night) from Zion & Bryce. Zion, warm and beautiful, Bryce, snow, snow, very cold, and then it snowed.....

BTW: Didn't see any $50 motels anywhere near either place. Good luck on that...and... the Zion shuttle starts Sunday

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Old 03-23-2013, 08:53 AM   #9
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Name: Cricket
Trailer: 2005 Scamp 13'
Posts: 403
As I don't have an egg...I don't know how much my input will be worth......

Here in the land of snow and ice (Minnesota), people don't camp much in the winter....however, we do ride snowmobiles! People tow anywhere from 2 to 6 sleds on trailers all over the state, many times on snowy icy roads. I know with our two sleds on a trailer, we are probably close to a small Scamp weight....and most snowmobile trailers do not have brakes! That being said, I have also driven on he snowy passes and seem to remember it being a bit of a trick to stay on the road from time to time....so I guess it is all a personal choice.

In your situation, I wouldn't go. Simply because the first trip was costly and you never made it, and now the weather is conspiring to stop you....for some reason you aren't supposed to get where you are headed!
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 412
John, I've had two instances towing my 17' Casita in snow with my Ford Escape. Once, I set out for Arizona and I had agreed to take some riders along. That morning I woke up and there was about 18" of snow on the ground. I thought I-25 would be clear but it was snow-packed and icy all the way to New Mexico. There were lots of cars in the ditch but I slowed way down and had no problems, other than being a couple hours behind schedule.

The other time, it was November and I was coming back from Canyonlands in Utah and it was storming bad at Vail Pass and at the tunnel. Again, I took my time and didn't have any problems although a lot of the semis and vehicles around me seemed to be sliding a bit and making me nervous.

Our little trailers seems to handle surprisingly well in the snow and as long as you don't get carried away and start moving too fast. They're really quite stable. Still, if you don't get into a situation where have to do it, it's obviously a whole lot safer to wait a few days.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:26 AM   #11
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
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I grew up in Michigan, so I am very familiar with snow driving (although I've been away from it, in Tulsa, for 20 years). When I was young and cocky I'd drive anywhere in anything, even with a trailer in tow. Now I think differently.

You only get one life, and health is both precious and easily damaged. Traveling needlessly on slippery highways for an extended length of time is a risk.

I now would look at the forecast and say, "The weather didn't cooperate this year, so I guess I'll try this trip at a later date."

You may feel differently. You may want the trip so badly that you're willing to accept the increased risk. And maybe nothing bad will happen. Or maybe something will happen. It's sort of like gambling.
Did you hear about the butcher
who backed into the meat grinder?
He got a little behind in his orders....
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #12
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Posts: 153
Thanks, I agree with all of you. I just wanted neutral opinions for a reality check. Searching "tow" & "snow" here, I didn't find much discussion of the risks. Too obvious, perhaps. I found a little more cautionary advice at the Casita Forum, plus the youtube video of a semi being pulled backwards over a cliff by its trailer.

My wife is getting the point, after sleeping on it. This Front Range blizzard came just as her vacation began, aimed directly at us. So the first hundred miles of the trip will be the toughest. We won't be leaving for a few days, until the roads start clearing. By then, we'll need to make time, so the trailer stays home this time.

Like the title of a Pat Metheny song you've all probably never heard of-- "Spring ain't here yet." This is when more reasonable (and rich) people fly off to the tropics.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:08 AM   #13
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Posts: 153
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post

BTW: Didn't see any $50 motels anywhere near either place. Good luck on that...and... the Zion shuttle starts Sunday

P.S.-- the cheap hotels are in Flagstaff and Hurricane, UT. The online sites like hotels.com are showing good availability among the usual chains. Yes, Flag's an hour away, but it's closer than Denver!
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:11 PM   #14
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,628
I would, and do.

Chains for both trailer and tug are essential. I also have a four wheel drive vehicle, without which I'd be more reluctant to confront snow covered roads.


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