A Camper Wanna Be! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-13-2015, 01:21 PM   #1
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A Camper Wanna Be!

Looking forward to learning about RV-ing from those who enjoy it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:43 AM   #2
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Hi Lauralou, Welcome to the forum.

Lots of good info and friendly folks here. I used the search function A LOT when I first signed up and was amazed at the amount of information that has been covered. But in my experience you can also feel free to ask the most newby of uninformed questions and knowledgeable people will be quick to help out.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:34 PM   #3
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Thanks so much! I'm still awhile away from getting a camper. My first step is deciding what vehicle I will choose for towing. Any suggestions on questions I need to ask or research prior to purchase? I think I would want it to tow a 16' or 17' casita.


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Old 06-15-2015, 08:01 PM   #4
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Welcome, Lauralou!

You need to know exactly what trailer you are getting before you get a tow vehicle. You need to go over the weights regarding it before you can consider vehicles. If you can go to a fiberglass rally, you can see several kinds of trailers to get a good idea of what you want. A Casita is a good one.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lauralou View Post
Thanks so much! I'm still awhile away from getting a camper. My first step is deciding what vehicle I will choose for towing. Any suggestions on questions I need to ask or research prior to purchase? I think I would want it to tow a 16' or 17' casita.

Good question but do understand that there is a 100+ pound difference between a Casita 16 & 17 tongue weight. You may want to print up a copy of the "real world trailer weights" on this site to have something to go by as you look at trailers and tugs. It's an eye opener for folks new to glass trailers. Good luck in your search.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lauralou View Post
My first step is deciding what vehicle I will choose for towing. Any suggestions on questions I need to ask or research prior to purchase? I think I would want it to tow a 16' or 17' casita.


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The first place to look at before deciding on what tow vehicle to buy is the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World - that will give you a good idea as to what you can expect the various brands and sizes of trailer to weigh once loaded up for camping & what the tow rating you will need on the vehicles you may be considering buying.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:46 AM   #7
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To save you a little time and add to the discussion, see the chart below. It is the summary of the "real world weights" for 16 and 17 Casitas (shown trailers)... Since typical tug ratings at 1000-1500, 3500, 5000 and up. I would plan on a tow vehicle rated at 5000 lbs. Even though the average is under 3500, its close and some do go over 3500. Its best to not get too close to your max rating (I like to be at 75% at most). Of course there is more to consider, but thats a starting place. Other brands of fiberglass trailers come in 16 foot models that can be towed with a tow vehicle rated at 3500 or so.

Numbers are: Axle Wt, Tongue Wt, Total

Average (shown trailers) 2835 410 3245
SDev (shown trailers) 289 95 329
Min (shown trailers 1780 240 2020
Max (shown trailers) 3300 680 3960
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by lauralou View Post
Thanks so much! I'm still awhile away from getting a camper. My first step is deciding what vehicle I will choose for towing. Any suggestions on questions I need to ask or research prior to purchase? I think I would want it to tow a 16' or 17' casita.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathi View Post
Welcome, Lauralou!

You need to know exactly what trailer you are getting before you get a tow vehicle. You need to go over the weights regarding it before you can consider vehicles. If you can go to a fiberglass rally, you can see several kinds of trailers to get a good idea of what you want. A Casita is a good one.
You don't really need to know which trailer you want to get, you just have to make sure that the tow vehicle you buy has the capabilities to safely tow any of the trailers that you are considering. If you do subsequently choose a smaller trailer, then having excess tow capacity will be fine.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:49 PM   #9
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Such good info!

Thanks everyone. I will need to replace my current vehicle sometime this year, so trying to plan ahead. I'll check out the resources you suggested and compare to specs of various vehicles. So much to learn!
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:53 PM   #10
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Gordon, what 16' fg trailer brands can be towed with 3500 rating?
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:00 PM   #11
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Gordon, what 16' fg trailer brands can be towed with 3500 rating?
The towing capacity is only one number you need to look at, so that question cannot be answered without other numbers for a particular vehicle and trailer. The GCWR, GVWR, max weight allowed for loaded trailer, tongue weight, should all be looked at for any combination. It seems like a lot at first but once you get straight what these numbers are for, you can easily figure it out.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cathi View Post
The towing capacity is only one number you need to look at, so that question cannot be answered without other numbers for a particular vehicle and trailer. The GCWR, GVWR, max weight allowed for loaded trailer, tongue weight, should all be looked at for any combination. It seems like a lot at first but once you get straight what these numbers are for, you can easily figure it out.
True, but you have to start somewhere and the max trailer weight for a tow vehicle is the logical first question to answer. As others have suggested, check out the database of trailer weights as they existed when weighed in the “real world” (i.e. when they were equipped for camping). I believe the most up to date list is at http://lakeshoreimages.com/spreadsheets/Weight.xls

Alternatively, check the advertised “dry weight” of the trailer and add around 500 lbs for a 13-17 foot trailer (accounting for options and gear). Keep in mind that this is only a guess at this point.

Next, pick a comfort factor so that you can easily tow under adverse and demanding conditions. I suggest staying under about 75% of max capacity. Understand that, as Cathi pointed out, other variables will need to be considered as well but if you stay under 75% of the rated trailer weight, the other numbers are more likely to fall into compliance also.

I think this method is a good way to get an idea of what tow/trailer combination are likely to work, and then you can narrow the list and examine the remaining requirements. Maybe the two most critical additional requirements are to have a proper tongue weight, and to remain under the total weight limit for the tow vehicle AND the trailer.. this is the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). The GCWR is the sum of the tow vehicle, trailer, and all cargo and passengers. In some cases it is easy to exceed this number even if the trailer is under the max weight rating. Proper tongue weight can often be achieved by moving cargo or other items in the trailer, and/or using a weight-distributing hitch. So, don’t worry too much about that variable just yet.

This guide is worth reading to understand a lot of this stuff:
http://www.jayco.com/files/pages/002...wing-guide.pdf

By the way, the short answer to what other fiberglass trailers can be towed with a tug rated at 3500 lbs could be, for one, the Scamp 16 Standard (I hope). My research indicates that my Toyota Sienna van can handle that trailer well, and its rated at 3500 (350 tongue weight). Check with me in October and I will know for sure.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lauralou View Post
Gordon, what 16' fg trailer brands can be towed with 3500 rating?
Suggest you take a look at the Thread Trailer Weights In the Real World for the answer to that question as well.

That thread is considered by many to be the most valuable thread there is on this forum for those considering a new tug and or trailer.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:30 AM   #14
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Lauralou, when you go shopping for a tow vehicle, don't just take the salesperson's word for what the vehicle will tow. Look at the owner's manual and/or talk to someone in the service department. In our experience, sales people were not necessarily dishonest, but they weren't really very knowledgeable either. Salespeople will say Oh yeah, this has the "tow package", but sometimes all that means is that it has a hitch mounted on the back. You want to know what the vehicle is rated to tow, whether or not you need a weight distributing hitch if you're going to tow over a certain amount, whether or not a weight distributing hitch is even recommended to be used on the vehicle, whether or not the vehicle has a transmission cooler, etc.

Also, I don't hink it's just about tow ratings. We started out with a Ford Aerostar that nad a tow rating of 4,000 lbs., but it was barely up to the job, especially when towing in the mountains. We eventually switched to a Honda Ridgeline with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs and a bigger engine which has made a huge difference. People here on the forum who know more about the subject of engine size, torque, etc. and how that relates to towing can give you more advice about this.
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