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Old 09-14-2011, 06:03 PM   #15
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You should go if you can, seeing trailers in person and talking to the friendly folk should give you lots of ideas.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:50 PM   #16
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Well, if you're planning to have a mostly empty trailer, you'll still have problems regarding where to stow your clothing, food, towing equipment, etc. Your Mazda has minimum room.

How about tent camping?

You could get a small, light, flatbed trailer for your camping gear and clothing.

I have a friend who is a confirmed camper. She simply shuns the idea of using a travel trailer. Over an extended period of time, she has put together enough Cabelas gear for a complete African Safari: 2 walk in tents: one for sleeping (cots, lanterns, heater, porte-potty) the other for cooking, a complete "outdoor" kitchen (oven, stove, sink, pantry, cooler, etc) for the cooking tent, an outdoor shower system, and a generator. It takes her an afternoon to set up the "essential" equipment, another half day to complete the process. She hauls all this stuff in a flat bed trailer.

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/brows...%3BBRprd715223

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/brows...rid=8445360738

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/rvs/2594667046.html Probably too long, but you get the idea.

You could do the same thing. You could also keep your fresh water containers on the trailer and go into "town" every once in a while for more water. The sleeping tent may be a bit cold, but again, Casitas and Scamps are not designed for cold weather camping. And you don't have to worry about your pipes freezing.

My understanding is you are planning to experiment on an outdoor type life style. My experience is that the TTs is just one or two steps up from tent camping - particularly if your thinking about a bare bones 13" trailer.

If you go the tenting route, your Mazda will probably be able to easily haul all your clothing and "comfort items" along with your tent equipment. If you find kind of life enjoyable, you could eventually invest in a more suitable tow vehicle and a travel trailer.

In addition, camping sites charge less money for tent camping than RV hookups. So, you may be able afford campsites with amenities such as showers, etc. How's that for outside the box thinking?


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Originally Posted by dylanear View Post
I wouldn't trust most mazda dealers to know anything about the cars they sell other than how to sell them.

I did all the custom work myself (well installed it all, didn't make it all), custom intake, exhaust, programmable ECU and boost controller, added gauges integrated in the dash, fully upgraded heavy duty suspension, stainless steel reinforcements on the frame rails. etc, etc.

Eventually I can see myself in one seriously customized egg!

I am definitely concerned with the total loaded weight. Will probably be hauling a very close to empty trailer, watching every ounce that get's put in it.

I am looking at teardrops for sure. Can't live in one, but my be an option to get my stuff to New Mexico with the Miata. A good way to get the towing feel of things with in a more manageable package. But some of these teardrops, while physically a lot smaller, weigh a good 1000lbs! Not much less than a 13', even if they would be much less susceptible to winds and I might not need to add extended side mirrors (not sure how I'll do that on the Miata!).
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:16 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
Well, if you're planning to have a mostly empty trailer, you'll still have problems regarding where to stow your clothing, food, towing equipment, etc. Your Mazda has minimum room.

How about tent camping?
Funny you should mention it! I do lot's of it. I've done about 8 weeks of tent camping since the new year. I LOVE it! Granted there was plenty of motels, friend's houses, a few hot spring spas, etc. But I'd say 2/3rd of the nights I'd be in my trusty Sierra Designs tent on a comfy air mattress. And mostly regretting the nights in hotels and motels! Northern New Mexico this spring and the San Fran to BC and back just recently. Really lovely! I haven't always been able to do such relaxed exploring and chilling out in much of my adult life. So longer gaps between projects lately has had advantages!

I explored all over northern New Mexico, 5 awesome weeks, no schedule or itinerary other than to explore and enjoy. Including some seriously remote back roads at crazy altitude (at one point over 9000 feet). This was in my '91 Honda Civic Si. That thing is a mountain goat! The Civic is great for tent camping, you can haul all sorts of gear, big cooler, big sunshades, extra gas and water, extra battery, etc. Luxury tent camping!! I could even put more on the roof rack, but I've only used that for a mountain bike. Really, it'll carry a lot more gear than I want to deal with. It's a peppy nimble little car unloaded at sea level but at 9000 feet full of gear it barely wants to move. Which is a reason I don't think that car will work to tow a 13', just too gutless. It's just 20+ years old and while holding up great is not up to great stresses.

The Miata is tiny compared to the Civic in storage, but you can still fit plenty of gear for tent camping. Especially if you have light weight backpacking gear, then you can tent camp very nicely from it. A bunch of photo and computer gear and the camping gear? No problem, with no passenger anyway. Not so much room for a big cooler however. Having good bags for the rear storage area is key if you want to be able to raise and lower the top without 20 minutes of moving gear in and out of the car. I have one big duffle style bag that fits perfect and holds about as much stuff as the trunk does! Bungie it down when the tops down, under the top when it's up. Very under utilized space in most Miatas. I could add a trunk rack too, loved having one of those while exploring New Zealand in a Miata. But I may be getting close to the max weight of the vehicle with the trailer tongue weight added on, so I won't bother. Anyway I was very, very comfortable tent touring through the Pacific Northwest in the Miata. I really only came back to home base to get ready to go back to work in New Mexico. I could have gone a few more weeks easy, as long as the summer weather held out probably!
I've done lot's of recreational tent camping in various Miatas as that's been what I've driven almost exclusively for the past 18 years (Still have my old original Miata from 94 too). The civic was bought for a long commute I was doing just before my life became a lot more mobile 3 years ago.


Tenting is great when you can pick the location and time of year, tent camping in the high desert winter when you have to go work in downtown Albuquerque for 12 hour days, often 6 days a week is less ideal. I spent the last project down there in a small hotel room for 4 months, so I think I might be just as comfortable in a 13' trailer with a makeshift potty and shower than I was in that hotel! I can get a nice luxurious hotel room every few weeks for stretching out and taking long bath in a big tub. But mostly I just cooked, sat in a chair or in bed with the computer or watching TV, and slept. I can do all that in a 13'er! Days off I want to be out and about in town or out exploring and hiking. Maybe even some tent camping in the Jemez mountains if I get two whole days off in a row!

So I can put most of the things I'd need camping for many weeks at a time in the Miata. If I can put 200lbs or so more random gear in the trailer while towing it, that should be enough for months at a time. I would want a 3 way fridge, small furnace, hot water heater (maybe an instant with no tank), porta potty, makeshift shower (can't weight that much without water), maybe AC if I'm still using it next summer. So that may add up, but I don't need to fill all the storage areas and fill the trailer up with much while it's being towed. That's why starting with a somewhat bare 13 sounds good, get a feel for it before adding any more heft. Not sure how realistic, but I'm thinking 1300lbs for the trailer with it's equipment, 200lbs for my personal gear. 3000lb loaded car, 1500lb trailer with brakes. That's 50% tow to towed ratio, pretty conservative especially with the brakes. While on the road, once parked I can go with the Miata to get ice, water, firewood, heavy groceries, etc. But most this winter it'll be at some mobile home park or something like that.

Alternately, perhaps a small trailer to haul 200lbs with me to Albuquerque and waste rent yet again rather than spending that money on something I'd enjoy and would save me money potentially in my off time. Or use on vacations if I go and get a steady job again.

Blah, blah blah. Did anyone managed to read all that?! Well if you did, you surely now have a much better idea what I've been thinking about lately.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:08 AM   #18
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You mentioned RV parks charging $30 or more per day but the monthly rate can be as low as $10 per day depending on the rates in any particular parks. We've paid as little as $300 per month to as high as $450. Some parks charge over $700 but the higher prices are usually in a resort area or someplace that's warm in the winter. Think Florida, southern Arizona, etc.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:35 AM   #19
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Yeah I read it all. Personally I don't think you can have all that and a 1300lb trailer unless possibly you start with a Compact type brand of trailer. I'm not sure it's possible then.

The mythical 900 lb 13 fter really doesn't exist except as an older model stripped shell. All those things you want add up real fast, plus you have to have a good battery and propane tank to run them which adds a minimum of 100 more lbs.

I'm not trying to stomp on your dreams or enthusiasm but trying to think in the real world. I'm going to advise you as I advise everyone who comes here with the dream of finding a really light trailer to tow with a vehicle they shouldn't tow with.

Get a real tow vehicle. It sounds like you are very suited to the RV life style and would truely enjoy it so do it safely! It sounds like you have quite a few cars.. whats one more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dylanear View Post
I would want a 3 way fridge, small furnace, hot water heater (maybe an instant with no tank), porta potty, makeshift shower (can't weight that much without water), maybe AC if I'm still using it next summer. So that may add up, but I don't need to fill all the storage areas and fill the trailer up with much while it's being towed. That's why starting with a somewhat bare 13 sounds good, get a feel for it before adding any more heft. Not sure how realistic, but I'm thinking 1300lbs for the trailer with it's equipment, 200lbs for my personal gear. 3000lb loaded car, 1500lb trailer with brakes. That's 50% tow to towed ratio, pretty conservative especially with the brakes. While on the road, once parked I can go with the Miata to get ice, water, firewood, heavy groceries, etc. But most this winter it'll be at some mobile home park or something like that.

Blah, blah blah. Did anyone managed to read all that?! Well if you did, you surely now have a much better idea what I've been thinking about lately.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgrugg View Post
You mentioned RV parks charging $30 or more per day but the monthly rate can be as low as $10 per day depending on the rates in any particular parks. We've paid as little as $300 per month to as high as $450. Some parks charge over $700 but the higher prices are usually in a resort area or someplace that's warm in the winter. Think Florida, southern Arizona, etc.
Very good point, I should call and ask f they have a small lot they'd rent out cheap given that it will be the winter season.

The RV parks sound like a very good bet with a lightly equipped 13 since they have showers and a club house to lounge in.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizbeth View Post
Yeah I read it all. Personally I don't think you can have all that and a 1300lb trailer unless possibly you start with a Compact type brand of trailer. I'm not sure it's possible then.

The mythical 900 lb 13 fter really doesn't exist except as an older model stripped shell. All those things you want add up real fast, plus you have to have a good battery and propane tank to run them which adds a minimum of 100 more lbs.

I'm not trying to stomp on your dreams or enthusiasm but trying to think in the real world. I'm going to advise you as I advise everyone who comes here with the dream of finding a really light trailer to tow with a vehicle they shouldn't tow with.

Get a real tow vehicle. It sounds like you are very suited to the RV life style and would truely enjoy it so do it safely! It sounds like you have quite a few cars.. whats one more?
Can you specifically say why it's not "a real tow vehicle"? Because others don't use them for towing much? Because it's not rated by the manufacturer? There is a lot of Miata's out there towing 500 to 800lb loads to the race track even if the manual states it's not rated to tow. This is very common, a trailer with race tire/wheels, tools, often camping gear as well. I know someone (online friend never met in person, but from a Miata forum I've been on for years and it's a tight knit group), who tows a 1000+ lb 4x8 enclosed box without brakes and he says he's never felt anything but confident towing it. At my max weight of 3000lbs I could tow a 2000lb trailer and still only have a 66% tower to towed ratio. 85% is the safe considered the limit in much of the world outside sue happy USA. My target is closer to 50%, but I know I may go a bit over that. But hopefully closer to 1500 than 2000.

There is no money for another tow vehicle AND a egg. Having 3 cars now is doable now, but my family that provides parking for my fleet as I travel the world will not always have the space they now do. So perhaps the Civic could get traded for something with more tow capacity and ground clearance someday, but it would still need to get 30+ mpg on the highway (without a trailer) because that's the main reason I own the Civic. But I really want to have the Miata with me as I travel, so if I buy a vehicle for towing, it'll probably be a camper van/RV that can tow the Miata behind it. No egg. And if I end up with a "real" tow vehicle I just may end up with an Airsteam.

If the Miata+egg equation doesn't work out for this trip the solution will be Miata+under 800lb (loaded) cargo trailer or mini teardrop.

I'm not dedicated to make this happen if it's not safe and comfortable to tow, but I prefer science/engineering/physics/" towing with a small car real world personal experience" based information. Not vague, "your car is not a real tow car" reasons.

But it's great to hear all the opinions, so do tell me what you really think!
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:35 PM   #22
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Now I am curious about weights. Is there anywhere on here or online where people post their weights for various trailers in various configurations? You see "900lbs" listed on ads for old eggs, but for instance Casita says a new 13' with a bathroom will be about 2000lbs. So I'd like to know what some real world scale readings are. And can you just pull up to a weigh station and get weighed? And hopefully not have your trailer impounded if the guys at the weigh station think your over weight!

Also component weights, what do various AC units weigh? Fridges? Hot water heaters? Furnaces etc?

This post is a topic in and of itself!
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:54 PM   #23
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I always say what I really think, gets me in trouble sometimes but that has never stopped me.

I know people tow with cars that are not rated for towing. I guess I have too much equity in my house and money in the bank that I don't want to loose if I cause an accident with an unrated car. Accidents kill and happen fast and furious when involving a towed anything. I couldn't live with that.

I think the topic of "science/engineering/physics/" towing with a small car real world personal experience" and "your car is not a real tow car" has been addressed by your car manufacturer. They have way more knowledge about you car than I.

This topic has been hashed over many, many times here. People just want to hear that what they are planning is ok. IMO it might work ok but it might not and I don't want to be anywhere near one of these experiment that doesn't work. I've seen several accidents where towing guidelines were safely followed but sh*t happens. I'd rather have too much tow vehicle in that event than less.

That said if you do this I want to see pictures.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:57 PM   #24
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Here ya go...

Trailer Weights in the Real World

There was some talk on what accessories weigh but don't remember where. You can look up weights of thing by looking at RV sales sites and checking shipping weights.

Edited to add...

I don't think there were ever any 900 lb 13 fters except stripped shells as I said in my other post. Add any interior and the weight goes up really fast.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #25
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You might look into the Little Joe type trailers, they are very nice.

Little Joe Lightweight Trailer - Compact Camper Trailer for 2 by Weiscraft Trailers

Weis Craft Trailers - Little Joe Trailer Floor Plan and Specifications
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #26
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Here ya go...
Awesome, thanks!

These are real world, weighed at the campground, configurations from what I'm reading.

"1. I think all of these trailers had at least one propane tank, if not two. Many had Batteries on the tongue as well.
2. ALL of these trailers were loaded the way that each owner normally traveled."

Here is a list of 18 13' sub 2000lb trailers, 11 of them 1620lbs or less. Looks like sub 1500lb, all ready to go 13's are possible with the right egg and equipment. I had heard the Burros are on the lighter side, and they look cool so those are high on my list... Scamps are heavier than I thought, I figured closer to the simple older Boler like trailers, but still most are closer to 1500lbs than 2000.

01___13_____Burro______B13___________718______90__ ____808
02___13_____Hunter_____Compact Jr____980_____140_____1120
03___13_____Hunter_____Compact Jr___1200_____100_____1300
04___13_____Boler______B1300________1160_____140__ __1300
05___13_____Burro______B13__________1100_____200__ ___1300
06___13_____U-Haul_____CT13_________1260_____180_____1440
07___13_____U-Haul_____CT13_________1400_____150_____1550
08___13_____U-Haul_____CT13_________1400_____160_____1560
09___13_____Hunter_____Compact Jr___1540______60_____1600
10___13_____Hunter_____Compact Jr___1480_____120_____1600
11___13_____Scamp___________________1420_____200__ __1620
12___13_____Hunter_____Compact II___1640______80_____1720
13___13_____Scamp______Standard_____1480_____240__ __1720
14___13_____Hunter_____Compact Jr___1600_____150_____1750
15___13_____Boler______B1300________1580_____220__ __1800
16___13_____Trillium___T1300________1600_____240__ __1840
17___13_____Hunter_____Compact II___1700_____160_____1860
18___13_____Scamp______Standard_____1720_____230__ __1950

Hmm.... I wonder if that Burro down in San Louis Obispo is still for sale...

A lot of my camping gear I'm used to carrying on my back! I'm used to traveling light. Shipping your things overseas and back several times also teaches you to live with fewer/lighter things.

I'd love to see how that 808lb Burro was configured! Talk about bare bones!
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:42 PM   #27
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My 1979 B1300 Boler is not on the list..it weighed 2200 lbs. I'm not sure why it weighs so much. It does have a 3 way fridge, window AC, heater, bamboo flooring, brakes, propane tank and battery. I wasn't even carrying any cast iron cookware!

I don't trust those Burro weights because they weren't weighed by Frederick.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:51 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizbeth View Post
I always say what I really think, gets me in trouble sometimes but that has never stopped me.

I know people tow with cars that are not rated for towing. I guess I have too much equity in my house and money in the bank that I don't want to loose if I cause an accident with an unrated car. Accidents kill and happen fast and furious when involving a towed anything. I couldn't live with that.

I think the topic of "science/engineering/physics/" towing with a small car real world personal experience" and "your car is not a real tow car" has been addressed by your car manufacturer. They have way more knowledge about you car than I.

This topic has been hashed over many, many times here. People just want to hear that what they are planning is ok. IMO it might work ok but it might not and I don't want to be anywhere near one of these experiment that doesn't work. I've seen several accidents where towing guidelines were safely followed but sh*t happens. I'd rather have too much tow vehicle in that event than less.

That said if you do this I want to see pictures.
I wouldn't be satisfied unless you did tell me what you really thought. That'll never get you in trouble with me. But I may ask you WHY you think what you do and challenge your beliefs sometimes. That often gets me in trouble!

I trust Mazda to do what's in their best interest, not mine. If it's in their best interest to say, "it's not rated to tow", it may or may not have anything to do with if it can or cannot safely tow. Likely it's rather more about how they are marketing, selling and maintaining the cars while under warranty. Way more likely they never tested the car for towing and are covering their ass(ets).

I hear what you are saying. I do not want anyone to encourage me just to be "nice" when they think otherwise. I am really asking for experienced, informed opinions. Emphasis on experienced and informed, particularly with these type TVs and trailers. So far I have not heard one, " I tried towing a 1500lb trailer with a 3000lb car 90" wheelbase car, but it just felt really hard to control at times, so I gave up." And thank goodness I haven't heard, " I tried towing 1500lb trailer with a 3000lb car, but had a wreck, so I gave up." But I have heard, " I tow trailers kind of like that with a car like yours without any problems." and, "I tow a 13' egg with a car only a little bigger than yours with no problems."

All that said, your instinct to stay well into the safe zone is a good one and generally should be encouraged!
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