Looking to Hit the Road! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-06-2015, 02:21 PM   #1
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Looking to Hit the Road!

Hi all! My wife and I recently visited CA, and we both talked about how much 'better' in general we felt, with the cleaner air, better locally grown food, and large number of outdoor activities. We currently live in San Antonio, TX, and the pollen / oak count here is just through the roof for most of the year. It also gets unbearably hot in the summers here - TL;DR: we want to leave ASAP.

Our apartment lease is up in October, so we're planning our escape. I can't yet decide if I want to find a place to rent, or travel in a Scamp/Casita/etc. I really like the idea of staying at state parks and exploring, but I'm also self employed and work from my computer, which at the moment is a custom built desktop with a 27" display. I used to use a laptop, but I've become really quite spoiled by this setup, and I'm not sure how willing I am to part ways from it. I might be persuaded to move back to laptop life, or to build a custom setup to house my large display in a travel camper.

We want to pull the camper (if we go that route) with our 02 Golf TDI. I'll be getting a Stage 3 Malone tune on it, along with a new clutch and fuel injector nozzles. That'll put us at 134hp/235ft-lbs torque. The car will still have its hitch tongue weight limitation, which is around 200lbs. I also didn't install the beefy Westfalia hitch - only a Curt hitch that complies with DOT standards. We've towed a fully-loaded Uhaul 5x8 trailer with no issues, so with the performance upgrades, we'll be fine with a camper.

I really like the Alto campers, but at $30k - and seemingly not very much availability - we'll probably just go with a Fiberglass egg. I spent a while building a Tiny House, but that whole venture didn't work out well, so we're regrouping in an apartment and deciding on what to do next.

Anyhow, I look forward to exploring these forums and finding out more about the camper lifestyle, to see if it's something we could do for at least a couple months.
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Old 04-06-2015, 02:34 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Casey.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fridaynext View Post
That'll put us at 134hp/235ft-lbs torque. The car will still have its hitch tongue weight limitation, which is around 200lbs.
Welcome to the list. Your 200lb tongue weigh limit will very much limit the size of trailer you will be able to tow safe and solidly. Think you will find your restricted to 13' and under trailers. I tried towing a very lightly loaded 16' scamp with a 200lb tongue and it did not work well for me ended up changing tow vehicles.

The thread Trailer Weights In the Real World is a great place to start looking at what trailer matches your tow vehicle capabilities. My trailer appears twice on the list #33 and #37 towed much better as it appears on #33 with 240lbs on the tongue.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:13 PM   #4
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Welcome to the list. Your 200lb tongue weigh limit will very much limit the size of trailer you will be able to tow safe and solidly. Think you will find your restricted to 13' and under trailers. I tried towing a very lightly loaded 16' scamp with a 200lb tongue and it did not work well for me ended up changing tow vehicles.

The thread Trailer Weights In the Real World is a great place to start looking at what trailer matches your tow vehicle capabilities. My trailer appears twice on the list #33 and #37 towed much better as it appears on #33 with 240lbs on the tongue.
Thanks Carol! In that case, it seems like the Alto 1723 would be the most ideal option. I just wish they weren't $30k! I'll look around and see if I can find any used ones in the US.

One of the lighter Chalet A-frames would also work better.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:22 PM   #5
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Thanks Carol! In that case, it seems like the Alto 1723 would be the most ideal option. I just wish they weren't $30k! .
the Alto 1723 has a dry weight of over 1700lbs - thats before you add your clothing and food and dishes and pots and pans, weight of propane etc. I don't know what Alto is including in that weight but most trailer manufactures don't include any optional items such as awnings, furnaces etc in their dry weights. Its always a good idea to add 500/600lbs to a dry weight to come up with a more realistic loaded weight. With that Alto it would have you with a trailer well over the 2000lbs total loaded what you need to find if you want to get by with a vehicle that can only take 200lbs on the tongue.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:24 PM   #6
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Well, the 1743 with a fixed roof comes in at 1592lbs, which is more reasonable, but I don't see a tongue weight anywhere. Again, this is just an ideal trailer feature-wise, but I doubt I'd be able to find one and afford it.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:35 PM   #7
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Well, the 1743 with a fixed roof comes in at 1592lbs, which is more reasonable, but I don't see a tongue weight anywhere.
You need to assume regardless of what trailer you purchase that you are going to have to put at least 10% of the total weight on the tongue for a nice solid/safe tow at highway speeds - in this case it will tow solidly while empty with about 174lbs on the tongue.... again add on 500lbs of stuff (your belongings) and the pounds needed on the tongue climbs to over 200lbs.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:40 PM   #8
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You need to assume regardless of what trailer you purchase that you are going to have to put at least 10% of the total weight on the tongue for a nice solid/safe tow at highway speeds - in this case it will tow solidly while empty with about 174lbs on the tongue.... again add on 500lbs of stuff (your belongings) and the pounds needed on the tongue climbs to over 200lbs.
Gotcha. But in that case, the 1743 is just the model number - its dry weight is 1592 lbs, so that's 160 on the tongue. We could always just plan ahead of time to make sure our stuff is 400lbs or less.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:01 PM   #9
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Gotcha. But in that case, the 1743 is just the model number - its dry weight is 1592 lbs, so that's 160 on the tongue. We could always just plan ahead of time to make sure our stuff is 400lbs or less.
My error - either way you are going to have a tough time keeping a trailer that has at least (don't know what it actually is as manufacture doesnt state) a tongue weight of 160lbs when empty under 200lbs when loaded and get a good solid tow.... trust me I tried for a number of years.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:05 PM   #10
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My error - either way you are going to have a tough time keeping a trailer that has at least (don't know what it actually is as manufacture doesnt state) a tongue weight of 160lbs when empty under 200lbs when loaded and get a good solid tow.... trust me I tried for a number of years.
I'm not understanding what you're saying... Are you saying that the tongue weight needs to be more than 200lbs for a 'good solid tow' in your opinion?
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:28 PM   #11
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Casey,

Carol is right on with her advice. You can't go by the dry weight. The best advice we ever got was find the trailer that you want and then get the vehicle to tow it. With the computer/office on the road setup that you want you probably will want a rig that the Golf cannot safely tow. Hope it works out for you! Good luck in your new adventures!

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Old 04-07-2015, 12:37 AM   #12
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I'm not understanding what you're saying... Are you saying that the tongue weight needs to be more than 200lbs for a 'good solid tow' in your opinion?
What I am saying is that most folks find that the tongue weight needs to be a min of 10% of the TOTAL trailer weight (axle & tongue combined weight) in order to achieve a nice solid tow. Most folks including myself find that 12% works out even better.

So basically you need to keep your search to trailers with a 2000lb loaded weight if you are wanting to try and keep your tongue at the 200lbs tongue weight limit of your car. In my experience you are going to be pretty well restricted to 13' and under trailers that have dry weights of 1500lb or less range in order to achieve that.

As mention prior the thread Trailer Weights In The Real World is a really good place to look at what you can actually expect a trailer to weigh once loaded - keep in mind that the majority of the trailers on that list where weighed at a trailer rally that had full hook ups so its a good bet few of the trailers where carrying much in the way of water when weighed. I know mine wasn't.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:28 AM   #13
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Thanks all for the advice. I'll take it into consideration.
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Old 04-07-2015, 09:12 AM   #14
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I think that the point that's trying to be made is that even an (alleged) 1500 lb. dry weight will be way to heavy for your TV's towing capacity when loaded for full timing. Looking at the chart you will see that any number of 13' FGRV's, while about 1200-1500 lbs dry, are well over 2200 lbs loaded to go.


Plus, what ever you do to your VW, it won't increase it's towing capacity 1 oz., that's a fixed value.

You will also find out that CA state Parks are very expensive for full timing, seldom have hook-ups, and are frequently located where on-line access can be difficult.

BTW: You won't find much information/support here for the Alto trailers as we are 99% molded fiberglass trailers.
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