Interested in getting a camper, what can I realistically tow with a Honda Pilot ? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-27-2020, 04:26 PM   #1
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Name: Zach
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Wyoming
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Interested in getting a camper, what can I realistically tow with a Honda Pilot ?

I have a 2010 4WD Pilot. I am wondering if anyone here using a Pilot to tow an RV and what realistically can I tow ?



I believe the tow limit is 4500 but I think the max you would actually want to tow would be much less. How much realistically can I tow ?



My main concern is towing too heavy of a load and damaging my transmission and too much wear and tear on the pilot.



I assume it might be affected by terrain ? Up/down steep mountains, maybe less weight ?


Would the length of the trip matter at all ?


What experiences have you had ? I have not had a camper before.



How much additional fuel should I expect it to consume ? Do I need to rig up special trailer brakes ?


I would likely want a used one, I do not want to pay new prices.


Any advice or hints for a newbie, greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-27-2020, 05:21 PM   #2
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16 - 17' should be OK

I have a 2010 4WD Pilot. I am wondering if anyone here using a Pilot to tow an RV and what realistically can I tow ?

>I assume it might be affected by terrain ? Up/down steep mountains, maybe less weight ?
I would not go to the max listed in your book / door jam tag

>Would the length of the trip matter at all ?
Not as much as WHERE you tow, it's a lot easier going here in the midwest.

>How much additional fuel should I expect it to consume ?

A bunch, it's like pulling a sail down the highway.

>Do I need to rig up special trailer brakes ?
You will need some type of brake control on the tow vehicle. This 7 pin connection will also charge the RV battery



>I would likely want a used one, I do not want to pay new prices.
In the case of Scamps, the 20 year old used one can sell for more than it did new and a new one is a one year delay. Used will sell fast, be ready to jump while watching for scams.

Here is the weight of mine as modified. It may be the 2nd heaviest Scamp 16’ in the group.
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Old 12-27-2020, 06:05 PM   #3
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One additional variable is how many people and how much cargo you carry in the tow vehicle. Tow ratings are based on two average people and minimal cargo. Honda figures 150# plus 15# of personal gear per person. I carry my "personal effects" on my person, mostly around the waist. My wife carries hers in her purse.

We have a 2011 Pilot 2WD (3500/350# tow rating). With four people and some gear in the back we can comfortably tow our 13' Scamp in the mountains. We get 24-25 mpg in everyday, mostly highway driving and 17-19 mpg towing the Scamp. I'd consider a 16', but no larger, and we'd be pushing it on tongue weight. With 2WD, tongue weight can cause the front wheels to lose traction on loose or slippery surfaces.

The 4WD model can do a bit more, up to 16-17', again depending on how many and how much you're carrying. I even know a few people towing 19' Escapes, but I think that'd be pushing the boundary. Frontal area and aerodynamics also come into play when you consider a wider, boxier trailer like a 17' Bigfoot. Tongue weight can be an issue with 17’ Casitas. Trailer brakes are required over 1000#, which includes all molded trailers.

Here's the towing chart from my 2011 (click to enlarge). I believe your 2010 is the same.
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Old 12-27-2020, 06:17 PM   #4
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My friend towed a 16' scamp with a pilot. We did 10,000 mile loop thru Canada, Alaska, North West Territories, up to the Arctic circle. back to Alberta and back home. He had no complaints
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Old 12-27-2020, 06:31 PM   #5
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It's tough to add much to these posts.

The Casita 17's are notoriously tongue-heavy; they can easily run 400 to 450 lbs. or more. Ours ran about 410 lbs. with undersized 11-gallon propane tanks on the A-frame, but on the other hand we carried a fair amount of weight in the front bath when towing.

While it can be managed to some extent, it's easy to end up with a high tongue weight on these trailers, especially if you add a bike rack or a generator over the propane tanks. So, this could be a limiting factor as indicated on the chart Jon posted.

Look at the Trailer Weights in the Real World spreadsheet as there's quite a range of numbers for Casita 17's.

http://lakeshoreimages.com/spreadsheets/Weight.xlsx
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Old 12-27-2020, 08:28 PM   #6
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Fuel economy really depends on trailer size and weight. I use my F150, with a 5.4V8, over kill as far as tow capacity. I get about 17MPG when not towing. When I tow my Trillium 1300, my mileage actually IMPROVES to about 18MPG. I think it is about my lead foot (I don't go as fast when I am towing).

Pulling my Escape 19, fuel economy drops to 12 to 14MPG. Others with smaller tow vehicles can see a bigger drop in fuel economy. In the end, you will find out when you start towing.

As far as pricing, bad news. Used ones go for almost the same as the new ones. What you get is not waiting a year or more for the trailer. As far as savings, good luck there. These trailers just don't depreciate like typical stick built trailers that can lose 40 to 50% of their value in one or two years. Now my comment on pricing is for one in the four to eight year old age mark.
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Old 12-28-2020, 12:52 PM   #7
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The 13’ tows easily. I have a 2004 Volvo XC-70 4wd with 250,000+ miles on it and I had no problems bringing a new 2020 13’ Scamp home from the factory in Backus, MN to Cape Cod. Of course, my Volvo has received regular service and tires good. (nothing special, Pirelli Scorpion Verde). So if your Pilot is in good condition, you should do well.
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Old 12-28-2020, 10:14 PM   #8
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Wow I didn't realize a used one would be quite so expensive. I was thinking a bit older, as I've seen some for a bit less but they may be too heavy.
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Old 12-29-2020, 06:52 AM   #9
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Just look at the price people ask for older ones, the Scamps hold their value. If you maintain it, you can sell it for close to what you paid for it. (The “non-fiberglass” ones depreciate hugely, maybe 30% in the 1st 3 years. and quickly thereafter). It’s good that people ask a lot for used ones, that means you’ll be able to get your money back (or most of it). when you sell yours. I researched it when I was deciding whether to get a Scamp. I found that the demand was huge, much more than the supply, and that there was a large group of satisfied Scamp owners. Makes buying one a good investment.
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:13 AM   #10
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Prices of used molded trailers have spiked during COVID as prices of new ones have also risen and wait times stretched to well over a year. People are looking at RVs as an alternative to air/hotel travel.

It wonít last forever. Prices may never return to pre-COVID levels, but they will likely moderate somewhat by fall 2021. My guess anyway.

Meantime, set your budget and start looking. I have seen a few decent deals, but they donít last long- like hours at most.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:23 PM   #11
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I need to preface my comments by saying I'm not a car expert. We have towed our 13' SCAMP with a Subaru Legacy sedan (as seen in my avatar). It towed well but the tow hitch was low and hit the pavement when going up a driveway or over speed bumps. This was very annoying, and loud, and we had no idea this would occur before we bought the car. Actually, we bought the trailer to partner with the car we already had. Towing was noticeably better with our next/current TV.

We are very happy with the 2 year old Mazda CX-5 compact SUV for towing. It rides higher, has more clearance, the upright seats are great for older folks, it has lots of interior space for camping stuff AND the back seats fold flat to make a long and large area. Curiously, we found more information on towing on a UK website than on a US one.
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:34 PM   #12
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Towing with a Pilot

We have towed both a 16í and 17í Casitas with a 2012 4WD Honda Pilot. Most of our travels were in the Northern Rockies from northern PA and also a trip to Newfoundland. Itís a perfectly capable tow vehicle that pulled the 17íCasita to the top of the Akemo ski area in Vermont. Over the length of 4000 mile trips we got an average MPG of 15.
I donít think now is a good time to look for a used camper. Almost everyone selling is jacking up their price beyond what I think is fair. Now is a good time to research and look and figure out what you want. I do suggest you look only at fiberglass campers. The stick builds are cheaper but they are plagued with poor quality construction and water leaks.
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Old 12-31-2020, 12:37 PM   #13
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Pilot towing

First a disclaimer - I have not done this myself, but I have looked quite a bit at using a newer Pilot as a TV. The specs that I've found, for a new Pilot, are 3500 lbs tow capacity, which can be extended to 5000 lbs with AWD and the Honda tow pkg. That includes the trans cooler, but I'm not sure what else. I think the payload is 1400 lbs, (including the actual hitch weight + you + gas + everything else you load into the car). I've seen varying accounts of Honda recommending against a WDH. There are apparently many people who do use the Pilot as a tow vehicle, so it might be worth waiting until those folks see your post & reply.
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Old 12-31-2020, 06:24 PM   #14
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I towed a Casita SD17 with a 2017 Pilot AWD for three years with no problems. I live in the mountains of east TN and took it out to the west coast twice, including Glacier and the PNW. Mileage was around 18 mpg depending on terrain and wind. I used a Scanguage to monitor tranny temps which stayed around 180-190. I have the factory tow package which includes tranny cooler, wiring and hitch.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyo83 View Post
I have a 2010 4WD Pilot. I am wondering if anyone here using a Pilot to tow an RV and what realistically can I tow ?



I believe the tow limit is 4500 but I think the max you would actually want to tow would be much less. How much realistically can I tow ?



My main concern is towing too heavy of a load and damaging my transmission and too much wear and tear on the pilot.



I assume it might be affected by terrain ? Up/down steep mountains, maybe less weight ?


Would the length of the trip matter at all ?


What experiences have you had ? I have not had a camper before.



How much additional fuel should I expect it to consume ? Do I need to rig up special trailer brakes ?


I would likely want a used one, I do not want to pay new prices.


Any advice or hints for a newbie, greatly appreciated.
Hey there. We tow our Casita with a 2011 Honda Pilot. We have towed it all over the US. Even in the Rockies. It has done a great job. My husband is also concerned about the transmission but it has not been a problem.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:25 PM   #16
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Name: Todd
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Towing a 17' Casita with Honda Pilot

We have been successfully towing a Casita 17' with our 2011 Honda Pilot with no problems.

Paying attention to "trim" (how we distribute weight within the Casita front to back) helps manage tongue weight, and a electric brake controller keeps stopping distance safe.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:43 PM   #17
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We have a 2010 Honda Ridgeline (same platform as the Pilot, so would expect to be similar). Pulls our loaded Scamp 16 Deluxe amazingly well. I've often said it's the best tow vehicle I've used with the Scamp for a smooth comfy pull (my wife has had multiple neck surgeries and can't handle much bouncing or a stiff ride). We get about 14-16 liters per 100 km fuel mileage depending on the terrain and how fast I drive. Going over 110 km/hr increases fuel consumption is significantly. My two cents... I love my Ridgeline with the Scamp!Click image for larger version

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Old 01-02-2021, 01:21 PM   #18
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Name: Denise
Trailer: Trillium 1300
British Columbia
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Honda Pilot

I have a 2011 Pilot 4WD and pulled my 1974 Trillium with it for 6 years, zero issues. No WDH and no trailer brakes. I live in BC so I drove through the mountains regularly.

Last year, for particular reasons, I needed more floor space so I now have a stickie, 20í long, 2500 listed dry weight, but 3500 loaded, weighed on the govít highways scale. It also has a higher profile than my Trillium, so more wind resistance. I use a WDH and of course, trailer brakes now. Same Pilot. I drove about 15,000 km this past summer and fall, including an 8,000 km trip to and through the Yukon, a pretty mountainous drive. Zero problems pulling this trailer with my Pilot, although TBH Iíd have liked a wee bit more oomph on the hills. Mileage isnít great, average 20 L/ 100 km (approx 12-13 MPG) but it wasnít a tremendous deal better with the Trillium.

Thatís my experience, pretty similar to what others have already posted, I think. Iíd like to replace my Pilot this year, would like to have a little more towing capacity, but havenít so far been able to find an SUV of comparable size that I like any better, that fits the bill.
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Old 01-02-2021, 03:04 PM   #19
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If you are new to towing and want to try out traveling with a trailer my advice is to start small. My first enclosed travel trailer was an old 13' Boler that weighed around 1000 lbs. I bought it off eBay and drove to New Jersey to tow it home with a 4 cylinder Land Rover. There are many times when I think that instead of trading "up" to increasingly larger trailers I should have just kept that little Boler and modified it to meet my needs. It certainly would have been cheaper. It was just the right size although I didn't know that yet. I've had five trailers since that one and I'm back down to a 12' travel trailer after figuring out that even a seventeen foot trailer was more than I really wanted. Like backpacking - less weight means more fun. My personal tastes are to use the trailer as more of a hard sided tent that gets me off the ground so a minimalist style suits me. One of my favorite trailers I haven't owned (yet) is a Trillium. Something about those just feels right. If I was buying new today I'd be looking at the Armadillo trailers - especially their Backpack model. Small trailers are easier to live with.


I had a 17' Escape and my sister has a 17' Casita and I just like smaller trailers. I have an Eriba Puck now that weighs around 1100 lbs. The biggest trailer I would consider would be a 16' model but that's what works for me.
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:42 PM   #20
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Name: George
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Smile "comfortable" towing

I've been towing for 30 years + and for ease of driving and safety have come to believe that the trailer weight should be half of the TV capacity. Some will say otherwise. Its a matter of ease and comfort on the highway. You'll be glad in high winds with an 18 wheeler passing you.
You might want to consider a teardrop or a pop-up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wyo83 View Post
I have a 2010 4WD Pilot. I am wondering if anyone here using a Pilot to tow an RV and what realistically can I tow ?



I believe the tow limit is 4500 but I think the max you would actually want to tow would be much less. How much realistically can I tow ?



My main concern is towing too heavy of a load and damaging my transmission and too much wear and tear on the pilot.



I assume it might be affected by terrain ? Up/down steep mountains, maybe less weight ?


Would the length of the trip matter at all ?


What experiences have you had ? I have not had a camper before.



How much additional fuel should I expect it to consume ? Do I need to rig up special trailer brakes ?


I would likely want a used one, I do not want to pay new prices.


Any advice or hints for a newbie, greatly appreciated.
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