Originally Posted by JoshRob
I just put my deposit down for the 16ft layout 4 Scamp - will be my first camper so I have much to learn! Now just have to wait 20 months
It looks like my 2017 Chrysler Pacifica should be able to tow the Scamp just fine. I plan on using the anti sway bar, but doesn't look like I'll need a WDH. I plan to mostly camp in established campgrounds for 1-3 nights at a time. Looks like the main downside to towing with a minivan is low clearance (hitch dragging) and difficulty accelerating in gravel due to FWD.
I also have a 2016 Subaru Outback 3.6R with 3,000 lb tow capacity. The AWD and higher clearance offsets the Minivan issues, but much lower towing power. My math gets me pretty close to the Subaru's max limits and would have to pack light
Thanks in advance for any insight!
Your calculations above are for GCVW & GVW only, but don't consider trailer wt rating (you mention 3,000 for the Outback) vs. the max. GTW for the trailer (you list 2800 lbs with a SWAG est of 400 lbs payload. You also don't mention your Minivan & Outback's GAWR rating for the rear axle
When I googled 2017 Pacifica 3600 TW comes up, but you should check on your vehicle, because many automakers have a low base TWR (1000-1500) unless you pay extra for their towing option (incl. HD suspension items & cooling components primary difference) to get their advertised "tows up to" 3500-3600 or whatever TWR. Even Ford F150 pickups only have a 5000 TWR without one of several levels of towing options - but they always tout the maximum with the highest options in ads etc. Do the same for your Outback or any TV.
You really need to look at it overall for all data points for both vehicles:
Trailer wt. rating (TW) & Hitch wt. rating (HW)*
GVWR, GCVR, front & rear GAWR & Curb wt.
Also note that Curb Wt. includes 150 lb driver + full fuel & all fluids - so don't double count them, but add for driver wt. over 150#
Max. Gross Trailer wt. rating (GTW), Empty TW & do weigh the Scamp wet & loaded for camping as others have noted above.
* HW can be manipulated a bit by how you load & equip the trailer - including: "right size" your LP tanks for how much you need - but measure them full (e.g.: our 1960 Avion T20 "big gal" has 2x 30# LP which last us years, we'd be fine with 2x 20#), load heavier items inside over the axles or in the rear cabinets, load the spare tire & bike rack/bikes on the rear bumper, etc.
You want to stay HW within 10-15% of the actual TW as wet & loaded, so load & weigh first, then play with the HW using a scale on the level at home. You may be able to use a bathroom scale if sturdy enough, or get yourself a Sherline Hitch Scale.
If you only have 200# HWR on the Outback, & your Scamp is 2400# dry/empty/no-options, & more with actual load - then it is not an appropriate TV for the Scamp because you can't even get to 10% of its supposed 3000# Tow Rating. I'm wondering if the HWR is actually more than the 200# or the TWR is less than 3000# - so double check both ratings on that vehicle, as well as for the Pacifica. Less than 10% HW won't properly seat & hold the coupler on the ball (maybe contact Andy Thompson at the info below).
Also - a WDH does not change
the HWR at all, & in fact you have the hitch's weight adding to the HW & rear axle
Note that at 2400# + options, payload & fluids - your 16' Scamp is not far off of what the early 1950s-70s Airstreams & other "Vintage Kin" "Aluminum Twinkies" by Avion, Silverstreak, etc. in the 12-19' models weighed (they were built lighter then, than today).
So I would also recco using a WDH + AS hitch with both vehicles - & remember that the WD/ASH wt. also adds to your overall HW & other TV loads. If you're going to be in NoGA & SoNC into the Smokies front range & foothills, then you'll really appreciate it, as well as in any crosswinds & 18-wheelers/buses passing on both freeways & roads. And if you venture further into the Western Carolina Smokies for all the great places there (Asheville, Cherokee, Great Smokie Mountains Park, etc), you'll have plenty of roads where WD/AS is helpful.
Our 1960 Avion T20 (21'-6" L) is not much more than your 2400# dry 16' Scamp - at only 2680# factory empty/dry wt. (no options), & we're only about 3000-3500 lbs wet & loaded - including all of the vintage trailer event "period paraphernalia" - & I use a Hensley Cub WD/AS hitch. We currently rent Enterprise F250/RAM2500 trucks (with built in AS & plenty of load capacity), but will be buying Cayenne. However, we have rented Nissan Pathfinders where the difference was immediate after getting the Hensley Cub WD/AS for towing - vs. on our 1st trip from Orange County to Pismo using a Pathfinder where the Avion would get squirrely over 55 mph.
There are other good WD/AS hitches out there which may be more appropriate to your lighter TVs in order to keep HW down, such as Equalizer, EAZ Lift, etc., but they'll help with both leveling the vehicles' & distributing the weights equally to all axles - as well as for stopping sway/snaking/fishtailing.
But our 1970 Eriba Puck is only 660" dry & 1000# max GTW with 66-100# HW that I'm on this FGRV Forum for it's 1/2 FG & 1/2 Aluminum body - so it's not an issue with our cars as TVs.
A great resource for all members towing with smaller than trucks is Andy Thompson at CanAm RV in Ontario Canada, who is very active on the Airstream Forums (I don't know if he posts on this sister forum). He has helped a lot of owners there with set-up & towing with cars/vans/etc., & has some very helpful "Hitch Hints" articles that he writes for RV Lifestyle magazine.
Andy has helped many with info long distance for setting up their rigs, & is open to folks contacting him.
You'll all probably find Andy's articles etc. helpful.
Have fun with your Scamp Josh!
PS - If the 16' Scamp seems too much for your TVs, & since you've got a deposit with a long manufacturing timeline - you may be able to transfer it to a smaller & lighter Scamp more within you vehicles' capabilities.