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Old 11-14-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Stephen
Trailer: In the market
North Carolina
Posts: 2
Greetings from Chapel Hill, NC

Greetings all. I'm brand new here, and don't own a camper yet, but hope to before long.

As of a couple of years ago I was intrigued by the various teardrop trailers, but now I am more interested in something like the Scamp or Casita. I want to be able to stand up! I see a number of these being sold used but in apparently good to excellent condition, so I think that's the way I would go (buying used).

I have a Toyota Matrix and don't know if I'll be able to acquire a larger towing vehicle as well as the camper itself. I'm thinking I could tow a 13-foot something with the Matrix, but I have to admit that the 16-footers are looking good to me, too.

My daughter graduates from college at the end of 2017, and she has talked about making a three-month road trip around the U.S. before she starts grad school (according to current plans). If she doesn't find friends to do it with she says she says she would consent to doing with her dad. I would love to have a camper by then, if not before. (Our family has done tent camping, but we discovered that tenting is not very fun when you're driving cross-country and setting up and taking down every day.)

That's enough from me for now. I'm glad I discovered this community.

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Old 11-14-2016, 07:25 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 5,418
We have a vintage teardrop, 4 feet wide, so it's basically roll in and sleep. Then we bought a Uhaul 13, so that was great because we could sit or stand in it. A couple years ago added a Casita 17 to our collection which gave us a permanent bed, dinette, and a bathroom. But required a bigger tow vehicle than what we used for the Uhaul. For traveling it certainly is nice to be able to just open the trailer door and step inside and be comfortable.
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Old 11-14-2016, 08:15 PM   #3
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David B.'s Avatar
Trailer: No Trailer Yet (want 13 ft fiber glass
Posts: 2,316
Stephen, welcome to the FGRV forum family. NC is where 15' Parkliner is made......just saying.
Dave & Paula
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Old 11-14-2016, 08:39 PM   #4
Senior Member
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 5,156
Originally Posted by David B. View Post
Stephen, welcome to the FGRV forum family. NC is where 15' Parkliner is made......just saying.
Dave & Paula
The only person I have heard of buying a Parkliner since they restarted has said he has listed a whole page of defects. Just saying...

I don't know much about the Matrix but I think I would not tow a Scamp 13 with it. Expect the trailer weight to be at least 1420 lbs and likely more. Towing close the limit is not good.

For a Scamp 16, as a general rule, I say the tug should at least have a tow rating of 3000-3500 and tongue weight rating of 10% of the tow rating.

If you want to see a 2015 model Scamp 16 near Statesville NC, and talk more in person, just let me know.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:10 AM   #5
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Trailer: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette
Posts: 1,279
The toy matrix is apparently not suitable for towing; per a quick google search.

I would recommend a Scamp or Casita 16 ft with the goucho bed in front.
--- assuming you and your daughter don't want to sleep in the same bed
But, to be able to leave the rear bed up, and have a dinette convertible to a single bed is very nice.

I see the post below yours has a 13 ft Scamp for sale, in northern Illinois, check it out.

As a TV, we love our Toyota Highlander.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:53 AM   #6
Junior Member
Name: Stephen
Trailer: In the market
North Carolina
Posts: 2
Thanks, everybody, for your greetings.

The Internet tells me that the Matrix can tow 1500 pounds. Several different articles list it as one of a few small vehicles with "surprisingly" high towing capacity, but I guess 1500 is still not very much.

I still need to gain an understanding of towing equipment, and how it all connects. Hitch, draw bar, tongue, etc. -- these are all hazy terms to me at the moment. Other things: How do you hook up the trailer's tail lights? How do you maneuver your trailer into a camping spot? Etc. etc. Basic newbie questions! I expect and hope to learn all this and more by browsing this board.

Thanks again for your welcome.
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:08 PM   #7
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Glenn Baglo's Avatar
Trailer: Escape 17 ft
Posts: 8,317
You will also want to look into the maximum tongue weight the Matrix can handle. I got the tow package on my RAV4, which includes transmission fluid cooler, larger alternator and radiator ( doesn't include hitch or wiring ). I doubt you have any of these.
You'll also want brakes on the trailer and a brake controller in the vehicle. Cheaper than a brake job on a Toyota.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 11-15-2016, 01:29 PM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 12,019
Welcome, Stephen!

A helpful resource is the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World. Post #297 links to a spreadsheet of the data. According to that spreadsheet, the average weight of a loaded 13' egg-type trailer is 1700#. The heaviest tipped the scales at over 2600#! The lightest, a supposed 800# Burro, was either helium filled or a gutted empty shell.

It is possible to keep a 13'er under 1500#, but it means forgoing most options and packing very sparingly.

My recollection is that the Matrix was offered with two different drivetrains and was only rated to tow with the larger engine. Could be wrong- check your owner's manual to be sure, not the internet.

IF your Matrix is tow rated, it will certainly specify trailer brakes. Not all 13'ers have them. Worst case, it could cost over $1K to add a new axle with brakes, a controller, and wire it all up, unless you can do the work yourself.

This thread has a basic introduction to some of the parts and terminology related to towing.

Best wishes getting it all sorted out, and hope a nice egg comes your way!
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