Hi all! We're finally jumping in and looking to find a trailer to match our lifestyle, we can certainly use any and all advice! The more I learn about RVs and TTs the more I realize we don't know! We have our own preliminary thoughts but what do the seasoned veterans think?
We want to take weekend trips, we also want to do some month-long road trips. We have a Mazda6 as the TV but are considering a Subaru Forester if needed. We're not looking for a rolling TajMahal but I'm not the biggest 'camper' in the world . The smaller/more inexpensive the better but we're open to almost anything. A toilet/shower is a must and if we're being realistic, I want it to be cute!
We were thinking maybe a Scamp, an Airstream of course would be lovely (not fiberglass I know!) or something of the like...I've seen others mentioned here, Casitas and Eggs etc. Any thoughts I'd love to hear them!!!
I would counsel taking this one slo-o-o-wly, especially since, if I understood your other post correctly, you have three people and may add a fourth eventually? And a dog?
You need to start by reading the towing section of the owner's manual for your Mazda 6. I am guessing its towing capacity may be very limited. For a reality check on the actual, loaded-for-camping weights of various molded fiberglass trailers, see the thread http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...rld-43010.html. Post #297 has a handy downloadable spreadsheet.
Even the Forester has a surprisingly modest tow rating. A number of people do tow 13'ers with older versions, but I believe the tow rating dropped to 1500 pounds with the most recent redesign. The Outback might be a better choice.
Here's your dilemma. A 13'er with bath is only for two people (see my reply to your other post for details). A 16' Scamp with front bunks and a side bath would accommodate your crew, but you'd need to rethink your tow vehicle choice. Alternatively, if you can let go of the bathroom and settle for a porta-potty, an Outback pulling a 13' bunk model might work, at least while the kids are small.
Airstream?… think truck or larger SUV. That's a whole different ballpark, both in price and weight.
You'll be limited to under 2k lbs towing with the Mazda 6, so the Forester (or as Jon mentions, even better the Outback) would be a much better choice - more trailers to choose from. Once a fiberglass trailer in decent shape goes up for sale, it doesn't last long. Having a tow that can handle it means you can act quick.
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I suggest that you start by looking at the real world weights of loaded FGRV's in the general chat from and then look at the capacity of your tow vehicle choices. In either case the Airstream is out of the picture with either of those vehicles.
As best as I can find, the Mazda-6 is rated "Do Not Tow" in the U.S. versions.
I believe that the Forrester is pretty much limited to 13' FGRV's and one with a bathroom and toilet will quickly weight capacity of that vehicle. But again, check actual values for the vehicle you are interested in by looking in the vehicles owners manual. Note both towing capacity and tongue weight limits.
All that said, it's best to resolve that issue first, that of how much can I tow and how much tongue weight can I carry, and then see what fits your needs. I am afraid that you will have a very short list with those tow vehicle choices.
My thoughts are that you need to look for a stronger tow vehicle (TV). Even a Subaru Forester is only rated to tow 1500#.
i would say to first figure out what you want in a TT. Scamps will be more popular in your area. Is a 13' big enough? If so, then a lesser TV may be ok. I tow my Casita 17' with a Nissan Frontier with a 6100# tow capacity and its a good match. My Frontier's limitation is not trailer weight as much as it's ¨Frontal Area¨. I wouldn't want to be towing a big square front TT with a Frontier even though its rated for 6100#. The Nissan Frontiers Frontal Area Towing limitation was cut from 60 sq ft to 30 sq ft in 2014. That puts my 6.6' square Casita's 42.25 sq ft frontal area above spec, but the roundness of the Casita offsets its above-spec frontal area. From my towing experience, my 17' 3,000# plus Casita tows easier than an empty 6x12' U-haul enclosed trailer because of its rounder frontal area.
Have I confused you enough? Bottom line, figure out the TT you desire and then figure out an adequate TV for the TT. I believe a mid-sized pickup with a V-6 is the minimum TV for my 17' Casita. A 13' would be a better match for a lesser TV.
You are doing the right thing by asking for others experience before buying. I hope my experience is helpful even if others may disagree with my ¨opinion¨.
Ah, they HAVE abandoned towing capacity haven't they? Oh well, another manufacturer that's become afraid of the T word.
Ludicrous really. The Forester is a sturdy vehicle.
Just speculating, but Subaru seems to be focusing on fuel economy lately. They may be having a hard time meeting CAFE requirements with an all AWD lineup (okay, almost all… I do know about the BRZ). They are switching to CVTs, which may be a factor in lower tow ratings.
You could always look for a good used earlier-generation Forester.
I think most Subarus, including the Outback, are limited to a 200 pound hitch weight. That's marginal for even 13'ers, and if you start adding extra people and cargo to the back of the vehicle, it would be easy to overload the rear suspension.
Woah, you guys are awesome! Ok, I was pretty sure an airstream, or fiberglass TT over 13' would be too big obviously for our Mazda, I DID think that the Scamp 13' would work with it though but perhaps that was naiveté! I will have to look up our current towing capacity. I am ASTOUNDED that the Forester couldn't pull even a 16'!!! I completely assumed that it would have more than enough ability, that is a kick back to the drawing board for sure...we were considering the Forester due to its safety ratings/reliability/handling in snow, but if it can't tow either, what is a good choice?
I would suggest you try renting first. Your vehicles are very marginal for towing. With several campers, you will have lots of gear, further overloading them. Trying out a rental will let you get started without locking into a mistake.. Some folks do this "on the cheap" but they have the background and mindset for it. Tent camping can be a lot of fun with less financial risk. I hope it works out for you.
Jon, I wish very much I could eliminate the bath, it would make this so much easier! However the toilet and shower are super crucial to this decision...my hubby loves to camp and travel and I am a homebody with a horror of public restrooms and ticks, so our compromise was a little "home" I can take with me and a toilet/shower all my own. It solves our vacation issues (as I love the outdoors as well, just like my own space too ) but now we have trailer-choosing issues!
This is a fabulous idea, my hubby has been looking into renting today to get the feel of it...sadly it would seem we are in a real dry area as we couldn't find any Scamps anywhere remotely close by, just a super expensive, huge airstream that obviously wouldn't work. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places, something may yet show up...
PC Steve, renting is good advice. To determine if your current TV is a good match for a 17' Casita, go rent a 6x12 enclosed u-haul and tow it around empty, or better yet with a TT equivalent weight inside, in town and on the freeway. My experience is that if you can tow a 6x12 enclosed U-haul adequately, your TV can probably tow a 17' Casita. That's a cheap test of your TV's capabilities.
Do not forget that part of the determination for a vehicles tow rating is the capacity of the tow vehicle brakes. Most vehicles can tow many thousands of pounds, although it may take an hour to get up to 55mph, but you MUST be able to stop that trailer in not too many seconds when needed.
I doubt renting is going to be an option. I only know of a couple of places that rent small eggs. One is in Canada and the other in California. And besides, you don't have a suitable tow vehicle yet.
I think your next step should be to get a look at some actual trailers. There are no dealers, at least not for fiberglass eggs, so here are some ways to approach it:
Contact Scamp and Casita. Let them know you're interested in buying a 13' or 16' trailer with a bathroom. They may be able to set you up with a nearby owner who is willing to demo their trailer for you.
If any ads for used trailers come up near you (always a long shot) go see them.
Schedule a trip to a fiberglass egg rally. Some have times set aside for open house tours, and even if not, most owners are happy to show off their trailers. Contact the event coordinators to find out what would be best. There is a rally map here, and it looks like there are several near you.
Post a thread asking if there are any nearby owners willing to show you their trailers. A caution... if you do, give your general location in the post, but use private messages to exchange personal contact information.
Once you have some idea about what will realistically work for you, then you can think more about what kind of vehicle might be suitable.
I actually towed a 13' Patriot with a Subaru Forrester back in the day. While it's a great little car it wasn't a great tow vehicle for all the reasons listed above. Tongue weight was a big issue...I never could get below or near the 200 lb limit. Acceleration and braking were not good either. I also got some grief from the dealer regarding some problems with the vehicle. They were leaning toward denying warranty claims since I'd been towing. My solution was to trade for a Nissan Frontier. I was surprised that moving up to the v6 actually improved my towing mileage, it felt a lot safer and made it a lot easier to move up to a 16'er. I'm not suggesting that you "should" follow my lead to a Frontier, but I do think you should consider a more capable tug and there are many out there.
My suggestion to rent was more general. Even a class C, small motorhome would allow the to experience the RV lifestyle. It would expose them to the "hassle" of an RV and smaller living quarters while having a fun vacation. Combined with the u- haul suggestion, they could gain experience before jumping in. The rally is a great idea. All of the suggestions are less expensive ways to be better prepared.
That makes sense, Steve. I misunderstood. Renting a Class C (van-chassis motorhome) would solve the problem of not having a tow vehicle, and, though it wouldn't be cheap, it would be better than plunking down money for a trailer and vehicle, only to find out RVing just doesn't suit.
Try to find a quality RV dealership for guidance. Back in 1985 my wife and I got lucky and we're looking into a Travel Trailer and camping. Our first stop was a father and son dealership. The father gave us some great advise...showed us all possible options...pop ups, hard sided TTs, even small motor homes. We both liked the hard sided Travel Trailers with all the whistles and bells...bathroom and proper kitchen was a must!
Next came the ins and outs of towing (a lot to learn there!)
We bought a Sunline TT that day....traded it in a year later for something bigger at 24 ft. (Also a Sunline) bigger and better layout for our growing family.
Did more homework and upgraded our tow vehicle to handle the new unit.
Knew by then weight distribution, sway control and a trans cooler were minimum equipment. Camped all over the United States for the next several years in that trailer.
Slow down....select the TT that works for you...fiberglass or stick built...whatever has the layout that works...the right layout and you will be happy. Then go buy the best tow vehicle for the weight you must tow.
Read consumer reports buying guide for vehicles. After you read it go buy a Toyota with a V6/269HP engine...Highlander, RAV 4, Tacoma pick-up, Four Runner, Used FJ Cruiser. Keep in mind a V8 would be great but the gas mileage will be poor when towing (under 10 MPG).... A V6 would do better at about 12-15MPG. What ever you use make sure to add a quality trans cooler.
The idea of renting to see if you will like the lifestyle sounds good but what can you tow it with? You could rent a small class C motorhome as a test. That would give you some idea of camping in a RV.
The type of camping is also an issue. My wife and I like lakefront state parks and what some call boondocking. We do not like RV Parks...packed in like pickles in a jar...no privacy. Do your homework on possible campgrounds. Start with one that fits your lifestyle. Ask a lot of questions. Beware the start up cost can be high...save by buying used if you can get some help from a veteran RV camper.