Senior gal looking for easy lightweight trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-09-2018, 09:13 PM   #1
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Senior gal looking for easy lightweight trailer

Hi I'm new member from Minnesota. I'm looking to buy a lightweight 13ft fiberglass camper. It's just my two dogs and me; prefer bath/shower. I'm towing with a Toyota Sienna AWD Van so the towing capability is only max 1500lbs.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:45 AM   #2
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...there are more than weight of trailer to consider, such as payload, which includes you, your doggies, and all your gear(in van)...not to mention tongue weight...these are all counted against your load capacity...ALSO see http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...rld-43010.html , to find out what various trailers weigh...you may need to consider downgrading to a teardrop(no bath or kitchen ...just a bed and chuck wagon galley )(or maybe a pop-up) or upgrade your tow vehicle...there are people who have towed with a Sienna, they should be chiming in...me. I wouldn't do it on a bet...good luck in your search......................
madjack

p.s. I truly am not trying to scare you off...just to make you aware of the position you are in................mj
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:32 AM   #3
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I have towed with 3 Toyota Sienna minivans (2003, 2006, and current 2011). All had a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. I've not heard of any minivan with a 1,500 lb. capacity unless the trailer has no brakes.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:16 AM   #4
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Originally Posted by Tom Trostel View Post
I have towed with 3 Toyota Sienna minivans (2003, 2006, and current 2011). All had a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. I've not heard of any minivan with a 1,500 lb. capacity unless the trailer has no brakes.
My 2015 Sienna is also rated 3500 / 350 and does a good job with a mid-weight (~2600 lbs) Scamp 16. So double check - you might be in better shape than you think. Being solo cuts down on the total weight too, so your combined weight rating limit is less likely to be a problem.

By the way, the Sienna was a bit of a PIA to get it set up for towing the camper, and Toyota was not only no help, they were a hindrance. I wish I had bought a true towing-ready tug, but now that I have it set up, it works well for the most part. Low clearance is an occasional problem and I have been up some mountains with no undo stress but not the Rockies.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:42 AM   #5
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Senior gal looking for easy lightweight trailer

It's the AWD version. That could be the reason.

Without the factory tow package, mine was rated for 2000 pounds. That could be another factor . The threshold for brakes is likely 1000 pounds.

If the 1500 pound figure is correct, I don't think this'll work. 13' models with the full front bath package typically weigh more like 1800 pounds.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
It's the AWD version. That could be the reason.
I believe Jon is correct regarding the AWD. That being said, we towed a 17' Casita with a FWD 08 Sienna for 6 years mostly eastern North America. We utilized air bags, aux trans cooler, WDH, removal of all but the two front bucket seats, never traveled with liquids. Weight of the trailer was approx. 3100lbs. The sienna was at its limit but still within ratings as per CAT scale. Head on over to the Sienna forum for a wealth of info on setting up your vehicle if at all possible.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:52 AM   #7
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When you want to keep weight down, you really need to consider fewer options. Each option adds weight. A bathroom adds not just the weight of the bath, but the added plumbing and holding tanks. Simple is easier to maintain too (and no tanks to dump).

Check out weights in the real world. Jon knows Scamps well, which would be my recommendation on a new one. And you are from Minnesota, so it makes it an even better choice. Any decision you make on towing is yours. The fact that someone else does on the internet, or the sales person at the car dealer says you are going to be fine, doesn't really matter.

There used to be a company in Canada that modified Mustangs to tow big Airstreams (not the smaller models, but the big ones). I don't see them on the web anymore. It was pretty crazy IMHO. Not just weight, but length too.

Some people tow their trailers short distances, in flat terrain. There towing is relatively easy. As you get into the mountains everything changes. Its not just the uphill climbs either. The long downhill grades can be almost just as challenging (can you stop your rig safely and quickly in an emergency)? Not all mountains are out west either. The mountains here in NC surprise a lot of people. Heck, there are mountains in northern Alabama!


Don't be fooled by manufacturer dry weights. Google "how accurate are RV dry weights" and read some of those postings. If you can get Scamp to actually run a finished trailer across a scale, that would be wonderful (I don't know if they would do it). Lots of fun and games go into trailer dry weights. They never include any options, often don't include battery, propane, etc. In the end, they are significantly understated.

Few people go to the trouble of actually weighing their trailer. So if you see a used trailer for sale where the seller claims it weighs 1,000 pounds, ask them where that number came from. I'll occasionally see one for sale where the seller lists the weight at 800 pounds..... Sure.....


I borrowed this from another forum: "Dry weight is the mystical number no one has ever seen. It is basically a number some engineer came up with, that was massaged by the marketing department to help entice unsuspecting buyers" <-- From RV.net

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...d/26806149.cfm
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:55 AM   #8
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If you're really only rated for 1500 lb I'd seriously look at teardrops. We have one and it only weighs 800 lb. We towed it with our Subaru, rated about the same. I wouldn't have wanted to tow anything heavier because it is more difficult to stop your vehicle. You can set up one of those bathroom tents for a porta potty and battery powered shower. We did graduate to a Casita because I wanted to be able to stand up and make tea inside, but if you have a limit to what you can tow you can't beat a teardrop. They also have lots of gatherings and people do really interesting things with their rigs. Check out Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers • Index page
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsh Erickson View Post
Hi I'm new member from Minnesota. I'm looking to buy a lightweight 13ft fiberglass camper. It's just my two dogs and me; prefer bath/shower. I'm towing with a Toyota Sienna AWD Van so the towing capability is only max 1500lbs.

Yes the AWD knocks the tow capability on my Sienna from 3500 down to 1500. Its'a 2017 lease so I think I have to put a 13ft Scamp out of my mind. Kicking myself for leasing a wimpy Tow vehicle.
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:59 AM   #10
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I like a few creature comforts inside, like coffee pot and potty. I've had class B's in the past and am trying to get down to one vehicle because of the cost. Maybe I can't have it all!
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:02 AM   #11
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thx mad jack, really appreciate the real world feedback
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:04 AM   #12
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thx Gordon2, I'm want easy. No one at the dealership ever talked to me about having to set it up. Uff-ta
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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Marsha,

Don't be too hard on yourself. I am also a single woman and travel with two dogs. I used to be where you are in my decision-making. I bought a teardrop that I loved and used it for about 2 years when I had the means to purchase a much more powerful tow vehicle and could fiberglass trailer (with shower, toilet and head room). After doing a lot of research on tow vehicles and trailers I felt my comfort level was to find a vehicle rated to tow more than 20% more than the maximum I needed. I did get AWD and the complete tow package
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:01 AM   #14
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Why does AWD reduce towing capacity? The weight of the additionsl drive train equipment?
What is the tow capacity of a Honda Pilot with AWD and factory-installed tow pavkage?
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:06 AM   #15
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In WA state, if you want to get a "permanent" license tab for your trailer, you have to have a certificate from a bonafide weighing station. Your trailer jmust be under 2,000 pounds. Hence, odds are extremely good you will get a "true" dry weight. You'll take everything you can out to see if you can make that limit.

Our Peanut, a 1973 amerigo with no applicances except a microwave and ceramic heater, weighs 1987 dry. We left in the mattresses, curtains, microwave, and heater. We got our permanent tabs last fall.

Yaay!

I hear you...the PO insisted the trailer was 1400 pounds--based on the original sales brochure for the trailer with 3-way fridge, full oven stove/range, sink, holding tank, twin propane tanks, battery/ies...that was totally not the case. Luckily, I knew it from looking at Trailer Weights in the Real World here on FGRV--not that the list has an amerigo on it, but ours is a 16' and NO 16' trailer weighs 1400 pounds with full appliances! (I'm pretty sure it was "zero" but I'd have to check again to be absolutely sure--take a look for me, will you?)


Our TV handles 3500/3600, so at 2,000 dry, (under 2300-2500 packed to go) we have plenty of leeway...(depends on what all we're taking...it varies by trip)

Can hardly thank the maker of that Trailer Weights post enough...and FGRV members for all their info and everything!

BEST
Kai
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kai in Seattle View Post
In WA state, if you want to get a "permanent" license tab for your trailer, you have to have a certificate from a bonafide weighing station. Your trailer jmust be under 2,000 pounds. Hence, odds are extremely good you will get a "true" dry weight. You'll take everything you can out to see if you can make that limit.
Kai
There is only one dry weight and it is provided by the manufacturer. It is the weight of the trailer without options or fluids. The weight you get at a scale will not be the dry weight.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:22 AM   #17
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Name: Leslie
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My 2016 AWD Honda Pilot AWD towing capacity is 5,000 lbs. The two wheel drive for the same year has the capacity of 3500 pounds. My car has a more powerful engine than the 2 wheel drive but I do not have the background to explain more than that. I did get the towing package which included the transmission cooler. Took the Pilot and Parkliner trailer to the Colorado Rockies and it was an easy drive.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stevieboy View Post
Why does AWD reduce towing capacity? The weight of the additionsl drive train equipment?
What is the tow capacity of a Honda Pilot with AWD and factory-installed tow pavkage?
The Sienna AWD is a bit of an odd duck. I wouldn't compare it to any other vehicle. The AWD hardware displaces the spare tire, so it comes with run flats. Extra weight, different rear suspension geometry, AWD hardware and/or software... could be lots of reasons why Toyota doesn't offer the tow package and a decent tow rating on this particular model. Good luck getting a clear answer from them, though!

When you are able to get out of the lease, a Highlander, Pilot, or other similar crossover offers up to 5000# towing in AWD form. That will open up a number of trailer options.

In the meantime, a teardrop is a possibility, as others have said, but beware... larger teardrops can be pretty heavy, too. You also have to consider the cost of getting this vehicle prepped to tow- hitch, wiring- balanced against the length of the lease.

Another option is to rig up a bed and a few other conveniences in the van itself. Lots of ideas online- google "DIY minivan camper." There are ways to do it that are completely removable without a trace when the lease is up.

When she retired at 65 (and recently widowed), my mother started out traveling in a van with a bed, microwave, and a small ceramic cube heater. She always camped with electric hookups and bathrooms. After a few years of that she moved up to a self-contained unit.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:44 AM   #19
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Name: James Y.
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Honda Pilot AWD

The Honda Pilot towing capacity actually goes up to 5,000 Lbs. for the AWD version vs. 3,500 Lbs. for the front wheel drive version.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:03 PM   #20
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
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I have a 2011 Toyota Tundra 5.7L 4x4. Being a 4x4 reduced my towing capacity from just less than about 10,000lbs to about 7200lbs.

As previously noted maybe a Meer Kat: Meerkat Teardrop Camper - Small Camping Trailer Dealer in California | Little Guy Trailers

Or a small pop up.

Why not just rent something in the short term?

Getting something small like a pop up will teach you how to handle a trailer. Backing up is difficult for some people to master. I have been in some gas stations that were very tight and required that I back up. It would be rather unpleasant to knock over a gas pump....

Sometimes just making a left or right turn can be a challenge, certain strip malls in California for instance.
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