Trying to figure out size of trailer... - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-22-2017, 07:05 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Jennifer
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 2
Hi from Portland, OR - trying to figure out size of trailer...


I am Jenn and live in Portland, OR. My boyfriend and I are starting our search for a trailer and we are trying to figure out if we can tow a 16ft (scamp/casita) or if we need to stick with 13ft (scamp).

We have a 2006 Honda Pilot for towing (tow weight 3500). We need to get a hitch package installed. Anyone else using that as their tow vehicle? What are you towing? Any issues?

I have looked at the weights in the real world documentation but get a little lost in all the numbers so any thoughts/comments would be appreciated! Thank you!!

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Old 08-23-2017, 12:34 PM   #2
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Kai in Seattle's Avatar
Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
Posts: 2,567
Our maximum tow weight is 3600, maximum tongue weight 360.

We have a 73 amerigo, dry weight around 1900, packed weight about 2150, 2250. We wanted to stay well below maximums. Tongue weight about 260. Tows great, no prob. at all. Reduces gas mileage about 4-5 mpg.

Give yourself time to get used to the numbers, they're not really all that hard. Dry weight means tanks are empty, no food or clothing inside, no water yet. EMPTY, like you'd get it from a dealer. Everything you add, propane, water, food, clothing, blankets, books, games, etc. adds weight. Tongue weight can be measured with a simple scale (if under 300 lbs or your scale's maximum) OR using two scales--you can find the method online. OR go to a place that weighs things and pay them.

You really don't want to play games with trying to haul too much. Some people swear by weight distribution hitches, some people refuse to consider them. Many here use anti-sway bars but that's not the same thing. And you cannot defy physics, a heavier trailer has momentum that your tow vehicle may not be able to overcome if you've over done.

Buy a bit lighter than a safety zone you decide on. We didn't want to go within 1000 pounds of our maximum and made it. We're well under 2600. The tongue weight is right at our chosen max (we could go to 360 but I don't want to!) == and it tows very well.

You have enough towing capacity for a Scamp 13 for sure; probably a 16 too. Don't think the numbers lie. They don't. Many here advise you get a tow vehicle to go with the trailer, not the other way around...we already had the mini-van and were delighted to find a trailer that would work for weight.

I think you can do it, too. But DON"T take the seller's word for what the thing weighs. Often sellers of used rigs will take the original advertising as "proven and true" when in fact it's just a sales pitch. OUR trailer supposedly could be towed by a Ford Pinto! I don't know about that!

Make them get it weighed, find out what was included (propane in the tanks, all their camping gear, or totally stripped--) and get some official printed paper as to the weight with a responsible person's name on weight is very important.

Once you're within your weight range, however, your choice of 13 or 16 feet has more to do with your ability to control it when driving forwards and backwards than anything else.

Go to the Scamp manufacturing webside and find out what they weigh! Trailer weights in the Real World is a GOOD guide...there are lots of trailer types that Didn't make it onto that list, but many DID.

Then...don't overpack! Don't put your Harley-Davidson inside your trailer and think it won't matter! Don't attach a huge rear-bumper carrier and add 5-gallon buckets of water and tools back there and think it won't matter. It does!

Don't move your fresh water tank to the back of your rig and think it won't matter. It's like a see-saw with the axle as the pivot point--one end goes UP, one end goes DOWN.

Final word of what's probably TMI: Tongue weight should be between 10% and 15% of your total trailer weight. Our trailer weighs about 2200; tongue weight should be between 220 and 330. Ours is at 260 generally the way we pack, and that's perfect.

A 3500 trailer should have a tongue weight between 350 and 525. I'm betting your tow vehicle cannot handle a 525 tongue weight. (!) You pretty much MUST have the tongue weight at LEAST at 10% of the trailer's total weight. That keeps the whole thing stable when going down the road--and up hills and down. NEVER, EVER, EVER pack your trailer rear-heavy! NEVER!

(I think we did that with our old Aloha back when...and it bucked and fought us every mile, scaring the heck out of we know so much better!) If you pack rear-heavy, the trailer can lose control, start fishtailing and you can have a wreck.

Wishing you happy egg hunting and happy trails!


Semper ubi sub ubi.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:47 PM   #3
Senior Member
Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
I think there are a lot of Honda Pilots in use for towing, but I am not your expert.

It also sounds like you are taking the right approach. Real World weights always exceed factory amounts.

Until a few experts step forward, try entering "Honda Pilot" in the Search box on the blue line above. You might want to use quotation marks. I didn't, and there were more than 11 pages of posts.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:45 PM   #4
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Jon in AZ's Avatar
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 8,852
Pilot tow ratings range from 2000 to 5000 pounds depending on year and drivetrain, so I wouldn't always go by what someone else is doing.

I have a 2011 Pilot LX 2WD with the same 3500/350 tow rating. A 13'er is no problem at all. A 16'er shouldn't be either, but it depends on (1) model, equipment, and loading of the trailer and (2) how many people and how much cargo you plan to carry in the vehicle. The full tow rating assumes a driver and front seat passenger only. My owner's manual has a chart showing how the tow and tongue weight ratings decrease as you add passengers or equivalent cargo.

Another factor is how and where you plan to tow. Short trips, low elevations, cool temperatures are one thing, but climbing a mountain grade in 100-degree weather against a 30 mph headwind is another. That's an extreme example, but one we encounter every time we take a summer trip to San Diego. If you plan long trips out West (or even a number of places in the East), you might want to leave a bit more margin.

I'm not sure how towing equipment was packaged on the 1st generation Pilots. In addition to hitch, and wiring, find out what other towing upgrades are needed, such as trailer brakes and a transmission cooler. Your owner's manual should spell all that out in the towing section.

Finally, because this is an older vehicle, make sure it is in good overall mechanical conditional: belts, hoses, fluids. tires,...

Best wishes!
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:26 PM   #5
Junior Member
Name: Jennifer
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 2

Thanks for the comments everyone! Lots to think about :-)
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:10 PM   #6
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MK Evenson's Avatar
Name: mark
Trailer: ,Retro by Riverside RV
Posts: 271
Jenn, we were in your exact, ( almost) situation. Had a TV with 3600lbs rating and 360 lb tongue weight. Decided to buy a 13' Scamp, based on trailer weight.
Once we stood in a 13' and 16' it was obvious to us that the 13' would be too small FOR US. So we decided to go with a 16'. After more research and the safety factor, I decided to trade the TV and upgrade to a 5K lb rating and a 500lb tongue weight rating. Ah, then after seeing a 17' Casita and realizing we could now tow one, the choice was go 17'. My wife thinks I will always want something bigger, but I am happy with our choice. If you can, make sure you can live with the trailer size and then adjust your TV to match. Leave extra room for a safety factor. Comfort and safety will let you sleep better at night.
Good luck on your choice!
Happy camping, see you on the road, or in the camp ground.


Former Casita owner.
If you have a choice, Please buy, "Made in America"
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