New to RVing and Towing

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TK421

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Mar 21, 2019
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Hey there, my wife and I are just about to start RVing this summer. We're looking at a smaller camper like the R Pod or some of the smaller 15-18 foot campers from Forest River. The challenge is we don't currently have a car that can tow them in any meaningful way. We want to avoid a truck or massive SUV if we possibly can and were hoping for a mid sized diesel SUV. We found a few diesel SUVs with higher towing capacity ~5300lbs. But we're nervous about pulling the trigger as we don't want to buy a car hoping to pull an RV longer distances (Northern New England to Montana would be Trip 1). Are we crazy here? Can we buy a diesel SUV and call it? Is diesel better for towing? Gahd, I have no idea where to start!

Pat
 

Gizmo100

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Sep 28, 2018
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Welcome to the RV Forum Pat

Are we crazy here?


Maybe..... but that's half the fun

Can we buy a diesel SUV and call it?


While the diesel will give you more puling power, it's only part of the equation. You will also need to know the cargo capacity of the SUV. It will be on a sticker on the inside of the drivers door. That number will determine how much tongue weight you will be able to handle. Of course that number also includes everything you load in the SUV.

Is diesel better for towing?

All things being equal...It can be.


Gahd, I have no idea where to start!

This is a no brainier....You find a friendly forum with folks that can offer some suggestions....

I will add....
A smaller RV has it's advantages...But on a rainy day it will test your marriage. :)
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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5,371
Pick the RV you feel you will want.  Since no one will tel=l you the truth its going to be totally up to you.  Dont buy new,  its just not worth loosing that much money.
Once you pick one, look on the street side of the trailer near the front corner.  There will be a metal looking tag showing the trailers serial number and GVWR plus other info.  With the GVWR you can be prepared to find a tow vehicle.  Do not skimp on youe tow vehicle.  It may seem prudent to do so, but you will pay in the end.  When picking your TV, be sure to add things like people, ice chest full of pop everything you may place in the vehicle.  All this will reduce your towing capacity.  IMHO if you pick a trailer with 7000 GVWR you should look for a tow vehicle capable of towing a 9,000 pound trailer.
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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Midwest
The best I have found would be  Yukon Denali, it has a larger engine and pretty decent towing / payload capacity.  Find a couple trailers you think you would like, and we will help you understand the numbers that are important, why they are important, what the RV salespeople won't tell you etc.  Then we will help you understand the numbers with the Tow Vehicle, and why many will mislead you, and why you want to know how to understand that.  It's one thing to limp around New England, weekend camping with an under powered Tow Vehicle.  It's a whole nother story traveling out of state, and across the country.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's critical to select a tow vehicle that is rated to handle the trailer weight and with margin to spare. Don't expect to pull a 5000 lb trailer with a vehicle rated for exactly 5000 lbs, cause you will be unhappy and probably unsafe as well.  The rated tow capacity is determined without gear or extra passengers loaded into the tow vehicle, so the amount left for actual towing is usually less than the number shown in the sales brochure.  A useful rule of the thumb is that the trailer GVWR should be mo more than 80-90% of the max tow rating.  A typical 18 ft light duty trailer is still going to run 4500-5000 lbs and that is going to be beyond most small or midsize SUVs.


Most people end up buying a larger trailer than they planned, longer or heavier or both.  Focus on the size and amenities you need for comfortable travel, not some arbitrary size.
 

TK421

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Mar 21, 2019
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2
Thanks everyone, this is more helpful than you know! We're looking at the G15TB in this line up:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/rockwood-geo-pro

or something in the larger lineup from these guys with the bunk beds and such, the 16BHS to be exact:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/wolf-pup?RegionSelected=1

We are very likely to buy used if we can find anything above or something like it thought we're not married to brand.

We were hoping to pull them with a Subaru Ascent or a Diesel Jaguar F Pace, though the Jag seems a little far fetched.

Right now we have a Prius and it's not hauling anything, but we want to maintain some semblance of gas mileage when we trade it in for a hauler, hence the Diesel Jaguar. We're going to be doing a ton of driving once we drop the RV off, so I don't want to blow the entire budget by buying a car that needs an entire liquid T Rex to get from home to the grocery store.

The wife and I have managed close quarters living for quite some time and are very confident we would be fine in a smaller camper, though everyone seems to think we should go larger. I was figuring on testing it out for at least a year in a small camper and upgrading if necessary.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and keep them coming. I'll fire off an update when we make the final camper decision later this spring.
 

kportra

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Jun 12, 2017
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224
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Montana
My husband's philosophy when matching a tow vehicle and trailer is to start with what the vehicle can tow and then work your way down.  There is Capability, which is not necessarily the safest (we drive in mountains a lot).  Then there is the final factor to consider which is how much stress, wear and tear you want to put on your tow vehicle.  So we pull a pretty small trailer, but are happy with the choice.
 

donn

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If you want to stay with the Subie look at a smaller tear drop.  The Jag?  No clue what its tow rating is.  If you want a aubstantial trailer you must have a substantial tow vehicle.  Otherwise your simply killing your tow vehicle.
 

IBTripping

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Virginia
Thanks everyone, this is more helpful than you know! We're looking at the G15TB in this line up:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/rockwood-geo-pro

This 15'10" trailer has an unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) or dry weight of 2483 lbs and a cargo carrying capacity (CCC) of 1,383 lbs. By adding those 2 numbers, your get the gross weight or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) that you'd be towing of 3,866 lbs. The tongue weight would be a minimum of 10% of the GVWR or 387 lbs (10% x 3,866).

or something in the larger lineup from these guys with the bunk beds and such, the 16BHS to be exact:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/wolf-pup?RegionSelected=1

This 21.5 foot trailer specs are 3,097 lbs UVW plus 780 lbs CCC for a GVWR of 3,877 lbs and a tongue weight of 388 lbs.

We were hoping to pull them with a Subaru Ascent or a Diesel Jaguar F Pace, though the Jag seems a little far fetched.

First, you don't need a diesel to comfortably tow either of those trailers. But, towing with a diesel is fine if that's your choice. Second, fuel consumption will greatly increase when towing any travel trailer. The Subaru has maximum towing rate of 5,000 lbs. As Gary RV_Wizard has noted you should not tow over 80% to 90% of a tow vehicle (TV) max tow capacity. 80% of 5,000 lbs is 4,000 lbs. The diesel Diesel Jaguar F Pace has a bigger max tow capacity. So, you meet the 80% to 90% criteria with either vehicle.

This is important. The dry weight (UVW) does not include the weight of the propane tanks, any water in the drinking and waste tanks, or additional add-on options. A major difference between the 2 trailers is the max cargo carrying capacity (CCC).  The Wolf Pup only allows for a maximum cargo of 780 lbs. The Rockwood Geo Pro has a bigger cargo capacity of 1,383 lbs. Loaded with all your camping gear, clothes, water in the tanks, propane tanks, tools, hoses, waste hose, camping gear, and other stuff, it is highly likely that you'll have a cargo of over 1,000 lbs. Thus, I think the shorter Geo Pro would be the best option for your family of those tow trailers.

Finally, because both the Subaru and Jaguar are unibody construction, I'd advise against using a weight distribution hitch. Please feel free to ask further questions or ask about other new or used travel trailers.
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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Midwest
Perfect response IBTripping  :))

I do feel you would be a whole lot happier towing with something like a Yukon, standard version, or Nissan Armada, or something in the mid-size SUV.  I call my YukonXL, a large SUV  :)) I say that because all these numbers are useless when it's pouring down rain, and/or windy out. You can of course stop until weather gets better, but today's society has schedules to keep, mother nature does not.

Lastly, have you ever considered renting a Class C RV for your first adventure camping?  It sure is a way to get your feet wet, get in the wild, decide if the whole camping thing is in your blood, then consider what course of action to take.  I say this, because I promise, after a few nights in a 16-18' trailer, it gets awful cozy.  A couple week adventure, no comment... and I've been married 30 years :)

Your age plays a lot into this as well.  Younger you guys are, they more I say go for whatever, life is short.  We use to tent camp, on islands on a lake.  Not so much any more.

 

IBTripping

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Virginia
And, as Gizmo1000 says, an argument with the spouse causes the length of the RV to decrease by 10 feet.  ;D ;D ;D
 
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