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Small Travel Trailers - Should I?
Old 05-10-2015, 04:38 PM   #1
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Small Travel Trailers - Should I?

We rented a 27' motorhome about 15 years ago. Didn't like how long it was. Hard to park. Hard to go into town and park on streets. We are thinking about buying a small travel trailer that I can pull with my Honda CRV and disconnect fairly easily. I haven't done much research yet. Wondering who here might have a Scamp or RPod and what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of going small?
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:01 PM   #2
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You might find it useful to hang out at the sister Fiberglass RV Forum, and do a few searches and post some questions.

The Honda CRV is only rated for 1500 pounds, so you'd be limited to a 13 foot fiberglass camper. Most of these don't have a bathroom and the bed is not quite a full double width. Because the bed is oriented sideways you need to crawl over your partner to get up at night, if you are in the back position.

That said, I have a 13 foot camper and love it. Coming from a backpacking and tent background it is pure luxury. Coming from a much larger RV, it might seem overly crowded.
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:03 PM   #3
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If you can handle the small trailer, and your CRV can pull it within its towing limits, then you can do it. If you want slightly bigger trailer then you will also need bigger towing vehicle to handle the weight.

I don't have experience with either small trailer, but a sister site to this one, iRV2 Forum | - RV Forum Community and RV News has lot of people that will be able to give firsthand advice.

I have a large MH and tow a car behind, usually on of my old hot rods. So set up camp are and then use the car to drive around. If on the road, yes need to watch out for bigger parking areas.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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Our son and DIL have a Casita that they pull behind a Toyota Tacoma. They love it.

Forum:
http://www.casitaforum.com/invboard/...=show&pageId=3

Casita website:
http://casitatraveltrailers.com/

Honda CRV towing capacity is 1,500 lbs. It will not tow a loaded Casita or Scamp, *according to websites.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:47 PM   #5
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A Honda CRV is a favorite of RV'ers, however it's as a towed vehicle behind a motor home. They're nobody's favorite as a tow vehicle, due to their lightweight running gear.

Micro camper trailers are on the retail market, but I find them very, very expensive for what you get. You can get a 28' travel trailer for just a little more.

The old pop up trailers are easy to find on the used RV market, and they're hard to beat as a unit to travel with. And they're easily sold when you are through with them.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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Look at hard-sided pop-ups such as Aliner.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lem1955 View Post
We are thinking about buying a small travel trailer that I can pull with my Honda CRV and disconnect fairly easily. I haven't done much research yet. Wondering who here might have a Scamp or RPod and what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of going small?
Interesting--we own a CRV and I'm thinking of a small travel trailer, too. It's just DW and I, and I'd like a bed we can leave down, a small table/dinette, a place to cook, and a toilet/small shower. I don't think there's a trailer with all of that and can be towed by our CRV. So, I'm thinking of getting something a bit bigger to replace our other car (probably a 4Runner or similar) and a small trailer. The trailer might be a 15-17' molded fiberglass one or maybe a slightly larger aluminum or "sheet fiberglass" model (molded are more expensive but seem to hold value better, used AL trailers are relatively inexpensive and might not depreciate much after the 5-6 year point, but do seem more likely to develop issues).
As you may find out, it's tough to try this out without buying. It seems difficult to find a rental tow vehicle. I'm looking for a friend . . . with a truck.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:42 PM   #8
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Piling on Sam's comment, all RV's will require some constant level of repairs and upkeep. Bouncing down the road and all the weather exposure just creates problems. Not to mention RV appliances and construction techniques are not usually very high quality. Corrosion plays a big part, make sure to inspect for any water leaks on used trailer.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:06 PM   #9
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Interesting--we own a CRV and I'm thinking of a small travel trailer, too. It's just DW and I, and I'd like a bed we can leave down, a small table/dinette, a place to cook, and a toilet/small shower. I don't think there's a trailer with all of that and can be towed by our CRV. So, I'm thinking of getting something a bit bigger to replace our other car (probably a 4Runner or similar) and a small trailer. The trailer might be a 15-17' molded fiberglass one or maybe a slightly larger aluminum or "sheet fiberglass" model (molded are more expensive but seem to hold value better, used AL trailers are relatively inexpensive and might not depreciate much after the 5-6 year point, but do seem more likely to develop issues).
As you may find out, it's tough to try this out without buying. It seems difficult to find a rental tow vehicle. I'm looking for a friend . . . with a truck.
Just a recommendation, I'd look at the Highlander as opposed to the 4Runner. I've got a 2004 and am looking at getting a newer one if this one ever gives up the ghost (only 158K so far). Mine has a 3500 lb towing capacity, and the newer ones go up to 5K, which is a little higher then the 4Runner. I don't tow travel trailers, but I've given it a good workout with heavily loaded U-Hauls, and this past year towed a loaded VW Beetle to FL and back (11 miles each way) using a U-Haul tow dolly. It's performed admirably, and when in use as a car has a much better ride than the 4Runner. Better mpg too, I think. Just a suggestion.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:33 PM   #10
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Casitas are one of the best. We tow a fiberglass egg (not a Casita) with a Dodge Caravan. We added a transmission cooler, and our trailer weighs half what a Casita of similar size weighs (our trailer is a thin hunk of junk though). I have friends that successfully pull 16' Casitas with minivans, and even had one friend pull a 17' Casita with a minivan, though you really should get a stabilizer hitch at that point.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:38 PM   #11
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It is not the weigh of the trailer that causes us issues, it is how much large in height & width the trailer is compared to the van when we have a headwind. Our gas mileage gets pulled down to 9 mph if it is really windy. I don't know if our van could tow our 17' 2,000+ lb fiberglass egg through the mountains, and we will probably never try. We have been towing our egg with minivans for 10 years now, and we have never had a problem trying to control or stop it, but again, it is only maybe 2,300 lbs including the hitch weight, and 2,600 fully loaded with all our stuff. But seriously, a Casita would be a great first trailer and worth the money.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:57 AM   #12
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...We have been towing our egg with minivans for 10 years now, and we have never had a problem trying to control or stop it, but again, it is only maybe 2,300 lbs including the hitch weight, and 2,600 fully loaded with all our stuff. ...
Many years ago we had a nice pop-up camper that we pulled with a minivan that weighed about 2,000 pounds, and pretty much maxed out the minivan. I recall that the front wheels would sometimes spin a bit when starting from a stop if the roads were wet, which was a bit scary. We had even had the rear springs on the minivan beefed up.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:36 PM   #13
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The old saw re towing - ‘there is no substitute for displacement’ is still valid. Even over flat terrain, an underpowered vehicle into a strong headwind is no fun.
My small trailer setup and why -
New 2005 16‘ Shadow Cruiser ‘Funfinder’(no longer made) w/conventional wood frame/aluminum siding construction. Has two place sleeping, eliminating the crawl-over issue. I was willing to tackle the extra maintenance required - pay special attention to sealing around the front window (the riveted ‘catch’ for the window cover is prone to leakage as water pools at the window bottom ), the four corners where the siding meets (I removed the corner molding, cleaned off all the old 'butyl tape’ and re-sealed with silicone 2), & top clearance lights i.e. - rain driven water pressure.
The why - best weight/quality/capacity/value/& availability at the time. Meets all of samclems basic requirements. A comparable Casita was almost twice the price, plus not viewable on a local dealer lot. New, because trailers are intimate - we wanted new bedding, bathroom etc... and ahh that new trailer smell. Single axle -the trailer can be unhitched and turned by hand in a pinch.
Pulled by 1/2 ton pickup (F-150, 6cyl, 4.9L, added air springs) w/camper shell. Small trailers have little storage - we take bikes, extra water and sometimes a small generator (Yamaha EF1000 - purrs like a kitten), and often use the un-hitched truck to transport a propane bottle for refilling. I do not like the idea of flammable gas sharing my air-space. Rear wheel drive is best when towing.
Nice extras - solar panels w charge controller, 2nd battery, two propane tanks.
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:00 PM   #14
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For me, one big advantage of a small trailer is that I did not have to buy a pickup truck to tow it. I've owned pickups and I don't want another, but that is a personal preference. I use my daily driver to tow and for where and how fast I tow, it does the job well, gets good mileage and handles confidently. If you tow regularly in steep, hot conditions, you'll need to adjust the tow vehicle to suit those conditions.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:38 PM   #15
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Just a recommendation, I'd look at the Highlander as opposed to the 4Runner. . . . Just a suggestion.
Yep, thanks for the tip. I haven't done a lot of research yet. I was leaning toward the 4Runner over the Highlander because of the body-on-frame construction of the 4Runner, but maybe I'm making too much of that. Options:
2008 4Runner with the V6 (236HP) and 4WD, tows 5000 lbs, 15/19 MPG, Price: about $17K
2008 Highlander with V6, (270 HP) and AWD, tows 5000 lbs, 17/23 MPG, Price: About $15K

The Highlander would be a more practical and comfortable vehicle the 95% of the time it won't be towing something. I don't plan to do any serious off-roading with or without a trailer.

It would be fun to design and build a very lightweight fiberglass (laminated E-glass over polystyrene) trailer on an aluminum trailer frame. I know I could build something that meets our needs, has relatively low drag, and weighs less than 1600 lbs wet (and so could be towed by our CRV), but I also know I have enough projects and that it would take me a year.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:03 PM   #16
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Just a recommendation, I'd look at the Highlander as opposed to the 4Runner. I've got a 2004 and am looking at getting a newer one if this one ever gives up the ghost (only 158K so far). Mine has a 3500 lb towing capacity, and the newer ones go up to 5K, which is a little higher then the 4Runner. I don't tow travel trailers, but I've given it a good workout with heavily loaded U-Hauls, and this past year towed a loaded VW Beetle to FL and back (11 miles each way) using a U-Haul tow dolly. It's performed admirably, and when in use as a car has a much better ride than the 4Runner. Better mpg too, I think. Just a suggestion.
We just bought a 2015 Highlander for the 5k towing capacity. Well, that was my reason, DW wants sitting room for grandkids...

We will probably, eventually tow a 16' Casita or Scamp with it, for now, I'm going to build a teardrop-style 'bed in a box'. We like tent camping, except for the tent...
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:00 PM   #17
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I you have the power to tow it, I would upgrade to the 17' Casita for the bigger bed, bigger fridge, rooftop a/c, screen door to keep the bugs out, larger water tank, and the optional outside shower. I don't work for or have any interest in Casita other than for years I thought I was going to buy the 17' model.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:13 AM   #18
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NB4 Wahoo, but "towing capacity" is mostly a marketing term...
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:41 AM   #19
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NB4 Wahoo, but "towing capacity" is mostly a marketing term...
+1

What a vehicle can tow (pull) is rarely the limiting factor. Check the cargo weight capacity (on the same sticker with tire pressure info). Do the math and you'll see your tongue weight will be too much to allow you to get to that 5000 lb tow number.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:30 AM   #20
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Fiberglass vs aluminum -
Are you safe inside the trailer during an electrical storm?
This question has been on my mind ever since riding out a strong one in a rather exposed position in Arizona. Typical aluminum construction uses a vinyl/rubber roof leaving an incomplete faraday cage. Will a wet roof effectively complete the cage? Is a wet fiberglass trailer an effective cage?
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