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Old 09-08-2013, 08:37 AM   #1
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Newbies with an SUV

We are a family of 5, looking for the roomiest TT that we can pull behind our GMC Acadia (5,200 # max). Our oldest is 6'1".

Bonus points for eco-friendly, stylish models. There are SO many brands, and we're totally overwhelmed. Any recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:29 AM   #2
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First, I suggest you honestly evaluate your tow vehicle. If you are starting with a SUV and 5 riders you have perhaps maxed out the tow vehicle before you add a trailer. Study the information here: Understanding RV Weights

Be aware that many dealers will sell you a trailer unsafe for your SUV's capacities. See: Jack-knifed & totaled...advice

In addition, be aware that the numbers listed for a particular trailer might not be it's actual weight. Additional options and add ons are often not reflected in the weight of the vehicle. If a dealer wants to make a sale, ask that it be weighed on a certified scale before you'll consider it.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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What year is it? Flinn is probably right. With 5200lb max and full of people, it might not have any more payload for a trailer. I would load up everyone and fill the tank full of gas, go to a scale, and weight it. Only way to know for sure.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Newbies with an SUV

Thanks so much! It's a 2013 Acadia...and I'm totally overwhelmed by the weight issue.

The lightest one I've found that fits everyone is the Camplite 21BHS. They list the GVWR as 5,000, and the Acadia lists the max. towing capacity as 5,000, and the gross weight as 6,411. This sounds like a match...but I'm unclear if the TT GVWR is the same thing as the Acadia gross weight.

Am I making any sense? Spending 2 hours on a sunny Sunday morning, reading about TT's has made me loopy. But I REALLY want this to work. Thanks in advance for any suggestions of how to find the final word on whether this is safe.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:07 AM   #5
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GVWR is the maximum weight that each individual can be at.
So TT GVWR is different than Acadia GVWR.

If your Acadia's GVWR is 6411, and the listing of empty weight is 4656, that gives you 1755lbs to add to an EMPTY Acadia. That is with no cargo, and probably one tiny person driving it.
If you have five people with an average of 175lbs (just a guess), then adding 175*5 to 4656-150 (for the small person they figure), you get 5381lbs. That leaves 1030lbs of cargo weight and tongue weight of the trailer. Remember, GVWR is maximum weight of your Acadia. Weight is anything that is put onto any of it's four tires, including trailer tongue weight.
So 1030lbs of carrying capacity. Using the 5000lb GVWR of the trailer (always use highest numbers), and 15% of the being tongue weight, which will go onto your Acadia, you get 750lbs of tongue weight. That leaves you 280lbs under your Acadia's GVWR.
Then you'll have the weight distributing and sway control hitch. Figure 100lbs or so. So 180lbs left over.
You'll be very close to max, and idk what engine or axle gearing you have. So it may pull it, but very poorly and you may not be happy with how it pulls.
This is all just rough guessing. I would still load it full and go weigh it to start with.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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The Acadia towing capacity I've seen has an "*" that says that maximum number is with the proper suspension, rear end ratio, engine and transmission. You need to accurately and honestly evaluate what your particular vehicle is rated to tow. I think you'll find that with a family of 5 a better TV would be a 4-door 2500 truck. Most SUVs are based on a much lighter chassis.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) This is the maximum weight of fully loaded vehicle (trailer or tow vehicle) Be aware some trailer manufactures actually use axles not rated to carry the GVWR they list on the sticker. In addition, tongue weight, or the downward pressure of trailer tongue on tow vehicle hitch is 10-15% of trailer's weight. In a 5000 lb. trailer you'll need to add 500-750 lbs. of weight to the tow vehicle's GVWR. You should also check ratings of individual axles, with that kind of load you might be overloading the Denali's rear axle or tire weight rating.

GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) The sum of the fully loaded trailer and tow vehicle weight. Same as GCW (Gross Combination Weight).

The only way to accurately determine these weights is to load as ready to travel and take to a scale. I know it sounds overwhelming to someone who just wants to go camping and build memories with the family, but their safety is in all those numbers. As I said before, don't believe what others that won't ride with you say.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:28 AM   #7
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Newbies with an SUV

Wow! That's exactly what I needed to know! Thanks so much. I re-calculated based on our actual weights, and gained some extra room, weight wise. 275 lbs. to work with on stuff we bring. What this lets me know is that the Camplite is definitely our only option with that much room...and that I need to do a real weight check. Do the RV sales stores have scales to let you do this before you buy?

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Most RV dealers won't care about weights or know anything. It's up to you to know if your vehicle can tow it.
If they really want to sell it, they will help. And I've never seen an RV dealer with scales.
Even if you weigh a new RV, it's empty. That's why you should use the GVWR.


Quick add: GCWR is not the same as GCW. One is a max rating, hence the R. The other is the actual weight when weighed.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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I'm new to TT as well, and we already bought out trailer and vehicle. I've towed it on 3 trips already, the longest just 200 miles and all seems to be okay. My question is where do I find a scale to weigh? I want to be more certain on both my trailer and vehicle weights. I live in a Northwest Chicago suburb.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:26 PM   #10
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CAT Scale Locator | CAT Scale
CAT Scale Locator | CAT Scale

CAT scales are most popular. You can go to their website and find an even larger list. Those were the two closest to Chicago.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:27 PM   #11
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We own almost the same vehicle (Traverse) with towing package (5200 lbs tow rating) and just purchased our first RV trailer. Its a 2014 Skyline Ecocamp 21BH. We went to the CAT scales after loading up. With 2 adults and 2 pre teen kids, our GCW was 750 lbs less than our maximum of 10450. You may want to look into that Model. We did a lot of research around weight before purchasing. So far we love it.
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:09 PM   #12
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I like the Camplite, but they are getting way too expensive now.

The forest river vibe 6504 fits your bill, plus it has a nice large bathroom for changing and a long dinette for your eldest. Here's a link:
Vibe Travel Trailer by Forest River


It's also a little more aerodynamic with the V front and the tapered off roof towards the back. Should help your acadia's V6 engine a little.

Looking at all the numbers, you should be under your max ratings. Hitch weight is very low on the 6504, so you have plenty of leeway to load it with more tongue weight and still have plenty of headroom with your acadia's payload rating.

I would also pay special attention to the acadia's tire pressure, i think GM puts the actual PSI on the display. I would just check it occasionally during your trip.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:18 PM   #13
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We purchased a Salem cruise Lite model rb221 to keep our tow weight down with an Envoy and a 5200 LB towing capacity. But for us its only the 2 of us as the kids are all grown up and gone. That model of trailer works for us but would not sleep 5. Tows great with no problems but still plan to upgrade our tow vehicle.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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For a mid-sized SUV, 4-5 campers and "stuff" to stay under 5k is going to be a challenge. For a couple, I'm sure there are plenty of RV's out there. To get sleeping space for 4-5 you almost have to go to a hybrid under 22' and 3800 dry. The "stuff" you fill is going to add close to a 1000lbs when set and done easy.

We had a good combination with a mid-sized Toyota 4Runner SUV, but it had a V-8 and a 7200lb. tow cap. We were at about 5100 wet...with a 25' hybrid with slide. But now hope to take delivery Friday of a 14' Tundra 5.7L double cab. The 4Runner serviced us well..9 seasons about 480 nights camped....Used mostly as our tow vehicle, trading it in with 53k miles...One sweet ride...
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