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Old 03-18-2019, 07:38 PM   #1
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What Travel Trailer fits our needs?

As I alluded to in my "Hello Post," I bought a travel trailer… After years of casually looking for a camper, I found one that was too good to pass up, less than a mile from home. Here is my 2011 Forest River Rockwood Roo.



It has everything we wanted. I did some research into what my Jeep TJ and my wife's Jeep Liberty KK could tow. I later found out that while my Jeep TJ can pull this, stopping a 3,184 lbs. trailer is another thing entirely. (The TJ has a two-rating of 2,000 lbs., the KK has a tow-rating of... 5,000 lbs...? I'm still checking on that.) My thought was, that with the brake assist, I would be okay. Well, I was wrong. I suggested we sell this … you can only imagine the heat I'm getting from the wife. And the kids. You'd think I took away Christmas. So, I need some advice before I make another bad decision ... what stays and what goes?
What we want in a tow-behind camper:
  • Sleeps 4
  • Inside kitchen; sink, refrigerator, stove
  • Bathroom, with shower and toilet
  • Furnace
  • A/C
  • Brake assist
  • Weighs no more than 3,500 lbs.
I can sell this Forest River Rockwood Roo and buy a small, lighter something … maybe a pop-up? But, how well do pop-ups hold in the heat and A/C? This matters as we will be taking whatever to end up with to FL.

Or … I sell my Jeep TJ and buy a Jeep LJ, which has a tow-rating of 3,500 lbs.

So, at the recommendation of a user on the Jeep Forum I was posting to, I am here for advice.

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Old 03-18-2019, 08:27 PM   #2
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I will throw out an opinion.



You want to look at the GCWR of the TV (found on a decal on the drivers door) and the GVWR of the trailer.



A 17' Rockwood has a GVWR of 3800+ lbs (2800+ dry plus 1000 lbs gear) and you can expect +/- 10% of that in tongue weight. The Jeep LJ will still come up short. The WB of the Liberty is so short, I would be afraid to tow much of anything down the highway. Tent trailers are okay in some climates, but I would nix that idea for the Florida heat and humidity. You see this a lot, people that just look at trailer dry weight, then look at towing capacity. You really should have a good tow rig before ever considering what trailer to buy. As for what trailer or camper to get, I'm sure someone will chime in. If it were me and the family liked the current Rockwood, I would trade in the TJ or Liberty and get a better tow rig.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:48 PM   #3
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Does the trailer have brakes? If not, you could consider adding brakes. Your trailer is already pretty light. Since it is a problem towing (stopping), you might also consider getting a used half ton, AWD, crew cab pickup, or a large body-on-frame AWD SUV (Suburban, Yukon, Escalade, Expedition, Armada, etc.).
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:10 PM   #4
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I personally have limited knowledge of Jeeps. However, on a facebook group I came across a post of a Cherokee Trailhawk which apparently has a tow rating of 4500 lbs. It's a nice looking, decent sized trailer and sounds like it might fit your needs? Trailer is a Winnebago 1706fb
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:14 PM   #5
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With that said, I'd suggest upgrading your tow vehicle to a truck, which would really open up the options of what you can tow...
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:33 PM   #6
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X2 on that one
I can't tell you enough how much value family camping provides. Keep the trailer. Evolve the tow vehicle. You like jeeps it looks like, ... so let the wife keep hers and you get a 4x4 pickup.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:56 PM   #7
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If your Jeep TJ is only rated to tow 2000 lbs. there is absolutely nothing you can ever do to tow that RV. Why can't you use your wife's Jeep? Yes, the hybrid will have the room to sleep 4 people. Your not going to find a smaller (non-hybrid) RV trailer with enough room that is much lighter.

We have been thru two hybrids over 13 years and about 750-800 nights of use. At least for us, it maxed out the room / space for the tow vehicle we had (2005 4Runner V-8 / 7200 lb. towing max) for a family unit of 3. They were much larger than what you have (24' & 25') both with slides, but I was well under my 4Runners towing max. Since then, we have upgraded to a Tundra and a new non hybrid trailer.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:06 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the comments and suggestions! To respond to your questions and observations ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gosupes View Post
You want to look at the GCWR of the TV (found on a decal on the drivers door) and the GVWR of the trailer. A 17' Rockwood has a GVWR of 3800+ lbs (2800+ dry plus 1000 lbs gear) and you can expect +/- 10% of that in tongue weight. The Jeep LJ will still come up short. The WB of the Liberty is so short, I would be afraid to tow much of anything down the highway.
My Rockwood states the dry weight is 3,184 lbs. As an experienced tent camper, I don't see how I would need an additional 1,000 lbs. of gear to camp in a camper, but you are not the first to suggest that much weight be added to the UVW. Į\_(ツ)_/Į Regarding the KK, after doing more research, the Liberty can indeed tow 5,000 lbs. once properly equipped. No way I'd attempt that much weight, for the reason you stated, but it is enough to pull the Rockwood we have now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
Why can't you use your wife's Jeep? Yes, the hybrid will have the room to sleep 4 people. Your not going to find a smaller (non-hybrid) RV trailer with enough room that is much lighter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gosupes View Post
Tent trailers are okay in some climates, but I would nix that idea for the Florida heat and humidity.
Well, now we know we can use her Liberty to pull what we have, but leaves me still stuck with a tent when I go on Jeep trips. The pop-up tent campers I now know are a no-go for FL. That's a bummer. So if I want something lighter, non canvas, that will sleep 4, all I see on the market are the Rockwood Hard Side Pop-Ups. I wasn't able to find any used, no idea how much money I'd be getting into. Even then, my Jeep TJ isn't going to be able to tow even the smallest of them, and those do not have bathrooms. … so maybe we forget about camping in FL and stick to condos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IBTripping View Post
Does the trailer have brakes?
Yes it does!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gosupes View Post
I would trade in the TJ or Liberty and get a better tow rig.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IBTripping View Post
Since it is a problem towing (stopping), you might also consider getting a used half ton, AWD, crew cab pickup, or a large body-on-frame AWD SUV (Suburban, Yukon, Escalade, Expedition, Armada, etc.).... we have upgraded to a Tundra.
I have to have a Jeep, it's what I do. Either I keep my TJ or get a LJ, but I'm not sure that switching my Jeep just to get to a tow rating of 3,500 lbs. is going to be worth it. The wife's Liberty can go at some point, but we're not adding a car payment to the camper payment right now.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #9
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If you have to have a jeep(makes no sense to me but ok) Get a commander or grand cherokee. Or wait for the gladiator.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:21 AM   #10
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Jeeps are never going to be the answer for towing. Some Cherokees are able to tow a bit more than your current Liberty but not with a full family inside. Find the stickers that show loading info which should be on the driver's door sill. It will say something like "occupants and cargo should not exceed xxx pounds". That number is all the weight you can put in the Jeep as well as the tongue weight of the trailer and the weight of the hitch. Just the trailer and hitch will be about 550 pounds. If that leaves you enough for your family then you are good.

You should check that the brakes on the trailer are actually working. The magnets in the brakes sometimes come loose or the wires break making them perform poorly.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:05 AM   #11
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I fully understand - its a jeep thing. A 16' Scamp would work. https://www.scamptrailers.com/ They have several floor plans and I think #4 is the one you'd want. It hits everything on your checklist and will come in at under 2500 lbs. We had this exact layout and probably still would today if a hurricane hadn't dropped a couple of oaks on it. I even pulled it with a TJ (4.0 5spd) for a couple of years. Not ideal but it worked.
Let me know if you have questions. We now have a 19' Scamp pulled by a Tacoma.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:11 AM   #12
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Talking It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazymason View Post
I personally have limited knowledge of Jeeps. However, on a facebook group I came across a post of a Cherokee Trailhawk which apparently has a tow rating of 4500 lbs.
I'm not that dedicated to the Jeep brand to get one of those.... let me clarify...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobilemike View Post
If you have to have a jeep(makes no sense to me but ok) Get a commander or grand cherokee. Or wait for the gladiator.
Ö. when I say "I have to have a Jeep," I mean just for my vehicle, and only the CJ/TJ/LJ. (I'd drive a MJ too, but not as a daily driver. Until you've driven up old oil-drilling trails in the Smokey Mountains, you may not ever "get it." ohhh... the Gladiator... sigh... likely way too over-priced, but I so would. ) My wife drives whatever she wants. She has been driving Jeeps for the past decade or so, but just because the Grand Cherokee is so versatile, but it lacks back seat leg room, so that's why she got the Liberty (4" more rear seat leg room,) and only then because of the retractable roof. She wanted a mini-van!

Quote:
Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
Find the stickers that show loading info which should be on the driver's door sill. It will say something like "occupants and cargo should not exceed xxx pounds". That number is all the weight you can put in the Jeep as well as the tongue weight of the trailer and the weight of the hitch. Just the trailer and hitch will be about 550 pounds. If that leaves you enough for your family then you are good.
I have got to keep that in mind! Someone else I think mentioned what I emphasized in your quote.

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You should check that the brakes on the trailer are actually working. The magnets in the brakes sometimes come loose or the wires break making them perform poorly.
I'll look for a write-up/how-to on doing that, thanks!
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJeepy View Post
Thank you all for the comments and suggestions! To respond to your questions and observations ...

My Rockwood states the dry weight is 3,184 lbs.

The day it came off the production line, the dry weight was 3184. Now add batteries, propane, food, clothing, etc. The GVWR is the dry weight plus the max load capacity of the trailer. The dry weight should never be used, the actual weight is going to be north of that no matter how light you think you are.



And I don't blame you for wanting to stay with the Jeeps. I have owned an 86 CJ7 since 1989.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:09 PM   #14
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An LJ isn't going to be a good tow vehicle for that trailer either, IMHO. A TT is tall and wide and catches a lot of wind. It's not like pulling a 3000 lb boat or a flat trailer loaded with lumber or landscaping materials.
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