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Old 07-23-2018, 11:15 AM   #1
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Question about R-pod Vs. other small trailers! New to this!

Hello! My family of four (we have 2 kids, 5 and 10) is looking to get a small trailer. We have a van that can pull a max of 3600, so are looking at trailers no more than around 3000lbs. We LOVED the R Pods, mostly because they seem super well-crafted and small and well-insulated, as we'll be traveling a lot in the south. Alas, they are pricey compared to the sales on other trailers like the Forest River Salem FSX 197bh (the one we are currently thinking of buying). Is the R POD just trendier and therefore pricier, or does anyone know if there are legitimate pros to such a trailer? The 2018 Salem in question seems to be on "super sale" everywhere - around $12,000 when the list price is $22,000. Is this normal or is there something I don't know about this trailer?! Since we are super new to this we know nothing and so I thought I'd reach out to you all instead of trusting every salesman or woman we meet who swears by their current inventory! Thanks in advance for your insight!
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Old 07-23-2018, 01:03 PM   #2
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Glad to have you here in the forum with us. You're gonna like it here.

Never having had a TT. I can't give you the answer you're looking for. Someone will be along with experience that can offer you some advice.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:27 PM   #3
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Question about R-pod Vs. other small trailers! New to this!

First off, I would not recommend towing a pod type travel trailer (TT) with a minivan with only 3,600 lb towing capacity. You should limit yourself to a pop up only. Probably 2,500 lb max “dry”. Due to lower weight and low profile, a popup is ideal for you. Plus, hitch weight can be as low as 10% of total popup weight for stable towing. Any TT needs 12-15% hitch weight for stability to help prevent fishtailing and bounce. That hitch weight loads the back of your minivan tow vehicle. Rear axles of minivans are not robust enough for TT towing.

Secondly, your “tow” capacity has to also include all the weight you put into your “dry” trailer, PLUS all the stuff, cargo, and people (except skinny 150lb driver). Also remember that kids have a propensity to grow when you water them!

Third, all that load on your tow vehicle cannot exceed your Payload Capacity (yellow sticker on your driver door jamb), nor can your entire vehicle plus all stuff and people exceed its GVWR. At the beginning of the Towing section is a “sticky” that has a number of towing calculators. I suggest you download a few and play around with them.

As an example, my 06 Ford Explorer with 5,400 lb tow capacity and 1,282 lb payload capacity, after going through these calculators for my family and probable cargo, I should be looking for a “dry” weight TT of only about 3,000-3,500 lbs. This is only about 60% of the advertised towing capacity. The culprit, of course, is the low payload capacity and rear axle capacity. Be careful. There are some nice popups out there but some of them can also get quite heavy too.
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:06 PM   #4
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I agree with Desert Flyer. I don't see the R-Pod as high priced and the saying "you get what you pay for" applies to RVs as well. Although you will pay for the cachet of some brands like Airstream, others like LivinLite Camplite are more expensive because of the extensive use of aluminum and durable construction. If you see lots of wood in the walls, ceiling etc of the trailer you are considering, consider not "if" but "when" water intrusion will turn that cheap trailer into a very expensive lawn ornament. Another tip, go to popular campgrounds and speak to the management and owners about their experience, good and bad. With a young family, if you love camping, you want to spend the money up front to ensure a long lasting, quality built trailer.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:35 AM   #5
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If an RV is maintained properly there is no reason for it to start leaking. The R-pod walls and floor still have wood interiors (luan) so its not that an aluminium framed structure is immune to any kind of wood rot should water be allowed to get inside. Their marketing says they have no roof seams but there are two running full length of the roof where it meets the walls not to mention several roof penetrations.

Personally I like the R-pods. We had seriously considered one but in the end decided we needed a bit more space. If you can stay within your loaded weight limitations I see no reason for you to not buy one. That said which model were you considering?
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:42 PM   #6
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Question about R-pod Vs. other small trailers! New to this!

I agree with Desert Flyer - you have to be careful not to get too heavy a trailer for your van! A long time ago, we towed a 8' Flagstaff popup with a Dodge Grand Caravan. We had to replace the engine once and the rear end twice before trading it in on a full-size Ford Econoline van. That van went on to towing a 10' Coleman popup and later a Rockwood Roo 19.



Looking at R-Pod specs, it appears you shouldn't buy an R-Pod any bigger than the RP-172. What Desert Flyer didn't point out is it's not how much the trailer weighs but how much stuff you'll load into both the trailer and the tow vehicle. It may not seem possible, but it's very easy to over-load your rig!
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaimez View Post
Hello! My family of four (we have 2 kids, 5 and 10) is looking to get a small trailer. We have a van that can pull a max of 3600, so are looking at trailers no more than around 3000lbs. We LOVED the R Pods, mostly because they seem super well-crafted and small and well-insulated, as we'll be traveling a lot in the south. Alas, they are pricey compared to the sales on other trailers like the Forest River Salem FSX 197bh (the one we are currently thinking of buying). Is the R POD just trendier and therefore pricier, or does anyone know if there are legitimate pros to such a trailer? The 2018 Salem in question seems to be on "super sale" everywhere - around $12,000 when the list price is $22,000. Is this normal or is there something I don't know about this trailer?! Since we are super new to this we know nothing and so I thought I'd reach out to you all instead of trusting every salesman or woman we meet who swears by their current inventory! Thanks in advance for your insight!
I read the previous posts above. They are good advice. Since you have not bought your TT yet you are in a good position to learn to evaluate loading. The load calculators can seam complicated to use but can save your life, health, and your wealth.

Start by looking at the loading sticker on the drivers door post. Tire loading is also there, but you need the vehicle loading sticker. There will be a GVW (gross vehicle weight), and dry weight, and other weight specs. These specs are much better than published towing capacity. They are specific to your vehicle and its factory configuration.

Subtract dry weight from GVW. That give cargo capacity. Next subtract weight of passengers and luggage. That is the weight available to carry the travel trailer tongue weight.

TT (travel trailer) tongue weight should be between 10% and 20% of the TT weight. (Sometimes it is much higher.) So a TT GVW of 5 to 10 times the available cargo capacity is all you have to play with even if the published specs for the mini van say you have more.

Even at this point, you need to consider more limitations. You need to evaluate the rear axle load capacity. You need to evaluate the hitch receiver installed on your mini van. It has a load capacity, possibly not enough for an R-Pod. In any case because you will be so close to the maximum, you would be advised to get a tongue weight gage (see amazon.com). I had to move weight from the front of the TT to the rear on my folding camper and on my Kodiak Cub 21 foot TT to stay within specs.

For most travel trailers (TT) you should use the TT's gross vehicle weight not the dry weight. You will add weight to the TT. Even if you only add a little, a margin of unused capacity adds a much needed safety margin.

R-Pod 172 from the Forest River website.
Hitch Weight:
243 lb.
UVW
2338 lb.
CCC
905 lb.
Exterior Length:
18' 4"
Exterior Height:
9' 6"
Exterior Width:
96"
Fresh Water:
36 gal.
Gray Water:
30 gal.
Black Water:
30 gal.

UVW is the manufactures way of enticing you to think your small tow vehicle is adequate. I assume it means Unloaded Vehicle Weight. Once you sign the contract you may find you also need to buy a new bigger tow vehicle.

UVW does not include 36 gallons of water or the optional canopy. It does not include a bigger battery, full propane tanks, hoses, or waste water handling gear. It does not include bedding, clothes, food, cooking gear, etc.

The GVW of the 172 is not easily available on the Forest River website and yet is vital to determining if it is right for you. It is on a sticker on the front drivers side.

Different 172's may have different GVW as well depending on their factory configurations. Call the dealer and ask him to read it to you from the sticker. Don't listen to his deflection explanations, insist. Don't listen to his I think it is this or that or any other excuse, insist.

Next step:
Learn to use the calculators mentioned in previous posts. They are necessary to a good future experience and happy trails.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:16 PM   #8
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A Forest River Salem FSX 197bh has a flat back. The R-Pod has a sloped rear roof. The R-Pod will tow with less wind resistance than the FSX. It is a significant difference for your under powered tow vehicle. A Casita or Escape will tow with even less wind resistance.

An R-Pod is reasonably priced for the quality it delivers. The cost of cheap TT's do not end with the purchase price. The dealer will hit you with addons and warranties are weak. Support staff are experts at deflecting claims. Extended warranties are worse than manufacturers warranties. A good dealer can make all the difference.

A strategy to consider. Buy a 1 to 3 year old trailer. The previous owner will have corrected the inevitable issues that come with new trailers in the very lowest price ranges. Also, first year depreciation can be avoided.

Seriously consider a newer larger tow vehicle if you are going to buy a travel trailer.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:18 PM   #9
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Question about R-pod Vs. other small trailers! New to this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaimez View Post
Hello! My family of four (we have 2 kids, 5 and 10) is looking to get a small trailer. We have a van that can pull a max of 3600, so are looking at trailers no more than around 3000lbs. We LOVED the R Pods, mostly because they seem super well-crafted and small and well-insulated, as we'll be traveling a lot in the south. Alas, they are pricey compared to the sales on other trailers like the Forest River Salem FSX 197bh (the one we are currently thinking of buying). Is the R POD just trendier and therefore pricier, or does anyone know if there are legitimate pros to such a trailer? The 2018 Salem in question seems to be on "super sale" everywhere - around $12,000 when the list price is $22,000. Is this normal or is there something I don't know about this trailer?! Since we are super new to this we know nothing and so I thought I'd reach out to you all instead of trusting every salesman or woman we meet who swears by their current inventory! Thanks in advance for your insight!

First - a question - do you have a full-size van or a minivan? If you have a minivan, the biggest popup you can tow will be a 10 ft. I know from experience the majority of minivans are not up to towing, even if it has a transmission cooler.


I got to look at the interior of a few R-Pods at a recent RV show. While I love their looks, the beds in all of them are short. Depending on which way the beds face, if you're over 5'6", you'll either be curled up or your feet will hang off the edge of the beds.


My suggestion would be to visit RV shows and whatever RV dealers are in your area.



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Old 10-26-2020, 07:44 PM   #10
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I might get "put in the corner" for this, but here it goes. My wife and I have had two motor homes, a pop up, and now a TT 2013 Takina. We thought we had reached a point where we did not feel like camping anymore, and sold the pop up. We soon found ourselves missing going to our nearby lake and spending a few days here and the in the woods, so we started looking to buy another trailer. My wife loves the Rpods, and we looked at a 179 and thought it just wasn't big enough for us, we did not like the bed set up, the little couch with a floppy table, the smallish kitchen and sink, the bathroom was "small".......We walked away thinking twice about the purchase. At the same time my wife signed up into a Facebook Rpod Owner's Group and began reading stories about Rpods that were not very re-assuring. Quality Control in many areas was non existent. After much research we decided to go with the Takina and are very happy with it.....I suggest doing your research and see the trailers in person, to see how it "Fit You", then make a choice.....Just my humble opinion!!....(If you are locked on an Rpod, join the Facebook page and do some research there, there are a lot of friendly happy owners who will help and answer your questions).....
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:29 AM   #11
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"2013 Takina"

I think you made a typo as a search for Takina doesn't bring up any trailers or rvs. You've tweaked my curiosity....what is it that you actually have?
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