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Old 01-21-2023, 10:23 AM   #1
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Light weight single axle travel trailers

Thinking about getting a lightweight beginner single axle travel trailer. Pulling with a 22' Nissan pickup with around 6000 lb towing capacity but no one wants the impact of wind drag. This adds a bunch of stress on the pickup. Does anyone have enough experience dealing with this to at least comment?
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Old 01-21-2023, 02:37 PM   #2
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Wind drag on an RV trailer has three major causes:
  • Frontal area (basically width vs height)
  • The suction formed immediately behind the rear wall, which is somewhat related to width & height as well
  • Turbulence across the roof and sides, cause by the various things that stick up or out
The relatively high wind drag of an RV trailer is high versus a flat bed or utility trailer and is the reason it is advisable to stay under the max tow rating if possible (the SAE standard tow weight ratings are established with low height trailers).

There isn't much you can do about drag factors except to stick with a relatively low height trailer. Tear drops and popups are the lowest drag but have other drawbacks, so pick a trailer that suits your comfort needs. Drag reduction is not worth buying a trailer that you seldom use because it falls short overall.


And realistically, a moderate decrease in drag doesn't buy that much in either fuel economy or wear & tear. Trailer towing is severe service in truck maintenance lingo, so we are talking about the difference working the truck hard or a bit harder. As long as you maintain the truck well, it ought to be fine.
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Old 01-21-2023, 05:15 PM   #3
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I think with your 6K tow rating, you're going to need to go small like one of these below. The one below comes in at 4K empty. Between filling the trailer and the truck bed, you'll be bumping up against that 6K tow rating. Plus, they'll be pretty aerodynamic.

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Old 01-21-2023, 05:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
Wind drag on an RV trailer has three major causes:
  • Frontal area (basically width vs height)
  • The suction formed immediately behind the rear wall, which is somewhat related to width & height as well
  • Turbulence across the roof and sides, cause by the various things that stick up or out
The relatively high wind drag of an RV trailer is high versus a flat bed or utility trailer and is the reason it is advisable to stay under the max tow rating if possible (the SAE standard tow weight ratings are established with low height trailers).

There isn't much you can do about drag factors except to stick with a relatively low height trailer. Tear drops and popups are the lowest drag but have other drawbacks, so pick a trailer that suits your comfort needs. Drag reduction is not worth buying a trailer that you seldom use because it falls short overall.


And realistically, a moderate decrease in drag doesn't buy that much in either fuel economy or wear & tear. Trailer towing is severe service in truck maintenance lingo, so we are talking about the difference working the truck hard or a bit harder. As long as you maintain the truck well, it ought to be fine.
Another suggestion is to drive slower. The faster you drive, the more the front of the trailer drags in the air. An that lesens your mog.

I've proven this with my 30 foot toy hauler. it has a big flat front. Driving at 70mph makes the truck work much harder than driving 60. It may take a little more time, but is safer and more relaxing.
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Old 01-22-2023, 03:55 PM   #5
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Yeap, slower is better. Basic physics says the wind resistance pressure increases with the square of the speed, so an increase in speed from 60 to 70 mph is a 36% increase in resistance rather than the 17% that a linear increase would imply.
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Old 01-22-2023, 04:24 PM   #6
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It's worth noting that "light weight" and "single axle" go hand in hand. While its possible to build a relatively heavy single axle trailer, few, if any, manufacturers do so. A single axle trailer rarely exceeds a 4500 lb axle rating and 3000 - 4000 is the most common, so that limits the GVWR to around 3300-4400 lbs.


It seems to be a common misconception that a single axle somehow makes the RV simpler or more reliable or otherwise easier/better for a beginner. Other than two less tires to spend money on, one axle vs two is a trivial difference. If its simple you want, eliminate features like furnaces, air conditioners, microwaves and fridges. If that's not in your playbook, then forget about simple beginner rigs. You are jumping in the deep end.
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Old 01-23-2023, 09:32 AM   #7
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I tow a 2500 lb (dry) single axle trailer with a Tacoma. I've done that for 17 years, about 10,000 miles a year, in some fairly rugged mountain conditions much of the time. Usually right around 60 mph.

I usually get around 10 mpg. With a headwind, that is more like 9 mpg. Wind resistance is the cost of trailering -- unless you get a really small trailer. And by small I mean low to the ground.

Both of my trailers have been 12 foot boxes by Cruiser RV -- a T-139 and now an X-139. Bed/dinette, fridge, stove, bathroom and shower. Decent for two people, one of whom is very small.

We like small trailers for boondocking and for storage on the driveway.
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Old 01-23-2023, 03:27 PM   #8
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Towing capacity not as important as payload. A TV with what appears on the surface to have sufficient tow rating for a particular trailer may be in the danger zone when it comes to payload. Whatever the trailer’s GVWR, multiply by 12% to get an idea of wet tongue weight,. Subtract that and another 100# for the hitch from the tv payload to determine if there is enough remaining payload to carry passengers and gear. A tv with 6,000# tow capacity likely has a very low payload. It’s posted on the inside of the driver side door.
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Old 01-23-2023, 04:57 PM   #9
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Towing capacity not as important as payload. A TV with what appears on the surface to have sufficient tow rating for a particular trailer may be in the danger zone when it comes to payload. Whatever the trailer’s GVWR, multiply by 12% to get an idea of wet tongue weight,. Subtract that and another 100# for the hitch from the tv payload to determine if there is enough remaining payload to carry passengers and gear. A tv with 6,000# tow capacity likely has a very low payload. It’s posted on the inside of the driver side door.
My 2015 Canyon had a payload over 1400 pounds with a tow rating of 7K, to put some perspective to the numbers. The thing is, that payload actually is up there with some FS half ton trucks people have described here.

If I was to tow 7K, the estimate most would toss out here is at least 840 to 1000 pounds of tongue weight (12-15%), plus 100 pounds of WD hitch. Doesn't leave much for passengers and cargo in the vehicle.

My Silverado is close to 10K tow capacity. If you figure 9000 pounds of trailer, then that gets you to 1080 to 1350 of tongue weight, plus another 100 pounds for a WD hitch. Again, you are not leaving much for passengers and cargo.
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Old 01-24-2023, 06:56 AM   #10
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Payload, tongue weight, towing capacity is what it is.

If your worried about the stress wind resistance will have on the truck add an aftermarket aux TOC.

Get the biggest one you can fit in there while still having adequate air flow to the A/C condenser & radiator.
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Old 01-24-2023, 08:13 AM   #11
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Had a 2018 Frontier towing just under 4K single axle TT. Generally had no issues with handling in normal driving conditions with WDH.
Plenty of stop and go power and braking.
Single biggest problem was I ran out of payload. Most single axle trailers have vet heavy hitch weight closer to 15 or 20% compared to double axles. From my research Micro Minnie from Winnebago have lower hitch weight with 2X axles.
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Old 01-24-2023, 05:10 PM   #12
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I greatly prefer small, lightweight travel trailers. I've had a popup, a 23' Rockwood, a 17' Burro, a 17' KZ Escape, and an Aliner (in that order). Last few years I've been camping out of my 17' Li'l Hauley cargo trailer due to finances. Currently shopping for an Escape model 17B (made in Canada) and the Hauley is up for sale. The smaller trailers are easier to get into and out of many campgrounds as well as gas stations.

Check out Scamp and Casita. Also Li'l Snoozy, if you don't mind all-electric. They are low, narrow, and smooth sided with tapered edges for reduced wind resistance, which yields better fuel economy (maybe 14-15 instead of 10) and less strain on the tow vehicle.
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Old 01-24-2023, 08:01 PM   #13
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Been there, done that with a Tacoma. I now own a Ram Hemi.
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