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Old 08-19-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
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New to trailering - overwhelmed

My wife and I are going to be purchasing a travel trailer for ourselves and our 2 pre-teen kids. We'll be towing it with our 5.7L Toyota Tundra 4x4 with the Tow Package. We'd like something that sleeps 6+ and like the "bunkhouse" configuration. Since this is our first, I'm hoping to get some insight from some of the "old hands" around here on brands, desired options, etc., and also, what, in addition to the trailer, storage, and insurance, do we have to budget for? We're trying to stay in the $25k range and would prefer new. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Editing to add TV specs:

GVWR - 7200 lb.
GAWR - 4000 lb. F - 4150 lb. R
Payload - 1375 lb.
Tow Rating - 9000 lb.
Family weight - 650ish lb.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
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You're doing the right thing , asking questions before you buy.
Always the best idea.
Do you have the info on your truck , as far as Trailer tow rating and Gross Combined Weight Rating. GVWR & Payload.
It is very important to have this information from the manufacturer and know , how it is calculated.
First thing to do would be to take your truck , with a full tank of fuel and family aboard over the scales, and compare that weight to your GVWR.
I say this because ,I know from personal experience , that it is possible to over load certain 1/2 ton trucks with 6 adults in the extended cab and not an ounce of cargo, in the box.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
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Be wary of manufacturer claims for sleeping capacity.

We had a 27' Travel Trailer which officially slept 9

Yeah sure. Snow White and the seven dwarfs (and Prince Charming) maybe.

Ours had a Queen up front with a (almost) full at the rear and a bunk above.

The other 4 were a jacknife sofa and the dinette. Neither would be suitable for anyone over about 4ft 6in.

The rear upper bunk would be unsuitable for anyone over 100lbs or with mobility issues or vertigo.

Also consider even if the kids are small now, they have a tendency to grow
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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Just noted your updated TV specs.

Subtracting the family from payload leaves you about 700lbs.

Calculating on a (recommended) 15% tongue weight, that leaves you a max trailer weight of about 5,000lbs fully loaded, meaning a dry weight closer to 4,000lbs. MUCH less than the 9,000lbs rated.

In addition, you're gonna need a Weight Distributing Hitch which would weigh another 50+ lbs.

Not trying to get you down but you did ask.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Here's one that you should be able to tow without any problems. Your difficulty is the sleeping 6+ and staying in your weight limit.

New 2014 Coachmen RV Apex Ultra-Lite 235BHS Travel Trailers at Fun Town RV Cleburne Texas Fun Town RV

If you have a large RV dealership close to you, you'd be well suited to take a walkabout of their lot. However, don't let a salesman talk you into more trailer than you can pull.

Good luck!
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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As noted, the biggest failing of the 1/2 ton trucks is the payload capacity. The payload capacity includes all passengers beyond a skinny driver, any cargo in the bed, the hitch and the hitch weight of the trailer. So your real world towing capacity can only be determined by weighing the truck as loaded for a trip and add another 100# for a hitch.

In the owners manual you should find a GCWR for you particular cab/chassis/axle and engine. On the drivers door jamb is the GVWR.

GVWR - loaded truck = max loaded trailer hitch weight

GCWR - loaded truck = Max loaded trailer weight.

The brochure and dry weights are useless for a trailer. They do not include any item listed as an option....A/C, microwave, Television, awning, batteries, propane, stabilizers, etc. Typically you will be 750# over the "dry weight" or more.

A TT will run 10 to 15% of the loaded trailer weight. Estimate 12 to 15% of the trailer GVWR for an estimate of the hitch weight.

Also, actually look at the sleeping positions. Some places they claim as two...well yo need to be very close friends or small kids.

Also, as a first RV you would do much better looking for a gently used 2 to 4 year old unit and getting a nicer higher end unit rather than an new entry level unit.

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Old 08-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses. I'm looking for the GCWR for the Tundra and am having no luck at all finding it. Also, it seems I shouldn't include myself in my family weight. If that's correct, I just saved myself 185lb.

Anyway, it's looking like I need to set my upper limit in the sub-5k dry weight range. Does that sound about right? Any thoughts on some good quality, lightweight travel trailers? Thanks again for all your input, it is much appreciated.

As an aside, any thoughts on what the impacts would be if I pushed it to 5k?
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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If I understand the curb weight inclusions as stated by others the curb weight includes 150lb driver. My vehicle manual, a ford 2013 explorer, the curb weight does not include a driver but does include full gas tank.

As I understand your specs it seems to me that you should be looking at a TT that has a GVWR of 5000lbs or less. If your fully loaded trailer is 5000lbs the upper limit for your tongue weight would be 15% of 5000 or 750lbs. Does your TV allow that tongue weight?

It would be better if you knew your GCWR, probably in your vehicle manual.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:48 AM   #9
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For your 1st trailer you can do what most camper do. Start with a pop-up. Use that for a few years then decide (after camping, and observing other campers) what type of camper the family needs. They make small, medium, and large pop-up campers. I think the mid size and larger ones can sleep 6.

Next look at hybird campers. These are hard shell with material pop-out sleeping areas. I have seen these with 3 sleeping areas good for two people each plus the dinette converted to a sleep area.

It is really amazing how little a 1/2 ton truck can actually tow because of how much weight it can carry. The best example of the mighty 1/2 ton trucks towing would be a farm hay wagon. Very little tongue weight but 8,7000 lbs of hay would be ok.

I towed a 5,500 lb. trailer with a 2011 F-150. The trailer did not have an aerodynamic front cap. I could tell the trailer was back there.
The truck did ok. No real white knuckle situations but towing was less than pleasant. Tow rating was 8,500lbs. No way would I want to max out this truck. Again it could tow a hay wagon at 25mph all day. But pulling a camping trailer down the highway at 65mph was a different story.

One impact - Trailer Sway.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:08 AM   #10
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I have a Jayco Jayflight 26BH that is 4700 pounds dry and tows very nicely behind my 2008 Ford F150. Myself, the wife, and our two little ones sleep very comfortably in it. We have also had in laws stay in it with us and we were still comfortable. Good luck on your search and hope you enjoy whatever you get.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:13 AM   #11
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Where are you located ? and what type of rv'ing will you be doing ?
winter too, summer only, boondocking ????

Igf you are in the area glad to help out....

go to any rv show you can !!!
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JohnBoyToo View Post
Where are you located ? and what type of rv'ing will you be doing ?
winter too, summer only, boondocking ????

Igf you are in the area glad to help out....

go to any rv show you can !!!
We're in Southern Maryland, and will likely be doing fall/spring/summer rv'ing, at least at first. We have two pre-teens (1 with severe autism), so we'll be sticking to places with power/sewage/etc. We'll mostly be doing short hauls (under 300 miles) but may travel down to Texas to visit family on occasion. We are planning to hit the RV show in Baltimore next month.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #13
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Our first "RV" was a large Fleetwood Niagara tent trailer, we traveled from the West coast to Yellowstone area with four people and met four more family members and stayed comfortably for a week there, 6 adults and two teenagers. Not much privacy, but we all had fun. I think i would be looking at a bigger tow vehicle if you want a regular "hard side" trailer that sleeps as many as you need.....
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:00 AM   #14
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As mentioned previously, and take this from someone that's been rving for over 30 years, the best method is fill the truck with gas, load the family and go to a scale. Any truck stop will allow you to weight for around 9 to $11.00. This gives you a good estimate of what your tow vehicle actually weighs. All of the other comments are good and hit the spot. Many dealers will try to make a sell...not looking at your best interest. There are a lot of Toyotas towing out there so hopefully some will jump in. Just do a lot of home work first, dont' get crazy on overloading and you'll be ok.
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