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Looking for first Travel Trailer

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Hi everyone, my name is Anthony and my wife Jeanne and I along with our 12 year old daughter are in the market for a Travel Trailer.  We are so overwhelmed with the information on the internet.  We currently have a 2010 Honda Odyssey and know the maximum towing for this vehicle is only 3500lbs.  From the research that I've done so far I know I don't want to go over 3100LBS.  That total includes the unloaded weight of the trailer, passengers, fuel and anything else we bring.  I know we are cutting it close, but we plan to set the trailer up at a site for a season and on the initial drive to the site we will take 2 cars, one with the trailer and 2 of us and the other car will haul all of the other items.  Until I can afford another vehicle this is how we will do it.  I will also be installing a transmission cooler on my car.  With that said we are looking for some advice on reliable lightweight travel trailers that would work with what we currently have.  We would like for the trailer to be 17ft with a toilet and shower and can sleep 3-4.  Any advice and real life experience would be greatly appreciated.

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What information are you finding overwhelming?  Have you looked at the manufacturers' websites at floor plans, lengths, and weights?  I'd look at this:  https://www.etrailer.com/question-303461.html as seems a relevant discussion or maybe this:  https://www.odyclub.com/threads/whats-the-largest-camper-or-rv-honda-odyssey-2011-can-pull-any-ideas.244497/   How long is the "initial" drive?  I am wondering what trailers you have been considering.  Some of the manufacturers' websites have "RV Finder" (I have seen them at several sites) where you put in your perimeters, and a list of those that would work comes up.  Forest River's RV Finder:  https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/rv-finder (not recommending them, but they have the biggest lineup)  Good luck!

Edited by SnowGypsy

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will do our best to help you in any way that we are able. More specific questions would be more easily answered, but here is my initial thoughts.

First of all, since you plan to leave the RV in one spot for the entire season, have you considered having someone tow it there for you, which would mean that you could buy something larger? Another possibility is the hybrid trailers with fold out beds, which have low weight but by folding out the beds there is much more floor space and dedicated beds and some of them may be light weight enough for you to tow. The best choice for towing with what you have is one of the popup or tent trailer type of RV as they can give you good space with very low weights. To stay under your 3500# weight limit you will need to look for an ultra-lite model that is under 20' in length. In those you will find that you will have no more than one bed and a table that can be made up as a bed. 

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If you're going to leave it in one spot why not consider a Park Model or Destination Trailer.  It can be moved on site for you and left year-round if the park allows it. Or else it could be moved to a storage facility over the winter.  This way you could go bigger for the three of you which would be much more pleasant on rainy days and would give each more privacy.

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Don't push the weight up to 3100 pounds, I would not go over 2400 or 2500.  You have extremely limited options. A teardrop, maybe an A-frame and maybe a popup. I hardly think one of those would be worth leaving at a park, they are not designed for long term exposure if nothing else. They are weekender starting models. Leaving them erected and exposed to month after month of weather would reduce them to junk status.

The idea of getting someone to tow it there makes by far the most sense.

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"We currently have a 2010 Honda Odyssey and know the maximum towing for this vehicle is only 3500lbs.  From the research that I've done so far I know I don't want to go over 3100LBS.  That total includes the unloaded weight of the trailer, passengers, fuel and anything else we bring." Passengers and fuel aren't part of the trailer's weight. They are part of the car's weight. Food, clothes, cooking utensils, propane, water, etc. are part of the trailer's weight if they are carried in the trailer.

You are better off looking at the GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR) of any trailer you are considering first. If you want to keep your towing weight at or below 3100 pounds, then look for a trailer with a GVWR of less than 3100 pounds. A lot of sales people will point to the empty (dry) weight of the trailer and tell you that your vehicle can easily tow that weight. While that might be a true statement, it isn't all that helpful. About the only time a trailer is towed at that weight is when the initial buyer takes it home from the dealer, and the dealer hasn't added any water or filled the propane tanks.

After rereading your initial post, it sounds like you may be willing to do just what I said in the last sentence, with the possible exception of the water. If so, you may be able to operate with what you have for a while - until you get the urge to actually go travel.

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There are several places to rent a1/2T pickup capable of towing trailers up to 6,000#, have you considered that option? Also, I imagine almost any towing company would move your trailer, you might call around for pricing.

This would allow you to purchase a larger TT that is roomy enough for longer trips if you should decide, and buy a pickup large enough to haul your family and all the necessities for camping.

This online towing calculator will be quite helpful if you decide to proceed as planned.

Edited by Ray,IN

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If you buy a tent trailer or a-liner style, your Honda will be able to pull it when needed, but also, you will be able to collapse it and throw a tarp or RV cover over it when unused, which really helps with exposure to the elements. 

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