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Thread: How do Travel Trailers Work?

  1. #1

    How do Travel Trailers Work?

    My wife and I have been considering getting a Travel Trailers for the last few years. If this makes sense, we always thought that if we had a Spring Bar tent then we would have everything we needed :). But setting up the Spring Bar is kind of a pain, so it lugging it around, and it doesn't work on slick rock.

    So now I love the idea of a travel trailer where we can leave our camping stuff all the time and just put some food and clothes in the trailer and head out camping. Plus my wife loves the outdoors but she hates sleeping poorly when we camp. We are looking at renting a trailer on Outdoorsy.com but assuming we do, I don't really know the ins and outs of using a Travel Trailer.

    If we drive down to the San Rafael Swell (or Moab) can we just unhook the trailer just about anywhere on BLM and drive around during the day and come back and use it?

    Are there places we shouldn't take it?

    Do people commonly break into unsupervised trailers left around during the day in the desert?

    So I don't know if this post is clear or not but any tips would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you!
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

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  3. #2
    Are you sure you want to start down that road?
    First a lot depends on what size you end up getting.

    What do you have to pull one? Or will you need to upgrade the pulling rig?

    Generally speaking the bigger you go the more careful you need to be as to where you go. Think passing on a narrow one lane road or turning around when the road suddenly ends.

    I've never had a problem leaving a trailer unattended during the day anywhere but there is no guarantee. They can certainly make it easier to get out of town.

    And as everybody knows if the wife is not happy nobody is happy so you will have to decide what level of comfort and convenience you want. As they get fancier they have a tendency to get heavier which leads back to how much weight your vehicle can handle.

    There really is a lot of different models and combinations out there so you may want to make a list of what is important for you and try to narrow it down on line. Floor plans can make a huge difference depending on the layout.

    Have fun!

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  5. #3
    Keep the Spring Bar tent. I use mine 10 times as much as a trailer.

    Trailers have their place, but they limit where you can go, they cost more money, you will have tire/bearing problems at some point.

    I've never had mine broken into. A couple of my friends have however

    It's been over a year since mine even left my house

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  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by middlefork View Post
    Are you sure you want to start down that road?
    That line cracked me up.
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

  8. #5
    Comfort = a tall large Coleman tent; and , a queen size air mattress (or the slightly smaller version that fits in the back of an SUV - we have both)

    it's just that simple

    Wife and I started camping and hiking together in 1974 - still doin it (Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch in April).

    We added the air mattress for car camping decades ago

    We only recently got the tent that you can stand up in [with LED lights] :-) (on sale)

    We still avoid the camping trailer - because we do go down some roads that we don't ever want to back up :-) Especially if there are hot springs at the end.

    Even though it has mediocre ground clearance, our 2008 Jeep Liberty 4WD 4-door is an excellent get-away vehicle (due to traction control in 4WD mode). So easy to get lots of stuff in and out of. Much better than any truck/shell combo.

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  10. #6
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    To answer your questions directly: Yes, you can generally hit any open dispersed camping area (generally any USFS/BLM), set up camp, unhitch then enjoy your day. I've never had vandalism committed against my rig doing this. Now, I have a 43' 5th wheel toy hauler, but I will still drag it to the Swell, Green River area and places most folks don't want to drive to, let alone tow to.

    Just ensure your tow rig (truck, etc) is up to the task of towing whatever size trailer you decide to get. There's nothing worse than having too much trailer and not enough truck.
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  11. #7
    I used to mock travel trailers.... until I had kids. Super nice to always have a nice warm, dry and clean place to go at the end of the day. Not to mention easy access to water and bathroom. Or to get out of the rain, wind, etc.

    We use ours quite a bit, way more than we use the tent. We keep it fully loaded so all we have to do is throw in food and off we go. Once you get used to pulling and backing it in, you quickly realize where you can and can't go. We are quite a bit smaller than Bruteforce (26') but really don't have too many problems going wherever we want. We often will take it up to the Uintas for a weekend and leave it all week so we can just come back the next weekend. Never had problems with theft up there, or anywhere for that matter.

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  13. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by @BruteForce
    Just ensure your tow rig (truck, etc) is up to the task of towing whatever size trailer you decide to get. There's nothing worse than having too much trailer and not enough truck.
    I have a 2011 Tundra with a V8. According to the internet it can tow up to 11k LBS. Do you suggest I stay under a certain weight or length?
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

  14. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DiscGo View Post
    I have a 2011 Tundra with a V8. According to the internet it can tow up to 11k LBS. Do you suggest I stay under a certain weight or length?
    I have a 2013 Tundra. Towing capacity is no problem, where you will have limits is your payload. Depending on your options (4x4, crewmax, etc), you probably have between 1,400-1,800 in available payload. This is the total of passengers, cargo, and tongue weight. The typical trailer puts between 10%-15% of the total trailer weight on the tongue. So a 6,000 lb trailer is probably putting about 800 lbs on the truck. Subtract that from your payload and you have what you can put int the truck as cargo. Granted, a lot of people tow no problem and greatly exceed their payloads, I try to to keep it within specs though. Also keep in mind that any trailer weight you are seeing online, typically is a dry weight (no water, LP, Batteries etc.). A 5th wheel is closer to 20% on the truck, so I'd avoid one with a Tundra.

    Tundra tows great though if you stay within (or at least close to) payload, and I have never had sway issues with a good weight distribution hitch and good tires set to full PSI.

  15. #10
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscGo View Post
    I have a 2011 Tundra with a V8. According to the internet it can tow up to 11k LBS. Do you suggest I stay under a certain weight or length?
    The longer the trailer, the more sway you're going to get - especially if there's wind. SWAY=death in traffic and generally leads to roll-over. Canyons like Spanish Fork to Price are brutal towing, even more so with a bumper pull (travel trailer) because you have a small amount of weight on your hitch (rear end), making your engine + trans work even harder to climb grades. Keep to as light and short a rig as you can and you'll be fine. Just bear in mind that all weights provided are DRY (empty), always assume max weight after adding food, blankets, water, fuel, etc.

    I used to tow with my V8 Dodge Durango and it was a DOG at any elevation, but maybe that was just a HEMI/Dodge thing.
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  17. #11
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Here's my rig when bought new. Mind you, both truck and RV have been through many heavy mods. I had the RV stripped of all decals, added a 2nd AC unit, built in high gain 4G cell/WiFi, SAT TV, etc. Truck went from 400HP to ~700HP to be able to handle the mountains of Utah. Mind you, I've been 33,000 pounds total weight going down the road before. I don't think you'll have that issue!
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  19. #12
    Your trailer is about the size of the footprint of my house.
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

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  21. #13
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscGo View Post
    Your trailer is about the size of the footprint of my house.
    If I had a choice, I'd never buy a rig this big again. The extra work I've had to put into my truck to tow this thing has been quite the expense.

    But, when I tow to a foreign tourist destination, they'll surround my rig and start taking photos (Selfies, etc). Its quite comical!
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  23. #14
    This seems like a good place for this.


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  25. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    This seems like a good place for this.


    That is scary.
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

  26. #16

    How do Travel Trailers Work?

    Weve loved our 30 toy hauler. Its works great to load up bikes, motorcycles, gear or whatever and hit the road. Any kind of weather doesnt bother you in a trailer. Weve woken up to snow and slept like babies. It can be bloody hot out and we have A/C. The kids love watching movies, eating popcorn and snacks. We got all the amenities of home in this rig. Its nice to sleep on a regular queen sized mattress after a long hike, instead of on the ground.

    Its not for everybody, but it has been creating some great memories for our family. Weve taken our traveling Hilton on 8 trips each season for the last 3 years.









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  28. #17
    You guy crack me up with your "camping"...

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  30. #18
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    You guy crack me up with your "camping"...
    While I may have a 43' 5th wheel, I also do my fair share of tent and/or just sleeping bag camping. Sometimes its a major pain loading up an RV..
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  31. #19
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    I can appreciate the value of having an RV loaded and ready at all times.

    I spent 50 some years sleeping in tents and on the ground, no apologies for now preferring comfort.

    We will be doing a 5 day Hole in the rock trail trip in May, back to sleeping on rocks, no problem, quite capable.
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  33. #20
    I have a buddy who loves to haul his 5th wheel out when we go canyoneering. Nothing better than being able to jump into a hot shower after a long days in a canyon. Get out clean and have a few beers and cook up a nice meal, before doing it again in the morning.

    If you ever see a big 5th wheel and a red Chevy 2500 that seem out of place in Ticaboo or Escalante, come say hello and grab a beer. My buddy is a damn fine cook too so you may get lucky and have a 5 course meal.

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