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Old 04-07-2005, 09:46 PM   #1
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Does anyone own a camper trailer that you can pull behind a minivan?

I am in the market for a camper trailer, but our van's towing capacity is only 3000 lbs. Does anyone own a hard-sided camper that you can tow behind your van? Two of my friends have pop up campers, but my two sisters (who own 5th wheels) so don't buy a pop up camper, try and find a hard-sided camper that you can tow.

Are there any campers here that can advise me?

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Old 04-07-2005, 11:10 PM   #2
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I think the size of your family, and your reason for camping should determine what type camper you'll need. It will be hard to find a hard sided trailer below the weight limit you mentioned.

If you're going camping to enjoy the OUTDOORS, then a pop-up will work fine. We've got a pop-up...only time we're in it is to sleep. Down here, an A/C in your camper is a must during the summer.

The following company is worth taking a look at...they're making a quality pop-up designed to be towed by smaller cars and mini-vans.


Go to a local campground on a nice weekend and walk around and talk to the different campers. Most will be happy to show you their units (their camper ), so you can get a feel for what's out there. You're not going to be able to get 5th wheel amenties and room in a camper your van can pull.

I would not even rule out a good quality family tent.

Whatever you choose....ENJOY!!!
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Old 04-08-2005, 06:55 AM   #3
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Last spring we bought a Trail Cruiser and we love it. It is a hardwall trailer with fold out beds like you would have in a pop up. I don't remember the exact weight but I think it is around 2800. When we were shopping we were looking for a pop-up but this was actually lighter than most of the ones we looked at. The model we have is 19ft closed and 24ft with the beds opened. There was also a model a size smaller than ours. It has everyting in it that you could want; furnace, air, stove, refridgerator, microwave, bathroom with shower, decent amount of storage. We looked long and hard before we bought and this fit all of our needs. If you have any other questions feel free to pm me.

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Old 04-08-2005, 07:10 AM   #4
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Be really careful, our friends bought a camper (3100#) and lost the transmission in their van the first time they hauled it.

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Old 04-08-2005, 07:41 AM   #5
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I watched the 2005 RV show on Travel channel or what ever channel it was on and the new pop-ups are really nice. They had some smaller pull behind campers that would work with a minivan, but they were pretty small.
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Old 04-08-2005, 07:55 AM   #6
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I don't think you'll find anything other than a pop-up that doesn't have a restroom that fits your weight requirements. I don't know the weight of every trailer, though, so don't take my word for it.

We used to have a pop-up. We sold it because we're not a time in our lives where we could use it often enough, but we loved it. They're easy to store, and they're really easy to set up. Ours had 2 king-sized beds. I think pop-ups are the only RVs with kings available.

You'll want to stay well under the towing capacity with the weight of your trailer. First of all, the car manufacturers lie about the towing capacity. Secondly, you have to figure in the weight of the car's occupants and all the things you're towing.

There are a lot of good RV message boards out there, and I'm sure some people could answer your question. I don't remember what any of them are anymore, but people on our camping forum here would know.
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Old 04-08-2005, 08:04 AM   #7
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Don't forget--you must figure in tongue weight and how much you will be loading on that sucker when you travel. A 2800 pound camper leaves only 200 pounds and you will be surprised at how quickly the weight adds up.
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Old 04-08-2005, 08:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kermit
First of all, the car manufacturers lie about the towing capacity.

I'm sure that they don't, especially since the warranties would cover engine damage as long as you are towing within your capacity. The people you have to be careful with are the RV sales people. They will tell you your vehicle can pull whatever they are trying to sell. When we were looking for a new trailer, one guy tried to talk us into a 25' hard side with full kitchen cabinets and TWO tip outs. Dry weight was 4800 lbs! He swore black and blue that our '97 Patfinder (towing capacity 5000 LBS ) could pull it. We just and ! However, you have to stay well below the "dry weight" capacity, because, as others have mentioned, you have to factor in the hitch, and all your belongings as well. Also, the weight shown on the side of the trailer usually doesn't include the "options", it is for the base model. If the one you buy has an airconditioner, microwave, etc you have to factor that in.

We had a 2002 Damon Camplite (pop-up) with a dining room tip out. It was about 2500 lbs dry. Our friends both have pop-ups, one has a Venture with a cassette toilet that they pull with a Caravan, and the other has a Starcraft with a tip out, also pull with a Caravan. You might be able to get a 16' or 18' expandable that is light enough for the van to pull. We now have a 23' Palimino expandable with a dry weight of 3300 lbs. (not including the options) We had to buy a new vehicle to pull it, because loaded, it was just to close to the towing limit on our Pathfinder and we felt the engine was struggling when we used it last year. Check out the Palimino or Trail Lite websites, you might find something.
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:21 AM   #9
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We are towing a popup with our minivan, and I must say that I wouldn't even think of trying to tow a hard wall trailer with it. Between the towing weight limits on the van and the drag from the additional wind resistance, our van couldn't handle it. Our towing weight limit is 3,800 lb. Don't forget that your towing weight limit includes the trailer, all of your belongings and sometimes the people and cargo in your van, depending on how your van's manufacturer calculates towing capacity.

There are a couple of really good sites out there for camping, and they both have "towing" message boards. Check out www.popupexplorer.com and www.rv.net - the popup explorer site has a great group of people on it and answer lots of questions. Check out their towing board and you will probably get your answer.

Good luck and have fun camping!
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Old 04-08-2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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Thanks so much for the great information. I wanted to get the "unknown factors" here before I stepped foot into a RV center. I know that they will try and sell something that I may not be able to tow.

Thanks again, I learned a lot.

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