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Old 08-24-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
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Lite weight travel trailers: WHERE ARE THEY??

Hi there,

I am a prospective owner of a small trailer that I can use to enjoy the outdoor with my small family. I researched quite a bit on the internet and also went to visit a couple of RV dealerships. I concluded that this is indeed the way to go for a variety of reasons including the fact that I do not want to own a huge truck. Ok, everything made sense to me, and my wife and I are planning to buy one small light trailer next spring (most likely a used Wolf Pup 17B).

Here comes the issue: in the last two weeks we travelled about 4,000 km across canada with our car. We crossed parks and wonderful places. It was amazing. I can't tell you how many RVs we have seen on the road. I would guess more than 2000. Of all these RVs, we have counted 2 (two!!) small light weight trailers (one r-pod and an MPG). This was a big disappointment and obviously I got concerned. So, where are all these nice light weight trailers that I see on the internet???



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Old 08-25-2012, 01:39 AM   #2
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In this day & age we are often geared towards a bigger=better way of thinking. Some of those lite-weight RVs are not that much lighter when you compare the numbers.

Based on what I have experienced (like you) I think the sales for small compact units only make up a small % of the overall market.

I love it when I see the small trailers like R-Pods at a campground.

Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

2011 Salem Cruise Lite 20RBXL & 2011 Toyota Tundra Dbl Cab
Camping History: 45 Trips / 133 Nights / 3736 Miles
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:34 AM   #3
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these nice small lite-weight trailers are simply not for the majority of RV buyers.

they only attract those who prefer simplicity to amenities, which basically a small segment of the population.

we owned two popups over a 17 year period. but as we got older, the lack of room, setup time and lack of amenities got old, like we were.
so, we bought a 23' HTT, which makes us "feel" like we're still camping because of the canvas tent ends.

frankly, a R-pod or MPG would not be comfortable for me, as a 6' person. nor is the lack of interior space attractive.

it comes down to what each person wants in a RV. some think that if you don't have a tent, you're not camping.
so, buy what fits your family and your style of camping. if a small 17' TT floats your boat, then go for it.

but there's a saying in the RV community: "Buy your second trailer, FIRST!"
Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
Shawn-Musician/Entrepreneur/Wine Expert
and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:34 AM   #4
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first question:

What kind of car do you have?

If you've got a smaller front wheel drive, you're likely to be limited to the smaller pop ups anyways so I wouldn't worry about "who's got what" if you don't intend to get a bigger car or truck.

If a pop up is all you need to be happy, then get a pop up.

You probably see fewer pop ups around because those owners tend not to be "long haul" campers.

Most pop ups end up on shorter weekend jaunts or off in a "non commercial" style camp site (IE: boondocking).

Bigger hard sided RV's tend to end up where they can have electrical/water/sewer hook ups.

We started out with an old popup ourselves. It was great to go from a tent to something with easy pack up and being off the ground. But that was just for a jaunt down the road on a weekend to get out or maybe a base camp when going fishing with the guys. Funny thing: everybody used to tent when we went fishing. I showed up with a popup first, then everyone started showing up with a popup. Seems tents were no longer "fun" when the next guy had a table, stove, fridge, and dry sleeping even in a downpour. I guess I ruined it for everyone.....

Then we started traveling longer. The limitations of a popup began to get on my nerves. Two weeks in a popup really shows what you miss in today's conveniences. I also got tired of cranking it up and down, the sound of flapping canvas/cables and everyone around us knowing exactly what we were doing all the time. So we got a decent sized hard side and things were good.

Then we started traveling further as well as longer. The limits of a smaller hardside started showing up as we were using it as a "base camp" to see things in the areas we went to (IE: yellowstone, etc) A bigger trailer enhanced our trips. Longer trips also meant we had to start carrying more stuff as we needed to be self sufficient for longer periods (IE: dog stuff, truck parts, tools, etc) and we never knew what type of support we would get at far away sites (ie: will just the 3" slinky do?or do we need the macerator and hoses too? Johnny bucket? How long of a water line? power extension cords? etc, etc...)

Of course during all this the cars/trucks kept getting bigger also. Right now we're into a 1998 3/4 ton GMC 4x4 diesel:

We've probably "topped out" on how big we will go. This will probably be a "10 year" camper for us. I have learned to "never say never" though. I'm only 47b (wifey is 37) and we already find ourselves looking at the huge 5th wheels with double slides and laundry facilities thinking that in ten or so years and retirement it might be nice to do some serious snowbirding.....which will also mean a 1 ton or larger tow vehicle.

To me, camping is limited by two factors: what you need and economics.

If you don't need any more than a pop up, you're good with a smaller unit and a smaller tow vehicle. That's not a bad thing, there's a lot of pluses to smaller (IE: less expensive, more options, easier towing, easier on the tow vehicle, easier to take to less developed sites, etc)) setup.

If you can't afford a big trailer or a big tow vehicle, you're limited to a smaller unit. It's my experience though that most would opt for the larger units if they could. Not all, but most.

Either way, as long as You're comfortable and happy with what you've got, nothing else really matters....

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Old 08-25-2012, 08:37 AM   #5
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We downsized from a 31 Foot 5th wheel with two slides pulled by a Dodge diesel dually to the Rockwood 1809S that you see here. Both the wife & I are amazed at how much easier it is to setup & can pull it with a 1/2 ton pickup.
Everett & Joan after 60 years together. 2004 1/2 ton Chevy & 2011 Rockwood 1809S

Number of nights camped in 2012 65
Number of nights camped in 2013 82
Number of nights camped in 2014 105!
Number of nights camped in 2015 81
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:21 AM   #6
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Thank you all for your comments. I think we are happy with the decision we made of having a 19 foot lite travel trailer (we have a jeep wrangler unlimited - 3,500 Lbs max towing capacity).

Great White, you might have explained why we did not see many small ones on the road. As you said these people may not decide to travel long distances.


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Old 08-26-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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I purchased a 19 ft. Rockwood Mini Lite ETC, with two bunk beds and a pull down queen murphy bed. Has all the amenities, but is easy to handle. There is the drawback of lack of interior space when you have 3-4 people in it, but for my needs, the good outweighs that. Also towed it with an SUV with 3500 lbs towing capacity, but have since upgraded TV to have more power. If you can get a lightweight with a slide out or a hybrid, that opens up the interior space even more. My trailer weighs 2800 lbs without any of my "stuff" in it.

Good luck with your decision, and it's whatever suits you and your family the best.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:48 AM   #8
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We have a Rockwood mini lite ETC 181 which is similar to Greti's ETC 185. We usually travel long distances and with only 2 adults it has been a good trailer. Our unit has the murphy bed and dinnete combo. We want to move to a larger trailer that provides bed always down, a sofa and dinnete. Likely 25 to 27 ft.
Guess this follows the rule to buy your second trailer first!
We will need to buy new TV to up size so thats big decision. Enjoy which ever TT you buy
Roy & Jean
2010 Rockwood mini Lite ETC 181
2002 Toyota Tundra 4.7l 4x4
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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The manufacturers are trying to balance cost with amenities/size. For truly light-weight, you'd have all aluminum frame - not the heave steel floor frame most trailers have.

Also, lots of people buy the gigantic trailers/motorhomes for what ends up being a one vacation a year. Seems to me at most of the campgrounds I go to, you see all these huge shiny RV's and no-one is outside. They are all inside with the AC on, watching their big flat-screen TV's.

The R-pod and RV's of that type are a great choice for young families wanting to actually go camping. Inexpensive, you don't need much of a TV, and you actually have to spend time outdoors. Isn't that what it should be about?
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jeppo View Post
Thank you all for your comments. I think we are happy with the decision we made of having a 19 foot lite travel trailer (we have a jeep wrangler unlimited - 3,500 Lbs max towing capacity).

Great White, you might have explained why we did not see many small ones on the road. As you said these people may not decide to travel long distances.


Jeppo, what's the dry weight of that trailer ?

I have a Wrangler Unlimited myself, and I'd be very interested to see how it handles for you.

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