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Old 07-25-2020, 04:57 AM   #1
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HW296

Hey All,

I've been looking for decent used options locally and am falling short of success. outside of a far away used HW296 we may be looking at a new purchase.

This leads me to a couple questions.

1. Does anyone have experience towing a HW296 or similar with a Jeep GC with the 3.6L Penstar, factory tow package and aftermarket proportional brake controller? My tow capacity is 6500 but real world data is more significant to me.

2. What did you pay for your new HW296. I see retail is near 22K. Whats the real world price?

3. Am I crazy jumping into the deep end with a 296 as my first pop-up? should I start smaller and work my way up?

All input from owners is appreciated.

Thanks!

Bryan
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Old 07-25-2020, 07:00 AM   #2
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The Grand Cherokee should be fine. Others will tell you that you need much more. I tow my 296 with a GMC Acadia which is rated to tow 5300 lbs. The Cherokee is rated much higher. I don't use a weight distribution hitch, or anti sway bars. The double axle makes the towing much easier.
It is 3700lbs unloaded, and thats a lot of popup camper!
Only you can decide if it's right or not. But I can tell you most people trend upward in campers. We always want more. If you get something small, chances are you'll be looking to upgrade fairly soon.
A larger tow vehicle would no doubt give more confidence on the road, but I don't think its necessary.
The 296 is really nice. What year are you looking at? Mine is a 2017 and I think I paid around 18-19,000 for it new.
Issues to consider: It is difficult to maneuver once it's unhitched. The double axle fights you trying to go side to side, and the sheer weight alone can be a challenge. My earlier pop ups, I was able to grab the nose and wheel it around myself. Not with this one!
Even though it tows easily, the height and size make it difficult to see around in the mirrors, unless you have a vehicle with really big rearview mirrors. Of course, this is a problem with any camper, except smaller pop ups.
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:09 PM   #3
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I tow a HW27KS (fully loaded I'm at 3900, so a little smaller than the HW296) with a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland (factory tow package, after market Brake controller)
Due to covid we have only been out on 3 camping trips and the drive has been on fairly flat terrain, I didn't go over 62 mph so it's been okay. I know I'm within my towing capacity but I really don't feel very confident with it, although my husband says he feels okay. The test will be in 2 weeks when we head out over the mountain pass fully loaded and with 2 kayaks on top!
I already have plans to change it early next year, one of the things that bother me is the Overland has an automatic suspension that moves up & down, it's caught me out a couple of times when I have been hitching up, as it just starts moving!! It's a silly design and I can't disable this feature.
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:30 PM   #4
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forgot to add... I upgraded to my 2018 HW27KS from a 2007 Fleetwood Westlake in march. I paid $13000 for it, which was a good deal, but it does have evidence of some water damage on the side wall so I think the dealer just wanted to get shot of it!
I think you should be fine going straight to a beast of a pop up, just do lots of reading, research and youtubing.
I also agree with michigan_camper a disadvantage to the larger pop-ups is not being able to hand maneuver them and the sheer size can be very intimidating.
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:06 PM   #5
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Good point about the mountains. I wouldn't attempt to go through them with my setup towing the hw296. Its pretty flat land around here.
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Old 07-25-2020, 04:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Campworthy View Post
I tow a HW27KS (fully loaded I'm at 3900, so a little smaller than the HW296) with a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland (factory tow package, after market Brake controller)
Due to covid we have only been out on 3 camping trips and the drive has been on fairly flat terrain, I didn't go over 62 mph so it's been okay. I know I'm within my towing capacity but I really don't feel very confident with it, although my husband says he feels okay. The test will be in 2 weeks when we head out over the mountain pass fully loaded and with 2 kayaks on top!
I already have plans to change it early next year, one of the things that bother me is the Overland has an automatic suspension that moves up & down, it's caught me out a couple of times when I have been hitching up, as it just starts moving!! It's a silly design and I can't disable this feature.

Do you have the 3.6 or the hemi?
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Old 07-25-2020, 05:10 PM   #7
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I have the 3.6 - 6 cylinder. Worst car I have ever had, it's in the shop now, has been all week! I can't wait to change it actually!
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Old 07-25-2020, 06:43 PM   #8
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We had to go to Ohio from Nashville to buy ours( june 2020). We could not find one within 400 miles of our location.
I feel we got a good deal on ours compared to everywhere else that had one about 6k off of MSRP .
We have a 5.0 F150 that we have towed it with and barely can tell it is there. If we put it behind our diesel Excursion it is not noticeable at all.
Weighed ours fully loaded with water tank full 4632lbs
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:59 PM   #9
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We have a 2016 HW296 and used to tow with an 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6 cylinder. No WDH. It drives fine but we knew it was behind us especially on steep hills. Jeep had over 100k miles so we decided to move up to an F-150, since a travel trailer is our next purchase in about 2 years.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
We have a 2016 HW296 and used to tow with an 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6 cylinder. No WDH. It drives fine but we knew it was behind us especially on steep hills. Jeep had over 100k miles so we decided to move up to an F-150, since a travel trailer is our next purchase in about 2 years.
Did you have the installed factory hitch or aftermarket on the JGC? I thought the factory hitch was WDH.

My lease is up on the 2018 next year and I was looking at the F150 with ecoboost 6 cyl as an option. 9300lbs of tow capacity, IIRC.

What was your impression after moving into the F150?
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bryankloos View Post
Did you have the installed factory hitch or aftermarket on the JGC? I thought the factory hitch was WDH.

My lease is up on the 2018 next year and I was looking at the F150 with ecoboost 6 cyl as an option. 9300lbs of tow capacity, IIRC.

What was your impression after moving into the F150?
You're talking about a factory installed or aftermarket hitch RECEIVER. A hitch, like a WDH, goes into the receiver.
There is no such thing as a factory WDH.
Also, DON'T focus just on Towing Capacity. Nearly all tow vehicles will run out of payload capacity WAY before reaching the max towing capacity.
3.5 Ecoboost F150s for example. Depending how how it is spec'd and equipped, payload capacities can range between 800lbs and 3000lbs. So don't get caught up in towing capacity numbers. I spent two years searching for a used 3.5 Ecoboost F150 SCREW 4x4 with decent payload capacity numbers. I finally found a XLT with 1828lbs of payload capacity, 500lbs more than my old tow vehicle.
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:39 PM   #12
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Understood on the WDH, thanks. I just did some research and now "get it."

So, for me and my HW296 and the JGC, what numbers do I need to focus on, and how much help would a WDH offer given I have 2 axles?

I'm looking at a purchase that I would pick up this weekend and want to have my ducks in a row.

Also, it would help to know if I need 2" or 2 5/16" ball for my hitch?

All help is appreciated.

Thanks!

Bryan
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:39 PM   #13
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The WDH will work on dual trailer axels just fine.

I pulled my old PUP (3500 lbs fully loaded) with a 2012 Ford Edge with factory tow package. I was right at max on all my numbers. Pulled it over the Appalacians multiple times with no issues. I did not go 70 uphill but could maintain 55 on long grades.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bryankloos View Post
Hey All,

I've been looking for decent used options locally and am falling short of success. outside of a far away used HW296 we may be looking at a new purchase.

This leads me to a couple questions.

1. Does anyone have experience towing a HW296 or similar with a Jeep GC with the 3.6L Penstar, factory tow package and aftermarket proportional brake controller? My tow capacity is 6500 but real world data is more significant to me.

2. What did you pay for your new HW296. I see retail is near 22K. Whats the real world price?

3. Am I crazy jumping into the deep end with a 296 as my first pop-up? should I start smaller and work my way up?

All input from owners is appreciated.

Thanks!

Bryan
I will say unless you are a die hard pop up enthusiast, I don't understand why you would go with the HW296.

I bought a pop up for the easy towing and storage. Otherwise I would had gone to another bunkhouse travel trailer that I traded for my pop up.

Going with the HW296, it's as long as a lot of smaller hybrid travel trailers and regular travel trailers, and pretty tall where it won't fit into most garages.

You'll likely be forced to store it outside, which would be the same for a smaller travel trailer.

It also has a cost of some nicer travel trailers.

BTW, with the COVID-19, almost all dealers within a 200 mile radius of me have no stock of travel trailers or pop ups. What they had, sold right away. I was talking to the owner of my dealership and factories are not really putting out a lot right now, and camping being a popular COVID-19 activity for the family, pickins are slim.

I've been looking at some 26' to 32' bunkhouses since me and the wife are considering, and there's only a few to be had which means probably little negotiating room. We may see if we can make this pop up work for the rest of the season.

Good luck.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:28 AM   #15
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I will say unless you are a die hard pop up enthusiast, I don't understand why you would go with the HW296.

I bought a pop up for the easy towing and storage. Otherwise I would had gone to another bunkhouse travel trailer that I traded for my pop up.

Going with the HW296, it's as long as a lot of smaller hybrid travel trailers and regular travel trailers, and pretty tall where it won't fit into most garages.

You'll likely be forced to store it outside, which would be the same for a smaller travel trailer.

It also has a cost of some nicer travel trailers.
Good questions...

First I am buying used, 2018 at 12K, with very light use so I think the buy in point is realistic given a bulk of the depreciation has already been paid for.

I did measure, and fortunately I can fit the unit in my garage, where it will live in the winter. I may but a portable car port to keep it dry and clean when not in the garage so storage isn't going to be a big hassle.

You hit the nail on the head with the tow-ability and size, which are my main criteria. I want something that will give the family room and not have us on top of each other, while also having all the comforts of the HW series (bigger fridge, microwave, AC, walled shower, etc), but also be a relatively easy tow...

Lastly, at the price I'm paying I can always resell form minimal loss if I want to upgrade or go back to a tent on the ground.

I have looked at some of the bunk houses, and they are pretty sweet!
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:31 PM   #16
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Good questions...

First I am buying used, 2018 at 12K, with very light use so I think the buy in point is realistic given a bulk of the depreciation has already been paid for.

I did measure, and fortunately I can fit the unit in my garage, where it will live in the winter. I may but a portable car port to keep it dry and clean when not in the garage so storage isn't going to be a big hassle.

You hit the nail on the head with the tow-ability and size, which are my main criteria. I want something that will give the family room and not have us on top of each other, while also having all the comforts of the HW series (bigger fridge, microwave, AC, walled shower, etc), but also be a relatively easy tow...

Lastly, at the price I'm paying I can always resell form minimal loss if I want to upgrade or go back to a tent on the ground.

I have looked at some of the bunk houses, and they are pretty sweet!

We bought ours for all the same reasons went from a 28' Tahoe Toy Hauler to the HW296 could not be happier with the decision!

Enjoy your new trailer.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:20 AM   #17
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HW296

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryankloos View Post
Good questions...

First I am buying used, 2018 at 12K, with very light use so I think the buy in point is realistic given a bulk of the depreciation has already been paid for.

I did measure, and fortunately I can fit the unit in my garage, where it will live in the winter. I may but a portable car port to keep it dry and clean when not in the garage so storage isn't going to be a big hassle.

You hit the nail on the head with the tow-ability and size, which are my main criteria. I want something that will give the family room and not have us on top of each other, while also having all the comforts of the HW series (bigger fridge, microwave, AC, walled shower, etc), but also be a relatively easy tow...

Lastly, at the price I'm paying I can always resell form minimal loss if I want to upgrade or go back to a tent on the ground.

I have looked at some of the bunk houses, and they are pretty sweet!

Iím looking at moving up from tent camping to the HW296 and need some real world measurements if you donít mind. I see the specs list the closed height as 6í9Ē. But that seems taller than what Iím seeing in pictures and videos. Is that to the top of the a/c? What is the height to the top of the box when closed? I have a metal carport behind my house that Iím hoping to use for storage and need to figure out if I need to extend the legs or not. Thanks!
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:49 AM   #18
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My garage opening is 83.5" high, and I made it with room to spare.
The box is 85" wide, which gave me several inches on both sides of the opening.

Whats the opening dimensions of the car-port you are thinking of using?
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:58 PM   #19
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If I center the camper under the carportI will have 80Ē of clearance at the corners of the camper and 90Ē of clearance at the center. This is what Iím working with. The legs are 72Ē. Pardon the mess, cleaning up and out. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-28-2020, 04:26 PM   #20
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Iím at 73Ē high on the outer edges. Assuming you have a little room left to right I think you will make it.

This is with full tires. I know some leak a little tire pressure to help with clearances.
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