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Old 04-10-2016, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default Travel Trailer Base Camp for Class B Touring

Travel Trailer Base Camp for Class B Touring

I thought we could share thoughts, ideas & experiences re: using a Class B van as a tow vehicle. My thought is to use a Travel Trailer on extended trips. It'll become a comfortable home away home but still permit touring around in the Class B. For some trips the trailer will stay home. It will be parked next to our deck so, it will be fun using it at home as a casita when bbq'ing etc.; maybe even guest accommodation.

We're going to try this.

Here are some other related links with good info:

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...anks-1962.html

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...ject-2806.html

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...b-rv-1958.html

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...tion-3486.html

Weight of the trailer would be the first thing to consider. An upfitted B van can't tow as much as an empty cargo van. This calculator could be the first stop when considering this idea:

Travel Trailer Weight Calculator

We've settled on a used Travel Trailer that just fits into those guidelines. I've had to guess at some final weights but will visit the scales with the units. We'd have to not carry much water and make sure the waste tanks are emptied for example. The most limiting factor with our particular van as a tow vehicle is the rear axle ratio - the difference between the 3.73 and 4.10 gearing is a whopping 1,500 lbs! (our van has the 3.73 rear)
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:35 PM   #2
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Finding something light, but big enough is the key. A Tab or an R-Pod might be good choices. 3.73 is not really a bad grear ratio for towing - that's what's in my Silverado and it tows fine - I've pulled 15,000 lbs with it without concern.
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:43 PM   #3
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Extended trips to me mean a lot of frequent travel and I would not tow anything under any circumstance driving daily or any times less than a week. Class B means go anywhere mobility and I have spent a good deal of time also trying to make it livable over an extended period of time so as not to wear our mentally as in cabin fever.

If extended trips mean snowbirding in one place for an extended period of time then to me a Class B would be self-punishment, inconvenience and defeat the idea and advantages of having a Class B. Trailering essentially another RV that most likely would be also too small (assuming 5,000 lbs limit of most) makes no sense. In that case it would make greater sense to me to pull a larger trailer with a conventional vehicle that has greater mobility than a Class B (pickup truck or SUV) or drive a Class A with great base camp comfort and pull a smaller much more mobile and convenient car.

There is also logistics such as outfitting two RVs with duplication, and if not, then the same issues, of what you take or keep in each, what you forget to transfer if you try to avoid duplication, etc. Then there is the issue if you camp in both separately then you always have to return to pick up your trailer. In essence backtrack your route. That is probably repetitive and more miles and most likely will require a great deal of logistical planning and additional cost to pay for two simultaneously occupied campsites.

As for guest accommodation at home. Our Class B has served that function. For a very brief period we had both our first Class B and our Airstream trailer parked in our yard. The idea of the Airstream being kept around as the previous owner of it did for a backyard cabin went away very quickly once we had both together.

What am I missing?
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:04 PM   #4
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I have thought along those line but only as a space for kids. We have a big class A but would like to get rid of it. Will probably keep Ol' Bertha until the kids are completely out and consider a small trailer after. Would not take it if just us.
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:17 PM   #5
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All good points.

If a long trip means being on the move often then a larger B of even a small C would likely be better. If snowbirding & say utilizing monthly site rates then both are likely too small.

I dislike the idea of a Class A or C just sitting unsused for a great portion of the year. I've had a C that didn't get used much. It was great when traveling across the country though.

Monthly trailer site rates would make paid B site overnights more bearable. It's easier to camp for no or low cost with the B van.

Outfitting two units does present challenges. The B van needs to be kept in a functional & ready state so a fair bit of duplication will be unavoidable. Otherwise, as you point out, it's too easy to forget some needed item.

The relatively low cost of a travel trailer is attractive. Fairly new trailers can be had for less than just the taxes on a new Sprinter B in this part of the world! (13% NB, 15% NS, 14% PEI)
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:07 AM   #6
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We have discussed this quite a few time in the past, and there always seems to be the the "why" folks who are the class b users who move all the time, maybe no more than 2 days in a spot. While many of us may travel that way part of the time, we also like to plop for 1-3 weeks at a time in a nice spot (usually that we have found in our short stay travels). On those occasions having a small put behind could be a very nice option. We have thought about it a lot, and almost bought a Safari Condo Alto to do the task. Unfortunately, they would not back off a fully loaded trailer for us, so we couldn't justify the extreme $40K+ price tag.

We had hoped to address the duplication issue by getting a trailer that would just be a mobile "family room". Dinette, couch, tv, frig, micro, heat, no bed or big kitchen. Kind of like a 4 season screen tent, only more versatile.

We were very close to bidding on a Crankyape Airstream Basecamp that was in our town recently, but didn't need another project right now. It could have been made into just what we wanted, albeit a bit heavier that we would like.

I think Marko has a very nice setup put together at this point, and am looking forward to hearing how it all works out for them.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:02 AM   #7
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check out Serro Scotty. Sportmans or lite might work. Came across these a few years ago.

SerroScotty
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:49 AM   #8
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My comments were in regard to Marko stating extended trips. My much more spacious 25 foot Airstream trailer I mentioned couldn't be pulled by my Class B.
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:27 AM   #9
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How are you going to use the trailer? Does it need a bathroom and kitchen since you have that in your B? You can get a really small/light trailer without those features.
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:26 AM   #10
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Default Class B & Trailer

I have a little 13' Fiberglass trailer, AKA the Boy's bedroom, that we pull when we do the 'Family' Camp, and if just us 2 we take the Van. The trailer has it's own solar setup so they have their own power to watch TV or play Video games, removed the sink and stove and turned that area into a large desk top for the TV etc...kept the fridge and furnace, works fantastic.
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File Type: jpg Van & Trailer 2.jpg (147.0 KB, 11 views)
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:20 AM   #11
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Brian |I see you're pulling with a Ford Okanagan. |Is it a 1/2 or 3/4 ton van and do you know the approx. weight of the trailer (Is that a Trillium or similar older trailer?
I have a 2000 Dodge 3500 Okanagan van, just wondering about what is really practical load to pull, whether a small travel trailer, or on some occasions a boat or small trailer with motorcycle, kayaks etc.
|Just out of interest, I assume since the van is so high, there's not much additional wind load when pulling?
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Old 04-14-2016, 04:01 PM   #12
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Also keep in mind many RV parks have a "single camping unit" rule. They won't allow your B to share a site with a travel trailer, even if you are just parking it and staying in the trailer.
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Old 04-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #13
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The trailer is a 1970's Canadian made "Ventura" brand. They weigh in at 800 lbs dry weight, but I have solar panels, 2 storage batteries and the usual load of camping gear so I'm probably sitting around 12-1300 lbs rolling weight. As you said the Van is much taller so there is no noticeable wind load. Van is a 3/4 Ton Econoline E-250. Other than the extra load going uphill I can`t hardly tell its behind me. I have not yet run into an RV site that won`t allow me both units on a pad as Wincrasher suggested. Total length of both units together is 32 feet, same as the Class A I used to have.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:02 PM   #14
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Reversing a trailer can be a challenge I've discovered! I parked it alongside my deck but it took me a long time. I will practice a lot first before trying it in a busy campground.

I found this Trailer Reversing Game - Trailer Reversing Game | Marops - and think it is very useful to learn to required moves.

At first, I couldn't complete the game, then I could but would go way over the time limit. Now I can complete it with time to spare. I found smaller steering adjustments, keep the steering moving & go forward when needed all help to complete the game and should help with an actual trailer.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:49 PM   #15
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That is a pretty neat little simulator. It is a good thing they let you go through the grass a little or I would never get far! Particularly interesting was to see how far jacknifed you needed to be before turning the wheels either way didn't do any good. I had thought that happened backing up our utility trailer, but have never done it enough to know for sure. It will be interesting to see if it helps you in the real world, or not.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:15 PM   #16
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...and I just re-affirmed why I sold my Airstream trailer.
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Old 04-28-2016, 12:02 PM   #17
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My wife really likes the trailer so I better become a pro at maneuvering it. She has really taken to it and is quite comfortable setting it up and operating the slideout etc. I'm happy because she was a bit hesitant about the whole idea of getting a trailer but with her being excited about it any extra effort because of towing will be worth it.

Spree 220KS.JPG

Both of us really like the interior storage for bikes. It has a bike door for access.

I have lots of mods including solar planned but will confine them to this single topic so that anyone not interested in trailers can just skip the whole topic.
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Old 04-30-2016, 12:44 PM   #18
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Here's a way to keep bikes stable inside that might also interest some Class B owners that have large cargo areas like the Travato 59G and Safari Condo with the bed lift.

I used a scrap piece of 2x6 and gave it a quick stain. It is as long as the cargo area's width so the bikes can't slide around.

Delta fork mount.JPG

Two Delta brand fork mount brackets; one for each bike.

Plenty of room for front wheels. I'll either Velcro or bungee them for transport.

front wheels.JPG

Bike door:

bike door.JPG

The trailer came with a large BBQ with a low pressure regulator. The is no outside compartment large enough for it. BBQ grills can get smelly so I'm re-purposing a 36"x18" plastic cargo box. It just fits with the bikes in the cargo area (was lower bunk area). The trailer came with a low pressure quick connect and I've added a high pressure connection and have extension hoses for each. The hoses fit in the box with the grill.

low pressure high pressure.JPG

This is just two inverted bike holders from my bike rack. I added a piece of 2" ABS. I also use this when the bikes are on the cargo box on the rear of the van. It adds stability. The bikes in the trailer can't slide in any direction and I didn't have to drill any holes in the floor or walls etc.

added stability bikes.JPG
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:22 PM   #19
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Another idea for your grill may be a bumper mount swing arm.

For my Arctic Fox, I got a similar grill to yours (it looks exactly the same) and it came with a steel swing arm arrangement that bolts to the rear bumper. You might call them (Northwest Manufacturing Co.)

My trailer came pre-wired for Zamp panels. I also have 2 house batteries. The way I'm using this trailer, it's always plugged in to shore power, so I don't think it pays to install it. But on a trailer, it's an easy peasy project if you already have the wiring in the walls and thru the roof.
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Old 04-30-2016, 03:02 PM   #20
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I like the grill attached to the bumper idea. This trailer has the mounting for the grill on the side of trailer. I don't think I want the BBQ too near the door & windows & under the awning .... so figured I'd just leave that rack at home.

I've been thinking hard about number of batteries & amount of solar. The trailer has one battery and my first thought was too double it to two. I changed my mind on that and am going to stay with one battery as it will be plugged in most of the time. I have one 100 watt panel that I'll install to keep that battery in good shape for the odd time the trailer is not plugged in & the van is not with it. The van has almost 400AH of batteries for the trailer to utilize. The AC outlet on the exterior of the van is powered by the inverter so running the microwave oven in the trailer etc. when off grid is not a problem.
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