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seasalt 06-16-2018 01:33 AM

Class B and a small Travel Trailer?
Hello, all. My husband and I have been talking about buying an RV for a year now and I'm wondering if our current "plan" is a) possible and b) makes sense to people who actually own and use these vehicles.

The reason we want to buy an RV is that my daughter has multiple life-threatening food allergies, so traveling is difficult. We have to bring/cook her food and find safe places for her to eat, not to mention scour hotel rooms for rogue crumbs and smears, etc. We originally thought we'd get a large travel trailer, but then we'd have to buy a large pickup truck, as well, which we really have no use for in our daily lives.

I recently had the idea that to get a Class B RV, as well as just a small travel trailer. This would make my day to day life easier as we homeschool and I could use the Class B for day trips to museums, parks, etc. and always have a safe kitchen/place to eat and rest, wherever we are. It also be great for getting us from point A to point B on roadtrips without having to rely on rest stops and new hotels every night. For longer trips/vacations, we would definitely need more space and a full bathroom though, hence the small travel trailer.

To me, this seems like the combo we'd get the most use out of. But I'm wondering whether there many Class B that can tow lightweight trailers and whether it makes sense to replace one of our family cars with a Class B. It would probably be used a few times a week and I'd mostly be the one driving it (having never driven anything bigger than a crossover SUV).

Neither my husband nor I have any experience with RVs, so while all of this makes sense to us, we're not sure if that's just because we don't know what we're doing :lol: Very open to feedback and/or suggestions for particular Class Bs we might take a look at. (Something that has a third seatbelt on a forward facing seat toward the front of the vehicle, a decent kitchen, and could also tow a small travel trailer?)

Thank you!

BBQ 06-16-2018 01:47 AM


First advice -- don't tow anything.

Unless you are experienced in towing, I can tell you towing is not fun, towing is not for amateurs, towing is stressful.

Unless you are towing to a RV resort and park it there for the whole summer (or at least a week), otherwise it is not worth the trouble.

Class B is tight for 3 people, but many families are doing it.

Mfturner 06-16-2018 02:16 AM

We had a small lightweight TT for some years that would have worked well for what you describe. My wife and I have joked about getting a small popup to tow behind the B if our teenage kids decide they want to spend time with us again, but as we shed kids for college this is less of a problem.

BBQ says it a little more strongly than I would, towing isn't for everyone. You need a good sense of humor to help each other back into a camp site or do a large three point turn around, or parallel park. Small walkie talkies are the best thing we did for that. The towing capacity of most B's isn't great, I'd go for a very lightweight trailer and really pay attention to gcwr and tongue weights. Three people in a B is doable I think, but I suggest renting from or equivalent if you can, even if it is a small c, to see how everyone likes it. The old Airstream interstate floorplans look nice as daily driver's like you describe.

Phoebe3 06-16-2018 03:23 AM

I have a friend with a PleasureWay Ascent who tows a small trailer when her kids go along. She has no complaints. The Ascent is on the 19' chassis so towing would be a bit easier, I think, than with one of the 22'-25' B's.

As for the GCWR, We have a Ford Transit with the 3.7 gas engine. The GCWR is 11,200 lbs. Fully loaded, we weigh about 9,000 lbs. Maxing the specs isn't recommended, so I would have to look for a trailer that weighed less than, say, 1,800 lbs.

I don't know what the Sprinter-based diesel Ascent lists as the GCWR or what it weighs loaded, but it is possible it would tow a heavier trailer than my Transit.

My son also has severe food allergies and it is a lonely life when you can't visit friends, travel, eat out or socialize because a slip up could kill you. I commend you on working to give your daughter rich and safe experiences.

markopolo 06-16-2018 11:11 AM

Visit an RV dealer or show and take a look the Winnebago Travato 59G (or similar layouts) to see if that would work for you on both day trips and longer vacations.

I doubt it can tow much of a trailer though.

I've had a few combos of RV's; Class B, then small Class C, then large Class C with car, then Class B again, then Class B with trailer. Currently I have a Class A with car for long trips and a Class B for day trips.

If money was not a consideration I'd have a grand diesel pusher towing a posh Class B!

If you can find the right Class B to fit all of your current needs then that is by far the easiest solution.

seasalt 06-16-2018 02:06 PM

Thank you so much for the replies and feedback. I think we would likely do fine in a Class B without a trailer. The point would be to have the ability to explore and enjoy new places rather than being in the RV, aside from eating, sleeping, and driving. My husband, who needs his quiet time, is not so sure!

I had been eyeing the Travato, so I appreciate that recommendation. The dealers around us don't seem to have much in the way of Class Bs, but I've found a dealer a couple of hours away that we're going to visit so we can get a better idea of actual space. It sounds like if we can find the right Class B and use that for everything, it'd be the easiest way to go!

seasalt 06-16-2018 02:10 PM


Originally Posted by Phoebe3 (Post 74919)
My son also has severe food allergies and it is a lonely life when you can't visit friends, travel, eat out or socialize because a slip up could kill you. I commend you on working to give your daughter rich and safe experiences.

Thank you! It's tough isn't it? And, yes, so isolating at times. We're very fortunate to have location-independent jobs and a home-schooled child, though, so I figure we have to take advantage of that and find a way to get out and safely explore!

hepcat 06-20-2018 03:58 PM

I towed a 25’ Bigfoot rear queen model quite successfully with a small class C Born Free 23’ rear kitchen motorhome for several years. Towing something smaller in the 16-19’ range with a Class B is eminently do-able despite responses to the contrary. You just want to make sure that you have enough Class B to successfully tow with. Your plan isn’t “out there” at all, although you’ll get a LOT of comments at the campgrounds and other places you stop. I used to tell folks I kept my mother-in-law in the trailer. That was a good conversation starter. We did that rig simply because it was THE most comfortable way to travel... had a generator onboard the motorhome, separate fridge and cooking facilities for on the road, plus adequate storage and THE most comfortable seating for long-distance travel. AND we had an island rear queen in the trailer. I’m all about comfort.

I still have two RVs, a 32’ motorhome for extended trips and staying in a place for more than a couple of days when my wife is along, and a “classic” b-van for singe forays and road trips.

VanFan 06-20-2018 04:50 PM

Another benefit with your plan is the ability to leave a good boondocking spot for a few hours without losing it. For example, sometimes with a class B you want to run into town for this or that, only to return and find someone else has camped where you were before, or uncomfortably close. It can be a little bit frustrating if you had a really good location. You could avoid that by unhitching the trailer and leaving it behind to stake out your spot.

This would not work in an urban setting, of course. But it would work fine in most natural boondocking locations, such as BLM disbursed camping areas. Security for the trailer while you're gone would be the only concern. Everyone will have a different opinion about that, but there are steps you can take (alarm systems, removable trailer tongue, etc.) to mitigate the risk.

just4grins 06-20-2018 05:22 PM

Here's a different approach that might work for you, and it's a little off your radar. We have a Class B Sprinter, and find it very comfortable and versatile. We bought a small cargo trailer
make by Aluma. It's all aluminum with a 4' by 6' body and has a full lid that gives the trailer a 21" height inside. It can haul consumer luggage, tools, fold up chairs and whatever you need and will give you more room in the B. Empty it weighs 300 lbs. and will take up to 500 lbs in weight. Won't effect mileage much and you won't even know its there. They go about $2000 here is the link:

Brodie66 06-20-2018 06:00 PM

I have a Class B Okanagan Tribute (Not sure if it's available in the states) but it's great for travelling - including boondocking. I also bought a flip-up cargo carrier for extras. It saves having to tow anything. It has two extra seatbelts, although they're not front facing. The nice thing is though, that it's all windows with the 3 piece bath at the back. Also, it's not as pricey as the Roadtreks or Winnebago.

hdevera 06-21-2018 04:05 AM

I have towed a Honda Fit with both a Sprinter and a Class C Winnebago. I do not think it that hard but you must be careful in turning. Getting in and out of some gas stations may be difficult. I no longer tow, but have thought about a small teardrop trailer, for when I take my daughter camping. I do not think that a small trailer is a bad idea, but have you thought about using a tent when camping (along with the class B). If you plan on using your class B as an about town vehicle, I would suggest not going bigger than around 19 f t. Just my to cents.

Hal DeVera
2015 CS etrek
Davis, CA

BBQ 06-21-2018 04:37 AM


This might help you make up your mind about towing

markopolo 06-21-2018 11:15 AM

Getting diesel turned out to be the biggest issue when we towed the 20' or so Travel Trailer behind our B van. I often had to end up at truck refueling stations. Those didn't have pay at the pump and the ground was always oily around the pumps. The large diameter pump nozzles allowed too high of a volume of fuel to flow so I had to carefully dispense the fuel.

IIRC, the van / trailer combo got around 12MPG which I thought was good. It did cut down the range though so I had to fuel up every day on long trips. Handling was never an issue and I never even needed to attach the sway control bar.

I think a lot of folks don't realize that typical Travel Trailer tires are only rated for 65 MPH. Going slow helps the fuel economy and handling. It's also relaxing so I didn't get as tired behind the wheel compared to driving at higher speeds all day.

The Class A I have averages 7 MPG when towing an SUV. That combo is also speed limited to 65 MPH or less specified by the flat towing instructions in the SUV owner manual. Range is better with the Class A/SUV combo compared to the B Van/Trailer Combo.

On extended trips consisting of several months I think overall fuel costs end up very similar if comparing the two very different combination of vehicles/rigs provided that the Class A is parked on an RV site the vast majority of the time. For example: the Class A might only be driven for 10 days in total during a 6 month long trip. The touring around fuel expense is incurred with the much more fuel efficient car or SUV.

Doneworking 06-21-2018 12:53 PM

Our Roadtrek has a 7500 pound hitch with a 1000 pound tongue weight rating. With that capacity we could tow a nice little travel trailer. I wouldn't consider towing anything for one simple reason: that is why we have a B so we do NOT have to tow.

We also have a wonderful Phoenix Cruiser that is just under 24 feet long and we tow a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk behind it for extended trips. Towing, in my view is and will always be to me a pain. Ours tows flawlessly and is no problem whatsoever going straight down the road, but finding a gas station where you can swing out far enough to get to the pump can be a real problem.

Pulling a trailer is more simple than towing a car for one good reason: you can back up a trailer (hopefully :) ) but you can't back up a towed vehicle or you will certainly bend your tow bar.

NFRicaS 06-21-2018 02:57 PM

Think twice before Travato..beautiful, but engine so-so..I went with Pleasure Way..more pick up power..

BBQ 06-21-2018 03:31 PM


Originally Posted by NFRicaS (Post 75362)
Think twice before Travato..beautiful, but engine so-so..I went with Pleasure Way..more pick up power..

Which Pleasureway?


ClassB4Me 06-21-2018 05:23 PM

Wonder Why More People Don't Do This
Seems like the OP is on to something. You get the flexibility of a 2bdr + 2 bath + 2 kitchen RV in 35ft. under $170K (watch the payload /towing limits).

You can not use the trailer when you don't need it (20mpg + daily driver) but include it for 2 couples wanting to travel together but desire privacy for sleeping / bath.

The Ultimate Mobile Office (Home + Office/Studio)

19ft Short Sprinter

16ft Lightweight Trailer

jharu 06-21-2018 06:17 PM

I had a Casita for years and years.
It was great - *very* light (even though I had a brake controller in my tow vehicle), easy to operate (since everything was manual, there was nothing to break.
In CA it was a "perm trailer" - so no recurring costs.
It had fantastic insulation, a great shower/toilet, fiberglass (no rust or mold), and almost 0 maintenance.
Most importantly, it was cheap - $22K including tax and license - but picked up from TX.
Most importantly, if you visited a national park, you could simply drop the trailer off and take the truck to do all the "mountain goat" activities you could conjure up.

But I traded up to a Travato 59K. Why?
a) Parking the truck and the trailer on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) at a picturesque spot was virtually impossible. In fact, if you don't have experience with backing up a trailer, getting into a spot at a CA State Park is looks impossible too! Backing up is a2 person job for sure - at least in my opinion
b) I have an inclined driveway, and there was "just enough" room to park without blocking the garage. Positioning the trailer with only 2 inches to spare on either side was impossible without a dolly
c) Hitching and unhitching on an inclined driveway isn't easy, and I once experienced a "false hitch"
d) In CA at least, you cannot do more than 55 mph while towing

So, it was a matter of convenience and luxury vs. cost.
I hope that helped

jharu 06-21-2018 06:18 PM

BTW - the Casita looks exactly like the Airstream Nest,and is a *lot* cheaper.
Maybe they are modeled after each otehr?

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