hand moving tent trailers

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by bhoward, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. bhoward

    bhoward New Member

    Jun 30, 2011
    I am looking at a couple of trailer in particular as our first pop up.
    Either a used 2005 Evolution E1 that is in great shape with some extras. asking $7500 That seems a little high to me after looking around.
    Or a newer Coleman Cobalt Trailer. I hear you can get one new around $6kish.

    Here is my situation. I have a 2007 Toyota Tacoma 6 cylinder double cab as the tow vehicle. Wife and 2 young boys. We are avid mountain bikers and like the mountains more than any other camping area. Will camp at beach near us though as well.

    I know the Evolution has more amenities and more room. I like it better overall but i have some parking issues. I have a good spot in the fence of our back yard but it is not in line with the driveway. So we would have to back the tralier over the curb and around a slight corner then unhitch and hand push it back into the gate. About 50 feet and up a slight hill. Is this possible with two people and an Evolution E1? It seems very doable with the Cobalt as it is almost half the weight. I need to know how moveable the E1 would be. Any feedback is appreciated.

    Will a 6 cylinder Tacoma pull the Evolution well? Finally can anyone give feedback on the size differences and ammenity differences between the Evolution E1 and the Cobalt. I know there is no fridge, out door shower, etc. But just want to hear some convincing arguments either way.

    Thank you in advance. Any feedback would be appreciated!
  2. hammer1234

    hammer1234 New Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    From what I saw online the unloaded weight of an Evolution E1 is 2400 lb.

    My Jayco is just around 2000 lb without cargo and it can be a handful when moving by hand IMO. When it's on my sloped driveway I can't keep it stationary with the trailer dolly...once we thought we could and the DW ended up throwing a chock under one of the wheels when it started to roll. Was a bit scary when the pop-up was moving and I couldn't stop it.
  3. aeisbren

    aeisbren New Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Can you do it? Maybe. I can move my Palomino Mustang on a flat paved surface with some effort, Up a hill? Never over grass? I doubt it but more because the wheel in the tongue jack is too small. and If you do get it moving it's important to have someone handy with the chocks as was mentioned above. It's kinda like pushing the Titanic, if it's moving you may not be able to stop it on a dime, or turn to avoid the iceberg!

  4. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 New Member

    Feb 9, 2011
    I think it would be pretty tough to push by hand, especially if there is any incline. I don't know the tow capacity of the Tacoma off hand, but I think it would be just fine. My buddy towes his light weight TT with a Tacoma and it is 3,500 #s + Dry....I think he told me his Tacoma has 5K# or 6K# of tow capacity.
  5. barb_dave

    barb_dave Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    It's hard enough to push them on a smooth surface with an incline so I don't think you could run into some problems trying to push it in grass.

    If you have or could get a suitable size lawn tractor there are manufacturers that do make hitches for them. You could then use the lawn tractor to pull the camper.
  6. tracker366

    tracker366 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    My 2007 Tacoma 4x4 ext.cab V/6 with tow package has a towing rate of #6500.Moving a pup by hand in grass isnt easy unless you have a few people to help.
  7. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    Brampton, Ontario
    We regularly move our light weight PUP (1250) with me pushing and pulling up on the tongue wheel, and two teens, 17 and 15 pushing against the PUP. I think though its fairly easy because its up a paved driveway with a moderate slope. The youngest has the chocks ready for when we are done.
  8. mckeapc67

    mckeapc67 New Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    Hand pushing the E1 would be possible but there are a lot of variables involved.

    How steep is the hill? How soft is the ground? Who's doing the pushing?

    I move my Flagstaff BR28TSC around by hand with my son (13) and/or wife's help. Its dry weight is around 3000 lbs. and we push it up a slight incline in our driveway without any problems. On grass, it would probably take all 3 of us.

    Keep in mind that the "full sized" 15 inch tires on an E1 will roll easier in the grass than small tires on some PUPs. I'm not familiar with the Cobalt so it may have larger tires also.

    Tongue weight will play a pretty big part in hand moving on grass. The nose gear (jack wheel) won't roll as easy on grass.
  9. amcdeac

    amcdeac New Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    A friend modified a hand dolly (or whatever you call them) for me to use with my E3:


    The modification was necessary to accommodate the larger ball.

    I use the dolly to make fine adjustments in the parking spot, which requires a fairly sharp turn using my vehicle. I am getting better but sometimes hand adjustments help. In my experience, it is difficult to move the trailer by myself up even the slightest of grades (on pavement). Just too hard to get enough force on the handle of the dolly. However, it is very easy to move with a second person helping to push, making contact at the edge of the trailer.

    If I were you, I would plan on getting a dolly. from there, I think it would be easy to move the trailer into the parking spot if you had help.

    Best of luck.
  10. Trackside

    Trackside New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    I have a E1 and am in a similar situation parking it on the side of my house with that slight turn to the drivers side as I back in. The ground is flat front to back and a slight sideways incline. Its brand new to us so we've only had to put it away once and that was when we got it back from the dealer. Moving it on the flat driveway was no problem and was a 1 person job although 2 made it real easy to get it started.

    When I went to move it to the side of the house I ended up unhooking it about 3/4 of the way past the gate cause I had 4 strong neighbors who came over to help and WOW was it tough. The wheel jack was useless cause it sunk right down into the dirt which was soft since we've had a wet spring and the trailer kept trying to turn away from the house. I later realized that the water tank was full, but I'm convinced it wouldn't have been much easier empty.

    Since, I've used my TV to move it to the backyard while I dumped 5 yards of 5/8 - gravel along the side of the house and took out all but the slightest side grade to insure the rain water drains away from the house. I've got the wheels and wheel jack on 20x20" pavers I purchased at Lowes and I plan to buy another $150 worth so that I can use the TV to get the PUP on the pavers and then just push the trailer back by hand. Should be do-able so long as I can get it on the pavers easy enough with the TV, but I'd be lieing if I said this was all figured out now.

    From the street - the bush on the right is what I have to bend around.

    From the backyard - its plugged in since our first trip starts tomorrow!!

    The wife and I also have 2 boys and we were first drawn in with the price of the Cobalt, but when we looked at one the wife and I both thought it would be too crowded. We didn't need all the extra's the E1 has and weren't looking for hot water and a fridge, just a dry, warm tent off the ground, but ended up buying a used E1. I think it will last us many more years than the Cobalt would have as our boys get bigger and the electric brakes are a nice safety factor.

    As far as your TV I won't be much help, but I can say this - I have a '03 GMC 1/2 ton extended cab and I've towed small boats and about 1300 lbs of snowmobiles up mountain passes and towing this PUP with a full water tank on the freeway was the first time I noticed I was towing something. Still pulled it no problem and the E1 has electric brakes which work great, but I'm not going to tow with a full tank unless I'm going someplace in the mountains where I can't get water near the site.

    Hope this helps,
  11. MarkoPolo

    MarkoPolo Lance 1995

    Jun 28, 2011
    This may not apply in your case, but I have a John Deere x300 riding lawn mower that I had a welder make a custom hitch mount that I bolt on and move my Coleman Bayside up a rather steep grassy incline. I must admit, it was easier with my old, lighter Santa Fe, but it still works. At times the mower stresses a little and the front wheels get a little light, but I never could get it in the yard with my TV.
  12. You-And-I

    You-And-I Ozarks Überland Basecamp

    Jan 3, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    We have a small Off Road type camper. There are a lot of times, I need to move the camper by hand to set it up. I changed out the wheel jack on the trailer, to make it easier to roll on rough ground. The new wheel jack has two wide wheels and it does a lot better job on rough ground. With that said, our trailer maybe weights about 1,500 lbs. loaded and has 32" tires and its still a bit of a job to move it by hand, on rough ground. I'm not sure, I would want to tackle a trailer that weights twice that amount by hand. Its one thing on a flat paved street, but its completely different animal, on the grass pushing up hill. Just my [2C] [UNI]

  13. You-And-I

    You-And-I Ozarks Überland Basecamp

    Jan 3, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    Just a thought, a friend of ours added a hitch to the front of their vehicle, to make it easier to maneuver. He now pushes his trailer into the parking spot, instead of backing it in. "Works pretty good too"
  14. My camper has a dry weight of about 2000 lbs. It's about 2800 in traveling trim. Pushing it around isn't easy. I remember one time I was at a music festival camping in a big field. The guys working there backed me in, and after I unhitched, they wanted me to put the wheel on and spin it around so my door would be on the other side (did I mention that we were in a field!). When I eplained to them that they were insane, they replied, "but it's just a popup". I welcomed them to try to turn it around if they wished. 6 of them emasculated themselves trying in vain.

    When I first bought the camper, I used to move it around with my garden tractor, as others have suggested. The problem I had was that the ball mount wasn't sturdy enough for this application. First, the bore wasn't big enough to accomodate a 2" ball so I had to widen it. Second, it just couldn't bear the tongue weight. The mount bent pretty badly. I could move it around the driveway with the wheel on, but it struggled otherwise.

    I was able to push it up into the grass and it wintered in my back yard that first year. Never again! the ground was so wet when it thawed in the Spring that the wheels sank in almost to the hubs. I couldn't drag it out! I wound up hooking a come-a-long to the tongue and a sturdy tree and slowly winching it out (praying mightily the whole time!). If you're going to park it in grass, make sure you reinforce where you park it.
  15. Mosbyranger

    Mosbyranger Onward, thru the fog...

    May 29, 2009
    Western Colorado
    I had an E-1 and now have a Cobalt. I towed the E-1 with a Dodge 1500 V-8. It pulled the passes here in Colorado, but it was a chore. I mostly did station to station towing, meaning gas station to gas station, that rig sucked gas furiously. Big Oil loved me. I would think that the V-6 would be overmatched a bit on a serious uphill grade, which are in no short supply here. I had no problem moving the E-1 around by hand on my flat concrete driveway, but it would be much much too heavy to move by hand on grass. Unless you are superman.
    I have no problems towing the Cobalt with my Nissan Frontier V-6 with a towing package. I do not know if the Cobalt offers enough room for a family of 4, unless you get the kids tents and camp them outside. Just my [2C]
  16. Dunce

    Dunce New Member

    Sep 19, 2016
    I am just about to get a trailer dolly to move mine around. I have 3 inches of clearance on each side of the garage door while going in and doing that by myself is a bit touch and go.

    Although not the same as your situation. The way I am thinking about it when it comes to buying the trailer dolly is that it is probably cheaper than replacing whatever I break trying to do it all myself.
  17. PaThacker

    PaThacker Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Both of my pups previous and current were 12ft box with slideout. 18.6 and 18.8ft respectfully. You could not move them with a tractor or quad.
  18. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    My Explorer with V6 engine and tow package can pull 3500 lb popup up on mountains with no problem. I am pretty sure That Tacoma with both V6 and tow package can do just fine.

    But the main problem is that the ground will be naturally WET. You can put planks under the camper tires as you move it. Get about 8 short planks 2x8, 4 feet long planks. put em on grass for transporting your popup. of course have someone put chucks to keep it from going downhill too fast. Save the wood when you successfully parked the popup for the next time.

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