Fantasizing about a pop up

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Fifthmonkee, Sep 16, 2020 at 10:39 AM.

  1. Fifthmonkee

    Fifthmonkee New Member

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    Years ago we traveled for a year on a huge fifth wheel and had a blast. But we sold the camper and truck. Now I’m longing to camp again but am thinking pop up. Thing is we don’t have a truck. We have a suburu with a towing capacity of 2700. Is that enough for a pop up? Would we be able to have a shower or toilet? Is a shower or toilet even desirable in a pop up? We’d be doing just camping with hookups probably, maybe rarely boondock. It’s me, my wife and our son (12) and maybe dog. Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  2. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    2700 might be a bit tough to manage. You'd have to look hard for an ultralight rig, and then you lose out on space for 3 adult sized people in the rig. Doable? Probably, but outside the normal market range and into fringe rigs. If you get into the 4,500+ pound towing capacity, you have many more options.

    There are a lot of threads about towing capacity, gross vehicle weight, electric brakes... check them out to get a better feel on how to apply the numbers in a safe manner.
     
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  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    There are a number of smaller pups that would fit your weight limit. They will be smaller - no slide out dinette, likely no inside shower but you might find one with a cassette toilet only, or more likely a cabinet for a porta potty. I know there are a couple folks here that tow with a Subaru as well. Guessing an 8' box is what you are looking for, although there might be some lightweight 10' ones that would work.

    I have a shoilet in mine, but I don't use the shower. Most trips for me are long weekends, and if I need a shower I just use the campground bathhouse instead. I haven't been camping at all this year though due to covid, I anticipate if I did I might consider using the shower to avoid having to use the bathhouse at all.

    Toilets are awesome - super convenient for that middle of the night needs, and if you are not close to a restroom it is nice then as well. I wouldn't have a pup without a toilet at minimum. If it didn't come built in I would consider getting the best, most comfortable portable unit I could find that would fit.
     
  4. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    You can find lots of popups which will fit your towing capacity of 2700. You will find different ways to meet your needs. If you're not boondocking you can look for campgrounds with showers and toilets, once the Chinese Flu scare is done with. Until then, you can always use a Porta Potty and a shower tent. Lots of options.
     
  5. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Just a thought about an inside shower.... My Avalon probably has the largest toilet/shower combo available in a PUP and it's small, showers are doable but not easy. I use an outside shower and shower tent even when bath houses are available. Point is, look for an outside shower or install an outside shower and concentrate on a toilet only. Will save a lot of weight.
     
  6. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Nice to have you here with us Fifthmonkee. Remember that your vehicles towing capacity of 2700 does not include all the junk that comes along. Like water, gear, people, kids, bikes, dogs, food, lamps etc, etc. Its pretty easy to have 1000lbs of that! Experience has taught us to stay well below whatever the manufacture claims is your max towing capacity..
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020 at 1:39 PM
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  7. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Read the manual for your car and check your max payload numbers. As mentioned above many manufacturers do not include people and gear in their numbers. Also when searching for a popup keep in mind that dry weight is not curb weight. Dry weight is usually before options such as AC, Awning, etc in the camper. It also doesn't consider the weight of battery and propane. So either use the dry weight plus cargo weight or estimate by using the GVWR numbers. You may not be towing with it fully loaded but at least you know you have play in your numbers.
     
  8. tiltshift

    tiltshift Member

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    We have a 2011 Subaru Outback with 2700 lbs towing capacity same as yours. 2700 is with trailer brakes. Manual says above 1000 lbs you need trailer brakes. CVTs like the tranny in mine are not made for towing. If you are worried and do a lot of long haul towing in hilly terrain, get a tranny cooler. We didn’t bother cause lots of flat land here.

    Also if you have an outback like mine, tongue weight limit is 200 lbs. Right away that limits the trailer weight to 2000 lbs, with 10 percent of the weight on the tongue.

    Next to consider is the GCVR, or max combined weight of trailer and towing vehicle. For a 2011 outback, this number is 7285 lbs.
    The outback tips the scale at 3500 lbs, plus passengers, gas, and tongue weight. Since the GVWR is 4585 for the Outback, for my example, that leaves about 400 lbs for cargo in the Subaru, and max 2700 lbs to tow.

    It’s a bit tough to find a trailer less than 2000 lbs but not impossible. Skip out on the shower, hot water heater, toilet, etc. We got a 2008 Starcraft 2106 with a 10 ft box, tongue weight 150 lbs and trailer weight 1500 lbs.
     
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  9. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    Greetings! Welcome to the forum from Midway USA. A lot of folks have already provided a lot of good advice so I'll add that where there's a will, there's a way.

    Happy Camping!
     
  10. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    The PUPs I know of with a shower and toilet are going to be too heavy for your vehicle. There are options as stated. Privacy tents, portable toilets, and portable water heaters open a lots of possibilities. Three people and a dog doesn't require a large camper to get enough sleeping space. There are options, just don't expect to have tons of room and all the creature comforts. Shop wisely and be creative.
     
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  11. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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    I don't think you will have luck with your search for a PUP - the problem is not towing capacity, as Tiltshift said, it is the GVWR of your vehicle and the gross combined vehicle weight rating. To determine all of that you have to add the tongue weight, the weight of your four passengers, the cooler, purse, suitcase, a tank of fuel, etc. and you, your spouse, your son, and your dog. I don't know what Subaru you have but if it's an outback, a tongue weight of 270lbs, 120 lbs of fuel, 500 lbs of clothed people, and 50 lbs of dog is 1040 lbs and I think the max payload is 995. Now, add a couple of suitcases and some other stuff and you are way above the design weight of the car.

    You might want to consider a Jumping Jack true tent trailer as an option. It will sleep three in beds, has a table and some other stuff to make camping less uncomfortable - it is NOT as comfy as a PUP but it only weighs a base of less than 1000 lbs. Here is a link. https://www.jumpingjacktrailers.com/check-out-our--tent-trailer-4X6

    Best of luck.
     
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  12. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    Might consider one of these also, we have one, only bout 850 lbs, use it on occasion since the teardrop can't carry yaks...the Sylvansport Go has some headroom & is versatile for a variety of stuff, storage pod on the front etc...check out their website
    58443579_1344835719003689_428808877702643712_n (1).jpg 58745062_1344835745670353_678337166111145984_n (1).jpg
     
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  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    As others have mentioned, it's not just the towing capacity in question. You also have to consider payload/cargo capacity and vehicle axle capacity.

    You will want to know these terms to calculate weights:

    Towing capacity - this is the maximum amount that your vehicle can tow. It includes the trailer and everything put in and on the trailer, including water, propane, batteries, camping gear, etc. You can estimate using the GVWR of the trailer.

    Tongue Weight - this can be estimated at 10-15% of the trailer GVWR. This is the amount of trailer weight that will be supported by the vehicle hitch.

    Tow Vehicle Payload - this may or may not be stated by the manufacturer. If it is stated, it usually has accounted for a driver at 150lbs and a full tank of fuel (the owner's manual will often tell you for sure). In that case, the payload includes the weight of all passengers, any weight over the 150lbs for the driver, and all stuff placed in or on top of the vehicle. It also includes the tongue weight of the trailer.

    Hitch capacity - this is dependent upon the hitch class. If your hitch is a class I, then you are limited to towing no more than 2,000lbs, regardless of the stated towing capacity of the vehicle. A class II hitch increases that limit to 3,500lbs. The hitch class also limits the tongue weight to 10% of the maximum weight. So a class I hitch limits the trailer GVW to 2,000lbs and the tongue weight to 200lbs.

    So, your calculations will be:

    TC <= total weight of trailer and everything in or on it.
    HW <= 10-15% of the trailer GVWR OR the maximum weight allowed by the hitch class, whichever is less.
    Payload <= total weight of passengers, additional weight of driver over 150lbs, everything in or on the vehicle, AND HW.

    If you meet these calculations, you will most always meet the GCVWR (combined weight rating). There are exceptions, especially on vehicles with aftermarket hitches installed.

    The other consideration is the terrain and the length of travel. If you are driving in hilly or mountainous terrain and/or driving long distances, then you may wish to stay below 80% of those maximums. This reduces increased wear and tear on your tow vehicle and its transmission. If you are driving short distancese and/or flat terrain, then the increased wear and tear is not as much, so being closer to or at the max is less of an issue.
     
  14. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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  15. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Another option I saw while camping was a light enclosed utility trailer with an overland tent on the roof. Camping gear stored in the trailer, fold out shelf on the back covered by a straight leg pop up shelter for cooking, and shady sitting area under the tent overhang.
     
  16. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    our 2003 Aliner Scout was 1600 Lbs loaded, including golf clubs, on our Yellowstone 3+ week trip
     
  17. getaway2

    getaway2 New Member

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    I love our Aliner classic popup! Light weight with most comforts including sink, fridge, microwave, heat, air conditioning. Says sleeps 4 but 3 would be more comfortable. Weight 1515 and tongue weight 190. We pull it with Ford Escape with no problem. Use outside shower tent where we put porta potty also.
     

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  18. Chris I

    Chris I New Member

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    Any trailer over 1,000lbs will require a brake controller. I just outfitted our Outback to tow an Aliner Scout, using the kit from etrailer and a Tekonsha P3. It was about $350 and took a few hours. If you don't already have a class 3 hitch, that's another $200 and a few hours. Not sure how much it would cost to have it done in a shop, though.
     
  19. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    This is not accurate. It does depend on your state laws. Our camper is over 1000lbs and we don't have or are required to have trailer brakes.
     
  20. Waitara

    Waitara New Member

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    These Subarus punch well above their weight class. I traded my crew cab Frontier on a minivan for my wife when we had kids. I started driving her old Outback and loved it. Ended up getting a new one of my own. Both our old ‘11 and this ‘18 are 4 cylinders and tow magnificently. My boat is about a ton and the popup is supposed to be 890# and neither have brakes. I did the basic light camper and an external shower. The ones with inside showers are all heavy.
     

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