Going Back to PUP...

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by away2maine, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. away2maine

    away2maine New Member

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    Hey there!

    So we're about to complete a circle and have been out of the PUP game long enough that I'd like the pros (that's you guys!) to re-initiate us to the products. We tented for 1 year, PUP for 2 years, TT for 2 years, and 5th wheeled for 10 years (mostly for long trips). The boys are older and our days of 2 or 3 week camping trips needing the packing space of a 5er are likely behind us.

    With that in mind, we are looking at most likely getting back to the good old PUPs. About 12 years ago we had a Jayco Quest (10 foot box) that we thought the world of, but don't have a good feel for the PUP market of today. Here are some basic thoughts...

    1) Maximum we'll ever take is likely to be 6
    2) Likely towing with Honda Odyssey Touring Elite (3,500 stock/5,000 option)
    3) Would like to not step on anyone getting in and out of bunks
    4) An in-house potty would be nice (if possible)
    5) Descent amount of storage (with the knowledge that it is a PUP)

    I've found that Forest River makes Flagstaff and Rockwood and know they are in essence the same thing. I've noticed that Coachmen makes Clipper and Viking. I'd be curious to know folks thoughts on those units as well as others that may be out there.

    In addition, my DW is curious about the possibility of the "Retro" brand lightweights as well.

    Thanks in advance for your experience and insight!

    Peace...Away...
     
  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back! I admire campers coming back to popup! I just love the set up and set down... it relaxes me and makes me whole!

    You want new or used?
     
  3. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest first double checking your towing capacity, as that can help rule out a lot. I believe the Odysseys have never had a capacity higher than 3,500, and is possibly even lower on the top of the line trim level you mentioned because of all of the (heavy) options.
     
  4. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Rusty is correct. Odysseys purely stock are only rated for like 1,000#. The option to which you're referring is the dealer-installed tow package, which includes a hitch, wiring, transmission oil cooler and power steering fluid cooler. The trans oil cooler is the key: that gets you to 3,500#. The only Honda vehicles rated for more than 3,500# are specifically the AWD variants of the Pilot, Ridgeline and MDX.

    The Jayco pups meet your criteria #3 (8SD, 10SD and 12SC). I would say I was with you on #4 until I considered a standalone Thetford. Many benefits. Cheap. Not integrated into trailer, so I can walk it to pit toilet instead of waiting in dump station line. Cleans easily. Can be replaced every couple years. We have a porta potti 260b and love it. Wouldn't camp without it. Great to have a) for the kids who go all the time all day and b) avoiding midnight runs for all of us.

    If I were in your position again, like I was last year, I would consider a Hummingbird. Tough to fit 6 people in though. I don't think the Odyssey is quite up to the task of a HW pup or HTT/TT.
     
  5. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Yes, pay close attention to the towing capacity. With all of the campers you've had, you should be able to account for the dry weight as well as the real world camping weight.

    If by Retro, your wife means the actual Whitewater Retro brand (riversidervs.net), I don't think they have made a pup yet. The seem have started with smallish TTs, and branched out to teardrops as well as larger TTs. We have the 17' 177. The towing capacity for the 4Runner we had when we bought it was listed at 5000#, but after a year and a half, we up-sized the TV to a mid-size truck. Even with the rounded tops on the ends, there was just too much surface area, particularly in windy conditions, and not enough margin for long uphill climbs, as well as a few other issues.
    While we still miss some aspects of the pups, such as the lower towing height, the move to the TT was the right one for us at our stage in life. We had an 8' Coleman Cobalt, which was great; I gave some consideration to keeping it, but coping with 2 campers was not where we wanted to go. The 177 is about the same length as the Cobalt was open, but has more floor and storage space. It is, however, what some have termed a "couple's camper", since we have the walk-around queen bed, and a dinette that would sleep one.
    Even if you don't want to buy new, I'd suggest visiting as many dealers as possible - right now many are beginning to have a good selection of the new models, as well as leftovers from this year. Our dealer is one of the larger ones here, and carries everything from popups up to the really huge RVs, so there would be a lot to look at if we were interested in changing. When I dropped our TT off for service today, the dealer even had the new Sylvan GO in the showroom.
     
  6. away2maine

    away2maine New Member

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    All good information. Keep it coming!

    We visited a dealer yesterday to look at PUPs as well as some lightweight hard-sided options. It does appear that the biggest hurdle (especially for DW) is internal storage of food, clothes, etc. With that in mind, I would be interested to know what strategy folks use to pack food and clothing without it "cluttering" up the PUP and getting in the way during the camping trips?

    Thanks...Peace...Away...
     
  7. dion

    dion Member

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    The manual is the key. I can speak to the 2007 model Odyssey, because I own one and am familiar with it. Most years are fairly similar, but may vary a bit in the details, so check the manual for your specific year to be sure.

    For reference, the manual for my 2007 is here: http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/pubs/OM/HJ0707/HJ0707OM.pdf . Manuals for other years are available on-line if you search.

    According to the manual, pp. 338-340, you can't tow ANYTHING at all without adding the transmission cooler and power steering cooler. With the coolers, you can tow up to 3500 pounds, but only if the van is totally empty except for a 150 pound driver. Every pound of passengers or cargo you put into the van decreases the tow rating by a pound. So, for example, with 6 people in the van (and no cargo), the max trailer weight is 2750 pounds. If you really fill up the van to near its capacity, the tongue weight of the trailer becomes a problem, and the max rated trailer weight drops precipitously.

    If you want to tow a trailer of more than 1,850 pounds, Honda recommends a weight distributing hitch. For over 2,000 pounds, sway control is recommended. Trailer brakes are recommended for anything over 1,000 pounds.

    All of the above is information according to Honda. I'm fully aware that people do sometimes exceed the ratings.

    When we bought our van, we got the Honda towing package, which includes the coolers, the hitch itself, and the wiring harness for the lights (4-flat only). I added a 7-round trailer wiring connector, with a battery charge wire. Our trailer is lightweight (GVWR 1499, actual loaded weight around 1250) and it handles very well behind the Odyssey.


    As for food and clothing storage, we keep all our food and kitchen gear in the back of the van. We camp in bear country, and don't want food odors in our sleeping quarters. We do our cooking outdoors -- not in the trailer. Clothing gets packed into duffle bags, which we store on the floor of the camper during transit and while sleeping, and on one of the beds during the daytime.
     
  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    There are quite a few discussions here on the Portal about how folks handle food and clothing. It varies a lot according to the specific pup, the type and length of trip, how many people, etc.

    For instance, some use stacking plastic drawers for clothing. For us, we never had the floor space during transit, and the frame wasted a lot of space (we have some in use at home). For us duffle bags that stacked on benches or the extra bunk worked great. we also used a roof top carrier for a long time, and it made great attic space for clothing used only part of a trip, or laundry bags. Until this year, the second full one with the TT, we kept all of our food supplies in the TV; partly due to space, partly due to animal safety (except for the mice that got in each vehicle a couple of times).
     
  9. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    True. I went into more detail about GCWR in a post back in Sept:
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=108305.msg1091521#msg1091521

    The unfortunate truth is that "tow capacity" does not mean "how much the vehicle can tow." There are many more numbers involved. Consulting the manual is always the best, but the 3,500# max tow capacity with a trans oil cooler hasn't changed since the second gen Odyssey (1999). The driver needs to do some math to load up properly and verify adequate capability.

    Honda did change their position on WDHs though between the third and fourth gen (2010 and 2011). I'm not sure why. Your manual states it's recommended. Mine says it is not:
    "A weight distributing hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle. An improperly adjusted weight distributing hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."

    Like you said, always look at the manual.
     
  10. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    Let's touch towing capacity again as it is usually the hardest and largest hurdle when matching trailers with users.

    How often will it be up to 6 people? Or will it be mostly your wife and you?
    how much packing are we talking? just food for a weekend or do you take anything and all you think you will need?
    What type of camping? State/Private parks with utilities or the great outdoors so remote there is no cell signal?
    Towing, flat or mountainous?
    Could the kids stay in a tent outside the camper? Most campgrounds allow for this but not all.
    Pups only or are you open to HTT's?

    As it has been mention, you are in the shallow end on the towing capacity (TC) IF you have your Honda properly equipped. You want to have a 20% TC left (puts you at 2800lbs) so if we do some numbers..
    3 150 lbs passengers
    300 lbs in gear (stored at camper or tv, dont matter)
    * These numbers could be conservative as I dont know your camping stile.

    You lost 750 of your TC, now you are looking at a pup that loaded with 300lbs cant weight more then 2000lbs. If you are trying to sleep 6 without stepping on each other then I would think that you will need at least a 12 foot box but I think is impossible in a pup to have 6 people sleeping and not having to jump over somebody to use the potty or get out of the unit... It is starting to get interesting here....

    Note: When shopping at dealers be very careful, if it is up to them they will tell you it is ok to haul a 5k dry TT with your Honda. Know your real towing capacity, your real load on your TV then figure at least 300 lbs min of cargo in the camper....

    We have 3 campers but only 2 are used actively, 1 to 2 passengers in the TV. The Coleman (about 800-900lbs loaded) is the smallest one and the HTT (2800 dry including AC and empty dual propane tanks) is the largest one. Coleman is generally used for fishing trips where we are in the trailer pretty much just to sleep, the HTT is used for the longest trips for a more comfortable stay specially if bad weather arrives. Our other camper is a 12 feet box 1204 dutchmen. Even with 4 people in the dutchmen we could not set up the beds so we did not have to step over someone. We did have the shoilet so maybe a different floor plan will work for 4 but doubt for 6.

    We towed both campers with the Murano which is a 3500 towing capacity vehicle. When camping in the HTT we always camped bare-bones as we could and flat land towing. We always got our groceries after we got to camp and unhooked, only use one propane tank, no battery in the camper (we always had shore power), always the bare minimum. Only one time we ventured up in the mountains with that htt/TV combo and it was the last. The TV did good but it was obvious we were pushing the envelope. We had to do compromises in order to make that TV/HTT combo work. At times it was a bit stressing, specially on long trips, I could not wait to upgrade my TV... Now we use the Tundra as the TV for the HTT...... When hauling the Coleman with the Murano we had no restrictions on load as the camper is so light. However due to the nature of our trips with the Coleman there is really not much we take anyway.

    Anyway, I mention that so you get the idea that you could get up around a 2000 pop and if you really watch your load you could do more but it starts to become impractical. You mention you have a 5wheel, do you still have the TV used for that?

    Portapotties are great, I would not camp without one any more. I took the galley in my Coleman out to make space for a portapotty and the furnace. Built my own curtains for privacy and it works great. Easy to empty too and if you are in a park that let you empty those in the toilets then you are golden as you have not to wait in line at the dump station.

    For Storage we use a few different things... anything that can stay out of the camper that wont attract critters is in plastic containers and stay sealed under the bunk beds. when using the Coleman the large cooler stays in TV and so does the clothes, we only take in what we need for the night/morning. We made a rack system with shower rods and wired shelves, it is a very popular mod and if you search here you will see it. Allows you to stack clothes, food, whatever, just like in a pantry and folds for transit. However, again, the best storage tactic is to only take what you need specially if it is something you could buy.

    Forest river is top of the line as far as I am concerned, really nice...

    good luck on your search.
     

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