Originally Posted by zlee
Rednax, are you saying that size IS or ISN'T important?!
I'm speculating out loud. But I also think there is an optimum size as to what any trailer can do before penalties appear, larger or smaller. Humans are of a given size/weight range, TV's are of a given size/weight range. Climate/terrain is of a given range. Etc. Plenty of ways to fence off boundaries per design. Paved roads. Gasoline, not steam powered TV's (though BartS
is getting closer), etc. There is only so much one can do on any of these. There are determinants
right down to size of the appliances.
As I see it there is relatively no penalty in moving up to about a 25' from a 16'. Not in the TV choice, not in fuel mileage. Not in campsites. The differences are too small in an overall sense.
the advantage of storage capacity (water & fuel, not just supplies) with a 25'. Being able to sleep more people, and carry supplies that cover more than one season. Plenty of incentive, IOW. And that it follows the TV better than a 16' is another. Etc.
If we posit that anything
can tow a 16', then it is also that almost
anything can tow a 25'. Not many folks will tow with a Mini Cooper, but we know it is done. As a sedan, minivan or SUV can all tow a 25' they can also tow the smaller. For a family, which is the more likely family vehicle? Even for many childless couples, the ones that can tow a 25' are a more likely choice in the first place. A Mini can get good mpg solo, but so can some iterations of the others. Not much advantage, then, to the one that is better in only 5k out of 15k-miles of annual use (vacations). TV size then, relatively, is not a determinant as "it" is already what they drive.
Aerodynamics is the crucial component of what can tow what. Weight is a distant second. A sophisticated suspension, low COG are the other factors.
If these trailers still were sized as they were in the 1970's we could move up a few feet. But those few feet are (my opinion) a psychological barrier to towing for many. Now its' really
getting long. Without any real benefit (assuming we started with compare & contrast from the smallest size).
The mpg penalty on the 25' versus the 16' is small. Vanishingly small in $$ for a given range of TV's as the frontal area is close enough otherwise. Length and weight play their role, but these are close for their respective sizes given the likely TV.
There are many ways to cut the gasoline bill, but a smaller trailer loses utility in the more miles it travels as it is the penalized in having more stops for supplies, water, and fuel. An offset. The seasonal limitation is a big one. Probably the biggest. (Conversely, it is obviously the one most open to intelligent use in re lowest op budget. But that is more planning, I think, than most wish to do. And it is not the one to be trapped in for days of bad weather, IMO. Still . .. . )
This all has nothing to do with better or worse, one size chosen over another. Individual choices are what they are. But, it would be hard to maintain that operating
a 25' is more expensive than a 16' due to these factors. Short of purchase price (and this can be all over the place, from free to full MSRP or custom) operating costs can be compared for any person or group which could use both trailers.
Those persons will use a set amount of propane, electricity and water.
The offset is in capacity. That makes the 25' so very attractive. Not the floorplan, hell, people can and do sleep just fine on air mattresses on the floor (a la my teen years). But one trailer will run out of fuel, storage and capacity before the other. That offsets some putative advantages to the smaller sized TT.
Conversely, when we get up to 28' and larger the economy of scale starts to fall off. Two air conditioners. A big propane burn to heat it. A big TV is more likely. Etc. Hard to fit into some campgrounds, much less travel some roads. Running costs are distinctly higher, and without commensurate increases in storage or fuel capacity to truly
It's a little like cars. Short of electric doodads the largest a car can be where size matters in "safety" is 4,000-lbs and 120" wheelbase. The curve flattens out after that. In fact, it starts to reverse when we hit trucks, etc. That size is about as good as it gets for utility.
There is an "optimum size", IOW, as the given range is small. And a 25' A/S is just about optimum as a travel trailer.
It doesn't make it a better or worse choice, but it does make it an easy one when seen this way. (The exact length is not important, but the relation of size & ability is the central idea. One can argue about a foot longer or shorter, but not very much).
I would not be surprised to learn that a 25' was the default choice of those who eventually went larger or smaller once they more closely identified their own needs/wants. A starting point. Were I selling them it is how I would direct others. Start here. Bang for the buck is high.
Go either up or down and things change in this relationship of size to utility.