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Old 09-15-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle or Trailer stowing the goods

A quick and probably too basic question. If I have the option of packing goods in the Tow Vehicle or Trailer is there a rule of thumb which is preferred, assuming within both units weight capacity. I am putting the heavy stuff like a spare tire over the axel in van etc as well as balancing side to side. Thanks almost out the door first trip Tony
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:31 PM   #2
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Well, my approach isn't very scientific, but we tow with a 3/4ton pickup with a cap on it.

We load the back of the truck pretty much up with stuff, some of which could in fact go in the trailer

I think there is probably more reserve capacity for extra weight in the truck than in the trailer, so I suppose it makes sense from that perspective.

But the main reason I do it, is because I just like to keep the trailer as uncluttered as possible, and I think of the the back of the truck as our "basement," "garage," or "spare room" when we are on the road!

It is a bit of a pain getting up near the front of the truck bed!

Apart from tools, gennie, lawn chairs, cases of drinks, etc., etc., we carry stuff like extra shoes and boots, bicycle gear, and some food items in those big rubbermade boxes in the back of the truck in an effort to keep things a bit organized.

Brian
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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Best advice I can give is to leave heavy stuff at home unless it's primary to your mission.

In general in the tow vehicle is the better choice if there's room and capacity and it's practical. With a pickup, some items may not be practical for the bed due to wind, theft, and weather. Then again some items may not be practical for the trailer due to hazard or stink.

On the other hand, if it's something I use on every trip, it goes in the trailer, to minimize departure time.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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Scale slips compared to ALL the gvwr, gawr, gcwr, etc. specs are the only way to answer this question. You may have to run the scales 4 or 5 times and reset the hitch setup after you get the weight distributed properly. It costs $9 or so for each weigh in, but well worth it.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Almost there. Tony
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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Easier to tow the weight versus carry it. That said, many heavy things (tool chests; firewood, etc ) really have no business in a trailer.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
Easier to tow the weight versus carry it. That said, many heavy things (tool chests; firewood, etc ) really have no business in a trailer.
I disagree....I'd much rather drive a heavy vehicle towing a light trailer, than drive a light vehicle towing a heavy trailer.

If the weight can be carried by the TV, and will fit, that's where it should be, IMHO.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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Wingeezer pretty much summed up my approach. Seems to work well with our TV/AS combination.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:42 PM   #9
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We toe Lucy with 3/4 ton Suburban. Most of the gear like tools and generators (the heavy stuff) goes in the Suburban. This seems to work for us after 60,000 miles plus towing Lucy.

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Old 09-19-2010, 10:44 PM   #10
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A lot of heavy stuff and dirty stuff goes in the truck. The dirty stuff goes in the pickup bed. This includes, most of the time, the trailer spare. It's easier to check air pressure that way and it's really hard to get out of or in the spare tire carrier. The carrier is made for a 15" wheel and we switched to 16". Also, extra gas, generator, water hoses, sewer hoses, hitch when not hitched, boards, and "stuff".

With a double cab pickup lots of things go behind the front seats—tools, compressor, ladder, travel books and maps, computer (smoother ride for electronics). This stuff would be clutter in the trailer or not fit anywhere.

All this plus us pretty much takes up payload.

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Old 09-19-2010, 11:04 PM   #11
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Man you guys carry a lot of stuff. But then our trips are mostly weekend trips and a few 5-6 day trips a year. I carry what I can in the SUV then the rest in the trailer. I don't carry enough heavy stuff to notice the difference one way or the other. Even a full water tank doesn't make the tow any different for me. But a few hundreds pounds one way or another makes no difference. Unless you are pushing the upper ends of the tow capacity (MAYBE)

But if I had a pickup it would go in the bed for convenience. And to keep the trailer clean.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:17 PM   #12
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Man you guys carry a lot of stuff. But then our trips are mostly weekend trips and a few 5-6 day trips a year.
Yes, we do. It depends where we are going and for how long. If we know there are plenty of gas stations and we'll always have electricity, no gas can, no generator. Tools are a necessity because so many things break. Hardly any travel books and maps for short trips. For long trips, much more food. We may fill the tires with helium to float along the road.

Our Tundra must have more payload than your Sequoia, so you are more limited in weight.

How are the twins doing Jason?

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Old 09-20-2010, 05:22 PM   #13
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I disagree....I'd much rather drive a heavy vehicle towing a light trailer, than drive a light vehicle towing a heavy trailer.

If the weight can be carried by the TV, and will fit, that's where it should be, IMHO.
Easier on the TV for it to be as I suggested. Including braking and fuel economy. No one is suggesting an empty truck with a heavily-loaded trailer or the reverse. Pulling a trailer isn't that much work. Being near GVWR/GAWR on a TV is work. Think of it in terms of GAWR on any/every axle of the rig.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
Easier on the TV for it to be as I suggested. Including braking and fuel economy. No one is suggesting an empty truck with a heavily-loaded trailer or the reverse. Pulling a trailer isn't that much work. Being near GVWR/GAWR on a TV is work. Think of it in terms of GAWR on any/every axle of the rig.
And no one is suggesting "Being near GVWR/GAWR on a TV", but again, I disagree.

I'll take a heavy tow vehicle and a light trailer any day.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #15
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Just got back

Just got back from the first run. The 1/2 ton Express Van 5.3 3.73 came in over weight when I went to the scale in route home. Axle one 3600 Axle two 4220 third axle 4420 Total 12240 at Gordy's Truck Stop La Pine Or. I am towing a 1973 Trade Wind empty tanks, some propane. How did they do it in the old days with Station Wagons etc.? 12240lbs with canoe, me, wife, dog a spare tire for TW and really not too much extra. I could shave it back a few hundred pounds like one jack instead of 3, 2 canoe paddles instead of 4. Etc. I didn't carry a bunch of canned goods, tools etc. Kind of the basics for on the road travel. Yes, I have a come-a-long and some large tie down straps but if I have to worry about that I am in trouble.

It had to work going up a 6% longish grade engine temp went up 40 degrees in moderate weather. I want to be at that 80% and keep the worries to a minimum.



So it looks like I will be in the market for a tow vehicle. Thanks for your input

Tony
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #16
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Hi, Tony
We pull our 25' Safari with a 2005 Express van 3500. You've no doubt discovered the super flexibility of using a full-sized van as a tow vehicle:
oodles of space for people and stuff in the van, good visibility, excellent value when compared to SUV prices.

We usually travel with one bench seat installed for our dogs - just high enough for them to see out, and the back two bench seats removed and stored at home. We put the travel boxes there: emergency box with jumper cables, tow strap, flares, snow chains, multimeter, quick fix equipment, etc.; campsite box with stuff that goes right out into the campsite: table cover, lantern, trash bags, etc.

The van also carries chairs, generator, firewood, water jugs, backup gas can (there's also a backup gas can in the trailer,) compressor/battery jumper (nifty tool!) and one set of clothes.

At home the van is the go-to vehicle for out-of-town family events. We take the extended family and friends everywhere.

I recommend you search for a used 12-passenger van (don't get a 15 passenger van, the extra length is a detriment to towing and handling.) There are many available, retired from schools, rental angencies and van-pool organizations. They have had good maintenance and generally light use, rarely used as tow vehicles.

Here's a review:Chevrolet Express Van Review - Edmunds.com

The 3500 (one-ton) Express has 10,000# capacity. We get 12-15 mpg while not towing, and 9-11 mpg while towing.

John
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:35 AM   #17
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We also use the 3/4 ton truck with a shell. I put our supplies in Rubber Made containers. One for drinks (water, fruit juice and sodas) another for extra clothing when needed, one large one for chairs and the ground mat. another for truck supplies(tow strap, ropes, tent stakes stuff to change tires), These boxes will stack. I carry a triangular garden hoe with a long handle to teach the front of the truck bed. Tools and satalite dish are near the tailgate with two coolers. I have a kitty litter bucket at the back with bungie cords, bug spray, wd40 and other needed items.
When we go on the road it is for several weeks to several months.



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Old 10-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #18
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We don't like packing, unpacking and then doing all over again. We did that when we had the tent! What belongs in the Airstream stays in the Airstream, everything else in the truck. We have camped every weekend since easter but two as we did last year. Food, clothing, books, movies and what have you are either cleaned, replaced or added by Tuesday evening so we are ready to go except of course the freash produce and meats. The truck has my kayak, our bikes, chairs, tables, EZ-Up, grill, adult beverage cooler, flags, tarps, ropes etc. which stay in the truck all season (mid December). It is best to put things where they belong and when you hit maximum load start taking things out! A ligher Airstream is always a happier Airstream. Keep you load balanced and all will be fine. You will be very surprised on how quickly you can overlaod your setup. Getting to a CAT Scale whith fresh water tank and propane tanks filled along with your usual load is the only way to weigh the rig. Don't forget any passangers including Fido are also to be weighed. Keep it light, keep the shiny side up and happy camping!
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