I am looking at the Scamp 16' trailer. It appears to fill all the requirements for an 09 2.5X. The approx. weight is 1750 and hitch weight is 165. Has anyone had any experience towing this camper? I would be getting the model with the bathroom.
I'd research this very carefully. The 16' trailer specs indicate a weight of ~1,750 lbs, but that's probably for an empty base model with no supplies or options. Adding the usual camping gear, supplies, options, and perhaps water (~8.3 lbs/gal) will likely increase the trailer's actual towed weight considerably. This added weight may also affect the trailer's center of gravity, which could in turn affect its towing dynamics (IOW, possible sway problem if the hitch weight is too light).
You'll also need a brake controller for the trailer's electric trailer brakes.
Finally, the trailer's frontal area (7'-10" tall x 6'-8" wide = ~52 sq. ft.) will add considerable aerodynamic drag to your tow vehicle, which may stress the drive train and/or hitch.
I have a Scamp 16 that I tow with an '04 Forester XS. It's been a good experience. With my wife and daughter, we've logged about 3,000 miles, I'd guess. Mostly in Colorado, though once we ventured to Tennessee and Kentucky, in July, no less. We've towed over every major paved mountain pass, with nary a white-knuckled moment. The only tense time was a drive when the engine temp was fluctuating up and down, below the warning level. A new radiator cap seemed to fix that one. Right now, we're planning a Thanksgiving Scampout to Zion and/or the Grand Canyon.
Here's a few things we've learned over the five years we've owned the Scamp.
-- They're very durable and dependable trailers. Ours is 25 years old, and requires little maintenance. Very few body seams to keep sealed, and a total of less than a dozen moving parts, counting cabinet hinges.
-- They're nice to live in. Three of us share the space. The wide center aisle allows up to pass each other. The rear bed is narrow, though. The insulated shell and white surfaces hold heat inside when you want it, and reflects sunlight when you don't.
-- They're easy to tow. Our Scamp has never shown any tendency to sway, and sidewinds are no more bother than with the tall-bodied Forester alone. It has electric brakes, but I'm surprised how seldom we have to use them. Downshifting our manual transmission, combined with the trailer's wind resistance, controls our speed on long downgrades without using the brakes. We consistently get 18 mpg, consistently running in one gear lower than normal. (Yes, fifth gear becomes an overdrive.)
Now for the big issue-- weight. Ours scales out at an even ton when it's loaded for the road, with one or two coolers, camp chairs, bedding, etc. It would be easy to add another 500 lbs if you include things like cast iron pots, a TV, bikes a fridge, and most of all, the water needed to operate a bathroom. Our Scamp -- more of a "Skimp" -- has none of those options (we did temporarily install a small air conditioner for that trip to the South). To avoid topping 2000 lbs, we have to think like backpackers-- only in this context, a pound is about like an ounce.
The car doesn't seem to mind the weight. We're slower climbing hills, but can usually manage 55 even on I-70 through the High Country. An XT could do better, but who cares? When other drivers see a trailer ahead, they just want to pass it immediately. I don't think it would make a difference if I was going 75!
The limiting factor is tongue weight. By accepted standards, you need 10% of the trailer's weight on the hitch to avoid a bouncy, uneasy ride. That's enough weight to sag my Forester's butt and jack the front end skyward. It drives better than it looks, fortunately. My headlight beams have two settings when hitched: high, and owl-spotters! I'm forever searching for a way to beef up the rear suspension, but regular air springs won't fit the forester's MacPherson struts.
My wife probably would disagree, but if I did it over again. I'd choose a lighter 13-foot Scamp. Not that the towing experience would be that different, but I'd feel free to add more heavy toys to my load. The shorter version has all the bed and bunk space, but less storage and counter space in the kitchen. They're also more rare on the used market.
I've been eyeing the Scamp 13 or the Campfire Bak-Pak (www.campfirecamper.com) to tow with my 06 FXT for awhile now. Good to hear such positive experiences with the Scamp 16 in Colorado nonetheless. I had a feeling being frugal with gear would have to happen.
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