• This topic has 24 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by pdw.
Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Towing a camping/cargo trailer
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Full Member

    What’s it like?

    I have two vehicles, both with tow bars, and I used to tow a large trailer tent, so have a little bit of towing experience.

    I am now thinking, to save space inside the vehicle(s), that a small trailer filled with the tent and other gear, might be a good idea. The thing is, I really don’t know what it would be like with a small trailer filled with 400kgs worth of gear.

    Does anyone on here have experience towing such a thing? What’s it like? Does it feel dangerous at speed? Does it bounce around? Does it make the rear of the car feel as if it’s being pulled off-course?

    Any warnings you might offer? Or are they a great idea that, once I take the plunge, I will wonder why I waited so long?

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Even with a 3 ton mini digger on the back it doesn’t feel any of the above.

    Have you considered taking some trailer lessons.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Full Member

    Have you considered taking some trailer lessons.

    Absolutely. It’s something I would like to do anyway.

    I just remember my dad, who grew up on the farm driving and towing all manner of equipment, towing our family’s large camper-trailer, and being nervous on a couple of occasions when he said it felt like it was causing the back of the car to ‘bob’. But that was the 1970s.

    Premier Icon ceept
    Full Member

    You’ll hardly notice towing it, though fuel consumption will drop a bit.

    Small trailers are a bugger to reverse, much harder than a bigger trailer as they jackknife really quickly.

    60mph & no outside lane on motorways & DC, and 50mph on other roads might get frustrating.

    IMO, if you are going to have the disadvantages of towing, it might as well be a nice warm, dry caravan that you don’t need to spend all week drying/sorting out after a weekend away.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Poorly loaded trailers do feel a bit terrifying to drive.

    Hence why training is a good idea even if you don’t do the test.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Experience of many, many trailers is that small ones can be awkward to get loaded well, and even then some just seem keen to wag like a dogs tail.

    I pulled one of those tiny Erde’s you see at Halfords – the drawbar to wheels was all about flat packing it, not stability. Add in it being below glass level and narrow, you couldn’t see it in mirrors at all. Basically you finished the journey and then went to see if the trailer was still there.

    That said, get a good one and they are better than roof box for load and mpg, a pain to secure and park, easy to leave at camp and head off in normal vehicle.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    I towed a Conway Mirage with the kitchen unit. 325kg

    It’s like this:

    Skoda Fabia Estate 1.4 TDI

    Didn’t noticed much difference in handling, or driving. Except for being hyper-aware of the width and length especially when making turns. Soon got used to it though.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Full Member

    @p7eaven: how did you find reversing?

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    ^ Do what????

    I unhitch it and push 🍻

    Usually look for large turning circles. If parking at supermarket I’ll park in two spaces if there’s no kerb, forward in, forward out. Better still alongside a wall/kerb/boundary away from tight parking spaces.

    Forgot to say I usually try avoid big steep hills and/or very narrow lanes. I plan the route/destination to get to the site and un-hitch as hassle-free as possible.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    is, I really don’t know what it would be like with a small trailer filled with 400kgs worth of gear.

    Will you really have 400kgs? The hard bits about towing are: high speeds, narrow roads, steep hills, reversing. Depending where you go it could be simple or fairly stressful.

    There are no trailer tests just now so I suspect you can get 1/2 a day with an instructor fairly cheaply.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Full Member

    Tip for when you have to reverse , open the tailgate and put the seats down if you can – then you can see the small trailer.

    Premier Icon neilco
    Free Member

    Make sure it’s loaded properly with weight limits matched to your car and you’ll be right.

    2-BDB87-A3-648-F-44-A5-A100-16257-EBED537

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Full Member

    how did you find reversing?

    If it’s too small to see in both mirrors at the same time, it will be hard to reverse for even someone competent at towing.

    We’ve got some trailers at work where you can’t quite see the trailer, if you go straight backwards you have to go dead slow and keep spotting both mirrors, when the trailer shows up it needs a big correction and then you are pretty much going to zigzag unless you pull forwards. My technique was to make a deliberate adjustment so I knew the trailer would show up in a specific mirror, and then I’d reverse as far as possible in a gentle curve, slow down and then get the trailer in the other mirror and repeat, useful if you need to reverse a long way and don’t want to go at a snails pace.

    But for doing a 3 point turn, as long as you can see the trailer in one mirror and it’s not just 3 feet wide, it should be manageable with practise.

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Full Member

    749kgs behind the t5. Absolutely no probs other than slightly slower acceleration and terrible fuel economy. At 60 mph on the motorway you forget it is even behind you. I am getting better at reversing to.

    Towing

    Premier Icon alaric
    Free Member

    With a small, low trailer flags / aerials or something similar on the rear corners can make it easier to reverse….

    Premier Icon RoterStern
    Free Member

    As others have said , you most likely won’t notice towing a small trailer. Reversing can be tricky especially with smaller trailers (not a problem for me as I grew up on farms and got lots of practice 🙂) you have to steer in the opposite direction you want the trailer to turn, the smaller the trailer the smaller your steering wheel movements. But if you don’t feel that confident , unhitching and manually moving the trailer takes a few seconds.
    I’ve never had problems with swaying with our small trailer because it’s a lot smaller in width and height than the towing vehicle (T5 *sorry*) but I did have problems with one of our old caravans, 9m double axle behemoth) that would be set off by every passing truck. When it did the automatic ESP system would kick in from the van to stop it. It sounded horrible but it used to do the trick.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    Oh, and putting two of your threads together – you do realise that towing a trailer on a ferry is not a cheap experience?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    Don’t discount the idea of a couple of big roofboxes, if you haven’t got bikes. If you have, you can mount them on top of the trailer which would allow you to see it whilst reversing.

    There’s a great place on Penarth road that does (or did) decent but inexpensive trailers built to your spec. Better than a Halfords job.

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Full Member

    One thing to be aware of, a camping version of Parkinson’s Law applies once you get a trailer.

    Tip for reversing – hold the bottom of the wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    I’ve never had problems with swaying with our small trailer because it’s a lot smaller in width and height than the towing vehicle

    That’s not why it doesn’t sway.

    Premier Icon timber
    Full Member

    If you go over a 750kg trailer it will be braked and of sturdier construction than one trying to stay under the unbraked limit.

    If you don’t want to carry anything bigger than the trailer, a box or small stock trailer will help contain and weatherproof whilst bringing it up to rear view level, unless you drive some sort of SUV thing.

    Premier Icon scruff9252
    Free Member

    Nothing much more to add than what has already been said, but on packing/nose weight of the trailer, this video is quite good descriptor.

    Premier Icon TroutWrestler
    Free Member

    I have a 750kg MLM trailer that has a load area about 2.1m by 1.2m and a canopy and cover. It is perfect for alpine camping trips with the bikes. It is perfect fit behind my Doblo, makes no difference to fuel economy at 60mpg and takes the weight off the car.

    Premier Icon pdw
    Free Member

    We bought a trailer a few years ago and it’s been brilliant.

    Bear in mind that there’s very little downside to a larger trailer over a smaller one. Costs the same on the ferry, minimal mpg difference, easier to reverse and probably more stable. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll fill it anyway.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.