QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 5 2010, 07:14 AM)
I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.
I think your instincts are correct.
First, a rule of thumb in RV circles is that you should not tow a trailer that weighs more than 80% of your tow vehicle's official towing capacity. If you do, you will spend all your time trying to keep up with traffic, and it will have a lon-n-n-ng stopping distance.
Second, a short wheelbase vehicle like an SUV is not appropriate for towing a vehicle that long. The tail will wag the dog every time you meet a big truck on the road, and it can easily start the unrecoverable "sway of death" if you change lanes on a downhill grade.
Third, the dry weight of a trailer does not include any of your stuff. No clothes, no food, no pots and pans, no books, no camping gear, etc.
Before we retired we had a 5,000# (fully loaded) 19-foot trailer that we camped with on weekends. We didn't dare drive over 55 MPH when towing it with either our Ford Explorer or our Ford Expedition. I could feel it want to start swaying if we drove faster. Fortunately, we lived in Alaska, where there weren't many places to drive that fast.