Introduction and FOUND a camper

SystemSystem Posts: 121
This discussion was created from comments split from: Taller Guy Looking at Either 320 S Boondock or 400 - Need Help.
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  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member

    [My first forum post: Total newbie, still looking for our first camper]

    Hi all.

    Last fall, after camping in my little backpacking tent for 5 days in Maine, we decided that it might be time to start shopping for a small camping trailer. [Ok, so perhaps I had been whining just a bit; but I’m pretty sure that the ground was not nearly so hard when I was younger.]

    We knew absolutely nothing about camper trailers and there are very few local dealers in Northern NH (likely due to our very long winters), so I’ve been doing a ton of online research. I recently traded in my Honda for a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, with a 4500 pound towing capacity, so all we need now is the camper trailer to go with it.

    Finding a small, affordable, tough camper has been way more difficult than I had expected, but it looks like the [email protected] 320 S or the new Little Guy Mini Max might meet our needs. The problem now is deciding on which one might fit us the best.

    The little [email protected] 320 S is my personal first choice, but my boyfriend feels that it would be too small for us (I'm 6 feet tall and he's 6-1, and he's the practical one). My argument is that we've only camped together in my little backpacking tent, so even the 320 is going to seem roomy in comparison.  

    I initially considered the [email protected] 400 and the Little Guy Max, but both seemed a bit larger (and more expensive) than what we wanted. The thing is, I’ve never pulled a trailer before, so I'm nervous about my towing ability (my Jeep will do fine, but I may be a wreck).  When we began stopping at RV dealers, I soon discovered that my fear of pulling seems to be directly proportionate with the size of the camper we look at.

    My biggest concern with the 320 S is its 5’9” maximum interior height and the small bathroom (I love everything else about it!). I’ve read all the tall-guy posts here, but I haven’t seen any tall-guy+tall-gal posts.

    My biggest concern with the Mini Max is that it is a brand new model, so there are not any long trip and back road boondocking reviews on it yet.  Plus, even though it is a bit roomier, it appears to be a bit less open (due to the pantry closet) and the ceiling air conditioner is definitely going to be a head whacker for us.

    Our dream is to see the country after I retire in a few years (I've hardly been out of New England, and he's from Normandy France). One of my main requirements is a camper that can be off-grid for several days at a time, as we plan on spending quite a bit of time in wilderness areas, where we can set up our camper as our hiking base camp. So we will be driving on some rough back roads, where the 320 S with the Boondock package seems better suited for those conditions (I'm concerned that the straight backend of the Mini Max will bottom out on moderate dips/inclines).

    We're hoping to do a walk through of both models in mid June, where we should have a better idea of which camper might be the best fit for us. This is going to be a very tough choice, so I really welcome any feedback. I'm doing the best I can, but the learning curve has been a bit overwhelming at times.

    Arwen

    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,441Member
    @Arwen, I'm 6', my late wife was 5'8", and a large boned lady. We had the same train of thought as you are having, especially when both of us were in the trailer together. After our first trip & realizing how little time we spent in the trailer except to sleep, change clothes, and occasionally use the bathroom, those thoughts went by the way side. To each their own, but the [email protected] has worked well fro us, and I'm sure other folks who are tall will chime in as well. Good luck with your decision!
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 4,511Moderator
    The ground does get harder as we mature - known fact!  The Tab 320 is a breeze to tow, park, and move by hand as necessary.  If you plan on doing a lot of cold weather travel that requires more time spent inside the trailer, you may like more height and room than a 320.  But, if most of your time is spent outdoors in warmer weather, the addition of a side tent effectively doubles the space you have to use.  Most people cook outside anyways.  The bathroom is small and you must sit to shower.  Depending on what is permitted where you camp, have you considered using the outside shower with a shower tent?  I am not familiar with the Mini Max, but the 320 Boondock has a 3 way with propane frig which is considered a bonus for boondockers.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Cleveland Heights, Ohio
       
                                           
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    Thank you both for your replies and all the information!

    My boyfriend and went hiking today and spent some time discussing campers, and I shared your comments. We decided that we want a 2-season camper, one that we can use from early spring until late fall.  Since we hike year round, and have done overnight backpacking when the night time temperature was below freezing, I think we would be fine in the 320, as we wouldn't be camping for extended periods when it was too cold to still spend most of our day time outside.

    There's a lot to consider, and we really need to get to the dealer and get inside these campers. I love the 320, but I don't think he will feel comfortable in one.  He still thinks we should consider the [email protected] 400 as well, so we will hopefully be able to see one when we visit the dealer next month.

    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    We finally made it to our closest dealer this past weekend and had our first look at the [email protected] 320s Outback and the [email protected] 400 (both 2018), as well as the Little Guy Mini Max (2019).  We looked at the 320 S first, and even though it was small, I really liked it because I felt that it would work for us . . . but my boyfriend felt it was too small, and he was totally turned off by its tiny bath. 

    So we moved on to the Mini Max.  He was much more comfortable with this one, as it was nearly large enough to stand up in and was ok with the larger bath.  I tried to like the Mini Max, but I just preferred the layout of the 320 S better, and I kept banging my head on the protruding AC, which was right dead center in the way for me. 

    Then the dealer took us over to see the [email protected] 400.  As soon as my 6'1" boyfriend entered the camper, I could tell that he REALLY liked the 400, even before he checked out the bath (which he loved).  It was indeed much more spacious in just about every way, and there's no argument that the 400 is a MUCH better fit for us,  And I do like the fact the the bed is only a bed (and it was largest and the most comfortable of the three) and the front dinette is roomy (and I love the huge front window). Plus the 400 seems to be set u better for boondocking, with way more fresh water capacity, more solar on the roof, and its larger battery and more efficient fridge.

    We are both fine with paying more for the camper that we are most comfortable with.  My only real issue is towing something this large with my Jeep, as it just seems like it would be much harder to pull than the 320 (and more scary for me as the driver).  Technically my Jeep can pull this just fine, as it has a 4500 pound towing capacity, but how hard with it have to work to do so? Plus, if we did decide on the 400, I would wait for the 2018 model with the Boondock package . . . but I cannot find any information on how much heavier that model would be. 

    I'm really trying to relax with the idea of towing this larger camper, but it is freaking me out a bit. (I'm totally ok with the idea of towing the smaller 320).

    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • robptrobpt Posts: 90Member
    Hi @Arwen, I know what you're thinking and feeling - been there. I hadn't towed a trailer in years as I did the truck camper route, but then after practical considerations [centered around not wanting to have a big truck in my yard that's only function was to carry a camper] I jumped into a 320S. Size wise, it was a step back for me and I couldn't get use to it. I'm barely 5' 8" and my wife is 5' 6", but I just felt cramped after having a dedicated bed and a bath that felt more separated from the living space - plus more storage. I ended up trading the 320S in for the 400. But this impulsiveness was based on subjectivity, and what I think by no  means dictates the absolute, as the 320S is a good camper, and if the 400 hadn't been around, I would have still chose it over all the others in a lightweight camper. I still like and admire the 320S and if I had maybe given it a chance, I would have become accustomed to the idiosyncrasies. It's quite obvious that many other people here, taller than me, are quite happy with it, and as @ericnliz plainly points out; the point of it all is camping and being outdoors, not sitting inside. But, for me, I fell for the 400 because of its design and for the same reasons you just stated - I had actually wanted it to begin with, but the dealer didn't have one on the lot and I felt I couldn't afford it at the time.

    I know the fear of the dreaded "backing up". I looked at Youtube videos and studied truck drivers with the big rigs backing up to loading docks while sitting in traffic, but I still felt nervous about it - like I needed to go to some technical school to learn that skill and then be licensed to backup big things into small spaces. It isn't that bad if you take your time, remember which side of the steering wheel goes up to get the trailer to move that direction, allow yourself to mess up every once in awhile, and have a good spotter. If people have to wait while you're taking your time getting the trailer in right, they'll usually understand. There wasn't a whole lot more to backing up a 400 over a 320S. 

    Good luck on your decision, and just one more thing, if you go with the 400, really put some thought in your vehicle's towing capabilities. The 400 can get heavy quick, especially if you fill it with water on top of a lot of gear. I would think possibly your rated tongue capacity at 4,500 for your vehicle would be 450lbs. (just guessing here), that may be a little shallow for the 400 - depending.  I originally had a Toyota 4Runner V6 with a 5K tow capacity and 500 lb tongue weight capacity and it did fine with it. I since changed out to a Nissan Frontier with V6 that is rated for 6.3 towing capacity. Where your going to feel the weight of the 400 more is with your engine and with gas mileage, you're going to know your towing a trailer, especially uphill, but that should be expected. And yes, I boondock with the 400, but you're going to find that you have to practice conservation methods with the holding tanks if you plan more than a couple of days. No big deal, just plan. I do like my 400!


    North Florida [email protected] 400 towed by a 2014 Nissan Frontier
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    Thank you robpt. This is the sort of info I really need, as hearing from people like you who have already been doing this for a while is way better than just trying to imagine what this might be like, with the 320 and then trying to imagine the same trips with the 400.  This is the main reason that I joined this forum and why I read trough every new post here nearly every single day.

    Right now I'm completely torn, so I'm open to any advice.  If it was just me, I would pick the 320 S, as I know that I would be more comfortable towing it over the larger 400.  And I'm concerned that my Jeep would struggle with the extra weight. 

    There are always trade offs, I totally get that, it is just really hard for someone like me who is totally new to camper trailer to tell which is the best compromise to make.  The little 320 would probably be much easier to travel with (and much easier on my Jeep), but the larger 400 would be quite a bit more comfortable to spend time in.  My problem is that I was hoping our decision would be easier after looking at both campers, but I'm feeling more confused than ever.
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 2,176Member
    edited June 2018
    We have the 320 sized [email protected] and love it. There are a couple of things that make it work for us. One is our twin bed configuration, which lets us leave the beds made up and still be able to sit inside. The other is the Pahaque awning. We cook and eat out there and spend most of our time at camp there. We live in the Northeast, and it always seems to rain when we camp. If we had to hunker down inside [email protected] 24/7 it wouldn’t be fun. Having a separate dinette would be wonderful. At some point down the road we might upgrade to a 400 since it would be much more comfortable for long distance travel. I wouldn’t attempt to tow it with my current SUV with 5000/500 pounds tow capacity, though.

    I would just encourage you to do a thought experiment and imagine yourself camping for a day and a night. I think that will help you decide which trailer will be better for you.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    Thank you Photomom! 

    The salesman at the trailer dealer told me that my Jeep would not have any trouble towing the 400 (of course, since his main focus is to get us to buy the more expensive model).  But I'm standing there, looking at my Jeep and then at how much larger the 400 is in comparison . . . and freaking out a bit at just the thought of towing it.  My instincts are pretty good, so perhaps I was right in feeling that the 400 was a bit more than my Jeep should towing. So it is reassuring to hear from experienced trailer campers, who also feel that the 400 might be a bit too heavy for my Cherokee (which is only a few months old, so I'm not trading it in for a larger tow vehicle.)

    I love the little 320, but I don't think my boyfriend would ever be happy with the 320; he just looked so totally uncomfortable while we were inside it. I tried to explain that I thought it would work for us if we added an attached tent or awning, but he only wants to consider the camper on its own at this point.

    He was very comfortable with the spaciousness of the 400, but I'm not comfortable towing the 400.  So we're at an impasse on the two [email protected]  The obvious compromise would be something in between; a bit larger than a 320, yet small/light enough for my Jeep to tow. Which brings us back to the Mini Max, which may be the best compromise for us at this point.
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • CincyKidCincyKid Posts: 83Member
    Arwen, I am 6'2" tall with a 2018 320S Boondock and only find the ceiling height a problem for the few minutes I am standing in it.  Most of the time when in the trailer I am sitting down or sleeping.  As the others said you spend most of your time outside the trailer while traveling.  Once you start making mods to your trailer it becomes your own and you really become attached.  Yes, the bathroom is small but it works.

    My only 'complaint' is that at my height I cannot sleep oriented from wall-to-wall or front-to-back without my toes running into the wall or off the bed - so I have to sleep on a diagonal, which works great for me since there is just me.  Since both of you are 6' or over be sure to acknowledge you might have to sleep curled up or with toes just off the bed.  I believe the [email protected] 400 has a somewhat larger bed (worth checking) that removes the sleeping orientation limitation?

    Another 'limitation' you may find is that having the small bathroom in the 320S removes storage space for clothing.  On my trips I have resigned myself to using folding IKEA bins to store my clothes for a trip.  With two of you that will double the need.  When 'making the bed' I find myself moving that bin from location to location to get it out of the way.  I did hang a clothing rod inside the small bathroom to hold hangered clothes out of the way, but must push them to the side when 'doing my business' but I must say in the middle of the night it is SO much nicer to jump into that little bathroom than having to dress and go outside.  For showers they would obviously have to come out when boondocking, but so far I have used the shower at the camp-site as being much more spacious and water conservative to the trailer.

    And, just now I am planning a long trip out West and finding that many of the older National Parks do not have electric and water so having the capacity for extra water and power will become a reality, even though you are at a 'campground.'  You can bring extra water in Jerry cans and buy a generator for power, both of which will help off the grid in boondocking as well. 

    To me it sounds like your biggest issue will be your boyfriend who really needs to be 'sold' on whatever decision is made - so be sure to work that out.  I suggest making a list of pros and cons together so that the decision will be a joint one. 

    CincyKid
    Cincinnati, OH
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 2,176Member
    Well there is one pretty obvious solution - your boyfriend buys a truck to tow the 400 with.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • HalooHaloo Posts: 130Member
    edited June 2018
    Definitely make sure your Jeep can manage a 500 lb tongue weight.  If it can, then you will be fine towing.

    We installed a composting toilet to help deal with the relatively small holding tanks and are glad we did.  It will come in handy especially when set up in one place for a while.

    While we have towed our 400 down a gravel road for a few miles, and we have pulled it up a steep rutted road on BLM land for a short distance, this is not an off-road camper.  Even if the camper handles the jostling fully loaded with gear, food, and water, the contents of the camper will be shaking and bouncing like it is in a 4.0 earthquake.  And the cabinets and interior walls are also getting a workout.  It’s a well built camper, but we plan to take care not to over-do what we put it through.

    Over the last few weeks traveling from Texas back to the NW, we have seen a number of true off-road campers.  These typically are soft-sided collapsible campers that are designed for really rough stuff.  They are really awesome.  If you really want to do “wilderness” camping with a camper trailer, I’d strongly consider one of these.  Some come with a lot of amenities.

    ...or....When we want to head into rougher areas we’ll break out our backpacking gear and leave the camper in a secure place with wheel and hitch locks in place.

    Finally, you both should lay down together in the beds in both the 320 and 400.  The 320 can be set up into two twin beds.  In the 400 one of you will be climbing over the other to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Yes, you can make the 400’s dinette area into a bed, but I’m not sure it would be as convenient as setting up two beds in the 320.

    We love our 400!
    [email protected] 400 | F150 | Washington State
  • Travelin3DTravelin3D Posts: 92Member
    If your Jeep is tow-ready you might try to locate a dealer who does [email protected] rentals (probably not an easy find - I know of one in PA) and try one out for a weekend. We don't own a [email protected] as yet, though we're sold on a 320, but may try a rental just to get our feet wet. 
    Richie, Mickie and Satchmo
    2020 320S Boondock Lite (silver w/blue)
    2019 Subaru Ascent Premium
  • DougHDougH Posts: 357Member
    We have a [email protected] S Max now, but have discussed trading it in for the Mini Max.  The idea of the bigger fridge and just a little more room overall without the increase in tow and tongue weight of going to the 400 or a small Lance appeals.

    One other factor on your decision could be mileage.  If you're going to be towing for thousands of miles the difference between 9mpg and 15mpg based on your choice and preferred tow speed could add up quickly. 
    2014 328d diesel wagon, 2016 [email protected] S Max

  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    edited June 2018
    CincyKid said:

    To me it sounds like your biggest issue will be your boyfriend who really needs to be 'sold' on whatever decision is made - so be sure to work that out.  I suggest making a list of pros and cons together so that the decision will be a joint one. 
    Thanks, you made some really good points, which I appreciate.  I just don't see my boyfriend ever being comfortable in the 320 (since he is pretty firm that it is just too small).

    The 400 does indeed have a longer bed, at 79" x 58". But I'm now feeling that my concern about the 400 being too heavy to tow with my Jeep is perhaps a valid one. As a total rookie to towing anything, it just doesn't seem safe to purchase a camper that could be difficult for my Jeep to tow.  So perhaps we should remove the 400 from our short list.

    We will certainly discuss this, and we'll come to some sort of a compromise, but I do get the final say about how much weight my Jeep is going to have to tow.


    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 432Member
    I would bite the bullet and go for the 400.  Plenty of interior height.  Larger bathroom and well within the tow capacity of your Trailhawk. That way you won't be needing to trade up in a year or two.  Just my $0.02 worth.
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    edited June 2018
    Photomom said:
    Well there is one pretty obvious solution - your boyfriend buys a truck to tow the 400 with.
    I already told him that! :) But it isn't in our budget.  We're not married, but we have been together for 3 years now, and we're closer than many married couples I know, and we do everything together. 

    I'm probably making him out to be the bad guy here, for not liking the [email protected] 320, and that's not fair.  The thing is, we all have our comfort levels when it comes to personal living/camping space, and he just feels too confined in the 320.  I'm just as much to blame for not being comfortable towing something as large as the 400, even though it is technically within my Jeep's towing capacity (just a bit closer to it's maximum than I feel is prudent).

    So we'll each have to compromise enough and find a camper that we will both be comfortable with, which may be the Mini Max.  I've agreed to wait until next Spring, before we move up to a camper trailer, so we have plenty of time to consider our options. 

    Maybe after spending 3 days this Fall in my tiny backpacking tent, camping in the NY Adirondacks. he'll decide that the 320 is not so small after all. :) 
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • jgram2jgram2 Posts: 1,336Member
    Prudence and patience will get you there, wherever “there” is. Good luck.
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘06 V8 4Runner 


  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 2,176Member
    Have you considered a pop up tent trailer? A bit more work to set up but some are fairly light weight while being roomy. Lots of people start with those as their first RV. Buying a used one and glamping it up might be fun.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    Haloo said:
    Definitely make sure your Jeep can manage a 500 lb tongue weight.  If it can, then you will be fine towing.

    We installed a composting toilet to help deal with the relatively small holding tanks and are glad we did.  It will come in handy especially when set up in one place for a while.

    While we have towed our 400 down a gravel road for a few miles, and we have pulled it up a steep rutted road on BLM land for a short distance, this is not an off-road camper.  Even if the camper handles the jostling fully loaded with gear, food, and water, the contents of the camper will be shaking and bouncing like it is in a 4.0 earthquake.  And the cabinets and interior walls are also getting a workout.  It’s a well built camper, but we plan to take care not to over-do what we put it through.

    Over the last few weeks traveling from Texas back to the NW, we have seen a number of true off-road campers.  These typically are soft-sided collapsible campers that are designed for really rough stuff.  They are really awesome.  If you really want to do “wilderness” camping with a camper trailer, I’d strongly consider one of these.  Some come with a lot of amenities.

    ...or....When we want to head into rougher areas we’ll break out our backpacking gear and leave the camper in a secure place with wheel and hitch locks in place.

    Finally, you both should lay down together in the beds in both the 320 and 400.  The 320 can be set up into two twin beds.  In the 400 one of you will be climbing over the other to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Yes, you can make the 400’s dinette area into a bed, but I’m not sure it would be as convenient as setting up two beds in the 320.

    We love our 400!
    Thank you for all the great advice!

    I have no idea what my Jeep's tongue weight capacity is; all I know is that it has a 4500 pound towing capacity.

    My idea of boondocking is being able to haul our camper down a gravel road for a few miles to set up a hiking base camp off the "beaten path," and have enough clearance to deal with an occasional rough spot. So we are not looking for an Overland camper, like the kind that seems to be so popular in Australia. We have camped in tents enough to know that we are ready to move up do something that has solid walls [tenting in the rain takes all the fun out of camping pretty fast). I did consider the TAXA Mantis, but the canvas on the pop up top turned off my boyfriend, and he didn't like it's open bath concept. [We never looked at one because the nearest dealer is a 5-hour drive each way.]

    I tried all the beds and the only one the is truly long enough is the one in the 400. But the others are roomy enough if we just sleep a bit diagonally (so I'm not sure if the twin bed set up would work for us.

    I'm glad you love your 400.  Hopefully we will love whatever we end up with.
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • HalooHaloo Posts: 130Member
    Well....it is surprising how easy it is to tow a 400.  My wife is a terrible driver, and she is handling it pretty well.  The trailer is only 7 feet wide, so you probably wouldn’t need to have special mirrors.  If your Jeep can handle a 500 pound tongue weight, that will give you some margin of error.  If not, I personally wouldn’t match the 400 with your Jeep.

    Go rent a UHaul 8X12 enclosed trailer for an afternoon and practice with it in an empty parking lot.  Throw some weight in it.  Make sure you have enough weigh on the tongue (!0% or slightly higher of the total weight of the trailer and its contents) or it will feel really jerky and unstable.  Try manuevering it around the parking lot, back up (always very slowly), and feeling what it is like to stop somewhat quickly (start at really slow speeds and work up to a little faster.  If you can handle a UHaul 8X12, which is a foot wider than the 400, then you should be able to handle the 400 just fine.

    We always keep our towing speed to 60mph or below.  And, unlike a lot of folks who use travel trailers, we keep the weight we carry to a minimum.  So try practicing with a UHaul, or find a friend with a travel trailer who will let you tow it around a parking lot.
    [email protected] 400 | F150 | Washington State
  • NorthIsUpNorthIsUp Posts: 72Member
    I don't know if this will help, but we went through the same dilemma deciding on size. I think many people do. I'm also tall and my wife decided for me that I just wouldn't be happy with a 320s. She's always right.

    nuCamp now makes a 400 with a pitched (raised)-axle that raises the body of the 400 camper 3 1/2 inches higher than before. It's called a Boondock LITE and that was the ticket for us. Boondock LITE is an option just like picking solar and an inverter. We haven't received it yet, so I can't answer any specific questions. 
     
    You'll still have to go slow on rough roads, less the Royal Albert dinnerware gets beat up a bit, but you can theoretically navigate rough roads better than with stock clearance. 

    Other considerations was tongue weight and overall weight, just like everyone else. We can probably handle moving a 320s together, so the weight of the 400 was a concern. The interior size of the beast is more important to us. I can stand up comfortably and it's still a [email protected] 
     
    Our TV is old, but should handle it okay based on the specs. If it doesn't, we'll go to plan B. 
    Jean & Arnie  NorCal 
    2019 [email protected] 400 BL aka [email protected]
    03 Sequoia


  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 432Member
    X2 here on a pop-up .  We used'em for years and had 5 kids with us.  Hung a sheet for a partition for using a portapotti at night.  One we owned even came with a cassette toilet.
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    edited June 2018
    If your Jeep is tow-ready you might try to locate a dealer who does [email protected] rentals (probably not an easy find - I know of one in PA) and try one out for a weekend. We don't own a [email protected] as yet, though we're sold on a 320, but may try a rental just to get our feet wet. 

    Thanks for your suggestion.  My Jeep is pretty much tow ready; just need to add the ball mount with the right offset, and the brake controller.  The problem is that there are no [email protected] rentals anywhere in my region.  And I’m currently working full time, so I can’t travel too far right now.

    Other than my instincts (which are telling me that the 400 is too heavy),  I really have to rely on the advice of others who have experience pulling these campers. I’m hoping that someone who also has a Jeep Cherokee, and has towing experience might chime in here.

    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • VernaVerna Posts: 5,259Administrator
    What year is your Jeep Cherokee?  There are a couple of owners who do tow with newer ones.  And what does your driver’s manual say about your model towing?  (A label on the side of your driver’s door may or may not give you some guidance.)
    Verna, Indianapolis, IN, living full time in my 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator




  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    Thanks Verna, I'll look at the manual and door when I can. 

    My Jeep is a 2018 Cherokee V6 Trailhawk model. 

    I do know that it has a towing capacity of 4500 pounds, but I don't know what its tongue weight capacity is.
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 432Member
    Tongue weight shouldn't be an issue.  You can always add a weight distributing hitch if needed.  The Andersen works well, is easy to use and also helps with sway control.
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • robptrobpt Posts: 90Member

    Your tongue weight is generally %10 to %15 of the tow capacity - that is from the Jeep site: https://www.jeep.com/hostc/towing/basics/calculator.do

    I would do a search on what people were getting for tongue weight with their 400s here and do as @Verna recommends. As @Big Grover recommends, you could be just fine. You just need to make sure that the hitch ball is at the right height to keep the trailer level.

    I can only state what I experienced with a similar vehicle (Toyota 4Runner) with a 5,000/500 lb. towing capacity - without weight distribution hitch or anti-sway bar - and the trailer towed fine. Where I felt it towing was in horsepower going up hills and in gas mileage.

    Another thing you could do here is just do a search on the 400 and take note of what people are feeling they need to tow it with. The best thing is what Verna wrote and to also call your, or a local, Jeep dealer with the specs of the 400 and ask them what they think.

    I would honestly go with just what you yourself feel. It is not fun to be worrying about safety margins when the whole idea is to be having a good time.


    North Florida [email protected] 400 towed by a 2014 Nissan Frontier
  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 432Member
    With my Sherline Tongue Weight Scale my 400 came in at 325 LBS loaded but the tanks were all dry!
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • ArwenArwen Posts: 64Member
    BigGrover said:
    With my Sherline Tongue Weight Scale my 400 came in at 325 LBS loaded but the tanks were all dry!

    Thanks!  I looked in my owner's manual and it gives that my Jeep's maximum towing capacity is 4500 pounds and that its maximum tongue weight capacity is 450 pounds.  So it looks like the [email protected] 400 should be fine for my Jeep to tow. 

    Now I just have to figure out if I want to tow the larger/heavier 400 or would we be better off with the smaller/lighter 320, which would be much easier (and more efficient) to tow. 

    This is a much harder decision than I expected.  My hope was that once I saw these campers, that I would prefer one over the other.  The problem is that each one comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.  The 320 is not very roomy, but perhaps we could make that work if we added the attached tent.  This is going to take some more thought on my end.  I just wish I had something concrete which would help me decide.

    Robpt: Thanks for your information and suggestions!  I have tried doing a search for these things, but I'm finding all sorts of different tongue weights, which has left me even more confused!

    Perhaps others here have pulled both the 320 and the 400?  If so, would you be willing to share your experience, as far as things like hill climbing and MPG differences?
    Arwen: Northern NH; 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock, silver/blue; TV: blue 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
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