In preparation for a 5 week roadtrip around the US, I am looking for either a PUP or a TT I can tow with my 2x4 6 cylinder Ford Escape. I’d like to keep the weight under 2500# loaded. It will be just me and a girlfriend.
We like the space offered by pop ups, but are worried that after driving 700 miles in a day we will get to the campground tired and not want to spend 30 minutes setting up a PUP. On the otherhand, sleeping in a cramped TT may not afford us a good night’s sleep.
I was hoping some experienced PUPers on here could educate me on the subject. Do most of the newer PUPs (yr 2000 and up) have automatic lift systems for raising the roof? How laborious is it without these, and are they common on the lightweight models? What does setup time look like on a PUP with and without these?
My first thought...
Doesn't matter what rig you have or if you are staying in 5 star hotels, after driving 700 miles a day you are going to be too tired to do anything and you will have no trouble sleeping.
(5 week trip...slow down and enjoy it).
You will be hard pressed to find much of a TT that is 2500 lbs loaded for your Ford Escape.
..and to answer you question, having owned both, TT's are less labor intensive to camp in than pop-ups.
It also depends on how much stuff you bring along and need to deploy. Do you intend to use the built-in appliances, or do you cook and what-not more on the outside?
For pop-ups, some of the powered roof lifters have had problems. A very common and significantly cheaper and more reliable option is to get a 24v drill (like a DeWalt) and use an adapter that fits the cranking mechanism. This same drill can be used to put down the stabilizers and be used to raise/lower the tongue lift with a slight modification. All of that reduces the time and effort to deploy the pop-up. I also carry along an EZ-Up instead of using the awning. It's a little less time to set up but I can also put it wherever I want, like the picnic table.
How many different stops are you looking at along the way? That can factor in too. But also look at it with a perspective of beyond this one trip, as big and impactful as it is. Are you going to want to use your choice for the next whatever-is-foreseeable future for you? You go with the pop-up because of weight, MPG, and larger interior, but will forever hate the setup/take-down process. You go with the TT because of deploying is better, but feel cramped every time you use it and wish for bigger. Just examples. YMMV.
With regards to your smaller TV, the Escape, weight is certainly a concern, but so is wind resistance from whatever it is you are pulling. A small TT will be a much taller unit with greater wind resistance that you will feel in Escape, as will it also affect your MPG. Backing a standard pop-up can be a one-person job (for marital bliss reasons in my family). That won't be as easy at first in a TT, but with time, could happen. Quite a few of the pros on here can do it solo.
So, you really do have to decide what you can live with. A TT is generally faster to deploy, but it has it's own +/-. A pop-up is generally easier to pull with a smaller engine vehicle, but it has it's own +/-.
It's like what we said in my pharmacy days: Is the medicine worth the side effects? Which will you want to deal with?
As an aside, I am looking at doing a 1,047 mile straight drive through and setting up a pop-up upon arrival. I will be quite tired when we get there and not looking forward to the setting up (I will drive 98% of the way, cherishing the 20-30 minutes of break my DW gives me). This isn't my first time to do this, and won't be the last. I don't have anything "automatic" so it's all by hand for me. But for me and my family, we prefer the things that the pop-up brings for us, so I deal with it. And, I wouldn't want it any other way, at least at this point in my life, for my situation.
* This post was
edited 05/11/12 12:30pm by bondebond *
I think you'll have to look at PU's. I have a 16' TT that's 3000# loaded and while you might find something out there lighter you won't have many choices. And the wind resistance alone on your little 6 won't be a fun tow. Towing a TT 700 miles will be an endurance contest, not a fun trip. I've made a number of very long non stop trips solo,as much as 2000+ miles, but 700 miles towing isn't something I'd want to do and most definitely not day after day.
The lower air resistance of a PU will be an easier tow for your vehicle. The downside is that most PU's I see today are bigger and heavier than my TT. But I haven't been in that market for years and there very well may be some small ones out there. I know there are some chalet types that just might fit the bill for you, but you'll have to wait for a poster more current on them than I am. As far as raising goes, I agree with bondebond, though I always raided mine manually with no undue effort. 10 minutes was a common setup time for me, but 1/2 hour seems more like a common setup time on the forum. Good luck.
* This post was
edited 05/11/12 10:43am by rfryer *
If you had something bigger to tow with the hybrid trailers are really great. The bunkbeds fold down from the outside instead of pulling out like on the POPUPS. So you gain all this extra room inside for living space at all times with no bedroom to take up inside space...
Also on the hybrid you can leave the beds up and sleep on the couch bed anytime you stop at a roadside place like walmart etc.... My POPUP is crammed full in every nock and granny I can find inside and all of that has to come out at every stop if you are going to setup the bunkbeds. I know I carry way to much but thats what camping is about for us. We got it all covered for supplies and stuff with the available floor space, front deck, and truck bed areas.
Of course your problem is going to be the weight... Not much out there under 2500lbs. Just you guys and the few bags plus all the things you bring along with you to enjoy yourselves with, will almost weight that much... I know it would for me as I am a packrat with all of my PLAN B things I carry with me on trips...
Like said by others on here if you are not matched up good your towing is not going to be enjoyable road trip at all. Its almost like doing a cross country with two one one motorcycle haha... You will be one wore out puppy at the end of the day fighting the towing.
I'm not sure what you mean by manual or automatic hehe.. Its all alot work but that makes the first beer taste so good sitting in the easy chair around the fire pit outside when you all setup.
I forgot to add about gas mileage. My 4000lb plus OFF-RoAD POPUP being pulled by F150 2010 truck shown in my profile here gets between 19-21MPG depending how you drive and what brand of gasoline you use. I always get better mileage using Shell gasoline products for some reason the way I drive. The POPUPs has very little wind resistance sitting behind the truck where the higher trailer will grab a bunch of wind load being as high as they are above the truck. When I have pulled a 23-foot TT trailer like the JAyCO X213 I got around 10-12MPG with my F150 truck setup like shown in my profile.
* This post was
edited 05/11/12 11:37am by RoyB *
My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - PM me Roy and Carolyn
RETIRED DOAF/DON/DOD/CONTR RADIO TECH (42yrs)
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2010 F150, 5.4,3:73 Gears,SCab
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I've done some long days towing my pup and setup hasn't been bad, although we've been known to use Motel 6 for the overnight stops where we expect a late arrival & early departure. Pack a bag with the bare essentials and that's all that goes in with us.
If you plan to overnight in the pup, you may be able to leave sleeping bags/blankets on the bunks if there's enough room when closed up. Takes a little trial & error. When doing this, I'll lower the roof and let it sit unlatched while I raise the stabilizers. Once those are up, the roof has settled and compressed the sleeping bags such that the roof easily latches.
My DW and I can set up the pup in 30 minutes or less, depending upon how much we want to deploy right away. For overnighters, we don't deploy anything we don't need to. Storing things in plastic totes simplifies things since we can just pull it out and put it underneath when not needed. Simple overnight stops don't even get water hookup. We use the onboard tank and a bucket to catch the greywater from the outlet. Hooking up power takes all of 10 seconds.
Scale weight a couple of years ago was 2300-2400 lbs and that was setup for a week of camping including 26 gallons of water. Some gear was in the bed of the truck, but not much. It would be doable for your Escape, but you want to be as light as possible because the closer to your max, the more difficult towing will be on you and your vehicle. Stick with an 8' or a minimally equiped 10' box. Should be good for just the two of you.
2004 Toyota Tundra SR5 (V8, 4WD, TP, TRD)
2005 Fleetwod Allegance with axle flip
Honeywell 2000i Generator
Me, DW, DS, DD, Dog & Camping Kitty
Cranking my pop up to raise the roof was never a huge deal even after a long drive. I think it was ~46 turns for 1 or 2 minutes. It was everything else that took some time to transfer from the vehicle to set up. At first it was easy but then we started packing more and more each year... then the kids come and more stuff. Keep it to 500 miles per day and life will be a lot better. We had 5 great years in a pup, no regrets.
Oh, and sleeping on a PUP mattress may not offer a good night's sleep either. At least, not "as is". It's been a couple of years since I slept on a TT bed, and I recall that it had inner springs, but it wasn't so comfortable either.
Memory foam toppers, or your choice, will be your friend.