Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting close to placing order for a new travel trailer to be towed by '19 RTL-E. Choice A (my wife's fav) is a NuCamp TAB 400 teardrop with dry weight of about 2950 and hitch of 336. Max GVW is 3900 lbs. Choice B is a custom Escape 19 with dry weight of at least 3250 (max GVW of 5K) but might be closer to 3400 depending on selected options. The TAB has more aero frontal profile but is actually 6" wider (than Escape) and a foot taller at apex. The Escape has more traditional boxy front end so I am guessing might be more impacted by headwinds and has larger side profile as well.

So I am hoping for some input on whether the Escape might be pushing it too much? Once loaded up, I could see it getting around 4K. The TAB is 18'3" and Escape about 19'6". The TAB is single axel while Escape is dual axel with both running 15" tires. The TAB dealer is telling me they tow very nice and won't even need a WDH which is a plus.

I am deep in analysis paralysis at this point...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
My personal opinion is that if you keep within the towing/payload specifications of the Ridgeline you will have no issues except for operator error. Keep your max speed at 55 (are you rushing to get home, look behind you there it is) and transmission in D4 except on the flats. Also, the search function is your friend.
 

·
Registered
2019 RTL
Joined
·
678 Posts
Based on 2017-19 reports on towing, transmissions overheating and failing, I'd opt for the lightest and most aerodynamic options that suit your needs. Anything to reduce the load (air loads and actual gross weights) is bound to help, including keeping speeds down to sensible levels as Farther mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
450 Posts
Both campers are well within the towing limits of the Ridgeline.
Pick whichever camper you prefer.
Just drive sensibly and follow the service recommendations.

I like the TAB400 better myself.
The Escape is definitely more 'old school' in terms of design and styling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi Mike,

Me & wife just started our search for our 2020 RTL-E TT. Planning to get for mid 2022 time frame.

Based on what we've read & heard (mostly YouTube), currently, our favorite brands are Escape, Casita, and Bigfoot.

I found this site, that has a handy Excel spreadsheet to calculate recommended RV size.
Understanding GVWR & Payload - Keep Your Daydream

Based on above spreadsheet, for our 2020 RTL-E, we were within specs using payload of around 450-500 lbs (passengers & cargo), and any Escape up to & including 21 foot. But we're thinking our max length will be 19 feet

Seems that for folks that say Ridgeline is too small, they're RV size is usually at or over 4,000 lbs and/or they want to be able to drive 65/70 mph with trailer.

I trust what's in the owners manual for the various towing limits, and doubt Honda's lawyers would be OK with them overstating towing capabilities & risk a lawsuit.

Good luck with your search.

Keep us posted on your progress & final choice.

Ron
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
I am getting close to placing order for a new travel trailer to be towed by '19 RTL-E. Choice A (my wife's fav) is a NuCamp TAB 400 teardrop with dry weight of about 2950 and hitch of 336. Max GVW is 3900 lbs. Choice B is a custom Escape 19 with dry weight of at least 3250 (max GVW of 5K) but might be closer to 3400 depending on selected options. The TAB has more aero frontal profile but is actually 6" wider (than Escape) and a foot taller at apex. The Escape has more traditional boxy front end so I am guessing might be more impacted by headwinds and has larger side profile as well.

So I am hoping for some input on whether the Escape might be pushing it too much? Once loaded up, I could see it getting around 4K. The TAB is 18'3" and Escape about 19'6". The TAB is single axel while Escape is dual axel with both running 15" tires. The TAB dealer is telling me they tow very nice and won't even need a WDH which is a plus.

I am deep in analysis paralysis at this point...
I spent the past 3 years towing a 9,000 pound camper around the country (25,000 miles) using a truck that weighed almost the same but it was a diesel. Since the Ridge is gas-powered, I personally wouldn't tow much with it even though I have the 2020 AWD with the 9-speed tranny.

I don't see in your post where you said your Ridge was front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
If it's FWD, you shouldn't tow either one of those trailers because your max towing capacity is 3,500 lbs.
Get a bigger truck or a much smaller trailer.

If it's the AWD model on the other hand which can tow 5,000 lbs then you could tow either of those trailers just fine.
However, I would highly recommend adding a trailer brake controller to your dash because stopping the extra few thousand pounds is the scary part of towing any trailer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,694 Posts
Personally, If I were going to tow a 1500 pound trailer I would want a vehicle rated and least 3,000 pounds. A 3000 pound trailer, a vehicle rated at least 5,000 pounds. A 5,000 pound trailer a vehicle rated at 7,000 pounds or more. In other words, I would not want to tow at or near the maximum rated capacity of the vehicle, give yourself some latitude and leeway.

Oh, and remember, the trailer that you purchase will almost always weigh more than the advertised weight, so it would be prudent to run it across some scales first to ascertain it's actual weight.

Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Personally, If I were going to tow a 1500 pound trailer I would want a vehicle rated and least 3,000 pounds. A 3000 pound trailer, a vehicle rated at least 5,000 pounds. A 5,000 pound trailer a vehicle rated at 7,000 pounds or more. In other words, I would not want to tow at or near the maximum rated capacity of the vehicle, give yourself some latitude and leeway.

Oh, and remember, the trailer that you purchase will almost always weigh more than the advertised weight, so it would be prudent to run it across some scales first to ascertain it's actual weight.

Bill
I agree with all the above Bill.

I can report for a fact our 26' fifth wheel scaled at FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS heavier than what the manufacturer said it weighed "dry". This was not an old trailer that had been modified either. We had ours built new at the factory 3 years ago.
Over the past few years of being a full-time RV'er, I've been to literally hundreds of campgrounds, which is more than most people see in a lifetime. If I had to put numbers down, I'd estimate two-thirds of people who tow a camper, (bumper pull, or a fifth-wheel) are doing so well over their TV's (tow vehicle) rated payload capacity, and probably one-third are towing a trailer well beyond their TV's rated towing capacity.
A lot of people are ignorant of or simply don't care about pin weights or tongue weights either.
Now, I'm not saying you have to have a dually one-ton diesel to tow a 5,000# trailer but tow capacities should be adhered to for safety reasons.
I also routinely see people towing without safety chains, (who needs 'em?), towing massive trailers without a weight-distribution hitch, or towing a heavy trailer with a FWD vehicle, which is a bad idea regardless of how powerful the vehicle is. Things get really hinky towing a trailer with a FWD vehicle, especially in inclement weather or at high-speed, or on gravel roads, on tight turns, etc.
If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone with a FWD minivan towing a trailer that weighed 3x what the van weighed, I'd be a rich man. Lastly, I would like to point out that pretty much any vehicle can get a trailer "going" on level ground. It doesn't take a lot of power to get a trailer moving forward, but a lot of other factors come into play when trying to stop or corner, or tow up and down hills. Some of the funniest things I've seen at campgrounds are people with a severely under-rated TV trying to back up a hill and around a corner to get their trailer into a spot, especially when it's FWD.

If I could offer one piece of advice, (especially to folks who are going to ignore the towing capacity) it would be to install and use a trailer brake controller on your Ridgeline, as these are invaluable!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Razor

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Think of all the stuff you will travel with and add up the xtra weight.
For example, water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon.
Guesstimate the total and add it to the dry weight.
I'm guessing around 1000-1500 lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
As Max noted above, if you're going dry camping, add the water weight at 8lbs/gal. A 20-gallon freshwater tank eats up 160 lbs of your cargo capacity. A 7-gallon propane tank adds another 30 lbs. Add a portable generator and fuel for it, a grill, chairs, clothes, food, a couple of bags of ice, and those numbers quickly skyrocket.
This is why you can't buy a trailer anywhere close to your max tow weight.
Your best bet is to aim for a trailer with a dry weight that is 75-80% of your max tow capacity.
Lower would be better, but that's a general rule of thumb that a lot of folks use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Have a 2019 RTL AWD. Tow a 2018 [email protected] 400. Use an e2 WDH, mainly because I had it for another vehicle and like the sway control. Have towed significant distances (to and from NY to San Diego, over 8k miles on that trip, probably 10k miles total towing so far) using both a standard hitch and the WDH. Both worked fine. Towed across the Rockies and through sustained winds in SD, Iowa etc at 40 mph (wind) plus. No real towing issues. She strains a bit sometimes and the gas mileage sucks, anywhere from 13 to 10 mpg. The RL is pre-wired for a brake controller, I installed one that had a separate dial for setting the brake parameters, you can do a very nice looking install that way.

The [email protected] is awesome if you like each other and at least one of you can handle the low ceiling in the bed to the rear. Quality far outstrips most other trailers, but you do pay for it! One thing to be aware of is that the RL only puts out about 7amps or less to the trailer when driving, you either need solar and/or a generator or plan to hookup most of the time (or get a DC to DC charger but that gets complicated). I put 350W of solar on mine, I would get factory solar if you can. We looked at a few other trailers but fell for the [email protected] early. Happy to give you more info if you would like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have a 2019 RTL AWD. Tow a 2018 [email protected] 400. Use an e2 WDH, mainly because I had it for another vehicle and like the sway control. Have towed significant distances (to and from NY to San Diego, over 8k miles on that trip, probably 10k miles total towing so far) using both a standard hitch and the WDH. Both worked fine. Towed across the Rockies and through sustained winds in SD, Iowa etc at 40 mph (wind) plus. No real towing issues. She strains a bit sometimes and the gas mileage sucks, anywhere from 13 to 10 mpg. The RL is pre-wired for a brake controller, I installed one that had a separate dial for setting the brake parameters, you can do a very nice looking install that way.

The [email protected] is awesome if you like each other and at least one of you can handle the low ceiling in the bed to the rear. Quality far outstrips most other trailers, but you do pay for it! One thing to be aware of is that the RL only puts out about 7amps or less to the trailer when driving, you either need solar and/or a generator or plan to hookup most of the time (or get a DC to DC charger but that gets complicated). I put 350W of solar on mine, I would get factory solar if you can. We looked at a few other trailers but fell for the [email protected] early. Happy to give you more info if you would like.
Thanks for the great info on towing. I have ordered a 2021 [email protected] 400 and the new ones have a lower tongue weight since they moved axle forward about 3" so I don't plan on using WDH. I did order Boondock version with 162 watts of solar on the roof but I am guessing you achieved 350w via external panel (solar suitcase)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Thanks for the great info on towing. I have ordered a 2021 [email protected] 400 and the new ones have a lower tongue weight since they moved axle forward about 3" so I don't plan on using WDH. I did order Boondock version with 162 watts of solar on the roof but I am guessing you achieved 350w via external panel (solar suitcase)?
350w kit from Renogy. 2 flexible 175w panels mounted on the top. Slowly working towards LifePo batteries, we camp a lot with no shore power and the AGM batteries can be a limit. I’m sure you have found the Tab forums, lots of great info. 2021 are nice. The tongue weight reduction is definitely a plus, but we haven’t found it to really be an issue yet. Good luck and feel free to ping me if you have any questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
We tow a Tab 400 with our ‘19 Tacoma OR. Sounds like the towing experience is similar, including sucky gas mileage. I have a manual transmission, and usually drive in 4th going up any grade, 5th on the straight and rarely 6th downhill or on a long straight grade. Once you lose momentum it is hard to get it back!

Not much to add to the above. The Tab 400 is a great camper for 2 people or possibly 2 adults with tiny children. It has a lot of nice features and modern style—very similar to Winnebago and almost as nice as Airstream in many respects.

IMO Honda is a bit conservative with their TC, as the Tacoma is 6800 lbs with a similar size engine, but maybe it’s frame considerations. I wouldn’t want to tow much more than the Tab 400 with either vehicle on a regular basis, though. It’s a fair amount of work to pull anything with a midsize truck.

There is a lot of negative stuff on Tacoma forums about towing with the 6-speed 3.5L automatic. I am thinking about trading in the Tacoma on a RL in the near future, and I would hope at least the 9-speed Honda transmission is better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
We tow a Tab 400 with our ‘19 Tacoma OR. Sounds like the towing experience is similar, including sucky gas mileage. I have a manual transmission, and usually drive in 4th going up any grade, 5th on the straight and rarely 6th downhill or on a long straight grade. Once you lose momentum it is hard to get it back!

Not much to add to the above. The Tab 400 is a great camper for 2 people or possibly 2 adults with tiny children. It has a lot of nice features and modern style—very similar to Winnebago and almost as nice as Airstream in many respects.

IMO Honda is a bit conservative with their TC, as the Tacoma is 6800 lbs with a similar size engine, but maybe it’s frame considerations. I wouldn’t want to tow much more than the Tab 400 with either vehicle on a regular basis, though. It’s a fair amount of work to pull anything with a midsize truck.

There is a lot of negative stuff on Tacoma forums about towing with the 6-speed 3.5L automatic. I am thinking about trading in the Tacoma on a RL in the near future, and I would hope at least the 9-speed Honda transmission is better.
Towing capacity is governed by the ability of the tow vehicle to control the trailer more than by engine power. Transmission strength is also an issue. The highest towing capacity in a midsize pickup is the least powerful one - the Colorado with the 181 hp diesel. Number 2 is the Ford Ranger with a 270 hp turbocharged 4 cylinder tuned to produce torque and power at lower rpms.

It is interesting to look at how much power each engine produces at, say, 2,000 rpm. The Ridgeline is producing less than 100 hp at 2,000 rpm, even though it peaks at 280 hp at over 6,000 rpm. The diesel Colorado, on the other hand, produces about 140 hp at 2,000 rpm, but its peak is only 181 hp at a little over 3,000 rpm. The Colorado tows a trailer without nearly as much downshifting. It will loaf along easily at 70 mph towing a brick-shaped travel trailer. But when traveling without the trailer, don't expect to pass anybody nearly as quickly as you will with a Ridgeline. The peak higher rpm power just isn't there.

The Colorado, of course, has numerous other shortcomings compared to the Ridgeline, which is why those in this forum have chosen the Ridgeline. But if towing is a major concern, it's worth looking at the American trucks. We might note that, in addition to the diesel, the Colorado is available with an automatic 4WD and a factory built-in trailer brake controller integrated into the dash.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top