Mileage question for those towing a small camper.

Thread starter #1

shdw633

Senior Member
I am trying to find out what those who tow a small camper, like an RPOD, get for gas mileage as compared to when they are not towing the camper. I get around 18 mpg on my diesel when not towing but only about 9 mpg when I am towing. I have a 36 foot 5th wheel now but am thinking of significantly downsizing to a smaller trailer like the RPOD just to have more options in regards to tow vehicles and am wondering how much effect it has on gas mileage while towing.
 

1eyefishing

...just joking, seriously.
I'm in that boat with 2 campers, and also 2 large and small boats, with F250 gas burner.
I haven't figured out your answer yet, but my thoughts are 'in between'.
The biggest difference I've noticed is the ease of towing and the speed of towing. I keep it below 70 with my big rigs, I feel comfortable traveling a little faster and even in the fast lanes with my smaller rigs…
My biggest problem with towing is hitting interstate bridge bumps and potholes. Bad on the axles. In the campers I imagine hurricane force winds (70 mph) and 6.7 on the Richter scale at the same time. I love being going fast enough to stay in the fast lanes where the bumps aren't as harsh from the big trucks being there, but can't really hang there with my bigger rigs… The smaller rigs allow me to move to the left and press the gas.
 

normaldave

Senior Member
I've pretty much joined the camp of wind over weight when towing. As you've seen, there's no free lunch. It's the profile, and/or flat back of the trailer that gets us, weight has to be considered of course, but I'll argue with the proper sized tow rig matched with trailers, that speed is way more of an issue than weight (within reason).

My 7x16 enclosed cargo trailer only weighs 3,000 LBS loaded. My V-6 gas engine 4WD/AWD SUV runs around 18 MPG empty, 10-12 towing. The only improvement I ever got, even with a different tow rig, was slowing down to about 62 mph. With the old Ford van, I did everything, tuning, tachometer, OD lockout, tire pressures, all that work, resulted in nothing worth reporting in regards to MPG. Same trailer, you guessed it, about 10 mpg towing. I think the only reason I got better with the SUV was the 5-speed close ratio, sport select auto trans and 4.30 gears in the Montero, over the van's 3-speed auto and 3.55.

The best thing I ever did was listen to my wife, and chalk up fuel mileage to the cost of doing RV business, leave a bit earlier, and slow down. After that, the same trips became much more enjoyable.
 
I think a "chip" may be a viable option for towing. My 5.7 hemi gets 20mpg with big tires, a custom front bumper and leveled. Anything light I pull it drops to 15, and heavier to 10. I don't think I could pull a rope down the road and get 17!
 
I towed an open landscaping type trailer for a hundred miles. The tow vehicle, a pickup with a V8 engine, normally gets 13 mpg without any load. With a few things in the bed and this single-axle trailer loaded with about 1000 pounds of stuff in it, to a height of about 5 feet above ground level, the rig got about 8 or 9 mpg. A big difference for a small and lightly-loaded trailer, on the highway.
 
I have a 2019 F250 6.7 diesel 4X4. Driving with no trailer 19 plus mpg on the highway. Attach a 14 foot long trailer with a Polaris 500 side by side and some hunting gear and my mpg drops to around 13. Pulling my 18 foot flats boat I get around 15 mpg on the highway. My son has a 27 foot camper and he was getting around 11 mpg pulling it in my truck.
 
Hookup any trailer to a gas burner and mileage drops.
Get 13 going to florida with my 19 ft CC boat in the taho, traveling speeds 60-70.
Est weight 2800 lbs or so.
Without boat, 18ish.

Flatbed trailer w/JD tractor and i'm looking at 10ish.

Buddy has older silverado and tows 6300 lb camper. high Single digits.

Ram 5.9 cummins will get 21 mpg at 60-65 mph, load up 2500 lb trailer and 16-18. Load 12,000 trailer and 12.

Diesels rule w/MPG and power. But spend more at the pump per gallon.
 
Thread starter #10
Diesels rule w/MPG and power. But spend more at the pump per gallon.
And price up front as diesels have shot through the roof in regards to what the truck costs. I have a 2001 Ford F250 4x4 crew cab now and when I thought about replacing it to tow my 36ft fifth wheeler I was shocked at the prices!! That's what got me thinking about just downsizing to a portable hotel room basically and pulling it with a six cylinder SUV, though based on the comments it doesn't seem like anyone is really getting out of single digit MPG's when they pull something.
 
And price up front as diesels have shot through the roof in regards to what the truck costs. I have a 2001 Ford F250 4x4 crew cab now and when I thought about replacing it to tow my 36ft fifth wheeler I was shocked at the prices!! That's what got me thinking about just downsizing to a portable hotel room basically and pulling it with a six cylinder SUV, though based on the comments it doesn't seem like anyone is really getting out of single digit MPG's when they pull something.
Yup.....a basic diesel 4wd crew cab truck can be $60,000. Add on some options and easily over $80,000. Hence mine has 227k miles and I just deal with it not being new.

Most of the top three dogs will charge $10,000-$12,000 over the gas engine.
You get money back when you sell, but how much depends on a bunch of variables.

Unless you LOVE the "camping" experiences, I always say a nice hotel room and driving your small SUV or 4 door is gonna be cheaper in the long run!!!
 
Thread starter #12
Unless you LOVE the "camping" experiences, I always say a nice hotel room and driving your small SUV or 4 door is gonna be cheaper in the long run!!!
That's what my wife keeps telling me!!! :ROFLMAO:
 
Try this. Figure your gas mileage with your tailgate closed then figure it with the tailgate down. Usually better with the tailgate up. Wind resistance and air flow are designed into the truck.
I have a 05 tacoma 4cyl 5 speed. I get 24 going some around town and on the interstate at 65 (cruise control). Go 70 it drops to 22 and worse as I speed up. Go 60 and I get 25 and 55 I can get 27mpg. I can get 28 on mtn roads driving 45-50 even with the hills.
The faster you go the more wind resistance. It jumps dramatically the faster you go.
Cant really comment on the trailer situation though other than towing kills gas mileage.
 
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