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Old 07-16-2014, 10:37 AM   #1
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Location: Tucson
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9 days, 2200 miles pulling a Swift with a Ford Escape

We left Tucson July 4th headed for our old home in Sun Valley Idaho. We took three days to get there, stopping in Kingman AZ and Ely Nevada KOA’s to camp along the way. Once in Sun Valley we dry camped for five days before heading back along the same route.

To keep the gas mileage reasonable I pulled the trailer at 60 mph, we averaged 13.4 mpg for the entire trip. The Escape pulled the trailer fine despite the hills and very hot temperatures. We traveled about 350 miles a day.

We had never dry camped for that length of time before so I brought along a 1750 watt generator and an extra battery which I hauled in the bathtub to keep the extra weight behind the axle. Once in camp I wired the two batteries in parallel together and charged them with the 30 amp cord via a 110 adapter for an hour a day. Because of my Sleep Apnea I use a CPAP that runs off of 12 volt and I didn’t want to chance losing power to it in the middle of the night.

Probably the biggest pain dry camping was getting fresh water into the trailer from a 7 gallon can via a funnel. I am thinking some type of pump setup would work better to retrieve the water from the can. We never had to drain the black tank while dry camping because only our two daughters used it. My wife and I used the pit toilet in camp. We hauled grey water in a rolling waste tank to the local dump facility. Hot water heater and fridge worked great off of gas.

To those thinking of pulling an SLX with a smaller SUV or Minivan I personally wouldn’t attempt a trip this long again unless I had a larger tow vehicle. Going 60 mph you get passed a lot. This setup felt good up to 70 mph, but since the Escape only has a 15 gallon tank I wanted to raise the mpg to keep fill ups farther apart. After the three day drive back I was exhausted, but part of that has to do dealing with our 4 and 6 year olds in the back seat!
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2014 Jayco Swift SLX 184BH
2013 Ford Escape 2.0 Turbo with tow package
Tucson, AZ
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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Nice report! Don't feel bad about your speed. Just an FYI, the ST rated tires on most trailers are limited to 65 mph anyway. And while most of can tow faster than 60 we don't. Typically I run just over 60. It gets you the best mileage and is safer than trying to keep up with traffic. In some states,vehicles with trailers are limited to 55 mph.

We towed on two very long trips out west. One was just under 6000 total miles, the other about 2500 miles. Didn't mind being passed up by others at all and it was never a problem even where the speed limits are 70+. A lot of times WE were passing cars!
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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Do you use any wdh? If so what kind. I tow a 184bh with a 2012 liberty it pulled fine but without a wdh I was very uncomfortable. I bought 600/600 fast way e2 and it does a lot better
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Do you use any wdh?
No wdh. Have airbags installed in rear springs, car sits pretty level.
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2014 Jayco Swift SLX 184BH
2013 Ford Escape 2.0 Turbo with tow package
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:39 PM   #5
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You don't have any sway control? I don't have air bags either. With a camper 2 kids and a dog and gear we did get some hitch bounce but also got a bit of sway
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:51 PM   #6
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We have 7-year-old and 5-year-old boys. 2200 miles??? All I can say is I salute you.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:41 PM   #7
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Yes we have sway control

Quote:
You don't have any sway control?
Oh god yes we have a friction type sway bar installed. I accidentally forgot to attach it on a trip, when the first semi passed that trailer went ape s*#t!
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2014 Jayco Swift SLX 184BH
2013 Ford Escape 2.0 Turbo with tow package
Tucson, AZ
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:19 PM   #8
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I remember when we had our '05 Escape we wanted a Jayco similar to what you have but there was a max frontal surface allowed with the Escape for towing, and any travel trailer exceeded it. I seem to recall high wall pop-ups exceeded it too so all we could get was a regular pop up. Do they still have that max frontal area in the newer Escapes?

Sounds like you did awesome with the kids though! We've got a 5 hour ride on Saturday and back on Sunday and I am not looking forward to out 2 youngest fighting the whole way!
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:28 PM   #9
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I think my head would explode from my kids with that much driving! let me guess: they watched a lot of movies?

good for you! we are working our way up to longer trips so far we went about half of your length.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lssmith View Post
Probably the biggest pain dry camping was getting fresh water into the trailer from a 7 gallon can via a funnel. I am thinking some type of pump setup would work better to retrieve the water from the can.
For about $15 you can use a battery powered (d-cell) liquid transfer pump. It will pump between 1 or 2 gpm. The batteries last longer than what you would think. You can find them at the big auction site. I have one and it is pretty handy. Uses the same batteries found in most flashlights.
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