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Old 10-21-2023, 03:12 PM   #1
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Towing a Jayco Feather 21MML

We hope to purchase our first trailer, a Feather 21MML. We also will purchase a truck to pull it with. With the GVWR listed at 6,500 pounds, what towing capacity is comfortable pulling that weight….7,000?….8,200?
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Old 10-21-2023, 08:01 PM   #2
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There's more then a little marketing department input involved in those numbers that the manufacturers put out. A couple of things. I would avoid trying to tow anything with four cylinders. And another thing I like to put out there for consideration is, it is one thing to ask your vehicle to pull 5,000 lb of bass boat behind it and quite another to ask it to pull that bass boat when somebody has stuck an 11-ft Mast and opened the sail on it.
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Old 10-24-2023, 07:51 PM   #3
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There are a few good articles out there that explain this in detail even spreadsheets yo plug your numbers into but it takes into account CGVWR, tounge weight, axle weight ratings,.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:13 AM   #4
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My suggestion would be to purchase a truck with sufficient towing capacity so you are towing, at maximum, up to 80% of the truck towing capacity. I picked up the 80% guideline from a truck specific forum that I frequent.

That leaves plenty in reserve for hills and the general comfort of the truck for travel purposes. (In other words, you want to be able to move along the highway without keeping the engine at redline).

For me the 80% guideline looks like this:

2017 Nissan Titan SV towing capacity: 9,300 lbs

21MML unloaded vehicle weight: 5,185 lbs

That calculates to an unloaded percentage of 47.96% of the truck capacity.

After that, what about the cargo and other stuff?

Truck: routine weekly and trip only contents: 1,010 lbs

21MML contents when loaded for a trip: 800 lbs

Total being transported/towed by the truck: 6,999 lbs

Which calculates out to 64.75% of the Titan towing capacity.

When we bought our first camper (a 224BH) I owned a Nissan Frontier. The Frontier towed the bunkhouse fine with the camper empty. But after we loaded the camper and the truck, the Frontier lacked sufficient oomph.

I put all of the vehicle and cargo weights in an Excel spreadsheet that I built when we first began camping. Whether I looked at it as under-trucked, or over-trailered, I needed a different truck to pull our camper after we had all of the stuff in it.

We traded the Frontier for a Titan and the 390 hp V8 in the Titan handles the load no sweat.

Message me an email addy and I'll be glad to send you a copy of the spreadsheet.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:34 AM   #5
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Max towing capacity is marketing hype. It is only 1/2 of the equation. Cargo carrying capacity is almost always reached first. Why don't they give ccc the same attention? Gvw minus actual vehicle weight equals ccc. Add trailer tongue, hitch weight, passengers, fido, and anything else you need to bring. Are you near your ccc yet?
My f-250 is there(1900# ccc) with a 6k trailer loaded for a 2 week trip.
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Old 12-10-2023, 09:14 AM   #6
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Max towing capacity is marketing hype. It is only 1/2 of the equation. Cargo carrying capacity is almost always reached first. Why don't they give ccc the same attention? Gvw minus actual vehicle weight equals ccc. Add trailer tongue, hitch weight, passengers, fido, and anything else you need to bring. Are you near your ccc yet?
My f-250 is there(1900# ccc) with a 6k trailer loaded for a 2 week trip.
I hear your angst, and I share it. It is frustrating to be laboring up a hill with a load that makes one anxiously watch all the gauges. Years ago I drove a big rig; I've plenty of experience parking at a hilltop to cool off for a bit.

The cargo numbers I quoted for my load include everything in the truck and the camper. Grandkids, sleeping bags, the dog, folding chairs, cooking utensils, groceries in the fridge, potato chips, empty cooler, the wife's purse. You get the idea.

The engine in my 1/2 ton Titan SV is the same as used in the XD gasser model. The XC gasser claims a 12,310 towing capacity due to the heavier (3/4 ton) frame. So I'm not worried about overworking the truck in our typical scenarios (within 500 miles of home, 4 to 5 days max).
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Old 03-13-2024, 01:21 PM   #7
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Payload Capacity of the TV is more significant than tow capacity.

I did a lot of F150 research, wanting a hybrid with the 7,200 watt generator built in. The max payload capacity I could find for that setup is around 1,450 lbs. That would be adequate for the 21MML if you solo, with small dogs, or have a small or skinny family without more than a couple hundred lbs of cargo in the bed. Other versions of the F150 in the 3.5L twin turbo or V8 versions have payload capacity of 1,800 lbs or more which would be plenty for most scenarios.

While I like the Keystone 22MLS and Grand Design 22MLE, I prefer the weight of the 21MML because it is around 500 lbs lighter than the others which gives a bit more cargo carrying flexibility if I want to stick with a half ton truck.
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Old 03-13-2024, 01:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Matt Burns View Post
We hope to purchase our first trailer, a Feather 21MML. We also will purchase a truck to pull it with. With the GVWR listed at 6,500 pounds, what towing capacity is comfortable pulling that weight….7,000?….8,200?
Welcome to the forum! Hopefully you are able to get into that 21MML.

Manufactures towing ratings for 1/2 ton and smaller tow vehicles are NOT based on towing a travel trailer or anything close to it. In my opinion you need to have a 25% buffer if your are going to use the manufacturer’s tow rating numbers at all. You’ll also get a lot of payload comments. While they are legally true the more important numbers to be concerned with are, again in my opinion GAWR (gross axle weight rating) and GCWR (gross combined weight rating). The GCWR is the combined weight of your cargo, passengers and trailer. The GAWR makes sure you don’t exceed the rear axle weight rating.

Many newer half ton trucks will tow this trailer adequately as long as the truck itself is not overloaded and has trailer tow package that includes sway bars. You should also plan on purchasing a quality weight distribution hitch. I recommend one with 4 points of sway control.

A 3/4 ton truck (gas engine) would absolutely not be overkill. There is a lot of peace of mind that comes with having a 3/4 ton when towing a travel trailer.
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Old 03-13-2024, 02:57 PM   #9
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I have a 21qbw that has similar weights to what you are looking to get into.

I did all the same research of looking for a truck that could have the tow capacity and be able to fit into my garage. I purchased a Colorado diesel, it had tow capacity of 7700# and payload capacity of 1400#. It towed great, but found that I was towing right at total combined weight for the truck.

Ive recently had to get rid of the Colorado due to unforeseen issues with it.

I decided to go with Chevy 2500 gasser, now got plenty of Payload and towing capacity.

I did look at the 1500's, but found payload was not much more then what I had.

Also, I used to ask people with 2500's how the truck towed and I always heard the same thing " I don't even feel the trailer back there". Now I know what they mean.
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Old 03-13-2024, 06:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by grmucci View Post
Payload Capacity of the TV is more significant than tow capacity.

I did a lot of F150 research, wanting a hybrid with the 7,200 watt generator built in. The max payload capacity I could find for that setup is around 1,450 lbs. That would be adequate for the 21MML if you solo, with small dogs, or have a small or skinny family without more than a couple hundred lbs of cargo in the bed. Other versions of the F150 in the 3.5L twin turbo or V8 versions have payload capacity of 1,800 lbs or more which would be plenty for most scenarios.

While I like the Keystone 22MLS and Grand Design 22MLE, I prefer the weight of the 21MML because it is around 500 lbs lighter than the others which gives a bit more cargo carrying flexibility if I want to stick with a half ton truck.
I was shopping for a truck because I wanted to buy a camper. Pretty much knew the camper I wanted but didn't want to fall into a truck that could cost $$$. Just down the road from me I found an F150 XL 2.5L EcoBoost with payload package, tow package, integrated trailer brake and 3.73 axle. All of that MINUS all the crap that drives a truck's price up by $10-$15 thousand. With this set-up I have can haul/tow more than some of the tricked out F-150's with the bigger EcoBoost engine. I searched the state for anything comparably 'better' in the F-150 and couldn't find a single one. So, I think I did pretty good.

IF I were hauling the camper on long trips, traveling frequently and just overall USING the camper on the road more and for longer periods, I'd have gone F250. But this truck is my daily driver and will do just fine for the local trips I'll be taking, in sometimes 'hilly' but otherwise easy driving, CT.

My truck specs are: 1,900 payload, 10,100 tow ability, 15,500 GCWR...and it's a cool color. I think it was waiting for me.
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Old 03-13-2024, 07:12 PM   #11
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We hope to purchase our first trailer, a Feather 21MML. We also will purchase a truck to pull it with. With the GVWR listed at 6,500 pounds, what towing capacity is comfortable pulling that weight….7,000?….8,200?
Figure out: How often you plan on towing? How far? What type of terrain/area (hilly/flat/windy)? Think about your cargo, will you be loading up with all kinds of equipment or a light weekend camping getaway? All of this factors into your choice of tow vehicle.

PAYLOAD is very important, as well as the vehicle's GCWR: thats the stated MAX capacity weight of your truck and its contents AND the total weight of your loaded camper added together. You never want to be close to the number, but more a % of that number, like 80% MAX.

MY combo comes in a bit over that 80% BUT, I know I am camping with just myself and one other person. I do not have a lot of extra gear and stuff. I tend to pack lightly. I do not climb hilly terrain, nor do I tow for miles and days. I drive no more than 30 miles from home. IF my scenario were to change and all of a sudden I wanted to take long trips to far off states and encounter the mountains of PA or drive thousands of miles, I'd change up my tow vehicle, because it'd be too hard on the truck and I think I'd push myself to max capacities, which is not safe and is really bad for the truck.

Shop around and LOOK at the stickers on the vehicle door jab. They can tell you a lot of information. You'd be surprised at how many sales people have no idea about true tow/payload capacities and the options and packages necessary to gain those capacities, on the trucks they sell.
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Old 04-19-2024, 07:20 PM   #12
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Towing a 21 mml

Good afternoon. Very new to all of this and struggeling with varying information I am being given. I would like answers from the real pros the owners themselves. I drive a V8 4 wheel drive Lexus GX 460. It has the tow package on it. 6500 pounds towing and a 650 hitch weight. The vehicle weight is 6500 pounds as well. I was going to add a weight distribution hitch and additional break controller. The dealer said I would be fine as long as I keep the contents to around 700-800 pounds. Do you agree this trailer would be safe? We love it so much but not in a position to change vehicles. No passengers just hubby and I. Thanks so much for any advise offered.
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Old 04-20-2024, 03:29 AM   #13
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Welcome to the forum. You're right to inquire, as there are a lot of people who know 'their stuff' here.

I'm no expert, but have spent a lot of time listening to and reading info by 'owner experts,' before buying my own camper.

I read about tow capacity/PAYLOAD capacity (just as important) hitch weights and how the numbers stated in the Jayco info about a particular camper are STARTING NUMBERS...in many and most instances, the weights GROW from there.

The weights stated by Jayco for that unit and the numbers for your tow vehicle do not allow you the safe percentages necessary, as a buffer to safely tow.

No. I would not tow that camper with your vehicle. The numbers are maxed out. Not safe. If you had to tow it ONE TIME, no hills, etc etc. I'd say it CAN do it...EMPTY with weight distribution. BUT, towing regularly on trips, up and down hills etc etc. No. I wouldn't do it.

Dealers will tell you anything to sell a unit.

There are lots of unit within the 5,000 GVW mark. Check out some of those. Manufacturers are getting more and more ingenious with their design for small campers. That 5,000 is still coming in tight with your tow statistics, but it'd be much safer.

Start here. This guy does lots of camper reviews and does it well. I like that 169FSX and that surprisingly light, GeoPro by Rockwood.

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Old 04-20-2024, 09:29 AM   #14
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Good afternoon. Very new to all of this and struggeling with varying information I am being given. I would like answers from the real pros the owners themselves. I drive a V8 4 wheel drive Lexus GX 460. It has the tow package on it. 6500 pounds towing and a 650 hitch weight. The vehicle weight is 6500 pounds as well. I was going to add a weight distribution hitch and additional break controller. The dealer said I would be fine as long as I keep the contents to around 700-800 pounds. Do you agree this trailer would be safe? We love it so much but not in a position to change vehicles. No passengers just hubby and I. Thanks so much for any advise offered.
Welcome from Northern California!! I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but that seems to be a lot of trailer for a passenger car. I would be concerned about stopping power.
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Old 04-20-2024, 10:55 AM   #15
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That would be a no go for me. Not sure of the wheel base, but that also makes a big difference. Truck all the way for me. I also stay no more than 80% of rating.
I towed a 16' gard shell with a Toyota 4Runner. 9 weeks and 9,000 miles. Never again lol.
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Old 04-20-2024, 04:01 PM   #16
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In my opinion you don't have enough vehicle to pull that particular trailer period all of the weights on anything you purchase are going to be starting points, and low ones at that. I always want a 15% margin of safety on all weights. I think you're wheelbase on your car is about 112 inches. You've heard the expression "tail wagging the dog " I'm sure. You don't want to be in that position. Smart of you to be asking. I see the car is body on frame, so I won't say you don't have a tow vehicle. But look around for something a bit smaller. And buy a weight distribution hitch! Salesmen $&/%#!
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Old 04-21-2024, 11:01 AM   #17
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Welcome to the forums Fullyblessed1. You've landed at a good place for general information, thoughtful feedback, and and real world experience.

I plugged your 6500 lb weight into my tow numbers spreadsheet that specs my 21MML and my Titan truck.

Lexus tow capacity 6500
21MML empty weight 5185 (79.77% of Lexus capacity)

After that I add tow vehicle payload and travel trailer cargo.

Tow vehicle cargo 1245 (includes passengers, stuff, and hitch weight)
Trailer cargo 545

Total payload: 1790 being transported by the tow vehicle

So, 5185 + 1790 = 6975, or right at 107.5% of your Lexus capacity.

I concur with the others: you will be over-weight for the tow vehicle you are citing.
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Old 05-11-2024, 09:01 PM   #18
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We pull our 2023 Feather 21MML with a 2005 Nissan Titan! It is rated to pull 9500 pounds and the 21MML pulls like a feather!
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