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2020 Ascent Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New owner here. Looking for recommendations for a travel trailer. I saw the link to the "Real World Towing Examples" page and looked at that, but seems like a lot of the models listed are no longer available. We're looking for something that will sleep 4 (2 adults/ 2 teens), seat 4 at the dinette, and has a sink within the bathroom area. We're on Long Island and the only RV dealer near us is exclusively Jayco, and there doesn't seem to be anything within their lineup that checks those boxes (that's compatible with the Ascent). Any suggestions?
 

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2021 Ascent Touring
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A lot will also depend on what your camping plans are.

Boondocking in the desert or mountains for weeks at a time on Forest Service or BLM land?
State/county parks with hookups for a long weekend or a week?

There are lots of "ultra light" trailers out there that will tick those boxes, Jayco even appears to have a couple in their Jay Flight SLX and Jay Feather Micro lines. R-Pod makes a bunch as well.

A couple of options are to find an RV show happening near you and go see what's available from all the manufacturers. You can also use RVShare or Outdoorsy to screen other trailers that are out in the world that fit your requirements and even do a "test camp" in one to see if works out for you.
 

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2019 Subaru Ascent Limited 2010 Subaru Legacy GT limited
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You're asking alot from a smaller/lighter trailer and I'm doubtful you will find it. A true 4 seat dinette will either be a queen front bed with rear wraparound dinette or a slideout dinette. Neither option is likely to both include bunks and be towable by the ascent.

Take your time visiting dealers or an RV show and spend lots of time in the different layouts, I'm sure you'll find something you can work with, but ther will be compromises with the limited towing capacity of the ascent.
 

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You're asking alot from a smaller/lighter trailer and I'm doubtful you will find it. A true 4 seat dinette will either be a queen front bed with rear wraparound dinette or a slideout dinette. Neither option is likely to both include bunks and be towable by the ascent.
I missed the part about the true 4 seat dinette in addition to all the other requirements. Agreed that you're likely going to need to give up "something" here, possibly even the tow vehicle. But I think there are things that come pretty close. If your kids aren't super friendly (or one wouldn't rather sleep in a tent by themselves), you're pretty much limited to bunkhouse models. But R-pod, GeoPro and NoBo all have at least one model that would fill that criterion (and also give either the dinette or the bathroom you're looking for. If you don't need a bunkhouse, options open up a bit more, but you'll likely be close to at least tongue weight max (these all run 400-450#).

Lots to consider and you should definitely start making some road trips to dealers outside of LI to have a look.
 

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Long post, skip to the last paragraph if you just want the bottom line.

There are very few travel trailers in the Ascent's weight range that can comfortably sleep a family of four, especially when the kids are teen-sized and teen-attituded. You may find a few that would be ok for short trips such as weekends, but they'll be quite a compromise from what I think you may have in mind.

I don't know what your travel plans are, but RVs that can fairly comfortably sleep four adult-sized people for longer than a few days start in the 4000-5000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) range, and even then, they'll be quite a compromise. For 2 adults and 2 teens, what you're probably looking for is 6000 lb GVWR on up, realistically in the 8000 lb GVWR range for decent longer-term comfort. Believe it or not, an 8000 lb GVWR travel trailer will actually appear tiny when you get to a typical RV park where most of the RVs will be massive fifth wheels and Motor Homes. I speak from experience. My 8100 lb GVWR 32'10" Jayco 27RB was one of the smallest RVs there.

Motor vehicle Sky Vehicle Tree Automotive exterior


So, you can imagine the realistic size of a 4000 lb GVWR travel trailer.

Travel trailers are a lot heavier than most people new to RVs first think, especially when loaded with cargo. You have to carefully take into account both the trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), i.e. the weight of the travel trailer and all of its cargo, and the loaded tongue weight, the actual weight of the tongue on a trailer loaded with cargo. The Ascent has a maximum 5000 lb towing capacity, therefore the GVW of the travel trailer and all cargo should not be more than around 80% of this or ~4,000 lbs allowing for a safety factor. For a family of four, allow around 1000 lbs for cargo. That leaves you with a travel trailer weighing around 3000 lbs empty. That's a very tiny travel trailer for four people. Even if you could find a suitable one in this weight range, it cannot have a loaded tongue weight exceeding around 80% of the Ascent's 500 lb tongue weight limit or around 400 lbs. That's going to be hard to do for a travel trailer that can comfortably sleep four adult-sized people. Not impossible, but hard. And there will be considerable comfort compromises.

You also have to consider the weight of four adult-sized passengers inside the car and how it will affect the GVW of the Ascent itself, especially when you add the ~400 lb tongue weight to the total. This will depend on the trim level of your Ascent, but you don't have a lot to work with. See this thread to calculate your Ascent's maximum cargo weight.

I went through all of this with my Ascent and I only had to account for myself, not four people. I ultimately decided that I needed a larger tow vehicle and purchased a RAM 1500. Even that proved to be challenging to handle a travel trailer in the weight range I required. If anyone is really serious about RVing with a family of four for more than just a few days at a time, you're looking at a heavy-duty truck such as a RAM 2500, or a Ford F250. Then your RV options are wide open. Believe it or not, many larger RVs do not cost that much more than smaller, lighter ones. This is because the materials used to make RVs light enough to be pulled by smaller tow vehicles cost considerably more.

Again, I don't know all of your specific requirements and travel plans, so I'm speaking in general. In any case, please don't ever try to push the Ascent beyond its towing capacity to meet your needs. This can put your family in danger. Also, please keep in mind that the Ascent doesn't have the common ability to use a Weight Distributing Hitch (WDH), which can often save the day on other tow vehicles when it comes to weight limits. Never use a WDH on the Ascent. You're stuck with the 500 lb tongue limit, there's no getting around that.

The bottom line is that the Ascent is a light-duty tow vehicle. It can only tow the lightest ranges of travel trailers, don't let anyone tell you differently. This weight range is not typically suited to longer travels for four adult-sized people. If you're only traveling for a few days up to a week or so, you might be able to find something suitable, but you likely won't be very comfortable for longer trips unless you and your family can tolerate very tight quarters and close living for longer periods of time.

If you have any other questions, please post here or PM me. I'll try to help.
 

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2023 Subaru Ascent Touring, 2020 Subaru Forester Premium
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It will probably miss some of your needs, but my camper meets everything on your list. It’s a pop up. Sits 4 COMFORTABLY (I know, I’m shocked) at the dinette. Dinette drops to double bed. 74” couch folds flat to double bed. RV King on one end and full queen on the other. Running hot water in sink. Head is just a toilet and shower combo unit. Dry weight is 2750. I towed it comfortably with my Outback XT, and even better with the Ascent. I drove it to camp alone today and set everything up in an hour. Only needed my burley neighbor for the shepherd hooks in the slideouts because the canvas is so stiff in the cold. Dropping to 20’s overnight and its 69F in here right now (39 outside). (And yes, In know I need to drop my hitch so the camper is level. Next time. :))

Happy Camping!

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Cloud
 

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If you are not in a rush to get one you should check out the Alto Safaris- either the 21' or the new 24' twin axle. They are all aluminum but the wait is something like 2 years unless you find a used one.
 

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If you are not in a rush to get one you should check out the Alto Safaris- either the 21' or the new 24' twin axle. They are all aluminum but the wait is something like 2 years unless you find a used one.
The 24' is too long for a midsize SUV like the Ascent.
 
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It will probably miss some of your needs, but my camper meets everything on your list. It’s a pop up. Sits 4 COMFORTABLY (I know, I’m shocked) at the dinette. Dinette drops to double bed. 74” couch folds flat to double bed. RV King on one end and full queen on the other. Running hot water in sink. Head is just a toilet and shower combo unit. Dry weight is 2750. I towed it comfortably with my Outback XT, and even better with the Ascent. I drove it to camp alone today and set everything up in an hour. Only needed my burley neighbor for the shepherd hooks in the slideouts because the canvas is so stiff in the cold. Dropping to 20’s overnight and its 69F in here right now (39 outside). (And yes, In know I need to drop my hitch so the camper is level. Next time. :))

Happy Camping!

View attachment 18988
This is a Camping Trailer, the OP specifically stated he was looking for a "Travel Trailer" which is significantly different. Camping Trailers are more for short-term camping whereas Travel Trailers are more for longer-term RV traveling excursions, thus the names. Travel Trailers tend to be much larger and heavier and thus more of a challenge to tow with the Ascent which is probably why he's asking for help finding one.

Still, the OP may be open-minded enough to consider a Camping Trailer depending on his specific requirements.

Unrelated, but you should consider a drop hitch for your camper. It will level your trailer and allow it to tow better and with more ground clearance in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Our plans would most definitely be for extended weekends (possibly a week) at state/county parks. We did look at the Jayco's at the local dealer. One of the Jay Flights almost hit the mark. It just didn't have a sink in the bathroom area. If I recall the Jay Feather that hit the marks was a bit heavy. But I will definitely look at both RVShare and Outdorrsy to do some screening of possible models. Thank you!

A lot will also depend on what your camping plans are.

Boondocking in the desert or mountains for weeks at a time on Forest Service or BLM land?
State/county parks with hookups for a long weekend or a week?

There are lots of "ultra light" trailers out there that will tick those boxes, Jayco even appears to have a couple in their Jay Flight SLX and Jay Feather Micro lines. R-Pod makes a bunch as well.

A couple of options are to find an RV show happening near you and go see what's available from all the manufacturers. You can also use RVShare or Outdoorsy to screen other trailers that are out in the world that fit your requirements and even do a "test camp" in one to see if works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is looking like it's a tough order to fill. We've seen a few that have 4 person dinette seating and they've all been slide outs. The key tradeoff seems to be if there's bunks, then there's no bathroom sink.
You're asking alot from a smaller/lighter trailer and I'm doubtful you will find it. A true 4 seat dinette will either be a queen front bed with rear wraparound dinette or a slideout dinette. Neither option is likely to both include bunks and be towable by the ascent.

Take your time visiting dealers or an RV show and spend lots of time in the different layouts, I'm sure you'll find something you can work with, but ther will be compromises with the limited towing capacity of the ascent.
 

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2020 Ascent Limited
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That NB16.6 is nice. If only the dinette area was a slide out...

I missed the part about the true 4 seat dinette in addition to all the other requirements. Agreed that you're likely going to need to give up "something" here, possibly even the tow vehicle. But I think there are things that come pretty close. If your kids aren't super friendly (or one wouldn't rather sleep in a tent by themselves), you're pretty much limited to bunkhouse models. But R-pod, GeoPro and NoBo all have at least one model that would fill that criterion (and also give either the dinette or the bathroom you're looking for. If you don't need a bunkhouse, options open up a bit more, but you'll likely be close to at least tongue weight max (these all run 400-450#).

Lots to consider and you should definitely start making some road trips to dealers outside of LI to have a look.
 

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2020 Ascent Limited
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm definitely realizing the limitations and comprises that need to be made. Our traveling would be for a week at the max, probably long weekends most often. Thanks for the honest feedback.

...snip...

The bottom line is that the Ascent is a light-duty tow vehicle. It can only tow the lightest ranges of travel trailers, don't let anyone tell you differently. This weight range is not typically suited to longer travels for four adult-sized people. If you're only traveling for a few days up to a week or so, you might be able to find something suitable, but you likely won't be very comfortable for longer trips unless you and your family can tolerate very tight quarters and close living for longer periods of time.

If you have any other questions, please post here or PM me. I'll try to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What model is that? I didn't see anything similar on their site. Thanks.
It will probably miss some of your needs, but my camper meets everything on your list. It’s a pop up. Sits 4 COMFORTABLY (I know, I’m shocked) at the dinette. Dinette drops to double bed. 74” couch folds flat to double bed. RV King on one end and full queen on the other. Running hot water in sink. Head is just a toilet and shower combo unit. Dry weight is 2750. I towed it comfortably with my Outback XT, and even better with the Ascent. I drove it to camp alone today and set everything up in an hour. Only needed my burley neighbor for the shepherd hooks in the slideouts because the canvas is so stiff in the cold. Dropping to 20’s overnight and its 69F in here right now (39 outside). (And yes, In know I need to drop my hitch so the camper is level. Next time. :))

Happy Camping!

View attachment 18988
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That F2414 really looks nice. I didn't do the CDN conversion, but looks a bit pricey too. But that's an impressive layout/feature set at such a low weight.

If you are not in a rush to get one you should check out the Alto Safaris- either the 21' or the new 24' twin axle. They are all aluminum but the wait is something like 2 years unless you find a used one.
 

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That F2414 really looks nice. I didn't do the CDN conversion, but looks a bit pricey too. But that's an impressive layout/feature set at such a low weight.
The frame, sides, floor, ceiling and cabinets are aluminum and I understand not much insulation. Friends just got theirs after a 2 year wait. I don't particularly care for the look - lots of muted reflections - ceiling looks twice as high as it really is.
 
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