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It may be worth it overall to pay a bit more for an ultra-lightweight trailer than to transfer to a whole new tow vehicle.

I've driven Suburbans and Expeditions and such when we've rented then while away on family vacations. The driving experience is so much worse than the Ascent. The Ascent drives like a really big car, while they drive like trucks (because they are!). I'd hate to give up the daily drivability for the few times you need the towing.

If you move the roof box stuff and other cargo into the trailer, then even later you're very close on your cargo limit. Personally I wouldn't sweat that small amount but YMMV.

Or stuff a couple kids in the trailer.... Just kidding! :D :D
 

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The 8 seat Ascent has a 1323 payload. That would give you almost 200 extra pounds. Plus get an aluminum hitch. Mine weighs 17 pounds.

But other than losing the roof box, youll have to go the Expedition/Tahoe/Suburban route. The new expeditions have about 1700 payload give or take 50 pounds.
 

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Wow, looked up my 2015 Yukon and it looks like the newer ones dropped in payload capacity. Went from close to 1,700 to now 1,500. Though, it looks like the Yukon AT4 and Denali have muuuch high capacity.....for some serious coin
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
On a serious note (well, yeah, I guess I gotta get someone to check one of those out... but on another serious note, lol), your contributions here are gonna be missed (if you decide to move on when your truck gets here). Very glad you spent the time sharing your calculations and concerns. It's a perfect and well explained example of how to properly fit a trailer to a car to the needs and quantity of the occupants and cargo.
Thanks for the kind words! Means a lot.

It may be worth it overall to pay a bit more for an ultra-lightweight trailer than to transfer to a whole new tow vehicle.

I've driven Suburbans and Expeditions and such when we've rented then while away on family vacations. The driving experience is so much worse than the Ascent. The Ascent drives like a really big car, while they drive like trucks (because they are!). I'd hate to give up the daily drivability for the few times you need the towing.

If you move the roof box stuff and other cargo into the trailer, then even later you're very close on your cargo limit. Personally I wouldn't sweat that small amount but YMMV.

Or stuff a couple kids in the trailer.... Just kidding! :D :D
If there's a lighter-weight trailer that'll offer 6 dedicated beds, I'd love to hear about it.
Don't worry! No kids in the trailer ...as long as they behave.

The 8 seat Ascent has a 1323 payload. That would give you almost 200 extra pounds. Plus get an aluminum hitch. Mine weighs 17 pounds.

But other than losing the roof box, youll have to go the Expedition/Tahoe/Suburban route. The new expeditions have about 1700 payload give or take 50 pounds.
Now that's interesting and could be a game changer! Why would Subaru rate the 7 passenger lower than the 8 passenger? Surely the two captains chairs aren't that much heavier than the bench. I suspect they have some payload held in reserve and only give some up on the 8 passenger. The math is a bit revealing.
1158 / 7 = 165lbs per passenger.
1323 - 1158 = 165 lbs.
1323 / 8 = 165 lbs per passenger.
It sure seems like 165 is the magic number.

The hitch weighing 50 is just a ballpark for the accessory hitch receiver and ball mount. I do have a steel adjustable mount though that could shed a few pounds.

Wow, looked up my 2015 Yukon and it looks like the newer ones dropped in payload capacity. Went from close to 1,700 to now 1,500. Though, it looks like the Yukon AT4 and Denali have muuuch high capacity.....for some serious coin
I don't see that the AT4 or Denali have more payload than the lower Yukon trims, all a little north of 2000. They do have an advantage over Suburban which is about 1600-1700.
 

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If there's a lighter-weight trailer that'll offer 6 dedicated beds, I'd love to hear about it.
Don't worry! No kids in the trailer ...as long as they behave.
6 sleeping spots or 6 beds? The Taxa Mantis sleeps six with the hammock platforms installed, but is less spacious inside. It's a LOT easier to carry though. It sleeps 4(+) adults in standard configuration, and then has hanging bed configs for two more.

There was a trailer I was looking at that might have had a slightly lower tongue weight, and had two double beds (bunk setup) and a queen sized bed. I can try to find it, if that may be suitable.

It's a tough one though. The Heartland Edge series was the only trailer I've seen that was thoroughly designed with mid sized SUVs in mind (before towing with them was common), and, it's discontinued and never came in a rear double bunk layout.
 

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Thanks for the kind words! Means a lot.


If there's a lighter-weight trailer that'll offer 6 dedicated beds, I'd love to hear about it.
Don't worry! No kids in the trailer ...as long as they behave.


Now that's interesting and could be a game changer! Why would Subaru rate the 7 passenger lower than the 8 passenger? Surely the two captains chairs aren't that much heavier than the bench. I suspect they have some payload held in reserve and only give some up on the 8 passenger. The math is a bit revealing.
1158 / 7 = 165lbs per passenger.
1323 - 1158 = 165 lbs.
1323 / 8 = 165 lbs per passenger.
It sure seems like 165 is the magic number.

The hitch weighing 50 is just a ballpark for the accessory hitch receiver and ball mount. I do have a steel adjustable mount though that could shed a few pounds.


I don't see that the AT4 or Denali have more payload than the lower Yukon trims, all a little north of 2000. They do have an advantage over Suburban which is about 1600-1700.
While I think the payload part is true, if you get in a wreck and they weigh your car etc then you are overweight and that could cause major problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
6 sleeping spots or 6 beds? The Taxa Mantis sleeps six with the hammock platforms installed, but is less spacious inside. It's a LOT easier to carry though. It sleeps 4(+) adults in standard configuration, and then has hanging bed configs for two more.

There was a trailer I was looking at that might have had a slightly lower tongue weight, and had two double beds (bunk setup) and a queen sized bed. I can try to find it, if that may be suitable.

It's a tough one though. The Heartland Edge series was the only trailer I've seen that was thoroughly designed with mid sized SUVs in mind (before towing with them was common), and, it's discontinued and never came in a rear double bunk layout.
Mainly looking for six sleeping spots that aren't tables. The old popup had a queen, king, and a table that turned into a full. Changing that table around every day and night got to be a real chore though. A hybrid with 3 queens looks about perfect.

I don't remember the model but I checked out a Salem TT that had a queen murphy bed up front and a double bunk in the back. The corner of each bed was clipped off though so was really only good for two small kids at best.
 

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Mainly looking for six sleeping spots that aren't tables. The old popup had a queen, king, and a table that turned into a full. Changing that table around every day and night got to be a real chore though. A hybrid with 3 queens looks about perfect.

I don't remember the model but I checked out a Salem TT that had a queen murphy bed up front and a double bunk in the back. The corner of each bed was clipped off though so was really only good for two small kids at best.
There are plenty like that. Example Rockwood MiniLite 2509S. But you would need an Expedition or a truck. That trailer would likely be our next one once the kids get older. So unless Subaru makes a full size SUV by then we will need to get the Expedition. Also, if we start boondocking we will also because adding 300 pounds of water at the front of our current trailer will put us way over tongue weight.
 

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I don't see that the AT4 or Denali have more payload than the lower Yukon trims, all a little north of 2000. They do have an advantage over Suburban which is about 1600-1700.
Yukon is defiantly lower, but it looks like for 2021 they raised it back up. It does vary between SLT and SLE, but certainly 200lbs south of 2,000.
 

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Mainly looking for six sleeping spots that aren't tables. The old popup had a queen, king, and a table that turned into a full. Changing that table around every day and night got to be a real chore though. A hybrid with 3 queens looks about perfect.

I don't remember the model but I checked out a Salem TT that had a queen murphy bed up front and a double bunk in the back. The corner of each bed was clipped off though so was really only good for two small kids at best.
Aha, that does make it harder. 6 without a table bed needs a much larger camper.
 
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
We looked around some this weekend online and in person. It seems that 90% of Express vans are the cargo variant. Finding the right one is seeming to be a challenge. Dealers aren't able to order new presently. They expect for that to open up in November / December and then take 6 months to deliver. That steered us towards the Suburbans even though we'd have to get a few years older and more miles to stay in our price range. We sat in the back of one and couldn't believe how tiny the 3rd row is. I'm on the tall side, 6'-1" and literally couldn't get my legs to point straight. They needed to go into the middle aisle. I don't expect 3rd rows to accomodate tall people but who are they designed for, 8 year olds? The Ascent has way more room back
there. So, we're back on the van hunt and will just wait for a good one to come available.

I'm planning to call SOA about the payload today. Will share anything they pass on.
 

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Forgot to ask, what age are your older kids? I know for me when I was about 12 it was a great thing to have my own tent and get to sleep out "on my own" with my friend even though we weren't in the "comfy camper" :D

A tent for the older 2 may not be a bad thing in their eyes!

Or the table bed may not be that bad a compromise vs bigger, more expensive, more awkward tow vehicle?
 

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I kinda agree with Kevin here...sometimes creative alternatives need to be explored to overcome something.

And for some reason, I'm not surprised at the lack of space for the third row in the full size SUV. I think they are sometimes afterthoughts, at least until recently. While I didn't buy my Ascent for the third row to accommodate humans, the few times it's been used for that, an adult or two could actually be comfortable. (I wanted the cargo space. :) )
 
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Sounds about right. All the 3rd rows i sat in from the US big three have sucked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
I spoke with SOA yesterday and basically got a non answer. It was understandably a big ask. "Can I have your blessing to exceed the payload?" They insisted that the 7-passengers weigh more and that's the reason for 1158 vs 1323. And loading beyond the limit would cause accelerated wear.

Considering both payload numbers:
If it's 1158 I can get a popup now (~250 TW) and run the roof box -OR- get a hybrid expandable. Available TW in the future though will be reduced to ~140 though, basically useless. So the Ascent is good for now but if we want to keep towing, we'll need something else eventually.
If it's 1323 I can get a hybrid or popup now and also use the roof box. Great! In the future though we'll only be able to use a popup.

So really it comes down to what type of camper do we want, what's needed to tow it/us, and are we willing to trade the Ascent?
Popups are good but we want to get away from them. We self-imposed a two night minimum stay just because setting up and then tearing down takes so much effort. The flexibility of one night stays would be great. Ultimately we just want a bigger camper and that doesn't work so well with a loaded up Ascent. Will a van be fun to drive or efficient? No, but it will tow and haul everything and that's priority #1. In 10 years or so our lives will be drastically different (empty nesters) and we may go back to a midsize SUV or pickup.

The kiddos are 8, 10, 10, and 11 and won't stop growing despite being warned.
 

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I spoke with SOA yesterday and basically got a non answer. It was understandably a big ask. "Can I have your blessing to exceed the payload?" They insisted that the 7-passengers weigh more and that's the reason for 1158 vs 1323.
You realize that no one on the phone at SOA can authorize a change in the payload that's labeled on your Ascent's placard. The placard states what Subaru has rated the vehicle for and has registered with the DoT.

You might feel/know that you can carry more, but that won't help if you get weighed and have exceeded there placard.
 

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Hmm...how about getting a bench seat from the wrecking yard to use for camping trips. At least one other person did that for travel. (there's a thread about that here in the Ascent Forums) It sounds like it weighs less than the captain's chairs. Not as comfortable, IMHO, but it might get you what you need for now...
 
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
@Titanrx8 : Yeah, I get that. Legally they can't and also there's no incentive. I was hoping for an explanation on why the 7 passengers get downrated when they clearly have the mechanical capability of carrying more. It'd be great if Subaru didn't take that payload capacity away.

Also, I'm pretty sure the payloads are based on worst case trim and options. A fully optioned and loaded Touring is really near to the 6000 lb GVWR. A Premium is about 150 lbs lighter.

@Jim_in_PA : I'd consider it but it'd still put me in legal gray area.
 
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