For 10 years we owned a 2001 Aliner Scout. We towed it behind our Subaru Outback Wagon. We loved the Aliner but after 10 years we felt we needed more storage space for our backpacking gear as well as a home base.
One thing we kept in the back of our minds was every time we make a reservation for a National or State Park the person on the other end of the phone always asks us hour long our rig is. They frown on anything longer that 26ft. If you add your tow vehicle you want to make sure you fit in the site chosen.
Also you need to check your tow vehicle capability. We had purchased a Dodge Ram 1500 Express Sport Truck with a V8 Hemi. We were under the impression that all the Dodge Trucks towed 10,350lbs. As that is what is advertised in the brochures. Imagine our surprise when we looked up in a new towing guide from a major magazine. There are several axle ratios. The one we needed was 3.92, towing capacity of 10,350lbs. None of our paperwork from our truck showed what axle we had. The dealership had to put the truck up on the lift to see. Sure enough we only had a 3.21. That lead to a new search for a new truck. You might want to know there are a limited number of new trucks available these days with the 3.92. We finally found one with the correct axle. Dodge Quad Cab 1500.
On to the trailer choice. We definitely wanted to stay within the 26ft., range if possible. Things that matter most was a bathtub/shower with curtain. I hate shower doors. Those corner units are extremely small. Plus we have a dog that needs a bath after a hiking trip.
Under bed storage was a must, u-shape dinette slide-out with underneath storage was a plus. There is a lot of negative feed back on slide-outs with kitchens. Too much weight on slide out. Moving parts could lead to problems.
Most the campers we looked at in the 26ft., range had a cargo capacity of only 1500lbs. We finally found a Forest River Surveyor Sport SP220. Total length 26ft., that weighs 4325lbs empty, cargo carry capacity is 3041lbs.
Being new the only items we added was the slide out topper, stove cover and sink cover. Take it from us, do get the ladder on the back! But make sure your roof is able to be walked on! Some can’t! Get the electric stabilizer jacks and the electric tongue jack.
This is important too. When your camper is in towing position look to see if you can get to the things you need. Your camper should be in a level position before extending the slide out. If you can’t extend it, you may not be able to get to the bed, fridg or dinette.
We love our camper and are very happy with the choices we made and hope that our tips will help you when looking for your next rig.