Trailer towing and tenting - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 12:08 pm Thread Starter
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Trailer towing and tenting

We are looking seriously at the option of towing a trailer and tenting when we do our cross Canada run this year. We don't plan to take a lot of personal gear other than what the bike side bags and top box can carry. It would be nice to come up with a small light easy to tow trailer that doesn't compromise the 'ride' (that we all look for on a bike) too much. No need to have cargo space. The most suitable would be a trailer that can be easily set up as a tent strictly for sleeping with a minimum of fuss.

Anyone have any riding experience with this setup and camping as well? Any recommendations or pitfalls that should be avoided?
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post #2 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 12:35 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajs
We are looking seriously at the option of towing a trailer and tenting when we do our cross Canada run this year. We don't plan to take a lot of personal gear other than what the bike side bags and top box can carry. It would be nice to come up with a small light easy to tow trailer that doesn't compromise the 'ride' (that we all look for on a bike) too much. No need to have cargo space. The most suitable would be a trailer that can be easily set up as a tent strictly for sleeping with a minimum of fuss.

Anyone have any riding experience with this setup and camping as well? Any recommendations or pitfalls that should be avoided?
There are prolly several folks around this board that have lotsa experience pulling a camping trailer, butt the one couple I know that I would consider experts and have btdt enough times to have it down pat,arer Ron and Delores Kellenbenz. He usually pops on here every day or so, or you might ping him from his profile --- be prepared to take notes, tho!!! HHH.
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post #3 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 1:17 pm
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Plenty of room on the LT for tent and gear for 3 weeks at least. No need for a trailer

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post #4 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 1:27 pm
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My best advice is to keep the trailer and gear total weight to 350lbs. or less.

I've pulled a 550 lb. pop up tent trailer and it was just plain too much for the LT. All I did was spend time focusing on the trailer - not fun and completely defeated taking the scooter, a car would have been less stress.

Here's a reasonably good article on shopping for a motorcycle trailer:

http://www.motorcycletrailer.com/tlrshop1.htm

...a list of trailer manufacturers:

http://trailer.nursen.dk//

You may also want to go here and start reading:

http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/mai...towing%2Fstart


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post #5 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 3:10 pm
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For what it is worth, I just got a sales flyer from www.trailmasterinc.com with thier winter clearance sale. I filled out a card at the IMS cuz we have had the same dream. I've had zero experience with them and am not being compensated for the information forthwith!

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post #6 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 3:34 pm
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As Ron Miller stated, the motorcycle-friendly camping trailers are heavy by themselves, not to mention adding additional weight when packing additional gear in the trailer.

Cargo trailers made by Hannigan, Bushtec, and Dauntless are all very good trailers. I have a Hannigan Europa model providing 27 cu ft of storage. It weighs 150 lbs empty and will easily carry 300-350 lbs of gear. Trust me, you do not have enough cargo capacity on the LT to carry the gear needed for an extended trip and have a modicom of comfort. By the time you are ready to load a tent, sleeping bags, clothing, a few potentially necessary tools and other necessities, you will see the benefit of a trailer. I could carry sufficient gear for an extended trip on the LT if I was the only traveler; with the wife along........no way.

The trailers mentioned above all have hydraulic shocks or some other method of dampening and minimizing the uncontrolled bouncing typical of non-dampened leaf-spring and coil-spring suspensions. The last thing you want behind you at 70mph is a trailer that bounces all over the place every time you hit a little bobble in the road.

I had no problem pulling 450-500 lbs of trailer and gear, two-up, on a 2200 mile trip at elevations ranging from 3000ft to 10,000ft. For safety's sake, I would not want to pull 600-700lbs. Your braking distance will be significantly increased, so, I would suggest you load the trailer and take it for a couple of test runs to get familiar with new braking requirements before you start your trip.

I don't know if any trailers offer surge or electric braking. If so, I would strongly consider that benefit when shopping for a trailer. Also, be sure your bike's brakes and rotors are in good condition and functioning well. The rear brake on the LT (at least the early models) is marginal but can be improved with EBC brake pads (several posts on this subject...just use the search function to find).
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post #7 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 4:46 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c00k1e
Plenty of room on the LT for tent and gear for 3 weeks at least. No need for a trailer
An add to this thought, consider visiting your local backpacking store and checking out ultra-light gear that can easily be carried on the bike. Down sleeping bags can be packed very small, solid core air mattresses are very comfortable, lightweight cooking systems, backpacking tents, etc. My wife and I can travel for weeks with this set-up, purchasing our menu for the evening from available grocery stores.

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post #8 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 5:08 pm
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We have been pulling a Bushtec since 94 (and a much smaller bike). With the LT I can easily forget it's back there. I find I can ride just as hard (read: drag parts in corners) with the B as without - they are called Bushtec Performace Sport Trailers for a reason. We tend to gross the rig out (350 plus) and amaze people who see our campsite set up and "only" a bike and trailer.
For our first long trip we did MN to Glacier plus for a total of 4K. MPG drops with the trailer (especially running 80).
Have fun shopping! Some sort of isolator relay is required for trailer lights so as to protect the LT's sensitive electronics. When pulling, it will take longer to stop/require more brake pressure. Accelleration will suffer a little as well.
Have fun!!

Jim Taylor
Minneapolis
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post #9 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 6:23 pm
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I had the same dream a few years ago and purchased one of those pop-up camper trailers (Bunkhouse) they start out around 225 # empty. (see pic's)

It was a great camper quick setup and easy take down,
king size bed and a 4x6 area to change or even sit in on rainy days.

But I absolutely hated pulling that heavy trailer,
now going down the interstate it wasn't too bad but I don't ride that way,
I like the backroads, mountains and twisties. (hated it)

I kept it for about a year, furthest we went with it was the UP of Michigan and back and then it was sold.

Got a Bushtec cargo trailer 125 # empty, love it, great for traveling,
been all around the country with them a couple of times, can't tell it's back there,
we even use it locally to do picnics sunset rides with our folding chairs etc.
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post #10 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 7:41 pm
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I've had my Unigo since 2002 and with lightweight camping gear, I included two kermit chairs and a small folding camp table. All the comforts of home.

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post #11 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 8:00 pm
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I'm with Jeff. The Unigo is perfect. Can't haul too much stuff, but definitely enough to be comfortable for 2. Never hauled a heavier trailer and wouldn't want to.









John

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post #12 of 18 Old Feb 11th, 2008, 8:02 pm
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Smile Trailer towing and tenting

I usually lurk, but pulling a trailer is a subject near and dear to my heart. I used to pack my K11LT for weeks on end camping and had quite an adventure when the side stand broke during a thunderstorm fully loaded in Wyoming. When I got the first K12LT, I tried packing it like the K11 and found that it was much, MUCH too top heavy to be loaded like I was used too. So, I bought a QuikKamp popup trailer and pulled it numerous times for 5 or 6 thousand miles. Much to heavy and then got a Bushtec. Had a serious accident on I40 in Missouri, a get off from 70 to 0 in about 10 seconds, and the trailer save my life by holding the rear of the bike down, so, even though I got high sided, the bike did not come down on me. Bought another K12LT and Bushtec just like the one that got totaled. I have thousands of miles and there is no better way to travel the country comfortably than with the trailer. Yes, it's not like a naked bike, but the performance is excellent, and have done numerous 1000 mile days with the trailer. The folks at Bushtec are great to deal with and will treat you right. There are several great trailers out there, but I think the Bushtec is worth every penny they charge. I envy the guys that can ride two up and pack it in the side cases. I just can't do it. Even with the trailer, I heartily endorse a good down bag, and a cot. With the trailer, you still have scads of room. Good luck on your decision....Best, Bob


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajs
We are looking seriously at the option of towing a trailer and tenting when we do our cross Canada run this year. We don't plan to take a lot of personal gear other than what the bike side bags and top box can carry. It would be nice to come up with a small light easy to tow trailer that doesn't compromise the 'ride' (that we all look for on a bike) too much. No need to have cargo space. The most suitable would be a trailer that can be easily set up as a tent strictly for sleeping with a minimum of fuss.

Anyone have any riding experience with this setup and camping as well? Any recommendations or pitfalls that should be avoided?

Bob
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post #13 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 5:51 am
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I use a TimeOut camping trailer and love it. I have pulled it thousands of miles with no problems. I used to pull a cargo trailer and tent but I don't like getting up and down off the ground any more at my age. I don't notice that much differance in pulling the camper compared to the cargo trailer but I do not take anything I or the wife don't need. I see some trailers piled high with all kinds of stuff, even air conditioners and big stuff bags on top of the trailers.
What ever you decide have fun and ride safe.

Rodger

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Ride Safe
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post #14 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 8:56 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverBuffalo
I had the same dream a few years ago and purchased one of those pop-up camper trailers (Bunkhouse) they start out around 225 # empty. (see pic's)

It was a great camper quick setup and easy take down,
king size bed and a 4x6 area to change or even sit in on rainy days.

But I absolutely hated pulling that heavy trailer,
now going down the interstate it wasn't too bad but I don't ride that way,
I like the backroads, mountains and twisties. (hated it)

I kept it for about a year, furthest we went with it was the UP of Michigan and back and then it was sold.

Got a Bushtec cargo trailer 125 # empty, love it, great for traveling,
been all around the country with them a couple of times, can't tell it's back there,
we even use it locally to do picnics sunset rides with our folding chairs etc.
Hans,
Did I see an A/C unit?

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post #15 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 11:05 am
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sleeping bags in compression sacks and light weight waterproof bags will attach nicely to the hard bag handles with ROK straps, never touch the paint and free up alot of room.

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post #16 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 11:10 am
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Smile

I have been pulling a Hannigan "Europa" trailer for a good many years, for my wife and I like to camp on our cross country trips.
It even handled our Alaskan tour with grace and had enough room for all of our things for a month.
I even have enough room to bring home some local wine from each year's
destination.
Hardly know it's there!

Cheers,
Wolf
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post #17 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 11:39 am
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We are on a very extended journey and as such rely on the load and handling qualities available with our Quantum. We have far too much stuff but still only max out at around 350 Lbs. For such a trip we do not compromise on comfort, but that took careful shopping over several years to find equipment that fits. Use our camp as a base for weeks at a time and run day rides (sometimes over nights too) to explore. Some days we just relax "at home" under canvas. Wouldn't suit everyone but we enjoy it. Cheers.

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post #18 of 18 Old Feb 12th, 2008, 2:51 pm
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trailer

I have both a uni-go and a leesurelite pop up. Both can be pulled behind my LT. I travel solo on my bike.

With the uni-go I could not even tell that it was there and it held all the camping gear and extra stuff I could need. Plus it is a great storage vehicle once I arrive at the campground.

Unfortunately, I had to give up on pure tenting due to my relative inability to get up from ground level easily. (hip and knee replacements).

Bought a leesure lite late last year and took it on one trip (1200 mile total). I even used the uni-go hitch with a ball instead of the uni-go attachment! The unit pulls straight and the bike seems to handle it without much strain. I can tell it is there --slower accelleration and slightly extended braking distance. The Leesure lite is relatively lightweight and I did not load it up anywhere near its capacity (I do have the awning and poles). If I traveled 2=up with all the gear--I'll bet that the total weight would not be far off the weight of the trailer (depends upon size of passenger obviously).

Overall---I would rather not have a trailer. That said--I like the total set up at the campground a lot! Also-- having the pop up allowed me to enjoy the trip more and not 'add pain' to my body by ground camping. I also found that I could almost empty the saddlebags on my LT and put that stuff in the trailer--that make the bike handle better and easier due to less weight on the bike.

My son now uses the uni-go on his RT and he loves it. Now he takes a large tent and huge air bed and anything else he can think of!
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