I would have sworn that Chefguy used to sell RVs. Does anyone else remember that? If I’m remembering the correct poster, he can probably give more advice related to the trailer itself.
I’m a long-time, second generation RV camper (trailers, not motorhomes). I’ll try to summarize some info for you.
Your decision to go with the shorter trailer will have pros and cons. The obvious cons are living space, and sometimes smaller trailers will have smaller “made beds” (those which do not have a daytime function as a couch or dinette). Yours appears to have a 48" double bed which is considerably smaller than a standard (54") size. One of the other limitations is counter space, although most now have sink or stove covers to expand the counters. The good news is that smaller trailers have a considerable advantage in some of the national parks. You can choose almost any campsite, while the larger 5th wheels and motorhomes will find space more limited. I’ve camped in some parks that limited trailer size to 25 feet in order to fit around curves in the camping areas.
I’m not sure about your tow vehicle, but in my experience trucks can generally tow the amount they’re rated for with few problems. Your limiting factor when towing usually isn’t the tow weight, it’s the GCWR (Gross Combined Tow Rating). This is the outside limit when everything is taken into account (jeep, trailer, water tank, equipment, people).
You will almost certainly need a weight-distributing hitch, and these require a little adjustment to get the tensions right for your particular tongue weight. If you can find a reputable hitch installer in your area, they can sometimes be more useful than the RV dealer in helping you determine the capacity of your vehicle.
As far as information on your particular jeep, here is a thread on the Open Roads Forum started by someone who’s towing with a Commander. Joining is free and maybe you could IM him for particular questions? That website has a wealth of towing info, but beware there are a lot of posters who maintain that one should never tow with less than an F350 dually diesel, (yada, yada). We call them the “Weight Police”.
When starting from the empty weight as listed for a camper, a good rule of thumb is to add 1200-1500 lbs to estimate your final weight. In my case, this works out exactly, as my camper has a 5100 lb dry weight, and showed 6600 when I put it on the Cat scales at the local truck stop. The RV manufacturers do not include water or propane tanks in their empty weight figures.
From our experiences camping as a family of four, here are some (very vague) numbers on capacities when you don’t have any hookups (called “dry camping”).
- With normal (40 gal) fresh/grey/black water tanks, you can last about 4 days without dumping or refilling, and can stretch it to 5 with a little conservation.
- The two propane tanks should easily last more than a week for normal cooking, running the fridge, and reasonable hot water use. You can also unhook from the camper for a week if everything’s charged and expect the fridge and freezer to maintain your food (we once left ours on a Disney world parking lot for 5 days while we moved into a hotel; everything stayed frozen/cool).
- The standard deep-cycle 12 volt battery will also last about 4 days with normal use (water pump, lights, fridge circuits, etc.).
- Your gas mileage while towing will probably be about half of what you’re used to. It’s a least a good starting estimate. Mine drops from 20 to 8.5 (you’ll see why below).
- I plan for 60 mph when making long trips. For every camper/truck combination I’ve had, it seems to be the sweet spot where it’s not uncomfortably fast, but the engine is at a high enough RPM it doesn’t lug on hills.
- Your tow vehicle will charge the battery on your camper while you travel, but it’s fairly slow. Plan on 6-8 hours of travel to restore a drained camper battery.
All these numbers can vary of course, and are unimportant when you stay in a campground with hookups. Most state parks provide water and electricity, but you will have to empty your holding tanks every 3-4 days (grey water will be your limiting factor). Most commercial parks (KOA, etc.) provide full hookups so the capacities are irrelevant there.
Most RV parks provide both 30 and 50 amp electrical service. Your camper can use either, but you will need an adapter plug if you’re put in a site with only 50 amp (dealer can explain this in more detail).
Here’s a picture of my rig, taken last week. I’m right at the upper limit for GCWR, but it tows very stable and stops quickly. BTW: I’m towing with the 5.7 L engine as well.
Good luck with your new camper. The Missus and I bought our first camper in 1981, and we’ve never gotten bored with it.