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Towing a 13’ Scamp vs 16’ Airstream Basecamp?

Rdarcy

New Member
Aug 29, 2020
1
0
NY
I will be buying the Model Y soon. I plan to travel around the country in it towing either a 13’ fiberglass Scamp trailer or a 16’ Airstream Basecamp. I understand that range will take a hit. But was wondering which trailer would cause the biggest hit? The Basecamp is heavier at 3,500lbs compared to the 1,500lb Scamp...but it seems more aero, and I heard that drag is more important factor than weight when it comes to energy drain. Does anyone have experience towing either one of these with the model Y? Thanks. I’d love to wait for the cybertruck, but that is still a good two years away from being available to the masses.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,344
14,010
West Vancouver, British Columbia
The rounded corners of the Scamp likely make it somewhat more aerodynamically “slippery” than the Basecamp, and the weight difference is significant. I expect it will use much less energy to tow. That said, the Basecamp offers more space and features than the 13 ft Scamp.

This trailer offers more than either of them, weighs only a bit more than the Scamp and is way less expensive than the Airstream https://safaricondo.com/en/caravanes-alto-serie-f-1743/
 
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captanzuelo

Member
May 28, 2020
506
706
los angeles
For those towing with their Ys, do you have to stop every two hours at a supercharger and unhook your trailers to charge? Then hook up the trailer again for another two hour drive? Would be a dealbreaker for me. Every hook/unhook event being another potential link in an accident chain.
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
2,386
626
DFW
Depends how the chargers are placed. Depending on consumption you could also be stopping after an hour-ninety minutes and not two hours.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,344
14,010
West Vancouver, British Columbia
For those towing with their Ys, do you have to stop every two hours at a supercharger and unhook your trailers to charge? Then hook up the trailer again for another two hour drive? Would be a dealbreaker for me. Every hook/unhook event being another potential link in an accident chain.
I tow with an X but the answer to your question is the same as for the Y: yes towing signficantly reduces vehicle range, just like towing dramatically decreases MPG in a gasoline car.

My experience of towing my trailer over 15,000 miles with my X and Supercharging a few hundred times is that it takes about 2 minutes to unhitch and 3 minutes to hitch up. It’s really no big deal.

A small number of Superchargers have pull through stalls that allow for charging without unhitching when the Supercharger isn’t busy. Since that takes up two stalls I only charge without unhitching if there are multiple empty stalls.
 

tech4cars

Member
Aug 3, 2018
35
32
Aptos CA
I just towed for the first time with my Model Y. Here's my experience with it. I have a 20 ft. enclosed Carson race car trailer, which weighs around 2,500 lbs empty. I was hauling about 700 lbs of engine parts and other items that stay in the trailer. The trip was about 58 miles from Aptos (near Santa Cruz), over HWY 17 (Santa Cruz Mtns - only 1,800 ft elevation) to San Carlos CA (just off US101). Started with 80% battery (281 miles), arrived at only 77 miles remaining. Once I arrived and dropped off my parts, I had to drop the trailer and supercharge to make the return trip. The towing was excellent, no issues at all pulling the trailer, and no braking or detectible sway. Just far more power consumption that I was expecting...on the order of 3X normal consumption.
 
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tech4cars

Member
Aug 3, 2018
35
32
Aptos CA
I just towed for the first time with my Model Y. Here's my experience with it. I have a 20 ft. enclosed Carson race car trailer, which weighs around 2,500 lbs empty. I was hauling about 700 lbs of engine parts and other items that stay in the trailer. The trip was about 58 miles from Aptos (near Santa Cruz), over HWY 17 (Santa Cruz Mtns - only 1,800 ft elevation) to San Carlos CA (just off US101). Started with 80% battery (281 miles), arrived at only 77 miles remaining. Once I arrived and dropped off my parts, I had to drop the trailer and supercharge to make the return trip. The towing was excellent, no issues at all pulling the trailer, and no braking or detectible sway. Just far more power consumption that I was expecting...on the order of 3X normal consumption.
Return trip was identical consumption even with 700 lbs less load.
 
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tech4cars

Member
Aug 3, 2018
35
32
Aptos CA
Not surprising. A box trailer has the aerodynamics of a brick.

The good news is that some of the range can be recovered by going slower.


Kept it at 55 max, so dismal efficiency. And, being 700 lbs lighter didn’t help on the return trip, so the drag was a big contributor.
 

Flybuddy

Member
Jul 12, 2020
343
345
Fort Myers FL
Kept it at 55 max, so dismal efficiency. And, being 700 lbs lighter didn’t help on the return trip, so the drag was a big contributor.

Airstream is a nicer unit and, given the above, it appears the wattage usage wouldn't be dramatically different while cruising. Of course weight would impact stop and go as well as uphill driving more. It will be interesting to see comparisons of usage at different weights as more people actually get their hitches installed. Getting all the needed parts from Tesla is not easy.
 

lenkawell

New Member
Sep 7, 2020
1
0
Seattle
The Airstream Basecamp brochure lists the Basecamp hitch weight as 410 lbs, which is over the 350 lbs limit of the Model Y hitch. Is that an issue, or is it close enough?
 

Flybuddy

Member
Jul 12, 2020
343
345
Fort Myers FL
The Airstream Basecamp brochure lists the Basecamp hitch weight as 410 lbs, which is over the 350 lbs limit of the Model Y hitch. Is that an issue, or is it close enough?

That is a high hitch weight for a 2650 lb camper, generally about 10% is more the norm. Suggest you remove the LP tank and battery which would bring the hitch weight down considerably. With a single wheel trailer moving something from front to rear will almost double the hitch weight change downward.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,344
14,010
West Vancouver, British Columbia
The Airstream Basecamp brochure lists the Basecamp hitch weight as 410 lbs, which is over the 350 lbs limit of the Model Y hitch. Is that an issue, or is it close enough?
I would not exceed the hitch manufacturer’s specs. Ever.

Tongue weight is recommended to be between 10 to 15% of the loaded trailer weight.

The Basecamp 16 GVWR is 3,500 lbs. You would need to load up the trailer with whatever you planned to take on a trip, take it to a public scale to weigh it, and then decide if the Model Y hitch can handle that. Obviously you can’t do that.

The base weight is 2,650 meaning the allowed loading is 850 lbs but I believe that any water in the tanks has to be included in that figure.
Specifications | Basecamp | Travel Trailers | Airstream
Suggest you remove the LP tank and battery which would bring the hitch weight down considerably.
Okay, but then what do you do with them? But them in the tow vehicle? Possible, but an awkward inconvenience.

My personal opinion is that a Basecamp 16 is a bit too heavy to be safely towed with the Model Y factory hitch. And Draw-Tite does not appear to offer a Model Y hitch that I can find on their site Draw-Tite
 

Zaxxon

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 11, 2012
4,674
21,523
Colorado
Arise, old thread! I'm considering getting a 16' Scamp (or rather, getting on the crazy-long waiting list for one) for my family. I've read several threads here and elsewhere (thanks, @ohmman and @ecarfan in particular), and think this is the trailer for us--we don't need a ton of space, and are trying to keep both weight and costs down, and it's tough to beat a Scamp on those metrics. Can get a well-equipped new 16' Scamp for under $25k, it's at least a bit rounded aerodynamically, and weight is about 2,000 lb. And while I like the idea of a Safari Condo, I think that'd be another $10k minimum, and they're in Quebec (I'm in CO). Scamp just seems the easier choice for my needs.

I'm just looking for any gotchas that might make me want to go in another direction. Any thoughts here? Vehicle is a '19 X Long Range.
 
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ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,140
18,446
North Bay, CA
Arise, old thread! I'm considering getting a 16' Scamp (or rather, getting on the crazy-long waiting list for one) for my family. I've read several threads here and elsewhere (thanks, @ohmman and @ecarfan in particular), and think this is the trailer for us--we don't need a ton of space, and are trying to keep both weight and costs down, and it's tough to beat a Scamp on those metrics. Can get a well-equipped new 16' Scamp for under $25k, it's at least a bit rounded aerodynamically, and weight is about 2,000 lb. And while I like the idea of a Safari Condo, I think that'd be another $10k minimum, and they're in Quebec (I'm in CO). Scamp just seems the easier choice for my needs.

I'm just looking for any gotchas that might make me want to go in another direction. Any thoughts here? Vehicle is a '19 X Long Range.
I love Scamps (and Casitas) when I see them on the road or at camp and think it'll be a great fit for your X. The 16' Scamp is slightly wider than my 22' Airstream, so the only precaution I'll note is that you may want to ensure it'll fit between pedestals if you pull through a supercharger. You'll need towing mirrors as well (and/or a rear camera) since the Scamp is slightly wider than the X.
 

Zaxxon

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 11, 2012
4,674
21,523
Colorado
I love Scamps (and Casitas) when I see them on the road or at camp and think it'll be a great fit for your X. The 16' Scamp is slightly wider than my 22' Airstream, so the only precaution I'll note is that you may want to ensure it'll fit between pedestals if you pull through a supercharger. You'll need towing mirrors as well (and/or a rear camera) since the Scamp is slightly wider than the X.

Thanks. The 16' Scamp is 6'8" (80") wide per their specs, current Airstream 22' models come back at 8' wide (96") in my search, while the model X mirror width is 89.4", or 79" sans mirrors. Is your Airstream a much thinner older model?

I am very much a novice at towing anything other than the occasional U-haul (can you tell?), and was wondering whether I would need larger mirrors for a trailer that's effectively the same width as the X. Scamp's backup camera option is $500, and that's one thing we were starting to look into--whether that's better/worse/similar in cost/usefulness to adding towing mirrors to the X when we're taking the trailer. Your thoughts are appreciated.
 

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