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Old 05-01-2011   #1
Bootjack (in the Sierra--not "Sierras"), California
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 24
Towing with Minivan::help/advice needed

I know. This could get to be a flame fest. Our trusted subi took a fatal drive the other day and our dream vehicles are just not practical for those 5% times. Does anyone have any REAL experience with towing a utility trailer with either a mid-00's vintage Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna? My (ah-hem father-in-laws) trailer is a welded steel job that is close to around 4x8 or so. Not too big.

I need info in case someone had the same call to make when buying a vehicle.

And, yes, I know that a minivan says "lame", but I think it says overthrow the SUV paradigm.

We'd likely be towing a 14'er and box and cooler, etc. For now once or twice a year until the girls get to be bigger.

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Old 05-01-2011   #2
San Antonio, Texas
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 30
We have a '99 Odyssey (150,000 miles) and it tows our canoe/kayak trailer without any problems. The trailer weighs only about 500 lbs. and we probably haven't loaded it down with more than about another 400 lbs. or so. Have carried two tandem canoes, a cataraft frame, and a deflated 14' raft on the trailer, with the cataraft tubes, dry box, cooler, and gear in the van with two of us, going down the Interstate at 75-80 mph without it feeling like it was straining. I keep wanting to get rid of the van, but it keeps doing everything I want it to do (except for having higher ground clearance). Have shuttled nine people with nine kayaks on the trailer for a short distance. Other than ground clearance and the lack of all-wheel drive, the Odyssey has everything I ever need. Except, of course, the coolness factor.

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Old 05-01-2011   #3
Goshen, New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 63
I used to tow a motorcycle with a sebring convertible. You'll be fine.
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Old 05-01-2011   #4
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
No need to knock the minivan yo! They is what the true thugs drive fo sho dawg. Before I bought a house I lived out of a Nissan Quest from the time I was 17 to 25. My friends named it "couger bait" because of the sheer number of sexually starved soccer moms that seemed to flock to it. Actually it became so well known around climbing areas of the western U.S. that a few people I didn't know would know the name of my minivan. I towed a jeep with it once. I bottomed that sure footed beast out more times than I can count and it kept a runnin' strong. One time I followed John "vermin" Shermin up to shuteye ridge in cali. About an hour later a 4 wheeeeelin red neck stoped just to see who drove Ol' Couger Bait up all them rocks and mud. Mini van power yo!!! Rock it with pride.
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Old 05-01-2011   #5
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
P.S. where the hell is bootjack? I've spent much time in the Range of Light and never heard of it.
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Old 05-02-2011   #6
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 488
I can honestly reccomend an astro/safari van. Its actually a truck chassis & truck engine (vortec v6), awd. Towed my light trailer no problem.

Pulled out the middle seat for gear & people hauling, both seats fot camping in it. It was great.
Never get out of the boat
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Old 05-02-2011   #7
earthNRG's Avatar
Snowmass, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 429
I pull my 14'er with an '01 Civic without problem. Yeah, it's slow over the passes and you don't want to back down any steep ramps, but it get the job done.
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"A witty saying proves nothing."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)
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Old 05-03-2011   #8
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
We (my wife LOL) have a 2004 Honda Oddessey, and it pulls our 14 foot raft on a utility trailer without any problems. I've had quite a bit of stuff in the raft during the haul too, although I tend to put a lot of it in the back during the haul (can't get it on and off the trailer fully loaded anyway).

It's not as cool as pulling it with my Mustang GT convertible, but it gets us there (and back).
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Old 05-03-2011   #9
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
I used to hate the idea of a minivan- that was until I discovered I could sleep two full size adults in it quite comfortably. I know the 20 yr olds are secretly coveting the fact that I never have to sleep in a tent unless I want to.
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Old 05-03-2011   #10
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 134
I have a Sienna 06' AWD

Don't knock the minivan until you have tried it out. We bought one because of the two kids but they are amazing vehicles for lots more people than soccer moms. I tow my pop-up as well as a 10' utility trailer w/ raft with the popup an dhave had very few problems. My only concern would be to try to keep the tongue weight down so that you are not squating down the back end of the vehicle. The trailer hitch mounts below the bumber in the Sienna so it is pretty low to the ground. I have drug the hitch before when going through a steep dip. That only happens with the pop-up which has a pretty hefty tongue weight. The utility trailer works fine. Show me another vehicle out there that can comfortably seat 7 people for shuttle with gear and still sleep two in the back with the seats folded down. Seating for four allows for tons of storage in the trunk space. So it looks like a family car. I'm 38, going bald, carrying a few extra pounds and feeling older by the day. Since when have looks made any difference to me.


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