The Adventures of Airstream Mikie

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Toyota FJ Cruiser as camper tow vehicle

Being a total novice to camping of any sort, much less Airstreaming, I had no idea what tow vehicle I needed, so I asked my friendly Airstream sales rep, and he suggested I get a Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Let me share with you some of my experiences with this choice:

1.  Great looking vehicle.  I like the aggressive stance, and the lines of it.

2.  Nice riding vehicle.  Much more civilized than I expected from an off-road 4WD.

3.  Poor gas mileage.  I haven't measured it, but the stock FJ, not towing, is poor, and towing an Airstream it's worse.

4.  And now for the biggest problem I have encountered with it:  You can't open the rear hatch very far at all when you are hooked up to your Airstream because the spare tire hits the electric tongue jack.  The I can open it is about 8 inches or so.  Even after I moved the spare tire to the roof rack, tied down with a ratcheting strap, (photo above taken before this) the door opens a lot more, but not fully as it still hits the tongue jack.  The only solution to this is to un-hitch the trailer and pull the FJ forward a foot or so.  That seems a reasonable fix, but many times when I'm at the beach for just the day, unhooking and hooking up again seems like more work than necessary.

5.  With only a 5,000 lb. tow capacity, its perfect for my 3,500 lb. Airstream Sport 17, but there's no way I'd feel good towing a trailer the next size up.  And since I'm looking at the Sport as a prototype learning experience before I jump in with both feet and get a 27 footer, it looks like I'll be trading in the FJ for something like a Toyota Tundra pickup.

But it sure looks great, doesn't it!  And, with the spare on the roof, it looks even more gnarly!


  1. not a good tow vehicle for an RV, huh... Thanks for posting this.

    I like the style of FJs. It's actually the first real non-sedan type car I've liked...They're just plain...cute!

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