16 or 17 - that is the question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-12-2020, 07:10 AM   #1
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Name: Amy
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Florida
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Question 16 or 17 - that is the question

Hi - I am a solo female camper. I have tent camped my entire life, and I am finally getting off the ground! I have a 2011 Honda Pilot with 3500 tow. Nice guy at Casita said I can pull a 17 Deluxe model. I found a clean used 2011 17 Spirit Deluxe. The owner said I need more tow! As I am a single female - late 50s- I am not opposed to getting a 16 (I am 5’ 5” - know it has less headroom.) I don’t even mind a Standard. However, I want to buy the right Casita, that I will have for years. I live in FL. I plan to head to Maine, then up through Eastern Canada this summer. (In the coming years I do plan on extended trips “out West” and western Canada.) I teach and am off summers. A new/different vehicle is really not an option, as this one is paid for, and I have money saved to buy the Casita. I think I prefer the Spirit or Liberty models. Besides the 16 or 17, Deluxe or Standard questions, should I spend a little more money to get a slightly newer model? (I decided I do not want a 13 as I want a place to sit while the bed is in use.) Any advice is greatly appreciated. Amy
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:05 AM   #2
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Name: Steve
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I am a little confused by your post . Why do you need more tow vehicle just because you are a single female ?
We’ve owned both a 16 and a 17 and the 17 felt noticeably bigger plus had a larger bed
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:17 AM   #3
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Name: Lyle
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
I am a little confused by your post . Why do you need more tow vehicle just because you are a single female ?
We’ve owned both a 16 and a 17 and the 17 felt noticeably bigger plus had a larger bed
Steve, I think she is worried about tow vehicle because the current owner told her she needed a bigger vehicle.

The comment about her being a single female at 5'5" was just to indicate that she would be fine with the lower headroom of the 16'.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:30 AM   #4
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Name: bill
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Check out weights in the real world. The shortcomings of the 16 are lower ceiling height (which sounds like not a problem for you) and I think the bed is smaller. Definitely the 1 foot of length has to come out of somewhere.

Myself, I would probably go for the 16 if I were you and I would get a bathroom model (Deluxe).

The 17s come in at a weight of around 3500 pounds +/-, which would be pushing the limit of your TV. The 16 footer is more like 3000 pounds +/-.

Casita did do tweaks of their design over the years, in particular the floor construction which had been a weakness for them. A conversation with the Casita factory will tell you more. Myself, I would look for 2010 or newer.

I like the Spirit of Freedom Deluxe models the best, as you have a full time place to sit separate from the bed. If you know you will NEVER need to convert the side dinette to a bed, I'd go with the Freedom, as I find swivel chairs are a lot more comfortable!!

In the 16 foot size, I would also consider Scamp 16. On Scamp, many things are optional that are standard on other trailers. Scamps tend to be lighter in weight. And if you get the side bath, you will have windows front and rear, which is really nice. So make sure the model you get has everything you need. In the case of Casita, a propane furnace is optional. I would make SURE the unit you buy has the furnace!!

The biggest advantage of a bathroom for some is if you need to go in the middle of the night. In that case, trudging off to a distant bathhouse at a campground can be a major PITA. And if you boondock, there is no bathhouse.

If you go as small as 13 foot, I would consider giving up a bathroom. When you get that small of a trailer, the choice is do you want a separate place to sit besides taking up the bed, or do you want a bathroom. Making up the bed every night and taking it down the next morning can be a real PITA. And if you install a mattress for comfort, then taking it up is a non starter.

As you get out west, a lot of the BEST camping is dry camping, no hookups. So a propane furnace and bathroom become very handy. At Yellowstone, we dry camped. We used a solar panel to keep our battery charged up, stayed for almost a week. In the west, elevation is your friend. So places like Yellowstone and Bryce Canyon, you won't usually need AC. Meanwhile, you will at Zion NP.

I like Jon's Scamp recommendation below. I have thought about removing the top bunk on my Trillium. Of course, I can flip it up and sleep on the lower bunk, but the bunk supports are confining. It makes the bottom bunk narrower if you don't flip up the top bunk (ouch). I would replace the top bunk with a couple of pillows as I do use it for seating. I use the Trillium for solo camping. I need to put the top bunk in a couple of garbage bags and store it away....
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:30 AM   #5
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Name: Mac
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Oregon
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A couple of comments -
Standard vs. Deluxe - do you want the convenience of having everything with you when it's raining all day and night? A lot depends on your camping style - some folks stay in state parks and places with showers and restrooms, and don't use a bathroom much - others boondock and prefer to have a bathroom along for the ride. The Standard is probably 100# lighter than the Deluxe.
Tow rating - It sounds like the owner of the Casita you're looking at follows the margin-of-safety philosophy that it's nice to have some cushion with respect to capacity. I follow this too, towing our Deluxe with a 4Runner with 5000# capacity, but it might be overkill. Either unit you're considering has electric brakes, and you could beef up the suspension of your Pilot to improve its towing manners.
As to spending more to get a newer unit, there have not been fundamental changes in recent years, and my advice would be to get the unit that's in the best condition, unless you enjoy learning about and working on them. For example, we looked at a 2010 that the owner knew little about - said he got a deal on it, and never used it. It had mismatched tires and its appliance condition was unknown. For $6K more, we got a 2013 in near-new condition, and have put many miles on it with no real issues. At the time, I knew little about trailers or RV components, so chose the one I could learn gradually with.
Good luck! I think either 16 or 17 is a good choice. You'll most definitely want AC for traveling in eastern summers, I believe. We even use ours occasionally here in the West.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:04 AM   #6
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16 or 17 - that is the question

I also own a 2011 Pilot with a 3500/350# tow rating. I would not tow a 17’ Casita. Reason is tongue weight. Casita 17’s run 400# or more tongue weight. The 3500# rating means your Pilot is a FWD model like mine. FWD does not do well with a heavy tongue load. You may experience reduced traction and steering on slippery surfaces, as well as accelerated wear on the rear suspension and tires. The factory integrated receiver is not rated for WDH.

I would stick with a 16’er. Scamps tend to be a little lighter than Casitas.

IMO, the Scamp side bath layout 4 is perfect for longer trips with a solo traveler. Because you are smaller, you can use the front sofa as a permanent bed (upper bunk removes easily) and you have the large dinette at the back for eating and working. It has more galley space and the option of a range with oven.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:07 AM   #7
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Name: Justus
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Amy, you will find many differing opinions as to what constitutes an ideal tow vehicle for a given trailer. The "adage" here of "buy the TV for the trailer you want, then buy the trailer" is true in spirit if not letter. We're still working stiffs, so I couldn't justify a vehicle purchase based solely on towing capability, but I was very conscious of properly matching our SUV to an appropriate trailer. We compromised on the trailer this time, but that's better than the alternatives of no trailer at all or a trailer sitting in the driveway. I can't think of anything worse than investing a large sum of money in a trailer only to have it sit in storage because you can't safely tow it.

There are a few threads comparing the 16 and 17 ft versions of Casitas. I think a lot of it comes down to what your needs are, and balancing those against your TV capabilities.

Are you set on a Casita? Scamps sound like a good fit if you haven't checked them out. They are much lighter on the tongue.

Here are some resources you may find useful:

1) Trailer weights in the real world thread. Here you can see that while 17' Casitas may be under 3,500 lbs, the tongue weight is often close to or over 350 lbs, which is the limit for a 2WD Pilot. Here is a link to a post within that thread that provides the data in spreadsheet form.

2) Tow vehicle and trailer combos. Here you can see what others use to tow various trailers. From that spreadsheet I can see that a handful of Pilot owners have reported, and a few Odyssey owners (same drivetrain and rating as a 2WD Pilot). The spreadsheet lists the owner, so if you don't hear from them here you can try reaching out to them via PM.

3) The Willful Wanderer YouTube channel. TWW full times as a single guy in a 16' Casita. He hasn't posted in about a year, but he has a good library of videos.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:18 AM   #8
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Name: R.T.
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Georgia
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16 v 17

I have had both and recommend the 17' if for no other reason than the roof mounted a/c. Much better in my opinion. Also the 17er has a little bigger refrigerator.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:37 AM   #9
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Name: Amy
Trailer: Searching for 13'
Florida
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Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
Steve, I think she is worried about tow vehicle because the current owner told her she needed a bigger vehicle.

The comment about her being a single female at 5'5" was just to indicate that she would be fine with the lower headroom of the 16'.
That is correct! I just meant the head room in the 16 does not bother me. I guess I am asking if I will be happy with a 16 , 17, Standard or Deluxe, pulling with a 3500# tow vehicle. I know the pros of the 17 Deluxe models, just worried I may regret the purchase if I can’t adequately tow. I don’t really have money to buy a new truck AND a Casita. Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:29 AM   #10
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Name: Amy
Trailer: Searching for 13'
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I guess I had it in my mind I wanted a Casita over a Scamp - just becauseI have read about some floor issues. I will look at the Scamp with the side bath. I will also look at models that are newer. I did not want a car payment, but may end up getting a truck, just for piece of mind. I plan on camping for many years in my trailer. I will definitely get a furnace that runs on propane. I appreciate all of the thoughtful, and helpful feedback!
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:32 AM   #11
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Name: Doug
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16, 2011 RAV4 V6
California
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We have a 2014 Scamp 16, layout 4. We tow with a 2011 Toyota RAV4 FWD with a 3500/350 tow rating. I would not want to tow a Casita because of the higher tongue weight. We have a Yamaha 2400 inverter generator and custom stand on the tongue and still stay under 350 pounds. We have air bags in the coil spring of the RAV4.

One advantage of a Castita’s higher tongue weight is less tendency to sway. We can’t carry bikes on the rear of our Scamp because it then wants to sway.

If I Scamped solo, I would remove the front cushions and have a custom mattress made for the front bench. I’m short and could sleep comfortably on the front bench, leaving the dinette for sitting, eating, etc. we love the amount of counter space in our trailer and we have the range with oven, which mostly stores pots and pans but comes in handy when needed. Because there’s two of us, we usually take down the dinette for sleeping, which is a PITA but is doable. We use a 3” memory foam pad and sleep comfortably head to toe.
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:45 AM   #12
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A couple things -

I agree with Jon (who, by the way spells his name correctly!) that a Casita 17 will likely have too much tongue weight for a 3500/350 rated tow vehicle.

If you want a 17 foot trailer, a possibility is an Escape 17B. I towed one for 85,000 miles with a RAV4 rated at 3500/350. The Escape 17 weighed in at 3010 pounds & 340 pounds of tongue weight packed for a long trip. While I didn't like the small fuel tank in the RAV4 or the low ground clearance, the combination worked well.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:31 PM   #13
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Trailer: Casita Liberty
Virginia
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We bought a 17 foot last May. New Casita. It was a 3 month wait. Also sometimes have a couple Trailers on the lot that people back out of. When I called last March they had 2 on the lot, I could of bought that day. We love ours. It is just the wife & me. We bought a 2015 Chevy Pickup with a V-6 & had a cover put on the bed. It's get for storing our stuff.
We did not get the microwave. We keep one in the bed of the truck & put it in the cabinet where the microwave would of been when camping. Microwaves are cheap now days. We have never used the awning. Other folks love there's. The solar panel we use that in our back yard. It keeps the trailer battery charged up. Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:48 PM   #14
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Name: Jann
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Originally Posted by AmyFL View Post
I guess I had it in my mind I wanted a Casita over a Scamp - just becauseI have read about some floor issues. I will look at the Scamp with the side bath. I will also look at models that are newer. I did not want a car payment, but may end up getting a truck, just for piece of mind. I plan on camping for many years in my trailer. I will definitely get a furnace that runs on propane. I appreciate all of the thoughtful, and helpful feedback!
We towed our 2007 17' Casita with a Chev Trailblazer with a 4.3 engine. It was rated 5,000lbs plenty to pull the trailer but I felt I'd like something better for the mountains. I like Casita because they seem better built. Have read on this forum something about Scamp uses a special pump to get grey water over the axle and if it goes out you can't use your water system since the drains won't drain. Maybe someone can tell you if all models of Scamp does that. I also have seen a lot on this forum about Scamp floor issues and leaks. So far we've had no trouble with water coming in any vents, around the fridge, door or windows. Being a single woman I'd want the bathroom. Having the toilet is necessary. If you want to boondock you don't want to get up in the middle of the night and go to an outhouse. Or if you have to stop because you are tired or run into a storm you may want to pull off for the night in a truck stop or other place where you'd want the toilet. Casita puts toilet, sink and shower head in their bathrooms. We usually don't use the shower though.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:37 PM   #15
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Name: Denis
Trailer: trillium 15
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Lots of info

Hello Amy ,, I guess by now you have more info than you probly need , There are many different models and makes to chose from , for your towing weight , I think your wise to stick to your budget , being your vehicle is paid , and those are good vehicles , Trillium , or boler , also have some very nice trailers , they are older , but that doesnt make them not a good choice , I dont know your budget and dont need to know , I do know that not owing makes for a lot better holidays , Take your time young lady , you will find a good deal and a great camping experiences ...
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyFL View Post
I guess I had it in my mind I wanted a Casita over a Scamp - just becauseI have read about some floor issues.
Do a google search and you will find many discussions on floor issues with Casitas. Casita is built bathtub style, so once water gets in, it has no way to get out. Meanwhile, Scamp floors are exposed, so you can EASILY inspect it under the trailer for damage. Casita has improved their floor design over the years, reducing floor issues. Historically, any penetration through the floor (think wiring, propane line, etc.) gave water an entry point to reach the wood in the floor.

How does water get in? Leaks from any/all penetrations through the hull like rivets, vents, hatches, windows, etc. And then you have inside leaks from the plumbing/water systems.

477 postings on Casita floor rot:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Casi...w=1668&bih=833

733 postings on Scamp floor rot:
https://www.google.com/search?safe=a...4dUDCAo&uact=5

In addition, both Scamp and Casita have owner forums, with many more postings.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:59 PM   #17
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Scamp
Missouri
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Scamp 16 layout pros/cons

Hi Amy, I have two 16 foot Scamps, one layout 4 and the other layout 5. The layout 4 seems much more spacious inside, windows on all 4 sides and much more counter space. Also will sleep 4 in a pinch.
Our layout 5 is much more well equipped, including a propane furnace. A word of warning about the furnace. The noise is obtrusive when trying to sleep. We camp about 10 months of the year and use a very small 750 watt space heater to keep the interior comfortably warm. It's got to be really cold and boondocking to resort to the propane furnace.
There is considerable maintenance increase as you begin to option out these trailers. This is not an issue for me, but depending on your abilities and desires to learn heating/plumbing/electrical troubleshooting and maintenance you may want to think through the impact to ownership duties that the increased complexity will bring.
I tow either of them with a 2018 4-cylinder Chevy Colorado (rated at 3,500) or a older Mercedes e320 diesel. The Merc is by far the better TV, but the truck usually gets the nod for shorter trips due to the ability to throw firewood and other messy stuff in the bed.
I've never weighed either of my Scamps, but the manifest from the factory for the layout 4 model lists dry weight at 1,750 lbs with 175 lb tongue weight. It would be my guess that the layout 5, with the additional equipment probably runs around 2,000 lbs.
I've never had sway problems, even with bicycles on the back. Pay attention to loading and ensure you've got sufficient tongue weight. I also rarely exceed 65mph when towing.
One of mine will be for sale this spring. Let me know if you are interested in specific experiences with either configuration.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyFL View Post
A new/different vehicle is really not an option, as this one is paid for, and I have money saved to buy the Casita. I think I prefer the Spirit or Liberty models. Besides the 16 or 17, Deluxe or Standard questions, should I spend a little more money to get a slightly newer model? (I decided I do not want a 13 as I want a place to sit while the bed is in use.) Any advice is greatly appreciated. Amy
Amy,

I believe all the factories will refer you to owners who will show you their trailers so you can get a feel for the respective spaces. Some of what looks like storage will turn out to be occupied by wheel wells, water heater, water pump, tanks, etc. so it's good to take your time trying to get a feel for each one space, and to try and look inside of cabinets.

The Casita 17 is prone to a high tongue weight. Ours would run 410 lbs in the blink of an eye as most of the storage space is located forward of the axle, and we used the forward bath for storage too. Jon in AZ is familiar with the Honda's capabilities and limitations, so I agree with him that you should consider looking for something lighter such as the 16 or one of the other brands.

Published weights mean very little. As an example, our Escape's factory-installed options increased the actual dry weight 525 lbs above the published weight. The tongue weight runs around 540 lbs; almost 200 lbs more than published 360 lbs. The difference in the tongue weight is partly due to our cargo, but is also partly due to the factory options. So, take a good look at the information Justus linked above in post #7 concerning 'trailer weights in the real world'.

Personally, I just skip the dry weights and focus on the trailer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). It describes the maximum the trailer is rated to weigh, loaded to it's maximum rated capacities.

As far as considering a Casita versus a Scamp, I don't think one is necessarily much better or worse than the other. Selecting a trailer with a layout and equipment that suit your needs is arguably more important than the brand.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:40 PM   #19
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Dry weight is a trailer without options, battery, fluids.
Add any of those and you no longer have dry weight.
Dry weight is useful to compare one bare trailer with another.
GVWR is what it is capable of carrying, so that's not really a measure for comparison.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:22 AM   #20
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Name: bill
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Dry weight is not always as useful either as some brands items you would think would be standard are optional.

Scamp Could be the extreme. Look at a new 13 footer standard.Refrigerator? Optional. Toilet? Furnace? Black and gray water tank? Roof fan? Range hood? All options. Now the nice thing if someone just wants a bare bones, new trailer with a light weighr and lower cost? Tough to beat Scamp! With Casita, AC is standard, furnace is optional. With Escape, furnace is standard, AC is optional. With Scamp, both are optional.

Friends of mine bought SOB where spare tire was optional,
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