$25,000 Question!!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2015, 12:33 AM   #1
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$25,000 Question!!!

Well, I caught the RV bug one year ago. Since this time, I have watched over 2,000 You Tube videos related to RVing, visited and read hundreds of websites, forums, blogs, etc. and listened to numerous podcasts!!! I have been so impressed with how friendly RVers are. The deeper I get into researching RVs, the more I want one!!! Rather than buying a motorhome when I retire in ten years, I want an RV sooner. I thought about a used motorhome in five years after I finish paying for college tuition for my two daughters. Still not good enough. I want something sooner. So, about two months ago, I started researching small travel trailers, generally less than 20 feet long and less than 3,000 lbs. dry weight. Within this category of small travel trailers, I have become enamored with FG travel trailers! As a result, I discovered this website. I love FGRV.com. I joined on 8/1/15. Made my first post a little over a week ago. The response to my introduction was so warm and friendly that my DW and I are going to our first RV rally next month. Just going to hang out, tour rigs, and make friends for a day. We have even been invited to attend the potluck!

OK, I have accelerated our quest for an RV (small travel trailer, preferably molded fiberglass) to about two years from now. The following is a fun question, but I want to hear what you have to say. I am arbitrarily going to pick $25,000. This may or may not be accurate. Let's say in two years I am ready to commit $25,000 to a new to me FG travel trailer and tow vehicle. What would your recommendation be?

I would love to hear how you would recommend that I spend this hypothetical $25,000. What combination of FG travel trailer and tow vehicle would you recommend?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks,

Dean

P.S. - I realize the ability of the TV to handle the weight of the TT is a critical issue; however, the purpose of this question is more just for fun. I realize that any combination of TV and TT must take into consideration tow-ability and weight.
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Old 09-13-2015, 01:30 AM   #2
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Hi: DeanCHS1980... There is no wrong answer to the 25K? We spent 3K for our first 13' fiberglass trailer. Used it 2 yrs. and sold it for almost double - refurbishing costs. Next we spent 34K for a fiberglass 5th wh. trailer and a pickup truck. Kept it 6 yrs. and sold the trailer for 22K and got 5K for the truck as a trade in. Next we spent 28K for a new truck and 35K for a new 5th wh. trailer. Were we wrong? All this happened after a medical scare and before we retired. Part of the 25K? is there is no wrong or right... it's how long it takes to realize what you've been missing!!!
BTW... Welcome and enjoy the potluck.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:20 AM   #3
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Hi Dean, I have read all your posts since you joined us. You have a plan going on and that's good but IMHO you may be over thinking the camping thing. I'm not going to give you any answers for this question, just some comments from many years of RV experience. I doubt that after all the vids, reading or suggestions from folks here you will find the perfect first RV or tow vehicle. Everyone has different tastes/needs and wants. I've had everything except a 5th wheel and a tent trailer. They all worked well for the family as it grew, the first one was two months old when we started. Pick up a good used egg that will have all the sleeping areas (most important) you need and go out and do some camping close to home. Makes it easy to go back home to pick up whatever you forgot . It won't take long to find out what works for the family. You should be able to get your $ back out of it after getting your feet wet with this camping thing. Not sure what you have for a tug but something with at least 3500# rating is a small as I would go....for anything. Even if you had to buy a tug specifically for the trailer, 5 to 7K would do it. I know this isn't really what you were looking for but as you said you "just got the camping bug" this may be the cheapest way to find out if it's going to work your your family, certainly half of 25K. Everything looks good on paper......I doubt anyone here has had only one rig as it's all a learning curve. Others will be along with other ideas for you. So, just my opinion and good luck to you in your search.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:49 AM   #4
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When we chose a trailer we started at an RV dealer to see what was available. (not an egg in site). We defined our needs. We wanted to see the country and make a yearly trip to the Outer Banks. We bought a 15' A frame. We liked the trailer and it was easy to pull, good on gas, and very roomy. But the windows were lacking, there were lots of moving parts that sooner or later would fail, and it had to be set up even for a quick pit stop. Four years later we sold the A frame and after coming here, bought fiberglass.

Everyones needs are different. For traveling the country, small is economical. For spending a week at the lake, a larger trailer provides more creature comforts. Of course a larger trailer accommodates more people. I don't think you'll have trouble finding what you want well within your budget. Once you define what you want the hardest issue will be the wait Happy shopping, Raz
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
I realize that any combination of TV and TT must take into consideration tow-ability and weight.
So true Dean and we can expand on those items.

Tow-ability has a lot to do with the way it is set up. For a 3,000lb trailer a WDH is highly recommended and needs to be the right one for your application and it has to be set up correctly. Brakes are needed on the trailer and a quality brake controller needs to be installed and set up.

Your choice of TV needs to be able to handle the load safely. Beware the tow rating does not necessarily reflect tow-ability, handling, or performance. Many vehicles with low tow ratings work better than some vehicles with a higher tow rating. Much research on your part needs to be done here.

Aerodynamics.... You are fortunate to be looking at glass eggs because they tend to have smallish frontal areas and somewhat good aerodynamics. They tend to tow well.

Length.... In the 20' range there are some with dual axles. They tend to
tow better and have better braking power.

Keep up with your research and good luck with the process. Will be interesting to see what you end up with.
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:04 AM   #6
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On an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" Sheldon learned how to swim watching Youtube and other on-line videos, easy-peasy sez Sheldon, and none of the bother of getting wet either....


I thing that learning about RV'ing the same way has the same pitfalls. Each group, be it FGRV's, 32' trailers with three slide outs, toyboxes, Class A, B or C motorhomes or pop-up tent trailers etc., etc. are all certain that their take on RV'ing is the best of the bunch, and they are right, it is the best for them, but may not be best for you.

Sooooo... the point being is that ya gotta get wet to really find out and, starting with a smaller investment now will let you dip your toes in the RV'ing water without taking a bath....


BTW: Most FGRV's on this site are UNDER 20' long, have single axles, and the owners find that they fit their needs perfectly.
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:36 AM   #7
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Dean,

I think you will get lots of opinions/answers on this. Everyone's needs, wants, camping styles, and constraints can be fairly different.

I agree with Alfred ..... there isn't really a wrong answer to this question. You may not know what rig is best for YOU+DW until you get out there and do some traveling/camping.

Along with acquisition costs, you might want to consider operation costs. A friend of ours has a larger stick-built trailer and only gets 8 to 12 mpg. He told me that "If we go over 200 miles, it is just cheaper to 'motel it'." In other words, hIs RV fuel costs plus campground costs were greater than auto fuel plus motel expense.

Perhaps as important as brand/type of RV are the options and customization that you put into it.
Things like .... Does it have enough cabinet/storage space? Are there enough electrical outlets (both 110v and 12v) and are they placed correctly for usability? Are there enough lights?
Is the bed comfortable and large enough. Are there enough beds for kids or occasional grandkids? Is there a screen door to keep the bugs out? Is the floor easy to keep clean?
Etc., etc., etc.

My wife wanted an enclosed trailer that could be pulled with her 2011 Honda CRV (Honda's tow weight limit is/was 1500 pounds), she wanted to travel long distances (east/west/gulf coasts), and occasionally take grandkids on camping adventures.

Our 2014 Scamp13 (with the 54"bed) cost roughly $11,000 in Oct 2013. Because it is a small trailer, we added an outdoor screen room/tent (that offers protection from sun/rain/bugs) and sets up in about 45 seconds and cost just over $300.

Many folks have struggled with what kind of rig to get. Here is just one example:
Hi! I'm Mary

Maybe you and your wife could brainstorm your needs/wants/constraints and make a list?

I'm guessing/hoping that the upcoming rally will answer many questions for you.

Good luck!

Ray




Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:42 AM   #8
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Well said, Bob!

I'd consider $25K a "smaller investment" if a tow vehicle is part of the equation. In order of personal preference, I'd look for (1) an older 17' Bigfoot in good condition ($7-10K), (2) a 16' Scamp ($8-12K), or (3) a 17' Casita ($10-15K). Given your location, availability will likely be in reverse order.

To pull it, a used pick-up would probably be easiest to find, but It's best to keep an open mind when shopping for a used tow vehicle.

Based on your earlier postings, I assumed you're looking for something with full amenities and a bathroom, so I ruled out the 15' and under category, and I limited my suggestions to molded fiberglass options.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
On an episode of "The Big Bang Theory"
Oh boy. Comparing mindless sitcoms to RVing??? Yikes!
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:51 AM   #10
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Two words, bed and bathroom. Make decisions about your requirements for those and work your way out. OK, two more: daily driver. Will your tug need to do double duty as your daily driver? If so that F350 Diesel Dually might not be such a good choice. But heck, with a 25K budget you are pretty golden. We have a used F150 pickup tug (that I already had) that was worth maybe 5K when we started Scamping a year-and-a-half-ago. I paid $3500 for the used trailer and have put another $3500 (really) and countless hours of labor transforming it into what we want. But, we have been using the heck out of it all along. As somebody else said, get camping and don't over think it. We camped out of the back of the camper-shelled pickup before finding our Scamp.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:42 AM   #11
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Oh boy. Comparing mindless sitcoms to RVing??? Yikes!
I guess I'll have to tell Steven Hawking that one of his favorite shows is "Mindless", so he won't waste his intelligence watching it, much less appearing on it again.

But, I'm with Hawking, anything mindless enough for him is fine for me and the 23 million others that enjoy this form of entertainment each week.

We have seasons 1-7 DVD's permanently placed in the Hunter for evening entertainment. The ultimate RV evening for the less educated among us I guess.

Remember... it's entertainment, but it may be to "Geeky" for some.....
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:53 PM   #12
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$25,000 Question - Followup

Hi All,

Thanks to all for your responses to my $25,000 question!!!

Alfred, thank you for the pictures. I particularly appreciate your comment regarding "there is no wrong or right. . .it's how long it takes to realize what you have been missing." I concur, thus my desire to not wait to retire to hit the road. In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoy the "what ifs" of researching and virtual "tire kicking."

Dave, my DW was laughing at me regarding your comment, "you may be over thinking the camping thing."!!! Yup, that is probably the college professor coming out in me. Whether it is beer, coffee, grills, vacation planning, I am one of those that gets a little OCD about planning. Yet, you make a very good point. At some point there is no substitute for rolling up one's sleeves and diving in. I also concur that there is no such thing as the perfect RV and all RVs (as with much of life) is a compromise. Yes, we will need to get a used tug. I don't think I want to tow with my Honda Fit! Great car, but not a TV! Our Rondo has a V6, but is only rated to tow 2,000 lbs. Given what I think my DW and I want, we will need a used TV.

Raz, yup trying to define what we want is part of the puzzle. The cool thing is that I can post a question on a forum like this, get great feedback, then talk with my DW about utilizing some of the feedback while disregarding what does not fit for us. In the process, it is all fun!

Wayne, definitely appreciate the towability feedback. Over this past year in researching RVs, whether motorhomes, truck campers, or travel trailers, I know that CCC, dry weight, etc. are very important issues.

Bob, I LOVED your Big Bang Theory comment. My DW loves to watch reruns of the show. So, once again, she laughed at me when I read your comment. I have never watched the show. Too busy watching RV You Tube videos, I guess! Great comment, "starting with a smaller investment now will let you dip your toes in the RVing water witout taking a bath." LOL! I don't want to be a Sheldon in term of learning how to swim.

Ray, I appreciate the specifics regarding your Skamp. I also read the link that you sent me. Very informative. Responses like this help my DW and I to define our needs/wants/constraints, etc. Yes, I think the rally will be great way to move beyond researching RVs via my iPad!!! My youngest daughter is a senior in highschool. Next year, my DW and I will be even more free to explore dealerships, rallies, RV shows, etc.

Jon, I will definitely keep an open mind when it comes to a tow vehicle. I think we will get the trailer first, then buy a more than competent used TV to go with the trailer. Yes, I think my DW and I will tend to prefer a fuller featured small rig (at least a wet bath, a small dinette separate from the primary sleeping space, AC, etc.).

Tim, your two words "bed" and "bathroom" resonate with my DW and I. We want a wet bath (at least) and want a sleeping area separate from the dining area.

If cost were not a major issue and my DW and I had a great deal of TIME to travel and camp, I would probably opt for a new 1/2 ton pickup truck (not loyal to any brand, but the Ford F150 2.7L Eco-boost Crewcab would make a mighty nice TV) and I think the Escape 19' would make an outstanding all around rig. I really like the floor plan, even though that 23.5 Ollie is MIGHTY sweet and Oliver is only a couple of hours south of where I live.

Given that I will not be driving a new 2016 pickup truck any time soon and will not be ordering an Escape 19 (16 month wait), I will need to move on to Plan B. Actually, I think Plan B is the best plan (starting smaller and used). As of today, this is what I think we would want in a rig:

1. 16 to 17 feet.
2. Wet bath.
3. An area that can be used as a permanent bed.
4. A small dinette.
5. AC
6. Obviously, molded FG!
7. The other standard amenities

I will probably wait to get a used TV, but would lean toward something that would tow 6,000 pounds plus/minus 1,000 lbs. This would MORE than handle a 16 to 17 ft rig with plenty to spare as well as the possibility to handle a 2nd rig if we decide a few years from now to go a bit bigger with a rig.

Thanks again for all the expertise and passion.

Take care,

Dean
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:53 PM   #13
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I talked the situation and the options over with Leonard & Penny and they agreed that a 17' BigFoot would meet all of your criteria from size to features to price range. BTW: You are invited to attend their wedding on Sept 21st.


Here is a link to a later 17.5' Bigfoot that is essentially identical to the earlier 17' units. However, not only are the later ones more expensive, but they are about 800 lbs. heavier due to all weather insulation etc. Just this last week I looked at a nearly identical 1988 17' BigFoot that sold for $6500. Sweet....
http://wenatchee.craigslist.org/rvs/5217370550.html


Anyway, look that this link and the floor plan, it meets all of your requirements and the quality can't be topped.
2006 Bigfoot Trailer 17.5G
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:42 PM   #14
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Hi Bob,

LOL. My DW and I were on the Big Foot website earlier today looking at 17 foot floorplans. Yup, I think this would meet our critical criteria. Plus, I love their 4-season capabilities.

The newer ones are definitely pricey, but they seem like quality units.

Thanks!

Dean
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