Best Quality - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-05-2007, 06:46 PM   #15
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Roger -

a question that's on all of our minds - did you have a favorite among that rather impressive list of yours? If I had to guess I would say that the early Bambi would be one of the top contenders - the pre-68 models generally get very good reviews from their owners.

Nice comparison of the trailers - very well thought out and stated.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:36 PM   #16
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My humble input.
The fact that you are comparing Airstream to Fiberglass means obviously money is no object.

I see $34,000 for a Bambi compared to maybe $19,000 tops as a huge difference.
For $34,000 I would expect old European workmanship on everything.
I didn't see any evidence of that kind of workmanship at the RV show 2 months ago.

Ann,

I have been meaning to ask you---but have always forgotten. What are you towing with and do you have a weight distribution hitch for the Escape? If so, which one?

Thanks,

Art
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:26 AM   #17
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Roger -

a question that's on all of our minds - did you have a favorite among that rather impressive list of yours? If I had to guess I would say that the early Bambi would be one of the top contenders - the pre-68 models generally get very good reviews from their owners.

Nice comparison of the trailers - very well thought out and stated.

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words. I'm glad I can help.

A favorite? That's tough. They've all got some really good features, and what is "best" is really subjective and is dependent on how you use them. I've enjoyed all of them. The Bambi had "that's cool" appeal, but the Scamp 16' actually attracted the most attention! I probably had the most fun with the Bambi and the Burro, bringing them both back from the brink of abandonment.

I have decided that a travel trailer (again, this is for us...) is better than a moho. My favorite Airstream was probably my 23' Safari. It was almost the perfect length and had all of the features in a 3,700 lb trailer. It, however, did NOT have a gray water tank. My wife, OTOH, really enjoyed the room and luxury features of the 34' Limited and the 32.5' Airstream motorhome. I think her favorite was probably the tri-axle trailer though, with the leather upholstery. She does really like the 25' Bigfoot though.

In the small Fiberglass units, it's a toss-up between the Scamp 16 and the Bigfoot 17. They weigh about the same. The fit and finish quality is higher on the Bigfoot, and there's more room because it's wider and boxy. The Scamp had all the amenities, but in a smaller and easier to tow package. That "smaller and easier to tow package" meant that the interior is more cramped. The Bigfoot has better insulation, dual thermopane windows, more interior room, a slightly larger bath, and is really a significantly higher quality coach, but tows a little harder than the Scamp.

My Bigfoot 25' is my favorite of all of the trailers I've had. For me, it's about as perfect as a trailer can be. It has all the "right stuff" in the right places in the right quality. The Bigfoot isn't such a monster size that it's tough to tow, but it has a full 80" queen bed, a nice comfy couch for seating, the full-size double door fridge, stove and oven, and enough room that you don't feel crowded if you can't go outside. It also has a shower that's tall enough for me to comfortably stand in at 6'5". It was reasonably priced (in comparison to other trailers of similar size and quality) and is nothing short of bullet-proof in it's construction, and excellent in it's fit and finish.


Roger
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:27 AM   #18
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One last thought regarding the Airstreams and their reputation. When Wally Byam took the plans for the Bowlus Road Chief and changed them to make the first 1936 Airstream Clipper, there was nothing else like it on the market for use of materials or long-term durability. The fact that some 80% of all Airstreams ever built are still towable is a testament to Byam's vision and use of the most modern engineering of the day.

Through the 1980s, that engineering remained at the forefront of product design in travel trailers. Now today however, we recognize that the fledgling fiberglass industry has made huge leaps toward taking that crown. Looking at the development of fiberglass engineering in ocean-going yachts, for example, has shown the material to be extraordinarily durable under all but hitting a reef at speed, all the while lightening and strengthening the materials. The first fiberglass boats were laid up as one to one-and-a-half inch thick hulls that were very strong but very heavy. New construction is lightweight but just as strong or stronger as those original mid-1960s hulls. Many of those early boats are still in daily use, by the way.

So, in another thirty years our fiberglass trailers from the late '60s or early '70s will be seen in the same light as being as revolutionary for their day as Byam's aluminum construction was in his. The Airstream, rather than being in demand today for it's ruggedness, is sought for it's novelty as many other construction techniques are overtaking Airstream for ruggedness and durability at a significantly lower cost.

Roger
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:52 PM   #19
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Hi,

For years I was a member of the Vintage Airstream Club and was going to restore one...then I saw a picture of an Airstream at Mount Rushmore which had spent the previous night in a hail storm...looked like crazed monkeys with ballpeen hammers had been high on speed or something and beat the mess out of it...it was a dented mess...I lost the stars in my aluminum eyes...then found fiberglass...found my Casita (which in my opinion is very well built)...the fourth night out after picking up our brand new Casita two years ago we had a tremendous hail storm at Lost Maples State Park in Texas...went out the next morning to find...much to my relief...absolute NO damage. The poor tent campers next to us had spent the night in their cars after their tents collapsed. If you gave me an Airstream I would sell it ASAP and buy another Casita for my daughter.

Rand:-)
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:59 AM   #20
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For anyone who's interested, someone posted a similar question on AirstreamForums.com. I thought the discussion was interesting.

Here's the link: If Not Airstream, then what?

I linked that thread back to this one as well.

Roger
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:23 PM   #21
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I'm towing my Escape with a Honda Pilot - no weight distribution hitch - no problems.

When I picked up the Escape, Reese had me jumping up and down off the tongue and he eye-balled everything really carefully - and we decided that it probably didn't need anything or it would just depend on how I felt it towed.


Quote:
Ann,

I have been meaning to ask you---but have always forgotten. What are you towing with and do you have a weight distribution hitch for the Escape? If so, which one?

Thanks,

Art
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:23 PM   #22
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Our local paper has an Airstream: 2005 Bambi Safari 19' $25K Phone 209-785-0353. I have not called and don't know anything!
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:36 PM   #23
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Thumbs up

OK, I have been impressed enough to join. Here is my situation,

I am 60 years old and have to retire soon due to deteriorating back problems. I am also recently divorced. I have DECIDED that I am going to buy a TT as a permanent mobile residence. I always try to buy the best used item available, with a priority given to durability, ease of maintenance, simplicity, and quality of construction. I have been strongly considering Air Stream due to their reputation, and the fact that I see so many 20 to 40 year old ones still in good shape ( I want to buy ONE TT that will last the rest of my life). Over on AS I read what Roger said and have to seek more guidance on this subject. So here I am.

I have about $70,000 once all the liquidation is done, but just Social (in)Security to survive on. I also have a 1984 GMC 3/4 ton PU. It has a brand new crate motor: 350 c.i., 4 bolt mains, RV cam, headers, 3" exhaust, real 100 psi truck tires, and the factory towing package. I am having it gone through, front to rear, re painted, new interior, etc. It is 2 WD and has a 2 year old Turbo 350 tranny with lockup.

I want to buy the reasonably best used four season TT I can, that will last 20 or more years with simple maintenance. Roger's point that new blends of 'glass are far superior to the old stuff I am familiar with hit home. I don't think stick built is a good choice...but some of the newer construction materials may offer advantages I don't appreciate yet.

I plan on living primarily west of the Cascades in Oregon, but with many trips hither and yon as I plan on using my experience and education as a volunteer on Archaeological digs that interest me. So the TT needs to be able to handle more that flat smooth pavement, and be able to survive without any support from hookup to utilities for long periods of time. I guess y'all call that 'po'dunking'. (The AS's I've been toying with are 28 - 34' wide body Limited's (better insulation) with 3 axles, rear bedroom, etc).

So what are the recomendations??? I really do not want to change trucks, even tho I'd rather have a diesel....I'm too deep into this truck to ever get my investment out....besides I can fix anything on it...did I mention that I hate computers in vehicles/trailers (too unreliable). Is there a 'glass trailer that can rival AS's in durability and quality that I can afford?
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #24
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In relative size, amenities, four-season insulation...one word...BigFoot.

Welcome to FiberglassRV Jayson...we're glad you're here
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:00 PM   #25
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Jayson,

As I am just three years older than you, I wanted to offer my sympathies about the "Big D." That is rough at any time---but particularly at our age! I would like to wish you the best, pardner!

As for trailers, we have camped next to a new Bambi Airstream and thought it was marvelous. However, I think that if I decide to spring for a new trailer, it will be one of the Escapes. Just read Ann H.'s posts. She has a new one. Brian, another regular contributer to this forum, has posted a lot of excellent pix and descriptions. If you are thinking of a small trailer, you can't go wrong with either. Good luck---.

Art
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:10 PM   #26
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Quote:
However, I think that if I decide to spring for a new trailer, it will be one of the Escapes.
I agree Art, the Escapee is a primo trailer, but Jayson said
Quote:
(The AS's I've been toying with are 28 - 34' wide body Limited's (better insulation) with 3 axles, rear bedroom, etc).
and the largest Escape (or any of the other brands) is 19 feet...except the BigFoot and it has the largest of the molded class.

3000 Series BigFoot specs: http://www.bigfootrv.com/bigfootrv_travel_...3000_specs.html
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:33 PM   #27
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Welcome, Jayson!

You have plenty of truck to pull pretty much anything you want, so that's not a problem for you. I will tell you that a 34' Airstream will not go into some places, particularly in the back country. Having had one, they're not significantly more difficult to pull than a 31', but it does take some planning to move them around. You don't just pull in anywhere with them.

Airstreams were and continue to be insulated using 2" fiberglass batting. There are no thermal barriers used between the monocoque ribs, and the inside or outside skins. They use single pane windows. As good as they are, they are really not designed as a four-season trailer.

Bigfoot and Arctic Fox are. Arctic Fox is built as a stick-built trailer using aluminum superstructure and bonded fiberglass/insulated panels. The new 24' and 28' Bigfoot trailers are similarly constructed. The 25' Bigfoot (what I have now) weighs 5300 lbs as equipped with a 7500 lb GVWR, and is molded fiberglass with 1.5" of foam insulation between the inner and outer shells. They are extraordinarily rugged. What they don't offer are slides or living room chairs; however I do have the front couch option rather than a dinette in mine.

Good luck in your hunt! Ask questions as you think of them!

Roger
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Old 04-21-2007, 07:18 PM   #28
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You have plenty of truck to pull pretty much anything you want, so that's not a problem for you.
Yeah, I was kinda hoping it was....people have been telling me I need a diesel 4WD 1ton but I didn't think I NEEDED one so.....

Quote:
As good as they are, they are really not designed as a four-season trailer.
Even the Limited'd???? I'm told they have extra insulation and double pained windows

Quote:
Bigfoot and Arctic Fox are. Arctic Fox is built as a stick-built trailer using aluminum superstructure and bonded fiberglass/insulated panels. The new 24' and 28' Bigfoot trailers are similarly constructed. The 25' Bigfoot (what I have now) weighs 5300 lbs as equipped with a 7500 lb GVWR, and is molded fiberglass with 1.5" of foam insulation between the inner and outer shells. They are extraordinarily rugged. What they don't offer are slides or living room chairs; however I do have the front couch option rather than a dinette in mine.
OK, I did a quick search on both. The biggest BigFoot is about 25'... a little small for permanent living don't you think???? The Arctic Fox comes bigger...are they as good???? What about slide-outs.....been warned that they leak/jam/cause problems. How true is that???? Is the BigFoot actually tougher and better than the Arctic Fox to the point where I would/should REALLY opt for the smaller size to gain the durability and insulation value???

This is good stuff and I'm really needing solid guidance on this. I don't have years of experience in trailers, nor can I spend months in research....I have to rely on informed advice from several people and assign weight to all the factors. I am mostly concerned with durability and livabilty in the 'glass stuff - the AS's have a proven record in that. I don't plan on rolling it over. What are the insurance costs relative to the choices? I think you (or someone) mentioned that insurance was higher for the AS??????

I'd like to get intelligent input from others on this list too.....I've laid out my criteria and plan so I'm tapping the collective wisdom.
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