Raya has good info for ignorant newbies like me. I guess a fiberglass trailer will take a lot more upkeep than our original idea of a little park model cabin with the steel roofing and cedar siding. We did realize this though when we switched our plans to an RV. We weren't expecting it to look new forever. As long as we don't have too many leaks, that's the important part for us. We'll try to keep it looking as good as possible, but don't expect miracles.
Okay, now maybe I was too strong in my choice of words before: I believe a fiberglass trailer will take much less upkeep than a tiny cottage (i.e. Tumbleweed, etc.). I just didn't want you to think you could throw it out in the sun and rain for 30 years and have it still be like new. (Many people do think fiberglass is like that.)
If you can keep it covered and ventilated, you will be way ahead of the game. A "carport" type shelter would be great for that, but even a cover would help. Jalousie windows
are a plus, to my mind, because you can keep them open 24/7 for ventilation (but, if you have a roof over the camper then you could keep sliders open too).
And a two-part paint
job, while not cheap, would not be the end of the world 30 or so years later (to my mind).
The other piece of advice I would give you is to either preventatively re-bed your vents, windows
, etc. every decade or so; or, the moment you see a leak then resist the (seemingly irresistable) urge to just squirt some caulk around the outside and instead, remove the window/vent/etc. and re-bed it properly. It's a very small investment of time and effort considering how many years you can go without worrying about it.
As far as a winterized, "four-season" camper, while I would never discourage anyone from getting one (I'm sure it would be nice), you might consider "getting by" with a three-season model (what I would consider my Boler). I have camped in mine down into the teens (Fahrenheit), and (depending on your constitution) it is not that bad.
Unless you are dedicated winter campers, I wonder if you might only be briefly spending cold nights camping on the "shoulder" seasons, and then moving along with the weather to different locations?
A few words about shoulder season camping:
Of course you would not be able to use your water tanks or grey water tanks (if you have those). But you can winterize those and then just use a jug of water at the sink. You drain will still work (to the outside). A couple of moments in a tea kettle on the stove will sort you out some hot water, and a navy bath can work from time-to-time. If you are in a campground with bathrooms so much the better.
If you have electricity a small electric heater; or if not a propane
heater or catalytic heater. Blankets at night.
Don't take me as trying to convince you into something you don't want; I'm just posing a few options. I'm perfectly happy with the above on a semi-short term basis, and if I were retired I would move along south.
I still wonder if you mightn't enjoy something like a basic 13-er for now, and then a bigger, "better" camper once you've had a chance to refine your tastes (and as you get closer to retirement). I don't know you or your situation though, so I'm just thinking out loud. Feel free to ignore me
And yes, I do think that a fiberglass RV is a good choice. Everything has plusses and minuses, of course - but they are pretty sweet, all-in-all