From Scamp to Casita? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-09-2006, 12:42 PM   #1
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Karalyn's Avatar
Name: Karalyn
Trailer: Eggless for now but looking. currently own Amerilite 21 ft
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I have a chance to buy a 2000 Casita with side dinette like I want. I now have yr 2000 Scamp with porta potty and front couch. Both are 16 ft campers
The Casita will have a front bath and shower, 2 gas tanks, fantastic fan, furnace, electric brakes, and sway bar that my camper does not have. I do a lot of boon docking and really don't need the bath, but the side dinette I have been wanting. What do you all think? Price seems right.
Anything in particular I should be looking for when checking out the Casita.
I am thinking there will be about 800 more lbs for my car to pull, and I have a 3500 wt limit on my van. Hmmmm, I am going to look on Sunday and just wondering what your thoughts are here. I am not mechanically inclined! What should I be asking or checking out.

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Old 03-09-2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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Name: Benita
Trailer: Fiber Stream 16 ft 1982
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If you time the resale market right, you may wind up with an even trade off financially and ownership of the trailer you want. It will take a little work to go along with the desire however.

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Old 03-09-2006, 01:20 PM   #3
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Posts: 5,000
I'm probably the wrong guy to give advice on this topic, having never once said "no" to buying a different trailer... but I'd say go for it. They're both nice trailers, but having the "right" floorplan and amenities can make all the difference in enjoying your trailer. The additional weight won't be a problem if your car is rated for 3500 lbs, and having the full bath, dual tanks and the other amenities can be really nice.

Go for it if it's in the same or better condition than yours!

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Old 03-09-2006, 04:16 PM   #4
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 4,999
In case this hasn't been done already... In assessing the weight difference, I would consider the possibility of towing with the water heater (which I assume is additional in the Casita compared to the Scamp) drained - the water weight isn't trivial. If the heater is really never going to be used (no showers, dishwashing water always heated on the stove...) then it could be be removed. If I removed one, I would certainly ensure that it could be readily re-installed, if only because it will be of value at resale.

I found the tongue weight on a highly-equipped 17-foot Casita to be surprisingly high. Depending on the specific van, trailer, and cargo load, that may mean that the van would require a weight-distributing hitch (WDH); if one is not currently in use with the Scamp (it doesn't look like it is), then the weight of the WDH (100 lb or more) must also be considered.

Karalyn, you list the basic van towing capacity as 3500 lb, but not factors such as the combined weight limit for the van (and I'm not sure what model it is) and trailer, or the actual trailer weights. It may be that the van (a Mercury Villager?) cannot tow the heavier trailer while carrying your usual cargo without exceeding a limit - I would check that. Almost no vehicle can actually tow the rated trailer weight in combination with any significant cargo, without violating ratings for axle loads, gross vehicle wieight, or combined vehicle weight.

I don't have anything against Casita, and I'm not trying to discourage the trade, I'm just mentioning the factors which I would check if considering a trade up to a trailer which is 800 lb heavier. Karalyn, if any of this is Greek to you, just post the information you have and I'll take a shot at interpreting - and there's lots of talent and experience among the fourm members to correct whatever I get wrong!
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 03-09-2006, 04:39 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe / 2007 Nissan Frontier King Cab
Posts: 733
Well, owning a Casita, I'd say go for the purchase.

One thing I don't understand though...if you boondock a lot...wouldn't you want the bathroom option? My wife and I are going to do a lot of boondocking in the coming year, and that's why we went for a Casita with a bathroom. A lot of the national parks and national forests we like don't have showers. And as I do a lot of hiking I can get pretty smelly and sweaty.

As someone suggested, you can travel with the tanks all empty if you're going somewhere you can get potable water onsite (supposing that you want to use the sink/bathroom). We did that the last place we boondocked.
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Old 03-09-2006, 04:57 PM   #6
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Name: William
Trailer: 1999 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe ('Inn EggsIsle')
Posts: 611
Karalyn, I believe you said you was looking at a 16' Casita, not a 17'. Brians figures look to be 17'. The 16' as I remember has a tongue weight of about 175 - 195 lbs. Even if she doesn't use the shower I assume the toilet will be used and that shower is a great asset when reselling the trailer. While at the Rock Crusher Bash I got to see a 16' SD and was very surprised that it didn't look smaller on the inside than my 17'. I'd go for it, as Roger says, the right floor plan means a whole lot and the weight factor should be nil. many folks pull 17'ers with a rated 3500lb TV. As far as things to look for, ask them to demonstrate

fridge in all modes,

water heater works even if you don't plan to use it,

Fantastic fan works, in both directions

water pump gets water to all sinks

Furnace, fires up

toilet flushes and also holds water

all faucets have both hot and cold running water


Overall appearance

tires worn well and if they are Carlisles you will want to replace them

rear jacks work without binding from being bent

ask about brake and bearing maintenance (hope he's honest)

All lights work when hooked up

I've probably missed somthings but others will fill in I'm sure
Good luck
Love being Inneggsile
heading sloowly up the eastcoast to our next 2 month (Aug and Sept) camp hosting gig at Camden Hills State Park in Maine
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:38 PM   #7
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 24,540
Print out the Buyer/Seller Checklist HERE. Since you're a trailer owner you have something to compare the Casita to....
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:39 PM   #8
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 4,999
Karalyn, I believe you said you was looking at a 16' Casita, not a 17'. Brians figures look to be 17'...
Good catch Bill : I had the wrong size. It is the 17' Casita Deluxe with the high tongue weight, not the proposed 16'. Although the Quest/Villager isn't the ultimate trailer-towing van, I wouldn't expect a big problem with the 16' tongue weight. I'm guessing the tow van is a Quest or Villager, from Karalyn's photos...

I would still look at the total weight, as the point about weight ratings still applies - I think adding 800 pounds calls for a careful check of capacities. I'm one of those towing a 17' unit (Boler B1700) with a 3500lb-rated van, but it has to be done carefully. Even if the total is okay, the rear axle can be overloaded, for instance.

Is a 16' Casita really 800 heavier than the same size Scamp, just because of equipment differences?

As for things to check, Bill has a good list, and from personal experience I would add that it would be nice to know that the freshwater tank can be filled (mine had a failed fill hose) and holds water, and that the greywater tank can hold a fill wastewater load (mine had a crack halfway up) and can be drained (dump valve was inoperable).
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:13 AM   #9
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Trailer: 1989 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 2,055
You might need (or want) a weight distribution hitch, BUT I don't think you'd have any problem at all. There are many people who tow their 17's with a mini van that has a 3500# capacity and are very pleased with the combo, so a 16' should be no problem.

The tongue weight might be a little higher than quoted but it won't be enough to worry about. I was amazed that when I installed a front winding jack on my trailer how much easier it was to crank. I don't know if it is because it was new or what, but it's no trouble at all even with the double propanes and the welded spare tire rack on the tongue.
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Old 03-10-2006, 08:10 AM   #10
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Name: Herschel
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 680
Karalyn If our Casita had been a side dinette we would still have it ! Get it take the Maltese puppies and go boondocking .
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:59 AM   #11
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Name: David
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft (25B25RQ)
Posts: 298
I switched from a 16 foot Scamp to a 17 foot Casita a couple of years ago. My wife's biggest complaint with the old Scamp was having to switch back and forth every day from the bed to the dining table. You will love the side dinette. We got the 17 because we have a tow vehicle that can easily handle it. But the 16 has most of the same basic features and will be much easier on your van. We mostly boondock, too. We didn't know we had to have a bathroom until we actually got one, but it is very handy as you will find out. We loved our old Scamp, but it was the absolutely basic model with no amenities at all - no bathroom, no water pump, no holding tanks, no AC. If it had those things I could have sold it in about an hour. As it was, it took me about five hours for a buyer to give me my full price. If you want that upgrade trailer - go do it.
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:55 PM   #12
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 725
This is not intended to dampen enthusiasm for attempting to zero in on a more suitable trailer solution, just an interesting side note. . . .

My parents did RV'ing most of their adult lives from the 50's until they were unable in the late 90's. They had everything at various times, from a 13ft bare necessity Scamp to a large 5th wheel and everything in between from Shastas to Airstreams, even a couple of Toyota based small motorhomes.

Before he died, I asked Dad which of all those they had the most fun with. His answer was first the 13 ft Aristocrat Lo-Liners, then later the Scamps. Strangely, he always started trading up, then at some point go back to the small, simple unit. He had two Lo-Liners at about 20 years apart, and two Scamps, a 13 and a 16 (which I now have) at about 10 years apart.

From time-to-time I also get the 'itch'. But I remember his comment and consider it to be a 'word to the wise'.

His other advise was: "Go while you are young and able to go, buy gas instead of new cars and trailers and to enjoy the 90 cent gas (back in 1973) you can get, it'll probably get higher."
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:01 AM   #13
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / 1996 Dakota 4x4 V6
Posts: 186
Been living aboard my 05 Casita SD since Sept. '04, so I'm unable to get my mind around having a coach with no bath room. I find the bath-in-the-nose, side dinette plan very functional. I'm writing this message on side table; rear 4seat table is the usual bed. Sometimes I keep the side as a bed and leave the rear table up (depends on how much laundry there is to cram under said table).
When I show people the Casita, they spend a minute marvelling at the space and features, then, right before they exit, I say, "and the bathroom's through there"; and the usual reaction is YOU"RE KIDDING there's a BATHROOM!? Then you can see that they are really impressed.
Wish I could give you a list of things on the Casita to look out for, but in a year and a half, nothing's gone wrong! Took a few weeks to get a sense of rythym for things like full/empty tanks, propane longevity, fridge operation, etc., but this house on wheels is easy and effortless.
I'm off the grid most of the warm months, but need to plug up every few days in winter because of the furnace fan. Planning to go solar very soon, which should correct this.
It sounds like the Casita you're considering is just like mine; I would trade with confidence.
I find this layout to be just ideal.
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:04 AM   #14
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / 1996 Dakota 4x4 V6
Posts: 186
Also, sitting in the side dinette (facing front or rear) with the blinds up reminds me of sitting in the nice cars on the fast British and European trains. Nice view through the huge window (even if you're not moving 150 mph!)

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