If you could do it all over again... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-21-2015, 02:04 PM   #1
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Name: Todd
Trailer: Boler
Indiana
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If you could do it all over again...

We are starting to think about our first small fiberglass camper purchase, and want to hear about your experiences! We have some camper experience, but would love to learn from all of you who have been in our shoes before we make the leap.

What camper did you start with and why? What did you learn? What would you do differently if you were to do it again? What should we be sure to consider before we buy? We are currently considering a "vintage" 13-footer in the realm of a Boler or Trillium.

Can't wait to hear your stories!


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Old 09-21-2015, 03:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site, Todd.

Information please. Previous camping experience, number of persons, where you hope to camp, etc. There are a lot of folks here who can help you out, but it's difficult to make recommendations without knowing more about you and your hopes/plans.
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:48 PM   #3
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While the thread relates to Escape trailers, you might take a look at If you could do it again, what would be different? - Escape Trailer Owners Community at the Escape Forum. Many pages of what I'd do differently.
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:58 PM   #4
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
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We've traveled for the last 8 years in small trailers, averaging about 8 months on the road. All three trailers were 16 feet or nearly so in length. All had a bathroom with a wet shower though we hardly ever used the wet shower, typically using campground showers.

Our son has a 1977 Scamp 13 and he's a weekend camper and finds his 12 very satisfactory. You find no matter what you buy, you'll make it your own.

We've attended the Maritime Vintage Fiberglass Rally and been in a number of Bolers, very nice and similar to the Scamp 13. (The Scamp is derived from the Boler). The ones I've seen have been well modified by their owners.

I'd be looking at the fridge, floor, frame, axle and windows.

The primary thing I'd do differently is buy one earlier.
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Old 09-21-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
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Name: Todd
Trailer: Boler
Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
Welcome to the site, Todd.

Information please. Previous camping experience, number of persons, where you hope to camp, etc. There are a lot of folks here who can help you out, but it's difficult to make recommendations without knowing more about you and your hopes/plans.

The Minimalist, as I mentioned before, we are looking at something like a 13-foot trillium or the like. Just two of us now (my wife and I), and we really enjoy long weekends at a state park. Not really into long trips (yet), and no little ones to tote around. We don't mind taking advantage of the bathroom facilities at camp sites (mostly). We're pretty easy to please really... All we need is a leak-free camper to make our own!


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Old 09-21-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indiana Todd View Post
We are starting to think about our first small fiberglass camper purchase, and want to hear about your experiences! We have some camper experience, but would love to learn from all of you who have been in our shoes before we make the leap.

What camper did you start with and why? What did you learn? What would you do differently if you were to do it again? What should we be sure to consider before we buy? We are currently considering a "vintage" 13-footer in the realm of a Boler or Trillium.

Can't wait to hear your stories!


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Started with a 12ft Thorobred stickie because we couldn't find a fiberglass trailer. Learned that the stickie was without value and it towed like a parachute. Switched to a LoveBug13 Loved it, made a good profit on it and bought our Scamp13D front bath. We have had it eleven years now and would NOT trade it for ANY other trailer.
I think you are going in the right direction to buy a vintage trailer. Take care of it and you will own it for free. Then when you learn what you really want, you can buy new with confidence.
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Old 09-21-2015, 04:38 PM   #7
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We transitionned to a fiberglass trailer because of having long memories and being old....well, old enough to remember Trilliums, which were produced in the community where we grew up. Many years, three (now grown) sons, 4 tents, 3 tent trailers (pop up) later....it was finally time for us, the two of us, to have something new, something leak-free and something we could easily pull with our vehicle (we didn't wish to change vehicles). As we talked about what we might buy, my husband's brain clicked and kaboom! he remembered the Trilliums of our youth. Finding one was trickier....but we lucked out with our '04 Outback by Team Trillium. No bathroom---we use the campground facilities plus carry a portapotty for emergencies (rarely use it). Small enough to be easily towed but having all the comforts we desired.

We camp usually with electricity because our fridge doesn't run on propane. THAT is one of the things we'd change if we could. It's a NovaKool and works great, but will definitely run better once DH switches out our battery setup this winter.
Another thing we'd do differently is get a camper with more windows that open. We have a fixed front and back window...plus sliders on both sides of the dinette. But it's often not adequate. So we'd look for either jalousies or simply more opening/functionning windows.

We love our 13' but are open to "moving on up". Have plans on heading for an extended time down to warmer climes this winter---longest time we've camped at one time is 9 weeks---and this will help us determine whether or not we need to upsize.
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Old 09-21-2015, 04:43 PM   #8
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Great info, thanks Theresa!


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Old 09-21-2015, 05:09 PM   #9
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Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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Actually we started with a tent 60 years ago. Then moved on to a backpack and backpacking tent. That lasted for about 30 years. Finally we bought a Scamp 13' 10 years ago.
What would I do differently. Have Scamp hold the converter, don't need the thing.
Have 120 Volt florescent light over the gone. Had wiring put into each corner of the then overhead cabinets. (there's one a each end, across the end.)

Other than that it's been just plain perfect for for last 10 years. Once we retired we spend over 100 nights in the trailer each year, with about 90 at one stretch in Jan, Feb, Mar. Love it way it is.
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:09 PM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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We bought our 1986 Scamp 13 used 3 years ago but in really good shape for its age. Due to my idiosyncrasies I had to add a propane heater an upgraded electrical panel with proper battery charger, a solar charge system and a larger battery and a bag awning for the side. We also added an electric water pump and new water lines and a Fantastic fan.

The Scamp came with Fridge, stove top,dual propane tanks and electric brakes and a sink but no bath room, just a porta potty. We don't need or want a bathroom. Especially in a 13 foot trailer.

We are totally happy with our purchase and the changes we made. I do not regret a thing and even if I had allot of money to blow I don't think I would change a thing.

For me its easy I don't have to pay anyone to do maintenance or upgrades so that may be an unfair advantage.

Someone would have to give me at least double its high value to even consider letting it go. Then you would be close to buying new and getting less.
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:28 PM   #11
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In the end there's the perfect molded fiberglass trailer. And there's the one you find for sale at the right place, at the right time, in the right condition, and for the right price.

In addition, the perfect trailer now may not be the perfect trailer 5 years from now. Kids come, grow, and leave the nest, travel destinations and styles change, tow vehicles come and go,…

So, just jump in. Used is a good place to start, and the Buyer's Guide will help you know what to look for and avoid nasty surprises. The Trailer Weights thread will help you make sure you have the right combination of vehicle and trailer.

And see what comes your way.

I would trade the furnace in my Scamp for a 3-way fridge, but the price and condition were unbeatable, and it was less than an hour away. I could sell it tomorrow and get back what I have into it, including maintenance, and still have some gas money left over. But it's not for sale.
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:48 PM   #12
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buying used....

look closely at the owner just as much as the trailer....

if you hear the words "don't know much about RVs, but everything seemed to work for me..." RUN ! Run because the trailer you are looking at will be full of "surprises"...and some of those can be expensive....

you want to buy from an owner who is "intimate" with his trailer and its systems

and yes FG is good...just talked to a friend who went north for two and a half months (almost all the way to Inuvik)....towing a "stickie" and not even a light one because he had heard they would suffer problems being towed "off-road".....now he's back and he has to deal with a few "issues".... like cabinetery that shifted/rattled apart.....
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Old 09-21-2015, 07:07 PM   #13
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Prolly a bit Polly Anna of me, but I have had mostly great experiences purchasing trailers. I now have six Trilliums. I kinda like the brand.

The problem with waiting for the perfect trailer is that someone will buy it while you are making up your mind. They seem to go up in value, (cost) every year. Every old trailer will have issues. The question you need to ask is if you think you can fix it yourself. If not, this is going to get expensive. I purchased my first Trillium for CHEEP. But after getting the local Trillium like factory to work on it, it became $5000 more expensive. I am not a welder, so I was kinda at their mercy, (or lack of).

It has been said that you should buy the best used trailer that you can afford. This is not a bad idea. In the end, a fixer-upper may cost more.

I on the other hand, I have gone the other route. I have learned to work on fibreglass, I have scoured kijiji for spare parts. I do all my own work. I now approach travel trailers like I approach cars. It is like a game to make it as cost effective as possible. $300 car with a parts car, which provided four years of service, for $400.

Trouble is, I still need a welder for metal work. Might be time to acquire a new skill.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:21 PM   #14
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10 years ago, I went shopping for a tiny trailer for just me camping. Even though I grew up camping in a pop up, I really wanted a small hard side trailer so I could park and just go inside rather than 'set up'. But the smallest camper I could find was 19ft long (much larger than I wanted to handle, and much heavier that I wanted to tow). So I looked in the vintage stickies which are lovely little things with romantic names like Shasta and Scotty, but the repairs they needed were more than I wanted to take on.
And then one lucky day I came across FGRV, and I discovered fiberglass. It was JUST what I wanted! Within 1 year I'd bought a cute little 13footer off ebay and I've been camping ever since. I love FG !!
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