Is an egg for us? Any opinions from you folks? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-27-2008, 09:23 PM   #15
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I will explain another question we have. We usually camp where there are no hook-ups. Our old TT plugs into the battery on our truck. We usually drive the truck each day somewhere (leaving the TT). We have a catalytic heater with no fan and an ice box. So, the only drain on the battery is the lights and we've never had a problem with a low battery. Now in looking at these newer trailers, like the one today, the battery is used for a fan on the heater, a pump for water as well as the lights. I think the water heater uses propane. [b]We really don't want a generator. With this extra load on the battery will we be able to leave the trailer sit for several nights without a recharge?
I am guessing that you are referring to the battery charge line in the 7-pin umbilical cable between the Tow Vehicle and the trailer when you say, "Our old TT plugs into the battery on our truck."

I have found that I could use my Trailer continuously for a long weekend, (3 days, 2 nights) without hook-ups comfortably before my group 27 Marine Deep-Cycle Battery is depleted enough for a full recharge. This was as it was originally configured.

We run the Water Heater, The Range & Oven, and Refrigerator on Propane.
The Lights, Water Pump, Fan-Tastic Fan and Heater Blower Motor run on 12 volts from the battery.

The Heater Blower Motor uses a lot of battery power, so we tend to use it very sparingly. A down Comforter with a flannel Duvet, and maybe an extra blanket, keeps 2 persons in 1 bed comfortably warm, so we seldom run the heater overnight unless it's VERY, VERY cold.

A water pump isn't much of a power hog unless something is wrong with it.

Incandescent automotive light bulbs (1156 & 1157) can use a lot of power for what light they give. Many people (us included) have converted to CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent) and LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps. We use 36-LED "bulbs" that fit into our existing fixtures. A trailer-full of LED lamps will use less power than ONE 1156 incandescent bulb.

We also have 45 watts of Solar Panels to recharge our Battery. This keeps our battery charge in balance with our battery drain.

We have a 2nd group 27 battery whose only purpose is to power a 400 watt inverter for our 110 volt TV/VCR and recharging the Laptop Computer. We watch DVD's on the computer. We alternate batteries on the Solar Panels every other day. I hope to get a 2nd 45 watt Solar Panel Set in the future; 1 for each battery. That could conceivably keep us powered indefinitely.

Of course, we CANNOT use our Air Conditioner or Microwave without hook-ups. But when we are camping "off-the-grid" we don't miss them.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:01 PM   #16
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We are new to the fiberglass trailer thing too (to the whole trailer thing actually). In the fall we bought a 75 Beachcomber because we had a minivan and needed something light. We used it in May and June of this year and loved it! I can see why people love their fiberglass trailers. We had since sold our minivan and got a pickup truck so decided to sell the Beachcomber and get something a little larger (there are 4 of us). We bought an 85 20ft Bigfoot 5th wheel and it is fantastic. We never even considered looking for anything other than a fiberglass trailer. The older bigfoot's have a ton of storeage, in fact we still have empty cupboards because we don't have enough "stuff" to put in them!! The cupboards are very large and can handle regular sized dishes with no problem. There's a good sized bathroom and great counterspace.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
I am guessing that you are referring to the battery charge line in the 7-pin umbilical cable between the Tow Vehicle and the trailer when you say, "Our old TT plugs into the battery on our truck."

I have found that I could use my Trailer continuously for a long weekend, (3 days, 2 nights) without hook-ups comfortably before my group 27 Marine Deep-Cycle Battery is depleted enough for a full recharge. This was as it was originally configured.

We run the Water Heater, The Range & Oven, and Refrigerator on Propane.
The Lights, Water Pump, Fan-Tastic Fan and Heater Blower Motor run on 12 volts from the battery.

The Heater Blower Motor uses a lot of battery power, so we tend to use it very sparingly. A down Comforter with a flannel Duvet, and maybe an extra blanket, keeps 2 persons in 1 bed comfortably warm, so we seldom run the heater overnight unless it's VERY, VERY cold.

A water pump isn't much of a power hog unless something is wrong with it.

Incandescent automotive light bulbs (1156 & 1157) can use a lot of power for what light they give. Many people (us included) have converted to CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent) and LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps. We use 36-LED "bulbs" that fit into our existing fixtures. A trailer-full of LED lamps will use less power than ONE 1156 incandescent bulb.

We also have 45 watts of Solar Panels to recharge our Battery. This keeps our battery charge in balance with our battery drain.

We have a 2nd group 27 battery whose only purpose is to power a 400 watt inverter for our 110 volt TV/VCR and recharging the Laptop Computer. We watch DVD's on the computer. We alternate batteries on the Solar Panels every other day. I hope to get a 2nd 45 watt Solar Panel Set in the future; 1 for each battery. That could conceivably keep us powered indefinitely.

Of course, we CANNOT use our Air Conditioner or Microwave without hook-ups. But when we are camping "off-the-grid" we don't miss them.

This is very very helpful. I'll get my husband to take a look at this info. About our old TT running off the car battery-you won't believe it-there is a cord that runs from the tt to the cigarette lighter on the car. It's directly to our truck battery. (requires leaving the vehicle window open slightly) Primitive, eh? Could you recommend where we would find these solar panels? Thanks again.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:42 PM   #18
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Ann and I recently bought a 1986 17' Bigfoot. Certainly wider and heavier than some of the other fiberglass trailers, but our Dodge Sprinter van pulls it with no problem. We like the open floor space [not just a narrow hallway--we can pass one another with no choreography required] and windows [lots of them] on all four walls, which you may not find in other small trailers.

We have been living in our little trailer house for 6 weeks now, experimenting with storage options. We ask ourselves, "What do we really need in the trailer and what do we use infrequently enough that it can be stored in the tow vehicle without great inconvenience?" The answers have freed space.

"How can we make better use of the available space inside?" We use a TV tray for extra counter space, and attach it out of the way in otherwise unused vertical space when not in use. We installed a coat hook rack in some other unused vertical space, which has helped eliminate clutter on the furniture. With a suction-cup wire basket, soap dish, and toothbrush/toothpaste holders we were able to empty most of the cabinet in the bathroom. Our clothing lives rolled in variously sized stuff sacks [one for t-shirts, one for socks, etc.] in a cupboard, because the folding and stacking method resulted in chaos within a couple of days.

We are just thrilled with our little house and know that we will come up with other ideas to make her more livable. We hope this helps with your decision about an egg.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:16 AM   #19
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This Bigfoot is very nice!! Do you know how wide it is on the outside? We most commonly camp in Yosemite and the roads where we go are extremely narrow. We'd probably sacrafice some width for ease of driving. I love the windows and even though it might be less aerodynamic the more square shape would have some real advantages.

I'm starting to think that what we'll get will be whatever is available that will work. Each seems to have pluses and minuses. I am getting a good feel for some things that we definetely want and some that are a definite no.


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Old 07-28-2008, 10:54 AM   #20
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Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe / 1997 Toyota 4Runner LTD (Draw-Tite WDH
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Cindy, would you consider having someone else restore your current 17' travel trailer? As it suits you so well, this might be a better option than replacing it.

Joel Harp, just off the I-80 near Rocklin, CA, specializes in restoring old travel trailers. His telephone number is 916-708-7221.

We dropped our Casita off with Joel just yesterday for servicing (wheel bearings, brakes, propane lines) and were impressed with his knowledge and his passion for travel trailers (go figure!).

Elisabeth


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Old 07-28-2008, 12:12 PM   #21
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Cindy,

I think our Bigfoot is 8 feet wide, and as I mentioned earlier is quite a bit heavier than some of the other eggs. When the trailer was a lot less full than she is today she weighed 3000 pounds at a truck scale. We like the Casita and other eggs, but as we are living full time in this trailer we opted for interior space and windows over weight and aerodynamics. That said, pulling her with a 5-cylinder Dodge Sprinter through mountainous terrain we got 20-21 mpg of diesel. The van gets 24-25 mpg without the trailer.


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Old 07-28-2008, 09:40 PM   #22
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About restoring our older trailer, no we are ready for more luxuries I think. This old dude has no insulation, is about as non-aerodynamic as it could be, has no shower, sways all over the place (though I guess that could be remedied) etc etc. It seems most of the screws holding things in place no longer tighten, the floor is feeling somewhat soft in one place.... So, who wants to buy it when we get our new one? Actually, it may end up being donated to a victim of this fire if we get a different one. It's bad around here right now. The fire seems worse every day. If I get a chance I'll try to post a photo of it since we've talked about it. No, we are ready for something more practical and newer. I will save that fellow's name though that restores. He sounds like a great contact.

To the Bigfoot owners, I can see why you'd go for a little bigger and heavier for more space. Besides living in the VW bus for 1 1/2 years I also lived quite some time in a cabover camper on a Nissan pickup. That was luxury plus to be able to stand up! I admire people who live in their RV's. Those days are gone for me as long as I have horses though. Plus, I like being in one spot now. But I totally relate to people who do that full-time.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:47 PM   #23
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Cindy, I asked myself if a fiberglass/egg was for us when trying to decide what to buy a few short months ago. All I can say is look at all the brands, read and get as much info as you can about them. This site is the best I have found. Great info! Truely only you can answer the question. For us, it was a travel trailer that I could handle and feel comfortable towing and setting up by myself yet it had to have air and a bathroom. But since I am not versed in towing, I wanted something that was small enough that I could set up and tear down on my own. I can tell you that buying the first one (long story, bought 2 within a few weeks of eachother) Gee can you tell I fell in Love with fiberglass travel trailers? Personally, I think I would like any fiberglass travel trailer. But my two purchases are Casitas. And are currently on our first adventure in our 2007 Casita in Montana.

As far as storage.............................. I am awful at downsizing! So we are a little squished with all the stuff I brought thinking we would need, I can tell you that next trip won't be like this. I have learned one thing, with a Casita's your dry storage is limited. The fridge is huge! Coming from a 32 foot Class A I will have to learn not to take everything I could take on trips in it. It's just learning what you really need for each trip Thank goodness for the truck on this trip. I should have known better, but you always think you might need this or that. So, again only you can answer your question, but I can honestly say We love our Casita. Currently in a rv park in Montana with a lot of Motor Coaches so we look kinda funny sitting here next to these big 45 footers............... And though our trip here was not without issues (Blow out, trailer tire in the middle of no-where Wy) But it worked out and we were back on the road the next day, we have enjoyed traveling in our 17 footer just as much as when we had our Class A. Happy Egg hunting! Robin
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:23 AM   #24
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Could you recommend where we would find these solar panels? Thanks again.
Link to my previous Solar Panel Post
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
. . . We usually camp where there are no hook-ups . . . the only drain on the battery is the lights and we've never had a problem with a low battery . . . looking at these newer trailers, like the one today, the battery is used for a fan on the heater, a pump for water as well as the lights . . . With this extra load on the battery will we be able to leave the trailer sit for several nights without a recharge? . . . I'm sure this partly depends on how much the heater is used, but is the fan on a heater much of a draw? I guess we could have a catalytic heater put in but that seems a shame to mess up the standard set-up. Plus there still is the water pump issue.
When they're new, the average deep-cycle battery has 30-40 amp-hours. Having a 30 amp-hour battery means you can run a one-amp appliance for 30-40 hours before the battery is depleted. A standard 1156 light bulb draws 1-1/2 amps, so it can run for 20 hours on 30 amp-hours of electricity.

The Scamp furnace draws 2.7 amps when it's running, so if you turned it all the way up you could draw the battery all the way down in 11 hours. In real life it would take day or two if you left the heater turned up and it was cold outside. More realistically, if you use the heater judiciously and convert your lights (or at least the lights you use most) to LEDs you should be able to drop your energy consumption to 10 amp-hours of electricity per day, less if you're really careful about things. That means a single battery charge should give you three days of camping without having to re-charge it. If you want to camp longer, a single 50-watt solar panel (I have a Shell SM50 panel permanently mounted on our roof) parked in a non-shady location will produce 10 amp hours or more of charge during the spring, summer, and fall months . . . which means your boondocking would more likely be limited by the amount of water and propane you carry.

Oh, and as for the water pump: Yes, it draws a lot of amps, but only runs for a few minutes a day. That means it's not really much of an issue when it comes to drawing the battery down.

--Peter
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:06 PM   #26
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As far as the water pump, can't you put in one of those hand pump types as well? That would save you a little bit of your power. Good Luck! Robin
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:09 PM   #27
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Hello everyone who was so kind to give us input. I thought I'd let you know how the tt search is going. We've now seen each type of Casita and 2 Scamps. No other makes have been close enough. I actually looked at one Casita today that was for sale but it wasn't right for us (even though I was lucky enough to be the first and could have bought it) So far we've decided that a 17ft Casita Spirit Deluxe would work well. I don't think we'll get a Scamp. The fifth wheel might work but we don't want a 5th wheel. I'd still like to see a bit older Bigfoot or Escape but nothing nearby thus far. One thing I've learned is that I don't want to drive across the country to see one and have it not work out. So we'll just have to keep looking. That Spirit in Tuscon sounds really great but it's a 12 hour drive one way. We just can't swing that right now. So, onward!!

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Old 08-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #28
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Well, we are doing it! After a 5 hour drive (round trip) to look at a 3 year old egg that in 3 minutes I knew we didn't want we made a decision. Old dogs can learn. I spent almost 2 years with a friend shopping for his last horse. We would drive several hours and then within 1 minute see a very obvious reason the animal was for sale and was unacceptable. In trying to not have to travel out of state he ended up spending tons of time and money on wild goose chases. I looked at 2 eggs the other day, one for sale and one not. Both were 3 years old. Neither was in the kind of condition I would expect for such a new trailer. So we were drawn back to the ad on here of the one in Tucson. We know 2 people in the entire state of AZ. They live no where near Tucson. I e-mailed the gal (it's a couple we know) asking if she knew anybody in Tucson and got a reply back in a couple hours that said, "call me-we are travelling and happen to be in Tucson and can look at it for you." So, how likely is that? (they did and it is as advertised) So, this weekend we go to Tucson to pick up our 2002 Casita Spirit. We don't have vacation time so it will be gruelling. But we are very excited. The next step will be to reread all the useful info on here about changes we might wish to make.

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