Optimal trailer size for boondocking? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-22-2016, 07:22 PM   #1
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Name: Margaret
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Optimal trailer size for boondocking?

Hi all,

I am looking for a Scamp or Casita, but most of the ones available now (used) are pretty big.

What is the best size of a trailer for boondocking or dry camping? I don't want to pay for a space in a campground. I would like to try camping in National Forests or BLM land.

Would a fifth wheel be too big for boondocking?

Thanks, Margaret
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Old 05-22-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
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Size is a consideration, but ground clearance is an even greater one if you want to get off the beaten path. A typical Scamp sits pretty low to the ground, especially if it has an aging torsion axle (which lets it sag even lower).

A 16'-17' trailer can work fine. So can a 5th wheel. But you may perhaps want to proactively change the axle to gain more height. I recall a time when I towed a 16' KZ trailer along a rough trail to a spot I'd read about; there was one washed-out area that I had to cross, and my hitch scraped a bit, then my rear bumper scraped a bit. (If the hitch bottoms out hard, one will get stuck... I'd gotten out to look at the washout and decided I could make it, and I was right.... but not by a lot). That was the worst of the many boondock site approaches I've stayed at. You have to be aware of your rig's limitations and try not to exceed them.

A 13' will be less likely to bottom out at the bumper than a 16', because given the same angle the longer length beyond the axle will hit sooner. But having a 13' will not help as much if you bottom out at the hitch, because hitch height has a lot to do with the height of your receiver. So the tow vehicle needs ground clearance as well.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:46 PM   #3
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How many people, pets , livestock, etc. do you need to accommodate?
That would be critical info when choosing a trailer size.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:01 PM   #4
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Name: Margaret
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Size is a consideration, but ground clearance is an even greater one if you want to get off the beaten path. A typical Scamp sits pretty low to the ground, especially if it has an aging torsion axle (which lets it sag even lower).

A 16'-17' trailer can work fine. So can a 5th wheel. But you may perhaps want to proactively change the axle to gain more height. I recall a time when I towed a 16' KZ trailer along a rough trail to a spot I'd read about; there was one washed-out area that I had to cross, and my hitch scraped a bit, then my rear bumper scraped a bit. (If the hitch bottoms out hard, one will get stuck... I'd gotten out to look at the washout and decided I could make it, and I was right.... but not by a lot). That was the worst of the many boondock site approaches I've stayed at. You have to be aware of your rig's limitations and try not to exceed the

A 13' will be less likely to bottom out at the bumper than a 16', because given the same angle the longer length beyond the axle will hit sooner. But having a 13' will not help as much if you bottom out at the hitch, because hitch height has a lot to do with the height of your receiver. So the tow vehicle needs ground clearance as well.
Excellent info Mike Magee. Thanks, Margaret
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:04 PM   #5
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Name: Margaret
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How many people, pets , livestock, etc. do you need to accommodate?
That would be critical info when choosing a trailer size.
Hi Floyd,

One 130 lb. person (me), and two pets, one 43 lbs and the other 56 lbs.

So, whatcha think?

I have to boondock, bc I can't afford campgrounds, and will be doing this full time for awhile.

Small is ok, but I haven't looked at the actual trailers yet, since none is available close by.

Margaret
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
....
Small is ok, but I haven't looked at the actual trailers yet, since none is available close by.

Margaret
Well I don't know what you consider "near by" to be, but you just missed one of the best opportunities you will ever get to see a bunch a FG trailers at a place I would consider to be near-by in the world of FG trailer shopping.. that was the "Eggs on the Hiawassee River" rally that I told you about before. The "Show your trailer off" day was yesterday and I understand there were about 40 FB campers there. If I were researching and shopping I would have gone to this rally.

There will not be a better opportunity for you in the near future but there are other individual trailers you can see. But you will have to be proactive, call the manufactures for contacts, and be willing to drive a ways.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
Hi Floyd,

One 130 lb. person (me), and two pets, one 43 lbs and the other 56 lbs.

So, whatcha think?

I have to boondock, bc I can't afford campgrounds, and will be doing this full time for awhile.

Small is ok, but I haven't looked at the actual trailers yet, since none is available close by.

Margaret
Practice by walling off a space with cardboard boxes and cabinets bed and such representing a trailer interior and see how it feels with you and the dogs in it. Could you and the dogs live in a fairly narrow space that is 10' long or 13' long or do you need one that is 16', 17', etc. Having a van for a tow vehicle is a big help in reducing the trailer size needed to carry enough gear for longer stay boon docking. But can you manage to cook a meal with the dogs underfoot on the floor? In bad weather those dogs will be wet from being outside and you will not want them up on the bed or couch.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
Hi Floyd,

One 130 lb. person (me), and two pets, one 43 lbs and the other 56 lbs.

So, whatcha think?

I have to boondock, bc I can't afford campgrounds, and will be doing this full time for awhile.

Small is ok, but I haven't looked at the actual trailers yet, since none is available close by.

Margaret
I built a 13 to accommodate a couple and two small dogs. we built space under the permanent bed for the pups and everyone was comfy.
I think you would need something larger since your pets are medium sized and would require more space.If you did a Scamp16, you could find a way to make everyone happy.
If you don't share sleeping space with the dogs you could easily make up the side dinette or the front bottom bunk for them. I have a plan which would allow for the large dinette to be a permanent bunk sized bed and a two person dinette at the same time. you could even use the front bath or the closet space for your pets. I can think of a dozen variations to make you all comfortable and allow space for each.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
Hi all,
I am looking for a Scamp or Casita, but most of the ones available now (used) are pretty big.
What is the best size of a trailer for boondocking or dry camping? I don't want to pay for a space in a campground. I would like to try camping in National Forests or BLM land.
Would a fifth wheel be too big for boondocking? Thanks, Margaret
Well, this is really a loaded question to me. First, there are many different areas to boondock with various topography/obstructions to deal with. Not sure what you're thinking by saying bdocking/dry camping. Is it not having hookups and a paved surface or being out in the dirt away from everything. Don't think there is any "best" size for that. It's all in what fits your needs and wants. Second, IMHO and the most important, as Gordon posted, you really need to eyeball in person a number of these FG rigs to get an honest feel for how it may work for living in before putting any money down. They all look good on paper and in pics....until you step inside. You'll know pretty quick if it's a no, maybe or yes. Contact Scamp/Casita for references of owners in your area for a look and info.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:17 AM   #10
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When we were looking, or when we did not know how to find any to look at. We looked at an R Pod trailer to get the feel of the space, they are more available to see. We found that standing sitting and moving around very doable with us two and our Golden. It was a hot day and when inside it was not to hot at all, in other words we were comfortable. So we went ahead and bought a new 16` scamp sight unseen. Sometimes you can talk yourself out of something instead doing it and making it work for you. Good luck, Carl
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:34 AM   #11
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Lot's of good responses above.

As with any off-road vehicle and trailer the width of your trailer, the height of your trailer and amount of rear overhang on the trailer should be serious considerations.

A gentleman on the Uhaul trailer site who loves going out West and "Boondocking" recently sold his modified CT13 Uhaul fiberglass trailer as it was too wide and sat too low for type of "Boondocking" camping he enjoyed even after modifications. A too wide & too tall a trailer grabs a lot trees and other debris on the trail and the too low caused all sorts of dragging and angle of attack issues on steep trails. Remember that a CT13 has what can be considered a short rear trailer overhang. He was towing with a Toyota FJ cruiser which is more than capable of pulling the CT13 Uhaul trailer to camping locations the Uhaul was not designed to go!

Because of the difficulties he encountered he ultimately bought a folding tent system that mounted to the roof of the FJ Crusier and purchased an old narrow Army trailer that he modified to pull and store his gear. As he related to me found this to be a much better system to enjoy the type of "Boondocking" camping that he enjoyed and that's why the Uhaul CT13 was for sale.

As much as he loved the CT13 Uhaul as it was small fiberglass "Egg" trailer it still ultimately did not fit the type of "Boondocking" camping that he enjoyed. Sometimes you may have to consider different alternatives to find a better fit to the camping lifestyle you wish to enjoy. In his situation the small fiberglass trailer although functional to a point and what appeared at first to be a great "fit" for his "Boondocking" camping style turned out to poor decision as there were far better alternatives out there once he tried the "Egg" trailer idea.

Something to consider???
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Carl Pa View Post
When we were looking, or when we did not know how to find any to look at. We looked at an R Pod trailer to get the feel of the space, they are more available to see. We found that standing sitting and moving around very doable with us two and our Golden. It was a hot day and when inside it was not to hot at all, in other words we were comfortable. So we went ahead and bought a new 16` scamp sight unseen. Sometimes you can talk yourself out of something instead doing it and making it work for you. Good luck, Carl
--------------------------------<->--------------------------------

Carl, Your mention of R Pods reminds me that a few days ago on Hwy 99 near Meced, CA I saw not one, but two trucks delivering R Pods. Each truck had 3 of the larger size R Pods with side outs. They must be crankin' them out ! I have never seen a truckload of Scamps, never expect to ! David in Fresno and Sonora, Scamp 13' .
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
--------------------------------<->--------------------------------

Carl, Your mention of R Pods reminds me that a few days ago on Hwy 99 near Meced, CA I saw not one, but two trucks delivering R Pods. Each truck had 3 of the larger size R Pods with side outs. They must be crankin' them out ! I have never seen a truckload of Scamps, never expect to ! David in Fresno and Sonora, Scamp 13' .
Its from a brochure but here's what it looks like...
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gerber30050.jpg  
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
A 13' will be less likely to bottom out at the bumper than a 16', because given the same angle the longer length beyond the axle will hit sooner. But having a 13' will not help as much if you bottom out at the hitch, because hitch height has a lot to do with the height of your receiver. So the tow vehicle needs ground clearance as well.
Having said that I pulled my older 92 16' out into BML lands in California and Nevada, as well as down many a gravel road up here in the North without out ever bottoming out. As with all trailers how much clearance you have is going to depend a lot on the state of the axle and the lowest point on the trailer &/or on the tug side as well.

If your idea of boon docking is pulling the trailer down gravel roads that are half washed out and covered with big rocks and going though small creeks then your going to have a problem with pretty well any trailer, unless your vehicle and the trailer have all been jacked up.
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