Scamp and forest service roads - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-17-2006, 01:13 PM   #1
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I plan on hopefully using my 13' Scamp to boondock in national forests. To get to the camping sites I must travel on gravel roads some that are wash out and have ruts or very uneven tire tracks. My question is with standard Scamp, not lifted, is the suspension ok for this. Assuming the roads can be traveled in a passenger car or minivan will the Scamp perform as well as the vehicle or am I limited to smoother gravel roads unless I get a lifted axel? Any experiences with this kind of situation? Thanks.

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Old 01-17-2006, 02:07 PM   #2
Trailer: 1982 13 ft Burro
Posts: 37
My 13-foot Burro was fine on some very rough FS roads here in Colorado. I really thought the hitch/tongue connection was going to drag, but it cleared some fairly sizable rocks.

Every single thing inside was on the floor -- including the cabinet doors, the curtain rods and various other things that were literally screwed in -- but the trailer itself was fine. It's gotta be a little hard on the frame with all that flexing, but we bought it to go to those places and if it cracks, we'll fix it: Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.

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Old 01-17-2006, 04:12 PM   #3
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Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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Presuming you exercize some good common sense, walk over questionable areas before you pull over them, leave yourself a place to turn around when appropriate, and drop the trailer to recon when necessary, you ought to do OK. As the post above shows though, and many of us here can attest, we've been over some pretty hairy forest service roads over the years. I don't recommend that you just plunge headlong over new forest service roads towing a FGRV without having done your homework first. Doing a little trailerless scouting will do wonders for your trip with the trailer.

There's nothing quite as much fun as driving five miles on a forest service road near dark without seeing a turn around, only to find yourself stopped by a landslide across the road. Been there, done that. Wore the t-shirt out. Fortunately, I didn't have a trailer with me that time!

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Old 01-17-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft 2004
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This September I had the PayMoor II north of Batesville, Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. I was just traveling roads and driveways to folks I wanted to visit. It was an adventure with staight-up hills, deep ruts and tree stumps on what I would call "pig trails". The camper just hung on and followed true behind my 2001 Toyota Tocoma truck. Yep, everything was in the floor. The portapotty broke free from it's snap strap but luckly was empty. This girl was a little scaired but enjoyed the ride.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:35 PM   #5
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Name: Al
Trailer: Scamp
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Posts: 328
Good advice from Roger. From my experience with our 16' Scamp (no lift), the trailer will handle anything reasonably navigable by a minivan. I'd be more concerned about the damaging the exposed plumbing than any potential suspension problems.

We've camped a fair amount at Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah and Nantahala NFs here in NC and have found some really great spots 'off the beaten path'. There are also trails in each that I wouldn't attempt with my lifted and locked Wrangler.

The Scamp even survived a trip to Portsmouth Island although we had to leave the wife's new Tacoma five miles up the beach when the rear end blew. Toyota covered the $900+ recovery charges and all repair work but I'm still getting razzed by our daughter for having to rescue us and the camper with her old Blazer.

So far, the most damage we've suffered was when the microwave broke loose on a particularly bad stretch of I-95 in SC. The inside looked a lot like what Andy and Susan described.

Use a little common sense and you should be fine.

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Old 01-18-2006, 09:02 AM   #6
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Name: David
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft (25B25RQ)
Posts: 278
I had a well-used Scamp 16 for awhile. When I first got it, I considered it an extension of my four wheel drive truck. I found out quickly that these trailers will go anywhere, but they are not nearly as sturdy as a pickup. On a trip up the Haul Road in Alaska, I broke the frame by not slowing down enough on the potholes and washboard. This resulted in separated floorboards which led to filling the interior with road dust. And the door never fit quite right again. Oh, and the refrigerator door broke off! The frame broke in the same place when my sister hauled her 13 footer on the back roads of Baja. Being both lightweight and super strong are not mutually exclusive, but there are limits. These fiberglass shells are way stronger than most other trailers, but the frames are not. The easy solution is to slow WAY DOWN for the rough spots. After spending a lot more money on a new Casita, I was inspired to treat it much more gently than the old used Scamp and have had no further trouble.

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boondocking, dry camping, scamp

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