Scamp Factory Visit - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-11-2008, 05:45 PM   #1
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Fred (Stepdad), Sherry (Spouse) and I visited the Scamp factory in Backus, MN this past Saturday. We got a factory tour and looked at just about every floorplan available. The sales staff is great and the experience was fun. It is good thing that you can't buy a Scamp with a credit card!

I took a lot of pictures, I can post if anyone is interested. Although, the pictures don't really show anything that isn't already available online, in the brochure or the DVD.

The factory is very clean, organized and minimalist.Lots of hand crafting, I really got the impression of attention to detail. I had questions about the particle board floor, but after seeing the process, it seems very durable. The entire surface is coated in epoxy and the seams are fiberglass taped, sealed and painted. The gelcoat looks great and the thickness of the fiberglass seemed really uniform. The marine fabric (they prefer this term over 'ratfur' ) looks better than I imagined and is supposed to be very water, mold, mildew and odor resistant.

After our searching online, we had determined that the 16' Floorplan #4 was the model for us so this is the first model we looked at. This model has a bathroom, sleeps 4, has lots of storage and lots of counter space. The base 16' has an estimated weight of 1750 lbs, I was kind of surprised to learn that the Plan #4 with the option package has an estimated weight of 2400 lbs. We also looked at a 16' Deluxe. Wow! The all wood interior is really sharp. As a general guideline, we were told that the Deluxe adds about 400 lbs and $3000. If weight and money were no concern, the Deluxe would be very desirable.

Our tow vehicle is a Suzuki XL-7 and according to the owners manual is rated to tow 3000 lbs, greater than 1000 lbs requires trailer brakes. We currently have a Class I hitch on it with 4 pin electrical. The 16' Scamp would require a new hitch, brake controller and 7 wire harness/plug. I would worry about the wear and tear on our vehicle with a trailer that close to the maximum towing capacity.

They had both 13' floorplan display models available and with the above information, our interest in the 13' was sparked. The 13' with bathroom wasn't considered, we need to sleep 3, 2 adults and our daughter. I think that if we had continued to pursue the 16' we would have realized that we really only needed the 13'. We don't boondock, we haven't tent camped without flush toilets and showers in many years. The night time convenience of an onboard bathroom seems nice but hardly necessary.

The 13' is cozy but has enough room to manuever. I am 6'1" with shoes and I don't have to crouch, if I stand on tippy toes my head will touch the ceiling. We laid on the double bed and that seemed to have as much room as our "queen" inflatable mattress. Again, if I stretched out I could touch head and toes. They did not quote a weight for the top bunk bed but said that adults could sleep on it. Sherry climbed up on it and said it felt solid, no room to roll around but perfect for a child. The top bunk would probably be our daughter's storage area anyway. Getting in and out of the dinette requires a little contortion but is comfortable.

We would have loved to have driven the standard 13' off the lot. If all goes well, we will order a 13' around February or March with all the options we want and spend a great deal of time camping next summer. We will be able to use our existing hitch, will have add a brake controller and 7 pin plug/harness before then. Below is a list of options we are considering.

Scamp 13 Standard
Option Package includes;
Silverware Drawer
Front or Rear Cabinets (we chose front)
1.9 cu ft Refrigerator 12v-110v-gas
Battery Pack
Gravel Shield
Screen Door
City Water
Small Window Over Stove Top
Other Options;
Electric Brakes
26 gallon gray water tank
8' Awning
3 Speed Fan (Fantastic Fan)
2" Receiver for bike rack
Options we are still considering;
Exterior Ground Fault Outlet
Dual Exterior Tanks

I always keep a full spare tank for our grill so if the tank on the camper is low I could switch before we leave. The campgrounds that we frequent all have tank exchanges as well.

We had a great time and are really looking forward to next summer!
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:59 PM   #2
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Since you don't have a shower, you may want to reconsider the larger gray water tank.

I'd get the cabinet for over the rear too. In fact get as much storage as possible.

Unless you are camping for weeks, two 20# tanks is excessive (IMHO), unless you will get a 3-way refrigerator and run on propane. Or camp in the winter (boondock) and need to run a furnace. Cube heater will keep the trailer toasty if you're hooked up to power.

Thanks too for the report about the Scamp factory. It's always nice to hear first hand info
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:20 PM   #3
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This is pretty close to what we've used for the last 2.5+ years.

Suggestions;

Without the furnace you'll do just fine with one Propane tank, plus the dual tanks adds close to 30lbs to the tongue weight. (I have the furnace and wouldn't want to be without it.)
Over head cabinets, you might want to consider one at each end. (I use both quite a bit.)
Adding bicycles to the rear of a 13' put its a bit out of balance and sway could be encountered.

I do have the external GFI outlet. It gets used mostly in the driveway when vacuuming the trailer.

We've spent over 100 night out is our 2006 and just got back from spending 15 nights out. Great time.

Quote:
Since you don't have a shower, you may want to reconsider the larger gray water tank.

I'd get the cabinet for over the rear too. In fact get as much storage as possible.

Unless you are camping for weeks, two 20# tanks is excessive (IMHO), unless you will get a 3-way refrigerator and run on propane. Or camp in the winter (boondock) and need to run a furnace. Cube heater will keep the trailer toasty if you're hooked up to power.

Thanks too for the report about the Scamp factory. It's always nice to hear first hand info

I believe that the 26 gallon is the only size, or was when I bought mine.
The refrigerator doesn't burn much propane. I use my trailer year around and fill the propane in late fall and then again in early spring or later. Over 50% is boondocking, no shore power. Most usage in the furnace.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:38 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. We won't be winter camping, so we don't need the furnace. Wayne stated that they plumb (gas line) and wire for the furnace even if a furnace is not ordered. So a furnace could be added if we change our camping habits or sell it in the future. We don't have Air Conditioning at home so we never really considered getting it for a camper. They do not set up for an AC when one is not ordered. I don't think that will be an issue unless we decide to sell and a prospective buyer is from the southwest.

I don't remember there being an option for different size gray water tank. I will have to ask. I do remember Wayne saying that you have to ask for the tank if you are not getting the bathroom/shower. I guess I am a little curious why the tank would not be standard considering they all have a sink and I don't think there are many campgrounds that permit you to run the gray water on the ground?

We do camp near or with bike trails frequently. I was hoping that the weight in the back could be offset by loading the camper towards the front? I would appreciate any other experiences people could share concerning this.

We have been thinking that we will probably leave the bed made up unless the weather is bad and we are inside. This is why we thought about not getting the rear cabinets, they will be hard to get at most of the time. I suppose it could be used for storing items that we use infrequently. We will have to reconsider this, thanks for the suggestions.

We were very impressed with the factory and the quality of construction. The sales staff was friendly and knowledgable and we were very glad we made the trip. Although we probably should have waited a little while, next spring seems so far away



Quote:
This is pretty close to what we've used for the last 2.5+ years.

Suggestions;

Without the furnace you'll do just fine with one Propane tank, plus the dual tanks adds close to 30lbs to the tongue weight. (I have the furnace and wouldn't want to be without it.)
Over head cabinets, you might want to consider one at each end. (I use both quite a bit.)
Adding bicycles to the rear of a 13' put its a bit out of balance and sway could be encountered.

I do have the external GFI outlet. It gets used mostly in the driveway when vacuuming the trailer.

We've spent over 100 night out is our 2006 and just got back from spending 15 nights out. Great time.




I believe that the 26 gallon is the only size, or was when I bought mine.
The refrigerator doesn't burn much propane. I use my trailer year around and fill the propane in late fall and then again in early spring or later. Over 50% is boondocking, no shore power. Most usage in the furnace.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
We have been thinking that we will probably leave the bed made up unless the weather is bad and we are inside. This is why we thought about not getting the rear cabinets, they will be hard to get at most of the time. I suppose it could be used for storing items that we use infrequently. We will have to reconsider this, thanks for the suggestions.
In some ways it's easier to get at the rear overhead with bed made than with the dinette up. With the bed made a person can just kneel on the bed, with table up you have to lean over the table. Even that isn't bad unless a person is height challenged. At an inch or so under 6' I have absolutely no problems using the rear cabinet.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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I have read about a rare custom deluxe floorplan that offers a wood L-shaped corner kitchen. Did you happen to see this floorplan there? Can anyone else direct me to a photo of what it looks like? I don't remember if it was a 13 or 16 footer. I just remember reading they are rare to see. Lars, thanks for taking the time to post your factory tour.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:13 AM   #7
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Congratulations on your impending adoption!

I might suggest that since you'ce decide to go with the electric brakes, an outstanding controller to have is the Jordan Ultima. We've had one of these in our Dakota PU for about five years and it's excellent. The install is quite simple and when there's no trailer in tow, disconnecting it takes about ten seconds.

I'd also consider rethinking that class 1 hitch. IIRC, the tongue weight limit on one of those little puppy's is <200 pounds. That SHOULD be under what your 13 will require but it's always been my contention that pushing the limit on trailer hardware is simply asking for trouble down the road.

Again, congrats on the buy. As most on this list will attest, you'll never regret it.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:27 AM   #8
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I might suggest that since you'ce decide to go with the electric brakes, an outstanding controller to have is the [b]Jordan Ultima. We've had one of these in our Dakota PU for about five years and it's excellent. The install is quite simple and when there's no trailer in tow, disconnecting it takes about ten seconds.
I'll add my 2 cents worth on brake controllers. Jordan is a mechanical controller which is something I would avoid. (It connects to the brake pedal arm). A much better choice is the Prodigy for about the same price. State of the art, no mechanical connections, known to be reliable, and no need to disconnect when not in use. Braking power can be adjusted while in motion. In my opinion the Jordan is a through back to 30 year old technology.

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Old 08-12-2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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As a member of that sector of the population, I prefer the more politically correct term "vertically challenged".

And yes, I can reach the overhead cupboard by kneeling on the bed or alternatively the seat when the table is up.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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Hello, Lars & Family - we'll add our congrats plus thanks for the factory tour report. We are the 3rd owners of our Scamp 13. The original buyer must have wanted simple or needed economical, as we don't have too many "bells & whistles". We have since visited the factory for some upgrades - here's how we have 'evolved':

Overhead cabinets - get both! That bit of extra storage is quite handy. We store extra linens & other lightweight stuff up front, us the rear for bread, chips/snacks and extra paper goods (that way the chips don't get scrunched when the heavy skillet shifts on a turn ... don't ask how I know this!)

As Byron stated. access is not that difficult, especially if the bed is made up. Since we full-time in the GeezerEgg, we do leave the bed up and cook/dine outside or use small folding tables at the sofa.

Outside outlet - wish we had one of those. I'd include one if it isn't too spendy. Ditto a porch light.

Access doors in rear benches - these are the brainchild of another member (Joy A) and are one of the BEST upgrades you can get. The openings in the slanted edge of the benches allow you to reach the drain-valve for fresh water (and check water level) or electrical cord etc. easily. You won't regret requesting these special doors.

Heater w/extra propane - we boondock a lot, so we have a propane heater which uses the small disposable 'pods' - works great to warm up the space on a chilly day or just before bed (OFF while sleeping!!!) We also have a small cube heater for hook-up sites, so no need for an on-board furnace.

Gray water tank - a good idea if you will be using lots of parks which require them (ex: some SKP Co-op parks). NO, shouldn't run grey water on the ground (tho we learned it was acceptable in the southeast ... hmmm). Several members here have devised clever closed-systems for gray-water collection - we purchased a "blue boy" portable tank and it has been great.

Hitch - UPGRADE and be safer! We wish you safe travels & many, many happy memories! L 'n D
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:46 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the suggestions. I don't recall any kind of floorplan with an 'L' shaped kitchen, sounds interesting though.

As for Brake Controller, the Tekonsha (sp?) is the one that I have been looking at. We are getting quotes from local shops for the install.

As for the hitch, I would be interested in more comments. The estimated weight of the 13' is 1300 lbs. The hitch we have is rated for 2000 lbs, tongue weight of 200 lbs. It doesn't seem we are pushing close to the limit? Even loaded with 200 more lbs, it is still only 75% of the rating. We do have quite a bit of room in the tow vehicle as well so the trailer can be kept light.

I don't recall seeing an option for front cabinet doors on the benches, but that does sound like a pretty handy option. I will have to ask Wayne. Any other options that are not in the sales material that anyone has recommendations for?
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Thanks again for the suggestions. I don't recall any kind of floorplan with an 'L' shaped kitchen, sounds interesting though.

As for Brake Controller, the Tekonsha (sp?) is the one that I have been looking at. We are getting quotes from local shops for the install.

As for the hitch, I would be interested in more comments. The estimated weight of the 13' is 1300 lbs. The hitch we have is rated for 2000 lbs, tongue weight of 200 lbs. It doesn't seem we are pushing close to the limit? Even loaded with 200 more lbs, it is still only 75% of the rating. We do have quite a bit of room in the tow vehicle as well so the trailer can be kept light.

I don't recall seeing an option for front cabinet doors on the benches, but that does sound like a pretty handy option. I will have to ask Wayne. Any other options that are not in the sales material that anyone has recommendations for?

FYI, My 13' loaded for camping tips the scales at about 1700lbs with about 180lb tongue weight.

Yes you will have to talk to Wayne about the doors.
Consider having them install a propane detector.

The regret I have is that I didn't have them at least run wiring for lights to each corner of the end overhead cabinets.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:52 PM   #13
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The regret I have is that I didn't have them at least run wiring for lights to each corner of the end overhead cabinets.
I second (third? fourth?) getting the overhead cabinets above the dinette with the lights. Very nice for bedtime reading.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:57 AM   #14
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The floor is NOT particle board; if it were, everybody would be involved in floor replacements.

I believe the couplers on both trailers are for 2" ball -- You may have trouble finding a ball mount for 2" on the lower class receivers.

At least one Yahoo Scamper has a 13' that weighs 2,200 on the axle.

If you get the 13', definitely get brakes -- Cheapest way is to get them with axle.

Even if you don't want a/c, ask how much it will cost to get the reinforced roof -- You or a subsequent owner may change your mind.
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