Second Thoughts - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-23-2007, 11:35 PM   #1
Carl O's Avatar
Trailer: 1990 Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 32
As I've mentioned before, I'm looking for a trailer and I think it's going to be a 13' trailer, but.....I keep thinking, maybe I should get a 16 or 17' trailer instead.

I'd like to know if you had second thoughts about the style/size of trailer you bought, not necessarily the brand unless you could only get the layout you wanted in a different brand that you did not buy.

13' positives for me:

1. Even a Scamp at 7'6" tall (the new ones) fits through my garage door.
2. At 13' it fits in my tandem garage with my truck - no storage fees
3. It can sleep 4 people (my wife and two young sons)
4. It is easy to tow and set up.
5. Cost - less expensive to buy and I'm guessing to tow (gas $)
6. It is WAY BIGGER than my teardrop

13' negatives for me:

1. Since I need to sleep 4 people, I can't get a bathroom
2. In a Scamp specifically the stove is the same level as the second bunk and very close to the bunk, which scares me since my eldest son is only 5 and he'd be the one on the top bunk.

16-17' positives for me:

1. Sleep 4 with a bathroom
2. Stove is away from bunks or beds

16-17' negatives for me:

1. Set up? Is it more difficult?
2. Who wants to clean the potti? Not my life's ambition.
3. Storage. Would need to pay to keep it stored.
4. Cost to buy and tow > 13'

My truck can easily pull either (Honda Ridgeline). Scamp's 5th wheel looks nice, but see a different thread for reasons why I'm not considering this option.

I'm not really into the luxuries that come with the bigger trailers, so that's not a reason for me to decide one way or the other.

So, I'm sure I am not the only person to think about this stuff, did you have second thoughts and why did you decide on what you purchased?

I'm sure I and other 'newbies' will find your responses very valuable and interesting.



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Old 02-23-2007, 11:52 PM   #2
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Posts: 863
A couple of random thoughts: It all depends on what you use it for. Ours has served as a traveling motel room and more often as a boondocking camping aid. For four people the smaller ones could be a tight fit when the rain is pouring down and you are stuck inside.

Cleaning the potty can be distasteful but a whole lot better than the alternative at 3 in the morning with the rain coming down sideways and the outhouse is a long ways away.

We are not into luxuries either, but our central vacuum may not have fit very well in a 13 footer.

If you keep reading the forum you will find answers to almost anything. Good luck and good hunting!

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Old 02-24-2007, 01:13 AM   #3
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Trailer: Gypsy 1979
Posts: 79
Hey Carl, Welcome aboard. Your needs for space for four people kinda make a 13 footer a litle tight but thats mostly whils sleeping or rainy weather. Most activities are outside.

We tend to want bigger and better but bigger is not always better in my opinion. I have had larger campers in the past but as I get older I find that all the extra work of set-up and take-down are more taxing. There are several 13'models that accomodate 4 o.k. but you usually have to sacrifice something else, like bath or closet.

You might think about 13' with one of the add on enclosed awnings which give more storage area for coolers and such. I'm sure there are folks here on the forum with the same requirements as you have and they will chime in when they log on. Good luck on your decision. Bill
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:03 AM   #4
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,916
I haven't regreted buying my 16 footer...not once. I love having the bathroom for those nightly trips or when it's raining and don't want to hoof it to the "facilities." Cleaning the bathroom in the trailer is not any more difficult than one in my home. And the payoff for having it is me.

Then too in your're at the beginning of the camping times with your children. They are going to grow. Will a 13 footer accommodate your family as well in say...five years In 10 years you'll have children old enough they'll probably want their own space...a tent right outside the trailer door...or?? But it's that "tweener" time you may have wished you had a larger trailer. The good part is used molded lightweight fiberglass trailers hold their value pretty well, if maintained and you wouldn't have a hard time selling and getting something larger...when it's really needed. But, if you get what you need...long term, you won't be doing the same mods twice.

So many decisions. Good luck in making yours
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:12 AM   #5
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Name: Cindy
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Posts: 2,404
I love our 13' but I now find myself looking for a longer trailer, even though it is not likely we could park one in our limited space. Even with two people, it can seem cramped. And even though we have a portapotty and have rigged out a shower, both have to be set up to be used. I would love a bathroom.

But our little one is really cute, fits in our limited parking space, and pulls like a dream.

1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud, "The Egg Carton"
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:24 AM   #6
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Posts: 5,000
Carl, I've had at least one of everything in the past four or so years... three or four of some of the sizes! Each has its relative merits and drawbacks. Some of the folks here use their trailer primarily as a hard-sided tent. Others, like me, use it as a mobile motel room.

From a financial perspective, you'll do much better buying a loaded 16' trailer even though it's initial cost may be higher. The difference is that there are more folks looking for loaded trailers than basic models so the market is always stronger. Nice 13' trailers sell well too, there just aren't as many folks looking for one at any given time.

I've had and used trailers since 1979. The one piece of wisdom I can pass on, especially with kids growing up, is that you seldom have "too much" space in one. Your needs will change as the kids grow, and unless you plan for that now, you'll actually spend more in the long run as your family outgrows a small trailer. You may eventually outgrow a 16' as well, but by that time, the kids can tent outside the door. Everyone sleeps better!

The one feature that I've found that I won't scrimp on is bed space (THAT only took me twenty five years to figure out ... or maybe it wasn't as important when I was younger ). But today, if I don't sleep well, the adventure goes poorly. At 6'5" tall, it's been a challenge, but there are trailers out there that accommodate me nicely. It took a while to figure out which ones, but I'm a happy camper right now!

The bath, some folks wouldn't have, and others (like me) wouldn't buy without. Most folks who have them though, even if they didn't think they'd use it, or even only use it for "middle of the night emergencies" won't go back to not having one.

It's a tough decision, and I wish you well!

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Old 02-24-2007, 06:37 AM   #7
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Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 143
My wife and I considered a 13' in the beginning, but after we tried the bed found it to narrow at 46". We then looked at a 53" bed and couldn't believe what a difference 7" makes. The majority of the time spent in the trailer is in bed. The trailer we choose is only 1.5' longer (11.5' vs. 10' box) which yields a 7" wider bed and 3" wider goucho/bunk area with a bit more storage. The trailer fully loaded is only approx. 2000# which will be viable for a smaller TV if we opt. for that in the future.
The more deluxe the trailer, the more cabinets and storage/bathroom areas installed. This made the trailer seem more claustrophobic to my wife who is sensiitive to this. For the limited amount of nightly use, a portapotti has worked so far and is easily cleaned, maintained and stored. I am also interested in the disposable bag system that is odor and bio acceptable to toss in garbage. The deluxe 16' seemed more cramped than the 13' basic model.
There are lots of threads dedicated here on maintaining the more complex systems. Simple can have a big upside sometimes. We live in a time like no other in history for the vast number of choices available to us. May the choices you make bring you happiness.
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Old 02-24-2007, 06:51 AM   #8
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Trailer: 1986 U-Haul CT13 ft
Posts: 494
My wife and I have a 13' egg, and it's perfect for us. But we don't even let our dog into it, it's that compact. For camping with 3 or 4 people, I would not consider a 13 footer.
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:14 AM   #9
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Trailer: 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel Dlx / 2001 Ford Ranger 4x4
Posts: 1,125
I have had the Scamp 13', Scamp 16ft side dinnette (which I love the layout ) and now the 5th wheel.... Ya know with the two small children you really may want to go to a 16 footer. I loved my 13ft ( just me and the 2 doggies ) but really wanted more room so sold that.... Got the 16ft loved it, but pulling it was white knuckle experience for me.... so I sold it... then I got this lovely 5th wheel... ( all were used and in great shape )
From what your saying I would consider the 16 footerw with the potty.. Its NOT really that bad.... LOL ..... I thought the first time i had to 'dump' it would be sickining but its not.. like donna said its no worse than your own bathroom at home... and lots of reasons like she said with NOT having to have a chamber pot around in the middle of the nite...
Even with the bathroom.. i use the public ones during the day and use mine at nite.

Maybe you could have time to run down the the NOG and look at some trailers.. that would really help you see visually to make your decission in purchasing one... I am sure there will be Scamps, Casita's and Big Foots there for you to tour.....
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:15 AM   #10
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Trailer: Cadet 1985 / 2006 Element
Posts: 221
Hi, Carl, and welcome. Another thing I would think about: if the 13 trailer is in the garage and handy, would we be more likely to use it than a 16 or 17 in a storage lot? Would I enjoy going out to the garage after dinner and tinkering around with things? Would the kids enjoy helping you tinker? (maybe you don't want to think about this one!) For me, having it close at hand is a high card.

I looked for 11 months before finding our trailer and I enjoyed every minute of the search, even the disappointments because I learned something. Even though our trailer is being gutted and restored and we've never camped in it, I am thinking down the road to the next one. Men are never satisfied.
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:45 AM   #11
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,916
Maybe you could have time to run down the the NOG and look at some trailers.. that would really help you see visually to make your decission in purchasing one... I am sure there will be Scamps, Casita's and Big Foots there for you to tour.....
Christi has this right. You can look at all the brochures you want, view pictures on the web and even talk to owners...but until you see one and look at the features of each, it's almost impossible to make an objective decision.

Click to go to the listing on this first post of all the trailers (and people ) coming to NOG. Quite a variety!
Northern Oregon Gathering - Part 2, Spring Event , April. 27-29, 2007
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:12 AM   #12
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 604
What it boils down to - get whatever seems like the best choice and use it. Experience will show you what you need and don't need. The advantage of fibreglass trailers is that the depreciation is minimal - it should not cost an arm and a leg if you decide to sell your first trailer and get what you now know you want.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:21 AM   #13
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Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 143
Christi & Donna are, as usual, spot on. Discussing and theoretically picturing is fun,but seeing and physically trying out is far and away the best way to make good choices. If I were anywhere near NOG I be all over it just to see all the neat trailers.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:35 AM   #14
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Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 143
Carl, I've had at least one of everything in the past four or so years... three or four of some of the sizes!

I've noticed the list of trailers you've had in the past and was awed by the number and variety! What makes you tick? Is it just for the thrill? Attention deficit disorder? Alcoholism? Come on give.

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