What would you do differently? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-05-2019, 10:33 AM   #1
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Name: Laura
Trailer: Learning about trailers
Oregon
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What would you do differently?

Im new to having a travel trailer. The dream goes back many years! Lol I had a photo of a Scamp stuck to the wall of my cubicle in 2004. But, the reality of owning one is only a real option recently. So, jumping in fresh, Id love to know what you wish youd known before you bought your first fiberglass trailer.

A little about us... Im a small gal in my early fifties. My sweetie is a big guy in his yearly 60s. Hes thinking he wants to hold out for the king sized bed. I dont think itll matter that much to me. We have two little dogs and no kids at home, anymore. And, well tow with a 2002 Chevy Silverado. Wed like to keep to 16 -17 foot trailer.

Thank you in advance for your input. Random thoughts welcome!
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:49 AM   #2
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How to ask this delicately... "big" as in tall, broad, both? If tall, how tall, because many molded trailers have limited headroom and short beds. Bed size is more important, as you've already identified.

On first impulse you seem like good candidates for one of the Hymer GT trailers that are being sold for a pretty good price due to the bankruptcy of the manufacturer. You can find more information on a couple of other recent threads. King-sized bed and a pop-up roof extension should make them very roomy, but not too large or heavy. Being a handy is a plus, since you'll have no manufacturer support, but even if not, most things on any trailer are pretty standard stuff.

In answer to your larger question, the only real surprise when I transitioned to a towable RV was a slower pace. You can't drive 75 or 80 mph on interstates (65 mph tops, less in some states), and everything takes just a bit longer: turning or changing lanes in traffic, finding a parking space, maneuvering in a gas station, getting underway after a stop... So allow more time and schedule fewer miles per day. We used to drive from eastern Arizona to the beach in San Diego in one long day. With the trailer we break it up into a day and a half.

Trailer-wise, no regrets. At times I think Id like to have this or that feature, but it was the one we found that fit our limited budget and tow rating at the time. Its simple and basic, cozy, but comfortable. Whenever Im tempted to want a bigger trailer, I remember two things: (1) how my arms feel after washing and waxing our little 13 Scamp, and (2) how much travel we could pay for with the money wed spend on a different trailer.

Best wishes as your pursue your dream of trailer ownership!
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:05 AM   #3
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Agree regarding the rally!
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:22 AM   #4
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Name: Laura
Trailer: Learning about trailers
Oregon
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Thank you for the advice! Jim is 6’2” and about 250. Standing is important. We are super lucky, we live in Bandon Oregon. So, there is a gathering scheduled in our town this month. We’ll learn more about which one’s he can stand up in.

I’ll look up the brand you mentioned. Thank you!
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:51 AM   #5
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Name: Alan
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I agree try to attend a rally
Somewhere on this site is a list of all of them
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Old 07-05-2019, 12:21 PM   #6
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Laura,

I highly recommend the Oregon rally at Bandon. It is a large gathering and most, or all, of the trailers will be open to see. You can check the floor plans, the headroom, the bed sizes, etc, and talk to the owners about how everything works and see the tow vehicles they are using. Fun and well worth it.
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Old 07-05-2019, 12:45 PM   #7
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I have no regrets.
I bought what I thought I would like as a cheap and old version.
Remodeled and towed it for a few trips and sold it.
I then bought something closer to what I thought I wanted, again a cheap and old version.
Remodeled and towed it for a couple seasons and sold it.


The small profit I made on these trailers helped me put some of the money toward what I was now certain was the ideal choice and just what I wanted..
I was right, it has now been 15years and that choice still echoes true over time.


Even if you get the right one for now,it may be not quite right later on.
Go ahead and jump in anyway. You can always sell and buy another trailer as you learn. With most fiberglass trailers your loss will be small or non-existent.
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:23 PM   #8
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The older Scamps mostly have a narrow bed, something like 48" wide at the widest part but the curved corners eat about 4" out of that width at the head and foot. Many newer ones are 54" wide, less the corners. BTW, if the person near the rear (you?) wants to get out of bed, they have to crawl over the other person. Some are ok with all of this, some aren't.


Casita makes one that allows for lengthwise sleeping (heads near the rear wall) at the expense of kitchen space.
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:26 PM   #9
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Name: Laura
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takes the pressure off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
I have no regrets.
I bought what I thought I would like as a cheap and old version.
Remodeled and towed it for a few trips and sold it.
I then bought something closer to what I thought I wanted, again a cheap and old version.
Remodeled and towed it for a couple seasons and sold it.


The small profit I made on these trailers helped me put some of the money toward what I was now certain was the ideal choice and just what I wanted..
I was right, it has now been 15years and that choice still echoes true over time.


Even if you get the right one for now,it may be not quite right later on.
Go ahead and jump in anyway. You can always sell and buy another trailer as you learn. With most fiberglass trailers your loss will be small or non-existent.

Very helpful. That takes the pressure off of trying for a one and done mentality. Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:58 AM   #10
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My thoughts on Bigfoot

Our first FG trailer was a Bigfoot 17.5 that worked great until 3 grandkids wanted to join us camping. i bought it for $15,000cdn and sold it for $25,000cdn to the first caller who had been looking for this trailer for 2 years. I then bought a 21 Bigfoot with that money and have enjoyed it immensely. If you don't have grandkids wanting to camp with you the Bigfoot 17.5 towed by a Silverado would be my ideal. Also shop in BC Canada as your dollar goes 35% farther. A Canadian dollar will cost you .65 us. I will be selling my 2002 21 Bigfoot sometime in the fall when our Motorhome is ready. i will be asking $25,000 usd for it. Buy quality and cry once.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:22 AM   #11
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LauraP and Floyd: Yes, agreed. A number of us have been through several versions of the "perfect" camping rig for us...only to switch later. I know we sure have. Our Peanut Amerigo FG-16 (16' long from hitch to back bumper) is our final trailer. This one we're keeping but it took most of our lives to get to it.

At least we never borrowed huge amounts of money for a giant new rig only to find out we didn't love it and lost big money on not keeping it.

We started smaller and ended up with 16.' Plenty of room, two beds (both narrow but fine) plenty of storage, but we're not full timing and don't want to. We packed for 28 days last year and managed 24; plenty of storage room. Of course we shopped along the way for food...

We've arranged it with beach towel interior divider curtains so that we can have two "bedrooms," one back and one front side. The beds serve as couches during the day. Quite nice as our sleeping hours are different. I'm up at 5, Paul is often awake by . So I can quietly poke around, read, wiggle, go in and out, take the dog for a walk, while he's still snug in his nest.


The big Bandon gathering should be super for an exploration of so many types of trailers! We went a couple of years ago...literally tons of fiberglass trailers, old and new and in between.

BEST hunting to you!
And happy trails.

"K"
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:33 AM   #12
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Name: Daniel A.
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I've had my 17 foot Bigfoot for 8 years now its a 1991 and have no regrets the only thing it didn't have was air conditioning that I added later.


At the time I focused on fiberglass only because of the long term value, I had looked at Escape and Scamp till I got inside the Bigfoot and was sure it was what I wanted the price was firm it works well for me.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:41 AM   #13
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Name: Stephen
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Exclamation Doing the Job Right

Laura,

The best thing you can do right now is to make a list of all the applications and capabilities you want in a trailer and then purchase and equip accordingly, which will avoid the hassles, disappointments and expense of learning the hard way.

For example, did you know that the frames of nearly all small trailers are not strong enough for boondocking? They are only for rolling down a paved highway. More aggressive applications will require a stronger frame or damage to the entire structure will result. The axle quickly approaches overload as you add provisions which will require a stronger axle, bearings and brakes to take the load of more than a few hundred pounds. Small trailers are only 3 season at best. They become quite uncomfortable beyond normal temperatures whether heated or air-conditioned. Additional insulation is needed to approach 4-season capability. Without 4 season capability, you'll live in constant fear of weather changes, lose the use of your trailer for the winter months and be forced to take it out of service by "winterizing" it. That means winter sports and desert camping in comfort via trailer are not feasible. Small trailers nearly always lack enough water-carrying capability to be livable for more than a few days in remote locations and provide no provision for accessing it if power fails. Small trailer electrics offer no protection from shore power defects and lightning strikes which will have to be added if you want to avoid damage to your electrical system.

Sorting out these issues BEFOREHAND will go a long way toward providing the utility you hope for in your new trailer the first time.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:13 PM   #14
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I agree with a lot of what Stephen says in the post above, but let me add a few mods to them, if I may. We have a 17' Casita Liberty Deluxe, which can be set up with a king bed - but you will not concurrently be able to set up a table (we have it in the two single bed arrangement, with 6" extensions for extra width.
* Frame strength - We've been OK with short distances - a few miles - on Cascade and other gravel roads. We have had three broken rivets, which were fairly easy to fix - I think I know when that happened - we had to pull off a paved road quickly, and hit some potholes. Other than that, 17,000 trouble-free miles in a couple of years.
* Axle overload - Indeed there are limits and tradeoffs, but we are able to carry two bicycles on the back, and food enough for two weeks, and other items in/on the tow vehicle (inflatable kayaks, for example). You will be towing with a truck, so you should be able to carry things in the bed. We did use all of our 4Runner's rear axle capacity on our last long trip, but that's what it's rated for.
* Heating and AC - Our furnace has worked well in temps around 30-40 degrees, and we have had enough propane for a couple of weeks. The furnace fan burns a lot of juice, but a 100W portable solar panel has so far kept up. The AC requires that we be plugged in somewhere or run a generator; on the West Coast, we have not needed AC much. We have spent nights in desert RV parks where the temp was 100 in daytime; the AC kept up without a problem (this may not be the case in the SE).
If you ski and plan winter sports, Bigfoot makes a true 4-season fiberglass trailer. If not, given where you live, Casita, Scamp, or others without lots of insulation will work just fine. I'd be surprised if you had to winterize in Bandon, being so close to the coast.
We just spent several weeks traveling through Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California, in periods of rain, snow, and thunderstorms, without a hitch, and almost entirely without being plugged in anywhere. I think it's easier to do this in the West, because the weather is not as extreme.

In any event, I also encourage you to visit the rally and ask lots of questions. You'll see a wide variety of trailers from 8'-10' up to 25' Bigfoots, set up according to each person's different needs.
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