Family Friendly Floor Plans - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-02-2006, 02:50 PM   #1
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Name: Thane
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 223
This forum topic is established to provide for discussion on family friendly floor plans. It is my hope that this forum will introduce families to the wonderful world of fiberglass trailers. As you are probably aware, the vast majority of fiberglass trailer owners are retired folks and couples. I believe that this a strong testament to the value and low ownership costs of these typically small trailers. We know that these trailers are not the best size for sitting inside with the kids and watching TV, but I think most folks want their camping experience to be an outdoor adventure, albeit with a warm and safe place to sleep and bathe.

I imagine that there are many families out there like mine, we want a trailer but don't know that Moms Soccer Van can pull a 16 or 17 foot trailer that has all the amenities of home. I propose that most of these families of 3 to 5 can't afford a new tow vehicle as well as trailer and that if more knew of the comfort available in these small fiberglass trailers, there would be more of the next generation of RV'rs on the road and enjoying the lifestyle and camaraderie that can be found in campgrounds through out the United States and Canada.

A good place to start this forum is with the below July 1999 Trailer Life Magazine article by Randy Scott that reviewed the combination of the Honda Odyssey LX and the Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe. To be honest, it never occurred to me that my wife's car, a Honda Odyssey EX, would be a suitable tow vehicle for this class of travel trailer. My assumptions were that I would have to use my Ford Explorer for family vacations in the years to come. The prospect of giving up the conveniences and ride quality of the Honda Odyssey limited my expectations of how long of a trip we could comfortably make with our four and five year old children. Although I will use my Ford for now, when extra money comes available I will be adding a tow capacity to the Honda.

I recently purchased an Escape Trailer, Floor Plan B, with the gaucho bunk option. I believe it is a great trailer for a small family with a mini-van. The front gaucho bunk retains the functionality of the front dinette and adds a 120 pound capacity overhead bunk bed. The front bunk bed area will be curtained off for separate sleeping quarters for the kids. The side mounted bathroom and shower is of adequate size for washing the kids. The exterior shower is an added bonus to wash the big pieces of crud of our little camp monkeys.

The Casita is a popular trailer, and rightly so. Both the 16 and 17 foot Spirit can easily sleep 3 and the optional side couch/bunk can sleep 4. The side dinette is not available with the optional side couch/bunk and the upper bunk has an 80 pound capacity. The side mounted location of the bunk bed may complicate the screening of that section of the trailer. An exterior shower is available.

The Casita Liberty is also a popular choice with two aft dinettes that convert into a double or king size bed. I prefer the bunk bed approach as my kids tend to thrash about a bit. An exterior shower is available.

I have rented Casita 16 foot bunkhouse models and will add some pictures of one of these units soon. They have a rear dinette/double bed, a side dinette/single bed and a front mounted couch/bunk bed. They can sleep 5 but do not have a toilet or shower. This floor plan (as far as I can tell) in not discussed on the Casita website. I do not know if 17 foot bunkhouse models area available, but I don't see why not. The place I rented from has a 2005 unit so they must still be available. I do not know if an exterior shower is available. I do not know if a gray water tank is available. I will post pictures of this model Casita soon.

I don't have any first hand experience with Scamp trailers and am hoping someone will add a discussion of Scamp floorplans and bunk bed ratings. The factory website is provided below.

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Old 03-02-2006, 03:17 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe / 2007 Nissan Frontier King Cab
Posts: 729
My wife and I bought the Casita Freedom Deluxe because we figured it would just be the two of us. Our teenaged son had told us he didn't want to go camping anymore. However, as soon as he heard us making plans for Yellowstone and Florida, he suddenly changed his mind and wants to go (and he's welcome, of course).

We considered buying the parts and changing the layout to a Spirit Deluxe, but what we finally decided on was a Fiamma Florida Room and a hammock (Andy loves sleeping in hammocks--a pleasure he discovered while on a church group trip to Mexico). We haven't ordered the Florida Room, yet, so he's going to use a tent until then. He's going with us on a trip to Florida in March and we'll likely not order the Florida Room until June.

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Old 03-03-2006, 06:09 AM   #3
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Al Stansell's Avatar
Trailer: 1976 13 ft Boler and 1980 Trillium 5500
Posts: 153
Actually I find the original 13' layout ala Boler and Scamp to be perfect for a small family. Indeed that is the customer they were designed for - the bunks being intended for kids. We are two adults 1 child and a couple smallish dogs and we couldn't be more pleased with "Sunny" our '76 13' Boler. As most families are on a pretty tight budget the economic benefits of the 13' models are also a big plus; they are cheaper to buy, tow and maintain. I also go camping with my neighbor and his son (see pics in my link below) and I sleep on the lower bunk. At 5'10 and 170 pounds I am quite comfortable. It's a great design that has certainly stood the test of time. Cheers, Alec.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:10 AM   #4
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Amerigo & Trailmanor (popupish)
Posts: 459
We had a 13' Boler we took out with the kids for a couple summers. It worked decently well for our purposes with two exceptions:

1) My wife and I felt the rear bed was a bit confining. We were used to a queen (60" wide) at home. Sleeping in the Boler's 44/48" wide bed with a major curve in the back was a big change.

2) Rainy days with everybody in the trailer we would get a little flakey. Course if you've got enough sense to jump in the car and catch a movie instead of sitting around getting claustrophobic...

Storage inside would also be an issue with 4 people's worth of stuff. We kept a lot of stuff stored either in the van or outside in a screen room.

When we used it as a "camping" trailer (ie a sleeping room - most of the real 'living' being done outdoors) it actually worked fine. We had to make sure it was well vented (little enclosed spaces with 4 people get kinda humid), but it was managable.

We ended up selling the Boler to get a pop-up (not a conventional one - when up, the layout is similar to a front dinette Scamp 16-er), but the biggest motivation for THAT was to get the big bed in the back. If the Scamps had 60" rear beds I'd have lobbied HEAVILY for that. My long term plans are to pick up an unloved 16' Scamp and shoehorn a big bed into the back. Those plans have been shoved off an indeterminate amount of time however since a 4-sleeper isn't gonna cut it for our family much longer.

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Old 03-03-2006, 08:56 AM   #5
Jeremy Witt's Avatar
Trailer: 2005 Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 94
We're a "small" family of 4. Our kids are 11 & 9 years of age and we currently camp in a 2005 Scamp 13'. We "downsized" last summer from a 1982 Scamp 16'. we wanted a new trailer and think the 13's are perfect.

We love it! As Mike says, it gets cramped on a rainy day, but otherwise it is the perfect set up for a young family of 4 to go on weekend camping trips.
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:45 PM   #6
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Name: Thane
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 223
Thanks for all the great info, I am sure others are going to benefit greatly from your insight.
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Old 03-03-2006, 11:26 PM   #7
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Trailer: Boler 17 ft
Posts: 510
Our 17' Boler is ideal for two adults (one short, one tall) and one kid who likes to draw when it rains.

With the following provisos/exceptions/plans:

1. Lego challenge: grab Lego blocks in a random way (no choosing of special pieces allowed): when it rains, Mom and Kid challenge each other to make the most interesting things with the Lego pieces available in shoe box.

2. Listen to CBC(public) radio and make fun of Paul McCartney while eating fresh-caught shrimp (no plastic shoes allowed, as that involves petroleum-based products)

3. Talk to your kid(s) about what you are doing and why.
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:56 PM   #8
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Chris Z's Avatar
Trailer: 16 Scamp, 17 Casita, 21Bigfoot now
Posts: 395
My recipe
Take 5 grandkids whose parents are busy trying to get ahead and show them as much as I can.
Put one in side dinette and the rest in tent or vehicle -OR- sleep in SUV and cram all 5 in Scamp. Either way, they are happy. Take nylon tent/ air mattresses and use them if I can.
Success (I think)
Anyway, we have tent camped and it worked except when it downpoured SO this ought to work!

Just can't seem to find a floorplan that works for all of us but when they're in school, the 16 SD ought to be perfect.
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:03 PM   #9
Jeremy Witt's Avatar
Trailer: 2005 Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 94
Our first outing in our new 13' Scamp was mid July last year. We allowed each of our kids to bring a friend along camping (something we hadn't allowed them to do before). There were two adults (Mary and I) and 4 kids, all elementary age, two boys and two girls.

The "plan" was for the boys to sleep in a tent the first night, and the girls to sleep in the tent the second night. Alternating the bunks in the Scamp each night as well.

Friday night at bedtime, nobody really wanted to sleep in the tent. So for TWO nights we had 6 people sleeping in a 13' Scamp.

Two adults on the rear bed, two kids on the bunks, one child actually slept under the rear bed, the other on the "rest" of the floor.

I would not reccommend doing this very often! Although it did work out just fine.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:06 AM   #10
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Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 15
Wow, Jeremy.
I've got a Scamp 5er right now. I'm a pretty big guy (6' around 250). I have me, my wife, my 13 yr old daughter, my 10 yr old son, and our cocker spaniel. Occasionally my mother in law.
It's pretty tight if it's raining. I've been really debating getting something bigger with more room. But, at the same time, the scamp is a great trailer that would probably last a lifetime.
We've actually slept 8 in mine. My 4 along with my Brother in law, his wife, and 2 kids. That Scamp was packed. But, everyone slept pretty good.

I put mine up for sale, but every time I go around it, I want to change my mind. I love the camper and everything about it, just wish it was a foot or so wider. But, I guess it's all a trade off one way or another.
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:31 PM   #11
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Posts: 52
For a family friendly floor plan, what is the consideration - sleeping locations/separation, cooking/eating location, storage necessity, etc.? What is nice about a camper, not only protection from outside heavy weather elements, but you can actually layer certain locations - such as sleeping and storage. Can't do much for cooking/eating, but basically that is usually performed outside just like the tent, so why change that and bring it in the camper and take a lot of valuable space. Pop-ups are now getting slideout configurations for seating and cooking, and these would probably be a great way to 'expand' the confinements of any camper, even the fiberglass campers if more seating and cooking area becomes a requirement for owners.
Amentities are to each his own, but with tenting, it's what you brought. A camper only adds to the amentities to a point. Basecamp showering is simple, easy and effective with warm water and a wash cloth. Outside cooking and eating is performed at the picnic table. Same for card games, etc. that a family would do together. Campfires are the biggest draw for family camping, even with several other families around one.

I would guess a step up from tenting is not the pop-up but a teardrop. Yah, not a family of 4 type of rig, but you get the idea of space requirements. If you skip that, a step forward, or side step, then the light weight fiberglass camper is the next option for a family of 4, but most go towards a pop-up. Pop-ups have grown in size as well as amentities, yet have also grown into other areas of marketing (ATV haulers, etc). They get heavier and bigger, though there are still small units. The fiberglass camper niche is a niche of its own. Specific purpose to meet the various needs of the customers caught in the whirlwind of decisions of life. Bigger is better, more is good,

Choices affecting buyers is usually how much apartment is there in the camper and for what cost. But recently, it's been the type of toter they have to pull the camper. Some even consider the cost of vehicle maintenance, fuel usage, insurance, etc. Being at the KC RV show last week, I heard a lot of families of 3-5 discuss how many tvs there were in the camper, how big the toilet was, how much room there was in the 'kitchen'. Forget about talking about the true RVers. Anyways, I wonder how much time a family actually spends in an apartment type camper.

My best configuration for a family of 4 camping up to 7 days in a camper would hold 3-4 separate sleeping areas (same/different sexes) and storage for duffle bags and food, and have floor storage for coolers, fire wood, and other large stuff. The bedding would be big enough for twin size for a single 'small' person, and double for a single 'large' person or 'queen' for a couple. If ac is added and is not roof mounted, the unit should not be near the door but opposite it. There is a lot of hot air coming from it. Rather than have large windows for natural light in/out, I'd like to see a roof window, designed similar to tractor trailer boxes. The window is plexiglass and is not clear but will provide natural lighting.

In a new fiberglass camper, the Escape Camper Figure A would be great if there was capability for bunks front and rear. Not only storage space but actual sleeping areas. Lighten up the camper with replacing the wood cabinets with fiberglass cabinetry, have the cook space removable to connect on the outside like pop-ups, gain access to underseat storage through slide doors inside and outside access doors, move the refrigerator to under the sink/cooking area, get the overall height smaller with a popup center section design like that of the Compact camper (Aussies campers still have this configuration). One of the benefits of a center popup would be the natural lighting without the need for curtains and airflow. Privacy would not be a concern.
Scamp has the 16' and 13'ers which are setup for a family of 4. Choices of which is more of a personal use and choice of amentities. Same for Casita.

For the Escape camper, I would like to see it a little smaller overall length version with less 'between' cabinetry space, sort of a 13' to a 16', single bunks over the double beds. Or to get the camper to be smaller, on Figure B, remove the toilet and wardrode closet, but I'll guess that the toiler and closet walls support the bunk configuration. Get all this to be near the 1100-1400# mark, sell for $5-6kUS and I would think this would market very well even competitively. I know the price is way under, but due to long-lasting design of the fiberglass and parking/storage capabilities of small campers, I would think owners will retain them longer now anticipating the economy of the future.
For those new double-occu campers, ie Little Joe, they are very expensive for what they actually are. In the old days, these campers were a niche of their own. In competitive markets, think of these as walk-in tear drops. For crossing markets from the tear drop, they are also getting bigger and have seating capabilities inside. The markets are blending together and there is really no exstinct separation.

Another campers to look at are the 16'ers of Cikira Cikira RV, Shadow Cruiser,and Road Runner. These have rear side bunks and eating/sleeping area and a top bunk up front. Though the weight is near 2200# and too heavy for most communter vehicles.
What about Taylor Coach campers Taylor Coach? They list them as lightweight. I really like the 12' Bobbie but it's for basically 3 people, but the 14' Codester works out well for 4.

I have a 16' Scamp with front bunks, no bathroom, heater, ac and that's about it. The eating/sleeping in the back is just sleeping. There is only 1 upper cabinet and this has limited space for food. Within the camper, there is a lot of room not being utilized. I still have the water tank in there, but it's not in use. The sink (not in use) is only a handpump and discharge is through a hose (no grey tank). So we just use a water container. Heater uses a lot of battery energy. I'm not sure if the camper heater works now as it killed my battery one time and after recharge couldn't get the heater to work again. Refrigerator has broken door (that's how I got it) and is used only as a dish/glass storage. Pans are underneath the sink. Ac is in the closet next to the door (thus my comment on hot air). Where the bathroom would be is a storage closet. I've added a new propane tank and battery on the tongue. I've redone the tongue for height adjustability. I'll be removing the propane tank as it's heavy and not really being used. Cooking is done on the picnic table or tables I bring. Awning was added as well as Easy-up awning. I've added a power converter for campground electrical use.
I'm now using a 4cyl/auto Jeep TJ for camping use with trailriding. The Scamp, @2100#s, is a little heavy for the TJ. The Taylor Coach 12' would work great especially at #1000 and my 2 kids with me.

My cents worth, I guess.....
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Old 03-10-2006, 03:52 PM   #12
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Name: Thane
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 223
Good insight. Our friends have a pop-up and with 5 kids the extra space is great! For us (2 kids) we wanted a trailer that we could use year round, rain or snow, off-site or in the backyard so we picked a rigid side trailer. Since we live in the country I expect to camp out in the backyard quite a bit and it will be a great place to play games while mom gets some quiet time. I agree that the outside experience is what camping is about and I consider my trailer to be a great little tent that is easy to set up and provides security and peace of mind for my city girl. I don't see the sense in buying a land yacht that is limited to large truck stop style campgrounds when there are these small trailers that can get almost where ever I want to go.

For us, our wants were bunk beds that we can seperate from the rest of the trailer, an inside and outside shower (mostly for the kids), a toilet for late night convenience, enough storage that we can keep the unit stocked and ready to roll, enough windows so we won't feel too cut off from the critters, an A/C as we live near the desert and a heater for the winter.

I am going to post a new topic link about the Casita bunkhouse model, it can sleep up to 6. It has a hand pump sink and no holding tanks or bath so it is light and easy to maintain. We were renting the 5 bed version for weekend trips but they were so popular that we couldn't get one without a well though out reservation. It was that experience that sold us on fiberglass trailers.

Really appreciate your input, I am sure it will help out a lot of folks.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:31 AM   #13
Diane Sawyer
Posts: n/a
We're a "small" family of 4. Our kids are 11 & 9 years of age and we currently camp in a 2005 Scamp 13'. We "downsized" last summer from a 1982 Scamp 16'. we wanted a new trailer and think the 13's are perfect.

We love it! As Mike says, it gets cramped on a rainy day, but otherwise it is the perfect set up for a young family of 4 to go on weekend camping trips.


My husband and I are planning to purchase a casita soon and are not sure about which length would be the right size. I wondered if you wouldn't mind sharing your reason for perfering the 13 foot over the 16 foot. We love to camp am have been using a tent for 30 years. Now that we are retired and on the go even more we thought that we would enjoy a camper especially on those rainy days when it is definitely no fun setting up a tent!!!
Happy camping!!!

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Old 03-20-2006, 09:51 AM   #14
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Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Posts: 5,859

My husband and I are planning to purchase a casita soon and are not sure about which length would be the right size. I wondered if you wouldn't mind sharing your reason for perfering the 13 foot over the 16 foot. We love to camp am have been using a tent for 30 years. Now that we are retired and on the go even more we thought that we would enjoy a camper especially on those rainy days when it is definitely no fun setting up a tent!!!
Happy camping!!!


I chose a 13' over a 16' mainly because of weight. It appears to me what you get for the extra 3' or less inside trailer space is room to put more stuff. For some people that's what they want, more storage room. For us less is better. Less stuff to carry, less stuff to try to find, etc. We go to enjoy the great outdoors. Showers & toilets are not something we need to carry around with us.

To us it's a luxerys to have two burners on the stove instead of one, enough storage space to carry an extra change of clothes, to have a refigerator or even a cooler for that matter. For us we found that less was better. We just got our 13' and put a lot of stuff in it. Now the game will be to adjust what we want to keep the amount of stuff down.

There's an old saying about stuff acumulating to fill the space avaliable.

My 2 cents worth.

Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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