Help with looking at models - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-18-2009, 07:05 PM   #1
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Trailer: 13 ft Burro
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I'm new to the scene, and was looking for a bit of starter help. I've been looking around at the various models and brands, but was hoping to narrow the search a little as to which brands I should be looking for on craigslist, ebay, etc. My issue is that I only have a 4-cylinder (2008 CR-V), so weight is a pretty big deal. Just looking at photographs it's hard to tell which are above and below my threshold. Ideally I'd like something 1000 lbs or less (without gear). I know that every trailer will be different depending on options, but are there some specific models/brands I can look at that should (in most cases) meet that need? I had originally been looking at teardrops, but once my wife saw a picture of a Scamp she decided that style was what we need and won't even look at teardrops anymore I'm hoping I can accomodate her by finding a light enough egg...assuming they exist. Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-18-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2005 17 ft Escape ('Turtle')
Posts: 388
Welcome to the search! I am not an expert, but the first step is to look in the owners manual or elsewhere for your car and see exactly what weight you can tow, if any at all. There is trailer weight and hitch weight. i.e. Our Previa can town up to 3500#, our Burro was about 1200#, our Escape is around 2000#, both doeable for us even with gear in them.

There is a trailer called a Little Joe which is 880#. I have never seen one, but very impressed by them when I look at the web site.
Little Joe

There are likely others within that weight class and other folks will likely post info for you.

Good luck! It's worth the search to have a little egg in your life!

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Enjoy our travel photos at: Turtle Travels
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
LizP's Avatar
Trailer: 1981 Burro 13 ft
Posts: 32
Hi John,
I recall reading somewhere on the board that "older" Scamps were lighter than newer ones...something about destroyed molds during a fire at their factory. The older 13 ft ones weighed closer to the 950 range and newer ones more in the 1200 lb. range. Can't recall the year threshold but I am guessing mid 90's. Someone on the board will help clarify.

Equipment will also play a part...common sense on that one. And a good understanding of your weight limits on the Cr-V from your owners manual is a must. You will no doubt find you need trailer brakes and don't expect the 13's to have them.

Final comment (I am looking for one also)--don't trust the weight limits posted in some ads. A lot of these have been modified quite a bit and you have to make a good guess as to the weight of the "stuff" in it. Or just know you'll rip it all out if you have to : ) Point is, most people have not weighed them and are guessing at the weight themselves.

Just my 2 cents; I have a ('06) CR-V also and do not want to kill it with a camper.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:30 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1994 Lite House
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just search the info on here and decide what you want in a trailer. do you want bunks bath etc. are you tall? what size bed do you want. search "bed size" and there is a post that has a link to the bed sizes of most of the small trailers. and for the weight thing you could probly pull any of the 13' no problem. all of the "eggs" are diforent in there own way but i think all of them are equal in general. i had done the same thing, i wanted to build a tear but after explaining to the little lady that the galley would be exposed to the elements we too started looking at "eggs". im sure other more knowlegable people will send links. ive only been using this site for a few weeks and found the amount of info you can find here is stagggering. good luck on your search
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:55 PM   #5
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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You've received some good pointers from the previous posters. Yes, by all means look at your owners manual... that's the starting point. Then, decide what you absolutely can't live without and your budget for that. If you're looking for the absolute lightest, Lil Joe (new) and early 1970s 13 foot Bolers come to mind. And yes, remember published weights from manufacturers are without options, batteries, water, propane tanks and your stuff!
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:07 PM   #6
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,012
The "family" of trailers that includes the Compact Jr., Compact II, Trails West Campster, etc. is also comprised of relatively lightweight campers (i.e. 1,000# range dry).

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Old 03-18-2009, 08:13 PM   #7
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Trailer: 13 ft Burro
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Thank you so much for the quick and helpful replies. I believe my CR-V's manual says 1400 lb towing capacity, although I'd have to double check to be sure. I guess I don't know how much all my stuff and things like water, etc would weigh, which is why I was shooting for something under 1000 lbs, as 400 lbs would give me plenty of leeway. I'll definitely look into trailer breaks too once I get that far in the search.

My wife likes the idea of something she can stand in quite a bit, so I'm sure she'd be willing to rip a few things out if we're cutting it close
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:26 PM   #8
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Name: Peter
Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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The "family" of trailers that includes the Compact Jr., Compact II, Trails West Campster, etc. is also comprised of relatively lightweight campers (i.e. 1,000# range dry).
I'll second Raya's suggestion on the Compact and Campster trailers, which are fiberglass trailers with "pop top" roofs that you can raise so you can stand at full height. They're a good choice for a tow vehicle (TV) with a low tow limit both because they're lightweight and because their windface fits nicely behind most small SUVs and Minivans, making them much more aerodynamic and significantly reducing the work the TV has to do to pull it at highway speeds.

The downsides are they aren't made anymore, so you have to buy used and will quite possibly need to do some repairs and rehab to make it work for you, and they really only sleep two.

Two upsides are that, with the fold-down roof they easily fit in most garages and they really only sleep two, so you get privacy and kids like tent camping anyway.

Here's a link to the Compact Jr photo album.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:53 PM   #9
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Trailer: Scamp
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It is my personal opinion that the earlier Scamps didn't weigh much less than the current Scamps, just that there is a bit more truth in advertising -- In the early years there was apparently some reason to keep the dry weight under 1,000 lbs, so they were supposedly 950.

The frame label on my 91 Scamp 13' says 950 lbs, but I highly doubt it -- I've never weighed it empty, without LP tank, heater, battery, spare tire, but with all that stuf and my personal gear and ten gallons of fresh water, it weighs in more like 1,750 lbs -- That's 800 lbs of personal gear and options?? I seriously doubt it!
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:37 AM   #10
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Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
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Welcome to another egg fan.

I see a CRV is rated for 1500#.

My Trillium specs say 1450#. You could carry a sandwich in it.

You probably should be looking at a Little Joe:

The specs for the Little Joe say 880#, but the tricked-out Ponderosa is 1480#

Or get another tow vehicle, but being a 2008, you probably got it recently.

DO NOT think about going over the rated load. Check out this thread:
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Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:45 AM   #11
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Trailer: Casita
New River AZ
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The "Lil Joe" and the "Ponderosa" have always interested me...... Here are some links that may help your decision.

Little Joe floorplan:

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Little Joe flyer:

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ponderosa floorplan:

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ponderosa flyer:

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Joe and Linda
2013 Casita SD
Dodge Ram 4x4
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:37 AM   #12
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Trailer: 1981 Burro 13 ft
Posts: 32
John, as you can see, it all becomes very confusing. The weight issue, that is. At least it did for me.

I am going to take a guess here that NEWER trailers probably weigh more than the older ones. One reason may be because of "improvements" in "technology" of construction and or adding more and more 'standard" features (that add weight). I really don't know, just taking a guess. Case in point is the Little Joe. It now weighs 1100#'s (used to be advertised at 850#).

If the trailer manufacturer says the trailer weighs 950#'s, then figure up what the weight of a 13' spare tire weighs, a fridge vs. ice box, etc., and add that in. I would think the "dry" weight should include all the standard features, not just the frame and shell. Given our 1400-1500 tow limits, a stripped down version is what I am searching for.

Another variable I have considered is what can be carried in the tow vehicle. Again, look closely at your owner's manual. These 13's are very cozy and do not have a lot of storage capacity. Many of the 'cabinets" you see are filled with wiring. Unless you plan to fill every nook and cranny with bricks, I can't imagine standard "camping" gear is going to add 400#'s, at least my needs do not dictate that.

But, you haven't told us how you plan to use the camper? I don't plan on living in it, we have some hills in the midwest, but no mountains; and I get the standard 2 weeks vacation a year and weekends off, so I am speaking from that perspective.

I have yet to pull one of these baby's but I am going to trust my owner's manual of the Honda Cr-V on the limits. I have concluded that I should be okay with this decision. There was a change in the Cr-v for 07- and I think it is slightly less that the '06 body style version.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:32 AM   #13
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Trailer: 13 ft Burro
Posts: 6
I do like the look of the Little Joe, mostly because that one does seem to be more spot-on for the right weights. I actually wouldn't mind an old model of something either, assuming it was in good enough condition for me to tow it home from wherever I got it. I'm not very good with structural type repair, but we could handle cosmetic things like upholstery, etc. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for those campster models too.

As for what I plan on packing in it, not a ton. Right now we just do tent camping and everything we take already can fit in the back of the crv, along with our dog (although it can be a tight fit with some Tetris style packing) but we don't have a roof rack or anything, so not a ton of stuff. We don't even need things to be stowed away in cupboards (although a few small items might be nice). My primary reason for wanting a small trailer, which is why I was looking at teardrops originally, is I would love to have some place to keep a portion of our camping gear when it's in storage and not to have to put up and take down tents and bedding, etc when we get to a campsite. For example, we decide it's time to go camping, throw the dog, food and clothes in the car, attach the trailer and head on out. My wife would also like something she can have the option of sitting in or cooking in if it's raining, as that can catch you off guard a lot in the mountains of Idaho. And of course something that's a hard shell feels safer than a tent when out in the woods north of Boise. That's where her preference for an egg over a teardrop came in.

If you've never been to Idaho, it can be a pretty mountainous area. That said, there are a lot (Idaho has an insane amount of options for camping) of campgrounds that are easily accessible and have good roads without a lot of switchbacks. There are those type too, but they can be avoided and still leave a lot of options to try out various parts of the state. We don't plan on doing any sort of living in it or cross country vacations, mostly just hitting up some of the campgrounds that are close to town and maybe the occasional campground up in the mountains.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:51 AM   #14
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Hey John,
Not sure how much it'll help, but figured I'd add my two cents here too...hehe I have a first generation CRV, which is less powerful and slightly smaller than yours, and I tow a Compact II quite nicely with it.

Now honestly I've never weighed my trailer, so I can't swear on a stack of bibles that it's EXACTLY within my rated tow capacity (which I THINK is the same as yours, like 1400-1500lbs). But I know that it's rated weight (on the registration) is below my tow capacity, and I've been on many trips with it successfully, without problems or damage to my vehicle. Also, my trailer does not have trailer brakes.

I know that, here on the website, I've seen a few folks towing 13' rigs with Elements as well as CRVs, so there are possibilities out there. I personally felt that the Compact family was probably one of the lightest rigs out there, so it was a good possibility for me. I do agree with earlier posts as well, that it DOES fit in a standard garage (mine clears the garage doorway by like 1-2 inches!) and it is a bit lower profile that many of the other rigs, so there is probably less wind resistance when you're going down the road. They are also pretty much two person only rigs. You COULD sleep somebody on the floor/walkway area, but that would be SO crowded. I think a dog could snuggle in somewhere though, like under the table/bed or something...

As far as amenities, mine's just about as loaded as they came, with the tiny bathroom, 3 way fridge, full stove, etc. I've seen a wide variety of option lists on rigs on here and EBay so there are some choices out there, plus it often seems that we're only limited by our imaginations with what we can equip our rigs with.

Anyway, hope that helps, good luck on the hunt, and when you DO find something, make sure to take lots of pictures to share with all of us K?

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