How big, function vs ease of use?? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-05-2007, 11:27 AM   #1
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We are close to getting our first RV of any type and have decided on a travel trailer for many reasons. We have many years of experience towing boats of many sizes so the towing part is not an issue to us. However, we are somewhat confused by what size to go with; the age old trade off between accomodations and ease of use. (it exists in boats as well as travel trailers) We definately want something small. Our requirements are a bed we can leave set up that is at least a double size and some small dinette or seating area that exists when the bed is set up. We also like a seperate shower but can do with a wet-bath configuration if need be. Our leading contender at the moment is the Big Foot 21' and it is the largest we will consider. But, I also am considering a smaller trailer (like Casita or Burro or ??). I have no issue with the length of the BigFoot or the weight (my gmc Yukon has a tow rating of 8600lbs) and have towed boats much longer across the country. However having a box 8.4 feet wide and 9 feet+ behind me seems like a hassle and limiting in some cases as opposed to a narrower lower trailer. Have any of you experienced having similar thoughts and experiences that have influenced such a decision? Thks in advance for your comments, Ed
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:41 AM   #2
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Welcome to FiberglassRV Ed... we're glad you found us! I'm certain others will chime in on your request for info, but I see you're located in Northern California. You MAY want to take a drive up the Oregon coast for the Oregon Gathering (that's coming up in a couple of weeks) and view a large number of trailers for yourself. It will be a great opportunity to see what will be best for you.

Click on this link for more details: Oregon Gathering, be sure to click on the sticky at the top for the particulars.

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Old 07-05-2007, 11:58 AM   #3
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I had the same requirements as you, Ed, and decided that a 16' Casita was best for me. Your tow vehicle could definitely accept the greater weight of a 17'. Look at their admittedly sparse website and check out the Freedom or Spirit floor plans.

Otherwise, a side dinette Scamp would offer a similar floor plan. There are probably others, but that's what comes to my mind right away.

Welcome!
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:23 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, Ed!

We've had our Burro for seven years, and you raise some pertinent questions. It is 90 inches wide (exterior) and extension mirrors on our Odyssey did a passable job. I consider the extra width a compromise I'm happy to make, because the interior is significantly wider, making a decided difference in bed size, dinette legroom, bathroom size, and the ability of two people to move around each other.

Bed size in the rear is about 86 inches across and 54-56 inches wide. Depending on how tall you are that could be significant (ask Roger).

Because we are keeping the trailer indefinitely, and because we have taken a couple of cross-country trips, I bit the financial bullet and installed a rea-view camera on the trailer. It works fine, and it keeps a wide-angle view of the road behind. Nobody can sneak up on you and suddenly pull out, nor is it possible to be blissfully unaware of the long line behind the trailer. Actually the stock Honda mirrors are pretty good, but the camera completes the picture.

Aside from the double-hull design I consider the extra width a significant advantage over most of the other models on the market. Burro must be gotten used; only the "Eggcamper" uses that idea currently, and it is only starting to be produced as far as I am aware of.
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:54 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like you will need something big, perhaps bigger than all but the biggest Egg. Getting to an RV show or a gathering of eggs is an important first step; just getting in and out of a series of different sizes will trigger some first impressions to help you decide on size.

I'll give you some advice that you perhaps already know as owners of multiple boats -- The first, or second, or even third, wasn't the right one, so don't buy anything new until you have owned and used a few used ones -- That way, you learn a lot without experiencing the economic depreciation that occurs when a new trailer rolls onto the pavement and becomes a used one!
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Old 07-05-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Hi Ed, welcome! This is a great group of people and everyone will go out of their way to help you out

I completely understand your dilemma! My next egg will ideally have a fulltime double bed, a fulltime bunk, and still all the other good stuff, but I will not go up to a 21í size. (I'm going to start a new thread about my perfect egg in General Chat so I don't hijack yours)

I guess what it boils down to is itís all about finding the best balance for ourselves, given the options available.

Peteís advice is always right on, he makes a great point about trying out a few older models before taking the hit on a new unit. Always astute Pete!
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:51 PM   #7
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Hi Ed!

I probably hold the record for going through the most trailers in the shortest time, and have had them from 13' through 34'. The "perfect" trailer varies during your trailering life as your needs and wants change. Your requirements are pretty loose, and most everything from a 16' Scamp through a 21' Bigfoot would meet them as you've described them. I'm with Donna... I think a road trip to the Oregon gathering would fill the picture for you very quickly.

I settled on a new Bigfoot 25' because of the walk-around queen and stand-up shower. Those were important to me because I'm 6'5" and I didn't want to scrimp on comfort any more. For us, the 25' is the ideal combination of live-ability and tow-ability. It's only a few dollars more than the 21', is only a few pounds heavier than the 21', is no more of a chore to tow than the 21', and has significantly more living space inside.

Roger
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:57 PM   #8
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Hello,

My requirements were similar to yours. I visited a rally at San Antonio Lake which made it possible for me to see a number of different makes and models. Following that trip, I decided a 17' Casita Spirit would best fit my needs. It has a double bed and a side dinette that can double as a single bed. It is narrow, so it can be difficult for two people to move around in at the same time, but on the other hand, I don't need mirror extensions and I've found it very light and easy to tow (as a first-timer). I'm only 5'6'', so the length of the bed isn't a factor, but a person 6' and taller would probably be uncomfortable. As was mentioned before, try to visit a rally or the Oregon Gathering where you can see a variety of eggs. It really is the best way to go. Good luck with your search!
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
We definitely want something small.
After moving up to a 16' Fiber Stream from a 13' Compact Jr., I considered moving up again (briefly) to a 21'Bigfoot. Like you, I think the 21 footer would be the largest I would consider. But it IS tall and bulky compared to the 16' and 17' offerings out there. Unlike you, I would have to get a bigger tow vehicle as well. After counting my blessings (and my savings), I decided to stand pat. I'm still working, and I don't get to spend longer than 2 weeks at a time in the trailer. I also like the uniqueness of the no-longer-made Fiber Stream. Repairs are a labor of love to keep it functioning, much like an old Studebaker.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:29 AM   #10
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Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts and experiences (the more the merrier). I want to respond to a few of the comments but they are all meaningful to us and much appreciated.
1) The Oregon Gathering sounds very interesting and useful, we have schedule conflicts but if they can be resolved it is possible.
2) On the Burro, it was mentioned the bed is "54-56" wide and 86" across and doesn't work well for those 6' or over", not sure what this means. Can't the bed be used with the 86" dimension as the length?
3) Also on the Burro, "Burro must be gotten used", does this mean you can't buy them new, they still have a website?
4) Is "Eggcamper" a new brand/manufacturer?
5) On depreciation of new trailer vs the advice to try 3 or 4 used ones first. I understand completely, however, now that I am 65 years old with a large family and a couple of acres to maintain etc. etc. I find time to be my most precious commodity. We will have to work hard to schedule time to use an RV. I have spent most of my life buying only used vehicles, boats, etc. and restored some that were ready for the junk yard; those wise decisions now allow me to buy something new or close to new --- I don't want to sound rude or rich (I am not either) but I don't want to deal with seeking out and fixing up "older trailers". Of course if we stumble on to something close to new that would be a bonus. So in summary, I hope to use your experiences and our own intuition to get it close to right the first time -- and hopefully it will be close enough to work well.
6) On the 25' vs 21' BigFoot, again I understand completely. That 25' floor plan is killer! A close friend who has had lots of trailers also said the 25 is the way to go. The 21' would be more than sufficient and easier to store and get in and out of places---at least that is our current thinking as we are paranoid about letting the accomodation quest lead us to something that we find too troublesome to use.

We want to drive around the US and visit a daughter in Virginia etc. and are still thinking about the Casita/small Airstream decision vs the BigFoot full width type product. The width and visibility are an issue, the camera application is interesting. Thanks again for your comments, Ed
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:20 AM   #11
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Ed, I could have been a bit more clear in what I said: We sleep crosswise in the Burro, so we have about 86" length available. This requires me to step over my wife to get to the bathroom. At the age of 66 that is not a problem, but some modification may be required 30 or 40 years from now.

The Burro organization ceased production in 2000 or 2001, so used is now the only way to go. Only in the last few years of production did they make the "wide-body" version, so the older ones were narrower. The Eggcamper is a new outfit out of Indiana which has adopted the double-hull construction (the benefits of which are many). Time will tell how well they do, too early for me to tell.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:09 AM   #12
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Ed: I went from a 16' Scamp to a 17' Casita to a 21' Bigfoot over the past five years. The Scamp was an old "fixer-upper" with no amenities that we kept only a year. I liked it mainly as a hunting camp that I could take into the woods without worrying about beating it up. We then went to a new Casita which seemed really luxurious in comparison. To me it was absolutely ideal for 2 people. The ease of parking it, getting into gas stations, making u-turns is amazing for a fully functional RV. That being said, the interior dimensions ultimately became an issue for my wife who likes her space. Also we recently moved nearer family members and wanted to occassionally bring an elderly parent along on a trip. I found a used 21' Bigfoot on the internet about six months ago. After the two smaller trailers, it seems huge. That notion is quickly dispelled when we camp near the truly big rigs. We are often still the smallest RV in the park. The downsides are the issues you are already aware of. The Casita was not wider than my truck which makes it way easier to maneuver - especially backing into a tight space. Single axle trailers are a little more responsive during backing maneuvers as well. The extra height and width of the Bigfoot catch a lot more wind resistance as does the more squared-off body design. Fuel consumption is significantly affected. When towing, I just loved the Casita. After setting up camp, the Bigfoot is a beautiful thing. If I could afford it, I would have kept all the trailers, they all had there particular plusses. Since I can only have one, the Bigfoot is it. Luckily for me, I have so far prevented my wife from finding out about 25' Bigfoots.

You will need to figure out what makes you and you wife comfortable based on your personal space requirements. Ideally, you go camping to spend time outdoors. People with big, comfortable RV's tend to sit inside and watch TV most of the time. May as well have stayed home. If you camp in places where it is fun to be outside, you will have all the space you need.

Wecome to the forum and keep us posted. There is a wealth of knowledge in the many fine people here.
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Old 07-06-2007, 02:05 PM   #13
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Burro is long gone but their Spirit persists as a phantom website. It is highly recommended that cash not be sent to their address....
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Old 07-06-2007, 03:08 PM   #14
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.....but cash is accepted here if you feel the need to support Burro..........
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