thoughtful engineering and fitting-out? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-06-2008, 05:05 PM   #1
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I'd be interested in folks' opinions on which manufacturers of small (13') fiberglass trailers have done their homework the best. I say this because when my wife recently asked a manufacturer "where do you put your groceries?", she was given the reply "People put them wherever they can find room." Fair enough (in some ways) -- but I'd like to know a manufacturer had thought out as much as possible to make life in a confined space efficient, and not just put in a bed, a table, a cupboard somewhere in which a plate MIGHT fit, blah blah blah.
I absolutely love those clever, well-thought-out designs that used to charaterize Westphalia conversions in VW vans. Any strong votes for (or against) Scamp, Outback, Casita, Burro, or whatever in this respect? Richard
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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IMHO: .....and then its just ME. but there's only so much S P A C E available in ANY 200 cu.ft any kinda of structure. Ya put stuff WHERE ya can and leave the rest at home or buy it as its needed. We've had our 13footer now for more than a handfull of years and it gets its share of use and believe me, I AIN'T LOOSIN ANY WEIGHT while on the road. Want more space?? theres anywhere from 14footers on up to suite your particular needs!!!

Now, Get Out There And Git Camping!!!
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:30 PM   #3
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Everyone packs and camps differently. Depends on how much "stuff" one feels they need to be comfortable, and for how many days one plans on being out. There are those that only use paper plates for instance. Then too, some pack dutch ovens. IMHO there is no "best." There is only what's "best" for you. A 13' Scamp with fully contained bathroom is going to have less storage space than one without. Some people leave the bed up fulltime and put stuff in "totes" underneath, in the area normally reserved for legs and feet when sitting at the dinette. Others still use their tugs as places to store extra "stuff." Personally, I don't think there's a one-size fits all answer.

You'll find the current manufacturers of the 13 footers are more alike in storage (and everything else), than different.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:43 PM   #4
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I don't think any of them are engineered to the extent of a Westphalia van conversion. I have been converting our 16 ft Scamp since I bought it 10 years ago.

First the front bunks were removed to make room for the workings of an on-site office. I spent several years as a consulting engineer off and on and this provided on-site living.

Then as the children had grown up, my wife and I tried it as a camper for touring and visiting relatives. We liked it better than our 26 ft Avion and have been making changes between each venture to personalize it for our needs.

Still, it won't have the smooth functionability of a Westphalia.
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:57 PM   #5
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It doesn't help at all that conventional FG trailers trade aerodynamics outside for storage space inside, same as Airstream and Avion.

The advent of the Casita 17 was a milestone because it gained more room by going back to the box shape.

They are selling as many of them as they care to make (except the new comers, none seem to be inclined to expand), so why would they want to screw with success?

If the newcomers come up with enough new things to mess up the market, I expect the old timers will make some changes.
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:00 PM   #6
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It doesn't help at all that conventional FG trailers trade aerodynamics outside for storage space inside, same as Airstream and Avion.

The advent of the Casita 17 was a milestone because it gained more room by going back to the box shape.

They are selling as many of them as they care to make (except the new comers, none seem to be inclined to expand), so why would they want to screw with success?

If the newcomers come up with enough new things to mess up the market, I expect the old timers will make some changes.
That's what I feared! I've spent many, many months living in various configurations of camper vans (very happily, I might add!), and it would be great if manufacturers of small trailers (who presumably build trailers to be used/lived in ) did as much thinking ahead of time as the user has to do to figure out how to work with whatever comes down the pike. It wouldn't take much to figure out if you put a fridge, sink, and counter-top in a trailer, the user will need designated storage space for food right there, not under a bench or wherever he can find the space. But that was just an example, and some seem to have missed the point of my question. I like being creative in how I use space; I'm just wondering which of the various 13' trailer manufacturers have used their own creativity at an appropriate time. If we BOTH did that, wouldn't that be the best trailer? I suspevt you are right, though. If HomeDepot off-the-shelf thinking keeps the buyers knocking on the door, no manufacturer will see the need to improve their design. I've heard -- but not verified -- that Burro has done more thinking at the design stage. Thanks for all your replies. I'm still interested if anyone has an opinion about what manufacturers do better in this way. Richard
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:39 PM   #7
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I've heard -- but not verified -- that Burro has done more thinking at the design stage.
Might be, but Burro hasn't been in business for years. If you're talking new molded lightweight fiberglass towables, these are your current choices: All Current Trailer Brands and not all of them manufacture a 13' trailer
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'd be interested in folks' opinions on which manufacturers of [b]small (13') fiberglass trailers have done their homework the best. I say this because when my wife recently asked a manufacturer "where do you put your groceries?"
Quote:
It wouldn't take much to figure out if you put a fridge, sink, and counter-top in a trailer, the user will need designated storage space for food right there, not under a bench or wherever he can find the space.

I'm still interested if anyone has an opinion about what manufacturers do better in this way.
Then I would vote for the Casita Patriot Deluxe [b]with the front bath, not the standard version with the front gaucho bunk.
It is effectively a "mini" version of the 17' Casita Liberty Deluxe without the 2nd small dinette.

If you opt to dispense with the microwave oven, you gain a pantry space above the refrigerator.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:17 AM   #9
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I also think it is too easy to be lured by German Quality and confuse that with Planning or Design.

I can not argue that the way the Westfalia'were built is compelling but I can not really see any more space utilization ideas or design built into them than any of the Egg's I have used or owned.
All of these rigs either have or can easily have every little niche utilized toward that end.

Pete makes a great point about the shape vs. storage.

In the Fiberstream which has one of the most boxy designs I have so much more storage room than the Scamp where the curves really take away many potential storage locations.
I also find it odd that in the Scamp the storage cabinets seem designed by different people at each location?
I can not understand who came up with the idea for Fiberglass over the Sink and Table but Particle board over the Dinette?

At least there is the option to have the Deluxe interior with wood all around but then you forsake valuable space to the thickness of the wood.
It may not seem like much but if you look at the wood vs. Fiberglass structure you could lose 3" at least in wood thickness across the rig.

I really liked the Trillium design as a good balance between shape and space and any European design will look to be executed more thoughfully on the surface.

The best thing to do is just get inside as many as you can and decide for yourself.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:53 AM   #10
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My sense of it is that if a manufacturer built in a slick way to store a widget, then there would be countless owners who would complain that they never travel with a widget, think widgets are for effete snobs, and have promptly removed the widget storage.

There was, at least for a while, a market for empty fiberglass shells on wheels. (Didn't Boler sell kits for awhile and you even had to cut the window holes out yourself?)

I'm guessing that the manufacturers have decided that clever storage is largely wasted effort on their part.

Except, maybe, for the Bulgemobile manufacturers. They may be marketing to a group so different I can't even imagine what they want.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:25 PM   #11
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Look at something very basic to our small rigs -- The bathroom in a 13' -- Some folks can't conceive of a camper without a private toilet and even a shower, but the sheer space and weight to support that luxury is tremendous, cubical space (unused majority of the time), electric pump, water heater, large water tank, gray tank, black tank and underside plumbing -- Other folks can't conceive of devoting that much resource to such little use -- Tremendous amount of storage space to be gained by changing habits and standards... Plus, one isn't always worrying about finding the next dump station!
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:34 PM   #12
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One of the things that drive me crazy about the fit and finish of my Scamp trailer is how little attention was paid to maximizing the functional space within the trailer's storage areas. The area under my curb-side kitchen sink where the water heater is and the curb-side dinette bench where the water pump and fresh water tank were are a great examples. Rather than running the plumbing piping and connections in ways that minimize their intrusion into these storage areas, they were plumbed in ways that all but eliminated the functionality of these two potentially very useful storage spaces.

I addressed these deficiencies when I re-worked the dinette seating area, but many of the changes I made would have been unnecessary if Scamp had given a minimal amount of thought to how their plumbing work affected their customer's experience inside their trailers.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:23 PM   #13
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Might be, but Burro hasn't been in business for years. If you're talking new molded lightweight fiberglass towables, these are your current choices: All Current Trailer Brands and not all of them manufacture a 13' trailer
NO WONDER my emails to Burro (from its website) asking for more information or a brochure in the mail have gone unanswered! Yes indeed, I'm in the market, and intend to order a 13-14 footer by this Fall to pick up next Spring. That's why I want to get all the great experience with various products that people on this site will share. I've always "made do" very happily with second-hand vans, but if I'm custom ordering my "dream trailer," I'd like to get the order as close to perfection as possible! That's why I truly appreciate evryone's thoughts. Thanks for all these ideas! And thanks for the "current trailer" list; there are a few I haven't checked out, but will. So, No Burro! humph.... Richard
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:37 PM   #14
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NO WONDER my emails to Burro (from its website) asking for more information or a brochure in the mail have gone unanswered!

So, No Burro! humph.... Richard
You're not the first, and won't be the last Richard. There are lots of people who wish Burro was still in business. Best of luck on your search!
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