Advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-18-2006, 10:01 AM   #1
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Hello:

We're newbies, brand new to the idea of travel camping and want to consider the best way to go--here are what my wife and I would like to try. There's probably info on this site but we don't know where to start.

We live in Vermont. We're interested in finding a small pull-along trailer (with shower a must) to leave at a campgrounds in either southern California, Arizona, New Mexico or west Texas. The question is does it make sense to (1) find the campground first, and then buy a trailer in the vicinity--assuming the one we like can be found there--or (2) purchase a trailer in our region and drive it out there (we have a 1998 GMC V-6 Sonoma pickup). The idea is to have a "permanent" place in the American desert we'd love to be able to use a basecamp. (We're familiar with and happy with all of the desert areas noted, but maybe lean toward S.W. New Mexico or the Mohave Desert area.)

We like the little Scamp trailers advertised in the AARP magazine, but don't have a clue what a new (or used) 13' with shower would cost. Someone told us Scamp will deliver the trailer anywhere, so we could have it sent to location near the (yet to be selected) campsite. Anyone with this experience?

So any comments about Scamps for first-time buyers? Are there other brands to recommend that are similar? Also, are these "minis" very expensive? Is there much of a used market for them? We're clueless.

Finally, any nice campgrounds in these desert areas mentioned to recommend (if you're permitted to say so) that rent space and hookups annually?

Your experience and advice will be appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:45 AM   #2
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I donít have any experience with the 13 foot trailers and only a little with the 16 and 17 footers. Since you desire a bathroom then you should consider the larger trailers, the main advantage that I think they provide are two dinette or sitting areas. With a second small dinette you could leave the bigger dinette in the bed configuration and not tear up the bedding everyday.

Here is the link for the 13 foot Casita. It is a quality trailer similar in concept and construction to the Scamp, which also has a link provided.

http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/13-layout.html
http://www.scamptrailers.com/index.cfm?PageID=22

The 16 and 17 foot Casita Liberty is a popular choice with two aft dinettes that convert into a double or king size bed. The 16 and 17 foot Casita Spirit Freedom has a side mounted dinette, it also a popular and well made unit.

http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/liberty.html
http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/spirit.html
http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/freedom.html

Scamp also makes 16 foot trailers, they are similar to Casitaís except the head room is greater than the 16 Casita and about the same as the 17 Casita.

http://www.scamptrailers.com/index.cfm?PageID=23

I purchased a 17 foot Escape Trailer, Floor Plan B. Although I bought it because it fits my needs for camping with a 4 and 5 year old, I think the front small and rear large dinette is a great combination. The windows on the three sides of the dinettes provide a panoramic view. I also like the lack of fasteners going through the side and top of the trailer.

http://www.escapetrailer.com/Index.aspx?Page=FloorPlanB
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Old 03-18-2006, 12:08 PM   #3
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I do not think your ideas are unique ones. I would investigate the campgrounds first; that way you might even "kill 2 birds with one stone" by finding your trailer already set up in one, and for sale. Mind you it may not be a 13' Scamp...

That leads me to curiosity about your choice. The more common thought would be that if you are planning to leave it in the campground, this would free you from a size restriction. The deserts of the southwest are kinder to trailers in general, causing less water damage over time. Therfore, a larger "stickie" would be more abundant in your search parameters.

I'm thinking that showers inside a 13' are a more recent phenomonum. (sp?) There might not be much of a selection available in the used market. And as Thane pointed out, you sacrifice the front couch/bunk setup.
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Old 03-18-2006, 12:36 PM   #4
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You might as well buy a cabin. IMHO, the journey is what makes the trips interesting. Travel trailers are made to travel. Your S10/Sonoma would handle any of the 13-17' trailers available either new or used with aplomb. You might even find the trips towing a trailer back and forth from Vermont to the Great Southwest as entertaining as the desert itself.

By the way, while the desert dryness doesn't allow 'dry rot' to happen in stickies in the desert, the sun and heat does lots of damage in and of itself; particularly to rubber. Tires, trim, seals all die premature deaths in the desert. 'Dry rot' in the wetter climes, 'sun rot' in the desert... you just can't win.

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Old 03-18-2006, 01:29 PM   #5
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Excellent comments. Thanks for your good ideas. True, the travel part is nice, but the attraction of a 'cheaper than real estate' option (renting a space for well under $2000 a year at a campground and less cost for a trailer vs. cabin--no real estate tax, too) is a strong one. But a lot for us to think about.
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:06 PM   #6
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Welcome Lou.

There are some nice places that are very affordable in the SW New Mexico area.
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:10 PM   #7
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I'd have to comment, but with limited knowledge of your 'situation', you did define some of your requirements. I'd have to question some of them. If you are looking for something 'permanent', I strongly suggest something more 'permanent' in another line, ie. mobile home (double-wide) or how about time-share?? Time-shares are all around. Back in the mid-70's my grandparents had a double-wide in a trailer park in MA. They lived in FL most of the time. In the late 90s, my parents did rent an apartment on the beach of FL when my Dad was lost his job. That was a time-share, though they weren't part of it.

To get an idea of a 13' size, it's only 13' long inside and maybe 6' wide. Draw that up in your driveway, get a table and chairs, setup a counter for the refrig, cooking, and sink. THen add in the space a 2-seater sofa and you'll basically have a setup for the 13'.

If anything, some people like the apartment feel when they camp, others the isolation. THere are campers that you can rent to see if camping is in your thing to do at a much cheaper cost. Or how about renting a Class C motorhome.

I know this didn't help much, but think of a hotel room and what most do with that when traveling.

Good luck.
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:50 PM   #8
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Lots of people use RV trailers on permanent sites. While it seems obvious that a non-mobile structure would make more sense, municipal rules and conditions imposed by park operators make the RV a less expensive or more practical choice in some cases. Having said that, I would certainly use a larger trailer for this application if possible - the trailer models designed for this service are called "park models", and are now routinely 102" wide (the maximum legally allowed in most areas for routine road travel), and three times the interior length of the "13-foot" eggs.

Travel trailers are measured from coupler to rear bumper, and most 13-foot units have about a 10-foot body (and this slightly less than that of interior length) - three feet of tongue is pretty typical. I am always amazed that large RVs seem like palaces to us, but even the largest multi-slide bus conversion is smaller than a typical one-bedroom apartment.

I'm not completely clear on Lou's plans. Lou, by using the permanent campground as a "base camp", do you mean that the trailer would always stay there while you took short trips from that base; or, do you mean that you would take the trailer on short trips, always eventually returning it to the same campground and leaving it there when returning home to Vermont?

For the first scenario (permanently parked), a larger trailer would be more comfortable, and since you only have a small pickup it would be nice if it were purchased locally and delivered to the site.

For the second scenario (mobile and returning to base), a small trailer is right for all of the reasons that all of us have chosen little "eggs" (okay, 21' and 25' Bigfoot owners excepted...). If I were doing this, I would consider buying a used trailer in Vermont and getting it well sorted out at home before taking to the campground; or, buying a new unit and picking it up at the factory where I would have any minor details attended to right at pickup time. The cross country trip seems long, but the AARP reference suggests that Lou has the time for one long trip, without rushing it.

With even a small pickup, I would likely get a 16' Scamp (or 17' Escape, or 16' or 17' Casita), rather than any 13' trailer - for extended stays, the extra space might be sanity-saving. That's a very individual thing. Fuel economy is largely a matter of air drag, and I doubt the narrow-body longer units have any more drag than the same-width 13' models.
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
To get an idea of a 13' size, it's only 13' long inside and maybe 6' wide.
A 13' trailer is 13' from rear bumper to tip of front hitch. Actual inside is closer to 10' long by a touch over 6' wide.
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:59 PM   #10
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A 13' trailer is 13' from rear bumper to tip of front hitch. Actual inside is closer to 10' long by a touch over 6' wide.
THat's what I thought, but my 16'er is almost 20' long, so I assumed.....
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:27 PM   #11
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If you are looking into buying a new Scamp, you might have a lengthy wait since their factory burned recently. They are rebuilding but I'm sure it will take time to get caught up. There are photos on the Scamp website.
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Old 03-19-2006, 02:38 AM   #12
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Lou V,

In your circumstances, you might want to consider a membership RV park. Here's one in SW New Mexico, about 15 miles from my house:

Burro Mountain Homestead

They have a large population of permanent residents and have a daily area for short term visitors. They also rent cottages which may be a better way to learn if you like the place and the surroundings.

It's in a beautiful setting (not like Vermont, though) in the mountains, so it's cooler in the summer time.

Here's a link to: Silver City
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Old 03-19-2006, 08:16 PM   #13
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THat's what I thought, but my 16'er is almost 20' long, so I assumed.....
At the risk of slightly sidetracking this topic, I have to ask: how does a Scamp 16' get to be almost 20' long? Does it have both an extended rear bumper (such as for a storage box or rack) and an extended tongue, for instance?

Now we return to the regularly scheduled discussion...
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