Advice sought on Casita awning, spare tires, etc. - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-29-2019, 12:12 PM   #1
Name: Debra
Trailer: Casita 2019
Posts: 55
Advice sought on Casita awning, spare tires, etc.

Hi All,

I recently ordered a Casita Spirit Deluxe and I will pick it up the end of March. I am looking for your advice on a few things.

1. Wondering about ordering the awning. It is costly and I am wondering if there are other options. I am also thinking of getting a CLAM or similar screened "tent" so wonder if the awning will be necessary. (Some say it is good for shading the trailer and keeping it cool, etc.)

2. Some Casita owners have told me that the spare tire scratches the back of the trailer and that I need to tell Casita not to mount it if I chose to put it in my TV. Any comments on that?

3. As a newbee to towing and TTs, I welome any other advice you can offer. regarding adjustments or through your experience.

I have been told that Little House has closed. There is someone near me by a couple of hours, who will make adjustments so once I return home, I can drive to him and get those adjustments. Please let me know what you have found useful.

I posted more questions on the towing thread.

Much obliged.

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Old 01-29-2019, 03:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,347
Very personal choice. I would not buy a trailer without an awning. The "good ones" you can set up in 30 seconds or less. So its like having your own shade that you can use and put back away quickly. Some campgrounds won't allow a separate pop up structure, it really depends.

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Old 01-29-2019, 04:42 PM   #3
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Posts: 1,383
I'm sure you'll get many pro and con arguments on the awning topic. I'm from the other camp. I would never again buy a rounded fiberglass trailer with a factory awning. The one my trailer came with, I removed because it was a real PITA on several levels. First and foremost, it is really silly in what many trailer manufacturers try to do to create some Rube Goldberg half-fast method of trying to mount them. Let's face it, an awning built and designed to be mounted on the flat vertical side wall of some "stick built" trailer just doesn't adapt well to any attempts at being mounted on a rounded fiberglass trailer. They don't seal well to the side of the trailer, so gaps exist where the rain just comes in right down the side of the trailer. (And yes, I tried all those stupid "work-around cures" to fix something that can't be done properly to begin with, such as the silly pool noodles, caulked-in sections of plastic gutters, etc,) All that crap about how to seal the gap up did was to create an impossible to clean frog pond on the roof. So what good is it? In short, I never liked mine, and so I removed it and sold it. Good riddance!
And, God forbid, don't ever leave it unattended for even five minutes, because you'll come back to it wrapped around your trailer's roof at the first strong gust of wind, and no doubt it will cause some expensive damage in the process.
My advice, skip the Fiamma awning option, save your $1,200+ bucks, and when you get your trailer, just install a comparatively inexpensive Keder rail for a slide-in bag awning. My slide-in is easy, lightweight, and pretty much bullet proof in the rain and wind. Oh, and it also seals the rain out too without all that other stop-gap baloney. Just my 2 cents.

I took my spare off before it could rub a wear pattern on the fiberglass on the rear of the trailer. It now lives in the bed of my pickup on trips now.

And as to Little House Customs it is true that Larry is "pulling the plug" from working on them for a well-deserved retirement. But the store is still up and running, and will continue to be.
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Keder Rail2.JPG   Vacation2018 053.jpg  

Vacation2018 053 (Medium).JPG   112.JPG  

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Old 01-29-2019, 05:02 PM   #4
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Name: Sergey
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16 layout 4, 2018 Winnebago Revel 4x4
SW Florida
Posts: 688
Everything depends on your travelling/camping style and preferences. Personally I don't need and never use the awning, but other people consider it as a "must have" item.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:13 PM   #5
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,223
No problem in ten years with my Carefree Fiesta mounted on my Escape.
Here, it is shown half-open, which is useful in wind and rain, without risking the awning. There is no gap between the awning and trailer.
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:48 AM   #6
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Borrego Dave's Avatar
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
Posts: 3,739
Originally Posted by Debbie in Florida View Post
Some Casita owners have told me that the spare tire scratches the back of the trailer and that I need to tell Casita not to mount it if I chose to put it in my TV. Any comments on that?
Much obliged.
The spare is snugged up against the shell on most TT and doesn't really move. Personally, I wouldn't worry about any marring it may leave. It would be nice if Casita did a mount that was offset from the shell a bit but there are too many variables to tire sizes used.
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:47 AM   #7
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 8,032
Hi, Debbie! Glad things are coming together!

Awning is a tough call. From comments I’ve read, if you move frequently from campground to campground, or if you camp often in rainy weather, then the awning is nice to have. You do have to treat it like a child and keep it under supervision, adjusting or stowing it as weather conditions change. I wouldn’t order it myself, but I’ve been called “cheap.” I don’t like how they look, either.

I wouldn’t worry about the spare. Tires inside the vehicle take up space and stink. Maybe a garbage bag over the tire underneath the cover?

Casita owners will guide you on which LHC products to order.

Congratulations on making the jump! Enjoy your travels.
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Old 01-30-2019, 08:36 AM   #8
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Name: p@
Trailer: Casita
South Carolina
Posts: 228
there's another reason i choose not to have an awning. the curb side of the spirit is already the heavy side of the trailer with the kitchen and all. it doesn't make much sense (to me) to add even more weight up that high on that side.

i do use a clam shelter which is the easiest to erect stand alone shelter i've found so far and the wind is not nearly the problem presented by an awning. properly staked (or a bit overboard) it will withstand a mighty wind. i travel solo and have no problem putting the thing up alone but, will admit, that it's easier with a helper.

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Old 01-30-2019, 10:37 AM   #9
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 132
Hi Debbie, welcome.

As you can see there are passionate people on both sides of the great awning discussion and they have valid reasons for their decisions.

As for myself, I have the Fiamma awning and wouldn't be without it. It's very convenient, quick to deploy and always there when you need it. It not only provides rain protection as you step out of the trailer it also shades the refrigerator side of the trailer from the sun. It's not nearly as fragile as some would have you believe and in fact I've been impressed by it's durability and utility. I would simply not employ a separate structure as often as I do the Fiamma and would rather not have to deal with the cleanup and storage of a stand alone structure but others seem to like them. My advice, get the awning.

For the spare tire, you can have them remove it until you get home as it will wear the gel coat. Once back home, attach some rubber stand-off's on the back of the trailer so the tire does not come in contact with the finish. You can use self adhesive door bumpers or rubber furniture cups to accomplish this.

Good luck with your decision and have fun!

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Old 01-30-2019, 10:38 AM   #10
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Name: tom
Trailer: casita
Posts: 15
The awning is incredibly useful....

....rain or shine. Nearly all camp sites have a picnic table that can be put below and used in all sorts of weather - it doubles the size of your Casita's usable space.
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:06 AM   #11
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 8,032
As a counterpoint, I have found that we often want to set up our outdoor lounge/kitchen away from the trailer to take advantage of shade and/or views, and to avoid cooking smells coming into the trailer through open windows. Some camp picnic tables are fixed in place, so you have to take the awning to the table rather than the other way round.

I totally get both sides of the argument, and of course there is always the option of having both!
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:31 PM   #12
Senior Member
Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Escape 21 'on order'
Posts: 252

Welcome!! We picked up our new 17' Casita Independence last April and have loged 55 nites camping thru October last year..6000+ miles so far & already have all reservations set up for at least 5 more trips in 2019!!! Our tow vehicle(TV) is a 2017 Frontier, double-cab, 2wd, V6, long bed truck w a Bak-Flip bed locking bed cover....all works great.
We bought the awning AND a 5 sided Gazelle shelter and sometimes use both.
1. sometimes only put the awning out 2' [to help shade the frig vents] in hot weather
2. never leave that awning out if you leave the campground area..if a storm blows in it can be ruined by wind
3. we use every upper-corner tie-down we can for the Gazelle and 5 tent pegs thru the ground gromets too
4. Boy Scout 'taut-line hitches' work great to keep tie lines tight.(I am an ole Scout Leader) see a vid how to do them on youtube
5.If you can, get 2-3 side pannels for the Gazelle..they allow you to velcro the upper sides closed to keep out some wind. you can get 5 and there4 make a tent out of a Gazelle if necessary, for guests.
6. towing..we stick to factory recommended 60-65 mph
7. we use an anti-sway bar and hitch, factory great

8. B sure to disconnect the sway bar b4 backing up
9. check that the safety lock PIN is tight into its socket on the R side of yer trailer tongue, after you hook that cable to yer tow vehicle hitch.

10 get a good trailer tongue lock for when you are away from the trailer at campsites. A large visible, yellow one works well.... thieves can see it and might pass you by. We also lock the tow chains around the tongue w another big Master lock, while unhitched, so that thieves will have a harder time just using the chains w/o the ball to tow away the trailer. Big master locks are available keyed alike.
11. we also replaced the wierd 'flipper' brass lock [for the trailer hasp] with a sturdy Master lock..make sure the loop of the lock fits the hole ;-) do not ask.
12. B sure the trailer locking hasp is UP b4 trying to hitch or un-hitch, so the ball will go INTO its socket. It can fool you..don't ask how I know
13. turn the frig to PROPANE, if you are stopped for more than 30 minutes on the road..and B sure to unplug yer trailer 7-pin plug from the tow vehicle(TV) bks it can drain the battery of the trailer AND of the TV if it is left connected and so on.
14. make sure you criss cross the 2 safety chains under the hitch and tongue
15. make sure the outside range hood vent is open, B4 using the stove
16. make sure all vents are closed B4 driving out of a campsite..stove, furnace, etc water doors,
17. a strip of white gaffer tape or white duck tape will help keep that outside shower door case a 18 wheeler passes U on a 2 lane road. I have heard of the suction created has flipped open that shower door and..voila' the hose drops out and slids under the L wheel at 60 mph..uggg!
18. always use a surge protector/circuit tester b4 hooking up...... we call ours a "dog bone"
19. lock the dog bone to the electric supply post if possible..we use a heavy, red plastic wire rope and Master lock..easily seen from the road and again, theives might pass you by.
20. Be careful when putting back IN that 30 amp CAN loop around the water heater and dislodge the igniter wire on the heater. ... [no hot water]..don't ask HOW we know this.. Same care for when pulling that cable back out..might be nice to have a partner LOOK under the seat area while you push or pull that big cable!! There are many wires inside which you do not wanna screw up!
21. do not use stove for a heater (carbon monoxide)
22. experiment w yer TV brake controller settings..we finally set ours to about 2 1/2 so that the Trailer brakes do not lock up too soon.
23. do not expect other drivers to shivvagit about yer TV and trailer..they will do stupid things on the road..see #6 & #7
24. watch lots of "how to"vids on youtube, especially LOLOHO..they have lots of good newbie of the best was to get a pair of Walkie-Talkies..use them when backing into a campsite and when hitching up..and good for when hiking too. WE have pesonally aided several other campers who were having trouble and near-fights while trying to back into sites.
25. make check lists for hitching and so on, and for unhitching will miss stuff IF you do not use check-lists.
26 DO NOT move the tongue up, unless the rear support jacks are UP and locked into the UP position.
27 we undid our spare and put 4 stik-on rubber bumper pads on the glass to protect it, then put spare back on..also put a bumper on the door to keep the trim from bending the door when opening it

Hope we see ya'll on the road or at Ft De Soto park in May.. You'll see our big TN flag on the camper and TV
Good Times!!!!!

Fred and Holly. TN
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:26 PM   #13
Senior Member
Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Escape 21 'on order'
Posts: 252
Wink newbies

4got a couple things. If you use the factory 120W solar panels, chain them to the trailer w a decent deter sticky fingers from walking off w them. Same goes for an inverter/generator if you buy one, and IF it is free standing, like our is.
WE have a 2200W Briggs & Stratton wh powers all + the AC if needed.. not buy a std, open-frame "construction site" type gen...they way too loud unless u r gonna only camp in boondocks
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:53 PM   #14
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 139

I have been told that Little House has closed. There is someone near me by a couple of hours, who will make adjustments so once I return home, I can drive to him and get those adjustments. Please let me know what you have found useful.

Chris Moore, Texas Customs, Bryan TX.

I posted more questions on the towing thread.

Much obliged.[/QUOTE]

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