Confirmation of R-value of Scamp? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-19-2018, 10:01 AM   #1
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Name: Peter
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Confirmation of R-value of Scamp?

Does anyone in this community have any information that could confirm that claimed R-value of 15 for the Scamp? Such confirmation could be measured R-value or at least photos showing the inside of the walls (perhaps from a window or vent replacement) that would confirm the presence of an air cavity.

Why am I asking? I’ve been looking for a fiberglass RV to be used in Alaska shoulder seasons when the outdoor temperatures could easily be 0 and below, and was settling on a Scamp because of the claimed R-value of 15, which is double that of the other fiberglass RVs (Escape and Casita) and of “regular” RVs.

As a former house builder and recently retired research scientist, I was curious how Scamp achieved this R-value and because I am looking for a used RV, I wanted to find out when Scamp started making RVs with this R-value. I called Scamp and spoke with their excellent customer service people, who told me that Scamp began making R-15 walls in 1987, not to provide better warmth but to prevent condensation on the interior walls when used in cold temperatures. And that this R-value was achieved using 2 layers of foil-faced “bubble wrap” insulation. I asked if Scamp had an independent lab test this claimed R-value, and the customer service person said (paraphrasing): “No, and we won't bother doing that because we've lived in these in Minnesota when it's 0 degrees outside and they are very comfortable with the heater on.” This statement is similar to the formal response on Casita’s FAQ page in response to the question, “What is the R-rating of the insulation in a Casita trailer”: “As our customers put it – ‘Cool in summer’ and ‘Warm in winter.’ So far, no complaints.” I also asked the Scamp person if they had any photos showing the inside of the wall, and the answer was “No.” In my opinion, these responses from Scamp and Casita are inadequate and disappointing. I called both Casita and Escape to find the actual R-value and was told R-7 for both based on a layer of foam board inside the fiberglass shell.

The issue with foil-faced bubble wrap insulation in the Scamp is that it requires a dead air space to achieve the claimed R-value. There are many online articles from building engineers about how foil-faced bubble wrap, when it's sandwiched within other layers without an dead air space, have an R-value of 1-3 (from the air bubbles), not nearly the claimed 10-20 because these higher R-values only come from the dead air space that needs to be designed next to the foil facing. Here's a quote from a company that only sells foil-faced bubble wrap insulation: “In order for a radiant barrier to be effective, it requires a dead airspace on at least 1 side of the product. If you sandwich a radiant barrier between two solid materials, then heat will just conduct through it, rendering it ineffective.”

I fully realize that in a relatively small volume space such as a 13’ or 16’ Scamp (or any other fiberglass or other RV), as long as it’s weather tight, a small heater will adequately and comfortably heat the space. But a R-value of 15 compared to 7 will have a significant impact on both comfort and the quantity of propane or electricity used to maintain this comfort. I’m asking the fiberglass RV community for input on this not to give Scamp a hard time, because Scamp clearly makes an excellent RV, but to make a major buying decision based on facts and not unsubstantiated manufacturer claims.

I apologize for this long post, and would appreciate any insight the community can offer.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:17 AM   #2
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Confirmation of R-value of Scamp?

I can confirm that the R-value of Scamp's insulation is nowhere near R-15. Last I checked they were deleting that information from their product descriptions. Your information about the ratings and use of foil-bubble wrap is correct.

Even if it were, the large expanse of single pane windows and exposed plumbing (on bathroom models) makes the Scamp a mild weather trailer. Good down to around freezing and short spells below (with precautions), but not for winter use in cold climates.

What Scamp does is a hack. It works reasonably well in practice because, as you observe, it doesn't take much to heat or cool such a small space. The nap on the marine headliner is probably helping a little as it traps dead air. It is very effective at preventing condensation.

BTW, somewhere I did see a photo of the lining sandwich. There is only one layer of foil bubble wrap, consisting of two sheets of bubbles between the layers of foil. No significant air space.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:28 AM   #3
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Hi Jon, thanks for the input and confirmation that I'm not crazy! On the Scamp website, under the Showroom section, it still says "Super insulation (R15)" under the description of standard features for 13' and 16' campers.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:15 PM   #4
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Jon summed it up well but I might add even if the insulation was R45 it would not make much difference. With all the non-air tight and/or single pane windows, non- insulated vents, uninsulated floor and ill fitting door, its not much better than a tent sometimes.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:04 PM   #5
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R value

This issue regarding R values is no more than a sales technique. It is important to understand heat moves in 3 ways, conduction, convection and radiation. The material they are claiming is "Super Insulation", if properly installed is an effective radiant barrier, unfortunately a radiant barrier is not much use when it's 0 degrees at midnight, and that is assuming a perfect seal from air leaks. The biggest problem I see is that is legal to make these claims.

I have a 2016 Scamp 13 which I am insulating for winter use. As has been illustrated elsewhere those single pane windows R value probably hovers around 1, not too good. I have found a company, Motion Industries, in Vancouver WA that makes double pane windows for RV's. For cold weather these are basically mandatory. Of course there are other manufactures of this product, but being a west coast guy I favor our regional companies.

Sealing air leaks makes a very large difference, particularly around the bottom of the door which works about as well as a sieve. Has anyone found an effective way of stopping this problem?

BTW, anytime you see a tiny trailer with a 16000 BTU furnace you know there is some kind of design issue, unless you are trying to heat the outdoors!

Nick
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:17 PM   #6
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Scamp in the cold

We're in Newfoundland again this ?Spring?. It's cold. Actually the world temperature according to NASA has dropped 0.6 C over the last two years, some kind of recent record. It has been particularly cold up here this year with relatively high winds.

It's certainly true that our 27 year old Scamp leaks air almost making our CO detector a joke. However it is also true that the Scamp is easy to keep comfortable.

We're at a Music Festival. When we return home after the evening concert the trailer after the two hours concert drops from 70 F to 40 F. When we return Within an easy hour it's back to 70. We do also have an electric blanket that quickly warms the bed. In the morning simply cooking breakfast has us warm and toasty.

We do disconnect our hose at night since temperatures can freeze the hose. We woke to a surprising 24 F and the other morning a frozen hose. I took the hose to the campground shower and cleared it in a few minutes.

Our more clever son, with us in his trailer in NL, has a heated hose gifted to him by a park member in FL.

If I were trying to improve the weather ability of my Scamp, there are many areas where spray foam could make an improvement, particularly around our fridge. Of course thermopane windows would be a great Scamp option. I love the thermopane windows on our second son's Tab 400.

We have modified our Scamp significantly and there are a lot of ways to slow the flow of air. Maybe next year.

All in all our Scamp is now 27. It takes us all over. People continually stop us for tours and to tell us they love the shape.

We have been traveling for 18 years, the last 10 in small trailers, we know they're faults, all rigs seem to have them, yet it gets us where ever we want to go in relative comfort. It's like marriage, it may not be perfect but it can be pretty good, and that's enough.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:18 PM   #7
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our Escape 21 has the extra insulation package, double pane windows, and underneath foam spray..... I can confirm its WAY warmer inside in cold weather, and the heater runs a fraction of the time as it did in our Casita 16, even tho the inside of the trailer is probably twice the volume. its also way quieter inside.

the only really winterized FG trailers are the olivers and bigfoots as these have an inner and outer FG shell with serious insulation between them.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Jon summed it up well but I might add even if the insulation was R45 it would not make much difference. With all the non-air tight and/or single pane windows, non- insulated vents, uninsulated floor and ill fitting door, its not much better than a tent sometimes.
I was writing that almost verbatim when my screen glitched!
You are right on the mark (except for that last phrase)
Fact is, The wall covering the best choice in its class, but it is not a four season trailer...nor was it designed as such.

Peter;
It is perfectly clear that you were not looking for confirmation!
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Jon summed it up well but I might add even if the insulation was R45 it would not make much difference. With all the non-air tight and/or single pane windows, non- insulated vents, uninsulated floor and ill fitting door, its not much better than a tent sometimes.
I winter camped at Yosemite in a tent while on a snow shoe tour using mummy style sleeping bags with only a Coleman lantern for warmth. Any trailer is better than a tent!
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick J View Post
....

BTW, anytime you see a tiny trailer with a 16000 BTU furnace you know there is some kind of design issue, unless you are trying to heat the outdoors!lo

Nick
Not many RV propane furnaces less than 16K BTU (I only now of one). Many people get by fine in a Scamp when its near freezing outside and when on shore power with a ceramic heater on low, which I think works to well under 3,000 BTUs. I dont think that Evelands chose the furnace so much based on BTU rating.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Not many RV propane furnaces less than 16K BTU (I only now of one). Many people get by fine in a Scamp when its near freezing outside and when on shore power with a ceramic heater on low, which I think works to well under 3,000 BTUs. I dont think that Evelands chose the furnace so much based on BTU rating.
Scamp went to the 16000 from the 12000, mine is the 12000, still overkill.
I just figured they had quit making the 12000.??
The heat strip in the A/C is really great when you have shore power.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:10 PM   #12
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If you ever sealed up a Scamp 13 as air tight as you would like what would you breathe.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:15 PM   #13
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The Bigfoot's ceiling insulation is R-8. Not significantly different from the Escape with its 'extra insulation' option.

By comparison, an Outdoors RV has R-29 in its ceiling. (But it's big and heavy, of course.)
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:28 AM   #14
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stevebaz

LOL,

Sealing a volume as tight as you are suggesting is damn near impossible. But in practical terms i tend to keep a window cracked for fresh air, BUT I am modifying my Scamp for winter use in NW WA, in the past I spent several days in a class B in minus 25 F weather, remarkably the difference in temperature between the top of the table and the floor was appx 40 degrees F. That was not much fun, also sucked up a lot of propane.

Having more than 2 decades in the Environmental technology field, that is HVACR to most people, I know the value of insulating and being able to do the calcs for heating and cooling loads for myself, has led me to the conclusion most trailers are pretty darn cheep. I use a Dickenson P 9000 heater, combustion is totally contained (combustion air comes from outside) plus it flickers like a real fire - neat! The BTU rating is 3500 to 4500 appx, and has proven to work very well in 20 degree F weather. Looking forward to that first 0 minus night.
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