Didn't like "feel" of 1998 16' Scamp vs. Casita 17' Build Quality? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-31-2015, 12:21 AM   #1
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Name: Ed
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Question Didn't like "feel" of 1998 16' Scamp vs. Casita 17' Build Quality?

I'm just starting to look for an egg to call our own. I've been researching Scotty Highlanders for about 4 years and ended up at an Escape rally a few weeks ago and think I'm going fiberglass now (shocked at the build differences vs. 2009 "newish" Scotty Highlander). Today I went and inspected a Scamp 16 (layout 3) and was less than impressed with the through the wall rivets and overall build quality compared to the Escapes and Casitas I saw at the rally (some newer, a few older). Is there really that much difference in build quality? I'm looking for a egg for my wife and me (no bathroom, don't like them in a trailer) to tow behind either our 2006 6 cylinder Jeep Liberty or our 2006 Ford E350 full ton 12 passenger van. We are both "not insubstantial" (and 5'10" or less) and like open plan layouts best (layout 7 on the Scamps & Liberty or Freedom). I searched the site already and it seems people are saying they are both equal - but I can't seem to reconcile that with what I saw today... Help! Ed
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:42 AM   #2
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My opinion - I've had all three - the Scamp is the low end of the quality scale, Casita is in the middle. Escape is very different as there are no rivets, the glass work and construction is far sturdier.

Visited Casita and Escape factories and the methods of construction I observed confirm why they are different. Did not visit the Scamp factory. I'm pretty picky having spent 35 years as a Manufacturing Engineer. They all use the same appliance manufacturers, so the big difference is in the design and construction.

Which is probably why Escape has sold out all of their 2016 production already. They will take orders for 2017 production next year.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:40 AM   #3
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Hi Ed, I have to pretty much agree with Charlie on the builds. But don't let the use of rivets be the factor of backing away from a certain make. They have been used and proven successful for 40+ years. The only way they kind of bug me is when I'm waxing it. Yes, you do see them but you see the seams in your clothes too, they both have a job to do. As you're just starting to look "hands on", do understand that fiberglass molded trailers are not in the same world as any stick built trailer. Very small niche market with a small new supply each year. With the tow rigs available to you the weight isn't a problem. All I can say is find the right layout that works for you no matter which brand and rivets be danged. I've got a Casita SD17.....I can replace a lot of rivets for the 30K difference in price of the higher end units and still sleep off the ground . Most folks here spend very little time in the trailer other than sleeping. Get to a few more rallies to see more makes and layouts before you rule any out. Good luck on your search.
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:42 AM   #4
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Build Quality

Ed,

I have never worried too much about the build quality of all the fiberglass trailers. One of my son's tows a 36 year old Scamp, another son towed a 24 year old Casita 16, we tow a 24 year old Scamp 16.

We hope to be towing ours for another 10 years when it will be 34 years old. Our trailers are never treated gingerly, always parked outside and ours have been on a number of roads Ginny calls the 'road to hell', 100 mile pothole mazes.

Sure we've lost a few rivet caps over the years but I just put a new cap on when one falls off. So far a rivet has never leaked.

24 years old and going strong. There's not to many items, outside of a hammer that lasts that long.

To me it's fiberglass trailer choice is not about build quality, but rather size, layout and budget.

We have been in every trailer presently being manufactured and can clearly say our travels would not be enhanced or diminished by any of them. The travel is way more important than the fiberglass shell.

They all do a great job of keeping one warm, dry and sheltered. We typically travel for 8 months a year and the cozy confines of our trailer is comforting to us, though certainly it is limiting, no ping pong in the trailer, we always look forward to the coziness and sleep better in our trailer than anywhere.

Rivets, not an issue for us.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
My opinion - I've had all three - the Scamp is the low end of the quality scale, Casita is in the middle. Escape is very different as there are no rivets, the glass work and construction is far sturdier.

Visited Casita and Escape factories and the methods of construction I observed confirm why they are different. Did not visit the Scamp factory. I'm pretty picky having spent 35 years as a Manufacturing Engineer. They all use the same appliance manufacturers, so the big difference is in the design and construction.

Which is probably why Escape has sold out all of their 2016 production already. They will take orders for 2017 production next year.
Maybe the term "low end" for Scamp quality might be a little harsh. In that they have been building them about the same way for over 40 years, and are selling all they can build, suggests that they are doing something right. It's just at the most affordable end of the spectrum. I have had both a Scamp 13' and a Lil Bigfoot 13' and the bigger differences I saw was more in the interior construction details. Yes, it's costs Scamp a bit less to build the way they build, and they are priced accordingly.

And while there is no question that Escape builds a quality product, I would suggest that the current currency exchange differential, making about a 25% effective reduction in price to American buyers, had more to do with them selling out for the next year than just the quality issue. An examination of where those rigs are going would be very telling.

Rather than calling Scamp "low end", I would rate the three of them as being good, better and best.
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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Comparing a 1998 Scamp 16 to a late model Casita 17 is really not a direct apples-to-apples comparison. They are in a different weight class for one thing, and the Casita 17 is a more recent design and incorporates changes to address some things people didn't like about the old design: curved doors, small beds, and limited storage.

All of those old-school design limitations live on in the Casita 16, which is the direct competitor to the Scamp 16. In that match-up, I think you'll find Scamp holds its own.

That said, if a Casita 17 floats your boat, that's good, too. Just know it's a lot heavier: 3300/425 versus 2600/275 for the 16'ers, according to the data in the "Trailer Weights in the Real World" thread in the General Chat section. The data reflects bathroom versions. If you got the Liberty Standard (no bath) version, that would bring the weight down somewhat. Hard to say how much, because most buyers in that size/weight class do want bathrooms.

If you want a higher quality interior and a bigger bed without the weight penalty, you might want to take a look at the Scamp 16 Deluxe (all-wood interior) models. They might do a bathroom delete if that's what you want. Or, as already mentioned, an Escape 17A.
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:30 AM   #7
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When looking to purchase an all-molded-towable it first starts with your tug. What weight and model can it tow safely? Then you need to determine your budget. New or used? What layout do you need or want? Manufacturer, to me, is the last thing to be concerned about.


I own both a Scamp and an Escape. I can absolutely tell you I don't have MORE fun in my Escape then I do in my Scamp. When you're having tons of fun... that's what matters.


I was recently in a brand-new Scamp Deluxe. I was less than impressed with the wood work quality. My 1988 Deluxe is heads above what I saw in the new one. So, what I'm saying, is don't be afraid of looking at an older Scamp. IMHO the older ones are actually built better in some cases.


Best of luck!
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:50 AM   #8
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I have only owned a Scamp (brand new one), and only for five weeks, so I cannot compare, but I can tell you that I already have a long list of quality control issues that I am working on including two different leaks from rain water. These problems will the topic of an extended posting here sometime in the future when I have some resolution to report. The design issues could be a another list. If I knew I could get a Casita of the same size that weighed about the same then I would look at it very hard.
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:56 AM   #9
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Rivits or Screws?

Yes, there are those with fasteners exposed and those with them inside.
As I recall from our visit to the factory in B.C. the Escapes have wood strips molded into the fiberglass for the attaching points of the cabinets inside. They use screws to mount everything. So you have places where the shell is thicker than the rest.
Scamp shells are of uniform thickness, and they drill through for screws or rivets.
We have the Deluxe 16 ft, so the cabinets are of wood attached w/ screws.
I suppose the standard cabinets are also molded Fiberglass attached with rivets.
Our screw caps did get brittle and fall apart, but a new set of caps and washers was easy to put on, with a dab of silicone.
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:00 AM   #10
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Our screw caps did get brittle and fall apart, but a new set of caps and washers was easy to put on, with a dab of silicone.
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:06 AM   #11
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..
Our screw caps did get brittle and fall apart, but a new set of caps and washers was easy to put on, with a dab of silicone.

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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Don't Panic Donna! I am sure he only put the silicone under the cap, so that it never touched the fiberglass.
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Old 10-31-2015, 12:54 PM   #12
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I have owned more than two dozen fiberglass trailers of various makes.
They are all far superior to stick builts and will last a lifetime with competent care and more than normal neglect.
Allow me to interrupt this Scamp bashing session with a couple of points... The best thirty year old trailers which I have owned have been Scamps. I presently have owned a Scamp13 Deluxe for eleven years and would gladly compare the build quality with any new trailer on the market.
Actually, I kinda got a whiff of a Troll, but we will cross this bridge again anyway.
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:39 PM   #13
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I wasn't Scamp bashing, just stating my personal opinion as an answer to the OP question: "Is there really that much difference in build quality?"

The use of rivets as fasteners is a design attribute, not a quality attribute (unless installed poorly.) They've been around a LONG time!




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Old 10-31-2015, 02:12 PM   #14
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I... The best thirty year old trailers which I have owned have been Scamps. I presently have owned a Scamp13 Deluxe for eleven years and would gladly compare the build quality with any new trailer on the market.
...
Hope no one thinks I am Scamp bashing but I have already spent many hours just dealing with leaks in a brand new Scamp, not to mention some other comparatively minor problems. I wonder how the quality of a new one compares with the older ones of which you speak. Perhaps 11 or 30 years ago they were more careful when building them, or perhaps my buying at the peak of the season was a factor. Perhaps I just got unlucky. One of the two leaks was very hard to detect and normally would have gone unnoticed for some time so perhaps I just paid more attention than most buyers would have. The leaks are the only critical and or difficult problems, so overall I am happy so far, although a bit let down. When I get some resolution I will be giving a full report so you can draw your own conclusions.
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