rookie questions - Escape as tow vehicle, and Scamp v Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-30-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
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Name: Azer
Trailer: Scamp 16', 2007
Colorado
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rookie questions - Escape as tow vehicle, and Scamp v Casita

hi folks,

I have a family of 4 (me, wife, and 2 girls) and am looking to buy a fiber glass trailer for family trips and camping, but don't have any experience with this. I'd appreciate your help with some basic questions:

1. I don't have the inclination to do a lot of repair, and so I'd like something pretty new. I am considering either a 16' Scamp or 16' or 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe, with bunk beds and toilet. I'd like something from 2000 or later. Does this seem reasonable choice on my part? Can I view the Scamp and Casita as being pretty comparable in quality and family suitability? Or are there big differences I should be aware of?

2. Can I use a 2010 Ford Escape as tow vehicle for the above trailers, in Colorado? The spec's are as follows: 3.0-liter V6, Flex-Fuel, 240 horsepower @ 6550 rpm, 223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm ("ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds"). Will the high altitude be a big issue? Will there be much difference in my ability to tow a Scamp (dry weight + hitch ~ 1900 lbs) versus Casita (dry weight + hitch ~ 2450 lbs) -- perhaps Escape is better suited to Scamp? How critical are anti-sway bar and other accessories? I have talked to some folks who say I will be fine, and others who say I will struggle (especially in mountains)...

Thanks very much!,
Azer
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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In my opinion, Casita &Scamp are pretty equivalent in quality and construction. We picked Casita because we liked the floor plan. Our 17' FD weighs 3300 lbs on the road with 315 hitch weight. That would be pushing the capabilities of your Escape. Your family would not fit in ours but there are models that would work depending on the weight.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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I'm using a 2005 Ford Escape V6 and with our Scamp 13 ft. I have to watch it to keep the speed down to 60 mph on rolling mid-west terrain.

Have driven in the Colo. mountains and trailer brakes would be very, very good to have. Anti-sway bars are cheap insurance in my mind. I think you will want an aux transmission cooler. Trans rebuild expensive, trans cooler not expensive.

I tend to want to be well under weight limits and with the Casita you are close enough that you need to check the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight capacity of the Escape and account for passengers and gear in the tow vehicle.

I Seem to recall Escape hitch capacity was oddly lower than one would expect for towing capacity. Almost like it would do 3,500 lbs but only with a dual axle. It was a few years ago so recall a little fuzzy. Worth checking on.

There is a list in the documents section of the forum "Trailer Weights in the real world" with weights (total and hitch) taken at a FGRV rally. This might help give you a better idea of what you would really be towing.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Hello Azer and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place. I think you will find your Escape a good match to either 16 ft camper. The Casita 17 might be the exception as it is heavier. Expect lots of good input and if you still need more by all means use the search feature. Raz
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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to FiberglassRV, we're glad you're here. I'm not going to get involved in this discussion, other than to say... it's all about budget, layout and location of manufacturer.. if you're looking to buy new. Transportation, either provided by the manufacturer, or if you go to pick up the trailer yourself adds to the overall cost IMHO.

Best of luck on the egg hunt!
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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Azer, Welcome to fiberglass forum. Glad you joined us!


First I will say high altitude is not a issue! Now climbing some grades oh yeah they can be an issue! Despite what some say! I travel them all the time and I know they can be an issue. In a perfect world when no one else is on the road, perhaps grades wouldn't be, but you know Colorado traffic.

But with a tow cap of 3500 pounds your pushing with a Casita with a bathroom.

Especially since your vehicles tow cap reduces when more than one person is in the car! My suggestion would be to read your owner's manual, it will have guidelines as far as how to figure in extra passengers. Now a older, in need of repair/tlc Casita would probably be more in your tow capacity.

Just cause a trailer manufactures state a dry weight, doesn't mean it's the whole truth and nothing but the truth! I personally would weigh anything you are considering purchasing. Dry weights often don't include, AC's, Fridge, propane tanks, etc etc etc.................. They are just a starting point. I understand it's confusing but for example, but 2007 Casita FD weight in a heafty 2800 pounds empty! Nada! No water, no gas, no Nada. Stated dry weight is less than 2400 pounds.

So loaded with your gear and passengers your either pushing your limit or exceeding your limit. That is why I suggest knowing exactly what a trailer your considering weights....


I would also recommend anything that will add to your towing comfort. Anti-sway, tranny cooler, etc.



Not sure if your on the front range of Colorado, but I live on the west side of Greeley. You more than welcome to come take a look at my Casita. It's not the floor plan you would need, but it will give you an idea of Casita quailty. I am sure there are more than one or two scamps on the front range and maybe somebody will let you take a peek at one of those. if you wanna take a look, just Pm me........ Robin
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azer View Post
ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds"). Will the high altitude be a big issue? Will there be much difference in my ability to tow a Scamp (dry weight + hitch ~ 1900 lbs) versus Casita (dry weight + hitch ~ 2450 lbs) -- perhaps Escape is better suited to Scamp? How critical are anti-sway bar and other accessories? I have talked to some folks who say I will be fine, and others who say I will struggle (especially in mountains)...

Thanks very much!,
Azer

Yup lots of people will tell you lots of stuff but at the end of the day you are the one ultimately responsible for making the decision based on your tow vehicles capacity, what the vehicle manufactures specs are in regards to trailer tongue weight and what type of hitch it should or should not have on it etc. Some manufactures require a wd hitch others do not want them used on their vehicles. etc.

You need also to take a look at the Real World Weights listed here These trailers were all weighed at trailer meets - so they had personal effects and food etc in them. As you can see there is a big difference between dry weights and what the trailer will weigh loaded up for camping - a lot also has to do with what options are on the trailer. Most dry weighs do not even include the weight of a battery or propane tank or any options such as awnings, ac etc. To be safe you should add between 600-800lbs to any dry weight. My 16' Scamp is very basic with a side bath and I do not carry much extra stuff and no AC, Microwaves or that sort of thing.... but it does have an awning & fridge, one battery and one propane tank and with 2 cubic feet of clothing in it, 2 very light chairs, a small bq and solar panel and food & kitchen necessaries and no water in the tanks other than about a gallon in the bathroom the trailer weighs 2500lbs (that includes a plastic box containing hoses, electrical cords etc).

In regards to the Casita there are a number of different models and as you can see from the list there is also a big difference in weight. Same with the Scamps.... for example a Scamp with a front bath is going to weigh far more on the tongue than one with a side bath.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:20 PM   #8
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Welcome, Azer. Both Casita and Scamp are good choices. The Escape V6 should work for you, depending on your personal definition of "will be fine" or "will struggle". I personally would say it will be fine, but that's because I don't expect to charge up every grade at 60 mph. The Escape will probably be best with overdrive locked out at all times while towing, and shifted down another gear on the steep grades. By comparison, my Highlander has a 270 HP V6 and I towed over Wolf Creek Pass as well as from Durango to Ridgway last summer, and some of the time I had it in 2nd gear at 35-40 mph, because (although I could have gone a bit faster and in 3rd) I can't see any reason to stress my drive train. That climb N of Durango is a loooooong grade. If you expect to do those grades at high speed, only a diesel pickup will seem fine to you!

I think you should eliminate Casita 17 Deluxe from your list of possibles, because the tongue weight will almost surely exceed the 350 lb. limit of your Escape. Take a look at this thread for some examples of trailer weights, as-towed: Trailer Weights in the Real World (edit: I see Carol beat me to it while I was typing)
Assuming your girls are not too big yet, I would suggest that you look for a Scamp 16, layout #4. It has the bathroom on the side, 2 bunks in front, and the rear dinette becomes a "double" bed (well, not quite as wide as a real double, but close). The bathroom being on the side means a lower tongue weight than a front bath model, too.

I don't feel the need for a sway bar on a trailer of this length and weight because sway is rare (unless you load way too much stuff in the rear and make the tongue too light), but they don't cost much to add if you feel the desire for one. Can't hurt to have. The other way to combat sway is to keep vehicle speed steady while applying just the trailer brakes (using lever on brake controller).
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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The Ford Escape V6 is a great tow vehicle for a 13 or a 16 but the 17 Casita starts pushing the limits...both for it and the trailer class.
I tow my 13 Scamp with a 4CYL stick Escape and choose to do so often, for the great MPG, comfort, and match.
I know a few folks who tow 16 Scamps with the V6 automatic and are well satisfied.
Your driving habits will affect your satisfaction, whatever you choose, just as your idea of comfort and coziness will affect your choice of trailers.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:31 PM   #10
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I don't know if they are comparable but this is a Ford flex and A 19er Escape
Kibitka Escape
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:34 PM   #11
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Name: Azer
Trailer: Scamp 16', 2007
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Thanks. This is very helpful.
I certainly don't need to go too fast, as long as I am not slow that I am dangerous with the other traffic.

I note that your Highlander may be rated for higher towing capacity (5000 lbs):
Highlander lineup offers something for everyone
Should we factor this in to the comparison?

Also, if I test drive with a trailer, and it "feels ok" and doesn't exceed the spec's, then does this mean I am safe in terms of the towing? (Obviously I want my family to be safe and don't want some crazy situation where some part of my vehicle fractures or fails as we're driving along.)

Azer
while my Escape is 3500 lbs.
, as oppo
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:37 PM   #12
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Name: Azer
Trailer: Scamp 16', 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
The Ford Escape V6 is a great tow vehicle for a 13 or a 16 but the 17 Casita starts pushing the limits...both for it and the trailer class.
I tow my 13 Scamp with a 4CYL stick Escape and choose to do so often, for the great MPG, comfort, and match.
I know a few folks who tow 16 Scamps with the V6 automatic and are well satisfied.
Your driving habits will affect your satisfaction, whatever you choose, just as your idea of comfort and coziness will affect your choice of trailers.
Thanks! I see that different V6 automatics show different towing capacities. Do you know folks who tow 16' Scamps with Ford Escape V6s? (I am thinking the 16' Scamp may be my best option.)

Azer
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Azer View Post
Thanks! I see that different V6 automatics show different towing capacities. Do you know folks who tow 16' Scamps with Ford Escape V6s? (I am thinking the 16' Scamp may be my best option.)

Azer
Sorry... That's what I meant (ford Escape V6s)
The Scamp 16 is a good choice...Lightest choice for sure, and nothing tows better than a Scamp Trailer.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #14
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safe in terms of the towing for your family might be to go slow, at your own speed, and read the many good towing guides online. You know.... till you understand in your own mind all the numbers like how to subtract all the weight of the people in your car from all the other ratings in your car manual. Hitch weight, ETC. There is a lot to figure out.
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