looking for a trailer within a day's drive of seattle (WA, OR, ID?, CA?) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2014, 11:05 AM   #1
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Name: brianna
Trailer: shopping
Washington
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looking for a trailer within a day's drive of seattle (WA, OR, ID?, CA?)

i'm looking for a lightweight fiberglass trailer to be towed by a 2010 outback (limit is 3000lb, so i'd like to keep it under 2000). most of the time it'll be used by me and my twins (who are nearly four now), but my husband will be along sometimes as well. would love to have a toilet/shower, but that's not critical, but it does need to have a place for all of us to sleep and a way to heat food. we plan to use this year round, and will be taking it from seattle to indiana in october, so it needs to be heated.

mechanical soundness is a MUST. cosmetically, eh, i'd be just as happy letting the kids customize it a bit as i would be with a perfect one, so not a big deal if it needs some upholstery and so on (i have the skills to do that sort of thing).

under $10k for certain and preferably under $8k.

i grew up with a Scamp, and can't wait to introduce my kids to the fun of traveling with a camper in tow!

big hopes and dreams for adventures await your reply
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Brianna!

I think a 13' trailer would be your best bet. You might also want to check the tongue weight limit on your Subie. I've heard on many models it is limited to 200 lbs. That means you can only tow 2000 lbs. loaded trailer weight and still have enough weight on the tongue for stable towing (10% is the recommended minimum for camper-type trailers).

With the 13'ers, unfortunately, you can't have a bathroom and beds for four. Most do have provision for a porta-potty for middle-of-the-night emergencies - with 4-year-old twins, those will be expected!

Scamp is currently the largest manufacturer of 13'ers, so most of the newer ones you find on the used market will be Scamps. If you previously used a Scamp, you'll find they haven't changed much! One of the best changes happened because of a fire at their factory in 2006: they had to make new molds, and they made it a bit taller after 2006 (now 6'2" or so). Mine is a 2008 and you can see some pics if you click on my registry (below my name & trailer info at the left).

I would also keep an eye out for well-maintained or refurbished older units. Trilliums are pretty common and they are a bit roomier than Scamps (and the abundance of jalousie windows is a definite advantage in the rainy NW).

If you are patient, you should be able to find a nice one well within your budget. I'd keep a close eye on Craigslist in your area, because the best deals are usually gone by the time they hit the big national websites (like this one and fiberglass-rv-4sale.com).

Happy hunting!
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:53 AM   #3
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I pulled with a 07 Outback for a number of years and they are great tow vehicles but the limiting factor as Jon mentioned is the tongue weight capacity of only 200lbs. Subaru gives the higher tow capacity for use for boat trailers which historically have a lighter tongue than travel trailers. In order to achieve a nice solid tow with a travel trailer using the Subaru you will need 10% of the total weight on the tongue. I struggled with the tongue weight limit and I upgraded tugs due to it. So I agree with Jon you are best to stick to a 13' trailer or something with a total weight including the tongue of 2000lbs or less.

A good place to start looking at what trailers fit that towing capacity is the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World.

A standard 13' Scamp would work for you as it has bunks in the front for the children. One with a bathroom has no bunks at the front as the bathroom is where the bunks would be - it would also weigh more on the tongue.

If you have not already found it Fiberglass-rv-4sale.com is a great place to keep you eyes on for trailers for sale.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:10 PM   #4
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Brianna,

I know you are fond of Scamps, but maybe take a look at a Trillium 4500. This is a 15' trailer that has exactly the same floor plan as most 13', just more generous dimensions.

I don't know if you consider Edmonton Alberta a day's drive from Seattle, (I have done it in less then 12 hours) but this is a nice, if WAY over priced example:
1977 Trillium 4500 fibreglass camper trailer | travel trailers, campers | Edmonton | Kijiji

Others come up in BC quite often as well.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Brianna,

I know you are fond of Scamps, but maybe take a look at a Trillium 4500. This is a 15' trailer that has exactly the same floor plan as most 13', just more generous dimensions.

I don't know if you consider Edmonton Alberta a day's drive from Seattle, (I have done it in less then 12 hours) but this is a nice, if WAY over priced example:
1977 Trillium 4500 fibreglass camper trailer | travel trailers, campers | Edmonton | Kijiji

Others come up in BC quite often as well.
David,
I have a question about Canada trailers? Is it hard for an American to purchase a camper in Canada an then import it into America? Is this easy to do?
Thanks,
Carl
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Name: brianna
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thanks, all!

it looks like that 200lb tongue limit is correct - we have an outback 2.5i with a towing limit of 2700lb. and that requires brakes on the trailer, so i think that takes some of the vintage ones off the list.

so here's a question:

how come no one makes one of these things with a bunk over the main bed??? then you could put the toilet in the bunk end and still sleep 3! i might just buy a model with the bathroom and rig up a bunk myself!
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:44 PM   #7
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David,
I have a question about Canada trailers? Is it hard for an American to purchase a camper in Canada an then import it into America? Is this easy to do?
Thanks,
Carl
Carl, I am no expert on this subject, but it is my understanding that a trailer over a certain age, (any classic Trillium is over that age) is not subject to the same import requirements as a new trailer. Hopefully others with more experience with this will chime in.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by briannastuart View Post
how come no one makes one of these things with a bunk over the main bed??? then you could put the toilet in the bunk end and still sleep 3! i might just buy a model with the bathroom and rig up a bunk myself!
Brianna, Trillium had an option for a fold down bunk over the dinette, and they had a front bath as well.

There are pictures of these options in the Trillium Brochure:
Fiberglass RV - Document Center - 1977 Trillium Brochure - Color
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by briannastuart View Post
thanks, all!

it looks like that 200lb tongue limit is correct - we have an outback 2.5i with a towing limit of 2700lb. and that requires brakes on the trailer, so i think that takes some of the vintage ones off the list.....
Depending on your own willingness to buy something that will require additional expense many vintage aged camper may well have a shot torsion axle. Which if axle condition reduces the price by a corresponding amount would allow you to replace axle with one having brakes.

Went that route with our 77 Scamp. No brakes but ordered axle with brakes when axle was replaced.

Trick is to find someone that is willing to set sale price taking into account axle condition that is not selling a camper that is in really rough condition.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nut501 View Post
David,
I have a question about Canada trailers? Is it hard for an American to purchase a camper in Canada an then import it into America? Is this easy to do?
Thanks,
Carl
Real easy to do if you buy from a manufacture who is still in biz. Otherwise you need to have it inspected if its less than x so many years old - if over x so many years its year easy no inspection. There is no duty either way. Sorry not sure what the x years is going south .... seem to think its 20 or 25 years? going north its 16 years or over.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by briannastuart View Post
thanks, all!

how come no one makes one of these things with a bunk over the main bed??? then you could put the toilet in the bunk end and still sleep 3! i might just buy a model with the bathroom and rig up a bunk myself!
Escape did/has a folding bunk that goes over the front dinette on their smaller trailers and they have bathrooms but again there trailers tongue weight is going to be over your tugs tongue weight specs.

Also Bigfoot did a fold down bunk as well on their old 17' but again those trailers are over your towing and tongue weight specs....

The problem is any time you add a bathroom to a trailer the weight goes up.......
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #12
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Name: brianna
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yup, i'm thinking that the stowable potty is the answer. hmmm. well, that does help narrow my search!
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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yup, i'm thinking that the stowable potty is the answer. hmmm. well, that does help narrow my search!
Personally, I think that's a good call. With a bathroom taking up the front of the trailer with a solid wall, you not only give up the sofa/bunks, but you lose the big front window and an intangible feeling of openness. IMO, that's worth a lot on a rainy afternoon when you're all stuck inside the trailer - kids can sprawl out on the big bed with their toys or (dare I say it) a movie on the laptop, and you can curl up on the sofa with a book… You also won't have all the extra maintenance associated with a full plumbing system: grey tanks, black tanks, HW heater… And besides, where would your husband sleep when he does come?

I grew up camping and touring the country with my family in a tent and then a tent trailer. There were six of us and never a bathroom, not even a porta-potty. Mom and Dad perhaps felt differently, but for us kids, campground bathrooms were just another adventure. Think of it as preparation for a life-path that just might lie beyond middle-class American suburbia!

BTW, due to his work schedule, my father was also not always able to travel with us. So, it was sometimes my mother, a tent trailer, and four young kids! What you are doing for your twins is priceless!
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:37 PM   #14
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Name: Naomi
Trailer: 1972 Boler 13 Foot
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For the port a potty situation, we have just purchased a "luggable loo" from a local store in Canada called Army & Navy. Basically it's a 5 gallon plastic bucket with an regulation toilet seat and proper fitting lid. There are water tight bags that go inside. We are taking it camping this summer to use where there are only outhouses with no running water. I looked at those lovely looking curvy portable potties but there is too much stinky maintenance involved in them for me. I'm going for the $20 version luggable loo and disposable bags this year!
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