New at this - Fiberglass RV



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Old 06-11-2019, 08:15 PM   #1
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Name: Harrison
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Hello! Iím 6í3Ē and I drive a Crosstrek with a tow capacity of 1,500lbs. For a variety of reasons, Iím considering full-timing in a molded fiberglass trailer. Iíve been researching for a while now and I canít seem to lock down the best fiberglass trailer for me. Please, make some recommendations?? I feel confident that a 13ft. fiberglass trailer is the way to go but between the different makes, models, and years Iím having trouble finding consistent numbers/measurements for something that will ultimately be comfortable for a guy my height, and match my tow capacity. Maybe Iím asking, whatís the lightest trailer with the largest bed? Guide me, please!
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:27 PM   #2
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1500 pound rating is very marginal tow wise. Hunter Compact II probably gives you the biggest bed.

Beds in molded trailers tend to go side to side. So interior width is critical.

Bet you are also going to run into tongue weight problems. Tongue weight rating is 176 pounds. Figure 13% tongue weight so a 1500 pound trailer will have about 200 pound tongue weight. Better have trailer brakes too.

The Subaru Outback wagon typically has a 2,700 pound tow rating. The Ascent is even higher but it’s a bigger vehicle.

A couple of other key decisions: bathroom and air conditioning. Both add weight by the way. Bathroom takes up key space in a small trailer (there is no free lunch). I can’t imagine full time without AC or a toilet. But I met a couple that were fulltiming in a mid 1970s Trillium that had neither. And they had been doing it for a couple of years.

Basically if you add a bathroom in a 13 footer then you don’t have a place to sit unless you take up the bed every day. That gets old fast!
Weights in the real world is a good source in weight. Dry weights are a joke. Also do a search on trailer interior height. Many are on the short side.

People buy cars for many reasons and then later decide they want to tow. They tend to be shocked at the low ratings.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:37 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the quick reply thrifty bill! I meant to say, Iím not worried about a bathroom, but A/C is on the list of amenities Iíd like to have. Iíll definitely look into the Hunter Compact II, thanks! I know 1,500 isnít a lot to work with. I feel like itís got to be fiberglass, pop-up, or teardrop and Iím not so much a fan of the last 2. May also be worth mentioning that, at least for the immediate future, I wonít be *towing* full-time, just living in it. Thanks again!
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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Do a search via google as there are a lot of discussions on interior height and bed size. Newer units tend to have roof air which you will learn to duck. The older stuff tended to not be built for AC, and the roofs won’t support. I’d add a newer Scamp 13 standard to your list (the old ones had lower ceilings).
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:49 PM   #5
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Good info, thanks! Iíve been looking at Scamp, Casita, Boler....can I add to the challenge and add a max (well...ballpark) $8k spending limit? Did I just hear the entire community on here laugh in unison??
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:30 PM   #6
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Casita is way too low ceiling wise. Newer Scamp plus more budget. Older Scamps have low ceiling. Not sure on Boler I’d guess it’s low too. Bolers sell for a premium anyway and no AC.

None are four season either. Light weight and four season don’t go together.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:55 AM   #7
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A Hunter Compact II will be too heavy. A Compact Jr. is the most likely candidate. Bed is too short, but you might fit diagonally or build an extension in the aisle, since it sleeps front-to-back. Theyíre pretty uncommon, all will be over 40 years old, and most require some rehab work, so leave some room in your budget.

Honestly, I could not imagine full-timing in a trailer that size. Very little storage, and you canít carry much in the vehicle either without overloading the rear suspension in combination with the tongue weight of a trailer.

The only real alternative involves a different vehicle. There are other Subaru models, as Bill mentions, but beware the low tongue weight limit (200#) on the Outback. Full-timers typical carry a lot of excess gear in the tow vehicle. A decent used small pickup, like a Nissan Frontier V6, would give you a lot more options. Depending on your financial situation with the Crosstrek, it might even free up additional resources for the trailer.

All the Boler/Scamp/Trillium types will weight in around 1600-1800# loaded for travel, possibly more when full-timing. See the thread ďTrailer Weights in the Real WorldĒ in the General Chat section of the boards for data on fully loaded weights (a couple are not, most are). Post #297 links to a spreadsheet you can sort and filter.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:56 AM   #8
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This is always a hard one! There's advice which assumes you're well informed of your own needs and are just looking for what trailer fits those needs. But as you can see there's a strong desire to assume you haven't thought this through very well, so you'll get a lot of other advice.

People full time in tents, cars, whatever. People sleep out on the streets. So there's no doubt you'd be fine in a 13' trailer. But...what's your experience with trailers? Have you ever camped in one? Or will this be a new experience? If you have some disposable income, I'd say go for it. You'll learn, that's for sure! If the 13 doesn't work, then upgrade. If wheeling and dealing with trailers, having to go through the search and buying process multiple times and possibly losing money on the deal every time doesn't sound fun, I suggest putting more thought into this. Rent some trailers for weekend trips, attend fiberglass trailer rallies and check out people's campers. They're typically happy to let you look around.

Your price range actually isn't too far off. It's limiting, but completely doable.

I live in my camper half the year. I'm 5'10", and about 150lb. For me, my Bigfoot is great. If I had a trailer only for camping I'd absolutely have something smaller. Since I live in it, I wouldn't want anything any smaller than what I have, and Bigfoot trailers are the largest of all fiberglass trailers. I also have a truck bed with a topper for storage. I could fit into a smaller space, but as an adult, I've picked up hobbies along the way. There's only so simple I'm so far willing to go. That means a lot of storage space.

As a 20-something I could see living out of a Subaru and 13' trailer. In fact it would be awesome. As a 40-something...no thanks. I backpack, tent camp, x-country ski, bake bread, have all sorts of tools for projects, play music. I need the back of my truck and all the storage space that comes with my 17' Bigfoot. 6'3" is tough. My first camper (a 78 Toyota motorhome) had a low ceiling. It got really old not being able to stand without tilting my head forward, especially cooking.

Your needs may be different.

When I took my old motorhome on the road for a huge trip around the west, the only advice one friend gave me was "make good choices". I thought that kind of said it all.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:29 PM   #9
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This is the "real weights" thread that was mentioned: Trailer Weights in the Real World. Another member, Jon Vermilye, maintains an up-to-date and more user-friendly spreadsheet. You can find that link is his post here: Trailer Weights in the Real World.

That thread was an unfortunate reality check for me. I suspect you may find the same. The weights you see listed on manufacturers' websites typically include no fluids, no gear, and even no options. The "real weights" spreadsheet gave me a much better feel for what is feasible for us.

A related thread is here: Tow Vehicle & Trailer combos - POST INFO. That will give you an idea of what vehicles owners have chosen to tow their portable estates.

Give those threads a good hard read and go from there. One option at your disposal is to get somebody to move the trailer into place for you. Then either repeat that process every time you need to relocate, or trade in for something with a tad more oomph.

To prove it can be done, here is a thread with a link to a video of a couple full timing in a 13' Scamp: Full Time in a 13' Scamp. Start at 6 minutes; you won't miss anything.

As far as the bed size, at least one member has put a queen in a Trillium 13' (with modification to the trailer). The Trillium thread is here: Trillium 13' Queen Bed. I swear I saw a picture of a king bed in a Scamp 13' but I can't find the thread. There are numerous bed modification/extension threads to peruse for ideas.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:52 PM   #10
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+10 go to YouTube and you will see people modifying a Honda Element for full time living. People do it and I don’t mean to single out the Element either it just an example. A newer Scamp 13 standard with a refrigerator, furnace, sink, and roof air would be luxurious in comparison!
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:19 AM   #11
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Name: Harrison
Trailer: In the market
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Thank you all who have weighed in (pun intended)! Justus thanks for those links especially! Really helps expedite the research process here!! That link with the vehicles listed showed a couple of Crosstrek owners towing Bolers which gives me hope this is feasible. Jonís list of real weights is also very helpful I just wish there were more details about models, years, features....but it looks like there are definitely campers out there under 1,000lbs so hopefully Iíll get lucky. Keep the suggestions coming if you got Ďem, but I definitely have more homework to do! Thanks again, everyone!
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