Possible New Full-Timers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-08-2017, 09:04 AM   #1
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Name: Craig
Trailer: Scamp
Washington
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Possible New Full-Timers

Hello All,

My wife and I will be entering about two years of training for the Air Force come next year. This will include moving at least 3-4 times. We are seriously considering living full time in a fiberglass rv during those years (leaning towards a bigfoot). We currently own a 16' Scamp and love it, although it would not be practical to live out of. What recommendations do you all have for us? We may be in Colorado for some of that time, so a four season set up is important. Any other brands make four seasons besides bigfoot? If we decide to purchase, is their complications with buying in Canada? Also, could I be confident that a 2003-2006 model year trailer is still in good condition that will last? Thank you very much.

Craig
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:36 AM   #2
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Possible New Full-Timers

Oliver is the only other 4-season molded trailer, and I think the Bigfoot would be far more comfortable for your circumstances.

A used trailer is a risk, to be sure. A very thorough inspection of shell, frame, floor, windows, and every mechanical system will help you avoid problems. Setting aside a portion of your budget for the inevitable surprise is a good idea.

I wish you the best!
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:31 PM   #3
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Name: Gene
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 19
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What are you looking for as far as "four season"? No travel trailer is great in below freezing environments. However many can be made to get by. The biggest concerns are water systems both fresh and waste . The other problem is no RV is insulted as well as a house. This lack of R-value can be offset by burning more fuel to heat your camper. If there is a military campground at that base they may have free electricity, in which case I would use electric space heaters.
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Old 06-09-2017, 06:48 AM   #4
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"Four-season" trailers, in addition to better insulation and thermal windows, have enclosed and heated holding tanks. I agree that no trailer will be as efficient as a house- utility costs will be high. But the provisions for keeping plumbing going in below-freezing weather make a four-season trailer worth the added cost and weight for full-time use in cold climates.

I lived in a 27' Holiday Rambler for 3 years in the White Mountains of Arizona. Typical nighttime temperatures in the winter were in the upper teens, with occasional dips to around 0 degrees. The underbelly was enclosed and furnace ducting ran alongside the holding tanks. I heat-taped and insulated the fresh water hook-up and did my tank dumps as much as possible on warmer afternoons when the temperature was above freezing.

My employer footed the utility bill (electricity and propane from a bulk tank) for a fixed monthly rent, so I can't speculate on energy use, but I conserved by setting the thermostat low during the day. Beware of using an electric heater only- on some trailers that means the tanks and plumbing won't be getting heat.

That was high altitude Arizona cold. For North Dakota cold, you'd need to take additional measures- insulated skirting, for example. Or rent a house.
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:12 AM   #5
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Almost forgot... information on importing from Canada is here:
https://www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com/...vel-trailer-us

Unfortunately, Bigfoots of the vintage you're looking at can be problematic. Importation of a trailer less than 25 years old requires US DOT certification. It's a sticker on the trailer from the manufacturer certifying that the trailer meets US regulations for highway use (or a letter from the manufacturer stating same). Sounds simple, but Bigfoot went through a bankruptcy sale in the late 2000's and the new owners will not issue certification letters for trailers built prior to the sale (reason given is they do not have the build records). If a trailer in Canada already has the sticker (worth asking) you're good, but if not...

There is another way, involving an import broker and an inspection to verify compliance. Some people have reported it was not a big deal, but others have said it gets expensive. Never done it myself, so I can't say. The issues at stake are fairly minor with a trailer, since there is no engine or emissions, and I think it likely any unmodified Bigfoot would pass, since they were designed for sale in both markets. But we're talking about federal regulations, so you have to jump through all the hoops to get the importation document at the border that enables you to register it in any state.
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:18 AM   #6
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What Jon said! Bigfoot trailers are designed to heat the plumbing system, including the tanks, with the forced air propane furnace. It is ducted to provide heat to all of the water system. If you heat with an electric space heater, you won't get any heat to your tanks. That being said, there are some considerations to ponder. You will absolutely need to be hooked up to electric power or your battery will only last a day or two with the furnace cycling a lot. Your water hookup will either need major insulation, or you will need to run water out of the fresh water holding tank when temps are way below freezing 24/7. You will need to re-fill the propane tanks frequently, or acquire a large external tank. Skirting isn't required to get a Bigfoot through the winter, but in a very harsh winter climate it would help to conserve energy.
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:26 PM   #7
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Does any have experience with the electric mats designed to heat RV tanks? I think it would be possible to outfit any fiberglass RV for cold weather use with the proper modifications. If the camp ground has a nice bath house you could also just winterize your water systems and use the bath house. The 6 gallon hot water tanks on most campers makes for a short shower anyways.
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:46 PM   #8
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For short vacation trips in cold weather, maybe. But full-time living and working for months at a time in the winter... putting on a parka to trek to a bathhouse for a shower? coming back with wet hair? Maybe I'm just getting old, but that doesn't appeal to me.

The 6 gallon tank in my HR was more than ample for a single person, and the hot showers I enjoyed for three years in the warmth and privacy of my own trailer... priceless! With two people taking back-to-back morning showers, you'd need to conserve (shut off while soaping up, for example), or just spread out your showers- one at night and one in the morning.

For what the OP is planning, I wouldn't settle for anything less than a larger BF with a dry bath, preferably the 25RQ.
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Old 06-10-2017, 07:46 AM   #9
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Plenty of good advice on 4 season and importing from Canada.

I'll just address the longevity thing. You have to do your homework and look closely when you buy a trailer, but I'm currently mostly living in a 1991 Bigfoot. No issues other than the same issues most RVers have, whether their trailer is 2 years old or 40. If you're looking at early 2000's campers, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to find something practically as good as new.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:16 AM   #10
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A nice one: 2008 Bigfoot 21FB
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:53 PM   #11
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Name: Linda
Trailer: Currently Shopping
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Bigfoot Trailers

My hubby & I are also looking at Bigfoot trailers. I have contacted the factory and they do not sell directly to consumers - you have to go thru a dealer ('factory outlets' on their website). There are several in the US, so you may not have an import issue. Others may know for sure.
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