Researching an Oliver.... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-05-2015, 07:28 PM   #1
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Name: Cindy
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Researching an Oliver....

Hello Everyone!

I have joined FGRV to ask all of you, who are familiar with primarily the Oliver, but also the modern Casita trailers (I won't be looking at older Casitas).

These trailers are often described as "4-season," and also described as built well enough to live in. I accept the latter statement, but I need to know about the 4-season part specifically.

I'm not too worried about being in very cold climates with either of those trailers, however, I am wondering how well you can keep it cool in the extreme summer....specifically in AZ.

Have any of you tested your Oliver, or Casita in AZ in the summer? Did you have to do anything special...upgrade to a beefier AC, insulate the windows, anything different like that?

If you did try this can you tell me specifically the conditions at which you did it? For example; maybe you were in PHX in August, it was 113 out and you were able to cool it down to only 95 degrees.....something like that?

I'd appreciate any real-world knowledge you can give me on this issue!

Also, since I'm new here...I may be in the wrong spot asking this question? If so please direct me to the right area. Thanks so much!
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:36 PM   #2
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Any trailer with adequate air conditioner size should be okay, but I believe in the hot southwest they use water evaporators to cool, not air conditioning. There are no fiberglass trailers made today that have that type of equipment, some older U-Haul and Burro's may have them.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:52 PM   #3
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If not too worried about below freezing for many days in a row, I don't think you need a true "4-season" trailer as the spendy winter insulation options aren't needed. Oliver makes a very nice but heavy and expensive trailer. Casitas can be cool enough in the SW USA with the stock A/C - my LD was fine in Utah/Arizona areas in summer. Depending on what size you're looking for, might consider an Escape - ours does fine with the optional insulation and thermal windows anywhere in the US. An added benefit is that those options greatly reduce the outside noise levels.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:51 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, Cindy

In a recent thread concerning what members considered necessary for a trailer to be deemed 4-Season the following items were listed:

Heated (12v heat pads), fully enclosed holding tanks and plumbing
Dual pane windows
Robust insulation
All body openings sealed
All doors insulated.
Oversized furnace
Secondary heater - like heat strips in the AC unit
Protected water fill
Protected sewer discharge and valves

To which I would add - Data to back any 4-Season claims.

That being said, of the two brands you mentioned, I'm not aware that the Casita has any of these as either standard or as an option (feel free to correct me). However, to the best of my knowledge, Casita has never claimed to be a 4-Season Trailer either.

When considering the purchase of a 4-Season Trailer most folks are looking toward the cold weather capabilities (as is evidenced in the above list, but like yourself, I live in a hot climate which also happens to be very humid and as a result, we feel much hotter than the actual temperature. You also need an Air Conditioner that can not only cool the air but remove the humidity. As an example I can turn on our A/C on a 100 degree day and have the interior of the Oliver down to 60 degrees in less than an hour. During this time it will probably remove better than a quart of water. If the A/C is left running all day, a couple of gallons or more. I know this to be true because I’ve caught and measured the output from the drain that directs the flow through a tube between the hulls and out the belly of the trailer.

If you’ve researched these trailers I’m sure you’re already aware that Oliver makes a very nice but heavy and expensive trailer. as Charlie so aptly pointed out. In the essence of complete disclosure the price of a fully loaded Casita will be about half the price of the standard Oliver. In choosing a Casita you would forfeit most aspirations toward 4-Season capability and still end up with fewer options than with the Oliver. Since your questions were not about price, weight or options, in order to stay on topic, I won’t discuss these further here.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:29 PM   #5
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Steve, weight (and price) were why we wound up with an Escape. We don't need below freezing capabilities often enough to ante up for a true 4 season rig, and our 21 tows great in the Rockies behind a Tacoma. Combo works well for our needs.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:36 PM   #6
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It's been a while, but last I looked Casita did not mention any R value on their wall liner. Oliver, being a shell within a shell, is a lot different
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
...I believe in the hot southwest they use water evaporators to cool, not air conditioning...

Not much anymore. Nowadays most want the instant gratification of AC. Evaporative coolers don't work very well during the monsoon season in July and August (which is becoming hotter and more humid due to human activity).

The real question is why you would stay in a travel trailer in the desert in the summer? If it's just a few nights passing through, then AC would probably be fine in most trailers. But I doubt any RV, even an Oliver, would be much fun to live in long-term in a Phoenix summer. Electric consumption would be very high. The sun isn't kind to fiberglass gelcoat, either.

Nice thing about AZ is you don't have to go far to find temperate camping weather any month of the year.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:22 AM   #8
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I could not agree more. I've lived in the South for 65 years and I HATE the hot weather. I grew up in an old house that did not have A/C. Even though the ceilings were 12 feet and there was a gigantic ceiling fan it was still hot.

We are retiring soon and we will travel to areas that are milder depending on the season. Phoenix or Mississippi in the heat of the Summer, don't think so.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:24 PM   #9
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I full time in a 17 foot casita deep in the Mohave desert. I use a swamp cooler sitting outside the window blowing in. I have a polytheylene tank mounted above it on a structure and it siphons water in. I don't have to add water but once per day. It works really well in 120 plus heat even in the monsoon periods. And the moist air is a pleasure to breathe. It is one of the big ones from Home Depot. It works a whole let better than the A/C which was poorly designed in my model Casita in the closet. If I were to redo things for the south east I would mount my A/C in the back window. One of the posters said with a/C he can get his trailer down to 60 in an hour. I get mine down to 70 in about a minute with the airflow.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
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Really it's all about expectations and your budget (and Visuals!). You could probably hook up something outside (any brand) of trailer that cools you down and looks AWFUL.

There's a reason folks are snowbirds or sunbirds... and it's more than just "four season trailers."
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:01 PM   #11
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When I bought my Oliver in 2008, I had the factory downsize the A/C from a 13,500btu unit to a 9200btu one. Looking on some HVAC sites and plugging in the cubic feet of space to be cooled I thought this would do just fine and I could run it with my small 2000w generator. It worked very well, indeed. One summer day in south Texas, it was 110 degrees in the shade and my trailer had the A/C cranked all the way down. It got so cold, Oscar the Smiley Dog started shivering and I had to turn the temp up! LOL
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:42 PM   #12
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The A/C in our Casita cools our 17ft trailer just fine in temps approaching 100 deg F . This is probably a stupid question but why would anyone want to camp in a trailer when the temps are so high that you have to spend all day in a small cubicle to avoid the heat ? That style of camping has zero appeal to me but maybe I am not seeing the whole picture !
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:07 PM   #13
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Not a dumb question. It was a dry heat, there was a lake, water evaporation helped you cool down a bit. Sometimes, you just get caught in the heat while transiting to a place of coolnes. Now my prefered summer heat camping is high in the mountains or waaaay up north. LOL
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:37 AM   #14
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Name: Cindy
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Thanks Everyone....

Lol....I was expecting comments/questions about why I'd want to be in AZ in the summer; it's simple, really; my daughter is a teacher here, and if I want to spend a significant amount of time with her I'll have to be here during her summer, winter and spring breaks....summer obviously being the longest one. Granted we might go off somewhere else in the rig, but we might not. In any case I don't want all my choices taken away, because of choice of rig....like I have now. But, I'm not living in my RV right now.....but this next one....I will be.

Bottom line, I am not willing to buy another RV (will be 5th one in my lifetime), only to be disappointed on yet another major issue.

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