New Scamper Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-03-2014, 08:03 PM   #1
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Name: Josh
Trailer: Scamp
New York
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New Scamper Questions

Hello,
We're new here. We just bought a 2011 Standard Scamp 16, Layout 7. We picked it up 8 hours away with a 2011 Toyota Sienna. No sway issues and it tracked well. Lots of thruway, semi trucks, and 65+ mph easy with no wind.
We will be taking an extended, 1st time, cross country road trip with no time for modifications on the fly so I want to get it right before we go. I want a friction sway bar as a precaution when we hit the wind out west. Here are my questions:
1. What is a good, inexpensive sway bar to buy. Is Harbor Freight too cheap?
2. Will a roof top cargo carrier on the van affect the trailer in tow?
3. What is a good, durable, odor containing, easy to use porta-potty to buy?
4. Is there a locking system I can put on the trailer to better secure it to my hitch or is that overkill?
5. Can I run a C-Pap (sleep apnea) machine (or two) on the battery overnight?
6. Should I add a second battery?
7. Is there an easy to make rail for the upper bunk?
8. Can you leave food in the Scamp in bear country?
9. What should I have a mechanic do to the Van prior to leaving to insure a successful trip?
10. Anything I should buy to have on hand that I'll be glad I brought?
11. Any mods, support or otherwise, that I'll be glad I did before we go? (3 kids will be along!)
12. Any other advice for us newbies before we disappear with kids in tow for 6 weeks?
I know that's quite a list! Any advice you offer, even in part, is much appreciated.
Thanks,
Josh
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:53 PM   #2
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Name: Kenji
Trailer: Scamp
Arizona
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Originally Posted by JALEE View Post
Hello,
We're new here. We just bought a 2011 Standard Scamp 16, Layout 7. We picked it up 8 hours away with a 2011 Toyota Sienna. No sway issues and it tracked well. Lots of thruway, semi trucks, and 65+ mph easy with no wind.
We will be taking an extended, 1st time, cross country road trip with no time for modifications on the fly so I want to get it right before we go. I want a friction sway bar as a precaution when we hit the wind out west. Here are my questions:
1. What is a good, inexpensive sway bar to buy. Is Harbor Freight too cheap?
2. Will a roof top cargo carrier on the van affect the trailer in tow?
3. What is a good, durable, odor containing, easy to use porta-potty to buy?
4. Is there a locking system I can put on the trailer to better secure it to my hitch or is that overkill?
5. Can I run a C-Pap (sleep apnea) machine (or two) on the battery overnight?
6. Should I add a second battery?
7. Is there an easy to make rail for the upper bunk?
8. Can you leave food in the Scamp in bear country?
9. What should I have a mechanic do to the Van prior to leaving to insure a successful trip?
10. Anything I should buy to have on hand that I'll be glad I brought?
11. Any mods, support or otherwise, that I'll be glad I did before we go? (3 kids will be along!)
12. Any other advice for us newbies before we disappear with kids in tow for 6 weeks?
I know that's quite a list! Any advice you offer, even in part, is much appreciated.
Thanks,
Josh

Hello and welcome to the FGRV forums! I am also new here, although a long time lurker. I feel compelled to answer some of your questions.
First off, congrats on the new to you scamp 16! I also have a scamp 16, and I pull it with a 2DR Geo (suzuki) Tracker (Sidekick / Vitara).

Which brings me to question 1; The Harbor Freight anti sway bar.
I use one and it works fantastically even with my short wheelbase and LIGHT vehicle. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for your situation, especially given that you have already indicated that your setup is inherently stable.
Your planned use of an anti sway system is the correct way to go. They should only be used preventively, rather than as a band aid to hide a situation.

2: Basically, no. Unless the item is shaped in such a way to divert air asymmetrically in some manor, a roof addition could actually reduce the pressure exerted on the face of the trailer. It shouldn't cause any adverse effect.

3: The best on the market is the Thetford Curve. Amazon.com: Thetford 92360 Porta Potti 550E Curve Portable Toilet: Automotive
This will not fit into the standard stowing location provided by Scamp, but is bar none, the best portable toilet available for the price.

4: I can't exactly answer this one as it is going to be based on personal experience. Are you concerned more for the trailer hopping the ball? Or theft? A pintle style lock down latch above the ball would work to prevent possible separation of the trailer should you be rear-ended or in another extreme situation. However it should not be needed for any normal conditions.
As far as theft while latched to your vehicle, certainly do not use a simple spring clip to retain the ball latch. Get a nice locking pin or padlock for that.

5:This depends largely on the power use of your particular machine. If it has a variable pressure you could run it at the lowest pressure that gets the job done. These machines vary greatly. Some have a max rated wattage of only 30, (typical ~ 8) all the way up to 400!

Pick up a Kill-a-Watt meter to find the actual average power used by your machine. If you plan on draining your battery fairly far and relying on your Tow Vehicle (TV from here on out) to recharge it during your trip, you will need to make sure you run large gauge dedicated power lines from your TV battery to your 7 pin RV connection. Do not rely on your tow package having high enough gauge wiring. At least inspect it for voltage drop and resistance. This can be critical with long runs of low voltage wire. I have 8 gauge running to mine, and wouldn't go any less. This issue is compounded greatly if you have a 3 way fridge and run it on 12v during travel. Many vehicles will not be able to even supply enough power to keep up in that case.

6: This depends on your findings with the power draw of your CPAP and your comfort levels on the power drain of your battery.

7: Someone else will have to chime in on this one, as I do not have the bunks. Mine is front bath. PVC pipe can be easily bent and worked with for many things in a light weight trailer. Light, cheap, available, strong.

8: Yes, this shouldn't be an issue. I would keep it in sealed containers and not do anything to invite trouble while there. I wouldn't personally cook up any particularly smelly foods, and of course do not keep ANY garbage in the trailer. (Or TV!)

9: This depends on the vehicle and options. Check the brakes and tire pressure. You may consider increasing the air pressure a bit above door jam requirements in the rear. The addition weight of the trailer and gear allows for a higher pressure. (Not to exceed the sidewall specs of the tire itself!) This can help with lateral stability when towing, reducing sway. Other basics would include all fluids, and a general tune up. This is largely dependent on the current mileage and state of repair your vehicle is in. Due to the additional load on the charging system I would check the health of your alternator and battery. As well with the increased load on the engine and trans I would also check the status of the cooling system for both. Make sure your radiator is cleaned of all derbies and verify that your fan clutch / electric fans are operating correctly. It would also be advisable to inspect or replace the fan belts, as these will also be under increased load while towing and exposed varied conditions in a cross country trip.

The rest of the questions are less technical and more experience based. I will let the others handle them!

Most important of all, HAVE FUN! The experience is more about the travel than the destination. If it is memorable, good events or bad, you are doing it right!
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:29 PM   #3
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3. Toilet - We have the porta-potty that Scamp sells, the Dometic Sanipotti. Appliances : Dometic Sani Potti. Here is the link to the toilet's manual http://www.scamptrailers.com/images/...960_series.pdf. I find the potti does the job and is relatively easy to clean. The only issue I have is that it is so low. It's a good thing I have strong knees.

The following might be more info than you want but if you follow a few simple steps maintaining the potty is easy. When possible, use for #1 only, don't put the tissue in the potty (put it in a covered trash container), put a potty deodorizer in the lower tank with some water before using. Empty the tank in a flush toilet (pit toilets can be harmed by the chemicals), rinse with clean water and some liquid soap. Wipe clean and dry before storage.

8. Food in bear country- We live in California and visit bear country frequently, mostly Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. When backpacking in the old days we would tie our food up in a tree. Those darn bears are very clever and easily got our stash of food for our 5- day trip. Needless to say we abandoned our plan for a loop trip and retraced our steps to return home on the first night out. Nowadays the most popular backpacking sites have bear proof food lockers. You are also advised to use bear-proof barrel -type containers.

When tent camping things weren't much better as the bears knew to come into the Yosemite campground for easy pickin's. Nowadays people are required to keep very clean camps and are fined for not doing so.

Now that we camp with the trailer we are still mighty cautious. We put all our food in the trunk of the car or in the bear proof food locker that is provided at the camp site. I just sleep better at night knowing that there is no food inside.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:37 PM   #4
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7. Rail for upper bunk - You'll find lots of good ideas by running a "Google Search" on the search button at the top of the FGRV page and simply enter "upper bunk". Some of our fellow FGRVrs have been quite clever.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:43 PM   #5
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
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I don't know the answer to most of your questions but know a little about the CPAP issue. You did not say if your CPAP has a 12V input option or not. If it does I would hazard a guess that you will be fine running off a new, deep cycle battery for at least two nights. If you have a dedicated 120V CPAP, my answer is the same IF you use the right inverter. I researched this topic extensively before buying a Tripp Lite 150W* inverter (from Amazon) for my dedicated 120V input CPAP. I ran it two nights (at home) as a test off of the old battery (standard, not deep cycle, Group 27) out of my tractor (which was the hand-me-down battery out of my truck) and it still had juice left. I quit as two nights was all I was really concerned about for hurricane/storm power disruptions and short term camping. I have since bought an older Scamp 16 with a deep cycle battey and am investigating longer term usage with a battery better suited to this kind of draw. If you have any worries, try it on the battery before you go!

* If you run the pure math on the amps of your machine it may indicate you need a larger invertor. The 150W was actually recommended by my CPAP's manufacturer and ran it fine. In fact, it never got more than slightly warm which indicates to me it was well within its' capabilites running the machine. The larger version of this inverter, a 300 or 350W rig, has a constant running cooling fan which itself adds draw on the battery so using the smallest invter that will do the job is the most efficient way to go. As if any inverter can be called "efficient".<_<
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:33 PM   #6
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It sounds like you are about to have a lot of fun! I only have some input on one of your questions: the porta potty. Have you considered a simple sawdust toilet? I'm surprised to see so few folks on the boards using them. I have heard from friends who use them that they smell less than a regular porta potty (or don't even smell at all) and they are, of course, exponentially cheaper since they are essentially a 5-gallon bucket with a lid, a toilet seat, and some sawdust. Nobody has written more about it than Joseph Jenkins in The Humanure Handbook. Or you can see his free pdf file about it.

Happy camping.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:38 PM   #7
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2) Nothing other the additional loss of MPG's.

4) A simple locking pin or padlock works for when then the trailer is attached as well as in storage.

7) Do a search of this site using the search drop down menu at the top - use the bottom Google search option for best results lots of good ideas as to how to make one using PVC and or wood. You can also just buy a light removable one from Walmart.

8) I live & camp in bear country and as such bears are frequent visitors to my yard. The trailer is stored in the open air carport and the bears do visit it fairly frequently but have never attempted to get into it even during camping season when there is more often than not food in it. Just don leave smelly garbage in it! I make sure though that I don't leave any food in it in the fall though! Black bears are pretty shy so if your sleeping in your trailer and one starts sniffing around or pawing at the trailer a simple yell at them or moving around in the trailer will probable be all it takes to send them running. Actually have never had one paw at the trailer. In the summer months there are plenty of other food sources for them so they are not likely to get in an argument with you over food or be over assertive at trying to get at it. In the fall they can be a bit more food aggressive as they are stocking up big time for winter, so I wouldn't leave food in a car if there was no one in it to scare them off. A bear broke into a neighbours car one fall just to get a child's cracker off the back seat. A nephew was renovating his home and had put his deep freeze outside on a temp bases- with three padlocks on it as bear deterrents - they ripped the top off of it like it was a tuna can! Scored his summer fishing take! I wouldn't leave a cooler with food in it outside though at anytime of year - racoons are a more common problem than bears when it comes to coolers. I do leave coolers with drinks only in them outside though - worse case you will wake up to find a passed out racoon or bear in your campsite & a bunch of empties scattered about :-)

9) Have your wheel bearings checked and resealed. Check your tires and battery. If more than 4 years old replace them. Also have them check your propane system.

10) A simple 12v plug in LED battery monitor, a water pressure regulator for your hose, a package of levelling blocks, an electrical adaptor 30amp to 110 household power, a few small stick on levels for the trailer, a couple of 5 gallon collapsable water containers, a spare set of bearings and seals for the trailer, spare fuses & light bulbs of what ever type sizes the trailer uses.

11) I wouldn't do any mods until you have used the trailer at least a few times. Keep notes of things that bother you or need improvement. I know there were things I thought I would want/have to have prior to using the trailer that turned out I didn't want or need after the fact.

12) Take a pop up shelter & lots of games. They will come in real handy in getting you through some wet or damp weather days and evenings.

Last but not least have FUN!!!! Enjoy the time with the children it goes way to fast!
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:54 PM   #8
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Just to add to some of the above

If you are currently "unstable" when towing check some other issues before adding an anti-sway bar. They help, but be sure everything is right first.
What is your exact tow vehicle; (TV)

There is usually someone here with the same vehicle that can provide more direct tips for you.

For starters, get your trailer weighed WHEN PACKED, and then weigh your tongue. If you don't have at least 10-12% of the total weight on your tongue you will get sway.

Also check your tires for maximum and equal inflation pressures as shown on the sidewall.

Because your battery is at least 3 years old already, I'd suggest, at a minimum, to get a new Group-27 battery and start out with that. Also verify that the charging line from your TV is adequate size and working correctly.

And last, as your trailer is old enough to need the wheels bearing repacked, if you have no records of that being done, have that done as well. You don't need an RV shop for that, any garage can handle it.

Welcome to the group and good luck.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:56 PM   #9
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Forgot to add:

And, before you go, try one or two night of driveway camping, without outside power, just so you will know if and how everything really works.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:20 PM   #10
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Bunk Rail

Here's what I did…

I used PVC screwed into a copper fitting that slides into the bunk support posts with the end caps removed. The long horizontal piece has a wooden dowel inside for additional strength. The metal piece fits quite snugly into the post and the whole thing is surprisingly solid. Very simple - a couple of cuts, a few dabs of cement, and you're done. I'm not particularly handy, so I just took one of the posts into Home Depot and played around with parts until I figured it out. Some day I'll paint it and make it look nice…

One caveat… This is for my 8 and 11-year-old girls, and it's more for their peace-of-mind than anything else. It's worked fine for several outings, but I'd want something more substantial for a very young child.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Not overkill to lock trailer hitch to TV. If you decided to spend night in a motel or even spend part of the day parked at an attraction which leaves your trailer in a parking lot having it locked is good.

Might suggest a spare key in TV or on more than one persons key ring.

Plus 1 on use it and figure out what needs to be different to suit your actual use.

Pay attention to that stuff you keep having to dig out, this site abounds with smart storage ideas that may make that easier next trip, once you know what it is you dig for all the time.

Might want to consider picking up a few of those suction cups with hook that go on windows. They stick to fiberglass too. Some people use them to hang a small mesh bag next to the bed for glasses or a small flashlight. Hanging a fly swatter, dog leash or what have you.

If you are going to be parked for a few days at a time those phone booth sized changing tents can make a nice location for the porta pottie just outside the camper. Unless your goal is to have it inside for kids or self in the middle of the night

Nice floor plan, I like that one for it's openness and ability to have main bed set up and still have a table. Enjoy!
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:37 PM   #12
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Trailer: 2012 Scamp 13 DLX
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porta potti options

Me too Karen! I initially went with a Thetford porta potti but since I was the one having to pack it to the bath house or Rest Area Bath or wherever for cleaning I quickly tired of that routine. We also had the rule of only #1 in the porta potti unless it was an emergency. Well as luck would have it one of my kids had an "emergency". Even with the potti chemicals I still about lost it trying to empty that into a bath house toilet. Then I read here about the "Luggable Loo" which is just a 5 gal bucket, a toilet seat, trash bag and Cat Litter or saw dust. Now all we have to do is tie up the trash bag and toss it in the dumpster. No fuss no muss. No liquid splashing around while traveling and better yet zero smell! My favorite part is if anybody has an "emergency" they themselves tie up the trash bag and take it to the dumpster. Mom puts in a new bag, fresh cat litter and we're ready to go! We usually get about 3 nights out of our toilet before I throw away the bag and it's not due to smell but weight of the trash bag with wet litter. After one or two nights you can add another layer of cat litter over the wet litter and that pretty much guarantees no odors. Ours stores perfectly under the dinette bed as it's too tall to fit in the standard storage area under the front bunks. I set it up in the doorway at night. You can get the toilet seat at Walmart, Amazon, a Sporting Goods store, pretty much anywhere and any 5 gal bucket will work and I use the 13 gal kitchen trash bags. The seat snaps on nice and tight too and the height is fantastic! Very stable.

Melissa

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapers88 View Post
It sounds like you are about to have a lot of fun! I only have some input on one of your questions: the porta potty. Have you considered a simple sawdust toilet? I'm surprised to see so few folks on the boards using them. I have heard from friends who use them that they smell less than a regular porta potty (or don't even smell at all) and they are, of course, exponentially cheaper since they are essentially a 5-gallon bucket with a lid, a toilet seat, and some sawdust. Nobody has written more about it than Joseph Jenkins in The Humanure Handbook. Or you can see his free pdf file about it.

Happy camping.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #13
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The people who cart away the trash just love you, I'm sure.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:33 PM   #14
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Spoiler Alert.... Robert's Rant Follows.......
As he appears well versed on the topic of human waste disposal & recycling, I bring up a point that Joseph Jenkins mentions numerous times in his well written document, mentioned above, about human waste:
"When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health."
The very thought of dumping common kitchen trashbags full of human waste into containers not designed for the purpose I find abhorrent.
While adding a absorbent to the bag may serve to solidify some of the liquids, it does nothing to make any of the solid wastes less toxic.
It goes like this:
A kitchen trash bag of waste is tossed into the dumpster. On the way in the bag is torn open on trash that's already in the bin and/or by additional trash tossed in on top.
Some time later two 1/2 full Big Gulps and a partial bag of ice is are tossed in and, before you know it, liquids, after running through everything in the bin are seeping out of the bottom of the bin, carrying with it who knows what.
Next Mom, Dad or barefoot kids are dropping trash in the bin and then tracking the leaky stuff back to the campsite where some one gets it on their hands etc., etc. I think you get the idea.
Disposable baby diapers are designed to contain waste when properly used, kitchen trash bags are not.....
Porta-Pottys are designed and intended to provide a safe method to dispose of both solid and liquid wastes, Kitchen trash bags do not.
There are any number of porta-potties out there that have dumping spouts that result in minimal discomfort for the user. And yes, all porta-potties are a bit more work and expense, but what is the price we can place on public health.
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