Hello Everyone - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-17-2015, 07:12 AM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 302
Hello Everyone

Hi, I'm Lyle. I've been officially retired for about a year now, completely retired since May. I don't have any even moderate savings, but I am lucky enough to receive a pension of a couple of thousand/month and will be eligible for Social Security soon (I turn 62 next month, so could start actually receiving SS in Oct.). I do think I will hold off, if possible, to increase the benefits a bit.

Aside from being fortunate in having a pension, My sister and I are in the process of selling a small, but relatively nice house that has been in our family since the early 1970's, so it is long paid for. It is with this eventual money that I hope to buy a small Travel Trailer, and fund the delay in taking SS benefits. I currently have some other debt from remodeling my current home, but nothing outlandish to handle in retirement. My current home should be fully paid for in two or three years. I hope to use this time to try some long term RV Travel before I decide to sell my current home and become a full-time RVer.

Some background on me: I am single, with no dependents (other than two dogs and some fish).

I've been a paramedic for over 35 years, prior to that I managed an Arby's restaurant for a number of years, worked various service jobs off and on, and took a full year out of "life" to backpack across the U.S. with a group called Hikanation, back in 1980-81.

I also took 5 years out of my paramedic career to work for a company called VisionQuest. I had no permanent home during that time. We worked 5 days/week, 24 hours/day. As they said when I hired in, it was a lifestyle, not a career. We would live and sleep with the kids in the program (NOT literally, but within the teepee). These were court placed juvenile delinquents who came into the program for, generally, a year long stay. The lifestyle was generally considered camping full-time. For the last six months of my employment with VisionQuest, I was their treatment director on board the schooner "Bill of Rights" while we sailed up and down the east coast of the U.S. from the Gulf coast of Florida to Maine.

I tell you all of this to let you know that, while much of my life has been conventional, working, buying a house, etc. I have also taken year-plus stints of living very unconventional lifestyles, without any permanent home, and thoroughly enjoyed those stints. I have every confidence that if I do this full-time RV thingy, I will enjoy the experience, at least for a number of years.

So, enough of that for now. What am I interested in getting? While not absolutely, 100% decided to fore go a stick built, the Fiberglass trailers are most appealing to me. I am currently looking seriously at the usual contenders of Scamp, Casita, and Escape. I have also, recently learned of Eggcamper, built right here in Michigan. Would be much handier to visit their factory when I get to the serious decision time. I have looked briefly at Oliver, but they are too costly for me.

I keep fluctuating between interest in a 13 ft, vs 16/17 ft. I would like to have the possibility of some cold climate camping. One question: I have no trailer towing experience. Is there any real life difference between towing/backing a 13ft vs 17ft trailer?

My current tow vehicle will be a low mileage Ford F150, capable of towing 8700lbs. It was a UHaul rental out of Arizona in it's former life - has a UHaul permanent hitch.

The drawbacks to the various trailers in my mind, at this point:

Scamp: wooden floors

Casita: carpeted walls/ceiling

Escape: hassle of dealing with Canadian manufacturer for long-term (and short term, getting the bugs out) service

Eggcamper: All electric, both good and bad points in my mind. Anyone have experience with this? (plus they are kinda pricey, worth it?)

Sorry for being so long winded, any comments you could offer a rookie would be appreciated.


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Old 07-17-2015, 07:53 AM   #2
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Jon in AZ's Avatar
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 Std
Posts: 3,567
Hi, Lyle!

Will your sister be traveling with you, or is it just one person and the dogs?

Personally I would want a trailer with a bathroom for long-term or full-time use. It allows more flexibility in where you park for the night (which can save some money if you're on a fixed income). For that reason, I would be looking at a 16' or larger. A 13' Scamp or Casita with a front bath could work for one, but the majority of people find it too small for extended use. Up to a point, backing a longer trailer can actually be easier than a short one (which is quicker to jackknife), but in any case, with a bit of practice, you will master it. Not too much difference going forward unless the trailer is wider. A smaller, lighter trailer may bounce a bit more.

I would not worry too much about the wood floor issue. Most molded fiberglass trailers use wood to provide structural support in the floor (L'il Snoozy, Nest, and Happier Camper are exceptions that I'm aware of). Scamp protects the underside of the floor with a sealer (lower cost and weight). The others protect the underside with a layer of fiberglass. Most damage to wood floors comes from above anyway- from neglected leaks in windows, vents, or plumbing.

None of the trailers on your list is going to be a true 4-season trailer. Since you have a fairly robust tow vehicle, you could look for a Bigfoot 17.5 2500 series with the winter package, if that's the direction you want to go. It will be hard to find used, very pricey if new, and heavy. On the other hand, a big part of being retired and owning a trailer is being able to avoid really cold weather. Optional furnaces in any of these trailers have no problem with cool nights in fall and spring.

Escape is a very nice trailer, and light for its size. Their customer service is reported to be outstanding, and you do not have to return to BC for warranty work. They will set you up with a local repair shop. The others work the same way, though actual customer service experience varies among manufacturers. Out of warranty, there is little in these trailers, other than the shell itself, that isn't standard RV issue. Shell repairs are uncommon and can often be handled by a local marine or automotive fiberglass shop.

Wall coverings come down to personal preference. But for most people, they are not a sufficient reason to choose one trailer over another.

Have fun with the exciting process of tracking down your perfect egg!

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Old 07-17-2015, 08:20 AM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 1,250
If I had your tow vehicle and time frame my shopping list would have been much longer than it was for me and I would do two things:

1. Get ye to one or more fiberglass trailer events (see lower right panel) to see the various trailers in person, AND
2. Call the manufactures of the trailers on you list and ask for local owners wiling to show their trailers in person.

In other words, I think that in addition to asking for opinions here, you really need to see them in person. I would have looked at more in person if I was not basically limited to Scamp because of my requirements.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:03 PM   #4
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 302
Thanks for the comments.

No, my sister will not be going, I will be solo.

Regarding seeing the trailers, I have contacted Escape, and they gave me the number of a couple about an hour and a half from me with the 17b. I've tried to call them several times with no answer, I assume they are out traveling. I plan to head over to see an EggCamper, since they are just across the state.

I saw a 16ft Scamp make a corner in front of me last week, but I was heading for an appointment, otherwise I would have followed them and wrangled a look-see. :-)

Any thoughts on the all electric?

I like the look of the Lil Snoozey too, but maybe a bit small for full-time, plus it is all electric as well. I will have a cap on the F150, 8ft bed, so lots of overflow storage available there, even with hauling a dog or two.

More opinions welcome.

One thing that is a bummer is the LOOONNGGG lead time for orders. Next available build date for the Escape is the end of May or beginning of June of 2016, and that's contingent on getting an order in soon.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:53 PM   #5
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Posts: 976
All electric as in always plugged in camping or a lot of solar panels?
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: http://RVWidgetWorks.com
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:08 AM   #6
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 Std
Posts: 3,567
Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
...Any thoughts on the all electric?

...One thing that is a bummer is the LOOONNGGG lead time for orders. Next available build date for the Escape is the end of May or beginning of June of 2016, and that's contingent on getting an order in soon.

The long wait time may be an indication of how good they are...

Here's a thought. Used fiberglass trailers have "egg-cellent" resale values (mine is worth more now than when I bought it 3 years ago). Buy a decent condition used fiberglass trailer in the late summer/fall when prices tend to be lower. Use it a while to see if this trailer thing is really for you. Visit some rallies to see other trailers and talk to owners. Then order the Escape or whatever you decide is right for you (you'll have a much better idea after some real-world experience). You can continue to use the old one while you wait for the new one to be built. Sell the old one in the spring/early summer when prices are higher. With some well-done maintenance and cosmetic upgrades on the old one you'll probably come out ahead. Then you can enjoy the new trailer and may even have some extra money for gas.

Personally, I would want propane for cooking, heating, hot water, and refrigeration. I like the flexibility of not being tied to electric hook-ups. Solar can fill in some of the gaps with an all-electric set-up, but it is expensive to set up and has limitations. Just my opinion...
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:43 AM   #7
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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All-Electric works for those that plan ahead and almost always make advance reservations in campgrounds that have hook-ups. However, at $20 to $60+ a night for a power pole, that not only gets expensive very fast, it also limits your options as to where to camp.

While some state and federal campgrounds have hook-ups, for the most part that is fairly rare. With an LP stove and furnace and a 3 way refrigerator, you are, basically divorced from the above and can spend time where ever you want, be it a state campground, a Forest Service/BLM campground or even an overnight at a WalMart parking lot.

I think of all electric RV's as having to trail an extension cord behind you wherever you go. And generators are not the answer, they often can't be used and they do not make good neighbors.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:57 PM   #8
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 302
OK, good points on the electric.
While I can think of work-arounds (as an avid backpacker) to no propane, I guess there is no reason I could not use these if I wanted, but still have the option of using the propane. It's not like the all electric trailers are any cheaper. Options are a good thing, I'm sure.

Regarding buying used first, I have been toying with that idea, but used fiberglass trailers seem to be so rare on the market. I suppose stick built could be an alternative for a temporary set-up. I am quite sold on the advantages of Fiberglass, however. Longevity and the light weight and aerodynamics.

Thanks for the opinions.

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