Hello from Montana! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-10-2017, 11:24 PM   #1
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Name: Dominick
Trailer: Shopping
Montana
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Hello from Montana!

The weather has been having it's usual winter fun with us. I'm eager for spring to get here! Been interested in finding a nice small camper, and from what I've been able to read my best options are to go small fiberglass.

I drive an Equinox (V6, AWD). So.. towing capacity isn't the greatest. But that's all right. We love to camp, but are "weekenders". We don't need an apartment on wheels. Just somewhere to sleep that feels secure, a cook top if the weather isn't working out for open fire, and a way to charge devices. Heat/air conditioning is also a huge plus, since my work doesn't always allow us to get away when the weather is perfect.

Before I had a conversion van. It has been passed onto some younger family members.

It's hard to get out there for just a day or two, and set up the tent, the air mattress, and in no time at all you have to do the whole process over in reverse. And forget feeling like anything in there can be safe so we can go walk a trail.

Pop-ups are an idea, but why have set-up still when there is the option to have a low setup? And still uncertain about the protection of the fabric top being so low. Fiberglass seems more solid and safe from nosy by-passers. And less hassle, nice fit, would let us get to relaxing faster. Less of the stress.

They seem really, really hard to come by. And since we are wanting small, 10ft-13ft seems perfect for just the two of us for quick run aways, thought we'd start looking here. And since I'm still very new to towing, well, anything. Should be able to pick up lots of useful info from the veterans here.

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:46 PM   #2
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
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Trailers are measured tongue to bumper, so a 13 ft trailer (with a 3 ft tongue) will have a body/cavity 10 ft long.

Molded fiberglass trailers live a very long time with minimal care. At the fiberglass rally meetings there are often some 20-30 years old (or older!)

Most of the manufacturers sell direct to the consumer; some of them customize the options but most don't.

Current medium volume small size makers are Scamp and Casita. There are some smaller ones, but they don't include a bathroom.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:56 PM   #3
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Name: Dominick
Trailer: Shopping
Montana
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Oh I see. I've seen some on classifieds before advertised as 10ft and just assumed they were all cab length.

I guess I'm looking for a 13ft then. I'm not sure if my vehicle can handle more. But if I undershoot, the space is still enough.

What do you mean by medium volume? 13ft is pretty small on it's own, I thought. At least bathroom doesn't much matter to us for the parks we go to, they have a lot of rest areas. It's more security and headroom, so we can sit upright without fear haha.
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:30 AM   #4
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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At one time all travel trailers were designated by total length, tongue to bumper. Airstream and all the molded fiberglass manufacturers still do it that way. Deduct about 3' to get the cabin size, so a 13' trailer has a 10' cabin.

Most conventional travel trailers now designate models by cabin length, so it can be confusing. In addition, some sellers of molded fiberglass trailers follow that convention, so a Scamp 13 might be described as a 10' Scamp.

Scamp only makes two sizes, a 13' (with a 10' cabin) and a 16' (with a 13' cabin), plus a 19' fifth wheel. Casita makes three sizes, a 13' (recently discontinued), a 16', and a 17'.

What is the tow rating of your Equinox? You might be able to go as large as 16'.

One limitation of most small egg-type trailers is the bed size. My Scamp's main bed is 45"x75". The front bunks are 24"x75". There are a few exceptions, but it's a compromise most make to fit everything into a tiny space. Most have limited headroom, too, ranging from just under 6' to an inch or two over.

I mention it because you said in your "Wanted" ad you are searching for a full or queen size bed. Two models with bigger beds are vintage Hunter Compacts (13') and Casita Liberty (16'). Beware Casita 17'ers- very common, but they'll be too heavy for sure.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:04 AM   #5
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Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
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Good luck in your search. I agree we've had a long, cold winter, and though it seems like it's over, it's not going quietly!

You're on the right track but I'll just be a slight buzzkill and state that trailers bring their own, much higher level hassle and problems. You're trading the set up of tents and bags and all that for expensive systems like water, propane, electricity, wheels and bearings etc.

However if you ask anyone on this site (obviously, or we wouldn't be here), it's worth it. But believe me getting your vehicle set up for towing and dealing with everything that comes along with a trailer...well let's just say it's not just hook up and go, worry free. But often it can be quite close to that, if you buy well and keep things simple.

Anyway. Good luck! Check this site if you haven't yet.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:27 AM   #6
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Name: Tom
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CO
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In post #3, Dominick asked about medium volume. I'm pretty sure that the volume reference was production volume in units. Production volume of fiberglass trailers seems to be a bit less than demand, evidenced by waiting lists.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:53 PM   #7
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Name: Marianne
Trailer: Scamp 13
Montana
Posts: 19
Finding your trailer

Hi - just a word of encouragement. It took me well over a year of searching daily before I was exactly at the right time and place to find my 13 ft Scamp in excellent shape just fifty miles away. Persistence, or the willingness to travel are essential. BTW I tow with a 4 cylinder '94 Toyota truck with no problem (though of course we are slow on hills! Best of luck in your search!
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:04 PM   #8
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Name: Dominick
Trailer: Shopping
Montana
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Thanks for the great information everyone!

My manual says that my model equinox should be able to handle 3500lb total trailer weight, but mine did not come with a factory tow package. And it doesn't have info for how much less that would be without the beefed up radiator or trans cooler. From what I've read in don't want to get too close to that number even if I did.

I'll have to check out the 16ft if I get a chance too see one and compare the space difference. 3ft doesn't sound like much but I guess it is a 1/3 increase.

And thank you for the clue about the bed sizes, I would have never thought of that! Maybe my best choice is to look for something that will be worth modifying the interior to suit us. That's letting me get ahead of myself thinking, though.

Good point about the hassle trade-offs. I'm trying to read what I can to prepare myself and help with decision making. Thanks for the link. I think I've seen that site. Seems like a great one though.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:02 PM   #9
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Hello from Montana!

I would try to find out exactly what's included in the tow package and what the rating is without. I'm surprised the owner's manual doesn't say, but a dealer should be able to help. With my previous tug it was 3500 with the factory tow package (ATF cooler, HD radiator, HD alternator), but only 2000 without.

Some components, such as an ATF cooler, are easy to add.
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