Hi, I'm SheilaP - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2015, 01:02 PM   #1
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Name: SheilaP
Trailer: currently shopping
Texas
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Hi, I'm SheilaP

Hi, I am SheilaP. My husband and I are in the "we'd like to get a travel trailer" early thinking stages Our tow vehicle would likely be a recent model Ford Explorer (with the tow package, so that's a towing capacity of 5000 lbs.)

At this point, we've gone to one very large RV show back in January (almost overwhelming but wonderful), plus we notice almost every travel trailer that we see on the road. We're trying to pin down exactly what we'd like in a TT. That being said, our towing capacity will be one limitation that helps narrow the options. We are very happy with the idea of a small TT, just for the two of us and a small dog. We come from a camping background, so we travel light (although I recognize that with additional space comes the temptation to carry more!)

Couple of early questions, I'd love advice on:

• Given that we hope to sometimes be traveling in the Rockies & Sierras (high elevations, that is) would it be a good idea to just consider that our towing capacity should be reduced accordingly? I have no idea really how much, so I'll suggest that we should think of our towing capacity as 4000 lbs? Too strict? I'd much rather be safe than sorry.

• Any thoughts on how much additional weight we'll be carrying in the TT, so that we can figure out what dry weight we will be aiming for?

• Once we buy the TT, what are typical ongoing costs (insurance...is there inspection? registration?....how often is routine maintenance?)

Thanks so much in advance!
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:12 PM   #2
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Name: Dave W
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4000 lbs is BIG for most fibreglass trailers. Think 2500 lbs for the trailer, that gives you 1500 lbs for cargo.

Not sure on Texas rules for trailers. In Alberta, where I live, a one time, life time, $105 reregistration fee is all that is required. When it is parked at my house, the house insurance covers it. When on the road, the car insurance covers it.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:49 PM   #3
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Being in Texas, you might start with a look at Casita, since they are made in Rice, TX. They are also fairly plentiful on the used market in your area, which brings me to…

A used molded fiberglass trailer is a good place to start. If you buy smart (good condition, end-of-season) you could likely use the trailer for a season or two and sell it for close to what you paid (in some cases, more, if you time it right). Molded fiberglass trailers hold their value really well compared to most other RV types. After a year or two's experience and exposure to many different trailers, you will know exactly what you really need if you then desire to go with something different.

Casita's most popular model is the 17' Deluxe, available in several layouts. They typically weigh about 3300 pounds loaded for travel, with 425 pounds hitch weight*. You'll have to check whether that last number works for your Explorer. Casita lists the dry weight at about 2500 pounds. Dry weights do not include options, fluids, or gear, so that calculates to about 800 pounds of add-ons for the average Casita 17D.

*I got that data from this thread: Trailer Weights in the Real World . It might also give you some leads on other models to consider. Post #297 has a handy downloadable spreadsheet.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:10 PM   #4
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Name: Jack L
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Welcome to the forum!!


Two quick comments.


A vehicle tow rating will remain constant at higher altitude. Engine power will be reduced some and you will have to shift into a lower gear. Fuel economy will also be reduced .


Also we are fans of Molded Fiberglass trailers on this forum and you will find very few molded fiberglass trailers at a RV show. Most molded fiberglass trailers (Casita, Escape, Scamp etc. ) are sold direct from the manufacturer and RV dealers do not sell them. If you talk to a dealer at an RV show and they want to show you there "fiberglass" units they will be built from fiberglass panels instead of being molded construction. There is a big difference !!

Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:14 PM   #5
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Regarding mountains and towing capacity, I agree that not towing right at your vehicle's limit is wise. I'd probably be even more conservative and look for something under 3500 pounds loaded. But that's me... I live in a high-altitude area of mountains and canyons in eastern AZ, so I do have some experience.

That still gives you a lot of choices. In addition to the Casita I mentioned, Escape also makes some nice mid-sized trailers, as well as Scamp, Parkliner, Lil Snoozy, Bigfoot (4-season), Oliver (high-end), and EggCamper (all-electric).
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:18 AM   #6
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Name: SheilaP
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Thank you for these replies! I think joining this forum is going to help us so much in selecting a TT....plus in getting to know it once we own one

We were hoping to visit Casita this summer, since we'll be near it. I have seen a few (from the outside) at campgrounds, and they do look nice. Once we get a feel for the various models available (and it'd be nice to see a range) then used is definitely an option.

David, one of the big draws for the fiberglass trailers for us is the lower weight. Yeah it's always possible that in time we'd want to size up, but we really want to stay small and lightweight, especially as beginners in this. My husband has driven vehicles pulling trailers, but I never have, so I have plenty of learning to do as far as driving/backing, etc!

Jon, thanks for the link to the spreadsheet, that is really useful to us. On the various manufacturer's websites, we'll see "dry weight" but then we wonder, does that include the options....so it's good to see real-world numbers. I'm also going to check out those other manufacturers, lots of options—in my web searching I even came across the "HC1", a new fiberglass ultra light camper, sort of a modular design inside.

Jack, your note about very few molded fiberglass trailers at RV shows now explains something to me, I had wondered why I didn't see Casita, etc., there (it was the big RV show in Houston, in January). There's something about the fiberglass ones that just really appeals to me!
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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Hi Sheila:
There are a lot of Casita rallies in Texas throughout the year and a visit to one of them would be very helpful, both to see different Casita models and other FG brands and to talk to owners about their likes and dislikes. Most of us like to show off our trailers. A good place to find them is on casitaforum.com. Registration there is free and never generates spam.

Walt
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:54 PM   #8
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Agree! Since most of the molded fiberglass manufacturers don't have dealers and generally don't participate in the large RV shows, rallies are a great way to see different kinds. Many have a time set aside for open house tours.

Here's a link to the 2015 Rally Map:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...Y.kH9EkyWon6YM
It looks like there is one in New Braunfels, TX next week.
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