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Old 10-13-2019, 07:46 AM   #1
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Name: Eva and Kirk
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 13
Hi, we are

Hi, we are Eva and Kirk. Thinking about moving up from tent camping to something we don't have to set up in the rain. Very interested in hearing from folks who camp with smaller trailers. Joys, regrets, things to do, things NOT to do. That kind of stuff.
Cheers
Evirk
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:50 AM   #2
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,891
First thing is to determine the towing capacity of your vehicle, which includes not only the trailer weight but also tongue weight and if it is different whether the trailer has brakes or not. We started with a pop-up camper, added a teardrop, then a Uhaul 13 fiberglass camper and last a Casita 17 fiberglass camper. The pop-up and Uhaul are gone, teardrop and Casita remain. Being able to pull into a campground in the rain and just open the door and step in made the Uhaul and Casita perfect. Obviously the Casita has more room but required a larger tow vehicle than the Uhaul. Unless you like to do repairs, or have a tight budget, I would try to buy a new or late model trailer and would put either Scamp or Casita at the top of the list based on availability and price range.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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Name: Eva and Kirk
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 13
Decisions Decisions

Mary & Bob-

Thanks so much for the reply. A few more questions if you (or anyone who wants to chime in) would be so kind?

We have a Subaru Outback with less than 18K miles and a Subaru Impreza with less than 40K miles.

We are faced with either a Scamp 13 which we know the Outback can handle, or we are looking at selling the Impreza and buying a well used pickup that can tow the Scamp 16 or something similar. Changing from a (to us) practically new car to a truck with 100K miles for knocking around town as well as camping is kind of depressing. But then again, not a huge fan of working the Outback to death.

Biggest concern is buying a 13 and then wishing we had gotten a bigger trailer. We have been looking at websites and they say the biggest (and most common) financial mistake you can make when buying RV's is getting the wrong trailer first time around. Either too small OR too big.)

Your Casita is a 17 footer which is what you elected to keep so we're just wondering if we will be sorry we didn't go a little bit bigger than the 13. The idea of having a place to sit without having to put the bed up and down is a big plus for us. Also, a place for a grandson to sleep is a plus as well.

So that was a lot of words. In short, opinions on satisfaction level between 13 and 16 foot and opinions on wisdom of getting a 100K plus truck would be appreciated.

We're gonna do something, we just don't know what yet!

Eva and Kirk
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:48 PM   #4
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Name: Don
Trailer: Casita
North Carolina
Posts: 5
Eva & Kirk:

"Joys, regrets, things to do, things NOT to do."

We have a 2007 Casita Spirit Deluxe (large and small dinette with wet bath). Having the fiberglass trailer has been a joy. We use it as much as we can, including a recent 7 week trip to Alaska and back. It has been nearly bulletproof, needing little in the way of repairs. It has also been fun to modify to our tastes.

Do get a trailer/tow vehicle combination with plenty of spare towing capacity. That is, if your vehicle can tow 3500 pounds, don't buy a 3000 pound trailer. Do lots of research on both trailers and tow vehicles. When in doubt about towing capacity, consult the owners manual. Don't reply on the internet or sales people to make guesses about vehicle towing capacities. Do also consider the tongue weight of the trailer and tongue weight capacity of the towing vehicle.

Do consider what type of camping you will be doing. Winter? You will need to understand winterizing the camper. And just because your camper is winterized does not mean you cannot use it in winter. Will you want or need a propane furnace? Summer? You will probably want or need air conditioning, or at least a Fantastic or Maxxair fan.

Do consider whether you need or will want bathroom. Some people never use theirs because they don't want to deal with the black tank and/or grey tank. Others use it exclusively.

Do consider whether you will dry camp (boondock) - no hookups - or not. Tank capacities may be very important if you plan to do it. The power systems (electric, battery, propane) will also be important. Shore power only - or generator or solar or both if boondocking?

Not to do? Don't worry about what you don't know with respect to having a camper. You will learn over time. There are lots of helpful people on this forum and others. Also, your first camper will not likely be your last. Find some thing you think will work, get out there, and adjust down the road.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:38 PM   #5
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Name: David
Trailer: 2014 13' Scamp -standard w/ front bunk
Vermont
Posts: 282
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Originally Posted by Evirk View Post
Mary & Bob-

Biggest concern is buying a 13 and then wishing we had gotten a bigger trailer. We have been looking at websites and they say the biggest (and most common) financial mistake you can make when buying RV's is getting the wrong trailer first time around. Either too small OR too big.)

Eva and Kirk,
Everyone is different in their camping wants and needs so no way to predict whether you will ultimately want a 13' or 16' or more. I can only report on our experience as first time rv purchasers. After many years tent camping, and after much research and consideration, we opted for a new scamp 13'. And after five years and 25,000 miles experience we are still totally happy with the decision and I doubt we will ever feel the urge to upgrade to a larger model. It's all a matter of the balance in conveniences and towing/maintenance complexity. For us the 13' is just the right balance.



Fiberglass rv's tend to hold their value exceptionally well so I encourage you do the homework you are obviously doing but then not be too reticent to just jump onto the learning curve ....and if your experience leads you to eventually wanting a larger, or smaller rig, the cost penalty to change is not prohibitive.



good luck.
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:26 PM   #6
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
Posts: 1,343
If you're going to bring kids along you need more than a 13 footer. Note that trailer sizing in the fiberglass world includes the tongue, so deduct 3 feet for the living space - your 13 footer is actually 10 feet of living space. Far better to go with a 16 or 17 footer, for which you should look at a tow capability of 5000 lbs minimum.


Yes, once you've decided trailering is fun you will probably want to upsize a few feet - which could lead to an Escape, or if you have more $ and a much bigger tow, an Oliver or Bigfoot.


That's life - live, learn, and adjust. We moved from a wonderful Casita 17LD to an Escape 21 because we needed space for grankids and dogs, plus much longer trips after we both retired.



Both were/are towed by a Tacoma 4x4 pickup with a 6500 lb tow rating, and the Escape weighed in at 4200 lbs with a 425 tongue weight loaded and wet for travel.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:03 PM   #7
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,891
Our camper choices were mainly decided by circumstances or plain dumb luck. We were happily camping with an old Starcraft pop-up. Then our daughter found a vintage teardrop that needed a total restoration so we bought it, restored it, and split camping trips between the two trailers. Then Mary happened to spot the Uhaul 13 in a little RV lot while on a trip to get some blueberries, so we bought it and refurbished it. About that time we retired so decided to go south for the winter. Fortunately our Honda CRV was capable of towing the Uhaul so that worked for a few years but only because we have a 12 X 12 screen room / tent. Then luck struck again when friends offered to sell us their SD 17 Casita at a too good to refuse price. But we had no tow vehicle that could handle the Casita. Since this was only about 6 weeks before we were to head south for the winter a desperate search for a good used truck began. My initial budget of $10,000 proved unrealistic so again luck stepped in and I found a 2 year old Dodge Ram that had only 17,000 miles for 22K. Bought it, put a new cap on it, picked up the Casita, and headed south. The Casita has worked out great, bigger bed (with a real mattress) that stays made up, side dinette, bathroom, fridge, and more storage than the Uhaul. The pop-up went to our son a few years ago, and we just recently (reluctantly) sold the Uhaul because it rarely got used. We haven't camped with the teardrop in a couple years, it just goes to car shows or cruise-ins. It won't get sold. So for what size camper to buy Eva & Kirk, I believe the towing capacity of your Outback is around 2700 lb if the trailer has brakes, so a Scamp 13 would work. But you would certainly be happier with a 16 if grandkids go along. We looked at a Scamp 16 several years ago but it was too big for our Honda to pull, too much tongue weight. Casita 17 has a tongue weight of around 450 lb or so.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:55 PM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: Bigfoot
California
Posts: 83
One suggestion I see a lot is to attend a rally and walk around and check out what some of the folks are camping in. I see you are in Virginia, and as luck would have it, there is a rally there very soon. Details here:


2019, Oct 24-27: Fall Rally at Hungry Mother
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:56 AM   #9
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 8,181
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Hi, we are

Since you’re used to tenting, and you generally like to keep things small- noting your vehicle choices- I’d seriously consider starting with a 13’er. If you skip the bath, shower, and hot water system, a 13’er is quite roomy for two (or even four in our case), and it will be a solid tow behind your Outback (assuming two people). A porta-potty can serve for emergencies, combined with campground bathrooms. We’ve used our 13’ Scamp that way for seven years now.

Resale value of molded fiberglass trailers is such that if you buy lightly used now and decide later you want a larger trailer, the small one will be easy to sell, and you stand to lose very little in the transaction. Mine’s actually worth more now than when I bought it.

By then it may be time to trade one or the other of your vehicles anyway. You’ll also have some RVing experience under your belt to know exactly what you want in a larger trailer. Visiting rallies, either now or in a small starter trailer, is great advice. You’ll get a feel for your options at first hand.

I’ve thought off and on about a larger trailer in order to have a bathroom for those middle-of-the-night runs. But every time I wash and wax my little Scamp I think, “This is big enough!” As David says, larger comes with a trade-off in terms of towing and maintenance.

Unless you’re planning to jump right in with long trips of many weeks or more, I vote to start with what you have.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:50 AM   #10
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Name: John
Trailer: I now have a 2015, Dynamax DX3-37RV Super-C diesel puller
Formerly of Long Island, NY
Posts: 53
A second vote for Casita. My first RV was the 2010, 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe Travel Trailer that I bought new and, picked up at the factory in Rice, TX. I did a LOT of research. I would be able to tow the Casita with the 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan I then owned (I did need to upgrade the OEM Class 2 hitch to a Class 3 WD hitch). I used that Casita for four years and traveled over 50,000 miles in it before I "graduated" to a Super-C diesel puller motorhome. Casitas (and most fiberglass trailers) are easy to pull, easy to care for and, hold their value MUCH better than "traditional" RVs. In the rain, you could just climb in and leave true set up until the weather clears. You DO get a wet bath, kitchen and bedroom (albeit VERY compact) so, in effect, you have a small studio apartment on wheels. If / when you decide you want or need more (or even less), the Casita will give you back more of your up front costs. Scamp, Escape, Bigfoot, Oliver also offer good fiberglass trailers in varying price points. You might be able to find a good, used fiberglass model that will suit your needs for ~ $10k. Happy hunting!
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:59 PM   #11
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Name: Eva and Kirk
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 13
Hi we are Eva & Kirk

Wow! First of all we have to say we're thrilled at all of the responses we've received. This is an active and helpful community and just what we need.

The advice to attend a rally has been taken. We will be at Hungry Mother State Park next weekend. We were trying to go to Eggshells on the Outer Banks but when NC 12 got covered by the ocean we chickened out.

The replies have been chock full of good advice. We have been looking into a used truck for a tow vehicle as one of you mentioned. Same price range with similar luck so far. Not that they aren't out there, they're just, well, old.

We would love to find a used camper but they disappear pretty quickly. So far no luck. But we keep looking. That’s why we’re excited to meet some folks. We’ve been inside a Scamp 13 but can’t find a 16 near us. If we go new, we really want to be sure we’re getting the right one.


So, thanks to everyone who took time to share your experiences and opinions. It isn’t a matter of if, it’s only a matter of when we jump in. Believe me, we’ll let you all know how it turns out. And If you’re going to be at Hungry Mother next weekend, we can’t wait to meet you.
Best regards

Eva and Kirk
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:40 PM   #12
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,570
You can try it before you buy it by renting one. Go to the website https://www.outdoorsy.com/


They act as a rental agent for private owners and small rental companies. It is a bit like an Air B&B operation but focused on getting into the outdoors for camping and such. Quite likely you can find a match for the brand or size of fiberglass trailer you want to try out.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:51 AM   #13
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Name: RJ
Trailer: Shopping
Massachusetts
Posts: 1
Good morning all,
My family and I recently sold our 28 foot Kodiak. We want to downsize for a number of reasons. In addition to selling our travel trailer I’m selling my Chevy 2500 HD. We will be towing our new camper with a 93 Toyota Land Cruiser. We are currently shopping for a Fiberglass RV in the 17 foot range. We’ve looked at scamp, Casita, Escape and a few others. Full wet bath is a very important thing
The next most important thing is the weight of the unit. Let me know if you have something available, we are in Western Massachusetts.
Thanks,
RJ
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:23 AM   #14
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Trailer: Miti Lite 1987
Posts: 22
Stepping up from tenting to a 1987 Mity-Lite 13' popup trailer towing with a Subaru Forester has been most successful for the two of us. Fuel economy only dropped 4mpg in the mountains, and it tows perfectly. Can enter/exit the trailer top down or up with gullwing door. These are quite rare now, and ours is for sale for only $10K
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:59 AM   #15
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Name: Adam
Trailer: Trillium
Alberta
Posts: 27
We bought our trailer after a camping trip that began and ended in a downpour of rain. We were wet and miserable the entire time. It had happened before, but I guess being a little older and having a young child meant we just didn't want to do it anymore. We got lucky and found our Trillium fairly quickly...we actually bought it before we even owned a tow vehicle. That came later. (I don't recommend this, even though it worked out for us.)

Consider what kind of camping experience you're looking for right now, and if you think that will change once you have a trailer. Both of these considerations will impact the type of trailer and features you look for.

We tend to be dry campers, basically using our camper as a hard-sided tent with a more comfortable bed. If the weather is bad and we're stuck inside at night we'll run our lights off the 12-volt battery, but other than that we don't have much need for electricity. If we have a powered site and can use the fridge instead of just a cooler with ice, that's a bonus but not a necessity. Your needs may be different.

Similarly, we don't even have a water tank in our trailer. We haul one of those classic 20L blue water jugs with us on weekend trips. On longer trips, we make sure we stay at places that have access to potable water so we can refill the jug.

Decades of tent camping means we're both used to using whatever toilet options are available at a campground. Having to deal with a blackwater system isn't something either of us were interested in, so we didn't even look at models that have a washroom, but I can certainly appreciate how nice it would be to not have to grab a flashlight and pee in the bushes in the middle of the night!

If you want to boondock and camp outside of established campgrounds, having some kind of a toilet system may be a much bigger deal for you.

One more thing...

Don't underestimate the importance of the kitchenette space. We thought we'd do most of our cooking on our Coleman stove or over the fire, but we actually cook inside the trailer a lot more than we expected because it's so convenient. We still do a lot of cooking over the fire, but our morning coffee and breakfast are almost always cooked in the trailer and we had a very wet summer this year, so we probably cooked inside way more often than outside.
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Old 10-23-2019, 12:36 PM   #16
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 2015 13' Scamp; tow vehicle: 2010 Ford Escape V6
Michigan
Posts: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evirk View Post
Mary & Bob-

Biggest concern is buying a 13 and then wishing we had gotten a bigger trailer. We have been looking at websites and they say the biggest (and most common) financial mistake you can make when buying RV's is getting the wrong trailer first time around. Either too small OR too big.)

Eva and Kirk

Not so much of a mistake with a Scamp or Casita. We bought our new 13' Scamp in 2015 and sold it in 2018 in order to buy a new 16' Scamp. We sold it for slightly more than we paid for it. Partly because of the long lead time for a factory-ordered trailer, Scamp resale value is EXTREMELY high. As a bonus, we knew exactly which options we wanted on the new trailer.
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:05 PM   #17
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Name: Yvette
Trailer: 1975 trillium 13ft
Saskatchewan
Posts: 10
Hi there. We started out in a similar situation to yours. We tented LOTS. Then we spent a long weekend hiking/camping in the rain, once too many times. This old gal decided that’s enough. I had my eye on Fiberglass trailers because of the clean esthetics, great resale value, ease of hauling and compact size. We bought a 1975 Trillium and loved it for years. Then we retired and spent months at a time hauling it around. Loved it. But upon returning from a night trip to the campsite bathroom one night, there was bear scat by our camper door-that wasn’t there when I left - so.... we bought a 17 ft Casita with wet bath. Absolutely love it. So easy to haul with our Toyota 4 runner, in and out of tourist sites, beautiful nature sites in the middle of no where and through nasty traffic/drive throughs when necessary. We love the permanent bed and side dinette. We bought new because of used being snatched up too quick for us. We camp/travel by ourselves and there is plenty of room and amenities for us both. We prefer to be outside and usually bbq for supper but the “kitchen” is there when we need it. We love it.
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:37 PM   #18
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 3
tent to trailer

Your reasoning is exactly why I now pull a 13 ft Casita. Walk in, flip up the thermostat, cook standing up while sleet beats against the side. I love it. The tent still works but sometimes I wonder if I'm going to be able to stand up after putting it up or taking it down. You have lots of choices, I see other responses have advise. I'll suggest basic, you're used to it. Enjoy being dry and warm.

Jeffpinebill
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Old 10-23-2019, 06:40 PM   #19
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 54
We recently switched from tent camping to a 13' Burro. We were worried about not liking a small camper too. My solution was to buy a used one that needed work, and fix it up. We should easily be able to sell it and get our money back if we decide to get something different or go back to tent camping. I read the other posts, and it sounds like you could buy a new Scamp, sell it and get your money back because they hold their value so well.

Other thoughts: We went from a 10X10 tent to a 9.5X6.5 camper. I was worried about it being too small. But the usable room is much greater. We have a bed and a small couch (or two chairs and a small table if we raise the middle section). There is a also a small sink and counter and lots of cabinets. It's a lot more comfortable than a tent. The biggest advantage we found was during storms. We could stay dry in our tent during storms. But in a small camper, we could walk around and sit upright. It was much more comfortable.

I say if you are interested, go for it. Try a small camper to start with. You can always sell it and get your money back (or a small loss) if you decide to change to something else later.
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Old 10-24-2019, 05:41 AM   #20
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Name: J&K
Trailer: Looking!
New Jersey
Posts: 2
Hi,
Don’t forget storage!
We just went through the same thing and we thought we were set to buy pretty much any small camper since we could tow 5,000 pounds with our Honda Passport. However, our issue became storage. We have a standard garage door that is 8 foot wide and 7 foot high. Our neighborhood does not allow campers to be stored in front of our house, even in our own driveway. The space between us and our neighbors, on our property, was about 10 feet on each side, so an 8 foot wide camper would fill the space. We went to lots of dealers who didn’t seem to hear us and tried to force us into standard campers despite our explaining this. We really wanted a Casita and hope someday we can, if we move. In the meantime, we purchased an Aliner Explorer fiberglass pop up. It was a revelation when we discovered this. Dealers never told us about these, we tripped over their existence here. It’s not quite 8 feet wide and it’s about 5 1/2 feet high folded up so it fits in our garage, but open it’s about 10 feet at the highest point, and with 2 dormers it is quite roomy. It’s 18 feet long, so it has 2 sleeping areas, full wet bath, heat, and AC. And we had to tow it 850 miles home, which was really easy given its low profile. I am not sure your car will carry the exact model we got (GVW 3500) as it may be too heavy, but my point is don’t forget you have to store whatever you buy. And some Aliners fiberglass pop ups are pretty light without the dormers.
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