Intro to DriverOne - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
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Name: Dustin
Trailer: Anxiously searching
South Carolina
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Talking Intro to DriverOne

Hello! My name's Dustin. I'm a truck driver, and I live in the Upstate region of SC. While I drive one of the largest road-bound vehicles around, I have an affinity for small things, and am an outdoorsman at heart. My love for the Ford Festiva (small things!) and camping, fishing, and trailers (10-4, good buddy!}- has brought me here.

Just to get this out of the way, I am perfectly fine with a teardrop 5-wide behind my car, but my wife "isn't going to be buried and so will not lay in a coffin!" Okay. Time for the smallest possible, lightest camper around; a fiberglass, home-built, 10-foot trailer. I've looked at "real world trailer weights" and I realize, I may need a larger vehicle for that anyway. It's not going to stop me from trying, though. My GVWR goal is 1,000lbs, which the Festiva has been proven to pull, albeit responsibly. I hope that what I find here will help me in my endeavors.

My idea is to use a bamboo-framed fiberglass shell on a tubular aluminum chassis in a 6x10 size in hi-lo fashion (for less drag) using plastic for windows instead of glass, mimicking a cargo trailer in shape, and possibly continuing with the bamboo as a building material in the camper, since it's so light compared to other types of "wood." *gasp for air* I have absolutely no idea how much that would cost, or if there would ever be a market for such a thing.
If in fact I realize I'm crazy before you do, I may just switch to pulling a 10-foot pre-fab model with a Mitsubishi Mighty Max instead. I'm game. It may be fun to paint the trailer up in camouflage, although I may actually lose it.

As a side note, I'm glad to see a forum that doesn't have so many, well... More family oriented. I'm known as DriverOne on just about every forum I frequent (my driver status in the big truck), so if you see me somewhere else, you've probably stumbled upon another one of my obsessions. Check to see if it's me first though! That being said, welcome to my forum.
-{what did he say?)
Just kidding. I look forward to meeting you all, and possibly going to a rally. In the fordfestiva.com forum I'm a part of, we have many meets, the biggest of which is Festiva Madness. I also have a meet April 1st, where Kamping and Kabining is a major part of it. Ask me more if you like! Until then, I give you, me.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:26 PM   #2
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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Hey Dustin, welcome to FiberglassRV.. we're glad you're here. A bamboo trailer. That I have to see BTW: I work for Con-way, so I know where you're coming from....
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:39 PM   #3
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Name: Dustin
Trailer: Anxiously searching
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I've seen bamboo being used as a structural building material as well as flooring. I'd like to give it a try!
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:08 PM   #4
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Have a look at the Little Joe trailers, Dustin.

Don't miss the pics in the Little Joe gallery, too.

Oh, and welcome to FiberglassRV.com!
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:12 PM   #5
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Question Did you know...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriverOne View Post
My idea is to use a bamboo-framed fiberglass shell on a tubular aluminum chassis in a 6x10 size in hi-lo fashion (for less drag) using plastic for windows instead of glass, mimicking a cargo trailer in shape, and possibly continuing with the bamboo as a building material in the camper, since it's so light...
Did you know that Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailers are nicknamed "eggs" because their shells are frame-less, just like an egg shell?
They drop a lot of weight by not having a frame in the shell at all.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:22 AM   #6
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
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Trailer weight

Trailer Weight is an interesting topic. It would be interesting to create a spread sheet of all the fixed items in a trailer and to see what could be replaced by something lighter.

I suspect a significant portion is relatively fixed regardless of the construction materials. For example every trailer has three tires (100 lbs), a battery (60 lbs) a propane tank (40lbs), and so forth. The same could be said for various appliances like the hot water heater, the furnace, stove, fridge, .... what ever they weigh, none of us can afford to create lighter solutions though we can choose to eliminate them (possibly creating another 'coffin situation' for your wife).

There is no replacement for water and a traditional water heater hold 6 gallons (50 lbs) of water.

Certainly bamboo is lighter than oak, but not dramatically lighter than pine. In our trailer though there is not a lot of wood, there is some weight savings to be had by replacing all the OSB with something lighter. I guess there is less than 200 lbs of OSB in an egg. Replacing it with something of half the density might save 100 lbs.

The frame is one place significant weight savings might be had however I have yet to see an aluminum axle. I would guess the axle weighs 100-150 lbs.

It would be fun to build a spread sheet trailer and see what the practical minimum weight could be for a 16 foot egg. I suspect it's around 1800 pounds for a 16 ' and 1300 lbs for a 13' with a fiberglass exterior and loaded for the road.

Have fun and let us know what you come up with for calculations.

Norm
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2012 Scamp 13 DLX
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An On Demand Tankless Water Heater would save the 50lbs of weight.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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Name: Dustin
Trailer: Anxiously searching
South Carolina
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Thank you everyone for your insight and input! That's why I love forums. All kinds of advice. I've found ways to lighten the shell, nix the axle by mounting rubber torsion hubs to the frame itself, and thanks to MelissaB, save 50 lbs of weight on the tankless heater. Now to find one cheap! It'll have to be mounted on the A-frame to keep the heat down, I think. The gas tank doesn't have to be the big one if you plan to cook a few times on the weekend. Water tank would be filled and dumped on site if it were even necessary to have one. Found carbon fiber sheeting at .03" thick by 50"x20 yds for $47.50/yd. Galvanized aluminum sheeting for interior. Now down to the windows. With all this, I believe I've already saved over 300lbs? Just a guesstimate. I'd even think that pumping water into a black-painted upper resevoir in the top of the egg (you've persuaded me, Mr. Simson!) may be a low-cost way to heat water in the summer months. More to come. Dinner time! Mmmm, steak!
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
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burning man uses these showers, hard to beat the weight savings here and Welcome
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:55 PM   #10
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Name: Dustin
Trailer: Anxiously searching
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Thanks, Ken.
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