Meerkats - Fiberglass RV



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Old 08-03-2018, 08:45 PM   #1
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
Posts: 9
Meerkats

Hello all! Newbie here.... and I'm loving all the great info and stories.
Here's my story and I'm looking for some help.
I was so excited to learn about casitas, scamps and Ascapes. Almost exactly what I'm looking for. But after some research I found them to be to much weight for my Honda CRV. My max pull is 1,500 lbs. On the Ascape I could take out the shower that I dont want and switch the AC for a fan. This would lighten it up but I wasn't thrilled about the small windows that didn't open fully.
So then I found out about Meerkats. I spoke at length with a salesperson 2 seperate times. I was going to get a pamphlet in the snail mail, and an email with more information AND a person I could contact that would have one near my northern AZ home. I was told owners love to show them off. So it's been 3 weeks and haven't gotten anything. I went to the website and used the "contact us" field to try that way but still haven't heard anything. When I see them advertised on ebay, craigslist or rv trader it sends me right back to the San Diego factory site. Which hasn't worked out.
Has anyone heard of these and anyone out there have one for sale?
I'm apprehensive to make the drive to San Diego. If they can't respond to me as a future customer what does that say about the company and what kind of service would I get if I did decide to get one. Know what I mean?
ANY info/ suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated. I like how the meerkats have what I need AND what I dont need.
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:11 PM   #2
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Name: Gilda
Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
California
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I have a basic 13' Scamp which we purchased new in 2011. We love (almost) everything about it. A couple years ago I went to a fair put on by Sunset magazine at Cornerstone in Sonoma County in California, not too far from my home in Marin County. There I fell in love with the Happier Camper (see photo) which now has a showroom in Mill Valley, CA, also near my home. It's, basically, a modular Scamp with a hatch-back. I'm not ready to switch campers as it's the same size, is heavier and costs quite a bit more than the Scamp. Right next door to the Happier Camper was a Meerkat! (see photo) I was intrigued because, for me, it was the first fiberglass trailer that I had seen which is smaller than the Scamp (and other FGRVs) except for teardrops. It is very compact but makes good use of the space. Don't expect a lot of storage space but it is efficient in it's layout and appears to be well made. Both trailers are a BIG IMPROVEMENT over camping in a tent, or teepee (see photo)!

You might want to use the "Search" button on the FGRV website and look up "Meerkat" in the lowest drop-down window titled "Google". There you will see many threads regarding the Meerkat. I suggest you send a few "private messages" to those who have posted.

Just as an aside, we chose our Scamp partially because our 2008 Subaru Legacy sedan was rated as being able to tow 1,500 pounds and the Scamp fit the bill nicely. The only problem is that the after-market hitch was always too low to the ground and scraped every time we went over speed bumps and deeply angled driveways. We recently changed to a Mazda CX-5 and have had no problems. You also might want to search your vehicle in the FGRV Search section to get owners comments on towing. Good luck with your choice.
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Old 08-04-2018, 06:59 AM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Welcome, Elaine!

Meerkats, as you probably know, are not all-molded fiberglass. The roof is fiberglass, but the sides are aluminum skin over aluminum frame. They are a modern copycat version of the classic Eriba Puck trailer. Cool design, and I agree- they are a good fit for a Honda CR-V. Not positive, but I think they're 7' garageable, a big bonus if you live in an HOA that doesn't allow outside RV storage.

Because they are not molded fiberglass, there haven't been many discussions of them here, nor am I aware of any members who own one, though it's possible. As a result I really don't know what's going on with the company's lack of response, but I'd be concerned, too. Keep trying, but investigate other options as well.

I had to look up Ascapes. Looks like there's one model, the MT, with a base dry weight of 1170 pounds, but it doesn't have a galley or bath, just beds. Once you add a few amenities, you're going to be too heavy. Not sure how they're constructed- wood frame, aluminum frame, or laminated. I'd stay away from wood-framed or laminated trailers.

If it's just 1 or 2 people and you pack lightly, a Scamp 13 (no bath & limited options) could work with your CR-V. A number of members have successfully towed basic 13' molded fiberglass trailers with CR-V's. What year is yours? Newer ones have CVT transmissions, less suitable for towing.

We have an '06, but with 4 people and gear, our larger Pilot gets towing duty. We live near Pinetop, AZ if you're close and want to look at a Scamp 13.

Best wishes!
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:05 AM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef View Post
Hello all! Newbie here.... and I'm loving all the great info and stories.
Here's my story and I'm looking for some help.
I was so excited to learn about casitas, scamps and Ascapes. Almost exactly what I'm looking for. But after some research I found them to be to much weight for my Honda CRV. My max pull is 1,500 lbs. On the Ascape I could take out the shower that I dont want and switch the AC for a fan. This would lighten it up but I wasn't thrilled about the small windows that didn't open fully.
So then I found out about Meerkats. I spoke at length with a salesperson 2 seperate times. I was going to get a pamphlet in the snail mail, and an email with more information AND a person I could contact that would have one near my northern AZ home. I was told owners love to show them off. So it's been 3 weeks and haven't gotten anything. I went to the website and used the "contact us" field to try that way but still haven't heard anything. When I see them advertised on ebay, craigslist or rv trader it sends me right back to the San Diego factory site. Which hasn't worked out.
Has anyone heard of these and anyone out there have one for sale?
I'm apprehensive to make the drive to San Diego. If they can't respond to me as a future customer what does that say about the company and what kind of service would I get if I did decide to get one. Know what I mean?
ANY info/ suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated. I like how the meerkats have what I need AND what I dont need.
It might just be that the person in the office who does the sales contact is on vacation. It is summer time and people often go on vacation in the summer. Remember this is a small company, not a large one, and there might not be anyone covering the salespersons email contacts while they are gone. It is easy to think that there is a big staff as we are more used to dealing with large companies.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:17 AM   #5
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Name: lee
Trailer: trailswest campsterl, 1996 Scamp 16 foot
Idaho
Posts: 483
MeerKat

Elaine You don't mention the year of your CRV. Wife and I had several CRVs over the years and towed a Uhaul with it for several years ( loaded weight 1250 lbs and it was a good match ). Having said that newer CRVs have CVT transmissions and Honda seems to have the best CVT transmission out there , but IMHO I would not recommend towing anything with a CVT transmission ( this will probably elicit a lot of opinions ). I am not speaking from personal experience but for the most part CVTs seem to be at their limit just moving the vehicle itself around. Many CVT problems reported for all makes ( again Honda seems to have the least problems ). I think the Meerkat would be a good match for the CRV. Lee
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
It might just be that the person in the office who does the sales contact is on vacation. It is summer time and people often go on vacation in the summer.

Kinda like the guy who rents skiis or ice skates going to Mexico for the winter.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:24 PM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Its better to get the trailer you want and then dump the car that doesn't fit. The trailer last longer than the tug. In your case the Crv hold good value so you don't loose much in the swap. Its sure is easier to spend your money than mine.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:09 PM   #8
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
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Funny you should say dump the crv.....your not the first person to suggest it ! Even my son who has a vanagon. Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:14 PM   #9
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
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Thanks for the "search" info. I'll try that. Just met a guy at the Prescott AZ car show at Watson Lake who ownes a scamp and said his weighs 800 lbs. So maybe there are some out there that will work. Thanks again.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:23 PM   #10
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
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Our crv is 2012 so I'll have to find the trans type. When I called the dealer about towing rate they just mentioned the 1,500 lb capacity.
It's just me and my husband and we would use the trailer for weekends or overnights. That's why the shower isn't necessary. Just the compact toilet may come in handy for any BLM camping.
Thanks for your reply...good info.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:35 PM   #11
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
Posts: 9
Good info! We contacted the dealer and he only mentioned the tow weight for Our 2012 crv . Never mentioned CVT transmition. So I'll look into that.
The Ascape dealer said car manufacturers will give it a low tow rate to be super cautious knowing that it would probably tow more weight without a problem. This covers their *** if any problems do occur. However he may have just wanted to sell me an ascape a little over my Honda recommended pull.
Just me and my husband using it for overnight or weekend trips so we really dont need the shower or ac. Or much storage. Thank you for your help!
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:40 PM   #12
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
Posts: 9
Ok..... I get it....always good to hear another opinion. He said they ship them all the time and just sent 2 out to the east coast sight unseen. But.....I can't do that....I need to feel and experience the space. Thanks for your reply!
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Old 08-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #13
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef View Post
...The Ascape dealer said car manufacturers will give it a low tow rate to be super cautious knowing that it would probably tow more weight without a problem. This covers their *** if any problems do occur. However he may have just wanted to sell me an ascape a little over my Honda recommended pull...
I'm not liking this Ascape salesperson. Suggesting that manufacturers' tow ratings are merely CYA suggestions to be arbitrarily exceeded is irresponsible.

Whether tow ratings are set conservatively or optimistically- my impression is they can go either way- they are what they are. If you choose to exceed them, you expose yourself to potential liability in the event of an accident.

In this case I have read many reports of CR-V's towing 13' trailers and my overall impression is the manufacturer's rating is appropriate. Towing near the 1500# limit gives satisfactory performance in moderate terrain and marginal performance in mountains and other demanding conditions.

It's not just about weight. Frontal area also plays a role, creating significant aerodynamic drag at speed. Tow testing is done with low profile cargo trailers- I believe 20 square feet in this weight class. The Scamp and Ascape will be almost double that, with the Scamp having a more aerodynamic shape. The Meerkat has a lower towing profile due to the pop-top design.

In general, the taller and/or wider the trailer, the less aerodynamic the shape, the more margin you need to leave in the weight rating. Rounded fronts and tapered backs are good; boxy fronts and flat backs are bad.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:41 AM   #14
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Looking to purchase
Arizona
Posts: 9
Oh yes, I agree with you. I'm sticking with what the Honda manufacturer suggests for tow rate. So ..... I'm going to bite the bullet, plan a trip to San Diego and see for myself what the Meerkat is like in person. A little vacation in S California won't be bad anyway.
Thank you for the tech info!
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