new member needs advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-10-2006, 03:01 PM   #1
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No, don't have one yet. After 20 years of tent camping I was considering a pop-up. Saw a Scamp being towed down the road... now investigating. Would appreciate comments.

How do the molded fiberglass unit stand-up over the years? In the event that I want to trade up, do the units hold value well?

I looked at several standard-type campers and unless going with an ultralite model it appeared that the weight would wreck havoc on my gas mileage.

Is it worh spending the money on the heat and A/C units?

How about Scamp v. the other manufacturers? nAny recommendations?

Sorry to appear so unknowledgable but, the facts are the facts. Mostly I go to the mountains in Virginia for a week at a time to flyfish and quite frankly, the tent is getting a bit uncomfortable.

Many thanks!

John
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hi John! Welcome to FGRV!

You have good questions, and you'll have lots of answers. Feel free to take a few minutes and use the search function on the top bar. You'll get HOURS of great reading!

I've had three Scamps over the years. They are an excellent product. If you check our albums (on the VERY top bar) you can see a good selection of many of the fiberglass trailers produced over the years.

Fiberglass trailers are one of the few items you can spend money on that may actually appreciate in value over time. Even new ones hold their value well used. We regularly see '70s vintage trailers selling for more than they went for new, and all of the parts are off-the-shelf and are regularly available from RV dealers.

I'd say get all of the options you can. Even if you never use them, you won't lose their value on resale, and they'll make your unit more attractive when you do resell it. You'll find out quickly how often you use those luxuries once you have them tho...

Regarding towing gas mileage, unless you intend to do most of your driving towing your trailer, don't get too excited about it. Many folks, even though they use their trailers a lot, don't actually end up towing but a small fraction of their annual driving miles. It'll cost you a little more to tow, but in the grand scheme of finances, it'll be a VERY small amount.

Happy hunting!

Roger
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:11 PM   #3
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ALL good questions that we have all asked. You will find that Molded Fiberglass-RVs are the answer, if you donít need a big truck and a big trailer.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:29 PM   #4
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I, too, have tent camped and also camped in a 1978 VW Westfalia.

Tent camping is fine in the good weather - not so nice in the rain, cold and snow. Plus, now that we are getting older, getting up off the air mattress is getting harder and harder.

We loved the VW Westfalia - we consider ourself a turtle. We take our home on our backs. Don't have to worry about towing a trailer. However, we need a new one and the cost is a LOT more than a new tow vehicle and a small trailer.

So, now we are looking for a small 13' trailer. We only use it as a motel room - the rest of the time we are off touring.

We have decided that a fiberglass trailer is the way to go. Less chance of leaks from the roof plus they seem to hold up well, if seeing old fiberglass trailers for sale on the net is any indication.

Depending on finances, depends on the options you want to purchase. Having a complete bathroom in my trailer isn't something that I want or need. A port-a-potty is. I don't need a furnace but when I'm cold, I sure want one - plus it extends your camping season. We don't camp in the hot summer so air isn't a necessity to us but if we had air, maybe we would be more of a weekend warrior in the summer.

There are plenty of brains to pick around here. If I lived in Canada, I think I would go for the Trillium - I like all the windows. I am thinking of a Scamp too.

Good luck to you.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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As for holding up, mine is a 81' You'll find a lot of 70's and 80's FB trailers around here.
Maybe even some from the 60's.
Most popups from that age group are pretty shot and there sure aren't many stick builts from that era left either.

Cracks or holes can be fixed, if you bash it, just like a boat or Corvette, axles can be replaced. I really can't think of anything that can't be fixed one these trailers for not a real lot of money.
And if the campground will let you you can go pretty much anywhere a tent can.

I think I could actually put mine inside of my screen room.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:25 PM   #6
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Hi John - I have a Scamp on order but cannot speak from experience from ever owning a fiberglass trailer. I have owned regular stick built trailers and current owner of a popup (that is not selling! ) We searched for a hard-sided trailer that would be easy to tow, easy to setup, and reliable. We believe the Scamp fits this bill. I researched previous posts here and at other forums. That's what I first did when first looking into these "egg" trailers and it really helped to educate me.

As far as different brands, I looked at Scamp, Casita and the Escape. I found that they are all pretty comparable and was just little things here and there that I liked one over the other. I chose the Scamp because they were willing to work with me to modify some things. Plus I would be helping my home state of Minnesota!

For options, for resale value, options like AC, toilet/shower, furnace, awning, are popluar items that people tend to look for in an RV. We chose options towards the way we like to camp which is without hooksups and spend majority of our time outside. So we opted not to get the AC, TV antenna, microwave as you would need an electrical hookup to run those (or a generator but I would not use that camping in a campground). We are getting a furnace as we live up north. Since you are a tenter and camp in the mountains you may not need/want AC, etc. Guess it depends if you want the added comforts that those options bring or not.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:45 PM   #7
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John, call Scamp and Casita factories and they will give you contacts in your area that will show you their trailers.

When I was searching for RV, resale value and quality was most important for me. It's kind of like restaurants, if there are lots of cars in the parking lot then you can bet the food is good. With Scamp or Casita, if you can't find allot on used market then you know people like them and keep them or they don't last long when up for sale.

Look on EBay at how many stick built RV's for sale versus how many Scamps and Casita's! You are lucky to find one or two at any given time compared to the hundreds of others. Word of caution if you find a Scamp or Casita on EBay, make sure it is not a scam sale. One rule of thumb is a scammer will want you to email them directly and not through EBay website.

I have had my Casita since June 2004 and love it!

I highly recommend seeing Scamp or Casita in person that is what convinced me!
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:56 PM   #8
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Hi John-I also camped for 35 years in a tent, over 10 years of that on the back of a motorcycle. After getting married and having 4 kids, we moved to a huge Starcraft popup that was a real beast to tow. We bought our cars based on tow capacity (Chevy Caprices mostly.) With the kids gone, I wanted something smaller so that we could get rid of the tug boat and barge combo.
I looked around and due to this forum, bought 13' 1973 Love Bug which is very similar to a Scamp. A little repair and paint and the Bug looks new.
I would definitely get the heat in a new camper. I love winter camping. It is currently snowing here in Wisconsin and I plan on leaving for a 10 day camping trip next Friday for Wisconsin's deer hunting season. Our "normal" temps for the 10 days range from 50 degrees to down around 10 degrees.
You can't beat these campers for ease of use, durability, and "CUTE factor." They pull easy and require very little maintenance.
I hope that you find what you are looking for.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:02 AM   #9
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I've had a 13' boler for years and years. It's easy to tow and very managable by one person. If I didn't like my back in job I just pushed it to where I wanted it. When traveling with the kids I put the collapsed tent and inflated air matresses on the floor of the trailer while we where driving and it only took minutes to set up camp when we arrived at out site.

Now I am older, the kids are gone and I have a partner. When we started looking around we wanted roughly the same thing but with a bathroom and a bed that we didn't have to make up and down in order to have a table. We found what we wanted in a 17' escape. The bonus of course, is that they are made locally and the company has an excellent reputation in our community.

I prefer little trailers to van campers because you can drop them in your site, unhook and leave. A quick run to the store, or off exploring doesn't mean stowing things safely for travel. But you have to decide for yourself what camping looks like to you. We all have different ideas of the perfect campng holiday.

Good luck!

jen
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Old 11-11-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
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Well, I'm just a young guy and really like my fiberglass trailer. I bought new and there's very little maintence but there's enough little modifications I can do to keep me interested. Not so much work to be overwhelming.

The one I purchased doesn't have a lot of systems to maintain, to me that's a plus. Others like their systems and all that goes with them.

A/C - I didn't get A/C. I did buy a 12Volt Fan. I've never used it, so I'm glad I didn't get the A/C.

Heat - We like to go out all year, for us the season is 12 months a year. The furnace has been great. I wouldn't want to be without it.

No bathroom to maintain or black water tank to mess with. No water heater heater to fuss with. These are items that many feel necessary, but if you're coming from a tent camping situation it might be ok for you to continuing to fill those needs as you've done while tent camping. That's how I looked at it, and still do.

I did put a gray water tank in, but to me it's not problem to deal with. I live the country and can drain it into my hay field.

The weight and towing of my 13' couldn't be easier. I loose about 2 to 3 mpg when towing and feel that I shouldn't tow above 60mph. Forces me to slow down and enjoy the ride.
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:02 AM   #11
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Thanks to all for the insightful comments. I have pretty much decided on a 16 Scamp but the idea of contacting the factory to possibly view local owners' units was great. That will help me decide on side dinette or regular, package or custom. Moving from a tent to a five star hotel on wheels...why bother about exotic options like special wood finishes, etc? Oh well, simply one more decision.

John Hassell
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
No, don't have one yet. After 20 years of tent camping I was considering a pop-up. Saw a Scamp being towed down the road... now investigating. Would appreciate comments.

How do the molded fiberglass unit stand-up over the years? In the event that I want to trade up, do the units hold value well?

I looked at several standard-type campers and unless going with an ultralite model it appeared that the weight would wreck havoc on my gas mileage.

Is it worh spending the money on the heat and A/C units?

How about Scamp v. the other manufacturers? nAny recommendations?

Sorry to appear so unknowledgable but, the facts are the facts. Mostly I go to the mountains in Virginia for a week at a time to flyfish and quite frankly, the tent is getting a bit uncomfortable.

Many thanks!
John
I just bought a 1984 U Haul, 22 years old. No wood to rot. The plywood floor is covered in fiberglass. Wood rot is the biggest enemy of travel trailers.

My gas mileage went down 2MPG on my 573 mile trip. Best towing trailer I've owned.

I live in Oklahoma. MUST have A/C in May-Sept. Camp out in 30 degree weather enough to know I MUST have heat. My new old camper has a propane heater. I didn't check it out so heated with a portable Mr Heater, $80. Uses 1# bottle gas or you can buy the hose that connects to a 20# bottle. It kept the 13" camper warm enough for a good sleep. Solid walls a plus over a pop up.

Most of the fiberglass trailers will accomodate a very small window unit. Intallation options vary widely. These small a/c units can be had for about $100. Or, if the roof is properly braced a rooftop a/c at about $750 installed might do you.

I just paid $1600 for mine. U Haul sold it in 1990 to a couple for $1500. Mine is still in original condition except for oxidation of the outer layer. That can be cleaned up. It also needs door gasket, window gaskets, a new hat for the A/C unit.

If, like anything else, you buy right, holding value shouldn't be an issue. Check the for sale forum and see what they've been selling for.

Scamp/Casita/Burro/U Haul? That's like Chevy/Ford. Personal preference. I doubt if you'd go wrong with any major brand.
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
...I have pretty much decided on a 16 Scamp ...why bother about exotic options like special wood finishes, etc? Oh well, simply one more decision...
I've never personally seen a Scamp with a Custom interior, but my understanding from discussions in this forum is that their Custom option exists to allow different interior configurations, not just for the wood.

Personally, I'm not a fan of ornate cabinetry at all, but I would seriously consider whether the customization possiblities might be of interest. On the other hand, maybe the practical thing to do is get a normal stock unit, try it out that way, and if sometime down the road you think you understand what would work better for you, trade up to a new Custom, trade for a used one (the wood cabinets would be easier to modify yourself than the stock interior), or even modify the one you have into your very own "custom".
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:15 PM   #14
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How do the molded fiberglass unit stand-up over the years? In the event that I want to trade up, do the units hold value well?

We are new to 'Scamping' as we just bought our new/old 85 13' scamp this may. We are old (term relative,bub!) tenters and tired of sleeping on rocks and i have to say the Scamp is fantastic!!! like a big hardshelled tent! well, with WAY more than your tent ever had! We mostly go camping where we can plug into ac, but that's here in Texas where we may have two weeks total of below 40 temps! ha! We love to go 'sit in the woods' on a weeked or two. You will not regret getting whatever fiberglass rv you get. ours had only cosmetic problems and a tiny leak on the back window we are still playing with. Even the cushions were in fantastic shape and were comfortable even the first night. We are so thrilled with our little scamp we can't imagine why we exiled ourselves from camping all these years! Any question you need answered about fiberglass rvs is here. we did our research here before bidding on and ebay scamp, and we just may be Scampers for life! hope to meet you at a rally some day!
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