New to the whole RV thing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-16-2019, 01:13 PM   #1
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Name: Kevin
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New to the whole RV thing

Hello from SE Arizona. We've just returned from our first ever RV camping experience, in a popup trailer. We realized 2 things: 1) we really like the rv experience and 2) we need to upgrade to something small in fiberglass. Anyone in the Tucson or related area know of something available that's affordable? Some renovation is ok with us.
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:51 PM   #2
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New to the whole RV thing

We’re up in the White Mountains.

Small is relative. What do you plan to tow with, what features do you require, and what’s your approximate budget range?

One thing about many smaller fiberglass trailers compared to a tent trailer is bed size. The main “double” bed in our Scamp is 45”x75”.

I grew up with tent trailers, and we were in the market for one for our family of four when we stumbled onto the Scamp. Beds are cozy, but when the rain’s falling and the wind’s howling... the Scamp beats a tent trailer hands down!

There’s a molded fiberglass gathering in Quartzsite in early February. That’d be a good place to see quite a few in one place.
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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I used to make cushions for Scamps, so I know them well. We are thinking 13'. We tow with a 2003 Trailblazer. Features: full bath, full kitchen, comfortable bed for two not tiny seniors. I'm referred to by some friends as "alarmingly cheap", so of course, the lower price, the better. Also, I was told by a friend that fiberglass trailers are heavier than metal. Is the correct?
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by KevinOlene View Post
...
Also, I was told by a friend that fiberglass trailers are heavier than metal. Is the correct?
We have a rule on this forum that all new members are required to check out a thread that documents a study done at various fiberglass rallies where the actual weight of the campers (in the real world) was recorded.

OK.. its not really a rule, but maybe it should be since it is such a good resource. Its a little dated but at worst you might assume that the average weight is just a few percentage points higher with campers from the last couple of years, compared to those that are in this database.

One of the members here maintains a spreadsheet so you can sort and filter the data points in various ways. (See last link)

I think you can study this data and conclude that fiberglass camping trailers are generally lighter than a similar sized conventional construction camper.

See:
Trailer Weights in the Real World
and
http://lakeshoreimages.com/spreadsheets/Weight.xls
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:11 PM   #5
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Appreciate the link for the info.
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinOlene View Post
I used to make cushions for Scamps, so I know them well. We are thinking 13'. We tow with a 2003 Trailblazer. Features: full bath, full kitchen, comfortable bed for two not tiny seniors. I'm referred to by some friends as "alarmingly cheap", so of course, the lower price, the better. Also, I was told by a friend that fiberglass trailers are heavier than metal. Is the correct?

You will pay a premium for a fiberglass trailer. Either its worth it to you or its not. And fiberglass trailers tend to be smaller: lower head height, narrower, shorter overall length.

People think they weigh almost nothing, they don't. But they are not heavy either. Heavier than metal is a very broad statement. I doubt it.

Traditional built trailers, so called stickies, can be a lot cheaper in price. But they do not hold their value well and they decline quickly. Friends of mine bought a new sticky at Camping World last year. In one year, it has lost HALF of its value. Ouch. In the molded FG world, a trailer might lose nothing, or very little.

The typical RV trailers were really were never made to last 20 or 40 years. Meanwhile, many of us on this forum have molded FG trailers that are over 40 years old. Mine is 43 years old. Still, the appliances inside these trailers are no better than what was used by everyone else. So appliances certainly can wear out.

Don't expect some smoking great deal on a molded FG trailer. Supply is limited and demand exceeds supply. Finding one in your area is lucky enough. Finding one in your area at a cheap price, very doubtful. Realize there are plenty of other buyers out there, so sellers are typically going to get their price from someone. And one with a really low price is either a scam, or needs so much work that by the time you are done, you would have been ahead financially paying more for one in better condition.

The older ones rarely if ever have AC, and when they do, it may well be poorly installed as the old trailers were not designed for them. Bathroom? Again, not that common on the 13 footers, and to get a toilet means you lose something else. Realize a 13 foot FG trailer will only have a 10 foot body section. The only thing 13 feet long is the FRAME. So in that 10 feet, you need a entry door, a center corridor, a bed, closet, kitchen, and a separate place to sit. And maybe a bathroom. Map out a 6 foot by 10 foot space on your living room floor, and imagine fitting everything inside the box.

The Scamp "Big Bed" is about the size of a double bed. The regular bed is between a single and a double. And due to the narrow body on most of these trailers, the bed is short as well. So the bed is not that wide, and not that long.

FG trailers are an acquired taste. Many end up there after owning a stickie or two and dealing with those issues.

If you ever camp in foul weather, having a comfortable place to sit besides taking up the bed is really nice. Its great enjoying the great outdoors. But sometimes, the weather is really bad. What then?

The other thing about space is the length in time and distance of your camping trips. A trailer that is perfectly suited for weekend camping may be totally unacceptable for long trips. In the old days, our typical camping trips were leave on Friday after work, and return on Sunday afternoon. Now we are retired the typical trip is leave whenever, go thousands of miles, and return home a month later.
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by KevinOlene View Post
I used to make cushions for Scamps, so I know them well. We are thinking 13'. We tow with a 2003 Trailblazer. Features: full bath, full kitchen, comfortable bed for two not tiny seniors. I'm referred to by some friends as "alarmingly cheap", so of course, the lower price, the better. ..
If you know them well then you know how small they are. However, If that list of features is what you want, then a 13 foot Scamp might not be what you are looking for, with them being so small. Also Cheap and Fiberglass Camper usually are mutually exclusive facts. Newer ones are not cheap and older ones often need expensive work. Just check it out before deciding. You might even decide that the combination of smaller size and more money makes it worth considering "stick built" campers.
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:37 AM   #8
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Size... If you require a bath, I would personally recommend a 16’ or larger. While you can get a 13’ Scamp with a bath, it takes up a pretty good chunk of real estate in an already small space. (A 13’ Scamp is measured tongue-to-bumper; the cabin is 6’6”x10’.)

Budget... For a bath unit that is not a major project (which often costs more when all is said and done), expect to spend $10-12K. You won’t find all that much price difference between 13’ and 16’ bath models, and there are more 16’ers to pick from. There’s one listed in Surprise right now.

Beds... Since you are “not tiny” you need to find out if the small bed will really work for you. If not, consider looking for a Casita Liberty model, with a large multi-configurable bed/dining/lounge space. It's available in 16' and 17' lengths, depending on the capabilities of your tow vehicle.

Weight... the linked spreadsheet is a great resource to get a handle on how much trailer your vehicle can comfortably handle. Note tongue weights as well as total weights. When making comparisons to conventional trailers, make sure you note actual sizes in the specs. Molded trailers designate models by total length (the older convention), while most conventional trailers designate models be cabin length.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:12 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info. This is very helpful. Now to start looking.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:56 AM   #10
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Kevin I always recommend that those new to the fiberglass trailer world attend a nearby gathering . Our community is very willing to share their trailers with new folks and you can get a look inside many makes , this could be a huge assist in narrowing your search. Since you live in Arizona I am sure there will be some gatherings even in the winter. Lee and Norma
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:45 PM   #11
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If I lived in Arizona and were looking for a trailer, I'd go to Quartzite in February and look at hundreds of them. Absolutely.

We found ours 6 hours away, paid a lot, worked for 9 months 7 days a week, and ended up with our Peanut, a 16' 2-bed(room) unit with narrower than twin beds suitable for daytime sitting, permanent eating seats, a minimal galley (microwave and ceramic heater) under-bed storage plus room for a dog bed, and electric 12/110V cooler (works very well) and food storage bins. We have a front "niche" closet with porta-potty "system," no bathroom, we carry water in jugs or bottles, and we do minimal cooking inside.

It suits us. It suits us just fine. It won't suit everyone. But we nudged the galley narrower so there's more room to pass each other from front to back, and we have colorful beach towels on rods giving some privacy, particularly to Paul's front/side bed for night and early morning.

There are many options, and then again, not so many. It took us a while to figure out what we really needed, and when we saw Peanut with the basic configuration, we pounced. The appliances from 1973 were bad, lines corroded, a hole almost worn in the gas line, and water leaks everywhere from a broken water tank that someone kept refilling anyway. Pergo on the floor hid multiple soft spots and holes.

Some trailers have "bathtub" bottoms, so all you see from below is fiberglass, not the actual floor.

Anyway, we shopped for months, honed our must-have list, found out what was available, made our choices and pounced when we found our egg.

After major repairs and redoing/redecorating and making it "our own, we love Peanut. This will be our last trailer; we've been through many types of RVs and camping methods. This is just right.

BEST to you on your hunt, any mods, and happy trails!

"K"
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:51 PM   #12
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
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When buying, you can have any two: fast, cheap, or good.

Good and fast is NOT cheap. Good and cheap is NOT fast. Fast and cheap is NOT good. We got not cheap, not good, but we bought it within months of starting our search...and we were prepared then to do major work on it, which we did.

So I guess we got fast purchase at a price we could afford (but weren't thrilled about) and in condition we were able to handle ourselves, with a relatively short wait.

BEST!
"K"

PS: Some people get very lucky and get all three...they should count their blessings!
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Old 11-23-2019, 01:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KevinOlene View Post
Hello from SE Arizona. We've just returned from our first ever RV camping experience, in a popup trailer. We realized 2 things: 1) we really like the rv experience and 2) we need to upgrade to something small in fiberglass. Anyone in the Tucson or related area know of something available that's affordable? Some renovation is ok with us.
We chose the Lil Snoozy because of additional head room and a true queen size bed. It is now in new production under new management and called Snoozy 2. Met the new owners at the Lil Snoozy Rally in Charleston this week. They know their stuff (owners of the frame as well). It should be even better.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:49 PM   #14
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We chose the Lil Snoozy because of additional head room and a true queen size bed. It is now in new production under new management and called Snoozy 2. Met the new owners at the Lil Snoozy Rally in Charleston this week. They know their stuff (owners of the frame as well). It should be even better.
Curiously, the apparent new owner of Lil Snoozy is Wesco, which sounded familiar to me. There was a WESCO who made fiberglass fountains in Florida and from the '90s until 2008 made a very nice fiberglass truck camper called a Roamer. Roamer (and WESCO) went out of business in 2008 when the economy went south.

https://www.truckcampermagazine.com/...roamer-camper/

I wonder if this is the same folks?

Charles
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:37 PM   #15
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Curiously, the apparent new owner of Lil Snoozy is Wesco, which sounded familiar to me. There was a WESCO who made fiberglass fountains in Florida and from the '90s until 2008 made a very nice fiberglass truck camper called a Roamer. Roamer (and WESCO) went out of business in 2008 when the economy went south.

I wonder if this is the same folks?

Charles
The Roamer is very interesting.

It looks like the Wesco in this case is the company who made the galvanized trailers for the Lil Snoozy.

LiL Snoozy

https://www.wescotrailers.org/contact.html


The Wesco trailer company is located less than 30 miles from the prior Lil Snoozy shop, so that supports there being a connection.
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