Planning on 6 months in a camper? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-28-2014, 11:52 PM   #1
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Name: Matt
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Planning on 6 months in a camper?

I'm (obviously) new here. I have just sold my house and am moving cities in search of a job (I'm a Youth Minister). Looking at the prices for a 6 month lease on a single bedroom apartment have got me thinking that I may just buy a small camper outright, and find a place to stay in it until December.

I went to the rv dealer today, and nothing really spoke to me (unless you count a toy hauler that cost over 20k). So, I came home and did a little googling... And am intrigued by the idea of a Scamp.

I'm hoping to learn a lot while I'm here so that I can make an informed decision and possibly a purchase! Wish me luck... And thanks in advance for your collective knowledge!




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Old 07-29-2014, 05:19 AM   #2
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Hi Matt and welcome. A few folks here on FGRV do full time. They will give you some answers.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:15 AM   #4
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Welcome Matt,
Your decision as to what type and size FG trailer will be determined by 2 things, your wallet and your tow vehicle. Do you know your vehicle's tow capacity?
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:47 AM   #5
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Matt, here are a few things to think about…
  • What's the climate going to be like where you are relocating? Small fiberglass trailers like Scamp are not very well suited for winter use in cold climates.
  • Have you researched a place to park and hook up? It's not always as easy (or as cheap) as you might think, and some commercial RV parks have restrictions on size and age.
  • Are you okay with a wet bath? That's all most of the smaller trailers have (if they have a bath at all). Drying down the whole bathroom after a shower may get old after a while.
  • Will you be towing it with your own vehicle? If so, what is it rated to tow?
  • Do you plan to keep it after the 6 months, and how do you anticipate using it?
I lived in an older 24' travel trailer for 3 years when I first moved to AZ. I bought it locally after I got here, found a friend with a truck to help me move it and sold it when I was ready to make other living arrangements. It made financial sense because the school district where I worked (on an Indian reservation) offered low-cost sites for trailers and mobile homes. The larger size meant I had a dry bath and full kitchen. I left teaching ten years ago for full-time ministry. We're leaving this morning (Scamp in tow ) on a two-day prayer tour of the western Navajo reservation.

I wish you the best in your adventure!
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:52 AM   #6
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For my immediate needs, I will be towing with a Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee will soon be for sale though, and after it finds a new home, I will be purchasing a 3/4 diesel truck. The jeep has a 5,000 rating... And I'm not worried about the truck.

The idea is to not spend more than 6,000 for the initial purchase (used). I don't want to be in it for more than I would be for 6 months rent... And I hope to enjoy it enough to keep it after I purchase a home.


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Old 07-29-2014, 08:57 AM   #7
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Hey Jon, thanks for the reply! I have spent quite a bit of time on the White Mountain Apache reservation in AZ. Near Show Low.

I am hoping to find an affordable spot to camp at near Louisville, KY. I will be staying in it until the end of December... So cold weather is a factor, but not as much as it would be in the north. Hoping for a mild fall and winter.


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Old 07-29-2014, 04:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trivial View Post
Hey Jon, thanks for the reply! I have spent quite a bit of time on the White Mountain Apache reservation in AZ.

That has been my home for the past 30 years! Beautiful place & people.


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Old 07-29-2014, 05:38 PM   #9
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Trivial, welcome to the website. You don't say how many people will be living in the trailer.

Kevin, you missed Outback and Sidekick.

Plus most of the listing are not made anymore and would have to be purchased used.

I think that Escape is the only manufacturer that offers a cold weather version with double pane windows and extra insulation.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:45 PM   #10
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For $6000 you are probably looking at a 20 year old (molded fiberglass) trailer. Financially a trailer might make sense if you have a free place to park and plug into electric & water. Campground sites could cost almost as much as, or more than, apartment rental.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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It would just be me living in it.



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Old 07-30-2014, 01:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trivial View Post
Hey Jon, thanks for the reply! I have spent quite a bit of time on the White Mountain Apache reservation in AZ. Near Show Low.

I am hoping to find an affordable spot to camp at near Louisville, KY. I will be staying in it until the end of December... So cold weather is a factor, but not as much as it would be in the north. Hoping for a mild fall and winter.


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I love Show Low. It would be my pick for a place to live in a Arizona. All the tines near there are nice. The scenery around the rim is spectacular.


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Old 07-30-2014, 01:44 AM   #13
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Trivial,

I have been living in a truck camper since March 10th. I've only slept in my apartment 5 days since then.

You may want to consider what I did.

I bought a 3000 series Bigfoot. I already had a diesel dually Silverado K3500. I paid $4500 for the Bigfoot and add in another $3200 in upgrades, 630 watts solar panels $900, (2) 400 AH batteries $1200, a new two way water heater $400, a $220 TV, LED light bulbs, a $200 gas grill, and lots of little stuff.

I set the camper up for Boondocking. I didn't want to stay in a park unless I needed to dump my tanks. I have not yet paid to stay anywhere, or paid to dump my tanks while away from home about three weeks so far and I'm off again on Thursday.

While working on my boat, I found a YMCA camp that lets me park overnight when it is not in session. It helps being a retired military officer. I also use Walmart's parking lots and rest areas.

I can park it in a normal parking spot. The whole rig is less than 23' long. I have dim "stealth" lighting and find lots of places to park overnight for free. I often stay in hotel parking lots, and park near the event door so people think I'm an exhibitor. I have two dogs so it is not usual for someone to stay in a hotel and leave the dogs outside. Going in an out never seems to get more than a glance.

Because it is a four season camper with excellent insulation, dual pane windows, and is not very large, it has been very comfortable and both easy to heat--cheaper to heat than my all electric apartment. And it has a really big fridge that I stuffed full of food today and it still has room. Much bigger than anything you will find a an egg camper.

This is "the" camper the Canadian Mounties use above the Arctic Circle. I highly recommend the dual pane Bigfoot Campers-- particularly the "Winter Wall" versions. While I originally was more attracted to the much more popular and hence expensive 2500 series, I was glad to stumble on this one. The price was right and I paid about book value for it. It had been sitting in a barn for 15 years so it never had the typical modifications most people do.

For winter living or for a semi-permanent location, I plumbed it to run off external propane tanks. It could be offloaded at a park, if allowed-- some don't allow this as they are worried a jack will break and strand it there. So it can very easily run off bigger fixed propane tanks. I run it off two single 40 lb tanks at home and plan on upgrading to a couple of 100 lb tanks at some point. I am considering modifying my small trailer to carry a couple large propane bottles for extended winter camping. I don't want to be changing tanks frequently in cold weather.

There is actually room for two more propane tanks in the generator space, but I'm leaning towards adding a second water tank there. I find 32 gallons is minimal. Most people will tell you that 60 gallons is a better size for off-grid use. If you are hooked up to water and sewer, this will not matter.

So it is feasible to live in a four season camper year round, being smaller and extremely well insulated helps, even in temps down to -20°, but you will either burn a lot of propane at $20 bottle a day, or add some basement fans to circulate electric heat, if plugged in, to the warm air to the tanks in the basement.

I have discovered that winter camping is so rarely done that many places are not only empty but un-staffed.

If you definitely want to be in a campground with full hookups, a trailer would be a better choice. Negotiate long term rates and shop around.

Whatever you choose for a rig, you can probably look around and find a farm or ranch that will lease you space cheaper than a campground.

I think you are making a wise choice. You get to keep much of your housing expense, when it is over.

A friend of mine in San Francisco was an Army doctor. He lived on a tiny Tahitian ketch sailboat for two years at Treasure Island. He paid for it with his housing allowance in that time.

Whatever you choose, there is always something to do to improve a camper. Most find in fun and interesting to make "mods" to improve things, or make it more enjoyable to use when you are inside.


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Old 07-30-2014, 06:30 PM   #14
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Rent vs. FGRV

[QUOTE=trivial;473090]
The idea is to not spend more than 6,000 for the initial purchase (used). I don't want to be in it for more than I would be for 6 months rent... And I hope to enjoy it enough to keep it after I purchase a home.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

You are missing an important point. After renting an apartment for 6 months you will have 6 rent receipts. After buying a FGRV, in 6 months you will still have between 80% and 120% of the purchase price in equity, minus, of course, the cost of a place to park.

BTW: (non-related comment) Unless you drive a lot.... about 20,000 miles a year, you will be lucky to as much as break even with a diesel when you compare purchase price, depreciation, diesel fuel costs and diesel maintenance costs losses vs fuel economy gains. Do the numbers, especially if you want to buy a house next year and don't want car payments on your credit load.
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