Scamp 19' 5th Wheel for family of 4? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-07-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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Name: Jared
Trailer: WTB a 19' Scamp
Ontario
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Scamp 19' 5th Wheel for family of 4?

hi, I am new to rving/trailering, although I have been camping a fair bit, and have used a tent trailer a few times. I am currently researching to find a travel trailer or fifth wheel for my family. I like the idea of a lighter weight trailer and something not too long for towing purposes. I am going to be buying a half ton truck in the next year so likely an f150 as a tow vehicle. Would any of you recommend the scamp 5th wheel for a family of 4 (kids are 2 and newborn, but will be 4 and 2 when I buy)? What makes a fiberglass trailer better than "normal travel trailers? Thanks,
Jared
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:36 PM   #2
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"Better Than" you ask, let me tell you a very few of the ways:

1. Less water leaks due to fewer seams
2. Less water damage should a leak occur, seldom is there structural damage
3. Much longer life expectancy, many of the original 1970-74 FGRV's are still in demand and in use. (Mine is a 1973) How many even 30 y.o. stickys are still on the road?
4. Much better value retention, many buyers sell for as much or more than they originally paid.
5. More space efficient, no monsters here.
6. Less wind resistance and weight for size.
7. Can be pulled with smaller vehicles, including daily drivers
8. Much lower maintenance repairs and expenses, easier to keep clean
9. Ageless design, never appears out-of-date
10. Real chick magnets in the campgrounds (But don't tell your wife)

Personally, of the 5th wheel rigs, I like the early BigFoot, single axle, 5th wheels. But there are others than BigFoot and Scamp to consider as well
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:42 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome!

My main reasons for getting fiberglass:
It is unique. Gets lots of looks wherever I go.
It has a lesser chance of leaks because they are a molded shell. It does not negate the need for regular maintenance, but the lack of seams and corners does reduce the number of potential issues.
No 'faux wood paneling' to deal with. I really dislike that stuff in newer travel trailers.
I can't speak about the Scamp 5ers, but I'm sure there will be someone that can give you their personal opinion as to them.

Fyi, in this group, 'normal' is our fiberglass trailers
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:36 AM   #4
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Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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We have a Scamp 5er that has worked very well for us as a couple, as well as for occasional father-son outings, and we've met friends who go camping with their family with their Scamp 5ers. It works pretty well until the kids are teens, at which point you may decide it's time they experienced the great outdoors in a tent. :-)

Here are some observations. First, "5th wheel" (the Scamp is not a true 5th wheel, but it's a close approximation) trailers are much more stable and easier to tow than bumper-hitch pull trailers. You trade off some choices in tow vehicles to get that -- everything is a trade-off -- but towing our 5er has been very, very comfortable, even on reasonably windy days and on rough, rutted roads.

For family camping, it's nice to have the loft, which can work as an impromptu kids play space on a cold morning or wet day while the adults sit in the dinette. If you travel as a couple, as my wife and I do, it also allows one to go to bed early or go up to the loft to read while the other stays up and sits in the dinette, and it allows an early riser to do so (and usually start the coffee) without waking the other up.

Fiberglass trailers are, as a rule, very lightweight. At 2800lbs empty and 3500 lbs fully loaded, our 5er weighs about the same as a comparable tent trailer, but has much fewer setup hassles. We pull ours with a 3.0L V6 Ford Ranger, and the pair of them have gone over the continental divide several times with us now. Not zippy going up-hill (40mph on steep freeway grades), but we were still moving as fast as most of the loaded big-rigs, and we can easily keep up with traffic on lesser hills and level grades.

Many 13 and 16 foot bumper-hitch fiberglass trailers weigh 1000-1500 pounds less than our 5er, and can be towed by a mid-size SUV, mini-van, or small pickup. Some of the smallest trailers can even be pulled by a small sedan or hatchback.

As for how big a trailer you need, we know a couple that went out camping with their family of four all summer long, at least two summers in a row, in a 13' Scamp trailer. (He had a computer job that allowed him to telecommute, so they just hit the road with a really great cell plan and telecommuted their way across the country.)

So, my point is, if you're OK with a smaller trailer, Fiberglass can be a really great way to go. What works for you has a lot to do with how much space you need. We've found our trailer works more like a home-base for explorations, and we spend most of our time outside, so we don't need a lot of space inside. Just a place to cook, eat, sleep, stow our stuff, a place to use the bathroom, and a place to shelter us from the rain and cold on rainy days and nights. Your mileage may vary.

How do fiberglass trailers compare to their larger "stick-built" alternatives? For starters, they're easier to tow, easier to find a nice camping space for in a National Park or other campground, easier to store, easier and less expensive to maintain, and hold their value pretty well. Unless you're really used to it and do it often, towing a large trailer or piloting a big motorhome is a lot of work, too. With most fiberglass trailers you almost forget they're behind you most of the time, and you arrive much more rested.

How do fiberglass trailers compare to pop-ups? Well, you don't have to crank this, pull that, brace this crank that, pull that, brace this to get set up, or to stow away before you move campsites or pack up to go home. Makes cold, dark, or rainy setup days a lot nicer, makes cold or wet nights once you are set up a lot warmer and drier, and makes the decision to move to another part of the National Park you're in (hello, Yellowstone) a lot easier. You can use also use fiberglass trailers in national parks where pop-ups are forbidden because of bear problems. (Some Yellowstone campsites are an example.)

Beyond that, need a bathroom while you're underway? A place to fix a meal or a cup of coffee? A place to crash while you're parked at a rest stop or overnighting at a Walmart? Just park your rig and set the brake. When it's time to get underway again, just stow the things you took out, release the brake, and drive away. (Many Walmarts allow overnighting, but often don't allow you to do any sort of set-up in their parking lot, so you need something you can use as-is.)

We've used that Walmart option quite a few times, btw. Not all of them allow it, but many do, and it's a cheap, safe, and easy to find option when your destination is further than you can drive in a day. About a year ago we were trying to get a space at Joshua Tree National Forest, but got there after all the campsites were taken. We spent the night at a nearby Walmart, then got to the park camping areas early, as others were pulling out. We got a great campsite.

Some things to think about when it comes to an F-150 and a Scamp "5er." The Scamp 5er is really designed to be towed by a compact pickup, like a Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, or Chevy Colorado, that has lower side-rails. The side rails on modern F-150s are very high, and may interfere with the trailer. If an F-150 is your tow vehicle, you might want to consider a traditional bumper-hitch style trailer instead of a 5th wheel.

Hope this all helps. Happy camping!
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:08 AM   #5
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Good comment about the Scamp 5th and tall bed sides. There have been other comments that included having to raise the entire trailer to be able to use the truck they had.

The good news: Although there are few Mid-Size pick-ups to choose from now, in a few years when you are ready to buy, the new Chevrolet Canyon Diesel should be available.

BTW: Based on the "Real World Weights" and even a tiny reserve, you might want to figure on a minimum of 4000 lbs going down the road. A 5000 lb towing capacity would be more realistic.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:36 PM   #6
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Peter H pretty thoroughly covered most of your questions.

You need to consider the need to reorient the Scamp bed from side to side to front to back. I'm 5'11" and wasn't comfortable waking with my feet touching the loft window, so we installed a simple plywood base with a 'full' size mattress on it and are much more comfortable. No one has to climb over the other for nature's call. It also created storage on the sides of the mattress. When doing this, the bunk beds are no longer usable, so the sleeps 6 that Scamp claims becomes 4.

I too like towing the 5er better than a bumper mounted trailer. We pull ours with a Nissan Frontier Crew Cab, 2WD and have no trouble keeping up with traffic, though keeping to 55MPH increases gas mileage to 18MPG.

You might consider the Escape, if cost isn't an issue. It's nicer than the Scamp, but $10-12,000 higher.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
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I'm looking forward to the new Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon diesel. Towing while getting 20MPG (perhaps better) would be really, really nice. We average a little over 15 MPG with our Ranger on longer trips where we hit mountain ranges.

Our Ranger has a 4000lbs towing capacity, a few hundred pounds more than our trailer ever weighs. This isn't a big deal, but we did have to re-build the transmission once because, it turns out, the transmission intercooler wasn't big enough.

I looked at the factory intercooler. It was tiny. We added a second, larger intercooler during the rebuild. Problem solved.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:20 PM   #8
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"You need to consider the need to reorient the Scamp bed from side to side to front to back."

"Need" is relative, here. We did convert our loft, and really, really like the new configuration. At 5'8", we felt just a little too cramped in a 6'1" side-to-side bed. We bought our 5er used (and almost brand-new) from a taller gent who had to sleep sideways in the bed to feel comfortable, forcing his wife into the dinette.

If, on the other hand, you're OK with the 6'1" bed length, that'll allow you to keep the "gaucho" sofa/bunk bed, which will make family camping easier. Each kid can have their own space.

I wrote a long series of posts on our loft conversion.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:25 PM   #9
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hi peter and everyone else who responded. Thanks so much for all of your information. Is there a way to put something else other than just a curtain between you and your kids on the bunks? Just in case my wife is in an amorous mood! Also do you guys know of anyone near Niagara Falls, Ontario who has a Scamp 5th wheel? I'd love to see one.

thanks, jared
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:36 PM   #10
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The best thing to put between you and the kids for privacy would be an outside wall which, I am only guessing, is the reason why my brother and I always had to sleep in a tent when Mom & Dad were "Sleeping" in the trailer. But Ya.... those Masonite trailer walls were very thin anyway.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:12 AM   #11
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Hi j-rod and welcome. You can contact Scamp to see if they have a someone in your area willing to show their Scamp to a future buyer. As far as a wall, mmmmmm, a tent 300' away for the kids ???
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