What trailer to buy? - Page 10 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-04-2017, 10:51 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by roguebooks View Post
If we sold our cabin tomorrow, and our choice of a trailer was available to buy, we would probably purchase either an Oliver Elite, Airstream Sport 16, or an Airstream Base Camp.
I washed our Casita yesterday. I recently read that whenever you want to buy something new you should go clean up something you already own. Well, it did perk up my spirits.

As I was working, I spent some time reflecting on this thread. Later, I went online and reviewed the Airstream Bambis (single axle trailers). I looked at several factors including refrigerator capacity, holding tank capacity, and the widths of the trailers.
  • Starting at about 7' wide in the 1950's, Airstreams have grown heavier and wider over the years. Most are now either 8' or 8-1/2' wide.
  • The 16' Sport is a full 8' wide. It has a 21 gallon combined gray and black water tank, and a 3 cu ft fridge.
  • The Base Camp is 7' wide with a 27 gallon combined holding tank and a 3 cu ft fridge.
  • I added in the Sport 22FB as it appears to be the only other current model less than 8' wide. It is 7'-3-1/4" wide, and has 24 and 14 gallon holding tanks, and a 4.2 cu ft fridge.
Then I thought about why I looked at those particular numbers and why I find them important personally.

When folks post on this forum wondering what trailer to buy, I think that sometimes we don't know what they are seeking in terms of the conditions they will operate under and what sort of experience they are seeking.

We encourage them to go to a rally, look, ask and learn. (This is great advice that would have benefited me if I had just taken the time to actually follow it. )

However, I think perhaps we could add a few questions to the mix here.

Additional to the number of adults, children and pets, tow vehicle capacity, and budget I have listed some of the questions I think may be important.
  • Do you envision going out for days, weeks, or months at a time?
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of a wider and/or heavier trailer or does light and nimble appeal to you?
  • Do you want to do a lot of cooking inside, or will you rely more on outdoor cooking and/or restaurants in your travels?
  • Will you basically restrict yourself to using full-hookup spaces or will you be boon-docking (basically, camping without power and water hookups)?
  • Would you like a full bath, a half bath, or would you really prefer to not have a restroom in your little home?
  • Do you think air conditioning will be important? How about heating?
  • Are you OK with the idea of having propane gas on board?
Really, I think the list goes on. What are some of the other important questions we might ask?
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:36 PM   #128
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailer
Florida
Posts: 133
Number of adults: 2

Children: 0

Pets: 1 Bob dog

Tow vehicle capacity: 6500

Budget: $40,000-$55,000 (due to wife's exclusionary tastes)

Do you envision going out for days, weeks, or months at a time? Some trips as short as two nights, most around two weeks, and some as long as three months.

Are you comfortable with the idea of a wider and/or heavier trailer or does light and nimble appeal to you? Light and nimble always appeals to me..

Do you want to do a lot of cooking inside, or will you rely more on outdoor cooking and/or restaurants in your travels? Mostly grilling outdoors with salad prep and coffee-making inside. Restaurants generally disappoint.

Will you basically restrict yourself to using full-hookup spaces or will you be boon-docking (basically, camping without power and water hookups)? My guess is mostly boon-docking unless staying put for longer than a week.

Would you like a full bath, a half bath, or would you really prefer to not have a restroom in your little home? Full bath

Do you think air conditioning will be important? Yes

How about heating? Yes

Are you OK with the idea of having propane gas on board?
Yes
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:57 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by roguebooks View Post

Budget: $40,000-$55,000 (due to wife's exclusionary tastes)
Get the Oliver. But check your truck's GVWR and total weight of Oliver (with tanks full). You may need to upgrade your TV.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:14 PM   #130
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailer
Florida
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Originally Posted by Mr Lynn View Post
Get the Oliver. But check your truck's GVWR and total weight of Oliver (with tanks full). You may need to upgrade your TV.

/Mr Lynn
The Oliver Elite, not the Elite II. They say the Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 (rated at 6500) will pull the Elite II but I am not comfortable having 5000+ lbs on my back. Plus we want to be minimalists and have maneuverability. Not to mention the Elite II would not fit in my driveway along with the truck. So unless I can run into a deal I cannot refuse, and a less expensive trailer my wife can live with, looks like the standard Ollie will likely be the one. When we sell the cabin the budget will not be an issue. Basically trading the north cabin for a cabin on wheels.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:49 PM   #131
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...4-season insulation with double-pane jalousie windows. ...
I take it that jalousie windows are basically multiple-pane awning-type crank-out? Is that correct? And if so, why is that your preferred window type?
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:20 PM   #132
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Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
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I take it that jalousie windows are basically multiple-pane awning-type crank-out? Is that correct? And if so, why is that your preferred window type?
You can leave jalousie windows open when it's raining. I wish we had them in our Casita. I asked Larry at Little House Customs (who specializes in Casita mods), but he said they would be too expensive for custom installations, unless you made hundreds. Oh well.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:25 PM   #133
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Get the Oliver. But check your truck's GVWR and total weight of Oliver (with tanks full). You may need to upgrade your TV.

/Mr Lynn
My neighbor has a 2008 Oliver Elite. Tows with a 2008 Tacoma, over 100K miles. No issues. Mike
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:34 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by roguebooks View Post
Number of adults: 2

Children: 0

Pets: 1 Bob dog

Tow vehicle capacity: 6500

Budget: $40,000-$55,000 (due to wife's exclusionary tastes)
Michael,

Actually, I was going to post the short form for your use:
  • What trailer does your wife want.
  • OK. buy it.
  • Next customer please!
I hope you know I'm just funnin' you!

Looking at your answers, it did add a bit to the equation. Not that it matters, your profile is much like ours if you don't count Bob; we are between pets. It also sounds like you guys eat much as we do.

We discovered after getting an "unwanted" microwave with our first (teardrop) trailer that it helped to keep the coffee cups warm. But, that requires 120 VAC so we rely on a thermal carafe and mugs when we don't have electrical service.

I suggest you check further into the boon docking aspect. Perhaps curiously, propane can be great for refrigeration, but is somewhat limited for heating. The "typical" RV furnace employs a fan that will draw a 100 AH battery down pretty quickly, like overnight. You can research alternatives.

There are also some issues with running smaller 2 and 3-way refrigerators on LP gas as the installations up to about 4 cu ft often don't release enough heat at the top. So, they often work well on 120 VAC but poorly on LP. There's lots to be read on that subject too.

I think I also mentioned the Hella marine fan in a PM; it draws much less power than Fantastic and Maxx Fans and can help provide some cooling. LED light bulbs are a virtual must to conserve battery power.

The only "practical" source of power for air conditioning is AC power. So, that highlights an inherent conflict in your list. AC basically requires either a utility source, or a generator. Solar power commensurate with air conditioning is capital intensive and basically in the "bleeding edge" category.

Generators are also typically restricted by campgrounds to only being run during specific hours. The generator will require gasoline, something else to haul and maintain a supply of, or perhaps might be run via a propane conversion.

Personally, we don't have a generator or any solar at present. I had to run the tow vehicle to charge trailer batteries on a couple of occasions; this is abysmally inefficient and hasn't happened for a long time.

Anyway, there's a few more thoughts you might want to consider, more on the lines of how to make the whole trailering experience work. Though some people use these criteria to shop, it sounds like your path is more to adapt with what's chosen.

If I were to add to the list I posted earlier, it might include items such as tow vehicle payload and hobbies. The payload limit needs to be understood and managed. Sports or hobby gear and the like might be a significant factor for some folks.

Also, I think that projected restroom usage is important. The holding tank(s) generally won't last very long if the trailer is the exclusive venue for all plumbing usage. Your protocols for dish washing and showering can play a big part in what might work. Personally, I hope to never own a tote tank, but that's an option some folks like to employ.

Finally, I am a huge fan of skinny trailers. While they are commonly available up to 8'6" wide, and many are 8' wide, I prefer to have something more slender. I currently tow without mirror extensions. Again, it's just another factor to be conscious of.

I like the sounds of the plan there. Likewise, I hope to live so long as to make some of those three-month trips. So, it sounds like we are practicing and gearing up for much the same journeys.
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:55 PM   #135
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailer
Florida
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Mr. Mike Civil,
Thank you for all the tips and help you give me. I am frustrated today. Oliver has let me down on many levels. No way am I spending that much cash and have all the problems I read about on the Ollie forum. It might be a blessing in disguise learning all this stuff so fast. Today I watched on youtube a factory tour of Lance and their operation looks fantastic. But we hate, and I mean hate, the aesthetics of the trailer, its outside form, and all that busy graphics and signage. Yuck! But they sure know how to build a trailer and I love all their robotics and good-riddance of human error. (Sounds un-American, I know, but we are entering a new age and there can be so many jobs created by getting out of the now politically-promoted dark ages.) While I watched the Lance video intently and noticed the quite amazing quality of construction, my wife complained the entire time. After having a rather heated argument with my wife over my overly-stated POV that she cares too little about quality and prefers to focus only on how pretty a trailer is, she later caught me watching another video of a vintage FG trailer rally. She then fell in love again with the Boler, Trillium, and Eggcamper. If I can find one of these for less than $8000 she says now to "buy and fix it". She would love to help me renovate a used FG trailer. Of course, I am restricted in my plumbing and electrical skills, but with research and mentoring I probably can figure out how to do pretty much anything. I was a carpenter for over twenty years before I got lazy and got a softer, more lucrative job (but I always, and still do, all my own remodeling on homes, just don't work for others. Last fall I totally gutted my kitchen for a do-over and it almost did me in.).

We do not want a microwave either and will be happy to plug in a one-cup coffee maker. (We are snobs when it comes to coffee and tea.) Will definitely need to do mostly boon-docking due to overpopulated campgrounds and the daily addition of those retiring baby-boomers. Plus we are not enamored with most of humanity. We are pleasant but not seeking friends on a steady basis. We keep to ourselves. Wave and smile. But we don't "hang out" or party with others. Remarkably, since moving to Florida, I actually have acquired my first "real friend" in years, but he is seventy and I am sixty-three and time ticks. He recently had to quit riding his bicycle with me because of kidney problems brought on by prostate issues. I still ride everyday, and sometimes twice.

Don't really want propane as I exclusively grill veggies, fish, and meat with charcoal. We eat mostly whole foods anyway.

Wouldn't mind a trailer being all-electric.

I need to check that Hella marine fan out. Sounds much better.

We have to have AC in Florida. A small generator might be nice. At least we do not like it too cold in our space. Just don't want it feeling like an oven. Not sure what "bleeding edge" category means regarding solar. Please explain. Help!
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:20 PM   #136
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Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
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Not sure what "bleeding edge" category means regarding solar. Please explain. Help!
Michael,

Bleeding edge is a term I once heard for when you pay so much for the latest and greatest leading edge that they bleed you. Basically, having enough solar to power AC would be a very high capital cost.

Ah, here it is, and more than I knew when I said it:

Bleeding edge technology is a category of technologies so new that they could have a high risk of being unreliable and lead adopters to incur greater expense in order to make use of them. The term bleeding edge was formed as an allusion to the similar terms "leading edge" and "cutting edge".

More later on trailer woes and whether all that CNC makes for a good thing. Meanwhile keep an open mind and a cool head. Maybe your compromise trailer will be a restored vintage bus conversion or a boat; check out Technomadia's web site.

Humanity? You'll have to handle that on your own. Or, maybe check out Ernie Zelinkski's How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. He is a self-admitted less-than-great author, but he's got some interesting perspectives. Spoiler; apparently relationships with people are good for us...

And, yeah, I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I've nuked my coffee. Oh well.
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:45 PM   #137
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Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailer
Florida
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Spoiler; apparently relationships with people are good for us...

I think he's right. Too much time within my own head isn't good. And my wife and I already spend a great deal of time together in the same space. But we generally get along.
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:53 PM   #138
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Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
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. . . I am frustrated today. Oliver has let me down on many levels. No way am I spending that much cash and have all the problems I read about on the Ollie forum. It might be a blessing in disguise learning all this stuff so fast. . .
Folks who post on specific product forums very often do so to report problems and ask for advice. They are often a small minority of owners, the majority of whom may well be satisfied. I hedge, because obviously it depends on the product, but I think in general you'll find that while the happy owners may post about upgrades, modifications, tips, and get-togethers, they tend to be less vociferous than people complaining about problems. Remember, too, that all campers use a large number of third-party components (brakes, furnaces, pumps, fans, etc., etc.), and these all have their own problems. It's not like buying a tent.

From all that I've read, the Olivers are very well designed and constructed, and use top-of-the-line components. Best to take what you see on the forum(s) with grains of salt. Talk to some long-time owners, and pay a visit to the factory.

Of course you could start off cheaper and buy a Casita. I recommend them.

Quote:
. . . Today I watched on youtube a factory tour of Lance and their operation looks fantastic. But we hate, and I mean hate, the aesthetics of the trailer, its outside form, and all that busy graphics and signage. Yuck! But they sure know how to build a trailer and I love all their robotics and good-riddance of human error. . .
Nothing like a factory construction video to put a nice gloss on a product. As far as stick-built trailers go, my impression is that Lances are better than most. A fellow in NH who sold his Casita (mentioned in my blog post) and bought a Lance told me he loved the Casita, but had to get something larger to tote his grandkids in. You know by now that the stickies are susceptible to a range of problems that molded-fiberglass trailers won't have, and most of them have downright ugly aesthetics, but there are no perfect solutions—only those with the fewest compromises for your needs.

Here's an idea: You like a minimal lifestyle. Take a look at the Happier Camper:

Happier Camper | Ultra-light Travel and Utility Trailers

These little trailers have modular interiors, simple, pleasing aesthetics (no wood), and you can tow them with practically anything. Do a search on this forum and you'll find posts by the company owners, too.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:11 PM   #139
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Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailer
Florida
Posts: 133
Here's an idea: You like a minimal lifestyle. Take a look at the Happier Camper.

I have looked the Happy Camper over a couple times and came away twice with "not for me". I like Oliver. And I believe they are probably the best built FG trailer out there. But for the money you have to pay it better be near perfect. And from what I have read of late, the quality control issues are suspect. I believe they have gotten too big too fast and unfortunately do not have the skilled workers needed to maintain the quality the owners envisioned. Plus, if the pay is not up to snuff for some of these people then the quality of their work is suspect too. But we'll see. Still planning on visiting the plant in late June. Good news is my wife is a little bit more open to other ideas.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:25 PM   #140
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Trailer: Oliver Elite II
Boerne, Texas
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I am frustrated today. Oliver has let me down on many levels. No way am I spending that much cash and have all the problems I read about on the Ollie forum.
There have been a couple of threads on the Oliver Forum recently where owners talked about issues they have had. I was one of those that posted the issues we've had since we picked up last May. None were major and they did not affect our use - we've done 20K miles in the last 12 months. My purpose was to note that all issues were addressed quickly and resolved and that we were very happy with our Oliver. Other owners that posted had the same bottom line. Factory support is outstanding. Mike
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