What trailer to buy? - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-02-2017, 09:06 PM   #85
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Name: John
Trailer: Oliver Elite 2
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We all have our individual likes and dislikes. Our personal preferences about interior design. Me too.

Real things are better than fake things, even if the fake thing reminds me of the real thing. For instance, pressboard cabinets with a picture of wood glued to the surface. Or a fine looking sound system that doesn't actually work well enough to use. Or "Extreme" printed on the outside of the trailer, that actually gives no insulating or bad weather advantage. Etc, etc. What about the tires and suspension system. A very important aspect. I would never decide on a trailer because it had nice cabinets, and never look at the suspension, or the propane system, or the tank capacities, etc.

Maybe some of us feel warmer in wood interiors while others feel they are dated. It's all a matter of taste.

To me, the emotional sensation when I walk into a trailer isn't as important as the underlying build integrity. I've paid a heavy price for thinking multiple trailers were "warm" or "ready for the winter" or had "real" oak interiors, so they must be good, etc.

I'm trying to say, look beyond your initial gut reaction to pre-conceived "must have" features, and look at why or how the features play into the overall package. I judge too. I looked at an Escape and immediately decided that the standard white utility trailer wheels were ugly and indicative of cost saving methods. The plastic fittings weren't up to the task, etc. But they are great trailers. I looked at Oliver and those items were fine and the whole package seems better, But then I found wiring glitches and poor decisions showed up in other ways with them.

Some have talked about the interior design, and some designs are brilliant. Rear bath with rear side door entry allows a very good interior, for instance. The Oliver has a more conventional design, but it turns out that the batteries are under the dinette seat and that mandates the seating design. Cool. Much better weight distribution and the ability to open the truck tailgate without interference. A trade-off that makes sense if you look slightly deeper. Airstreams have the reputation and are beautiful, but they are weekend apartments much more than boondocking trailers. So look there if you want a luxury apartment. My Thor toy hauler had a large water tank, but it was located right in front and placed a big load on the tongue, or not, as determined by how much water was loaded. A constant variable that didn't play well. A feature you'd never notice by walking in and getting the feel of the place.

Of course, we want to be happy in our trailers. Their features are there to accommodate us. If we find that some designs are different than we expect, but excellent is some way, it might make sense to recognize that the trailer is not a house, this time is not some other time, we may get more use and pleasure from something that was not initially on our "must have" list. A 13' Scamp might be just the ticket if you want to tow it with a compact car. I have spent a lot of nights in a tent, or even out under the stars in a cold winter night. Times like that, a small Cassita would have been an extreme luxury and I would not have judged it by the cabinet door material.

So, it's not just about the first emotional impression. Look further and see why, or see the quality of the implementation. If you can't decide, maybe you're not ready to actually go camping, or maybe the differences make do real difference and you could just pick one at random. In the end, the trailer is a means to an end. We get to go explore wonderful places and have an excellent place to call home while we do.

We went to Phoenix and Scottsdale a couple of years ago to visit a sanctuary we are closely tied to. Hot. Rainy. Dusty. Windy. But we could focus all of our attention on the animals because we had an accommodating trailer with air conditioning where we could withdraw and relax in the evenings. Heading back, we stopped at Grand Canyon for a few days, then Death Valley for a few more (in August) and spent time at a hot springs. I was hoping it would pour torrential rain and take out the road as it was threatening to do. We spent time laughing and watching the wild burros as they meandered through camp. Some coyotes showed us more about their family structure. Bats, at night, dipped to the water's surface to get a drink in the near total darkness. And I visited the spot where I spread my father's ashes, under an oasis palm in the gurgling desert stream. During that trip, I don't think I even once monitored my feelings about the emotions related to the tone of the wood on the cabinets, or the "hospital" like interior of an Oliver.

Some years ago I was in Mexico and camping in my Ford Taurus wagon. Pretty minimal, but a memorable trip still talked about today. On the way down, a hundred miles or so below the border, at the nicest and simplest camping area, a couple came in in a Ford Ranger with a camper shell. They were in their seventies and just out on an adventure. They were having a great time camping and I was immediately drawn to them. A simple trip with the minimum of equipment, and having a great time. They really seemed to know how to live and enjoy life.

The stories related to the desert, and to camping in general, can go on endlessly, and you won't experience them unless you get out there. Searching is a fun project, but it's a means to an end.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:26 PM   #86
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Ahh, now that makes sense. Thanks. I like the Oliver too, but considering everything.
Don't feel bad about not knowing. Heck, all this time I thought Civilguy's avatar was his self-portrait! I always wondered why he chose such a sad-faced picture of himself.



About layouts... my ideal trailer layout would have a rear dinette with a large picture window on the back wall. Why? Because the best view in the CG is often behind the trailer; second best would be a side dinette with window, while front dinettes present a lousy view of the back of the tow vehicle. I'd want a very comfy chair or sofa for sitting. I'd like a true queen size mattress, 80" long. A large, gas/electric (auto-switching) refrigerator with separate freezer door above it. A gas/electric DSI (direct spark ignition) water heater. Solid wood cabinets. 4-season insulation with double-pane jalousie windows. At least a 30 gallon fresh water tank. All this in a low-profile, molded-FG package under 19' long, for less than $20k. I might be looking for a loooooong time for this 'perfect trailer', though. At some point I'll have to decide what I am willing to settle for.

I think I see pretty much where your cabin must be. I've camped a dozen miles north of there on the banks of the AuSable.
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:45 AM   #87
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Name: Michael
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Florida
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Michael,

Not that you asked me, you are beginning to get into into some of what makes these work for different folks. We were looking at trailers again this morning and realized how much our understanding of our wants and needs, and also of the RV's themselves, has evolved over three years since we purchased a teardrop.

Just to use this household as an example, we are currently taken with the Lance 1475 due to a number of factors. First, we only need a couple's trailer.

To date we have employed the simple expedient of choosing our campgrounds based on the restroom ratings (see Woodall's guide). But, I think my wife is yielding to the siren's call to have a bath of her own. We've actually only used the Casita's for storage to date.

The bath is a dry bath so there will be no mopping up required after showering. One can address the restroom mirror without the toilet cutting into your leg. It has a shower curtain which allows a little encroachment into the adjoining space, unlike some of the rigid and semi-rigid doors which many units are fitted with.

The fridge is a 5.3 cu ft 3-way; the Casita's is 4.0 cu ft, so that's a nice prospective improvement. The counter-tops are fairly large, which offsets the very small dining table. One is a bit elevated, which we find easier on our backs; we normally haul a folding table that elevates to counter-top height. (I have also considered building a short-legged table to set on picnic tables to lighten our cargo load a bit.)

The swivel chairs in the Lance are extremely comfortable; the captain's chairs are a really big part of why we purchased the Casita.

The exterior access doors to the under-bed storage area measure about 16.5" x 40" which would readily accommodate our 20"-wheel folding bikes. The east-west bed is only a minor nuisance to us; other people would like twin beds or a north/south bed as this is an important factor to them. However, a north-south bed wouldn't offer us the exterior storage access to fit our bikes out of the rain and away from covetous eyes. So it's a good compromise for us.

Some folks don't care to use propane. We are fine with it, in fact it promotes operation of the refrigerator off the grid which we appreciate as we like to eat a lot fresh produce. Others would want more solar and/or batteries and/or a second cylinder of LP. I think we could make this work, although I am admittedly considering some judicious welding on the A-frame to expand capacity there.

Some of the cons include the manner in which it is manufactured (watch the factory tour video); my ability to "tinker" and modify the trailer would be seriously limited by things such as the way the wiring is encapsulated within the walls. It's also perhaps a bit light on storage cabinets, but we will be assessing that factor again soon. The back is too square; perhaps curiously, the shape of the back seriously affects the aerodynamics. I would add Airtabs to mitigate the stability and mileage issues inherent to the design; I hear they are particularly effective with regard to the stability.

In the end, everyone has different tastes and needs, and everything is a compromise. I saw one molded fiberglass trailer that the couple was selling after one night of use. They had waited months to get it new from the factory and apparently felt after their first night out that they'd be more comfortable hanging out in the back yard on their acreage. That was an extreme case, but in broad terms it is an oft-repeated story.

Since we are building hybrids today, I would say that if the shell on the Lance was of molded fiberglass and I wasn't concerned with its potential to leak, I would probably be doing the "shut up and take my money" routine.

As it is, I am pondering our ability to provide covered storage under the local codes. My theory is that drying the trailer out between between showers would be a significant mitigating factor. The prospects of a leaky RV in the perennially wet Pacific Northwest are not anything to take lightly. So, I'm working my way through it methodically as is my nature.
Baby brother loves the Lance 1475 and thinks it would serve us better, but my wife just does not like it at all. Like you, I would be very concerned with it leaking at some point and the argument has been made that rolling down the road causes extreme hardship on the bodies of trailers not fiberglass. They come unglued. So, other than the T@B 400 (which I am still considering if I ever get to see one in time) we are sticking to fiberglass. The Casita 17' Adventurer strikes me as an interesting outfit, but my bet is that we will be spending a large chunk of our hard-earned money on the Oliver Elite. Every time we see one it reminds us of what it was like in the seventies to see those beautiful Airstreams of yore. For us, at least, the Oliver is the new Airstream. But ouch ouch ouch. It pains me to think of paying that much for a trailer. And last night we even considered again moving up to the Elite II as it really isn't that much bigger or expensive, but we really want to remain being minimalists and will most likely stick with the small one for many reasons, one being maneuverability (and it would actually fit in my short driveway).
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:49 AM   #88
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Thanks Bill. I will consider all your remarks. And get back to you.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:12 AM   #89
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Raspy, Great post. Thanks. I totally agree with you. The search for our first (and I hope only) trailer is actually very fun and rewarding, and we aren't in a hurry yet as we need to liquidate a few things (mostly because we want to, not have to) in order to make life as simple as can be (which it rarely is). There was another couple on the Oliver forum who expressed to me how excited they were while waiting for delivery of their new Elite. Tent campers their whole lives and now moving up (drastically for them) into a luxurious abode. My wife and I feel the same way. A few years ago we bought another new tent and nice blow-up mattress and tried the tenting route again. Found we were just too old to enjoy it. But we learned something about ourselves and it did not cost us much. But this trailer business is different. I am sure a Casita would be fine and feel luxurious compared to what we have lived with in the past. But after seeing the Oliver our thinking has changed. Example: Two years ago we bought a Jeep we didn't want because the more basic model was not available in the color we wanted and the price of this Limited was being offered at almost the basic's price. Now that we have had, in our sixties, leather seats for two years we will never go back to cloth. Last weekend we bought a new Tacoma TDR Sport which has more options than what we wanted. The more basic SRF would have been fine with us. But they gave us the Sport at just above the SRF's price. Yesterday I returned the leather sample swaths and scheduled our new $1500 leather seats to be installed on the 14th. We continue to learn what it is we want, and think we maybe deserve to have a little luxury in our lives after raising kids and working so hard for so long. But we remain simple nature lovers who love to ride their bicycles and hang out with their dog Bob. We read a lot and love to learn new things. And I appreciate you taking the time to add to my education.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:29 AM   #90
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Name: Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Don't feel bad about not knowing. Heck, all this time I thought Civilguy's avatar was his self-portrait! I always wondered why he chose such a sad-faced picture of himself.



About layouts... my ideal trailer layout would have a rear dinette with a large picture window on the back wall. Why? Because the best view in the CG is often behind the trailer; second best would be a side dinette with window, while front dinettes present a lousy view of the back of the tow vehicle. I'd want a very comfy chair or sofa for sitting. I'd like a true queen size mattress, 80" long. A large, gas/electric (auto-switching) refrigerator with separate freezer door above it. A gas/electric DSI (direct spark ignition) water heater. Solid wood cabinets. 4-season insulation with double-pane jalousie windows. At least a 30 gallon fresh water tank. All this in a low-profile, molded-FG package under 19' long, for less than $20k. I might be looking for a loooooong time for this 'perfect trailer', though. At some point I'll have to decide what I am willing to settle for.

I think I see pretty much where your cabin must be. I've camped a dozen miles north of there on the banks of the AuSable.
I didn't know what a Lil Hauley was so I looked it up. You camp in it? We walk Bob the dog at the Ausable high banks often and also religiously take our yearly walk down to the bottom of Iargo Springs. My grandpa owned 160 acres off Monument Road between the Ausable River and East Tawas so almost everyday we hike the trails of Silver Valley nearby. My cabin sits in this inland lake community and my 10-12 mile triangle trips through the forest either take me east to the beaches of Lake Huron, north to Silver Valley and the Ausable, or west to this little town called Hale (home of the Iosco County Fair) and Alward's Market where they make their own bacon and sell the best meat in the county. I will miss that place so much, but really can't wait to see the entire country. Our new trailer (whatever it will be) will become our new cabin (on wheels). I will consider your remarks about the "perfect trailer".
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:01 AM   #91
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Michael, all this back and forth of different TTs is fine but as I said earlier you need to go to a rally or two to get "eyes on" what's out there. The floor plan and bed size are the biggest things to worry about. Wood or FG interior, wall coverings or mirrored doors are minor considerations in the big picture. Your time in bed will be WAY longer than any thing else using it and that's where you need to be comfortable. I've been in all the Ollies, some nice features but not enough for me to write the check. Think you said you had tent a trailer, hard walled TTs are another world. Got to get to a rally and see them .
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:01 AM   #92
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Base Camp Confession

I am confessing to you all that I have today added the Airstream Base Camp (with all its initial problems) to my list of trailer considerations. I am aware it is not a FG, nor is the T@B 400 I am considering, but I just have to look at everything. I am hoping by making this horrible confession to you (and asking for your forgiveness and tolerance of my ignorance) that I may get positive and negative feedback about the Base Camp that will help me make the right decision regarding this extreme lifestyle change my wife and I are in the process of making. You all have been great. And it is my hope that at some point I will also be able to assist others as you have provided me.
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:16 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Michael, all this back and forth of different TTs is fine but as I said earlier you need to go to a rally or two to get "eyes on" what's out there. The floor plan and bed size are the biggest things to worry about. Wood or FG interior, wall coverings or mirrored doors are minor considerations in the big picture. Your time in bed will be WAY longer than any thing else using it and that's where you need to be comfortable. I've been in all the Ollies, some nice features but not enough for me to write the check. Think you said you had tent a trailer, hard walled TTs are another world. Got to get to a rally and see them .
I couldn't agree more, and we are eager now to attend a rally (there aren't any right now nearby). But a rally doesn't help me today when my mind is obsessed with learning everything I can about everything I can. If a forum member is getting a bit frustrated with all my questions and idiotic flitting around I would suggest not following this thread. But I cannot express how much I appreciate the folks on here helping me, and I am trying my best to be as clear as I can about what we are looking for in a trailer. Of course our ideas will change in the process of learning. And once I have a few models narrowed down I will visit them wherever they are and spend some time then. But most of these RV centers do not have what we are looking for. We have spent enough of our valuable time sitting in Jayco's and the like. We do understand space, what makes us comfortable or cringe, beds and dinettes, and interiors. Here I want to hear about the pros and cons from willing others because I will certainly miss out on too much if I only rely on what I see and hear from a salesperson. I promise, we will be hitting a rally asap, but in the meantime I am full bore on my research mission.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:15 AM   #94
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There are a lot of trailers out there that are nice. The Base Camp is one of them. While definitely not for me, if you like everything about it, it's the one for you.

We've talked about a lot of things in this thread, I'll bring something else up.... storage! You need a place for everything you desire to take with you. I've been in some lovely RVs, at first blush a number of the "bling" things was almost overwhelming... then I noticed... NO storage. If you find you're out camping and constantly tripping over totes, it can make the entire experience less than stellar. So consider cabinet storage in the layout formula.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:40 AM   #95
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There are a lot of trailers out there that are nice. The Base Camp is one of them. While definitely not for me, if you like everything about it, it's the one for you.

We've talked about a lot of things in this thread, I'll bring something else up.... storage! You need a place for everything you desire to take with you. I've been in some lovely RVs, at first blush a number of the "bling" things was almost overwhelming... then I noticed... NO storage. If you find you're out camping and constantly tripping over totes, it can make the entire experience less than stellar. So consider cabinet storage in the layout formula.
Donna, I think storage is critical. Granted, I will have the bed of my Tacoma which will help. But there never seems to be enough room for things. I am a minimalist and my wife "wants" to be. But she cannot walk away from another great vintage find. I, on the other hand, am more comfortable being a well-oiled machine, somewhat too much anal at times and therefore grumpy, very detail oriented, and believe when I have fooled myself into thinking I am in control I seem to relax better. Every tip helps. Keep em coming.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:03 AM   #96
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We spent a couple of years deciding which trailer to get. It was between Airstream and a variety of fiberglass trailers. Online research is great, but actually seeing and looking at the trailer is best. We spent time in all the trailers we were considering, makes the choice much easier.

You can tow the small Oliver with a Tacoma. No problem. Many are doing it now with no issues. I towed our big Oliver with a 2012 Tacoma for many miles before going with the bigger Ram 1500. It did fine.

If you can find a fiberglass rally to visit you'll be able to see and tour a wide variety of trailers. Good luck! Mike
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:13 AM   #97
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For me, it was all about layout. I needed a comfortable place to sleep and a comfortable place to sit inside during long damp days/nights. I got it!

May everyone find theirs too
This is why I keep coming back to a Lil Snoozy. I love the idea of their comfortable couch in a molded fiberglass. Also like the fact that they keep the roof fully intact, with no penetrations. Lack of propane for the fridge is my biggest stumbling block.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:19 AM   #98
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...And last night we even considered again moving up to the Elite II as it really isn't that much bigger or expensive, but we really want to remain being minimalists and will most likely stick with the small one for many reasons, one being maneuverability (and it would actually fit in my short driveway).
I would have a really hard time paying that kind of money for the smaller Oliver. It has pretty much the same layout as a Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe and shares its limitations- crawl-over bed, limited storage, and (especially) no counter space in the galley- at more than double the price. If it were my money- and it isn't- I'd at least try out a used Casita for a season, or even one longer trip, to find out if the layout really suits before springing for the smaller Oliver. If it works, you can buy the Oliver with confidence, and if it doesn't, the financial pain of trading up will be much less.
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