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Old 04-20-2007, 11:23 AM   #21
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I'm towing my Escape with a Honda Pilot - no weight distribution hitch - no problems.

When I picked up the Escape, Reese had me jumping up and down off the tongue and he eye-balled everything really carefully - and we decided that it probably didn't need anything or it would just depend on how I felt it towed.


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Ann,

I have been meaning to ask you---but have always forgotten. What are you towing with and do you have a weight distribution hitch for the Escape? If so, which one?

Thanks,

Art
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Old 04-20-2007, 05:23 PM   #22
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Our local paper has an Airstream: 2005 Bambi Safari 19' $25K Phone 209-785-0353. I have not called and don't know anything!
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:36 PM   #23
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OK, I have been impressed enough to join. Here is my situation,

I am 60 years old and have to retire soon due to deteriorating back problems. I am also recently divorced. I have DECIDED that I am going to buy a TT as a permanent mobile residence. I always try to buy the best used item available, with a priority given to durability, ease of maintenance, simplicity, and quality of construction. I have been strongly considering Air Stream due to their reputation, and the fact that I see so many 20 to 40 year old ones still in good shape ( I want to buy ONE TT that will last the rest of my life). Over on AS I read what Roger said and have to seek more guidance on this subject. So here I am.

I have about $70,000 once all the liquidation is done, but just Social (in)Security to survive on. I also have a 1984 GMC 3/4 ton PU. It has a brand new crate motor: 350 c.i., 4 bolt mains, RV cam, headers, 3" exhaust, real 100 psi truck tires, and the factory towing package. I am having it gone through, front to rear, re painted, new interior, etc. It is 2 WD and has a 2 year old Turbo 350 tranny with lockup.

I want to buy the reasonably best used four season TT I can, that will last 20 or more years with simple maintenance. Roger's point that new blends of 'glass are far superior to the old stuff I am familiar with hit home. I don't think stick built is a good choice...but some of the newer construction materials may offer advantages I don't appreciate yet.

I plan on living primarily west of the Cascades in Oregon, but with many trips hither and yon as I plan on using my experience and education as a volunteer on Archaeological digs that interest me. So the TT needs to be able to handle more that flat smooth pavement, and be able to survive without any support from hookup to utilities for long periods of time. I guess y'all call that 'po'dunking'. (The AS's I've been toying with are 28 - 34' wide body Limited's (better insulation) with 3 axles, rear bedroom, etc).

So what are the recomendations??? I really do not want to change trucks, even tho I'd rather have a diesel....I'm too deep into this truck to ever get my investment out....besides I can fix anything on it...did I mention that I hate computers in vehicles/trailers (too unreliable). Is there a 'glass trailer that can rival AS's in durability and quality that I can afford?
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:55 PM   #24
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In relative size, amenities, four-season insulation...one word...BigFoot.

Welcome to FiberglassRV Jayson...we're glad you're here
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:00 PM   #25
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Jayson,

As I am just three years older than you, I wanted to offer my sympathies about the "Big D." That is rough at any time---but particularly at our age! I would like to wish you the best, pardner!

As for trailers, we have camped next to a new Bambi Airstream and thought it was marvelous. However, I think that if I decide to spring for a new trailer, it will be one of the Escapes. Just read Ann H.'s posts. She has a new one. Brian, another regular contributer to this forum, has posted a lot of excellent pix and descriptions. If you are thinking of a small trailer, you can't go wrong with either. Good luck---.

Art
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:10 PM   #26
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However, I think that if I decide to spring for a new trailer, it will be one of the Escapes.
I agree Art, the Escapee is a primo trailer, but Jayson said
Quote:
(The AS's I've been toying with are 28 - 34' wide body Limited's (better insulation) with 3 axles, rear bedroom, etc).
and the largest Escape (or any of the other brands) is 19 feet...except the BigFoot and it has the largest of the molded class.

3000 Series BigFoot specs: http://www.bigfootrv.com/bigfootrv_travel_...3000_specs.html
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:33 PM   #27
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Welcome, Jayson!

You have plenty of truck to pull pretty much anything you want, so that's not a problem for you. I will tell you that a 34' Airstream will not go into some places, particularly in the back country. Having had one, they're not significantly more difficult to pull than a 31', but it does take some planning to move them around. You don't just pull in anywhere with them.

Airstreams were and continue to be insulated using 2" fiberglass batting. There are no thermal barriers used between the monocoque ribs, and the inside or outside skins. They use single pane windows. As good as they are, they are really not designed as a four-season trailer.

Bigfoot and Arctic Fox are. Arctic Fox is built as a stick-built trailer using aluminum superstructure and bonded fiberglass/insulated panels. The new 24' and 28' Bigfoot trailers are similarly constructed. The 25' Bigfoot (what I have now) weighs 5300 lbs as equipped with a 7500 lb GVWR, and is molded fiberglass with 1.5" of foam insulation between the inner and outer shells. They are extraordinarily rugged. What they don't offer are slides or living room chairs; however I do have the front couch option rather than a dinette in mine.

Good luck in your hunt! Ask questions as you think of them!

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Old 04-21-2007, 06:18 PM   #28
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You have plenty of truck to pull pretty much anything you want, so that's not a problem for you.
Yeah, I was kinda hoping it was....people have been telling me I need a diesel 4WD 1ton but I didn't think I NEEDED one so.....

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As good as they are, they are really not designed as a four-season trailer.
Even the Limited'd???? I'm told they have extra insulation and double pained windows

Quote:
Bigfoot and Arctic Fox are. Arctic Fox is built as a stick-built trailer using aluminum superstructure and bonded fiberglass/insulated panels. The new 24' and 28' Bigfoot trailers are similarly constructed. The 25' Bigfoot (what I have now) weighs 5300 lbs as equipped with a 7500 lb GVWR, and is molded fiberglass with 1.5" of foam insulation between the inner and outer shells. They are extraordinarily rugged. What they don't offer are slides or living room chairs; however I do have the front couch option rather than a dinette in mine.
OK, I did a quick search on both. The biggest BigFoot is about 25'... a little small for permanent living don't you think???? The Arctic Fox comes bigger...are they as good???? What about slide-outs.....been warned that they leak/jam/cause problems. How true is that???? Is the BigFoot actually tougher and better than the Arctic Fox to the point where I would/should REALLY opt for the smaller size to gain the durability and insulation value???

This is good stuff and I'm really needing solid guidance on this. I don't have years of experience in trailers, nor can I spend months in research....I have to rely on informed advice from several people and assign weight to all the factors. I am mostly concerned with durability and livabilty in the 'glass stuff - the AS's have a proven record in that. I don't plan on rolling it over. What are the insurance costs relative to the choices? I think you (or someone) mentioned that insurance was higher for the AS??????

I'd like to get intelligent input from others on this list too.....I've laid out my criteria and plan so I'm tapping the collective wisdom.
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Old 04-21-2007, 07:22 PM   #29
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My 34' Airstream was a '94 Limited. They don't have extra insulation; there's only 2" between the inner skin and outer. I don't know how they'd cram any more in the void space.

The '70s vintage Airstreams had Vista-View windows that were dual-paned in the ceilings, but the standard windows have always, to my knowledge, been single pane. I checked the Airstream site and still don't see dual pane windows even as an option.

You're going to have to decide what is "enough" living space for you. I lived in a 23' Airstream Safari Special for about a year and pined for just a little more space and a bigger bed. My 25' Bigfoot would have been perfect. I like towing the 25' as a perfect size compromise between tow-ability and live-ability.

As far as what is durable, again... the Bigfoot is right up there in the molded fiberglass style. I don't yet know how the 24' and 28' Bigfoot 3000 series trailers will hold up long term since they're new this year, but all of the Bigfoot products are top quality. I can't imagine they'll be any less durable than the molded fiberglass trailers... but they do have seams. I've never actually had the opportunity to look at an Arctic Fox up close and personally.

Insurance on my '06 25' Bigfoot 2500 series AND my '04 17 Bigfoot 1500 series is about half of what my '94 Airstream 34' cost alone, and their value is over twice what my Airstream was.

As far as slide-outs go, I don't care for them. They add cost, complexity, and weight and I don't need the extra room to be comfortable. Some folks can't live without them. It's a personal choice, but recognize that they have mechanisms and weather seals to fail. They are pretty reliable, and there aren't many complaints about them any more though. The average slide-out does add about 1,000 lbs to the weight of a trailer.

I would never tell anyone NOT to buy an Airstream. They are a quality product. IMHO, they just cost twice what they're worth feature for feature. As far as durability, if you dent a panel, they're about $1500 per panel (average) to replace. They can't be "pounded out".

Hope that helps...

Roger
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:25 PM   #30
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Quote:
I plan on living primarily west of the Cascades in Oregon, but with many trips hither and yon as I plan on using my experience and education as a volunteer on Archaeological digs that interest me. So the TT needs to be able to handle more that flat smooth pavement, and be able to survive without any support from hookup to utilities for long periods of time.

So what are the recomendations?
Quote:
The biggest BigFoot is about 25'... a little small for permanent living don't you think?

[b]I'd like to get intelligent input from others on this list too.....I've laid out my criteria and plan so I'm tapping the collective wisdom.

I have a dream of someday living portably, and my partner and I did a lot of soul searching on the subject. The two of us discussed what would be a good fit, and we seem to think the Bigfoot [b]21' with the bed and bath in the back might suit us.

Please forgive my rudeness, but my question is, "What do you need all that space for?" Would all of those Archaeological Digs accomodate a 34' (Airstream) trailer? Would the access roads?

We have found that with our stationary house, space is a vacuum which tends to collect a lot of "stuff". Part of the allure of our trailering adventures is the feeling of running away from home to escape all of our "stuff".

Right now, our 16' unit works well for our temporary forrays. Part of the advantage for us is that the smaller rig allows us to get into AND OUT OF places that our friends with $Bulgemobiles$ can only dream about.
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:36 PM   #31
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So the TT needs to be able to handle more that flat smooth pavement, and be able to survive without any support from hookup to utilities for long periods of time.
I have been highly impressed with Bill Abbay's work to modify his Bigfoot. Check out his power supply modifications in the second link.
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:19 AM   #32
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Something you may wish to think about, is finding a travel trailer resort/park in an area of the country you think you'd like to live in..for the most part. This is providing they allow "Park Models" and purchase one of those, plus a small travel trailer for forays into seeing other parts of the country. Rather than always dragging your entire home with you everywhere. What you'd save in fuel NOT having your entire home with you all the time, would go a long way to pay the space rent.
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:15 PM   #33
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For those of you interested in Airstream, here's an interesting thread that is certainly recommended reading:

Corrosion on late model Airstreams

Roger
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Old 04-23-2007, 06:20 PM   #34
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Thanks, Roger. It makes me feel better about gelcoat, and it makes me feel a lot better about what an amateur can do inexpensively to fix, refinish, or paint our little critters. For the money they spend on these things I for one wouldn't consider buying into the aluminum skins. I'd glass over it.
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:32 PM   #35
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About 1978, we kids discovered we could bounce off of the back corner of the Airstream from the rope swing in the willow behind the house.
We kids also soon discovered that in a few minutes we had caused about $1800 in damage in 1978 dollars!

Fast forward to 2004. My nephew's steel basketball goal blew over one night and took a direct hit on the same rear starboard corner, but it bounced off the Casita, leaving only a scratch.
It didn't even wake me up. The "scratch" was actually paint and came off in seconds using a Mr Clean Magic Eraser pad.

I endured a horrendous hail storm last June in Hickory, NC, without a trace of damage (ice cube-sized hail).

I'll forever love the memories of growing up Airstream, but for my (little) money, fiberglass is the way to go forward. Seeing one of those big spaceships pull up outside elementary school
and getting out of class early to go on a long trip was priceless. Today, having everything I need in this new, small spaceship is equally priceless, something I enjoy every day.
My dad likes my Casita and rates it better than any of the Airstreams he had (a 26' and 3, 31' footers from about 1965 to 1985).

If you are spending twice the bucks for the brand name, I find it interesting that frequently people say to me, "Oh, you're the one with the little Airstream!"

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Old 04-24-2007, 11:50 PM   #36
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My insurance for the trailer is about $90/6 months. Don't know how that compares as I haven't priced it.

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Old 04-25-2007, 12:58 PM   #37
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Not to beat a dead horse, but:

Lemon Law Time

And this post from the "Corrosion" thread.

Makes ya wonder...

Roger
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Old 04-28-2007, 08:21 AM   #38
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Not to beat a dead horse, but:

Lemon Law Time

And this post from the "Corrosion" thread.

Makes ya wonder...

Roger
OK, I guess i'm going 'glass. Also, since I want/need a 4 season TT I'm pretty much looking at Arctic Fox and BigFoot...right so far?????

Since this is a permanent living arrangement I'm thinking 28 to 34 so as to have enough room for "STUFF". I can not part with my books, and photography gear, complete with 17" printer. (once I get the trailer chosen I'll be lloking at power stuff such as generators, solar, etc.

I'm leaning against any slideouts to keep the weight and complexity down. If I remember correctly, the big BigFoots have a seam and the SF is stick built......what is the largest BF that is one piece?

New or used?????? I have nothing against used...in fact I usually buy lightly used to save that "NEW TARRIF". I smoke and plan on a cat.

I've been reading about hitches and it seems that there are a lot of options...each with it's advocacy group. In keeping with my motto "Do it right the first time" what's the rest of the story. What set up for the truck? What set up for the trailer hitch?

Having owned 7 houses over my life I KNOW what to look for and do there......this is all new territory for me. I have always tent camped...looking distainfully at those crammed in trailers who "go camping and bring their A/C, tv and kitchen sink...and all those damn noisey kids and pets". Now I'm older and wiser (hopefully) and I think times have changed. Due to the "New Economic Realities" a lot of us Boomers are choosing a mobile lifestyle. For myself, my Dad was Romny and I have always been a Gypsy.....I can never picture myself staying in one place too long and chose a career(s) that neccitated moving around a lot. Now I'm taking my house with me as I move around.

One more line of questions I have that you good 'glassers may direct me to is avoiding those cooky cutter trailer parks/campgrounds. I dream of waking up to NO NEAR NEIGHBORS. I've heard it described as po'dunking or boondocking. What's the story? Can I get away from everyone??? How hard is it to find a little patch of ground out in the middle of nowhere and just toss out the anchor for a while? I've done a bit of "live aboard" sailing (so I know about life in small spaces) and know that small bays are getting rare and marina costs are always high. I want to do Burning Man and Quartzite to name a few 'gatherings' but mostly when not on a dig I like to be alone and just nose around the hills and back country. Am I dreaming too much or what? I already know that most of my traveling will be west of the Big Muddy...I don't much like the east as it seems to be populated with too many people per square foot....and they are rude!

I really appreciate y'all putting up with me and all my silly questions. I'm sure many of you feel the same as I do, and opted for this lifestyle long ago. I'm a FNG to all this and in need of experienced and unbiased info so I can avoid misstakes and maximize the little I have to make this move to mobile life. I'm on my last "do-over" so this has to be done right the first time. Once I'm out on the road I look forward to meeting some of you permanent travelers, sitting around a campfire and telling stories (BTW Archaeologists have the best campfire converstions...particularly after some adult beverages).

Thanks,
Jayson
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Old 04-28-2007, 06:34 PM   #39
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Jayson, now it's time you go out and do some first-hand investigating. Find the nearest dealer for each and tour them. You'll figure out pretty quickly which size/option set fits your "wants".

None are one-piece. A Bigfoot molded trailer has a top and bottom mold as do all of the fiberglass trailers except those with a left and right half with a top seam ala Burro/UHaul/Eggcamper. The 24' and 28' Bigfoot trailers with the slides are conventional construction with seams as are the Arctic Fox line. They're just well insulated, and have four-season features.

What you need for a hitch depends on the trailer you get, and a dealer can help with that selection.

Happy hunting!

Roger
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:22 AM   #40
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I dream of waking up to NO NEAR NEIGHBORS. I've heard it described as po'dunking or boondocking. What's the story? Can I get away from everyone??? How hard is it to find a little patch of ground out in the middle of nowhere and just toss out the anchor for a while?
I have found that "Phred's Poop Sheets" are very insightfull reading on the subject.
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