Fiberglass vs Apache - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-15-2024, 12:27 PM   #1
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Name: Robin
Trailer: currently shopping
NC
Posts: 9
Fiberglass vs Apache

Can anyone offer insights on the pros and cons of a small fiberglass trailer vs a folding apache trailer? I need something under 1500 lbs that I can tow with a Subaru Forester.

Here's what I've got so far. Anything I'm missing?

Fiberglass (Hunter Jr etc.)
Pro
-MUCH easier setup, ready for spontaneous camping
-potentially easier to keep the temperature controlled?
-more attractive

Con
-much more expensive, much bigger risk if I get one I don't have the skills to repair (I have minimal skills)
-much harder to find
-much less space, may outgrow with kids
-harder to keep under 1500 pounds

Apache (probably mesa)
Pro
-much larger, can camp with kids or friends
-much easier to find
-much cheaper, less risk if I get one I don't have the skills to repair (I have minimal skills)
- better fuel efficiency due to shape/lower weight?

Con
- seems less durable?
- harder to set up and keep ready to go
- difficult to level?
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Old 04-15-2024, 12:34 PM   #2
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Name: D
Trailer: Love Bug
Georgia
Posts: 14
I too looked at getting an Apache Mesa but after I weighed my pros and cons, I came to the conclusion it wasn't for me.


I had a small canvas popup camper so I knew the burden it was to go camping with it was.


One big con of the Apache is the lift system. If and when it breaks, its a big task to repair. There are still parts available, but as you mentioned you have minimal skills for repairs, I would count it as a big con.

Another con is the many moving parts (living hinges that will wear out) and plastic panels that can rot out in the sun and become brittle. Last con I can think of is set up and breakdown in the rain, not fun at all.

There's not much to a fiberglass egg camper. You have the shell and the frame. Not much to go wrong on those two parts except for an actual breakage.
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Old 04-15-2024, 01:00 PM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Personally I think it's going to be hard to keep either under 1500# gross towing weight. To stay under 1500#, you should be looking for an UVW under 1200#. Don't believe everything sellers say about weight. "Dry weight" is a mythical number, because it doesn't even include basics like a battery or propane tank.

Hunter Compact Jr. is one of the lighter molded fiberglass models, but beware modifications that increase weight. The other Hunter models (Compact 1 & 2) are heavier. Most small 13' trailers in the Boler/Scamp/Casta family weigh more than 1500# loaded. Predom Cadet is another that's lighter than most, but they're pretty rare.

I haven't researched the Apache folding trailers, but I'm familiar with them. Having owned several folding trailers in the past, I'm extremely skeptical you can keep one under 1500#.

You also mentioned kids. Tow ratings assume a driver (in some cases a passenger as well, consult your owner's manual) and nothing else in or on the vehicle. Additional passengers and/or gear reduce your tow rating.
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Old 04-16-2024, 05:06 AM   #4
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Name: Shawn
Trailer: 2021 Bigfoot 25B25RT. Prior units: 2019 Escape 21, 2001 Casita SD17
Kentucky
Posts: 120
My parents had an Apache that we camped in while I was growing up in the 70's though the 80's, what a great idea that did not work very well. I spent many nights wet from rain in that camper and helped dad lift the roof with poles when the lifting mechanism would act up. Keep in mind this trailer was only a few years old at the time, I can't imagine that the systems have aged well. We did tape the seams where the bunk end came together and Apache came out with ABS covers for the corners to improve the water seal, with little improvement.

I do have a great story about being in South Dakota in the Badlands. I large storm came through very quickly and everyone in the campground ran to the bath house, after the storm many of our neighbors with Canvas popups had been damaged, however the Apache was still standing and intact. One of the few proud moments regarding that camper for my dad.
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Old 04-17-2024, 03:03 PM   #5
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Name: Robin
Trailer: currently shopping
NC
Posts: 9
Thanks for the insights and personal experience everyone. Might just have to wait a few more years until we get a new car:/
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Old 04-20-2024, 11:20 AM   #6
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Name: Christine
Trailer: 2011 Casita Spirit DLX
Texas
Posts: 11
Well when you do decide to get a new vehicle to tow with, several Casita owners tow with the Subaru Ascent.
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Old 04-20-2024, 12:06 PM   #7
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Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Indiana
Posts: 853
Well for me one of the big ones would be the "easy to setup". Really no setup if needed.


I do incident response with mine and it is ready to go and is like my "72 hour (plus) pack". Clohting food medications then sleeping and operating all ready to go.


I use it at my place for an extra office. It is quick emergency friend accommodations.



I have pulled into locations where I needed to be operational and been on the air handling traffic in minutes. Running HF traffic in under a half hour. Then leveled and made nicer as I had time. Now this is probably not your goal, but there is a lot to be said for it being campable as it sits with just the need to make it better as you have time.
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Old 04-20-2024, 03:54 PM   #8
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Name: Patti and Steve
Trailer: 06 Bigfoot 21FB,w/2015 GMC Sierra 2500 diesel.
Oregon
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Wink We once owned a brand new 02 Coleman Niagara tent trailer.

1. Difficult to keep warm.
2. Nowhere near soundproof.
3. Cannot put away wet,mold.
4. Sounds of rains on canvas, can't sleep.
5. Difficult to fold down.
6.V6 gave up and died.
7. Never again.
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Old 04-20-2024, 09:20 PM   #9
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 13' Lil Bigfoot and Escape 15a
California
Posts: 26
Robin, Lets back up and start with what is your tow vehicle? With some vehicles, you can increase the tow rating by adding a transmission oil cooler or by towing a trailer that has brakes.

Weve camped every way possible. Weve tried couple different VW Westies, pop trailers, tents, a teardrop, 13 lit Bigfoot (like a Scamp), and now a 15 Escape fiberglass.

We tow with a second hand 2010 Lexus RX450H, that we got for $15k. Before that we used a 06 Lexus RX400h that we got for $7k. Both have AWD and tow packages that rated the cars for towing $3500#. Very comfortable, quiet, and good fuel economy.

The Escape and Bigfoot sets up and tears down quickly. We can move from one site to another with minimal work. The Escape, being from Canada, is set up for cold weather. It has double pane glass windows. Its warmer and quieter than the Bigfoot, that has two windows that are thin plexiglass.
We got an unusually great deal on the escape, which allowed us to move up.

The teardrop was towed using a 05 Honda CRV, which is only rated for 1500#. It was not a problem pulling the TAG trailer, but I found the teardrop too short for me to sleep in. It was no fun in the rain. It was fun to try it out but nice that we had rented before buying.
How many people in your camping party? Maybe look at a MeerKat or Eriba Puck trailer.
Poptop trailer are heavy for what they are. The build quality is not good. Absolutely a pain to set up, especially at night. Worse in the rain. Horrible to sleep in, when the neighbors are partying. Cold, cold, cold. Tires are small, so turn higher RPMs at highway speeds than normal 14 or 15 tires. So the bearings should be repacked more often.
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Old 04-21-2024, 12:12 PM   #10
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Name: Bobby
Trailer: Escape 15 b 2013
Washington
Posts: 17
I would look for a small egg with no pop ups. Moving parts give up. You want to camp not work on it.
For the few times you have more people I would buy a clam or something similar, than leave it at home if its just you.

All of the solid fiberglass trailers will give you more comfort less worry, maintenance .
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Old 04-21-2024, 03:27 PM   #11
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Trailer: Trillium 4500 1978
Posts: 48
I would skip the pop up canvas tent type campers. Setup or take down in the rain is not fun. The canvas deteriorates every 5/10 years and is expensive to replace. For a low hight light weight camper the Compac junior is good. The Trillium 1300 (or 4500 - slightly heavier) are very nice and in the 1500 - 2000 lb range. If you want low profile towing and a fiberglass shell the "A" Frame types are a good compromise (A-liner brand types).
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Old 04-21-2024, 11:08 PM   #12
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of NC/SW Desert of UT
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Any vintage trailer, Apache or Hunter Jr., is best suited for someone with the time/tools/aptitude/covered space to work on it, because you WILL be working on it.

I put about 300 hours into restoring/reviving my 1977 Trillium 1300. Assume I wasn't as efficient as a professional, so maybe a pro could have done it in 200 hours. Let's see, pros here charge $150, so $150 x 200 = holy smokes.


And the Hunter will weigh more than you think. A modern tear drop could be your best choice.
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