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Old 03-20-2021, 10:23 PM   #1
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
Washington
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New here - researching fiberglass trailer that sleeps 4

Hi,

I am looking for advice on a trailer that sleeps 4, but is not too large, and also has a bathroom/shower. We have 2 young kids and have never owned an RV/trailer, aside from a Westfalia camper about 20 years ago!
We want to have it to travel and camp sometimes.
I have been looking online for the past 6 months at Scamp, Casita, Burro, Escape, Bigfoot trailers. Browsing. Dreaming.

Budget is a concern, but we are looking for one that sleeps 4, has a bathroom and shower/bath. Would be able to be off grid for a few days/week. Would want one that won't get too hot or cold while sleeping in it.
We currently own a Subaru Outback (2800 towing capacity) but are looking into getting a different vehicle that has a 5000 towing capacity.

It looks like the Escape is a great option, and Casita Heritage Deluxe. I also have seen a Scamp I think that has a bunk too. Any other recommendations? Cheaper/lighter is ideal.

Any general advice or opinions welcome on a good family camper, but one that is not too big.
Ease of use is important, as is safety and security.

Thanks and I will continue to read through some of the posts here.
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Old 03-21-2021, 12:45 AM   #2
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Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
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uh, you don't give us much to go on, other than all over the place.

its me and my wife.

So, we started with a little 16' casita that our Tacoma could easily tow, and had a whole lottta fun, but the bed was too small, and so were the water and grey tank.



decided it just wasn't big enough for both of us so we got an Escape21, and then realized the Tacoma didn't cut it, so I found a F250 diesel 4x4 longbed.

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Old 03-21-2021, 12:48 AM   #3
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Old 03-21-2021, 01:18 AM   #4
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Name: Jesse
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Hi John, thanks for sharing the pics. I am all over the place, that is probably why! I don't fully know what we are looking for or how to get it.
So far the Casita Heritage Deluxe and the 17 or 19 foot Escape are my favorites (only online) that I have seen that aren't too heavy.

It is helpful to know the Casita was too small after a while. That is my guess for us, but too large and I get intimidated. We looked at a RV dealer and some newer things - Geo Pro, and a 18' Starcraft. But what I have been reading is that kind of RV just isn't going to hold up value or structurally for very long. I love the look of the soft corners of the Fiberglass trailers. They seem less intimidating to tow.
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Old 03-21-2021, 01:30 AM   #5
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Not sure what a Casita Heritage Deluxe is, but we have a 2008ish Casita 16 Spirit Deluxe. Casita made Spirit, Patriot, and a few more models, and the Deluxe had a shower and toilet and black tank.

We upgraded to a much nicer Escape 21 foot.
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Old 03-21-2021, 05:33 AM   #6
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Heritage is Casita’s new name for what used to be the Spirit with side bunk* option. The Casita 16’ is no longer made, but used ones are out there. The 16’ Heritage layout with front bath and side bunks is fairly rare.
(*Upper bunk is rated for 80#.)

Most common trailer I know with beds for four and a wet bath is the Scamp 16 layout 4. Advantages of the Scamp include a higher weight rating on the upper bunk* and more galley space. It’s also a bit lighter than a comparable Casita model. Downside is the side bath is really tiny and height-limited.
(*Scamp says 150# on the upper bunk, but I think over 120# is stretching it.)

The main “double” bed in both Casita and Scamp 16’ers is only 45”x76”, which is pretty snug for two adults.

Next step up is 17’. Casita makes a 17’ version of the Heritage layout, and Escape makes a 17’ model with a bunk option. An older Bigfoot 17’ 1500 series can also sleep four on two narrowish double beds (newer 2500 series 17.5’ models will be too heavy). Bigfoot is wider, so it will feel roomier but tow harder.

You may run into a few other vintage models that could work in the 16-17’ range. With any used trailer, sometimes you find people have removed the top bunk, so you should ask.

None are towable by an Outback, but all are within the capabilities of a 5000#-rated, mid-sized crossover. With four people plus the tongue weight of the trailer, you will have to be careful not to exceed the vehicle’s payload (or cargo carrying capacity, listed on the driver’s door jamb). I would strongly recommend AWD to prevent front wheel spin on loose or slippery surfaces when towing. In most cases AWD is required to get the maximum tow rating.
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Old 03-21-2021, 06:50 AM   #7
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Escape 19 would be my choice. Escape 17 would be my second choice. Neither will be low cost.

We hated the layout of the front bath on our Casita. Eliminates all the front windows, narrow aisleway and no place to sit if you like to keep one bed made (we had a Liberty, Spirit with the side dinette would have been better.

To fit a bath in the Escape 17, the beds get smaller. Space is at a premium in these molded fiberglass trailers. So everything is a compromise. And size is measured end to end. So our Escape 19 (19 foot) only has a 16 foot trailer body. And a Casita 17 only has a 14 foot body. Traditional trailers sizing is based on the size of the body. And they are wider too. So my friends 19 foot stick built trailer is 23 feet long overall, and about 8 feet wide. Like any stick built, it lost about half its value in one year and now at the two year point already has leaks..... But it’s very roomy!

One misperception on fiberglass trailers is they are super light. They are not. Realize the stuff on the inside, axles, frames, wheels are all just as heavy. Back in the old days we had a 22 foot Alpenlite fifth wheel. Aluminum frame. Weighed about the same as an Escape 21.
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Old 03-21-2021, 07:28 AM   #8
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Counterpoint... Our family of four happily enjoys our 13' Scamp. It works because for us it's about camping. We cook and eat outside most of the time, spend days hiking, biking, and exploring, evenings around a campfire or watching the stars and drinking hot chocolate. The trailer is mostly a comfortable place to sleep and an occasional retreat during a rain shower.

We've always stayed at campgrounds with facilities, but for boondocking, a bathroom is a necessity. A 16' gives you that plus a little more storage, but no more than you need.

I do like the large front window in our Scamp, which the Scamp 16-4 and Escape 17 also have, but not the Casita. Even when we're inside, we like to feel like we're outside.

A whole day of bad weather stuck inside an RV? Not happening with kids, and I don't care if it's 13' or 30'. We'll throw on ponchos and take a hike in the rain or jump in the car and make a day trip to a nearby town for inside stuff. I remember one rainy day at Pismo Beach we ended up driving to nearby San Luis Obispo and touring the campus of Cal Poly followed by a stop at a local pizza parlor.

Some have said with a small RV you don't live in it; you live out of it.

Like a Westfalia, except you don't have to pack up the trailer to make a day trip.
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:10 AM   #9
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
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My wife , our dog and I have owned and camped in a 16 ft , 17ft and a 21 fiberglass trailer . Based on my experience and what my wife believes are absolute camping necessities, the only trailer that we have owned that could possibly accommodate 2 adults - 2 kids and a dog is the 21’ and that’s being highly optimistic. There is no perfect layout when your trying to cram 4 people in a small space .

Back in the early 80’s I built an 8’ x 12’ cabin to house my wife and I ,plus our 5 kids and our dog while we build our main cabin
It worked for weekends and an occasional 3 day holiday weekend but after a short period of time , human nature caught up with us . People need their space and their privacy and what was fun for a while soon becomes a source of irritation .

Good luck with your adventure and plan on having to make some necessary but unpleasant compromises
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:43 AM   #10
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
Washington
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Heritage is Casita’s new name for what used to be the Spirit with side bunk* option. The Casita 16’ is no longer made, but used ones are out there. The 16’ Heritage layout with front bath and side bunks is fairly rare.
(*Upper bunk is rated for 80#.)

Most common trailer I know with beds for four and a wet bath is the Scamp 16 layout 4. Advantages of the Scamp include a higher weight rating on the upper bunk* and more galley space. It’s also a bit lighter than a comparable Casita model. Downside is the side bath is really tiny and height-limited.
(*Scamp says 150# on the upper bunk, but I think over 120# is stretching it.)

The main “double” bed in both Casita and Scamp 16’ers is only 45”x76”, which is pretty snug for two adults.

Next step up is 17’. Casita makes a 17’ version of the Heritage layout, and Escape makes a 17’ model with a bunk option. An older Bigfoot 17’ 1500 series can also sleep four on two narrowish double beds (newer 2500 series 17.5’ models will be too heavy). Bigfoot is wider, so it will feel roomier but tow harder.

You may run into a few other vintage models that could work in the 16-17’ range. With any used trailer, sometimes you find people have removed the top bunk, so you should ask.

None are towable by an Outback, but all are within the capabilities of a 5000#-rated, mid-sized crossover. With four people plus the tongue weight of the trailer, you will have to be careful not to exceed the vehicle’s payload (or cargo carrying capacity, listed on the driver’s door jamb). I would strongly recommend AWD to prevent front wheel spin on loose or slippery surfaces when towing. In most cases AWD is required to get the maximum tow rating.
Hi Jon,
Thank you! This is super helpful information. I didn't think about the width of the adult bed. That would be tricky to be actually comfortable. Really good to know about the 80lb limit on the Casita. I think Escape 17' might be the way to go...if I can find one. I liked the layout of the Geo Pro, but the article I read made me want to stay way clear of a cheaper made RV. I'd rather get something tight, but easier to tow, super cute, and that holds its resale value. Thanks again.
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:48 AM   #11
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
Washington
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
My wife , our dog and I have owned and camped in a 16 ft , 17ft and a 21 fiberglass trailer . Based on my experience and what my wife believes are absolute camping necessities, the only trailer that we have owned that could possibly accommodate 2 adults - 2 kids and a dog is the 21’ and that’s being highly optimistic. There is no perfect layout when your trying to cram 4 people in a small space .

Back in the early 80’s I built an 8’ x 12’ cabin to house my wife and I ,plus our 5 kids and our dog while we build our main cabin
It worked for weekends and an occasional 3 day holiday weekend but after a short period of time , human nature caught up with us . People need their space and their privacy and what was fun for a while soon becomes a source of irritation .

Good luck with your adventure and plan on having to make some necessary but unpleasant compromises
Thank you Steve! This is very true. It always does feel like we would be cramming us into the space. The one we saw at the dealer felt perfect size inside but large outside at 21 feet with hitch. It was a 18' Starcraft. But it looked really large and I don't want to buy something that is going to be junky in a few years. The fiberglass style and quality really do appeal.
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:56 AM   #12
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
Washington
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Escape 19 would be my choice. Escape 17 would be my second choice. Neither will be low cost.

We hated the layout of the front bath on our Casita. Eliminates all the front windows, narrow aisleway and no place to sit if you like to keep one bed made (we had a Liberty, Spirit with the side dinette would have been better.

To fit a bath in the Escape 17, the beds get smaller. Space is at a premium in these molded fiberglass trailers. So everything is a compromise. And size is measured end to end. So our Escape 19 (19 foot) only has a 16 foot trailer body. And a Casita 17 only has a 14 foot body. Traditional trailers sizing is based on the size of the body. And they are wider too. So my friends 19 foot stick built trailer is 23 feet long overall, and about 8 feet wide. Like any stick built, it lost about half its value in one year and now at the two year point already has leaks..... But it’s very roomy!

One misperception on fiberglass trailers is they are super light. They are not. Realize the stuff on the inside, axles, frames, wheels are all just as heavy. Back in the old days we had a 22 foot Alpenlite fifth wheel. Aluminum frame. Weighed about the same as an Escape 21.
After reading things here, I agree! The escape 19 and then 17, but they are pricey and I haven't seen them. That is totally my concern about the 'stick built' - now I know the term to use . I love the idea of trying something out and maybe even renovating a little and selling it for not too much less after we use it. The RV dealer told me on a 5000 car, he would recommend being under 3500 if possible, I think. Then adding the weight of the axle, the people, and the supplies.
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:05 AM   #13
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Counterpoint... Our family of four happily enjoys our 13' Scamp. It works because for us it's about camping. We cook and eat outside most of the time, spend days hiking, biking, and exploring, evenings around a campfire or watching the stars and drinking hot chocolate. The trailer is mostly a comfortable place to sleep and an occasional retreat during a rain shower.

We've always stayed at campgrounds with facilities, but for boondocking, a bathroom is a necessity. A 16' gives you that plus a little more storage, but no more than you need.

I do like the large front window in our Scamp, which the Scamp 16-4 and Escape 17 also have, but not the Casita. Even when we're inside, we like to feel like we're outside.

A whole day of bad weather stuck inside an RV? Not happening with kids, and I don't care if it's 13' or 30'. We'll throw on ponchos and take a hike in the rain or jump in the car and make a day trip to a nearby town for inside stuff. I remember one rainy day at Pismo Beach we ended up driving to nearby San Luis Obispo and touring the campus of Cal Poly followed by a stop at a local pizza parlor.

Some have said with a small RV you don't live in it; you live out of it.

Like a Westfalia, except you don't have to pack up the trailer to make a day trip.
Hi Jon, I love reading all this! Thank you for this too, makes me feel hopeful. It is really helpful to think about the difference of the scamp vs casita and the windows. And how a smaller one could work, even if not ideal.

The Westfalia was a great camper - I drove from NY - WA and then down the coast to AZ over the course of 3 months, going to many national parks. I stayed on Pismo Beach! But it has been a long time. I really want a bathroom, especially even for nighttime with the kids and if we aren't at a place with facilities. I wish I still had it. But popping up the top every time we left did take some effort. I do think if it is small it will get smaller as the kids get older, but then if we are into it, we can upgrade at that point. Thanks for all that you wrote!
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:06 AM   #14
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
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Originally Posted by harvest View Post
Thank you Steve! This is very true. It always does feel like we would be cramming us into the space. The one we saw at the dealer felt perfect size inside but large outside at 21 feet with hitch. It was a 18' Starcraft. But it looked really large and I don't want to buy something that is going to be junky in a few years. The fiberglass style and quality really do appeal.
Fiberglass trailers are measured from the front of the coupler to the back of the rear bumper —-IE : The interior length of a 16ft FG trailer is approx 13 ft
A standard stick built trailer is measured by the actual trailer body length
IE : My 21 FG trailer is actually smaller / shorter than a standard 18 ft trailer
Also fiberglass trailers are narrower and have less height than stick built trailers
IMHO : stick builts make better use of available space with better / more innovative layouts
No one type / style / brand of trailers is superior, it all depends on your desire / needs /budget.
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:11 AM   #15
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
Washington
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Fiberglass trailers are measured from the front of the coupler to the back of the rear bumper —-IE : The interior length of a 16ft FG trailer is approx 13 ft
A standard stick built trailer is measured by the actual trailer body length
IE : My 21 FG trailer is actually smaller / shorter than a standard 18 ft trailer
Also fiberglass trailers are narrower and have less height than stick built trailers
IMHO : stick builts make better use of available space with better / more innovative layouts
No one type / style / brand of trailers is superior, it all depends on your desire / needs /budget.
This is good to know!Yeah, the stick built one had a double bed, bunks, and a diner area! Plus a bath, was tons of space and the new one was fancy looking inside. But, it was I think around 3700 dry weight and the person said that he would recommend lighter for a 5000 lb towing car. The larger ones are nicer for a family of 4 inside, but I am not sure I could do it as a first timer towing, especially if I was on my own with the kids sometimes. I am sure I would get used to it, but I think starting smaller seems more doable.
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:22 AM   #16
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Name: Brittany
Trailer: Casita
Illinois
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I have a family of four, soon to be 5, and we have a 2020 Casita Spirit Standard. We opted for the outdoor shower and purchased a portable toilet and enclosure. We love it. My kids love it.

We were tempted by the Escape 5.0 and 21NE, due to additional space and the bathroom but after much thought, we've decided to keep our Casita.
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:43 AM   #17
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: In the market
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This looks like something that could work, but is 13k for an '88 and looks very rusty inside. It is close enough that we could go see inside though, to get an idea of inside. I have never seen any that I am looking for in person!

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/t...286413799.html

https://youtu.be/RCYroSZDCFI
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:48 AM   #18
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this one looks like it could work, but looks funky for the price.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/t...286413799.html
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:58 AM   #19
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Originally Posted by harvest View Post
I didn't think about the width of the adult bed. That would be tricky to be actually comfortable.
We rearranged a few times before we arrived at a workable plan. We even tried a mattress on the floor (terrible, because you can't move around to use the bathroom at night). Here's what worked for us. My wife shares the double bed with our younger daughter, sleeping head-to-toe. That makes an amazing difference in a tight space, but you do need to have you feet confined in separate tapered sleeping bags. I take the bottom front bunk and our older daughter, who is tall but slender, takes the top bunk. That worked well into teen years.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:20 AM   #20
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,500
Be careful not to let your tow vehicle make the final decision on what trailer you ultimately end up with . Buying a trailer that is not what you want , need or is insufficient for your purpose just because it can be towed by your present vehicle never works out well in my experience.
It seems many people choose a trailer that is too small for their needs mainly because that’s all their present tow vehicle can handle . Then in a short while 2 footitis sets in and the journey starts all over .

We went from a 16 ft to a 17 ft to a 21 ft and now are in the process of starting over for the 4th time
Choose wisely - we didn’t and paid the price
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