Shaking Class A Envy - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:45 AM   #1
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Shaking Class A Envy

Hello All,

After 18+months of red tape I'm finally able to bring my wife to the USA,and naturally I want to share some of our country with her.

Through a lot of web searching, I stumbled upon and am learning about the fiber RV. They are really neat,! but maybe a little expensive?
(Last time I 'camped' was 40 years ago when I spent 1.5 years traveling the US on a motorcycle and tent camping. Alone.)

Looking at Craigs list it looks like I can purchase a decent used Class A for almost the same money as a fiber unit.
I picture myself rolling down the highway, sitting way up high with all the comforts of home right behind my seat. Yeah, the fuel and upkeep is a bit more. But is the trade off worth it? My mind continues to gravitate to the 30' rolling beast.

With my thoughts being a non-stop flop-flop,in a nut shell here is where I find myself:

Class A and all it's glory (and expense.) ?

Used Fiber unit, 10-15k? (Great resale value)?

Used lightweight stick, cheap, 4-5k max. (Knowing that it may be a throw away at the end of the trip.)?

My wife and I are both fairly diligent/thrifty by nature, I need more comforts than She. Asian women are tough! lol

I know this can't be solved by any of you out there in forum land. But if you have wrestled with this dilemma, I would love to hear your thoughts, ultimate decision, and degree of happiness with your choice.

Thanks very much for your thoughts!
Jim
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:03 PM   #2
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While you will have more room & a "taller" view from a class A, the major downside to me is unless you add a tow vehicle, you either stay in camp or break down/reset up every time you want to go anywhere. It may also limit the availability of sites in National Parks - the deeper sites go first. Since the tow vehicle can be separated from the trailer, you often fit in smaller sites.

If you are leaving the US at the end of your trip, the pressure of reselling your unit, no matter what it is can be a problem. Used fiberglass tend to sell more quickly than stick built trailers or class A motorhomes.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply Jon. I have a 4 door Tacoma 4x4, I really like my truck and that was the initial reason I began looking at the pull along camper.
Prior to finding the fiber models I was pretty much dead set on A or B.
So many good reasons to own one of these, it makes one stop and consider.

Now I'm going to go back to looking at your Blog and live vicariously through your journeys.
Jim
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:35 PM   #4
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We went from a Casita to a class A. Then we needed a tow dolly, then 4-down with a tow bar. It was a PITA to maintain and drive, I'm not talking major problems, just regular maintenance like getting a 60 pound cover on it for the winter. Guess what? We are back to a very minimal fiberglass trailer.

Part of the evolution was due to changing wants and needs. We lost 15% selling the Casita after 5 years. Lost about 1/3 selling the class A after the same time. The Casita was picked up in Rice while the A was 8 years old when we bought it.

Both worked well for our road trips across the country.
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Holiday View Post
Hello All,


(Last time I 'camped' was 40 years ago when I spent 1.5 years traveling the US on a motorcycle and tent camping. Alone.)


Thanks very much for your thoughts!
Jim
If I had my way that's what I'd still be doing!!!!
Thrifty and 30ft don't go hand in hand and it will end up sitting cause it costs a fortune just to fill it let a lone tires, search the price of an 1100-20 tire,,,,!
I do think thrifty includes an onboard full bath though so something fglass, 16 ft, clean little pickup to pull it would work great.
The trailer will return your money when your done with it and the pickup will be handy for the house Reno's .
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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Where does one stay while the Class A is in the shop for a week awaiting a "new" refurbished transmission?
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing Dave. The last thing I want is something being a PITA. I like simple (but comfort too). I would have thought the pull along would have been more of the PITA.
Maybe it's the status and perceived comfort that intrigues me about the A? Pulling a tow car does not thrill me at all.

I have a very modest home and if I hit the lottery there isn't a whole lot I would change. Maybe that should tell me something?

Thanks again

Jim
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:37 PM   #8
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Different campers for different purposes. For shorter trips (duration), then a small anything works. Stickies are the cheapest but disposable, molded FG is the expensive route.

I have friends with class A motorhome. They love them and they fit their needs well. They take longer trips tending to go to one or two destinations and sitting there for a while. Want to spend two weeks in one spot? Just buy used. They drop in value quick. One friend bought a Tiffin Alegro, 3 years old. Originally sold for $250,000. They paid $80,000. Talk about losing money. The others bought a 40 ft coach, three tip outs, originally sold for $500,000. They paid $65,000 for one 12 years old..

This is a FG trailer forum so the “solution “ to any RV is of course a FG trailer.

We went camping with one of our motorhome friends a few weeks ago. Their rig became the gathering place of choice. Very roomy, lots of room forsitting. Wthey had 8 inside for dinner! Our Escape 19 is fine for the two of us. But get four or five in there playing cards or whatever, tough! Meanwhile 8 of us would get together in the motor coach.

Molded FG trailers are best suited for doing stuff outside. Cook inside, eat outside, or cook outside too! Sleep inside, play cards outside, etc. and with decent weather this is fine. When the weather gets bad it’s not as nice.

You are NOT going to get the room and functionality of a class A motorhome out of a small FG trailer. But you not going to get a huge motorhome into a lot of campgrounds. And spots become a parking headache. Our friends coach with their pickup truck behind it is 65 feet long!


Your budget, your type of travel, you decide. ALL RVs require maintence. Price out tires on a big motorcoach sometime. Or an oil change on a diesel pusher.
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:50 PM   #9
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All very good points, Thank you.

No more tent camping, It's tough enough sleeping on a straw mat when I visit my wife's parents. Thankfully Massages are very reasonably priced there.


I would be foolish to think the answer could be anything but FG, but please allow me to learn from your journey to FG.

Must have been Freudian that I posted this here. Just for kicks maybe I should post the same on the Class A forum.

Thanks for all the thoughts. They really help.
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:10 PM   #10
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Before we purchased our 21' Escape trailer, I rented a motorhome for a month. Made by Jayco and while I forget the size, it was fairly decent. It was usable without the slide (with the couch and dinette) pulled out. At the time I knew I didn't want a motorhome but I wanted to see if I liked being out on the road.

For me, some of the cons of the m/h were:

1) way wider than my Tundra and trailer and it got rather hairy at times when I had semis on both sides of me and I was taking up all of my lane as well.

2.) noisy - there's always something squeaking and rattling away

3.) restricted on sightseeing since I wasn't towing a vehicle

4.) not with this model, but with many out there you need to look at how usable it is with the slides pulled in. Such as, can you get out and use the kitchen and bathroom when you pull in to a rest stop? You won't be able to put your slides out at most rest stops and if you do, a semi might take 'em off

5.) worries about leaks

After I got home from my trip, my dad suggested that I look at fiberglass as he had toured the Scamp factory at some point. I was clueless about them and really educated myself on them. We're very happy with our trailer choice. We plan to keep it for a long time and when we do sell, we know it will still have a high resale value. I would not have that expectation on a stick built.

Oh, also, the fiberglass trailers are made by small companies that really care about their product. It doesn't seem that way with the stickies. Read some of their forums and you constantly see posts about how something should be covered by warranty and they can't get an answer from the mfgr about it. Or how they're having problems with the dealer helping them fix whatever is wrong. Least that's what I was reading about 3-4 years ago and I doubt it's changed. A friend of mine has a new m/h and she's already had quite a few things fixed by the dealer and is constantly on their case to fix those things and a few others that have since popped up.

And, if you're not using your Class A for quite a while, you have to worry about maintenance issues with the engine and other components not getting much usage.

Yep, a trailer fan here!
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:57 PM   #11
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Thanks Laura, Very Good points.
I think I know my answer.
I'd like to be that big class A guy, but when it comes down to it, I'm not him. Too many moving parts that can and do go wrong, leaks, noise, cost, tow car, etc. I've seen lots of you tubes about the stick trailers, they are basically a majorly depreciating and somewhat disposable product. No thanks.

Thanks to all who took time out of their day to chime in. It helped a lot.

I'm glad that's settled! When I get back from picking her up I know what to look for!

I hope to one day meet some of you nice people.

All the best!
Jim
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:32 PM   #12
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Another thought as well. Both of you may like it so much that you'll want to keep what you get, so don't think of what you're gonna get as a "throw-away" at the end of the trip. So, look for something comfortable for both of you. See if there are folks in your area (great time to ask for Florida due to snowbirds) that are willing to show you their trailers. You'll get a feel for the different fiberglass trailers and how they'll work for both of you.


When we settled on the Escape, we went to the factory (3 hours north of us), but we also toured different sizes in the Seattle area. It was very, very helpful to talk to the actual owners and find out what they liked/disliked about their trailer. As well as seeing the trailers with stuff in there. Like where they stashed their cooking pans!



If you decide to go with a new fiberglass trailer, be sure to supply the name(s) of the folks that showed you their trailers as the mfgrs offer a "kickback" to those owners for showing you their trailers. I don't know about the other mfgrs, but for Escape they'll send the owners $200 Canadian when you use their name at time of purchase (or $100 each if two different owners are referenced).


Good luck in your search. The December issue of Trailer Life had a section on various fiberglass trailers that's now on their website. I think 12 or 13 different brands were mentioned, along with a photo of each.
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:45 PM   #13
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My research, done many years ago, led me to first, a detachable setup (car|truck|minivan with a trailer). Second, easy to tow in terms of stability (fifth wheel). Third, reasonable space for two people (retired). Fourth, a four wheel drive truck (more clearance than a car), so we can explore some back roads and get to less crowded places. Fifth, indestructible and good resale value if cared for. So I ended up with what you see to the left of this text. You already have a Tacoma, so you are half way there! Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:44 PM   #14
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Shaking Class A Envy

ďA bit more maintenanceĒ? Try a lot more! Between the chassis, the coach, and the sometimes complex interactions between them, keeping a motorhome on the road saps all the joy out of travel for me. If youíre a tinkerer with a broad range of skills, then you may enjoy a motorhome.

Give me the smallest, simplest trailer that meets my basic needs on the road, and a tow vehicle thatís actually fun to drive when unhitched. A good molded travel trailer will outlast several tow vehicles. I can get a new drivetrain with up-to-date mechanical and safety features without spending for a new camper.

I also own a newish class B that my mother was no longer able to use. The problems I have had with it have been both time consuming and costly. And yes, I hate the cacophony of creaks and rattles. Find and fix one and another starts. Itís only 4 years old with 12K miles. Once everything is fixed, it goes on the market.

Iím a trailer guy forever.
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:57 PM   #15
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Imagine building a house. Then put it on a frame, add some wheels and run it up and down highways, driveways, and gravel roads for 50,000 miles.

Itís no wonder RVs require maintenance. And the bigger, heavier and more complicated, the more maintenance is needed.

Think of just a slideout. Builtwitbthe cheapest mechanism you can find, then flog it up and down the road. Itís really amazing how long this stuff lasts. Get o e that was fastened together with staples, and itís not going to last that long.
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:29 PM   #16
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note too, towing a 'dingy' there's only a few car models suitable for flat tow anymore. my tacoma said "No flat tow!" even though it was a stick shift. I understand Jeep Wranglers were suitable for flat tow, but I don't even know if thats true of the newer versions.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:43 AM   #17
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We had a GetAway Van for a couple of years; realized soon that it was neither a good vehicle nor a good camper. Eight miles to the gallon at best, once camped, we had to uncamp to go anywhere nearby including simple groceries... or we just didn't go. Had to anticipate everything constantly. Seemed like a good idea, but really wasn't so great. Now we have a 16' 1973 Amerigo FGRV and it's perfect. We have our car, which suits us very well, and Peanut. During the offl-season, Peanut sits in the driveway as Paul's little man-cave where he can read, have coffee and snacks, watch the streets and neighborhood and say "hi" to people passing. The repeated "decamping" alone wasn't worth the so-called convenience of having it all-in-one. And the amount of fixing was pretty much endless. First one thing, then another. Peanut, after our 2015-16 reno has been solid and simple and mostly trouble-free. But we did keep it very KISS. (Keep it Strictly Simple). We're going camping with it, after all; if we want to have all the comforts of home, we'll stay home.


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Old 02-25-2019, 04:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Holiday View Post
Hello All,

After 18+months of red tape I'm finally able to bring my wife to the USA,and naturally I want to share some of our country with her.

Through a lot of web searching, I stumbled upon and am learning about the fiber RV. They are really neat,! but maybe a little expensive?
(Last time I 'camped' was 40 years ago when I spent 1.5 years traveling the US on a motorcycle and tent camping. Alone.)

Looking at Craigs list it looks like I can purchase a decent used Class A for almost the same money as a fiber unit.
I picture myself rolling down the highway, sitting way up high with all the comforts of home right behind my seat. Yeah, the fuel and upkeep is a bit more. But is the trade off worth it? My mind continues to gravitate to the 30' rolling beast.

With my thoughts being a non-stop flop-flop,in a nut shell here is where I find myself:

Class A and all it's glory (and expense.) ?

Used Fiber unit, 10-15k? (Great resale value)?

Used lightweight stick, cheap, 4-5k max. (Knowing that it may be a throw away at the end of the trip.)?

My wife and I are both fairly diligent/thrifty by nature, I need more comforts than She. Asian women are tough! lol

I know this can't be solved by any of you out there in forum land. But if you have wrestled with this dilemma, I would love to hear your thoughts, ultimate decision, and degree of happiness with your choice.

Thanks very much for your thoughts!
Jim
If I had to choose one I'd go for the fiberglass trailer. I've had 3 class A's, 2 Casita's, several class C's. I would never have another class A. They like to wander on the highway. They are extremely expensive to fix. They are harder to drive. The 30 Ft is to big to really enjoy going places. Finding a gas station means making sure you fit and can turn out of it. So you are limited to places that usually charge more for gas. Class C's can be gotten in smaller sizes that have all the amenities in 23-24 ft. They travel nicely on the highways and are easy to handle. We've taken 2 of them that were 21 1/2 ft but really measured 23 ft to Alaska including taking one on a ferry to Vancouver Island. Being smaller and shorter let us take advantage of all campgrounds. Gas mileage is an average of 9-11MPG. We have a queen size bed in the corner and full bath in the other corner in the rear. So no climbing over or up onto the overhead. We just plan on buying all we need for the night before we get to the campground. We can drive it around state or national parks easily and we have all our food, bathroom, etc needs with us. The 17 Ft Casita pulls easy, has most amenities, gives us the opportunity to have a vehicle to drive around when we want to stay in one place for days and do stuff. Sleeping in the Casita is harder since if the inside person needs to go to the bathroom then both people have to get up or climb over the outside person. Tow vehicle gets about 14-16 MPG. If the weather is rainy when we park getting the trailer set up means getting wet. In the motorhome we can just park for a while and level up later if need be. We have the 21 1/2 ft class C and the 17 Ft Casita. I'd probably keep the class C if I had to give one up but I could live with the Casita only. I like the class C since it has a built in generator and we can use it to run the A/C when it's hot outside if we have to. Hope this helps from someone who's owned all types of RV's.
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:22 PM   #19
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Wife & I looked at Class A, B & C & Trailers. Then looking at the reviews & how poorly they are built, we were not willing to gamble our money. We changed our way of thinking. we are retiring & we want to travel & why our we trying to bring a house with us ,when we just need to bring a room with us. So we researched & fiberglass kept coming up. So we ended up buying a used truck & a fiberglass trailer. I like a suggestion someone here made about renting one. Good luck on your choice. Remember most Fiberglass trailers have a long wait time. So check on this.
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:38 PM   #20
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Class B bathroom

When we were at the solar eclipse in Oregon a gal came up asking if she could see our bathroom. I know, kind of an odd request. She said they had just bought their Class B before the eclipse and it was their first outing. Her husband was hot to trot for it and they paid appx $100,000 for it. She said the bathroom was so narrow she couldn't do her business properly in there and absolutely hated the thing. I told her I always "tested" the bathroom in the various trailers we looked at. Gotta have room to do your business you know!
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