A friend of mine runs a Facebook group called Casita Campfire, try to get on there and ask questions to people who are out using these rigs.
Sort of a long post. My apologies, I just wasn't sure where else to put it.
So, I just drove the hour and twenty minutes to Rice TX yesterday to visit the Casita showroom, and I left less than impressed to say the least. The whole experience has me a tad worried, and not just about Casita's but maybe about the smaller FGRVs in general.
The first thing I noticed was the build quality of some of the units I looked at. Several things felt "cheap". In one unit there was a 110v outlet mounted under the overhead storage. Fine. Nothing really wrong with that I guess, except when I opened the cabinet, I could see the bare electrical
box and the too long, sharp, exposed screws that attached it to the under side of the cabinet.
I also felt that when I looked in the inner corners of the cabinetry that the carpet didn't seem installed very well. It bunched up or didn't lay flat. I'm thinking that the interior carpeting maybe isn't for me. The covers on the stoves seemed cheap and flimsy, and in one unit the stove wasn't even fully put together as it was missing the grating on top of the burners.
They also had units on display which seemed like they were just thrown together without any care. There were loose parts in boxes inside of them some had extra table parts (like extra table tops and support poles) that I think came from other units that were just laying about inside the "show" units.
Anyway, aside from all that, the point of the trip was to take my two dogs (Sophie and Maggie - pics at the bottom of the post) to see how the three of us would fit. My girls are each about 50 or 60 lbs. and while it was a tight-ish squeeze I think we would manage, though it might be nice if there was a tad more room.
So, I started thinking that maybe I needed to look at a slightly larger RV like maybe a Bigfoot
21 or an Escape 19, or Escape 21.
My tow vehicle is a 2018 4Runner TRD Pro off-road with the towing package. My GVWR is 6500 lbs and my max towing capacity is 5000 lbs. The longer Bigfoot
trailers seem like they would really push the edges of the limit of my tow vehicle with a dry weight
of just over 4300 lbs while the Escapes are still in the 3400 lb range. So it seems
like the Escape trailers focus on being lightweight so they can be towed by 6 cylinder SUVs.
I left the Casita dealership with more concerns too. They only have room for one AGM battery (which looks not much larger than a car battery to be honest), and their A/C units cannot be run off the battery. Maybe that's typical, I don't know, or maybe it's only that way because they don't provide enough batteries and a big enough inverter?
My plan is to boondock as much as humanly possible in order to save on money and gas. So if things go to plan, I won't be hooked up to shore power very often if at all (unless I'm visiting friends in Oregon or Canada). In the hotter months though, it would be nice to know that I can still run an A/C unit if I need to. Are all FGRVs limited in their battery power like this? Is it something that people mod?
I'm wondering how many folks out there boondock full-time in their FGRVs? And I don't just mean dry-camping but still in a campground. I mean getting out in the sticks away from anything resembling civilization, and staying for weeks at a time. I would love to hear from anyone who is doing this.
I've gotten the advice before from several different sources that I should rent an RV and try it out. That is fantastic advice, but it seems that renting a FGRV is nearly impossible (or I've not found anywhere near me in North Texas where I can do that).
I could rent a stick-built RV and see what it's like, but is that a fair comparison to a FGRV? It wouldn't exactly be apples to apples, maybe more like apples to pears (not the same but close enough). I don't know.
I know that at one point (maybe still) I was considering a T@B400. If I rented one of those, at least it would be similar in size. Can anyone talk about if they rented and tried stuff out before they purchased, and if so what sort of RV did you rent and where did you rent from?
I have other questions, but this post is already probably longer than most people want to read. If you made it this far, thank you very much for sticking with me. As a thank you, here's a picture of my girls! (and my knee)