Visited Casita Showroom, Now I'm worried. My experience, questions and concerns. - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-11-2020, 03:24 PM   #41
tua
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Name: Manley
Trailer: Happier Camper
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Originally Posted by CarlD View Post
You might want to consider a compressor fridge. Mine draws a bit less then 4 amps and only runs about 40% of the time. My Lithium Iron Phosphate LFP battery will run it for 2 days with out recharging......
Yes, CarlD is correct. My Dometic 12 volt refrigerator uses 3 amps, and my one battery is 110 ah. That's 36 2/3 hours of battery to run the refrigerator.

Take into consideration that there are different sizes and types of refrigerators that use different amps. The more amps, the more power you need to run it.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:46 PM   #42
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Name: Tofer
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toferj,
I saw an add somewhere that you could rent a Casita from a place in Austin. I was searching the web for Casita and it showed up.
Jim
Thanks Jim! I think I saw that, and I don't think they allowed pets, but I'll check again.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:48 PM   #43
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Name: Tofer
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You might want to consider a compressor fridge. Mine draws a bit less then 4 amps and only runs about 40% of the time. My Lithium Iron Phosphate LFP battery will run it for 2 days with out recharging. My 200 watt solar system easily keeps the battery charged on most days. Successive days of rain can be a problem for which I have a solution. I have an easy way to put an AC unit in an emergency window and run a generator for power.

You can run AC of solar. This video will give you an idea of how much is involved.

Thanks Carl!

I follow that guy on YouTube, but haven't seen this particular video. Thanks for the link!!
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:46 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by toferj View Post
Thanks Carl!

I follow that guy on YouTube, but haven't seen this particular video. Thanks for the link!!
I can guarantee this will not be necessary with the new AC units Happier Camper are testing. These will be a game changer For the small trailer market.
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:20 PM   #45
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Check the size and build quality of your proposed trailer and tow vehicle for the road conditions and campsite accessibility when boondocking/dispersed camping. Some of the access roads Iíve been on will shake your teeth loose. Some you need good ground clearance, at least as much as your toe vehicle has. Some campsites are tight. And you need room to back up or turn to get out. Not much point discussing A/C, generators or permanent bed if you canít get to the places you want to go! The backpackerís flexibility is superior to any tow/trailer rig.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:45 PM   #46
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Haha! Good advice! One thing I like about backpacking is that I get to see things that can only be seen if you hike to get there.
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Originally Posted by janel View Post
Check the size and build quality of your proposed trailer and tow vehicle for the road conditions and campsite accessibility when boondocking/dispersed camping. Some of the access roads Iíve been on will shake your teeth loose. Some you need good ground clearance, at least as much as your toe vehicle has. Some campsites are tight. And you need room to back up or turn to get out. Not much point discussing A/C, generators or permanent bed if you canít get to the places you want to go! The backpackerís flexibility is superior to any tow/trailer rig.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:12 AM   #47
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Casita
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Our Casita experience

Wow, that’s a lot of ground to cover! Here’s my $0.02, from my recent experience, but it’s only my reaction and someone else will have another opinion.

We just picked up our new Casita on 7/22/2020 in Rice. We may have been more prepared as we researched for months before ordering ours and looked at one near home rather than looking at units still being built or prepped. A couple reactions:

—looking at units that are in production or being prepped for delivery and expecting them to be 100% complete and all organized for inspection might not be reasonable. Casita does not have extra units sitting on the lot ready for sale, they are built to order and there is currently a 7-8 month lead time to delivery. There are TWO in the showroom. Anything on the lot is not a display model.
—Casita covers the raw inside surface of the fiberglass shell and the wiring runs with carpet. If you want it to lie perfectly flat inside all the cabinets, then you’d have to run all the wiring on top of the carpet. It covers all that stuff so of course there are lumps and bumps some places. You won’t be walking on it.
—if you want custom cabinetry to cover the back side of utilities, you’d have to double the price. Try a $50k Airstream. You’ll also lose space.
—depending on the floor plan, there may be three table legs and several (we have four in our Liberty) table tops and filler panels present. If they’re not all set up as a bed or dinette, they’re in the trailer somewhere . I wouldn’t expect them to remove any part of the trailer not currently set up and store them elsewhere for retrieval on demand.
—what “loose boxes of parts” did you see? Ours came with jack, stabilizer and awning cranks, an awning rafter, sockets for several accessories, a blowout plug, a battery level meter, a lug wrench, etc. etc. that were all in a storage area or the closet. Where else would they be?
—there’s no way to run A/C , a huge current draw, off batteries without a very significant bank of $1k lithium cells, which would require more than a solar array to recharge. So you’re on a generator if you want A/C or high watt heating appliances. Some owners have installed multiple batteries on the tongue or in a custom built rack on the bumper, and installed inverters if they have to have 110v, but that’s not boondocking. You can boondock for days off the single battery, especially if you upgrade to an AGM. Boondocking and wanting A/C or electric appliances means you’re using a generator.
—It looks like a “car battery” because that’s what it is, though actually a marine deep discharge version. That’s what RV’s use.

We were very happy with our Casita experience and, as an insurance claims person of 30 years, I’ve seen the ugly undersides of a lot of very fancy-looking and expensive stick built trailers and motor homes. In my mind, an FGRV was the way to go. As to how big a unit you want, that’s a personal decision. I was happy to be out of a tent! Good luck with your search.
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Old 08-14-2020, 11:01 AM   #48
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Trailer: casita
Washington
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We have a 2011 that we bought in early 2013. The trailer had been used only one time before we got it.....it was like new. I have owned stick built trailer in the past. I have found the Casita to be much better quality then these other trailers. We downsized on purpose....had a 24 ft trailer....before buying the Casita. e love the Casita. Easy to pull...easy to set up....we have gone many thousands of miles in it. We travel with two dogs as well....a 70 and a 60 pounder......we are all comfortable. Everyone is different....some folks need more room...we don't. Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:50 AM   #49
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Name: Wendy
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Itís a Choice

Hi. We had the same observations and bought the 17í Casita anyway. Why? Price point and purpose. Yes, there are obvious shortcuts and flimsy materials onboard. But more luxuries = higher price. We make mods every year and enjoy the Casita a lot. 2 adults and 2 - 100 pound labs. Our supplies are in our truck. Itís perfect. Hope this helps.

PS. The shell will last forever. Not true of the competition.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:53 AM   #50
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My only thought is that if you rent a stick built trailer in a similar size that you are considering buying, it will give you an idea of what it will be like to camp with your dogs in a similar sized trailer of any construction.

Harold
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:57 AM   #51
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Name: George
Trailer: Casita
Texas
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"comfortable" towing

I've learned over the years that "comfortable" towing for me mean the TV needs to have twice the weight rating as the gross of the trailer. I prefer to have adequate the tow power and stability that offers.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:58 AM   #52
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Name: George
Trailer: Casita
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"comfortable" towing

I've learned over the years that "comfortable" towing for me mean the TV needs to have twice the weight rating as the gross of the trailer. I prefer to have the adequate tow power and stability that offers.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:04 AM   #53
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Bigfoot
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FGRV choice

Oliver 18í if cost is okay or a 17í or 19í Escape come to mind first based on reading your comments. A baby Bigfoot or Airstream are possible, but keep in mind the limits of your tow vehicle.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:18 AM   #54
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Hello Tofer, check out the HELIO rv O3 series. I have one and I love it! They are super light fiberglass RVs, they are not molded fiberglass but they are all fiberglass and extremely high quality and virtually leak resistant! They are made in Quebec, CA but you can buy them at a few dealers in the USA. Feel free to reach out to me and I'll give you more details. I have ad a burro and a Casita in the past and I love the HELIO. The website is HELIORV.com, check out the O3 series or the O2.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:22 AM   #55
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Name: Brice
Trailer: Casita
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You clearly are in the early stages of investigating things and learning the trade offs in every choice.

You have mentioned a few times in your posts that your needs are minimal and cost is an issue.

Some folks do some pretty interesting and great things with plain cargo trailers and building what they need/want in them to the level of quality they want. YouTube searches will show them to you.

I am a delighted Casita owner (17’ Spirit Deluxe) that I use either solo or with my 20 year old son - best bang for the buck by far in my view.

Back table/bed permanently made into a bed with a mattress on top of the cushion, side table is sufficient for my use. And I like having a bathroom/toilet. No microwave or TV and I do not miss them at all. Bought it exceptionally lightly used, did lots of mods.

Because I live in Texas like you, and use it here a lot, AC is mandatory. I have a Honda 3000 generator. It is a bit quieter than the 2000 and does not need a soft starter for the AC. Heavier, more expensive. Mounted above the propane tanks.

Longest stretch I have gone in it is 40 days as I am not yet retired. It never once felt small or cramped. That will be true for you if your are being honest with yourself about only needing the bed and side table.

And we all learn how to maximize storage in our tow vehicles.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:26 AM   #56
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Name: Viron
Trailer: casita
Texas
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We now have an Escape 21 and had a Casita for 6 years prior. Our experience is that build quality is for sure better on the Escape. We had a VERY negative customer experience just after picking up our Casita(same day) and our Escape customer service experiences have been excellent.
We had two dogs the size of yours and with two adults and those two dogs, the casita seemed too small. I would go with at least 19ft length if it was me.
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:25 PM   #57
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Amerigo
Wisconsin
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Facebook group

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.


Tom



QUOTE=toferj;788718]Hi folks,

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)


Cheers!
Tofer[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:34 PM   #58
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Name: Levi
Trailer: Casita
Texas
Posts: 15
2013 Casita 17ft spirit deluxe.

I was reading your post about the factory and your personal thoughts of the Casita.Your concerns with it being to small.But you have the perfect tow vehicle.All that being said we have owned several stick build campers and pop ups over the last 40 years. Started tent camping and hiking ,got bit by the bug and bought a Silver Shadow 6x10 Teardrop extremely high quality.BUT you could only lay down are sit up.in the massive king size bed.The kitchen was out doors,so if it rained you had to be creative.If you got a cramp in your legs are feet at night you just could not jump up and work it out. All that being said I sold it and Bought my Casita.It was a back and forth between the Tab and Casita .We liked the wet bath and bathroom.The carpet on the walls really makes it cozy and helps with noise outside. I pull it with a 2006 Tacoma Prerunner TRD with tow pkg no problems.I will eventually upgrade to Tundra for the mountains.I been in the Olivers and they are nice but for the money you pay for them I prefer hands down my casita. Also at the rally the owner of the Oliver said in ways he missed his Casita and his oliver was not with out its problems as well.The airstream people said the same thing as the oliver guy.the only people that did not miss there casita was the escape folks.That should tell you somthing right there.We will our selves eventually up grade to a escape 21 are 23.Like to see the 23 when it hits the market.I have a 90 watt solar panel keeps my battery plenty charged up.One last thing I agree with the other person Casita trailers are sought after,and hold there value super strong as does most all fiberglass trailers good luck.
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:35 PM   #59
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Name: Blake
Trailer: in the market
Michigan
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If you believe a 17í is in your future size wise, I would seriously take a look at pricing of an escape. Equipped similarly youíre talking less than $1k More and you get a lot more with an escape (double pain windows, opted for the front cargo mount, bal scissor jacks on all 4 corners, pre-installed rear hitch and more). Adding these on a casita is left to the aftermarket and lots of complaints of things unable to get anymore. Granted 2021 pricing isnít released yet. To bump up to a 19í it was another $4k. Not dealing with rivets Iíve seen mentioned a lot in other forums.
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Old 08-15-2020, 02:53 PM   #60
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Name: Wendy
Trailer: shopping
California
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Hi! We purchased a 2000 17 foot Casita eight years ago. It is built very well. In our travels, have spoken with other Casita owners with more recent models and found they have experienced a number of issues. We boondock and use RV parks to clean up, do laundry etc.

We carry a small generator to power the AC when necessary and also recharge the battery while boondocking. Will be installing a small solar to keep the battery charged but will still travel with the generator. We have the Costco version of the Honda 2000 and it works great (and costs a lot less).

If we ever purchase another, will most likely go with an Escape 19 or larger. They are a bit larger and have some nice upgraded features.

FYI. On of our neighbors just purchased a Casita 17. It is very nice and I did not see any constructions issues with it.
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