Why get a fiberglass RV? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:15 PM   #1
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Name: Nicole
Trailer: Burro
Minnesota
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Why get a fiberglass RV?

Hello, I'm going to be writing a blog post on why a fiberglass RV might be desirable. So, in other words, what makes it better than other trailers? I know what things I like, but, what are your favorite things about your fiberglass trailer? Weight, design, etc? Thanks for your input!
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:45 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Weight, size, easy towing, more tow vehicle choices, space efficiency, leak resistance, low maintenance, timeless style, simplicity, durability, resale value.

A few specific things worth mentioning...
(1) Most of the molded fiberglass manufacturers are low volume, semi-custom operations that sell factory direct. There is greater connection and accountability between maker and user. In general, I love supporting small businesses.
(2) The modular molded fiberglass interior in my Scamp is sturdy and lightweight. It will never rot and brightens the small interior. Components are removable for repairs or modifications, and the same pieces can be rearranged to create multiple floorplans. Happier Camper takes the concept of modularity a step further with its Adaptiv system.
(3) The Boler-derived convertible front sofa/bunks used by Scamp and some others is a masterpiece of simplicity and function.
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Old 01-04-2020, 03:46 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
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Scamp13D...
Ease of towing, better than anything else I have ever towed and more efficient.
I love the long term durability and the efficiency and beauty of the interior design.
Value at purchase and price at resale.
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:41 PM   #4
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Because using a material that has been used to build airplanes for over 60 years is still cool.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:09 PM   #5
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Because I love talking to gas station crackheads who want to hear all about it.
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Old 01-05-2020, 10:55 AM   #6
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The design features that stood out to me were structural robustness and it's resistance to leaking. No rotting wood underfoot either.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:28 AM   #7
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Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
SW Virginia
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All of the above plus if you care to participate, the fiberglass rally community provides a unique opportunity to make and join friends wherever you travel.

Walt
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:46 AM   #8
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot 17G
Oregon
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Originally Posted by skalywag View Post
The design features that stood out to me were structural robustness and it's resistance to leaking. No rotting wood underfoot either.
It's true that the fiberglass itself has fewer seams but don't forget the multiple openings in the shells for vents, fridge, windows, etc. The are all prone to leaks and, all to often, do leak. Just check out all the posts about repairs on Bigfoot trailers due to leaks.

So far as "no rotting wood underfoot" goes, here's a photo of some damage I found and fixed in the floor of my fiberglass trailer. The large open spaces between the foam were previously filled with wood that was so rotten it come out in very small pieces.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:50 AM   #9
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Here are the subsequent steps in the repair.
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IMG_2318.jpg   IMG_2317.jpg  

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Old 01-05-2020, 12:10 PM   #10
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Name: skalywag
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Bob, your pictures verify why some FG RVs are maybe better than others. My Oliver has no wood in it's structure. They use a syntactic core and other reinforcements in the laminates. Yes there are always possible leaks around vents and other protrusions, but all RVs need them for obvious reasons. The rigid properties of fiberglass may prevent warping around these thus reduce possible leaks. What do you think?
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:18 PM   #11
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Trailer: Bigfoot 17G
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Originally Posted by skalywag View Post
Bob, your pictures verify why some FG RVs are maybe better than others. My Oliver has no wood in it's structure. They use a syntactic core and other reinforcements in the laminates. Yes there are always possible leaks around vents and other protrusions, but all RVs need them for obvious reasons. The rigid properties of fiberglass may prevent warping around these thus reduce possible leaks. What do you think?
I have always thought that in excess of 50% of the RV's/trailers one sees going down the road have some leakage issues whether the owners are aware of them or not. I have owned 5 different rigs (Ford van, Rexhall 23' Vision Class A, Weekend Warrior toyhauler, Alpenlite cabover camper, and Bigfoot 17G trailer) and I know that 4 of them definitely had leaks.

I also know from experience that a very small leak can lead to very big problems, especially if it is not caught right away.

I don't know enough to hypothesize about whether or not fiberglass rigs have fewer leaks but my gut reaction is that they probably do because of the much smaller number of seams.

I think the best one can do is keep up on maintenance and hope for the best.
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Old 01-05-2020, 04:50 PM   #12
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Trailer: 13 ft Boler
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I wanted a boler cause they're COOL!!!
Was wanting one to tow behind my hotrod.
Camping in it wasn't really on my mind at first.
We took it to a major show and stayed in a campsite not far away to save a few dollars and were hooked!
It's been across Canada, up and down the west coast several times
and a constant source of projects.
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:21 PM   #13
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Trailer: BigFoot 25B25RT
Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
I wanted a boler cause they're COOL!!!
Was wanting one to tow behind my hotrod.
Camping in it wasn't really on my mind at first.
We took it to a major show and stayed in a campsite not far away to save a few dollars and were hooked!
It's been across Canada, up and down the west coast several times
and a constant source of projects.
Fred
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Nice car!
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by WaltP View Post
All of the above plus if you care to participate, the fiberglass rally community provides a unique opportunity to make and join friends wherever you travel.
Yes. We experienced the same sense of community with our first trailer Ė a teardrop. Moving up to a FGRV seemed the a logical next step.
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Old 01-06-2020, 06:14 PM   #15
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Name: Jerome
Trailer: Scamp 13
AR
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So easy to cut holes in

I like that that the thick strong shell is easy to drill holes in and cut holes in and allows any kind of modification without damaging the integrity of the basic structure. Also sealing the holes does not seem that hard with modern caulks, tapes, or that old fashion grey tape on a roll that does not harden for a long time.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:20 AM   #16
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Texas
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Your question is asked fairly regularly. Here's a recent thread:

So Why a Fiberglass Camper?
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:21 AM   #17
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: In the Market
Kansas
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We bought our first RV in the 1980's, a used pop-up camper. Fast forward to 2020, and we have had 10 RVs of various types, 2 new and the rest used. Quality on the stick/aluminum framed trailers has been on the decline for decades now with Forest River and Thor buying up some of the previously well-built units and making them "their own" which is not a good thing. Competition among them on price (many people only see price of the unit and not quality) continues to drive the quality down. The stickie industry has come out with small and light-weight units with a lower sticker price than the molded fiberglass, but my research indicates within 4 to 5 years, the unit is about ready for retirement, and during that time has had a number of issues related to lack of quality control and the cheapest of materials. Then, look at Scamp, and 2 or 3 decades later they are still road worthy and worth an investment in repairs/improvements.

We currently have a 2010 Hi-Lo which sold for about $30,000 new, that we got for $10,000 3 years ago. Hi-Lo went out of business in 2010. Having retired, we need a unit that will last, and experience tells us that a stickie will not. We know that if not properly maintained, all units including fiberglass molded will leak where ever an opening has been made: A/C, roof vents, side vents, windows.........but a failing roof system or frame from poor materials/workmanship is the thing to beware of as just like with a house, if the roof and foundation is good, it is worth fixing the rest of the dwelling.

Moving toward minimalism is also a part of the choice. "Less is more" except when it comes to longevity and quality.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:37 PM   #18
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Name: Scott
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alaska
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Originally Posted by bobblangley View Post
It's true that the fiberglass itself has fewer seams but don't forget the multiple openings in the shells for vents, fridge, windows, etc. The are all prone to leaks and, all to often, do leak. Just check out all the posts about repairs on Bigfoot trailers due to leaks.

So far as "no rotting wood underfoot" goes, here's a photo of some damage I found and fixed in the floor of my fiberglass trailer. The large open spaces between the foam were previously filled with wood that was so rotten it come out in very small pieces.


Our first fiberglass rig was a 1994 9.9 Northernlite slide-in. I really liked the unit but there was floor rot by the door. We fixed that. The jacks were not stable in my opinion so I reinforced those with synthetic material and 5200 glue.
The camper wasnít built to fit modern truck beds so I had to modify our bed a little. All in all my experience with slide-in campers didnít thrill me with the loading and unloading. Thatís why we bought a trailer. At first a friend recommended the new in thing ďR-PodĒ but after watching several factory videos on the manufacturing process I was unsold. The clam shell is far far superior.
I belong to this site plus two Bigfoot sites on Facebook.
Thanks for being here.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:49 PM   #19
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Name: Laura
Trailer: Escape 21' 2nd Gen, picked up on Black Friday 2016
Washington
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I don't have to worry about any slides - getting stuck in position, debris on top, off kilter, etc, etc. I can pull into any rest stop and I'm able to use my bathroom and kitchen with ease (one main requirement when we first started looking at trailers and most stickies didn't fit that requirement).


Escape let us customize it and we weren't stuck with a brown interior, which it seemed all of the stickies had. Yuck. (for us; some might like brown )


Lots more time and quality in the final build.


It just looks great, esp with the cat decals I added (didn't get the stock ones from Escape; it was bare naked when I picked it up) to the outside.


Yes, I've had some problems with it, but Escape was able to fix it for us without any huge delay. Now, I just wish they would start up a service dept so we don't have to dink with lubing the axles this spring.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:55 AM   #20
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Longevity and durability. They can be repaired and maintained for decades. Yes it is possible to have a wood floor rot, which should allow for picking up a trailer with "good bones" for a much reduced price.

A FGRV in good condition post repairs has enough value to support the cost of making those repairs if one can do some of the work themselves.

The simplicity of the design and build. While some new manufactures have had glitches with how they designed or placed some things I find that overall the designs are not changing much except to refine and make small improvements over time. Very few "new model" bugs since they don't come out with a new and redesigned model each year. Instead they do small things such as add solar connector or LED lights.

Oh yeah the interesting conversations in campgrounds and gas stations. Have gotten a few looks as wife, then the two dogs, then myself all come out of a 13 ft. Scamp. The dogs aint' small and I'm pretty good sized.

I can also enjoy the folks who comment that they didn't know they still made those campers. I let them know they are still being made by same company, however this one is a 1977. They age well. Better than me anyway.
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