single mom - needs advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2009, 07:13 AM   #1
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Trailer: 2007 Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Hi! I'm a single mom with an 8 year old daughter. I want to buy a 13 foot something for my daughter and I to camp in, mainly at state parks. My budget is under $5000. Want to have A/C. Please give me advice. What's the best thing for us? Where's the best place to buy? Ebay? Craigslist? I'm in Memphis. There doesn't seem to be much for sale in this area. What do I need to know? I've got a 2002 Nissan Xterra. Will need to install a trailer hitch. Would love to be able to take our bikes. Can they go on the inside?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for any help!
Joy
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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Joy, Welcome! As for what trailer would be best for you two, depends on how much weight your tow vehicle can tow. Do you know how much it can handle? Then from there it's about finding one your willing to travel to. Though in the past there have been several for sale in your area. But yes it's not the hot bed of fiberglass sales but they do come up in that area. Would you guys prefer a trailer with a bath? Or can you live without? I am with you on the ac thing............................................. ......... If your weight limits are within a 13 foot Casita or Scamp (but not limited toooooo), you can pick up newer with air around that price range. Granted some are higher but every once in a while a great deal comes along. A couple months ago here in Denver a 2000 went for $6000 when in the same week several 70's models were for sale in the $4500 range. So it's a matter of searching for the best deal. You need to print your self out the Buyers Check list ( available on the left side column of this forum) keep it with you so that if you happen across a trailer for sale your armed and ready to know what to look for.



Bikes in the inside, hmmmmmmmmm I think it would be a "B" to get them in and out. But I am sure someone has done it. So hopefully they can give you advice on how to get them in and out without crashing into the walls and door. I suppose if you found a trailer with the back door entry that would be the easy solution. Compact, Hunter to name a few brands that have a rear entry. But not sure they came with air. Though many owners add air along the way. Best of Luck and enjoy. Robin
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2007 Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Thanks so much, Robin!
Do I get a better buy if I wait until winter?
Should I try to find something by looking at the postings on this site mainly?
How do I know how much my Xterra can tow?
Don't need a bath - just A/C, bed, kitchen.
What's the difference between an icebox and a fridge?
I see a lot of Scamps. Is that a good thing to look at?
Will print the buyers checklist. Thanks for that tip.
I SO APPRECIATE YOUR TIME AND HELP!!!!!
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:04 AM   #4
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1972 Boler American
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Quote:
Hi! I'm a single mom with an 8 year old daughter. I want to buy a 13 foot something for my daughter and I to camp in, mainly at state parks. My budget is under $5000. Want to have A/C. Please give me advice. What's the best thing for us? Where's the best place to buy? Ebay? Craigslist? I'm in Memphis. There doesn't seem to be much for sale in this area. What do I need to know? I've got a 2002 Nissan Xterra. Will need to install a trailer hitch. Would love to be able to take our bikes. Can they go on the inside?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for any help!
Joy
Camper with A/C: I would print the Buyers check list and keep it with me. I would look the list over and ask an egg owner if they would take the time to explain any of the things on the list I did not understand. You should be aware of most recuring maintenance issues so you don't get blindsided by thm. Have you thought about where you will keep your camper when not in use? I like the smallest of the campers because it is easier to find inside storage. In my opinion the sun and dirt do effect the longivity of the camper and contribute to maintenance. The single biggest safety issue is TIRES - - make sure they are trailer tires not car tires. I had an older set of trailer tires on my Boler that were looking like new till I tried to put new wheels on. The tires were so rotten they came apart on the tire machine.
BIKES: I pack my 13' boler with two 26" aluminum bikes from WalMart. They fit well and were about $100 each two years ago. I bought two new movers blankets from Harbor freight for arounhd $9.00 each. They work great for padding for the bikes - throw quilts - warm stadium blankets or whatever. Also great for an emergency blanket.

Happy camping
Marty
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:10 AM   #5
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Hi Joy,

You probably would get both a better buy and more selection if you wait until fall.

This site does get a lot of ads but Craigslist or kijiji will have additional listings that may not be posted on this board.

That year Xterra has a tow capacity of 5000lbs which would allow you to easily pull any 13' trailer you find. You can find the tow capacity in your owner's manual. You might want to get the hitch put on early in case a trailer that you love all of a sudden comes up. Be aware that there are a few common types of electrical connectors so you may have to get an adapter when you find the trailer you want.

A/C will be harder to find on any older 13' trailer.

Icebox - basically a built in cooler. Fridge will generally run off 12v and propane or 12/120v and propane.

Scamp's are great - they are based on the Boler molds of the 1970's. Casita's are rarer but very similar. Other common 13' trailers are the Trilliums and Burro/Uhauls.

We had a bike rack put on the back of the trailer. Caveat: With these smaller trailers the amount of weight placed on the back of the trailer or front of the trailer tends to effect the handling.

Happy trailer hunting!
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Wow Hooooooooo, you can pull just about any egg with that tow cap. Booker your awesome! I didn't think to tell her to look in her owner manual. But yes that's where it can be found.


Weight ?
Fridge versus icebox?
Bike?
All answered or at least info provided. So now your just needing a few things to take the next step. I am getting ready to leave for a weekend of glamping................... Ok camping and I am already running 45 min late and don't have time to do a lot of search info for you. But if you Pm me (so I remember to do it for you), I will be back Monday afternoon I will set down and make a list of all the sites that expand your search for you that I have been successful finding 4- sales since the referral forum isn't as active as it used to be and though craigslist is wonderful it can limit you to just your area there are several other sites that expand craigslist on being site mash. Have a great weekend. Robin
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Hi! I'm a single mom with an 8 year old daughter. I want to buy a 13 foot something for my daughter and I to camp in, mainly at state parks. My budget is under $5000. Want to have A/C. Please give me advice. What's the best thing for us? Where's the best place to buy? Ebay? Craigslist? I'm in Memphis. There doesn't seem to be much for sale in this area. What do I need to know? I've got a 2002 Nissan Xterra. Will need to install a trailer hitch. Would love to be able to take our bikes. Can they go on the inside?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for any help!
Joy
Joy,

If your Xterra does not have the trailer tow package, you'll need the following items (I posted the links to photos so you could see what is meant by each term).

As you know, you'll need a hitch installed. It should be a Class III receiver type hitch like this:

Hitch

You'll also need a ball mount like this:

Ball mount

NOTE: You may need a ball mount with a drop or rise to match the height of the trailer, wait until you know which trailer.

Then you'll need a 2" hitch ball like this:

Hitch ball

You'll also need a wiring harness installed. If you get a trailer with electric brakes (which I recommend), you'll also need a brake controller in the Xterra.

The hitch and wiring harness are going to be expensive because of the labor.

I'd recommend you find a reliable hitch shop and have them do the work. U-haul service centers mostly do good work.

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Old 07-17-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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That year Xterra has a tow capacity of 5000lbs which would allow you to easily pull any 13' trailer you find. You can find the tow capacity in your owner's manual.
Wait, I think the tow capacity of a 2002 Xterrra was 3500 lb., which still should be ok for many thirteeners.

Anyway, if your owner's manual doesn't confirm the tow capacity, drop by your local Nissan dealer's service dept---they can give you a quick answer. And as you've read here before, when outfitted and ready to go camping, all trailers are heavier than the mfg claims!
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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Wait, I think the tow capacity of a 2002 Xterrra was 3500 lb., which still should be ok for many thirteeners.

Anyway, if your owner's manual doesn't confirm the tow capacity, drop by your local Nissan dealer's service dept---they can give you a quick answer. And as you've read here before, when outfitted and ready to go camping, all trailers are heavier than the mfg claims!
From what I read, the tow capacity is 5,000# for the automatic transmission and 3,500# for the standard transmission. Of course, that may just be in Canada.

http://www.canadiandriver.com/2002/01/10/t...terra-se-sc.htm
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #10
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Check out a roof rack for the bikes.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:30 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2007 Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Wow, I am so overwhelmed by all the responses - THANKS so much, everybody. I appreciate all this info. I am learning a lot and am loving doing all this research.
I'm trying to save up some money and would love to buy something around Christmas. My little girl would be so excited. I work in the school system so have my summers off. We love to camp and like to go to state parks for our summer vacations. I cannot imagine how much fun we will have next summer if I am able to get something by then!
Thanks again!!!!
Joy
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:49 PM   #12
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We have carried our bikes inside, but I am not sure that we did when we had the 13' Burro. I know that we did with our UHaul. However, we got a bike rack that attaches to the hitch that is easy to use. It can be detached then too.

CindyL
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:48 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1982 Scamp 13 ft
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Joy,
We're in NW Alabama so we're not far from you. Fiberglass RVs are rare here but we were lucky & happened to find our '82 Scamp a couple of miles from our home! It didn't come with AC but we had one installed through the wall by the local RV service shop. You will NEED an AC! We've made a lot of modifications for our comfort & convenience and just to update the appearance. Ours also came with an icebox but after one weekend of camping, we decided to remove it & replace it with a dorm-size fridge that we bought at WalMart. We've since upgraded to a larger fridge.
You might be able to carry the bikes inside but you'd need to cushion them somehow because things really get jarred & jolted around when you're traveling. We bungee all of our cabinet doors, just to be sure.
There are lots of great campgrounds in NE Mississippi that are an easy drive from Memphis. J. P. Coleman State Park and Piney Grove (Corps of Engineers) are two of our favorites. Both are on the water & have plenty of shade. A little farther from you in Lawrenceburg, TN is David Crockett State Park. There are lots of family activities there and two campgrounds.
You probably will get a better deal in the fall or winter. Good luck in your search! I hope you find one that suits you and your daughter perfectly!
Sandra
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:52 AM   #14
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Hi, You sound a lot like I was when first posted on this site. I found a 1973 Hunter Compact II 13-foot fiberglass trailer in GREAT shape on Craigs list. Yes, it was quite a way away but paid for seller's gas to meet me halfway. Even with his gas, it was under $1500. I'd been lurking on eBay and Craigs list and reading this forum and found the Compact to be the right size and weight for my towing capacity and I like the rear door for saved space.

I gave up on looking just nearby and that's how I found my trailer. By spending far less on initial purchase, was able to have a/c installed in front window, make new curtains, and buy a few things. Do try to get trailer that at least has a closet to tuck in a portable toilet of even a basic type such as covered bucket with plastic bags and invest in some deodorizer and kitty litter. For yourself and a child, having your own inside the trailer can be extremely convenient such as during the night. With this type, you also avoid the hassle of black water hookups and emptying.

Don't worry about backing the small trailer; you'll learn. My learning curve has been very erratic but I manage. My dogs and I travel and stay in Corps of Engineer, state, federal forest and parks and almost invariably the personnel have been friendly and helpful. We're going back to a campground in S.W. Arkansas next week - one I found on another trip and spotted a great site near the river which I later reserved.

Yes, tires extremely important as well as a/c and immediately learn to NOT swerve quickly to avoid turtles. On my first long trip, almost wrecked doing that - never again.

You will love it - have a great time!
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Wow, I am so overwhelmed by all the responses - THANKS so much, everybody. I appreciate all this info. I am learning a lot and am loving doing all this research.
I'm trying to save up some money and would love to buy something around Christmas. My little girl would be so excited. I work in the school system so have my summers off. We love to camp and like to go to state parks for our summer vacations. I cannot imagine how much fun we will have next summer if I am able to get something by then!
Thanks again!!!!
Joy
HI, found my trailer in the winter and picked it up in January and had time for repairs, etc. before spring. Mine has "ice box" that works well but really wish I had a true refrigerator and didn't have to worry about freezing big blocks of ice ahead of time and watching them melt. I use ice chest for Diet Cokes. At some point, would love to have refrigerator installed and do away with the ice box. Think you will like having real refrig. and not having to worry if the milk and eggs will spoil before you get more ice.

Also, check out whether cabinet doors and drawers stay closed before buying or you'll have to install latches on everything. Stopping for the night and finding everything on the floor can dampen your spirits. Pat
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:17 PM   #16
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I'm surprised no one has pointed this out, but your towing capacity is linked to engine size (4 cyl or 6 cyl, what horsepower/torque?), drive (front wheel drive has higher towing capacity than 4 wheel drive because of lower vehicle weight) and transmission. The Xterra is built on the same chassis and engine choices as the Frontier pick-up and has the same towing specs in the literature.
Taken from the 2002 description of the Xterra on Edmunds.com :

"The Xterra's standard motivation comes from a 2.4-liter inline four that makes 143 horsepower. XEs and SEs can be ordered with a 170-hp 3.3-liter V6 or a new supercharged version of this engine that produces 210 hp. Outdoor enthusiasts can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the V6 and an automatic transmission, and antilock brakes are standard on all models."

The specs page on Edmunds says that the 2.4L engine has max of 3500 pounds with FWD and auto. That's still capable of pulling a 13ft trailer if there are not too many weight adding mods (wood floor, racks, 3-way frig, AC, extra water/holding tanks all add weight) and you are not carrying a large payload in the vehicle.

I did not get the tow package when I bought my 2007 Frontier (V6, FWD, auto) and now regret it. The dealer says they can't add the beefed up transmission cooler after the fact and after market installation will void the warranty. Probably so will towing without the added package! I got class 3 hitch,receiver, ball mount, ball, wiring with 7 way plug and brake controller installed at U-haul for less than $300.00 (not including Tekonsha Prodigy controller that I bought for $80 on-line).

I have been thinking of trading in the Frontier on an Xterra because I can get the same size engine with option of more than two passengers (comfortably). But then I would be back to payments again. Don't want that!

Keep looking for the right egg for you. It sounds like you are prepared to be patient and willing to ask advice. The two most important elements of finding what you want! (Well...money helps too). Welcome to the club!
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:38 PM   #17
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HI, found my trailer in the winter and picked it up in January and had time for repairs, etc. before spring. Mine has "ice box" that works well but really wish I had a true refrigerator and didn't have to worry about freezing big blocks of ice ahead of time and watching them melt. I use ice chest for Diet Cokes. At some point, would love to have refrigerator installed and do away with the ice box. Think you will like having real refrig. and not having to worry if the milk and eggs will spoil before you get more ice.

Also, check out whether cabinet doors and drawers stay closed before buying or you'll have to install latches on everything. Stopping for the night and finding everything on the floor can dampen your spirits. Pat

Walmart has a small 12v/120v Refrigerator the size of a ice chest we got it for $88+ tax.. it fit great where the ice box was and I just put a door over the front cabinet to cover it and if its winter we can take it out and use that area for storage ..
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:17 PM   #18
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Name: Janet - Jan - jj
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Hi Joy & Daughter of Joy, Welcome to a super site, I am a newer-bie and have found it to be so. About finding your camper; On the left side of the page, under RESOURSES, look in "Helpful-Links" for "RV Classifieds". There are many new places to look or possibly post a camper wanted ad. I got a 13', 1985 Uhaul in very nice condition thru ebay so don't count them out. If I don't miss my guess many of the folks from this site are now on the prowl for you. If anything turns up in my neck of the woods and you want me to go look at it for you just say the word, I am in the center part of Eastern Oh. I travel with 1 or several dogs and am in love with my "Little Darlin'", as a previous owner named her and had written on her side. We just made our first trip to Kellys Island in Lake Erie, WOW! what a great state park, and wonderful time. Within weeks we will be going back, dogs, Little Darlin' & me. FYI: I tow with an '08 Honda Element with a capacity oif 1500 lbs, camper is said to weigh 900, had no problems at all. I do need to get reflectors to put behind it so I have a target when backing up at night. Happy trails!! Jan & her furry girls.
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:33 PM   #19
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Hi Joy - in addition to CriagsList, look at Craigshelper - it does a search of ALL craigslist sites and returns the info. It is STILL a pain to sort thru, but there are TONS of rigs for sale nationwide. Craigs helper allows you do designate how many miles from your ZIP code to search.

DO watch out for scam artists, tho. There have been a number of reports about bad stuff on craigslist. You know how good of a character judge you are - if you think you need another set of eyes and ears, take a friend along.

AND most of all, consider that the buying part is ALSO part of the adventure. **somewhere** YOUR egg is just sitting paitently waiting for its new owner!
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:00 AM   #20
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Hi my new friends!
Had dinner with my parents last night and my stepdad offered to help me get a trailer hitch installed. He pulls a horse trailer that has a bed and kitchen and all that stuff up front. They camp with their horses a lot. So my next move is to get the trailer hitch. Meanwhile I'll keep looking and learning and saving money.
I can store the camper in my grandmother's equipment shed.
Again, I so appreciate all the help.
Thanks!
Joy and Lily
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