Best Fiberglass for 4 season - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:50 AM   #1
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Name: Bill
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Best Fiberglass for 4 season

Which fiberglass RVs are best insulated and most suitable for 4 season camping?
We have used our Lil Snoozy for 6.5 years for 70% use and 30% home often staying in one place 3 to 4 months at a time. We would like to do more traveling and allowing less grass to grow under our feet.
Our Snoozy isn't too bad lined with reflectix but the windows leave a lot to be desired.
Not sure I would want anything much larger than the Snoozy.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:11 AM   #2
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Bigfoot is truly a 4 season design; perhaps the only fiberglass that is. We have Bigfoot and have done winter travel. Even though the windows are double pain, we still occasionally use the reflective insulated foil on bedroom windows since our twin beds are directly beneath the glass. The floor is warm because of the construction.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:12 AM   #3
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BIgfoot and Oliver make true 4-season molded trailers. Beds are small in their smallest models. Escape has some pretty good cold-weather upgrades on their options list, maybe a 3-1/2 season trailer.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:50 PM   #4
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Have owned both. Oliver 3 season, winter is tough with condensation and subsequent mold issues. Bigfoot is true 4 season, if by 4 season you mean staying warm and dry when it’s in the teens. One made in TN, one made in Canada. Who knows more about cold and damp?
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Old 10-21-2020, 10:24 AM   #5
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The Es scape can come pretty close if you order the extra insulation package, double pane windows, and the heating pads for the tanks. Condensation is going to require attention for any of them.


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Old 10-22-2020, 11:25 PM   #6
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Escapes don't have a specific rating, but with all the cold-weather options ticked I've gone down to single digits a couple times. The dump valves are a weak spot, though I've worked around that by pouring a little antifreeze into the black and gray tanks after dumping. Neglected that once when the high was still below freezing and had to thaw the valve out before dumping. No damage, though.

Bigfoots are supposedly good down to -20F, though I haven't tested below probably 0F or so. Pipes are all well-protected and interior temp is comfortable, but the 25RQ not as much better than the Escape as I'd hoped in terms of heat input needed. I think at -20 the humans would be toasty and the pipes would be safe, but it'd be tearing through propane to keep it that way.

On paper the 25RQ should need half as much heat as the Escape 19 thanks to the 1.5" of EPS foam, but I found it needed slightly more (so, still a bit better relative to the size). The Bigfoot has more air leaks (I suspect the stove vent, but I haven't tested much) and more/bigger windows plus a couple skylights. The underbody tank area is also only minimally insulated. Not a problem because the furnace is massive and has two (1 big, 1 small) ducts pointed into that compartment, but it does mean it loses a lot of heat that way.

The Oliver is likely somewhere between the two. The insulation's just 2 layers of Reflectix, though unlike the stuff on the Scamps it actually does have an air gap so it's not totally useless. The piping's in a partially-conditioned space, so it's in a bit more danger in really cold weather compared to the Bigfoot. Probably closer to the Escape than the Bigfoot in terms of sealing and windows, which helps.

Any of the 3 are head and shoulders above Scamp/Casita/Snoozy, which have pretty minimal insulation as far as I know.

I'd bet the 17.5 Bigfoot is the best of them. All the insulation, but lacks the massive surface area of the Bigfoot 25RQ.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:46 PM   #7
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Good analysis.
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:01 AM   #8
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Agree- great assessment. Bigfoot would be my hands-down choice for serious cold weather use.

As to which Bigfoot, the smallest might be more efficient due to size (less volume to heat) and the ratio of surface area to volume (closer to a cube is more efficient). However, I seriously doubt anyone would be cross-shopping the 17.5’ and the 25’.

But since you want to stay close in size to your Snoozy, I foresee an Escape 19 in your future. The smallest Bigfoot and Oliver have small main beds, at 48” and 54”, respectively. The E19 with winter upgrades has a queen and gives decent cold weather performance as long as you don’t intentionally seek out winter snow play in northern latitudes.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:46 AM   #9
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Name: Steve
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We’ve owned a Scamp , Casita , and Escape , all of which are basically 2 season trailers ( Late Spring to Early Fall in the Upper Midwest)
Our Escape has the extra interior insulation, thermal windows , tank heating pads and under floor insulation , which helps at moderate temperatures but when it actually gets cold doesn’t cut it .
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:30 AM   #10
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Steve, your dissatisfaction with Escape is legendary. I've no bone in that fight, but given that the OP is looking for something close in size (and presumably weight) to their current Snoozy, Escape does seem a logical choice. Per the original post, they are looking to travel widely, which typically means following the weather but being prepared for the occasional cold or hot spell (though perhaps not upper Midwest cold or southern Arizona hot).

But as a cheapskate myself, some judicious upgrades to the Snoozy might be just as good for a whole lot less money. Add Reflectix plus marine headliner inside the fiberglass shell for comfort and condensation control (Reflectix alone inside cabinets). Replace the standard windows with thermal windows (pricey, but far less than a new Escape). Install LP with a Propex furnace and a heating pad on the grey tank. Interlocking foam tiles on the floor help keep your feet warmer. Depends on how much you like the Snoozy's layout and function.

And keep those wheels rolling to where the sun shines!
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Steve, your dissatisfaction with Escape is legendary. I've no bone in that fight, but given that the OP is looking for something close in size (and presumably weight) to their current Snoozy, Escape does seem a logical choice. Per the original post, they are looking to travel widely, which typically means following the weather but being prepared for the occasional cold or hot spell (though perhaps not upper Midwest cold or southern Arizona hot).

But as a cheapskate myself, some judicious upgrades to the Snoozy might be just as good for a whole lot less money. Add Reflectix plus marine headliner inside the fiberglass shell for comfort and condensation control (Reflectix alone inside cabinets). Replace the standard windows with thermal windows (pricey, but far less than a new Escape). Install LP with a Propex furnace and a heating pad on the grey tank. Interlocking foam tiles on the floor help keep your feet warmer. Depends on how much you like the Snoozy's layout and function.

And keep those wheels rolling to where the sun shines!
I extensively researched Escape trailers and I was fully aware that Escape is a 3 season trailer at best - Even Escape in their literature states that their trailer is a only a 3 season trailer . The OP stated they were looking for a “4 season trailer “
If you follow the weather then there is no need for a true 4 season trailer
We have had 8” of snow over the last two days and tonight the temps are going to be in the low teen and we are only 3 days into the Fall seasons
My post had nothing to do with my dissatisfaction with our Escape
If the OP is truly looking for a 4 season trailer then they should be looking at a Bigfoot
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:42 PM   #12
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That brings up a pretty good point - the definition of "4 season" varies drastically on location. In Texas up to maybe Oklahoma and equivalent, The Escape is a 4-season trailer. In other areas (like probably Wisconsin), even a Bigfoot might be pushing your luck a little bit.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:31 AM   #13
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Snoozy Modifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
given that the OP is looking for something close in size (and presumably weight) to their current Snoozy, Escape does seem a logical choice. Per the original post, they are looking to travel widely, which typically means following the weather.

But as a cheapskate myself, some judicious upgrades to the Snoozy might be just as good for a whole lot less money. Add Reflectix plus marine headliner inside the fiberglass shell for comfort and condensation control (Reflectix alone inside cabinets). Replace the standard windows with thermal windows (pricey, but far less than a new Escape). Install LP with a Propex furnace and a heating pad on the grey tank. Interlocking foam tiles on the floor help keep your feet warmer. Depends on how much you like the Snoozy's layout and function.

And keep those wheels rolling to where the sun shines!
This may be the most practical approach since no perfect trailer exists. I researched the Big Foot and found them heavier than my liking and the Oliver too expensive.
My Snoozy has already had the reflectix treatment BUT NOT THE MARINE HEADLINER OF WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT.
I have LP for my stove but no furnace (So half of that addition is in place).
My floor is covered.
Upgrades to consider then are thermal windows, a Propex Furnace, interlocking foam tiles, and the Marine Headliner of which I need educated. I will also need to do something about protecting my Grey Tank.
We do chase the sun but sometimes find ourselves in 10-20 degrees F.
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:39 AM   #14
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Marine headliner is a fuzzy, carpet-like fabric that is mildew and odor resistant. It doesn’t add much R-value, but it does prevent condensation and feels warmer to the touch. It is available from marine suppliers and some fabric outlets. Scamp sells a light tan version they’ve used since the mid-80’s.

On the other hand, Reflectix is best used as you have done, shiny side facing the heated space as a radiant barrier. There is much debate about its value when covered. I’d focus on other things first.

I’d start by researching the windows. They’ll be expensive- I have no idea how expensive- and may be the deciding factor in whether to implement the rest of the plan. Does your Snoozy have 2 or 3 big windows?

Member David B. installed a Propex in his Snoozy. I think there’s a thread somewhere. Try the “site search/google” option at the bottom of the search menu to locate it.

I believe the Snoozy has a high ceiling without vents. After the windows, that’s where you’ll get the most bang by adding extra insulation. You could add a layer of closed cell foam- or maybe even rigid foam- under the Reflectix.

But 10*F is pretty cold in my book, at least for camping. If it’s only short spells, this plan might work. If it’s several weeks at a time, the Bigfoot sounds better to me.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:45 AM   #15
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When I built my Lil Hauley (empty Snoozy) I covered all the walls and ceiling with reflectix except in the bathroom. When I do get condensation, it is on the windows and in the bathroom, both of which are designed to handle it. In exposed flat areas I put 1/4 in plywood and on the curved surfaces, vinyl. I used 3m 90, which cost me a fortune, for all the surfaces except the plywood. As a side note, I used marine vinyl in the kitchen and dining room areas which did release after a year and a half and I had to re glue it. I don't think I applied enough adhesive. I also have a Propex furnace (same as Dave B.) and a 2 burner stove. The furnace is 5100 BTU which is not a lot if it is cold. The Propex is set up to draw air in from the passenger side under the bed and vent it directly into the living room, this keeps the LFP battery warm. The quickest way to heat up the trailer is to make coffee and cook pancakes on the stove with the Propex running. The coldest temp we experienced was at Big Bend in Texas where the temp was 26 degrees one morning. We don't run the heat at night and leave the fan exhausting on the lowest speed and the window at the foot of the bed open a crack. With just the Propex it takes about an hour to raise the temperature by 25-30 degrees. Basically, it takes the chill off. I would consider it usable from early April thru early December in New York. We usually boondock and when we think there is a chance of freezing the grey tank we leave it empty. We follow back country camping guidelines and wipe then wash the dishes in a dish pan and disperse the water. For showers we use Dr Bonners Pepperment soap, then drain into the cassette toilet tank (used for pee only) and disperse the water.

I wanted give you an idea of what we have and how we use it to, hopefully, inform your decision. If you really want all season camping you might want to switch, however, as mentioned earlier, you might want to consider modifying your existing trailer to better handle the cold, which would be a lot less expensive.
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Old 10-28-2020, 12:58 PM   #16
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.... As a side note, I used marine vinyl in the kitchen and dining room areas which did release after a year and a half and I had to re glue it. I don't think I applied enough adhesive...

the marine vinyl sold in fabric stores often does not have the right kind of backing for installing it with adhesives. It is meant for installing it on cushions.



You need a Marine Vinyl that has a fuzzy texture to the backside. That kind can be glued in as a headliner.


If learned this the hard way but fortunately it was only on a very small overhead area. So when it came down on a warm day I headed to the local upholstery shop that works on boats and was educated on the type of marine vinyl I needed to use with adhesives.
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Old 10-28-2020, 05:07 PM   #17
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I noticed that it didn't have the fuzzy backing, but some kind of grooved texture. When I pulled down adhesive it was adhered to the vinyl quite well but there were places it wasn't and also some of the reflectix pulled away. It is probably an issue with the vinyl but I also don't think I applied enough adhesive. I reattached one of the two pieces that came down and used a fuzzy backed vinyl on the other sides. I sprayed it very heavy this time and put it back up. We will see what happens.
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Old 10-28-2020, 06:05 PM   #18
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I'm with Carl and Jon. Keep your Lil Snoozy and install a Propex furnace, as we have done. It takes up one inch of additional room below the cabinet under the microwave. We take off the doors to the space under the bed and leave them at home to keep the LiFEPO4 batteries warm. We camped on a mountain top in West Virginia a couple of years ago (cancelled this year) and ran the Propex for 2 days non-stop. It kept the Snoozy at about 60 degrees in 20 degree weather. We use the cassette toilet for pee only, pretend we are camping out and use paper plates/plastic utensils (I know, I know) and don't use the grey water tank, which has antifreeze in it. Condensation is not a big issue because we keep the bathroom vent cracked and the windows next to the bed cracked. Worst case, we could have cranked up the generator and run an electric heater but never needed to. Other folks were coming to our trailer to get warm. We have other winter excursions, not so extreme, but follow the same protocol. In RV parks with hookups we just use an electric heater.
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:37 PM   #19
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Helio (with an ’ accent over the e) from Canada

Our Helio O2 is a molded fiberglass, 4 season camper. We’ve had it for a year now, and have camped in below freezing weather, and it stays cozy. The O Series (O is for Oxygen, because it is lightweight) is comprised of 3 different layouts: O2, O3, and O4. These rv’s are designed for the Canadian market: propane furnace comes standard. The AC does not! The O2 has a wet bath and sink, and the hot water was just fine in freezing weather. Helio has only recently been available for sale in the US, so is virtually unknown. There are videos on YouTube that you can watch if you are interested, in addition to the website.
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:56 PM   #20
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From the video on its site, it appears to be laminated fibreglass, not moulded.
They say it's moulded, but show a plywood core wrapped in fibreglass,.
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