What trailer/model - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:50 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Robert
Trailer: Looking
Washington, D.C.
Posts: 12
What trailer/model

Hi all,
Im new to the forum and looking for some advice. Ive read Montana Brads threads and they were helpful. But our needs are a little different so I decided to start a separate thread.

We plan to retire and go full time in a couple of years. We expect to boondock at least half the time so we want to be able to be self sufficient for a week or so. The trailer will be our home so were fairly picky about what we want in it. We had been considering rebuilding an older Airstream but saw a Hymer Touring GT (euro trailer new to US) which got us looking at fiberglass. Unfortunately Hymer doesnt customize and the fridge is too small and the bathroom is pointless (too small to shower and wed prefer a portapottie and an outdoor shower).

So Id appreciate any suggestions you can make that that might fit our requirements below.

1. Max 3500lbs GVW. Wed prefer to tow with a Jeep (I know Jeep is not the best TV, but we want the off-road would rather avoid a truck. In fact, looking at the Airstreams was pushing us to more vehicle than we wanted).

2. At least a 5cf refrigerator and preferably 8. We like to precook and store. We also need space for fresh veggies.

3. A permanent full to queen size bed with an actual mattress and under bed storage. Ive found a too firm or thin mattress will quickly give me sciatica and the storage space is necessary for gear. Converting a dinette will not do.

4. Wed prefer as much customization as possible. What most people seem to want doesnt appeal to us.

5. Were both 61 so nothing under 62 (preferably more).

Our choices so far:

The Lil Snoozy-it appears theyre willing to customize pretty much anything and we could even go with an empty shell. The standard floor plan is unappealing and wed have to convert to propane.

Casita?- the molded interior really appeals to us and would seem to save weight but that leaves us pretty locked with their basic floor plan. Its not clear put it appears their full size bed is a converted dinette.

Most of the others weve seen have the dinette problem or some other feature wed have to fix.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:05 PM   #2
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Jon in AZ's Avatar
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 9,929
What trailer/model

Escape gives a choice of a convertible dinette or a permanent bed in some of their layouts. With the Casita, many owners replace the dinette cushions with a custom mattress as a permanent bed. It's not hard to find a used trailer that already has it.

A large fridge in a relatively small trailer is pretty rare. Real estate is valuable. Large fridges require a full height cabinet, reducing counter and storage space substantially. A Yeti-type roto-molded ice chest could keep pre-cooked, frozen food good for several days. Eat as they thaw.

Molded interiors cannot be easily modified. That's why Escape, Lil Snoozy, and Scamp deluxe models with conventional wood cabinetry can accommodate more customization.

Keeping the GVW under 3500 pounds involves compromise and perhaps some custom modifications of your own. I would make the bed your first priority.

I would suggest touring some different trailers as a next step. Pictures and floor plans do not tell the whole story.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:52 AM   #3
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Name: Elliott
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 370
The trailer you want does not exist. That is, you're not going to find one with a queen bed, large fridge, and enough tank space for a week that's under 3500Lbs loaded. The 19' Escape is probably the closest (it's what I got, with similar-ish criteria), but the tanks are smaller than you'd want and it's well over on weight.

I'm assuming by "Jeep" you mean Wrangler, and 3500Lb max towing capacity fully loaded? That drops your target max dry weight down to more like 2200lbs, which basically only leaves pretty small trailers. One set up for serious offroading may lower the safe max even further.

You'd probably have better luck either compromising a bit on the off-roading and going with something like a Grand Cherokee or even a pickup truck, or switching to a class A or large class C and towing the Wrangler behind it instead.

I had some overlapping criteria when I did my shopping and ended up with an Escape 19. It has an optional 6 cubic foot fridge and a full queen bed with a relatively decent mattress (although we added a foam pad). I'm 6'2" and can stand up inside except under the air conditioner. Escape is fairly open to customization, but not to the point of floor plan changes. The tank sizes fall short of your 7-day boondocking goals (I think you'd need more like 50 gallons of freshwater for that), and at 3100Lbs dry it's going to be well over 3500Lbs loaded.

Keep in mind, a lot of fiberglass trailers rely on cabinets as essentially structural members to give the outside walls rigidity, so floorplan changes can be a bit more complicated.

I'd consider switching to a larger tow vehicle and looking at the 21' and 25' Bigfoot trailers, or you'll be compromising heavily on the bed/fridge/boondocking requirements.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:00 AM   #4
Junior Member
Name: Robert
Trailer: Looking
Washington, D.C.
Posts: 12
Thanks for the responses.

I agree the trailer we want doesnt exist which is why were looking at heavy customization. I guess were looking for the best starting point to get there.

Were minimalist so the smaller trailer is in part to keep us from accumulating unnecessary stuff.

The new Cherokees can tow 4500 although we could wind up with a Grand Cherokee (6200). A Wrangler is probably not doable. We want to keep the weight well below the towing capacity. Moving up to a truck is really a last resort. One of our first decisions is that we didnt want to have to deal with maintaining 2 motors, so the motor homes are not in the picture (besides being too big).

Water is not as much problem as you think. You dont need a shower every day and we dont intend to have a toilet to flush. A small tank can be supplemented with 5 gal containers.

An Escape 17 with the full bed is a possibility but do they customize beyond their stated options? The 4 person dinette is a waste of space for us and replacing that with a 2 person would make room for the larger fridge and a storage cabinet. Taking delivery one would be a minor problem though as were east coast.

The Scamp seemed to only have dinettes for beds. It seems to me we would lose a lot of the under bed storage with that option if we put a decent mattress permanently in place.

Im still thinking that a partially finished or empty shell Snoozy is our best bet so far. Starting with a blank slate is easier than trying to correct something wrong for us. Yeah, wed have to learn to use the cabinetry to stiffen it but thats doable.

Yes, seeing them is next an were already figuring out when we can visit the Snoozy plant. We still have to see which others might be candidates.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:49 AM   #5
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
You've received good responses. The only consideration I'd add is that you said full time. Full time might need more space, unless you maintain a base or a storage unit somewhere. Even if you follow the sun, there's likely some changes of clothing and gear based on time of year.

Along those lines, many fiberglass RVs are 2 seasons, late spring through early fall. Escapes can be configured for 3 seasons. Bigfoots can be 4 seasons. Depending on budget check Olivers. In addition to windows & insulation, much has to do with keeping pipes & tanks warm. There are workarounds.

Roof space and solar are considerations when boondocking. Seems to me the Escapes have roof space and factory options. Panels have been put on most units.

There are many YouTube videos on these topics, even if they are not exact vehicle matches. Solar is a good example.

Good luck to you.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:29 AM   #6
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,514
I find the bigger dinette in our Escape 19 is not about seating more people but instead part of it functions as additional counter space (and a place to set up our computers).

As far as how far Escape will go on customization, rather than speculate, give them a call. I have my doubts.

Any of the four season options are heavy. Be sure to check weights in the real world as all of the manufacturers weights seem to be dreamland.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:27 PM   #7
Junior Member
Name: Diana
Trailer: Shopping
Posts: 6
Following this discussion. We are in the same boat, er, trailer search. We aren't little people either and we need at least the option for a Queen bed or two reasonable twins (like the Casita Independence).
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:45 AM   #8
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Posts: 572
With exception of the fridge, your requirements don't seem too far from the norm. A quality cooler in the tow vehicle will keep all the veggies you can eat in a week without using valuable trailer space. Some report problems keeping RV fridges cold, so bigger may not be better in that regard. The dinette/bed issue can be resolved by replacing the table and cushions with some plywood and whatever type of mattress you prefer. We have done that with our Casita SD and it is now a very comfortable full time bed. Outdoor showers are a common option. I don't see the point in messing with a portapottie. You'll have to empty the gray tank, easy to do a black as well. There are few places, even boondocking, where it is OK to dump your waste water on the ground. Don't skimp on the tow vehicle, check the "real world" trailer weights. Happy shopping!
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Old 09-26-2018, 08:25 AM   #9
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Posts: 2,237
We are very happy with our Lil Snoozy that I converted to Propane, solar, and jallousey style windows. Our overhead cabinets were custome made (much larger than factory due to the 6 shorter windows). Best of luck with your build.
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