2020 Trillium Outback Review - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-03-2019, 12:21 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
2020 Trillium Outback Review

Iíll apologize in advance for being long winded, but I want to be as thorough and helpful for anyone planning on purchasing a Trillium Outback trailer in the future.

After lurking on these forums for about 5 years and waiting for the perfect trailer to become available, Iíve finally decided that Iíve waited long enough. Iíve come to the conclusion that exactly what I want doesnít exist, leaving me with a few options: order a new trailer built to my specifications, buy a vintage trailer and restore it to my specs, or build something myself.

Because I have two new babies that depend on me (one of the actual human type, in the form of a brand new baby girl, and one of the business type, in a burgeoning and demanding new industry), my time is very limited. For this reason, I think the wise decision is to go the route of ordering a new trailer to my specs.

What Iím after is a fiberglass trailer with vintage appeal, customizable in color and materials, able to be towed by a 4-cylinder vehicle, and which can sleep 3-4 people comfortably. Months of scouring the Internet turned up only two companies able to produce a trailer meeting those requirements: the Armadillo, and the Trillium Outback.

Both of these trailers are manufactured in Canada, and both utilize vintage molds from camper companies that went out of business decades ago. (Boler and Trillium, respectfully). Both also require a sizable deposit upfront if you wish to purchase one.

Armadillo Trailers seem to be expertly crafted with endless customizable features, and so far, they have an excellent reputation. The reason I say ďso farĒ, is because they are a fairly new company, and after several years of following travel trailer start-ups, Iíve seen more than one go belly up. (EggCamper, Lil Snoozy, Moby1, etc.) Iíve read one horror story after another from customers unhappy with the quality of work theyíve paid for, or that have placed large deposits on trailers only to lose every penny once the company theyíve chosen to build their trailer goes under.

Trillium Outback on the other hand, have been in business for many years, both as a manufacturer of new trailers as well as a repair and restoration shop. From photos, their quality seems to be decent, and they donít seem to have strayed too far from the original Trillium, which time has proven to be a great trailer. Counteracting their many years in business though, is their reputation. Their standing is not quite as stellar as Armadillo, and a quick Google search will yield more negative reviews than positive. Accounts of shoddy workmanship, missed delivery dates (sometimes by a year or more), and even some claiming they never received their trailer at all, litter the web. Their Facebook pages (there are two of them), Google reviews, BBB rating (an F), and even here on the forums, all tell a tale of unsatisfied customers.

Either direction I choose comes with itís own risks. Armadillo is a new company with no track record, they are more expensive, and require a much larger deposit. Trillium Outback has many negative reviews, accounts of people never receiving goods and services paid for, and there are several photos on the web claiming to show shameful workmanship performed by Team Trillium.

Though, after speaking with Joe Thoen (owner of Trillium Outback), it seems a series of unfortunate events in the recent past (flooding, inadequate facilities, and an atypically long and frigid cold snap) had put his team nearly a year behind schedule. This, coupled with problems I can imagine were related to operational growing pains, as his small company grew faster than he could keep up with, had led to several unhappy customers.

This year though, Team Trillium has moved into a new and more fully equipped facility, hired more staff, worked out some issues with suppliers, and have apparently gotten caught up on work orders.

So it is with careful consideration, and after numerous conversations with Joe, that Iíve decided the Trillium is the trailer for me. He has guaranteed that I can count on him to meet the agreed upon delivery date, and has assured me that the quality of the build will meet my highest expectations. I can get it in whatever color Iíd like, with pretty much whatever options Iíd like, and with a much smaller deposit than, and at about 2/3rds the cost of, an Armadillo.

My delivery/pick up date is March 1st, 2020, and I couldnít be more excited.

My main goal in posting this is to document the current state of customer service and workmanship at Trillium Outback. I know I would have loved to read a positive account of dealings with Joe and Reece Thoen before placing my order and sending a deposit. This thread will serve as just that: a thorough account of the process of purchasing a Trillium Outback, from start to finish. Iíll add updates as things progress, so check back often and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
__________________

Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2019, 01:02 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: kootenai girl
Trailer: 2010 Escape 17B
British Columbia
Posts: 1,383
You may want to join the Trillium Trailer owners group on fb, someone just posted a really negative experience of dealing with Trillium Outback I hope yours is better.
__________________

kootenaigirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2019, 01:15 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
Thanks for the info, I just requested to join.

I too hope my experience is a good one, fingers crossed.

I will say that up to this point my communication with Joe has been very positive.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 07:32 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Ice-breaker's Avatar
 
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Escape 19 and Escape 15B
Alberta
Posts: 511
With no doubts, my own preference based on what I have seen and read would be the Armadillo over the Trillium Outback.
__________________
Dave W - 2013 Escape 19', 2013 Escape 15B and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." - Yogi Berra
Ice-breaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 07:53 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,591
Registry
The question I have is what if any design changes have they made to address the weaknesses of the vintage Trillium. The weaknesses in the overall great design are well documented. Looks like belly band and door hinge attachment have not improved, or if they have, not much.

And to Jon below, the number one thing I like about my vintage Trillium 1300 is the number of windows that fully open, 100%. I think Trillium was the champ as far as square footage of window opening. I have the optional opening window in the kitchen that makes it that much better (I have a window in the door, but it does not open). The old style jalousie windows are incredible. I have more window opening in my tiny Trillium 1300 than I have in my Escape 19. Its not even close.

I see Tafco makes a new jalousie window, it even opens beyond 90 degrees! I don't know if it will fit an RV.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...air-47624.html


https://www.homedepot.com/p/TAFCO-WI...SABEgKRU_D_BwE
thrifty bill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 07:55 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 8,491
Registry
Both Armadillo and Trillium Outback share one fatal design flaw for me: a lack of windows that open for ventilation.
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 08:04 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
I really felt that a deposit of 75% up front, with a 6 month lead time was excessive. In addition to the Armadillo being much more expensive, the possibility of losing a deposit of over $20,000 seemed like much too big of a risk.
There are things that I really like about the Armadillo, for instance the storage drawer below the frame, but they honestly look a little more modern than what I'm going for, and I'm not really a fan of the MDF cabinets either.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the Armadillo is an excellent trailer, and my complaints about styling are minimal, but an unsecured deposit of over $20,000 is more than I'm willing to risk.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 08:19 AM   #8
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
Thrifty Bill, I'm not sure if those design problems have been addressed or not. I've definitely seen the problems with the hinges and the belly band, but it's been my understanding that the vast majority of these trailers, when taken care of properly, don't have major issues in these areas. It also seems like the trailers that do have problems with the belly band and door hinges have seen many, many, years of use before problems arise.

Jon, I don't entirely disagree about the windows, I'm still trying to decide how big of an issue I think it is though. I may decide to ask Joe to change a window or two to an awning style, something like the Arctic Tern Window. He seems very willing to make changes and customizations based on customer request.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 10:59 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,591
Registry
I’ve never seen an older Trillium without window frame rot, and issues with belly band,, body to frame bolts and door hinge.

Surprising to me at least is the belly band is the same construction, ditto door hinges and window framing.

As an engineer I can’t fathom coming out with a new version of this trailer and not addressing these problems. They also have had frames break on the new ones.

Finally Trillium Outback currently has a BBB rating of “F”. I’d avoid. If they have improved, then I would expect them to clear up the complaints with the BBB.


On belly band, I like the Escape concept. They mate the top and bottom sections while they are still in the mold. They then fiberglass them together, no rivets, no washers. Where Escape falls short is they should then just fiberglass the seam on the outside and match the gel coat color.
thrifty bill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 12:01 PM   #10
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,603
On my 2010 made by Trilliumrv, the windows are Hehr jalousies. 8700 series I think? They are very nice for ventilation. The one problem I had was water infiltration on the rear egress window due to the slope of the trailer wall. There is no weep hole on the egress side and it would puddle in the channel if the trailer was parked with a slight tilt in that direction. A little caulk solved the problem. I wouldn't buy a trailer with sliders or awning windows.

The belly band is done the same as the original except I think they used stainless steel washers on the inside. The rivets and bellband itself is Aluminum. Better? (Mine leaked through the rivets and had to be repaired which is how I know ). Scamp clearly has a better approach but for Trillium to do it that way would require making a new mold or modifying the old ones.

Bill referenced my door thread. I should say that I have had no issues since I did the fix. Bolts and metal plates is the way to go.
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2019, 12:02 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
Posts: 290
Registry
I think that the best way to work with Joe is be very flexible, and lower your expectations. He has great ideas and lots of promise, but I feel he has a lack of ability to say "NO I am to busy." I do not believe that time management is one of his fortes. When you go there is person, and meet all the great staff, you can see that there is potential for an incredible business, BUT, it seems that his cash flow is not where it should be, and that the deposit you place on a trailer is not actually being used to build your trailer, but the is used on the current one on the table, and when he has enough new deposits, he work on the next trailer in line.



So I would say be prepared for delays and lots of them.



When we were there he had a number of new trailers in processes, plus a number of trailers in for repairs, and a number of trailers that he uses for parts or his staff are fixing up.


As someone said the other day, the closer you are and the more in the face you are, the better and quicker the product.


Best of luck.
__________________
Island Bolers and Friends on Facebook
Island Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2019, 04:07 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,815
I didn't know Team Trillium was still in business. Interesting.
__________________
In the '60s, people took LSD to make the world seem weird.
Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it seem normal.
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2019, 05:02 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,602
I don't know how you could do a thorough search and come to the conclusion that Trillium Outback was a good buy, starting with the Better Business Bureau rating of 'F'. There are also first person experiences posted here on FGRV of excessive delay and unfulfilled promises.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2019, 08:34 PM   #14
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
Hey Glenn, I actually mentioned both the BBB rating as well as the first hand accounts here on the forums.
For me, one of the major deciding factors was how much of a deposit I was willing to risk losing. Because I had come down to either the Armadillo or the Outback, and I had decided that both were a potential risk as far as losing the deposit goes, I figured I'd go with the Outback. The deposit on an Armadillo is about $20K USD. The Armadillo is also a bit out of my realistic price range.
Along with the bad, there are some positive reviews of the Outback to be found on these forums as well, and even though there is a lengthy thread from an unsatisfied Outback customer over on the Trillium owners Facebook group, there are also loads of pictures of good looking Outbacks on that page too. I would imagine if all the owners of Trillium Outbacks on that group page were unhappy, they would be talking about it.

Trust me, I've entered into this deal with a fair amount of trepidation, but after speaking with Joe several times I do believe I'm going to end up with a trailer that I thoroughly enjoy.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2019, 08:58 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,602
Hope the best for you.
I am curious how you arrived at Armadillo and Outback, but didn't include Escape in your final decision.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2019, 09:10 PM   #16
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
I seriously considered the Escape 17, but vintage appeal and the ability to customize were high on my list of wants.(which the Escape does not offer) The smallest Escape also comes in heavier than either of the others, and I'll be pulling it with a 4 cyl Rav4. My vehicle is a 2019, so I'd rather not replace it just yet.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2019, 09:19 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,602
Understood.

Hard to find a used Escape 15 or 13, which have been discontinued.

Escape does accommodate customization.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2019, 09:59 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,591
Registry
I would consider a standard Scamp to be highly customizable, as the riveted in place cabinets can easily be moved (customizable by the owner, not Scamp). In the case of my Trillium 1300, the fiberglassed in place cabinets are cool, but moving stuff around is quite an undertaking.

Towing by a 4 cylinder RAV 4 is going to be really tight, assuming you have the 1500 pound rated version. No doubt some do it. My Trillium 1300 with no AC and no propane weighed in at 1540 pounds with very little packed into the trailer. With propane and gear, I would expect it to be around 1800 pounds. With AC, higher than that.
thrifty bill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2019, 10:28 AM   #19
Junior Member
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: shopping
Colorado
Posts: 16
As far as customization, I was definitely looking for something ready to go. I've got a brand new baby to look after as well as a business to run, so I don't currently have the time to build something myself.(though I do have the competence and history of working on/building things on my own, so the thought of having to work on something doesn't necessarily bother me)

I've got the Rav4 Adventure model, so it's technically rated at 3500 lbs, but I'm skeptical. I do feel pretty comfortable up to about 1800-1900 lbs though.
Grabow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2019, 10:36 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,602
My 2008 RAV4 V6 Sport is rated at 3,500 pounds and I have no problem towing 3,200 at least.

Some suggest towing at 80% of that rating, and some suggest towing at 50% of the 80%. I suggest accepting the tow rating and equipping the vehicle for towing.
__________________

__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
trillium


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
AZ | 2020, Feb 3-9: 2020 Quartzsite Gathering Greg A Rallies, Get-togethers, Molded Meets (Upcoming) 61 Today 07:45 AM
WA | 2020, May 15-17: Maryhill in May 2020 paulw Rallies, Get-togethers, Molded Meets (Upcoming) 15 02-04-2020 07:37 PM
AB | 2020, August 13-16: Medicine Hat AB. Trailer Rally Miss Daisy Rallies, Get-togethers, Molded Meets (Upcoming) 2 09-01-2019 04:22 PM
Trillium Outback Review Jan 2019 Mr B from BC General Chat 9 01-26-2019 01:36 PM
Outback Trillium Trailer Review agcoupe General Chat 21 04-11-2018 06:49 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×