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Old 11-22-2018, 11:23 PM   #1
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Name: James
Trailer: In the MARKET!!
California
Posts: 10
Family of 4 is seeking their first big adventure, and want to do so in an "egg"

Good evening and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A little background about myself (James) and my beautiful family of 4. I married my wife Ashley in the fall of 2014 and we started our family in the summer of 16. We currently have two wonderful little boys Lewis and James who are 2.5 years old and 1 years old. As of now we live in California, the Bay Area to be exact, and the cost of living is starting to make us wonder if staying in this area is worth the struggle.

We have always wondered what life outside of California is like, since we have both lived our entire lives here. So we recently agree that within two years time we want to travel a good portion of the United States, and see if we can find a city/state that "speak to us". This means we want to spend multiple nights in about a dozen cities all across the US, and what better way to do so than in a RV!!

I grew up in the woods of Northern CA (Shasta county to be exact) and always loved tent camping, but with the little ones we know we will need something more substantial. My wife grew up in the city, but has adapted very well to our rural tent camping adventures. So I truly believe we can cut on the road for a few months.

Clearly us buying our first "egg" means a little more than just road tripping, it might be the beginning of a whole new life. We have wanted an RV for quite some time now, and this seem like the perfect opportunity to invest in one. We are ready to make a purchase today, once we figure out which one fits our needs. So with that I wanted some advice from the community here on how much RV we really need.

1. At first I thought a 13fter might be doable, but I am now beginning to think a 16 or 17fter is what we really need, would you agree?

2. I really would like to have at least a toilet, but not sure if we need a shower. Would you recommend finding a unit with a shower?

3. I have a 2007 Toyota 4runner w/ 4WD and a V6 (130K in great mechanical condition). I think it would be safe to assume that is more than enough truck to pull a 16/17ft egg correct?

Really any and all advice is greatly appreciated. And if anyone has any input on cities we must visit, or things we must avoid in purchasing a trailer, please let us know!!! WE appreciate any and all input.

the boys

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Old 11-23-2018, 10:37 PM   #2
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1. yes
2. a shower could come in handy sometimes, but lack of one is probably not a deal breaker for you
3. yes
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:44 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Welcome, James & Co.!

Agree with Mike's responses, but I'll add a note regarding the first. Surprisingly, it is harder to find a 16/17' trailer with four beds than a 13'er. Many only sleep 3. Since your kids are small you may be able to double up, but it's worth mentioning as something to be aware of.

Regarding your plan in general, short visits in campgrounds (often far from the city proper) and during temperate seasons may not give you the full year-round flavor. But it may at least help you develop a short list of cities worth further research and additional visits.

Best wishes!
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Old 11-24-2018, 09:01 AM   #4
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Cost of living in the bay area is insane IMHO. All of CA is high. Distorts reality to alternative places to live. Where I live in the mountains of NC, weather is relatively mild, taxes low, housing reasonable. Living in lower cost of living areas during my working career was one reason I was able to retire at 50. In my career, I found people with marketable skills could make the same salary in a low cost of living area as peers made in high cost of living areas.

My wife called her mother when she was 32 years old and told her "we have found where we are going to retire". We had lived all over the USA, but we knew it when we saw it! (By the way, we did not move to that area until we retired). I'm sure her mother thought that was crazy, but sure enough, it's where we retired.


If you can handle camping without a bathroom (and you come from tenting so you should), then a 13 footer with a front gaucho (converts to bunk beds) and a rear dinette can work. Yes, it will be TIGHT! Coming from a tent background really helps. My friends with 40 foot motorhomes think my Escape is tiny! People that are used to tent camping think it's huge.


I have found that people that have moved many times in their life are very adaptable on moving to a new location. But people that have lived in one area their entire life can struggle with a move. Little stuff becomes very irritating. Leaving family and friends (not so little) can be traumatic. The sooner you move, the easier it can be. And be sure to not compare everything to the bay area. Locals get sick and tired of hearing "back in CA, we used to have xxxx". Locals under their breath will be saying, "so move back".


One thing I learned is when the cost of living in one area was 20% lower than another, that doesn't sound like much! But if you are saving 5% for retirement in the higher cost area, it can mean you could save 25% in the lower cost area. Huge difference!


When choosing a new area, it's important to see all FOUR seasons. What might seem ideal in the summer could be miserable in the winter. Realize no move is permanent, so if you make a mistake, move again!
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:06 AM   #5
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
Tennessee
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Even a 17' Casita will be too small for a growing family of 4. You should consider a 19' Escape at the least, or even a slab sided trailer if the Escape is too expensive or heavy. You may even consider a used trailer, but a used Escape does not pop up often.

We have a 17' Casita SD. It is too small for the two of us and we are not large people. We have been looking for the last year or so for something larger.

What ever you get you should consider getting a bathroom and a table that will seat 4 and is separate from the beds. I am not a fan of slides but they do add room. Think about what it will be like when it is raining and cold, or when someone is sick, or when you need to get away from black ties and mosquitos.

If you do buy a small molded FG trailer, I bet you will be looking for something larger in 2 to 3 years.
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:11 AM   #6
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot 17G
Oregon
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Don't forget to look at the height of trailers if that is an issue for you. There is quite a difference in ceiling height between makes and models.

An outside shower is a great option.

The one think I miss most in moving from a larger trailer to a smaller one is storage capacity in fresh water, grey water, and black water tanks. In some areas, it's hard to find a dump location and it costs the same whether you dump a large volume or a small volume.
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
Even a 17' Casita will be too small for a growing family of 4. You should consider a 19' Escape at the least, or even a slab sided trailer if the Escape is too expensive or heavy. You may even consider a used trailer, but a used Escape does not pop up often.

We have a 17' Casita SD. It is too small for the two of us and we are not large people. We have been looking for the last year or so for something larger.

What ever you get you should consider getting a bathroom and a table that will seat 4 and is separate from the beds. I am not a fan of slides but they do add room. Think about what it will be like when it is raining and cold, or when someone is sick, or when you need to get away from black ties and mosquitos.

If you do buy a small molded FG trailer, I bet you will be looking for something larger in 2 to 3 years.
In order to get what you describe- beds for 4 and a separate dinette, along with a bath and galley- the OP is looking at a good-sized conventional (non-molded) trailer and a tow vehicle upgrade. A lot depends on how long the OP plans to be on the road. I took it that the OP plans several shorter trips over the next 2 years, not 2 years of continuous full-timing. If that's the case, I think the plan is feasible in a smaller trailer (though not without challenges, some of which you mention).

We bought our 13' Scamp when our kids were 6 and 9 (wish we had started younger!). They're now 13 and (almost) 16. We still have our 13' Scamp, and it still has room for all of us for sleeping, dining, and lounging on short trips of 3-7 days. Setting up and stowing beds and bedding takes 5 minutes morning and night. A minor inconvenience, and the price of having a small trailer we can tow with a family crossover rather than a truck. We camp at developed campgrounds, state parks mostly, so we manage without a bathroom.

For what the OP plans- longer cross-country touring- a larger 16-17' with a small wet bath makes sense. Not everyplace has well-maintained bathrooms, and sometimes it's nice to be able to overnight in a parking lot or rest area. For a family I'm partial to Scamp's layout 4 for the bunks and larger galley. The wet bath in that model is really tiny but will serve for emergency use. You'll want the larger fridge option, A/C, and furnace so you can be comfortable in a range of conditions. A roll-out awning is nice if you're setting up and taking down often.

Other than sleeping, you don't really spend all that much time inside the trailer. As many have observed, you don't live in a small travel trailer; you live from it: hiking, biking, exploring. Rainy day? Drive into town and visit a museum, tour a college, drive through some neighborhoods (since the OP is considering a move),...
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Old 11-24-2018, 12:18 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2015 Escape 17A
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James,
We are So.Calif. owners of a 17 ft. Escape, who extensively camp, especially high up in the eastern Sierras. We picked it because of our particular wants and druthers. It might be good to make a "givens" (needs) and "druthers" (preferences) list to help you narrow down choices.
Here are some observations based on our family's history.
-weather: We're spoiled in CA. We have a temperate climate with low humidity. East of the Rockies, we are uncomfortable with the summer humidity. (I was born in PA, but am not going back). My grandparents spent the 1st 65 years in the Finger Lakes region of NY, with a beautiful home right on a lake. When they retired, they visited us in coastal So.Cal. for several months, then went home to a cold winter. Next spring, they sold everything and moved west and never went back. Just saying!



-size of trailer. The 17 ft. trailer is fine for the 2 of us. It can sleep 2 more if we fold down the dinette. If we were in your shoes, thinking of future family needs with 2 growing kids, I'd recommend a little larger. The Escape 19 ft. would be my choice. It has room for the growing family, but is still small enough to get into even the smallest campgrounds. There's enough room in it even if you're mostly road-traveling and not specifically camping.

-tow vehicle: I'd advise getting the trailer that best suits your givens and druthers. Especially for a FG trailer, it will out-last your tow vehicle. Your 4Runner will be fine for a 17 ft., and there are many folks who tow even a 19' Escape (@ 4000 lbs +) with a V6 powered Toyota.


And, as Henry mentioned in post #5, definitely look at Escapes. My oldest friend had one that he showed us when we started our research, and the more we looked and compared, the easier our decision was.



I wish you well.
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Old 11-24-2018, 12:47 PM   #9
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Name: bill
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Obviously we are partial to the Escape 19. But it’s going to cost serious $$ and might mean a new tow vehicle too.

It’s all about what works for YOU. A Scamp 13 with no bath could work for some, as could a Scamp 16 with a bath. For others a 25’ Bigfoot would be too small.
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Old 11-24-2018, 01:18 PM   #10
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James and Ashley First congrats on a couple of great young men you have there ! From your post it seems that your trailer purchase is not a case of " gotta have one before the end of the week ". If that is the case I would strongly recommend that you monitor this forum and attend at least one gathering where you can visit several eggs . Forum members are a friendly bunch and usually like to show newbies around their units. Only you and Ashley can tell if an egg is to small , o,k. or just right and the best way to determine that is from actually seeing first hand what different makes , models and sizes have to offer for your particular needs. Lee and Norma
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Old 11-24-2018, 06:48 PM   #11
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Name: James
Trailer: In the MARKET!!
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Thanks for all the responses.

A new tow vehicle is not in the future, we have no loan on this 4runner, and not looking for another car payment anytime soon. Plus this 4runner is in mint condition, would not hesitate to tow with it.

We have as many of you suggest started looking at 19ft "stick" trailers options, aka non molded fiberglass. I am beginning to realize how truly small the molded trailers are, hence why they are so light and easy to tow.


Since there is no rush on a purchase we are going to go ahead and take our time, hit some used and new dealership and see what might be the best fit. I will stay active on this forum since it seems to be a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:00 PM   #12
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Not going to see molded fiberglass trailers like Scamp, Casita and Escape at a dealership. They sell factory direct. Need to go to a FG trailer rally and tour many brands and models at one place.
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:04 PM   #13
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Name: James
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I was planning on waiting until something local pop-up on craigslist or this forum. I'll take a look and I might just fall in love, if not I will know that I need something bigger.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:49 PM   #14
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Name: Justus
Trailer: Hymer Touring GT
Illinois
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Originally Posted by JAsanchez2014 View Post
Thanks for all the responses.

A new tow vehicle is not in the future, we have no loan on this 4runner, and not looking for another car payment anytime soon. Plus this 4runner is in mint condition, would not hesitate to tow with it.

We have as many of you suggest started looking at 19ft "stick" trailers options, aka non molded fiberglass. I am beginning to realize how truly small the molded trailers are, hence why they are so light and easy to tow.


Since there is no rush on a purchase we are going to go ahead and take our time, hit some used and new dealership and see what might be the best fit. I will stay active on this forum since it seems to be a wealth of knowledge.
Casita and Escape both have a referral info on their websites, advertising that they'll hook you up with a customer local-ish to you who will be proud to show off their trailer. I was recently informed that Scamp offers the same service, you just call them directly for it. That might help you give the Scamp a thumbs up or down right away.

We were researching stickies before settling on molded fiberglass. We have a Highlander, rated to tow 5,000 lbs which I believe is the same as the 4runner. Thought I'd share the 3 stickies I found that fit your criteria:

Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH (20.5 ft, UVW 2850 lbs, sleeps 5)
Winnebago Minnie Drop 190BH (21 ft, UVW 3160 lbs, sleeps 4, 1 slide)
Winnebago Minnie 2101DS/FBS (21 ft 11 in, UVW 3780 lbs, sleeps 4, 1 slide)

I believe those also all have dry baths. We were really considering the first two until we started to come across reliability issues. I'm sure fiberglass trailers aren't perfect, but there seemed to be many quality control issues with stickies and fewer with fiberglass, probably something to do with the quantity in which they're both produced.

In Fiberglass, the Scamp 16 layout 4 (with bathroom) is a strong contender for us because it sleeps 4. If it was within our budget, the Escape 19 would be a no-brainer.

For what it's worth, I grew up tent camping in a family of four. My earliest camping memory was in a tent at Fort Wilderness, the Disney World campground, when I was six or seven. I got poison ivy on my nose. When we moved to Indiana, we got together every summer for a family tent camping trip with aunts, uncles, and mom's grandparents--although near the end of those trips they were headed for the hotel when the campfire died down.
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:18 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B
British Columbia
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If it was within our budget, the Escape 19 would be a no-brainer.

When doing budget, do the conversion of CAD to USD. You will be pleasantly surprised. Also, make sure you are comparing price of trailers, with options, that may be standard on another trailer.
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Old 11-25-2018, 09:38 AM   #16
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http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post724930

$18K CAD = $13.6K USD

It lacks the front bunk option, but I suspect Escape could add it if you made a trip to the factory. That would give you 4 beds.

For now you could probably make do with an adult and two boys in the dinette and the other adult in the front single bed.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:24 PM   #17
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Name: Betty
Trailer: Scamp 5th Wheel
California
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19’ in Chico

Hello family of 4:
I live in Chico and am selling my 19’ 5th wheel. I am the original owner of the deluxe oak wood interior rig and am sad to sell.
But family members passing and my own issues have forced me to need to sell. It needs someone to love it as I do.
The bathroom is a complete head and tossing the boys in there for fun in the water plus a little wash up would be great fun for them.
The bed “upstairs” is a queen and the bed at the dining area is a full.
Call me and take a drive up. You can’t appreciate what great shape it’s in without seeing it. 530-891-0661 msg phone. Betty
$16,000.00
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:26 PM   #18
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Name: William
Trailer: Scamp
Lakeville, CT
Posts: 117
Family of four here. We have been camping in our ‘88 Layout 4 16’ Scamp for about seven years. Kids are about to turn 11. We find the size adequate and we are often the envy of the campgrounds due to the easy maneuverability, setup, etc. the girls sleep on the bunks (or squeeze into a single bunk) and my wife and I take the back bed. We have stayed in one spot for weeks and sometimes camp in a different spot every night for a summer. Spent almost 5 happy months in it last year. We find outside furniture very important and if we had a wish it would be that we could have a dinette for four and a bed, especially in poor weather.

All that said, each family is different. Good luck.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:24 PM   #19
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Name: James
Trailer: In the MARKET!!
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All thanks to everyone for their advice. Family is still hunting. We have settled on a Casita 16/17 and will be sharing it with my parents.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:26 PM   #20
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Name: James
Trailer: In the MARKET!!
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty Rowland View Post
Hello family of 4:
I live in Chico and am selling my 19’ 5th wheel. I am the original owner of the deluxe oak wood interior rig and am sad to sell.
But family members passing and my own issues have forced me to need to sell. It needs someone to love it as I do.
The bathroom is a complete head and tossing the boys in there for fun in the water plus a little wash up would be great fun for them.
The bed “upstairs” is a queen and the bed at the dining area is a full.
Call me and take a drive up. You can’t appreciate what great shape it’s in without seeing it. 530-891-0661 msg phone. Betty
$16,000.00
Thank you for the offer but I do not own a truck, only a 4runner.
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