Fiberglass...YES! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-23-2018, 07:41 PM   #1
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Smile Fiberglass...YES!

I've been on the fence looking at lightweight trailers and comparing Nucamp to fiberglass. Now that I've decided on fiberglass and traded vehicles, Toyota Highlander with a 5000 towing capability, I'm wondering if I should continue to search for a 13 ft Scamp or Casita since they are in such short supply, or consider a 16 ft Scamp or Casita. I'm a senior gal who has not towed in awhile. Is a 13 ft any easier/harder to handle or tow than a 16 ft? I want to get a good used unit soon. Places to go, people to see, just my dogs and me. Advice requested from this very learned community please (and I say that very sincerely, you folks are great).
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Old 03-23-2018, 07:59 PM   #2
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Depending on your budget, an Escape 17 might also be a great trailer for you. In my opinion I’d rather back up a 16 or 17 foot trailer than a 13 footer. Does not react so quickly. Good luck in your search. The Highlander will have no problem with a 17 or a 19 or a 21 for that matter.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:09 PM   #3
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I beg to differ, a 19 or 21 would stress a highlander. my tacoma 4x4 can barely pull a lightly loaded escape 21

but yeah, a casita 16 or 17 'deluxe' (assuming you want a bathroom) would be a great choice.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I beg to differ, a 19 or 21 would stress a highlander. my tacoma 4x4 can barely pull a lightly loaded escape 21

but yeah, a casita 16 or 17 'deluxe' (assuming you want a bathroom) would be a great choice.
Several people tow 19s and 21s with a Highlander over on the Escape forum. While it's not what I'd choose, they do quite well, and are within the numbers, although it's tight.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I beg to differ, a 19 or 21 would stress a highlander. my tacoma 4x4 can barely pull a lightly loaded escape 21
Then there are a whole bunch of people towing 19s and 21s with a Highlander that don't know they should be stressed.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:28 PM   #6
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I can pull that 21 that’s setting in the shed right now anywhere I want including every interstate highway pass in Montana, wolf creek pass in Colorado etc etc etc. 45,000 miles in the past 5 years with the 19 and the 21. No problem, no breakdowns, no accidents, and making my destination goal each and every night with no stress. Of course I know what I’m doing and have been towing for 55 years everything from utility trailers to skid steer loaders, to loaded tree spades . I learned right and I’m not a threat on the road but rather what America really needs because I don’t read my phone, eat, fix makeup, consult a map or dozens or speed or other stupid things people do when driving. Just cause somebody else can do something another man finds difficult doesn’t make it wrong. I’ve been to the Redwoods for my last time so as long as you stay in California you’ll be ok. The rest of this country is as much mine as it is yours and I’m going to see it, Escape in tow.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:59 PM   #7
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To answer your question

A Scamp 16 or Casita 16/17 will back a little easier and are all excellent choices.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I beg to differ, a 19 or 21 would stress a highlander. my tacoma 4x4 can barely pull a lightly loaded escape 21

but yeah, a casita 16 or 17 'deluxe' (assuming you want a bathroom) would be a great choice.
My Escape 21 in travel mode is 4200 lbs, my Tacoma 4x4 with 4 doors and a long bed with a V6 and towing package is rated at 6300 lbs. Tows well all over the mountains.

The longer the distance from the axles to the ball , the less suddenly the trailer responds when backing up, making it much more predictable when turning while backing. Ever watch a 40 ft semi back up to a dock?

I find the 21 is far easier to drive backwards than my Casita 17 was.
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:02 PM   #9
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The 13' and the 16' Scamps will have practically the same frontal area and wind resistance, so they will tow close to the same on level ground. When climbing or descending steep grades, the extra weight will call for more power or more braking so you'd want to downshift more and go a little slower than with a 13'. No big deal, really. The Highlander is plenty capable of towing a 16'er. I put 140k towing miles on my '08 with trailers of that size. Nothing to stress about!
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:38 PM   #10
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...although it seems counterintuitive, a longer trailer(within reason) will back up easier than a short one...why?...because the short trailer reacts faster than a long one will...the longer trailer will give YOU and your TV a longer time to react...towing(straight) will be about the same for a 13 R 16 since their profiles are about the same...a 17(which will be heavier) is just a fraction higher...not much diff there either...going downhill, will take a bit more attention because of heavier weight BUT all will require the same attention going down steeper grades...I think you made a good choice in change of tow vehicle...I am a full sized PU guy but your choice is more than adequate and should stand you in good stead...if you decide on a 17", consider a weight dist hitch for the heavier tongue weight...hope you find your "dream" trailer and start making those good memories...SOON.............................
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:46 PM   #11
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There is only one questin I would ask you. Do you want a bathroom in your trailer? If the answer is no then get a 13 footer. If the answer is yes get a 16 or so footer.
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:24 AM   #12
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Fiberglass...YES!

Although it is possible to have a bathroom in a 13'er, I generally agree with Steve. A 16'er with bath gives you a separate bed and work/dining area so you don't have to set up and take down the bed every day. A used 16'er won't cost much more than a 13'er with bath, and will be easier to find. More room for the dog, too.

When you step up to 17'ers, especially the Casita, you will be getting close to the Highlander's tongue weight limit and would probably benefit from a weight distributing hitch. If you don't want to deal with that, I would recommend sticking to a 16'er. The biggest advantage of a 17' Casita or Escape is a wider main bed, 54" versus 45". For couples, that is often the deciding factor.

For only one, a 16' is plenty big enough for most people. A 16' Scamp is typically a little lighter than a 16' Casita and a little taller inside, but either would make a good choice. For regular use, Scamp's front bath is more usable than the side bath. OTOH, many people find they use campground facilities most of the time and the onboard bath only gets occasional use. The side bath layout has more storage and a larger galley. Casita only makes a front bath.

Of course, if you don't need an onboard bathroom, you can't beat a 13'er. All this talk about "longer is better" for backing is true but overblown. A longer trailer does back a little easier- not as prone to jackknife, but it's harder to find a place to park, harder to maneuver in tight spaces, sometimes wider, too. I have no issues backing my 13' Scamp.
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:17 AM   #13
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If you can live without a bath, hands down I think the Escape 17A is the best. Full time bed on one end, LARGE dinette on the other. Even if solo, a larger dinette is awesome. First it gives you the option of a second bed if you have a friend with you. Secondly, the larger dinette is where we keep the coffee maker, use it as a computer workspace, etc, in addition to dining. When you are in one spot for a longer time, say a week, that’s a great benefit!!

I came super close to buying a Highlander to replace our Element (wife’s car). We love the Element but it can’t tow squat and the Highlander is great. We still have the F150 for major tow duty but a second option would have been nice.
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:15 AM   #14
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I would say it all depends on budget and need. As others pointed out, if you want a bathroom, I would go with a 17' trailer at least. And it is true that reversing gets somewhat easier the further the axles are away from the hitch as turning response is slower.

With your towing capacity going up even further like a couple mentioned would even allow you to go with something like an Escape 19 or 21. Again, it all depends on needs and budget. I would go with something as small as possible, that still meets your needs.

If you are willing to forgo the bathroom, and opt for a portable toilet, the Escape 15A, now out of production but with used models still popping up for sale) is one of the most practical layouts I have seen in a trailer.
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:24 AM   #15
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Most appreciative of all your comments and hands on experience. I am looking online everyday. I want a bathroom and it would be very nice to leave the bed made up but have the small dinette area for eating/computer and option for a guest. I will study the layout for the 16 again, I hope I can get that without going to the 17. I don't want to max out my Highlander. I talked to the Scamp factory rep this week, Wayne, and he said I could take delivery of a new one in Nov thats a non-starter. I'm ready to pull trigger now if I can just find the rig. I''m impressed with the R-15 insulation and would expect my trailering season (dry camping) up here in cold country could be extended because of it. I'm willing to drive a distance to get the right fiberglass trailer. There is a Scamp in Corona, CA that hasn't sold yet....
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:32 AM   #16
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welcome

marsh welcome to our bunch, our tug is a 2015 ford edge 2.0eco we tow our 13foot scamper everywhere.

we have no bathroom and we boondock. while not for you possibly we have learned out in the desert to get by with 1gl of water a day this includes bathing.

we have no electronic needs we have no solar no generator kiss principle. we part pull out our lawnchairs and relax for the afternoon and eve.

as for backing I try to not do too much backing I have to do it at our trouting state park but its not too bad.

I would start small and trade up if you want more later! oh we leave our bed up all the time again simplier!

best of luck in your choice

bob
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Marsh Erickson View Post
... I''m impressed with the R-15 insulation and would expect my trailering season (dry camping) up here in cold country could be extended because of it....
That raised a question in my mind about the insulation. R15?? I went to the Scamp site and found that the 16' standard Scamp does not mention insulation, but the 16' Deluxe Scamp (with wood cabinets) makes this claim in its specs: "super insulation (R15)". Does anyone know if Scamp is actually putting up thicker insulation on the ceiling of the Deluxe? This would be news to me.

At any rate, the Scamp will still have considerable heat loss through the windows, around the door, etc. The best way to keep it comfy in weather down to freezing (or a bit lower perhaps) would be a constant heat source such as an electric heater; this avoids the rather noticeable temp swings of the furnace cycling on and off.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:12 AM   #18
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our 95 scamper

our scamp has a layer of that insulating foil foam sort of stuff and the ratfur. I seriously doubt if it does much we have been out with 18d wx pretty chilly in the trailer!

but it does beat a tent

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Old 03-24-2018, 09:50 AM   #19
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our Escape with the optional upgraded insulation and double pane windows is WAY warmer than our Casita was. its also way quieter inside (which is great if you spend a night at a truck stop when trying to cannonball somewhere).

in the casita, on a cold night the furnace would be running like 50% duty cycle....
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:29 AM   #20
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Fiberglass...YES!... R15... NO!

Marsha, hate to pop your "bubble," but Scamp's claim of R15 insulation is based on a faulty understanding of how the foil bubble radiant barrier is supposed to work. It doesn't give anywhere near that when used as a thermal layer. In combination with the rat fur, my impression is that it may do a little better than Casita's carpet, but not enough to make it a deciding factor. And no, the deluxe versions do not get better insulation. They used to claim R15 for all their models, but I suspect Scamp is finally realizing the claim is bogus and deleting it from their product descriptions. Probably overlooked one.

Insulation aside, you lose a lot of heat through single pane windows, which can be mitigated by covering them with pieces of Reflectix (where it works as designed to reflect radiant heat back into the trailer). That, combined with good bedding and judicious use of the furnace or a small electric heater, will keep you comfortable down to around freezing. You won't go below that often because you've got your plumbing to worry about.

As John says, the Escape is better, mainly because of the optional double pane windows. They also use closed cell foam to line walls and ceiling, which is a better thermal insulator than foil bubble wrap. R-value depends mainly on thickness, though, and it's very thin. Like Scamp and Casita, portions of the Escape's plumbing are unprotected.

I don't see it as a big issue unless you plan on winter camping in cold climates. Nothing you can pull behind your Highlander will give you that. My perspective is that trailers have wheels so you can pull them to where the weather is nice. "Nice" can include cool nights, though, so I'd consider both an LP furnace and a small electric heater (for when you have hook-ups) important equipment to have no matter what trailer you buy.

We've used our Scamp down to about 35*F at night (with warmer, sunny days) in the winter desert. We camp without hook-ups and run the furnace in the evening and morning for lounging and dressing, but just add extra blankets during the night to save propane and battery power (heavy use will quickly drain the battery if you're not plugged in). In the Scamp you can reach and turn up the thermostat without getting out of bed. The furnace heats up our small Scamp really quickly. Not efficient, rather noisy, but effective.

So, go ahead and look for your Casita, Scamp, Escape, or whatever else comes your way and meets your needs.
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