Hello from middle Tennessee - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-29-2018, 01:07 AM   #1
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Name: Walt
Trailer: In the market
Tennessee
Posts: 2
Hello from middle Tennessee

Glad to join you folks!

I’ve been a long-time backpacker and an avid fly-fisherman that is looking into getting a trailer of some sort to use as a basecamp for upcoming outdoor excursions across the country. Looking through umpteen websites regarding RVs, I’ve settled on the concept of molded fiberglass trailers for their durability, light weight, and accessibility within national parks. Boondocking really appeals to me and my wife more so than pricey RV parks with full hookups, though I’m not turning my nose up at them. I anticipate I’ll be doing more of the former than the latter.

Between inverters, gray tanks, solar panels, generators, awnings, max fans, tow-vehicles, instapots, deep-cycle batteries, GVWR, LED lighting, propane tanks, composting toilets, water filters, wifi signal boosters, etc, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry, I’m not in any rush to make a commitment to buy a trailer yet; just hoping to soak up as much wisdom from this forum that I can.

It is already apparent to me that there is no single way of RVing. What works for one camper might not be ideal for another, and I’m fine with that. I’ve got plenty of backpacking gear that seemed like a good idea at the store that now stays in my closet. So, I’m guessing that the only way I will really know what I need versus what I don’t is by getting my hands dirty and actually going camping in one. Is there a place where I could rent a small molded fiberglass trailer (15-20 ft)?

I’m also guessing that going to a rally would also help, but what exactly goes on at these? My impression is that people attend these to show what they have done with their trailers, AKA grown-up show ‘n tell. Am I misunderstanding the purpose of these?

More importantly, how did you figure out what works for you for the trailer you picked?

Thanks
Walt
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Campsalot View Post
Glad to join you folks!
I’ve been a long-time backpacker and an avid fly-fisherman that is looking into getting a trailer of some sort to use as a basecamp for upcoming outdoor excursions across the country. Looking through umpteen websites regarding RVs, I’ve settled on the concept of molded fiberglass trailers for their durability, light weight, and accessibility within national parks. Boondocking really appeals to me and my wife more so than pricey RV parks with full hookups, though I’m not turning my nose up at them. I anticipate I’ll be doing more of the former than the latter.
Between inverters, gray tanks, solar panels, generators, awnings, max fans, tow-vehicles, instapots, deep-cycle batteries, GVWR, LED lighting, propane tanks, composting toilets, water filters, wifi signal boosters, etc, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry, I’m not in any rush to make a commitment to buy a trailer yet; just hoping to soak up as much wisdom from this forum that I can.
It is already apparent to me that there is no single way of RVing. What works for one camper might not be ideal for another, and I’m fine with that. I’ve got plenty of backpacking gear that seemed like a good idea at the store that now stays in my closet. So, I’m guessing that the only way I will really know what I need versus what I don’t is by getting my hands dirty and actually going camping in one. Is there a place where I could rent a small molded fiberglass trailer (15-20 ft)?
I’m also guessing that going to a rally would also help, but what exactly goes on at these? My impression is that people attend these to show what they have done with their trailers, AKA grown-up show ‘n tell. Am I misunderstanding the purpose of these?
More importantly, how did you figure out what works for you for the trailer you picked?
Thanks
Walt
<”)}}})><
Welcome to the forum Walt. Your comments & questions are a bit different than other first timers posts as you've been researching, good, I'll give it a shot to answer you. A LOT of first timers to FG come from a backpacking/tenting back round and think of these as a hard walled tent. I've had pretty much all the RV types and boondock 99.9% of the time. They all worked but zeroing in on the perfect rig/type for your style may be hit or miss until experience with them fills the gaps. One nice thing of FG TTs is that they hold their value very well. If you buy one that's "perfect" and find out it isn't, the resale $$ probably will be close to what you paid . Yes, rallies are the place to see many different makes, models and sizes of these FG eggs. You won't find them at dealerships as they're sold from the factory direct. You can also contact the builder for a contact of someone close to you that will show you their TT. Wouldn't really call it a grown up show and tell although many members are pretty proud of the mods they've done and justifiably so. Mostly, newbies really need to see first hand what our eggs are, see how they fit in the smaller space. They ALL look good on paper. The floor plan and bed size are the most important features to enjoying a small TT. Rallies are also a place that members get to see each other and swap stories, meet new folks and have a good time. Look at our rally map and pull some up for info. Many show what is planned for daily events. As far as all the extra systems you list, most are added later if you find them useful to your style. I've only heard of one place in the N/W that rents FG, may be others but....
Wow, I got carried away, others will chime in soon. Hit some rallies and good luck with the hunt.
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Old 09-29-2018, 06:27 AM   #3
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First not only is the “perfect” trailer unique to every person, they are unique to every trip. Some trips I would prefer a Class B like a Sprinter Van, other trips I would prefer a motor home, and so on. Our Escape fits our needs best for “most” trips.

As far as rallies, they are get togethers hosted by volunteers. No rally is the same, it’s up to the host how many activities there are. Some have a ton of activities, some have few. But regardless it’s a great way to see a lot of brands at once! Since most molded FG trailers are sold factory direct you are not going to see them at RV shows or dealers either.

We made the mistake of buying a trailer first then going to a rally. As soon as we toured other brand trailers at the rally we knew we made a mistake. So we sold our trailer and got one that better fit our needs.

The other mistake people make is they pick a trailer based on what their current car can handle. Chances are, your current car was not picked on its towing prowess! Better to figure out what trailer fits your needs best and then get a tow vehicle to match it.

Vehicles designed for towing will often have built in brake controller, factory hitch and wiring, tranny cooler, ample payload capacity and a better tow rating.

Sometimes people seem to want to set a new record, smallest tow vehicle with the largest trailer. Don’t do it. Towing with a marginal or even under rated TV is no fun!
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Old 09-29-2018, 06:45 AM   #4
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Hi, for what you want, to get to those down that rocky road, to that one in a million fishing spot. It is best to get that trailer with the high rise axle and a tow vehicle that is made for that. Should be your high priority, when looking for a rig. Me, the roughest road I travel on is state park roads, but that is just me. Ask lots of questions about the type of travel you want to do. There will be lots of people who do that type of camping you wish to do and they will be able to answer your ????. Good luck, Carl
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:41 AM   #5
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Hi, Walt!

I don't know any rental companies for molded fiberglass specifically near you, but if you could rent a small conventional trailer, that might help you decide if a towable RV fits your style or not. Some boondockers prefer a slide-in truck camper or a class B on a 4x4 chassis. A towable can be tough if you get stuck at a dead-end.

If a towable fits your needs, molded fiberglass is a good way to go, provided you are willing to go small (or at least small-ish). This thread has some good information about real-world weights, which will help you sort out the tow vehicle side of the equation. Post #297 links to a convenient spreadsheet. http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...rld-43010.html

"Show-and-tell" is really a secondary function of rallies; many do not even have a formal open house time. They are more about the fellowship of camping together. It's not like a car show where everything is spit-and-polished. You'll find trailers in every stage of life: near-new, well-preserved, rough-and-ready, glamped-up, even the occasional "what-were-they-thinking"... Some have a few programmed group activities, while others are more informal. Contact the event coordinator for information about scheduling a day visit or joining the rally in a tent or rental unit.

A used Casita 17 with optional high-lift axle and large holding tanks would be a great, low-risk starter trailer. It's very common in your region at a variety of price points and easy to resell if it's not "just right" for you. Oliver, in eastern TN, makes some very fine (and very expensive) boondocking-capable trailers. I'm for starting modestly to test the waters before going all-in with something like that.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:30 AM   #6
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Name: Henry
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Actually Oliver mfg is located in Hohenwald, TN which is on the border between west and middle TN. Very expensive, high quality.

We are on the road, but when we get home in a couple of months you can come by the house and look at my 2013 Casita SD 17’. Lots of mods.

I live just east of Nashville.

Henry
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
Actually Oliver mfg is located in Hohenwald, TN which is on the border between west and middle TN...
Thanks for that correction. Don't know how I got the idea it was in east TN. I drive through occasionally to and from my family in MD, but haven't visited Hohenwald. Out of my league!
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:20 AM   #8
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Walt,
We have a FG 17 ft. trailer that my wife and I use primarily to go fishing and exploring. Many of the campsites are USFS sites at from 8000 to 10,000 feet elev., with no services; everything we need, we bring, and everything goes out w/us.
Here is an evaluation of our choices that I posted on a companion forum to FGRV, the Escape Trailer Owners Forum. It may give you some insights and direction; hope it helps:
17 Build-one year later - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:06 PM   #9
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Walt, what part of "Middle Tenn." ? I'm Columbia...about 32 miles EAST of Oliver. I have the 13' Scamp w/Bath. Be glad for you to view it if you're in this area.

I would HIGHLY recommend you attend an upcoming fiberglass rally THIS weekend at LBL (Dover, TN.- Piney Campground)! This is a GREAT way to view the different tastes among the RV'ers....not all about "Mods" either. Here's the link to the rally... good luck:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...lly-82811.html
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Walt, what part of "Middle Tenn." ? I'm Columbia...about 32 miles EAST of Oliver. I have the 13' Scamp w/Bath. Be glad for you to view it if you're in this area.

I would HIGHLY recommend you attend an upcoming fiberglass rally THIS weekend at LBL (Dover, TN.- Piney Campground)! This is a GREAT way to view the different tastes among the RV'ers....not all about "Mods" either. Here's the link to the rally... good luck:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...lly-82811.html



There is also the Cherokee rally Oct 10-12th http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post677492


And The King of the Wild Frontier rally Oct 17th 21st.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post667368
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Old 10-02-2018, 05:27 PM   #11
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Name: Walt
Trailer: In the market
Tennessee
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LBL FALL RALLY

I'll be at the LBL Rally on Saturday Morning before everyone heads out. I'd like to go to the Cherokee rally but will be at St. George Island at that time.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and comments. I'm glad I signed up.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:57 AM   #12
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: Shopping for new RV
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Walt, The RV world can be rather confusing at first.....even the simplest of travel trailers have a great many”systems” that are unique to the RV world.

You might just go “pick the brains of RV dealers”. Even if Hey do not sell pure fiberglass trailers you will quickly note that all the “systems” in all travel trailers are from the same handful of manufacturers....propane refrigerators....water heaters....cook tops....even door latches and windows all seem to come from the same group of outside suppliers. Dealer sales people will be glad to demonstrate every appliance in hopes of selling you a RV.....you are not obligated to buy and you leave with volumes of knowledge.

Another source for general RV knowledge is the weekly email newsletter (FREE)
From ....RVTravel.com.....it is sent out every Saturday morning and is loaded with tons of info including boondocking which seems to be what you want to learn more about.

You are lucky to be in Tennessee with many state and National Parks including
The Smoky Mountain National Park with several natural Campgrounds in this unspoiled wilderness.....camp with black bears and elk in a natural mountain setting with great fly fishing streams !

Enjoy you search for the perfect camping trailer....try a search on Craigslist for your area and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

Good Luck and Happy Camping !
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Old 10-06-2018, 08:50 PM   #13
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Name: Gloria
Trailer: Scamp, formerly owned 13' 1984 U-Haul
Idaho
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I did things a little differently

In 1996, I bought my first camper, a 1984 13' U-Haul. I got a very good deal on it so I wasn't worried about knowing what I really wanted. I used and enjoyed it until 2014. During that time, I learned exactly what worked for me and what didn't.

One of the first things I learned that I needed was insulation! It was single walled, no insulation, which meant in colder weather, (I live about a mile high in the mountains of Idaho), condensation formed on the interior walls and anything that touched the walls, got soaking wet! So I always had to be very careful about that.

The furnace in it didn't work and had been replaced by a little heater by the front door. This meant that the area by the door was too hot when the bed area was still freezing. I was plenty warm in bed but I sure hated to get up to get dressed!

This past weekend, I bought a 2014 Scamp 13' . Hope this helps a little.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:19 PM   #14
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Name: R
Trailer: Escape
Illinois
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Good Basic Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
First not only is the “perfect” trailer unique to every person, they are unique to every trip. Some trips I would prefer a Class B like a Sprinter Van, other trips I would prefer a motor home, and so on. Our Escape fits our needs best for “most” trips.

As far as rallies, they are get togethers hosted by volunteers. No rally is the same, it’s up to the host how many activities there are. Some have a ton of activities, some have few. But regardless it’s a great way to see a lot of brands at once! Since most molded FG trailers are sold factory direct you are not going to see them at RV shows or dealers either.

We made the mistake of buying a trailer first then going to a rally. As soon as we toured other brand trailers at the rally we knew we made a mistake. So we sold our trailer and got one that better fit our needs.

The other mistake people make is they pick a trailer based on what their current car can handle. Chances are, your current car was not picked on its towing prowess! Better to figure out what trailer fits your needs best and then get a tow vehicle to match it.

Vehicles designed for towing will often have built in brake controller, factory hitch and wiring, tranny cooler, ample payload capacity and a better tow rating.

Sometimes people seem to want to set a new record, smallest tow vehicle with the largest trailer. Don’t do it. Towing with a marginal or even under rated TV is no fun!
I concur. This is very good basic advice. Shop and talk to a lot of people and dealers of different kinds of campers. We were tent campers and we wanted to get off the ground. We started looking at Aliners. After looking and talking to a lot of dealers and users we settled on a Camplite 13 ft aluminum box. We treated it as our first camper. We went through two different tow vehicles. We know are on our third tow vehicle and own an Escape TA5.0 fifth wheel.

The point of all this is that we learned a lot that is important to us. For example:

1. All of the tow vehicles were appropriate for the rig. The difference in our case for the first change was the size of the gas tank - i.e. range, which matters in some cases a lot. It never crossed our mind. We just looked at payload, towing capacity, etc. The last change in tow vehicles related to the heaver rig, which i never imagined I would do.

2. If your are traveling with a spouse or significant other there needs matter more than yours if you want them to continue traveling with you.

3. The first camper was very basic and was great for traveling form place to place for three day stays. We have change our pattern. We like to stay longer in one place. This precipitated the change we never anticipated. We wanted a little more comfort.

4. When we upgraded our camper we had four improvements we were looking for: A high ceiling that I could walk under and not hit or scrape my head (I and 6-4); A bed that we could get in and out of with out climbing over each other. My research indicates that this is a very common issue.; A sink in the bathroom.; A dinette.

What is important in the notes is not what we like, but that we did a lot of research which was very helpful. But, there is no substitute for experience and changing taste are likely. Think about the marketability of the rig you buy and the marketability of the tow vehicle. Our first camper was used and sold at a material discount over new. We still use our first two vehicle as a car. Our second tow vehicle was very marketable. It made it easier to change with out any material losses.

Good luck.
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