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Old 08-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Trying to decide
Minnesota
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Hi I'm Kathleen

Hello-

I'm hoping to purchase a small travel trailer next year and I'm trying to decide what the best choice will be for me. I'm looking at 13' Scamps and Casitas and also the smaller Aliner types. Quality and longevity on the Aliners concerns me a bit so I'm wondering if a Scamp or Casita would be a better choice in the long run. I do like the fact that Scamps are manufactured about 160 miles from me.

Most of the time it will be me and my medium size dog so I think a 13' will be ok. I'm probably going to need to upgrade my TV though as I'm currently driving a '09 Subaru Forester.

I'm having a hard time deciding which features are must haves and which in reality I probably wouldn't end up using all that much. Some of the things I'm thinking about:
  • Permanent bed- is this possible in the 13'? I'm fine with a double or even a twin but I want to be able to keep it set up as I think due to some back & neck issues I'm going to want a memory foam topper.
  • Toliet, I'm thinking as a woman an option for a porta-potti might be good but I don't really think I want the full bathroom.
  • Furnace/AC: I live in Minnesota so I'm thinking I'm going to want a furnace for sure, and at least a fantastic fan. There seem to be different options though and I'm not sure which are best.
  • Kitchen must haves- I really want a refrigerator, and I'm thinking a 2 burner cooktop. But how much would I really cook inside unless it was raining.

I've been lurking for a while, and the information I've found already has been really helpful. Thank you for the great forum.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Hi Kathleen, to FiberglassRV, we're glad you're here

So many decisions to be made. The first is what kind of trailer. Since you've landed on a forum focused on all molded towables, we'll be prejudiced for that kind of build... with reason.

Best of luck on your egg hunt
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2013 Lil Snoozy #161 (SOLD)/2010 Tacoma
NE Oklahoma
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Welcome to the Forum Kathleen.

Only you can decide what and which will be best for you.
But you seem to have a very good handle on it already with your list.
Being in Minnesota you should be able to find some rallies to see different
brands up close and personal. And many owners are glad to give you a tour.
I had to drive a thousand miles to get what I determined was best for me,
wife and daughter. A permanent bed was definitely on my must have list.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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Name: Alice
Trailer: 2018 Casita SD - Kondo A-Go-Go
Utah
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Hi Kathleen,
If you get a 13' Scamp/full bath, it can be towed with your '09 Forester. That is what I originally had and it worked very well. I leave the table into a bed full time. Any complaint would be the cushions..they are too hard to sleep on. Replaced them with a 4" mem. Foam topper frm WallyWorld. But, each person is different.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: 1973 Love Bug '13
Florida
Posts: 400
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Hello Kathleen,

Welcome. There are lots of different fiberglass camper styles. Hopefully you will get some good input. Check the age of some of the campers represented here. There are plenty of 30 and 40 year old fg campers on the road. That speaks to the longevity of the molded shell. No telling how long some will be on the road with reasonable care and maintenance.

Buying new is great, and you can order things to your specific needs. New isn't an option for everyone and lots of used trailers have modifications that may suit your needs. I would favor the Scamp or Casita over the Aliner. Moving parts are more likely to leak and leaking is bad!

Buying used usually brings a lower price tag. Buyer beware. Do not believe what every seller tells you. Some sellers may not even know that there is a problem. (I hope this was true in our case). If you choose to buy used, I recommend that you find somebody that knows first hand about fiberglass trailers and pay them if you have to, to come and inspect before you buy.

Our budget was $1800.00 and we searched for months for something in our area. We missed a mint condition, 2004 Casita that sold for $2700.00 because it was so far over our budget. (had no idea what a bargain that was) By the time we had decided we could buy the Casita, it was sold.

Feeling frustrated and more desperate than ever, we found a 1973, 13' Love Bug about 4 hours away. Hubby went, looked it over and we paid $2200.00. The seller told us it was ready to go camping. Hubby crawled underneath, looked inside and outside...it was not perfect by a long shot, but that was expected. We did think it was safe to take on the road and camp. Here is what we didn't know... the frame was broken, the floor was rotten, there was mold under the ensolite, the door was not waterproof when closed, and those were the big things. The door was blocked open when hubby arrived. Not knowing that doors are often a problem for this type of camper, he didn't know to look for those things. After all, it was ready to go camping! And, there was a door! It has been a year since we purchased our little Love Bug. It has been a love/hate relationship.

I still remember the conversation.. we had already spent about $1100.00 over and above what we paid for the camper and we realized that it was going to at least another 1000.00 to get it road/camp worthy.

Do we eat the loss, stop putting money into it, get rid of it and count it as an expensive lesson learned. Or, since we are this far in do we see it through, try to enjoy the project and make sure we get our moneys worth, by using it allot? Guess which one we decided?

It has cost us more than we had imagined, at least 3,000 additional dollars and countless hours, to get to this point.. We will likely have to spend another $500.00 - $1000.00 to complete the project depending on the severity of our most recent road block...the dreaded door!

I have not said all this to try to scare you away from used. I have said all of this because used can be a good way to go if you do it right .........and also because I needed to vent and thought maybe some of my rant, could benefit you.

I say take the time to look at lots, even try to go to a rally somewhere near your home and see a bunch of them at one time.

Good luck in your search,
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:25 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2013 Lil Snoozy #161 (SOLD)/2010 Tacoma
NE Oklahoma
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Wow Cathy, that is some dilemma.
I can see from you album you and hubby have done a lot of work.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
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Name: gary
Trailer: 16' 1998 Scamp
Minnesota
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If you're in the Saint Paul area, pop me a note. Dorothy and I would love to show you our baby. There's also going to be a fiberglass camper rally up in Taylor Falls in a couple weeks. You would learn a LOT by just popping in and visiting with all of us!
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:01 PM   #8
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Trying to decide
Minnesota
Posts: 8
Thank you Kathy for the detailed response. That definitely gives me a lot to think about.

I was looking at used Scamps like this one: 2002 Scamp 13' Custom Deluxe Trailer

I'm guessing this one might need a little work. It has the layout I like though.

fusedlight- I sent you a message. Thanks.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:18 PM   #9
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Trailer: 2011 Escape 15A
Washington
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Hi, Kathleen.

I think if you want a permanent bed in a 13 you have to give up the toilet (or give up the dinette.) Usually one end has the bed and the other the bathroom or the cot/bunk/dinette. But a portapotti isn't a bad solution and omits some of the things that can go wrong.

Technically you should be able to two a 13 with a Subaru Forester as long as the trailer has brakes, but you need to watch the weight. Partly it will depend on where you want to go- stay in the midwest, mountains aren't a problem, and you'd be fine. The 09 was rated to 2400 lbs, I think. I pull a Campster (probably about 1000 lbs) with a 2012 (before that a 2000) but wouldn't want anything heavier going over the mountains. (You'll find lots of different opinions about this, though.)
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:06 PM   #10
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Name: Gilda
Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
California
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A 13' basic Scamp will weigh a lot less than the deluxe one with wood. We tow our basic 13' Scamp with our Subaru Legacy sedan quite nicely (with trailer brakes). Generally, we keep the bed set up 'cause we eat outside for lunch and dinner but we want to be able to set up the table in case of extended inclement weather. Breakfast is simple and we sit on the edge of the bed and on the couch for 10 minutes. See photos of my bedding which was created for the flexibility of setting up and taking down the dinette. In your case you could simply have a one-piece topper because you would not be storing it in the seat storage and you could keep the cushions in the down position thereby retaining the option to make up the dinette.

I'm frankly envious that you live so close to the Scamp factory as we traveled from San Francisco to Backus and back to get ours!
Attached Thumbnails
SCAMP Interior October 2011 023.jpg   SCAMP Interior October 2011 022.jpg  

SCAMP Interior October 2011 026.jpg   SCAMP Interior October 2011 025.jpg  

SCAMP Interior October 2011 032.jpg   140.jpg  

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Old 08-25-2013, 11:57 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Washington
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Smile Welcome to FGRV

Your '09 Forester should be fine for any 13' you may wish to buy. Our '00 Outback tows our Trillium all over the west.

Trailer Towing Guides | Trailer Life Magazine

Your Forester is rated 2400# whereas our Outback is rated 2000#. To make sure, check your owner's manual.

We have a permanent bed in our 13' Trillium. Of course we have the front dinette so we sit there for meals, card playing, etc.

We use a Porta Potti for nighttime. I empty it every morning. Once I didn't and it did develop a smell. I pour it down the sewer hookup for the site, or in the bathroom for the campground.

We decided not to get a furnace because of the noise we heard the fan makes. We used to have a small space heater, but there again it had a fan noise. We have settled on an oil-filled space heater, which is silent except for slight clicking noises as it cycles on and off. Of course this requires electricity and hook-up to shore power.

One of the main things we make inside is toast. We use a toaster oven. We do have a 3-burner gas cook-top which we use occasionally.

We opted for no refrigerator using things that need no refrigeration, like canned soups, etc. We don't even use the on board water just to prevent the complication of having to winterize every year. We also drive south during winter and would have no way of keeping thngs from freezing if we had to drive in sub freezing weather. YMMV
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:24 AM   #12
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Trying to decide
Minnesota
Posts: 8
It looks like new Casitas are definitely out as they no longer make the 13' without the front bathroom and I'm not seeing a lot of used 13' Casitas near me, so I'm leaning strongly towards a 13' scamp with the front dinette (and a porta-potti). The difference between the basic and the deluxe appears to add about 100 lbs just for the wood. The one in Eau Claire was a deluxe.

I read some old threads about bed sizes. Am I correct that the 13' Scamp would have a 48" X 78" rear bed? I was also reading about cutting memory foam to fit the curves, either using a thinner mattress topper over the existing cushions or cutting thicker memory foam to fit.

The '09 Forester currently has about 68000 miles, and I'm now commuting 58 miles round trip to work so part of my debate on the TV is how long to keep the Forester vs. getting something else. But I don't want to go too much bigger as I'm only 5' 3" so I'm not usually comfortable driving big vehicles unless I have to. I have driven a box truck on multiple occasions including backing it to a dock, and an Expedition for a week at Yellowstone but it's not something I want to do everyday. I would feel a bit more comfortable though if I could find something with a tow rating in the 3000 - 3500 range.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:35 AM   #13
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2013 Lil Snoozy #161 (SOLD)/2010 Tacoma
NE Oklahoma
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To add to your list of possibilities..................
This is a photo shoot I did of ours once we got it home.

Backyard Photo Shoot

I got most all the options plus a few extras.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #14
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Name: Gene
Trailer: Scamp
North Dakota
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Kathleen, Welcome to the group. Since you are so close to the Scamp factory I would recommend you stick with Scamp in your search. That's pretty handy for any help or maintenance. Also, you might want to consider going there to check out the new ones just to get a getter idea of what you want even if you buy used.
Don't forget to download a copy of the checklist on this forum to have with you when you look at used ones.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/buy-sell.html
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:17 AM   #15
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Trying to decide
Minnesota
Posts: 8
Carl- That is a beautiful trailer. I really like the kitchen and the bed area. Any idea on the total weight?

Gene - Great minds think alike. I had emailed Scamp on Saturday to see about setting up a tour shortly. Thank you for the checklist. That will be very helpful. There seem to be a fair number of used Scamps within 200-300 miles. I'm thinking my budget should be able to get me one in pretty good condition. The 13' seem to run anywhere from about $4000 to $7500 depending on the age, condition and features.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:40 AM   #16
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2013 Lil Snoozy #161 (SOLD)/2010 Tacoma
NE Oklahoma
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Supposedly 1950# dry weight.
But with all the options, I'm sure mine weighs more.
I haven't been to a scale as yet.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:42 AM   #17
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Name: Debbie
Trailer: Casita
Missouri
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Sharing my camper choice. . .

I opted for a Casita, myself, due to its resaleability, quality, and longevity of the company. I previously had a popup trailer and emptying the porta-potty got old. I went for the 17' and absolutely love my bathroom. When traveling alone, being able to pull in, connect the hookups, go inside my trailer and not come back out until morning is wonderful--and safe. I added an electronic water heater after sale because the wind kept blowing out the pilot light. The inside burners make it possible to cook inside in bad weather. I sleep on a modified side dinette which I use as a sofa during the day and leave my back table set up for company, eating, using the computer, or even watching tv. I also have the option of using the side dinette with the table and having a full bed in the back. In addition, I added a furnace aftermarket. I've had my Casita since 2010 and am more than happy with it. I have not had the need to drive back to Rice, TX to the Casita factory--there are RV service places much nearer for any needs I have experienced. Whatever brand you choose to go with, I'm sure you will enjoy. Best wishes and Happy Camping!
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:50 AM   #18
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: 1973 Love Bug '13
Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen M View Post
Thank you Kathy for the detailed response. That definitely gives me a lot to think about.

I was looking at used Scamps like this one: 2002 Scamp 13' Custom Deluxe Trailer

I'm guessing this one might need a little work. It has the layout I like though.

fusedlight- I sent you a message. Thanks.
Kathleen,

Looks nice..just a few things that should be considered.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of having someone knowledgeable inspect before you make a purchase.

That trailer could be a good value but many things to investigate before you drive several hours to see it. I would ask for more pics. Lots of pics! There is a lot of fraud so check all your facts...if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Clear title...I think title regs vary from state to state. Make sure you understand the laws in the state where you reside and in the state where you would purchase the trailer.

Weight - Which is the first thing I thought when I saw the wood cabinets. other things can cause additional weight too. One reason (for some of us) that FG trailers are so desirable is their light weight.

The weight... The only way to know the true weight is to have it weighed. There are others here who could tell you other places to do this. We have a rock company near by with a scale. On the tongue of our trailer it says the weight is 930 lbs. That was put on at the factory 40 years ago. Many things have been changed since then.... by putting the beautiful wood cabinets in the prospective camper, the weight has changed. Originally the furniture was mostly fiberglass which weighs much less than wood.

The tow rating on your vehicle includes every single thing that you put in it (Including people and pets!) plus the actual weight of the trailer plus every single thing you put in it as well. pounds add up FAST!

Dont underestimate the expense of what you must do to make it safe and usable for you. SAFETY FIRST!

The trailer axle...there are others better equipped to address this.....I do know that axles have weight ratings. If the modifications added to a trailer + what you carry exceeds the axle rating, the trailer is not safe to pull. I think that axles with higher weight ratings can be installed but I am not certain.

Make sure that there is a place in the cabin to stow the potty. Not much floor space inside, you may not want to lift it to use it (the bucket type wouldn't be as bad to lift).

The condition of the battery.
The exterior can represent the care that the whole camper has received.
Tire condition, sometimes when they sit for a period of time it takes its toll...is there a usable spare.

I think there is a buyers check list in the document center that will be more comprehensive.

We have removed the little dinette that a PO put in the front of our trailer, and installed a sofa sort of thing. I also have back problems, will likely camp alone and want a place to recline inside without getting in bed. Will use the bench to sit with TV tray to eat inside.

we have decided to leave our bed set up, but can access the under storage by moving the matress. Remember there is valuable storage space under those benches. Some people install outside hatches for easier access to those areas.

Lay on the bed, sit in every seat, make sure that furniture is solidly attached and doesn't move more than it should.

DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THE DOOR! Lol

Regards,
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:22 PM   #19
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
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Kathleen,

Those of us with the 13 who have no front bath generally would not have one with, and those with the bathroom would not want one without.

We removed the top bunk to make a wider bottom bunk. We are not tall and either of us can sleep on that size area. Talked to my husband once and we both agreed that if we were solo campers we would sleep on the front bunk and leave the dinette for use, him computers/camera work, me doing jig saw puzzles. The dinette should still be put down during travel though to save wear and tear while giggling down the road. Some people leave it up, but I would think that would put strain on the back hinge area.

We will be in site 7 at Taylor's Falls. We have no bath. There should also be a Scamp 13 with front bath. Corky and Darlene do not use their front bath, they just might be happier if they had the no bath model.

do you need a tent for Taylor's Falls? I could bring one for you.

Nancy
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:55 AM   #20
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Trying to decide
Minnesota
Posts: 8
Thanks for the offer Nancy. Depending on where my son's move is at, I may do a day trip on Saturday. If he's already in his new place, I could overnight in a tent with the dog.

My older son is autistic and is preparing to move into an apartment with support staff onsite (sort of like assisted living), and that's supposed to hopefully happen before the end of September.

I do like the idea of making the front bed into a permanent bed and leaving the back as the dinette.
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